General Assembly 2013, Day 3: Capitol Square Diary Returns With Quote Of The Day, Moment Of The DayJan. 11, 2013
Today we are very pleased to bring back a unique category to our blog: Capitol Square Diary. From our inception five years ago, we carved out a special online home for the best, inside-the-walls, behind-the-scenes coverage of the General Assembly. With our team of lobbyists and well-established contacts and sources, no one gets access to information — serious and lighthearted — that we do. But, when we relaunched our web site in 2011, we streamlined the number of blog categories (which serve as blog sites within a blog on specific topics). Starting today, though, Capitol Square Diary is back. It will be the place to check out anything and everything that goes on in Virginia government — while the General Assembly is in session and while it is not.
In light of the reestablishment of Capitol Square Diary, we also bring back two frequent features proudly brought to our legions of readers in the Diary: Quote of the Day and Moment of the Day, which usually chronicle the unreported, off-the-cuff, lighter moments of session. (We'll also highlight a Bill of the Day from time to time during session.)
Today's Quote of the Day:
Delegate Sal Iaquinto (R-84, Virginia Beach), chairman of the House Courts of Justice Civil Sub-Committee, to Delegate Terry Kilgore (R-1, Gate City), patron of HB 1654, a bill to require certain circuit court clerks to file appellate courts trial records in an electronic format:
You know the forestry industry, the paper industry and the lumberjacks oppose this bill, don't you?
Today's Moment of the Day:
Just because committee work is in its early phase doesn't mean humor — and awkward moments — aren't already in mid-session form. At the same sub-committee meeting this morning, its first of the year, Delegate Annie B. Crockett-Stark (R-6, Wytheville), walked into House Room D. Delegate Iaquinto interrupted proceedings to call out to her, repeating, "Annie B.!" several times before she looked up, whereupon he informed her she was in the wrong committee room. Her bill was scheduled for the COJ Criminal sub-committee across the hall in House Room C. Looking over the composition of the Civil sub-committee, she said, "That's probably a blessing."
Who Says Bloggers Can't Fill The Gap?Mar. 06, 2009
Hopefully, you've perused the March 3 News Stand. In it, I bring to readers' attention an article by The Washington Post's Marc Fisher who laments that economic downsizing has led to a reduction in media coverage of state government in Richmond and Annapolis. Among the Mainstream Media, he notes, several newspapers have reduced the number of reporters at the capitols, about half as many in Virginia as there used to be, and that only one Virginia television station still maintains a bureau in capitol square. Alas, he maintains, despite the explosion of new media —blogs in particular — it isn't enough to fill the gaps left by the reduction of full-time journalists. Says who? While we won't be pretentious enough to claim bloggers fill the exact same role as political beat journalists, especially the old-fashioned five W's objective reporters — those days disappeared along with the buggy whip manufacturers anyway — we can say, speaking for ourselves, that bloggers have more than replaced what passed for electronic media coverage of the legislature. Never more than sound byte "journalism," exactly how much depth do viewers get from one- and two-minute television reports, or 30-second updates on radio?
Perhaps Mr. Fisher should have looked at our blog during session (see Capitol Square Diary) and our YouTube page. Everyone should. At last count we had 23 videos posted there, almost all concerning the General Assembly, and many of them from committee hearings. Not five- or 10-second sound bytes, but full testimonies and questions and answers between committee members and witnesses, not to mention the committee votes. Ahh, the votes.
Often what passes for news coverage of devious parliamentary gimmicks that kill bills without the legislators going on record is the media's complyingly innocuous, "the bill died in committee." But how? We show you! Which is something, that no matter how many television or radio station bureaus there are, never seems to be told. We don't let the politicians escape, unlike the Mainstream Media. I'm not sure why Mr. Fisher doesn't think that's laudable.
The fact is, the new media is here and will continue to grow in outlets as well as users, evolve in its delivery mechanisms (we were just getting used to blogs, then Facebook, when Twitter came around), and increase in importance. If that's to the Mainstream Media's demise, so be it. But if the MSM is at least partly responsible for its own demise for its complacency in seeing the future, it surely is fully responsible for its diminishing presence by its lack of depth of coverage and its flat-out distortations of its coverage of politics and policy.
Apparently, what matters most to MSM apologists is numbers — after all, what can legitimize the biased MSM other than to say tens of thousands read their publications or watch their broadcasts? It certainly isn't in the quality or depth of coverage. But the velocity of change in information consumption is happening faster than a Dick Saslaw foot-in-the-mouth comment. So new media audience numbers will grow in time. Of course, expecting the MSM to acknowledge that is like expecting them to cover a Dick Saslaw foot-in-the-mouth comment. It rarely, if ever, happens.
