Kazoo-ing metalheads vs Westboro Baptist Church

A group of metalheads playing kazoos drowned out the hate-spreading 'Westboro Baptist Church' cult at the Virginia state capitol. I am proud of my home town. Read the rest

Concealed Carry scammers spent $2m on gunhumper scare-ads on Facebook during the 2018 midterms

Concealed Online is an anonymously owned (the owner won't divulge his identity due to fear of reprisals) company whose customers complain scammed them by tricking them into taking its online curriculum for Virginia's farcical easy concealed carry permits, without divulging that these permits are useless in the rest of America. Read the rest

Virginia towns' trick-or-treat laws threaten over-12s with jail-time

In Chesapeake, VA, trick-or-treaters over 12 face fines of $25-100 and up to six months in jail (under-12s who trick-or-treat after 8PM face fines of $10-100 and up to 30 days in jail). Read the rest

KKK nut who shot at black man protesting racist Charlottesville rally gets 4 years in prison (yay)

“We went there to protect a monument,” he said. Read the rest

Congressional staffers for Rep. Tom Garrett [R-VA] say they were used as "personal servants"

Politico spoke to four former congressional staffers who'd been assigned to Rep. Tom Garrett [R-VA] who say that the Congressman and his wife treated the staff as "personal servants," demanding that they run personal errands for the Congressman and his family (including handling his dog's feces), and that they were expected to do these things at all hours. Read the rest

Virginia is the most unequal state in the union, and is more unequal than at any time in (post-Reconstruction) history

20% of the Virginia workforce is earning $10.33/hour or less, while wages for the top 20% of earners have soared to $50/hour or more -- the top two deciles are earning, on average, 280% more than the bottom two deciles. Read the rest

The Tombstone House was built with 2200 discarded gravestones

I bet this Petersburg, Virginia home is the last place local trick-or-treating children want to hit up for candy on Halloween.

The Tombstone House" was built in 1934 using the lower half of marble tombstones procured from Poplar Grove, the nearby Civil War cemetery. There are 2,200 discarded headstones in total, all from Union soldiers.

Atlas Obscura shares the house's story:

The soldiers all died in the siege of Petersburg, which lasted for nine months at the end of the Civil War... After their original wooden grave markers rotted away, the government installed upright marble headstones to take their place.

However, during the Great Depression, maintaining the cemetery and the headstones suffered because of scant funding. The city decided to cut the tombstones in half and lay the top halves, which were engraved with the soldiers’ details, on the ground so they no longer stood erect. These makeshift flat graves saved money on mowing and maintenance costs.

The bottom halves of 2,200 slain tombstones were then sold for the princely sum of $45. Their new owner, Oswald Young, used them to build his house, chimney, and walkway...

The house is located at 1736 Youngs Road in Petersburg, Virginia.

Thanks, Greg Wright! Read the rest

Virginia State cops have blown a fortune on useless cellphone spying gear

Muckrock has been sending Freedom of Information requests to state police forces to find out how they're using "cell-site simulators" (AKA IMSI catchers/Stingrays), and they hit the motherlode with the Virginia State Police. Read the rest

What it's like to register to vote in states with voter suppression law

Leroy Switlick, a 67-year-old visually impaired man who has voted in every election for the last 40 years may not get to vote this year, because he lives in Wisconsin, where Republican governor Scott Walker passed a voter-suppression law that requires people like Switkick, who've never traveled and never held a driver's license, to show photo ID (like a passport or driver's license) to vote, and the DMV has failed in its duty to issue him a non-driver ID. Read the rest

Triple shooting streamed on Facebook Live, just days after Philando Castile gun death

It's been less than a week since the deadly shooting of Philando Castile by police was broadcast on Facebook Live. Already, another U.S. shooting has been live-streamed with Facebook's popular tool. A triple shooting in Norfolk, Virginia, last night injured three men, one of whom Facebook Live-streamed the entire incident. According to reports, T.J. Williams (above) was one of the three victims, and is the person from whose phone the Facebook Live broadcast originated. Read the rest

UPDATED Race, income and outcomes: how rich does a black criminal have to be to get treated like a white one?

Lawyer-turned-data-scientist David Colarusso analyzed 2.2 million sentencing records from Virginia to determine the relationship between race, income and treatment in the criminal justice system. Read the rest

Anti-censorship coalition urges Virginia governor to veto "Beloved" bill

Peter from the National Coalition Against Cenorship sez, "A bill requiring schools to notify parents if any 'sexually explicit content' is being taught would undermine First Amendment principles and the freedom to read." Read the rest

America's "worst voting machines" dropped in Virgina (at last)

AVS Winvote machines are so insecure that if they weren't hacked in the last election, "it was only because no one tried." Read the rest

Tucows launching "mini-Google-fiber" to compete with Comcast

Tucows, who own two of the best Internet-infrastructure companies I know of (Hover, a domain registrar; and Ting, a mobile phone provider) have announced their own super-high-speed fiber-optic ISP in Charlottesville, Virginia, where it will compete with one of the worst infrastructure companies in the world: Comcast. Read the rest

Daily Show's Kristen Schaal on GOP attack on women's reproductive rights

Here's a transcript of some of Kristen Schaal's Daily Show routine on the current mandatory transvaginal ultrasound disgrace and the national attack on women's reproductive rights:

I just flew in from Virginia, and boy is my vagina tired! From the involuntary ultrasound wanding — AM I RIGHT, LADIES? (Beat.) And by the way, why do they call it a ‘wand’? Where are we — Hogwarts? The only thing magically disappearing was my dignity and privacy, BOOM!!!

…What’s the difference between a fertilized egg; a corporation; and a woman? (Beat.) One of them isn’t considered a person in Oklahoma! BOOM!!!

— KRISTEN SCHAAL, on The Daily Show

(via Beth Pratt) Read the rest

Ballad of the Virginia mandatory transvaginal ultrasound

Jonathan Mann has devoted today's song-a-day entry to the notorious Virginia transvaginal ultrasound. He notes, "As I was writing this song, the Virginia house passed a bill which still mandates ultrasounds within 24 hours of an abortion, but thankfully, they left out the transvaginal part.

I still think the songs stands, though."

More Jonathan Mann songs on Boing Boing.

Mandatory Transvaginal Ultrasounds (Song A Day #1148) Read the rest