Local and VCU

Wilder insists slavery museum will be built despite prospect of tax sale

Former Gov. L. Douglas Wilder said he’s not giving up on his stalled slavery museum in Fredericksburg even as city officials are considering whether to initiate a sale of the property to collect $148,482 in delinquent taxes.

“On behalf of the board of directors, of which I am the chairman, I want to say this as plainly and directly as I can: We intend to build the United States National Slavery Museum. And we will build it on the beautiful piece of land we own off the Rappahannock River in Fredericksburg, Va.,” Wilder said on his website, “No one should hold any doubt about either of those facts.”

Wilder’s statement does not address the museum’s unpaid real-estate tax bill that now stands at $148,482 or the prospect of a sale. He blames the project’s delays on the national recession and acknowledges a need to scale back.

Brief by the Richmond Times-Dispatch

Cuccinelli argues health-care suit on Capitol Hill

Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli Wednesday morning took his case against the new federal health care law straight to the folks who approved it less than a year ago – Congress.

Cuccinelli, a rising conservative star whose lawsuit made headlines across the nation, was at the Capitol to explain the reasoning behind the lawsuit to mostly sympathetic ears on the GOP-controlled House Judiciary Committee.

“We do not seek to overturn any prior decisions of the U.S. Supreme Court or develop any new doctrine,” Cuccinelli told the committee in prepared remarks. He characterized Virginia’s challenge to PPACA as “modest.”

“Rather, within the boundaries of constitutional text and precedent, we simply seek a determination that in passing the individual mandate and penalty as part of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, Congress exceeded the powers granted it by the Constitution.”

Virginia was among the first of what has become more than two dozen states to challenge the health care overhaul.

Brief by the Richmond Times-Dispatch

Computer outage extended unnecessarily, report says

An investigation into the massive state computer meltdown in August criticizes the contractor’s handling of the failure, saying it protracted the outage that paralyzed high-profile state agencies for days.

The probe into the disruption found that while human error contributed to the equipment failure, the response was hobbled by Northrop Grumman’s follow-through.

Gov. Bob McDonnell, who ordered the audit, said on Tuesday that the report gives the state a path to recover losses from the outage from Northrop Grumman, which is being paid more than $2.5 billion over 13 years to modernize Virginia’s computer network.

Disruptions related to the failure affected 13 percent of the state’s executive branch file servers and 26 of 89 executive branch agencies, including the Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles.

Brief by the Richmond Times-Dispatch

National and International

Obama wants civil discussion over spending

The White House says President Barack Obama wants a civil and reasonable discussion with Republicans as he negotiates reductions in Social Security and Medicare spending.

White House spokesman Jay Carney said Wednesday that making needed changes in the two massive programs will require compromise. He would not set a timetable for negotiations.

Adjusting Social Security and Medicare have typically been politically charged topics that both parties have used to attack each other.

Carney also defended Obama’s assertions that his 2012 budget eventually will not add to the national debt, even though it shows deficits in every year through 2021. He said the budget foresees spending and revenues reaching balance further down the road. He said the only spending that will create deficits will be continued interest payments on the debt.

Brief by The Associated Press

Bahrain protestors step up pressure on rulers

Protesters demanding sweeping political reforms from Bahrain’s rulers held their ground Wednesday in an Egypt-style occupation of the capital’s landmark square, staging a third day of demonstrations that have brought unprecedented pressure on one of Washington’s key allies in the Gulf.

Security forces have pulled back sharply – apparently on orders to ease tensions – after clashes that left at least two people dead and dozens injured. Police helicopters, however, flew low over a major funeral procession for one of those killed in which mourners called him a “martyr” and pledged more protests in the island nation – home to the U.S. Navy’s 5th Fleet.

Thousands of people spent the night in a makeshift tent camp in Manama’s Pearl Square, which has been swarmed by demonstrators, some draping themselves in the Bahraini flag. One demonstrator used a bullhorn to urge protesters to remain until their demands are met, as the Arab wave for change takes hold in the Gulf.

The protests began Monday as a cry for the country’s Sunni monarchy to loosen its grip, including hand-picking most top government posts, and open more opportunities for the country’s majority Shiites, who have long complained of being blocked from decision-making roles.

Brief by The Associated Press

Anti-government protests, clashes spread to Libya

Egypt-inspired unrest spread against Libya’s longtime ruler Moammar Gadhafi on Wednesday, with riot police clashing with protesters in the second-largest city of Benghazi and marchers setting fire to security headquarters and a police station in the city of Zentan, witnesses said.

Gadhafi’s government sought to allay further unrest by proposing the doubling of government employees’ salaries and releasing 110 suspected Islamic militants who oppose him – tactics similar to those used by other Arab regimes in the recent wave of protests.

Activists using Facebook and Twitter have called for nationwide demonstrations on Thursday to demand the ouster of Gadhafi, establishment of a constitution and comprehensive political and economic reforms. Gadhafi came to power in 1969 through a military coup and has ruled the country without an elected parliament or constitution.

The Benghazi protest began Tuesday and lasted until around 4 a.m. Wednesday. It was triggered by the arrest of an activist but quickly took on an anti-government tone, according to witnesses and other activists. The protest was relatively small, but it signaled that anti-government activists have been emboldened by uprisings elsewhere.

Brief by The Associated Press

Be the first to comment

Leave a Reply