Quote Of The Day/Bill Of The DayFeb. 05, 2009
I am not making this up. In what is a first for Capitol Square Diary, we got both the Bill Of The Day and the QOD in one fell swoop. Within the last couple of hours in Senate Finance, Senator George Barker (D-39, Fairfax), introduced SB 1497 to create a research authority on Geospatial Health, whatever that is.
Apparently not too many people know as Senators Edd Houck and William Wampler and committee chair Chuck Colgan all expressed some concern about the time available to understand the subject. As Senator John Watkins tried to explain, laughter was heard from the middle of the dais, where Colgan, Houck and the brilliant Senator Janet Howell reside.
When their laughter became noticeable, Colgan blew Howell's cover. Said the President Pro Tempore to a room of laughter:
"Senator Howell just said, 'I don't have to understand it to vote for it.'"
As it is said, the comedy that is best is so because it resonates with a degree of truth. We agree, especially in this case. Sadly, however, in Senator Howell's case, it also explains volumes.
Virginia News Stand: December 30, 2008Dec. 30, 2008
Not much for sale today at the News Stand as our communications department decided he was going to coast to the end of 2008. I have found some editorial comics, however. (Highly recommended are "Pay Raise," "Obama in a huff," "2008 Returns" and "Merry Christmas," the last for something less cynical.) Hope you enjoy. We will be off for a bit over the next few days, but please check in — perhaps on Friday we'll have something. Regardless, we'll be back Monday, vigorous as ever, as the General Assembly will be a major focus point from here through March. It begins in 15 days! Yipes! So you will want to visit here often, as no blog covers the General Assembly better than we do, with our physical proximity to capitol square, five lobbyists and dozens of volunteers patrolling the General Assembly Building, and our very reliable contacts, we will post all the information the Mainstream Media either won't report or simply does not have access to, or that other blogs do not have the time or resources to cover; and we'll archive it nice and neatly in our Capitol Square Diary for your convenience.
So, despite the scarce selections on today's News Stand, be ready for a healthy dose of original reporting about our lawmakers starting next week.
Also, look forward to a bunch of interviews, online debates, new features (such as Twitter and possibly a new look), and a virtual lobby day, all to be announced later. Stay tuned. And Happy New Year.
State groups on opposite sides of 'Conscience rule' (Norfolk Virginian-Pilot)
Kaine eyes green-friendly Virginia (Washington Times)
"Capitol South" (William Warren, GetLiberty.org)
"Obama in a huff" (Eric Allie, CagleCartoons.com)
"Buried by the times" (John Cole, CagleCartoons.com)
"Good Riddance" (John Darkow, CagleCartoons.com)
"2008 Returns" (Gary Varvel, Indianapolis Star)
"Pay Raise" (Gary Varvel, Indianapolis Star)
"New Year's Change" (Daryl Cagle, CagleCartoons.com)
To go out on a high note:
"Merry Christmas" (Gary Varvel, Indianapolis Star)
Angry Left Hate Speech Quote Of The Day Starring Alcee HastingsSep. 25, 2008
It doesn't seem possible, but the the Angry Left gets more hysterical and despicable each day. Not even Michael Phelps or Usain Bolt is this prolific at topping themselves. We can't keep up. (See last Friday's post about the vile from so-called comedienne Sandra Bernhard.) So, today, we start trying to keep pace by beginning an Angry Left Hate Speech Quote Of The Day, not to be confused with our ever popular Capitol Square Diary QOD. Not that we're even going to make this an official category, but with the Mount Everest high amount of material available by the hour, we hold out that option. So, without further ado, our inaugural ALHSQOD quote comes from disgraced impeached and convicted (for perjury and corruption) former federal judge, now-U.S. Representative Alcee Hastings (D-Fla.). (See Fox News article here). Yesterday, in Florida, at a panel discussion hosted by the National Jewish Democrat Council, he said:
If Sarah Palin isn't enough of a reason for you to get over whatever your problem is with Barack Obama, then you damn well had better pay attention. Anybody toting guns and stripping moose don't care too much about what they do with Jews and blacks. So, you just think this through.
As reported by the blog hotair.com, the room erupted in laughter and applause. Classy. However, according to the Fox News report, a fellow member of the Congressional Black Caucus, U.S. Representative Arthur Davis (D-Ala.), rebuked Hastings in a written statement:
I didn't like his comments when I heard them and they don't sound any better reading them in print. ...
(I)t is a great mistake for Democrats to ridicule (Palin's) cultural roots. I don't know how many Americans strip moose, but a lot of the ones I know tote guns and the Democratic Party had better win enough of those gun toters if we are to be successful.
Finally, some commonsense. They can start by reigning in the hate speech by an increasing number of party officials and left wing fringe groups which claim to do their bidding.