Wednesday, July 27, 2016

From the Archives: Top 10 most-read Charlottesville Libertarian Examiner stories of 2014

Publisher's note: This article was originally published on on December 31, 2014. The publishing platform was discontinued July 1, 2016, and its web site was scheduled to go dark on or about July 10, 2016.  I am republishing this piece in an effort to preserve it and all my other contributions to since April 6, 2010. It is reposted here without most of the internal links that were in the original.

Top 10 most-read Charlottesville Libertarian Examiner stories of 2014

Virginia's Senate and congressional races dominated the attention paid by readers to the Charlottesville Libertarian Examiner's coverage of politics in 2014. In fact, only one story in the top ten was not about current politics – a retrospective look at the impact of the Beatles on American culture.

Interviews with the three U.S. Senate candidates – Republican Ed Gillespie, Libertarian Robert Sarvis, and Democrat Mark Warner, who narrowly won re-election in November – were among the top ten, as well as an assessment of David Brat's surprise victory over House Majority Leader Eric Cantor in the Republican primary. Early in the year, conservative activist Grover Norquist correctly predicted that the GOP would gain control of the Senate.

Gay marriage, Governor Bob McDonnell's indictment on federal corruption charges, podcaster Adam Koresh's views on NSA spying, and the self-defense products sold by entrepreneur Paul Jones rounded out the top ten most-read stories by the Charlottesville Libertarian Examiner.

Rankings are based on reported traffic statistics from Google Analytics.

Number 10: “Civil liberties lawyer John Whitehead recalls Beatles' social, political impact,” published February 8, 2014.

Reflecting on the Beatles' later impact on politics and society, he suggested that “the Sixties, in my opinion, started that night on The Ed Sullivan Show.”

That performance began “all that upheaval” that continued with the worldwide broadcast over the BBC of “All You Need Is Love” (with 400 million viewers) and culminated with “the summer of love” and Sgt. Peppers Lonely Hearts Club Band in 1967.

The Beatles, he said, “captivated the world with peace, harmony, and love, which was their great message.”

Number 9: “Virginia political leaders react to Governor Bob McDonnell's federal indictment ,” published January 21, 2014

Former Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell and his wife, Maureen, were indicted January 21 on federal corruption charges. McDonnell, a Republican, left office earlier this month when he was succeeded by Democrat Terry McAuliffe.

A grand jury for the Eastern District of Virginia handed up a 14-count, 43-page indictment alleging honest-services wire fraud, conspiracy to obtain property under color of official right, false statements, and obstruction of official proceeding.

The indictment includes a colorfully descriptive list of items subject to forfeiture, including a Silver Rolex Watch engraved with "71st Governor of Virginia"; one baby blue striped Peter Millar golf shirt; one Heather Mackenzie water color and frame; two pairs of Foot Joy golf shoes; black Rebecca Minkoff shoes; and 30 boxes of Anatabloc®, the dietary supplement at the center of the scandal that has come to be known as “Giftgate.”

Number 8: “Senator Mark Warner defends his record against GOP challenger Ed Gillespie,” published June 21, 2014

His challenger, Ed Gillespie, disagrees that Warner has a record of bipartisanship.

Instead, Gillespie has emphasized a claim that Warner has voted with President Obama and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid "97 percent of the time."

Warner denied this.

“If I had that kind of record,” he said, “John Warner wouldn't be endorsing me for the United States Senate. I've got a record that shows [that for] every major piece of legislation I work on, I have a Republican partner.”

Warner said that he differs with the President on issues like the Keystone pipeline, export of natural gas, and the U.S. government's reaction to Syria.

Number 7: “James Carr assesses David Brat's defeat of Eric Cantor, plus Jack Trammell,” published June 16, 2014

Brat's unexpected victory was due to “a lot of factors,” [Carr] explained, and the story is one that “most of the media is getting incorrect.” The media have been “focusing on one issue and saying that that was the reason for the win. It really wasn't. It is the voters' dissatisfaction and the complete ineptitude in Washington right now.”

For voters in Virginia's seventh district, he said, “the idea of the permanent professional politician, living in Washington, being disconnected from those whom they're supposed to represent, no longer listening to those that they represent, no longer holding town hall meetings” is unpalatable.

Instead, they want someone who connects with voters. “They clearly didn't have that with Mr. Cantor,” Carr asserted, and they wanted “to get rid of him.”

Number 6: “GOP can regain control of Senate in 2014, says strategist Grover Norquist ,” published March 9, 2014

Even in Virginia, where popular former Governor Mark Warner is seeking re-election to the U.S. Senate this year, Norquist sees reason for Republicans to be hopeful.

Warner is vulnerable, he said, basing his assessment on having spoken with the incumbent Senator at a recent event in Washington.

