Briefly Noted


As thefts go, this one is really different. Two Shenandoah Valley men have been charged with breaking into Endless Caverns, just south of New Market, and stealing thousands of dollars’ worth of speleothems–rock formations. The charges include a total of 15 felony and misdemeanor counts, including vandalism to a cave. No motive was listed in charging documents.

How easy is it to fence stolen speleothems these days?

Rimstone - Endless Caverns, VA.jpg

Rimstone at Endless Caverns


Days after the gubernatorial candidate and self-described “Trump in heels” praised rioters who stormed the U.S. Capitol as “patriots” while suggesting that left-wing “antifa or BLM agents of destruction” were really to blame, Facebook has decreed that Chase cannot post or comment for seven days, or post live video for 60 days on her official Senate page. Her response? “Make no mistake, the liberal left who controls social media is systematically targeting vocal supporters of President Trump in an all-out, collaborative effort to silence our voices,” she said in an interview. “Facebook has weaponized its community standards.” Chase had addressed the crowd at its rally before the Capitol attack. Facebook has flagged several of Chase’s recent posts with the tag: “False information. Checked by independent fact-checkers.”

The state Senate’s Democratic Caucus called on Chase to resign, accusing her of “empowering a failed coup d’etat.” Chase brushed off their criticism, saying Virginia Democrats had “committed treason” by loosening restrictions on voting last year by eliminating photo ID requirements, among other things. The Senate Republican Caucus, which Chase quit in November 2019, declined to comment.

Can she stampede the electorate by shouting “fire” in the Commonwealth or will Amanda continue to chase Cox for the nomination? 


A judge has thrown out three misdemeanor charges of improper conduct at a polling place that had been brought against state Sen. Joseph D. Morrissey (D-Richmond) in a case he called “Donutgate.” Morrissey was charged in December for allegedly interfering at a Richmond polling place during the 2019 election in which he won his Senate seat. He had brought donuts for election workers and posed for photos.

Last month, questions had been raised about an appearance of a conflict of interest involving the initial judge who arraigned Morrissey; that judge later recused himself after the story appeared in the press. The case had highlighted the often-cozy relationships between Virginia lawmakers and judges. While the criminal case was pending, Morrissey participated in a General Assembly committee hearing considering judicial appointments, at which he gave a glowing endorsement of the judge under consideration for reappointment–the same judge who was slated to hear his case. [See VoxFairfax, Dec. 28, 2020, Briefly Noted, Here Comes the Judge, the Virginia Way,]

This type of back scratching is unacceptable. Ethics reform is needed in the GA.


Linda Tripp, whose secret conversations with former White House intern Monica Lewinsky led to the impeachment of President Bill Clinton in 1998, died on April 8, 2020, in Middleburg, Virginia, where she and her husband operated a holiday store called Christmas Sleigh. She was 70. She had been called a “whistleblower” for revealing the relationship between Clinton and Lewinsky, but defended herself against the allegations in 2018, saying she regretted “not having the guts to do it sooner.”

“It was always about right and wrong, never left and right,” Tripp told the Washington Post in an interview. “It was about exposing perjury and the obstruction of justice,” she continued. “It was never about politics.” Tripp was a civil servant in the Pentagon when she became close to the then-22-year-old Lewinsky, who worked in the public affairs office.

During their conversations, Lewinsky revealed that she had a physical relationship with Clinton when she was a White House intern, and Tripp began to secretly record their talks. Tripp turned the tapes over to then-independent counsel Kenneth Starr in exchange for immunity from illegal wiretapping charges. Tripp also turned the tapes over to the attorneys in Paula Jones’ sexual harassment case against Clinton.

Lewinsky’s conversations laid the groundwork for the perjury charges against the President, who denied the affair. He was impeached by the House in December 1998 but was acquitted by the Senate in 1999.

Likely Tripp’s passing is the final epitaph on the matter.





Categories: crime and punishment, elections, FREE SPEECH, Issues, Local, politics, RULE OF LAW, State

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