“I ran into Mark Warner at a party the other day and, he said, [he] wasn't in Davos” for the annual global economics conference because Republican challenger Ed Gillespie is running for office.

“'So I'm here,'” Norquist quoted Senator Warner.

Number 5: “Senate candidate Robert Sarvis reacts to Ferguson events in radio interview,” published August 15, 2014

Sarvis identified “the heart of the matter” as “the militarization of the police, the loss of civil liberties, and the changing relationship between police and citizens.”

The real issue, he continued, “is the drug war,” which has led to the militarization of local police forces. He noted, however, that with legalization of marijuana in Colorado and Washington state, and polls showing support for more widespread legalization, “we're moving forward on it as a country.”

[Radio host Coy] Barefoot asked whether there is a contradiction when conservatives argue that government is too big but then support laws that limit individual freedoms.

“When people ask the difference between a libertarian and a conservative,” Sarvis replied, “I jump at the chance to point out that I'm consistent on individual freedom. Republicans care a lot about law and order; I do too. Being a policeman is a hard job but that doesn't mean we should give up our civil liberties.”

Number 4: “Charlottesville entrepreneur Paul Jones sells non-lethal self-defense products,” published February 18, 2014

“I like everybody to be safe,” [Jones] explained. “I can make money helping people to be safe. To me, it was a no-brainer.”

The non-lethal self-protection products The Belvedere Company sells are easy to use, Jones noted. “You don't have to be physically strong or fast or nimble, but you have to be willing to use it and you have to be alert and aware of your surroundings all the time.”

Even though he hopes to make a profit selling self-defense products, Jones cautions that “the number one way to defend yourself is to avoid problems. Don't go into a dangerous situation.”

The best way to stay safe, he says, is not “to put yourself into a position that's like walking down a dark alley at night in a strange city. There's no sense doing it if you can avoid it.”

Number 3: “Podcaster Adam Kokesh talks about NSA spying, gay marriage, and Justin Bieber,” published January 28, 2014

Asked about the recent arrest in Florida of pop star Justin Bieber, who was charged with drunk driving, drag racing, and resisting arrest – although some of the charges were later dropped – Kokesh expressed admiration for the Canadian heartthrob's apparent aplomb.

“Seeing Justin Bieber's mugshot and people comparing it to mine, where I was smiling every time they pointed a camera at me, I just want to say, 'Good for him,'” he said.

“I'm sure he's enjoying the attention” in the wake of his arrest, Kokesh suggested, especially because Bieber seems to have “become a pawn of the big music industry and the major studios” – a situation that recently led to an announcement “that he was going to retire.”

Number 2: “Virginia U.S. Senate candidates react to Fourth Circuit gay marriage ruling,” published July 29, 2014

“Marriage freedom is a deeply important issue to me,” said Sarvis, “which is why I made it a centerpiece of my campaign for governor last year.” He noted that it was a Virginia case, Loving v. Virginia, that led to the U.S. Supreme Court's ruling that prohibitions on mixed-race marriages are unconstitutional -- a ruling that made Sarvis' own marriage legal in Virginia.

“Public opinion in Virginia has shifted dramatically since the Marshall-Newman Amendment was enacted in 2006. In fact,” Sarvis pointed out, “polls now show that a majority of Virginians support marriage equality.”

Sarvis explained that while he preferred that Virginia change its marriage laws “through the democratic process,” it was judicial action that made it possible to see “same-sex couples in Virginia celebrating their marriages and enjoying equal treatment under the law.”

Number 1: “'Republicans have learned a lesson' says GOP Senate candidate Ed Gillespie,” published July 6, 2014

Boosted by mentions in a Mark Warner campaign email to supporters and in several mainstream publications, this article went viral and was seen by more readers than any other piece this year by the Charlottesville Libertarian Examiner.


In an interview following the annual Independence Day parade in Crozet in western Albemarle County on July 5, U.S. Senate candidate Ed Gillespie said that “Republicans have learned a lesson” after presiding over unprecedented growth in the size and scope of government from 2001 to 2007, when the party controlled the White House and both chambers of Congress.

“The difference between Republicans and Democrats,” he told the Charlottesville Libertarian Examiner at Claudius Crozet Park, “is, I think, Republicans have learned a lesson.”

Continuing, he noted that “the fact is, I agree that when Republicans had the House, the Senate, and the White House that we spent too much money.”


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Cato Institute panel discusses obscure but pivotal gay civil rights case
Gov. Terry McAuliffe touts Virginia film industry at Charlottesville movie fest
Virginia Senate hopeful Robert Sarvis talks about U.S. policy toward Africa
Monique Luiz, 'Daisy Girl' from controversial 1964 campaign ad, speaks at UVA

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