Political Notebook: Northam unmasked; new VB candidates; Mattis cites wrong Federalist paper; rubricated for emphasis

James Mattis seen in a 2018 photo. He has been seen since then, but Notebook did not have to pay for this picture. [Dominique A. Pineiro/U.S. Defense Department]

VIRGINIA BEACH — So Notebook penned a column a couple weeks ago urging folks to please be cool at the beach and follow the rules, etc., because it would be awfully bad if Gov. Ralph Northam pulled the plug on our reopening.

Utterly needless and foolish worry! 

Between the writing and the publishing of that edition, the guv himself visited Virginia Beach on Saturday, May 23, to mingle on the Boardwalk with the very people he would soon order to wear masks in public.

And, as has been widely reported, Northam plain didn’t wear a mask. Or stay six feet away from folks. Because, at the end of the day, we seem to live in a world without consequence even when you are the governor and a doctor and the novel coronavirus is still a thing.

Later, of course, he apologized after a whole bunch of folks called him out. State Del. Todd Gilbert, the Republican minority leader in the House of Delegates, had the best tweet: “Physician, heal thyself.”

Biblical burn.

“I was outside, saw people who wanted to take pictures and I wasn’t prepared,” Northam said on Monday, May 25, explaining he had left a face covering in a vehicle.

And Northam on Tuesday, May 26, issued an order that says folks have to wear masks in indoor public spots.

Presumably, that goes for Guvs, too, because leadership is walking the walk, setting an example through actions, not just saying stuff.

Let us learn to never leave our credibility behind in the car.

A couple of political newcomers recently joined the list of candidates for local Virginia Beach offices that will be on the November ballot.

Nadine Paniccia, who some readers may know for her work as a board member of Back Bay Restoration Foundation, filed paperwork this past week to run for an at-large seat on the Virginia Beach City Council. 

Incumbent City Councilmember Rosemary Wilson and challengers Brandon Hutchins and Lucia Owen are already in the race.

Paniccia is a vice president of sale marketing and customer service for a resort group at the Oceanfront. The Utica, N.Y., native has lived in the Kings Grant community since she moved to Virginia Beach 35 years ago.

“I’ve been thinking about this for a while, and I feel an at-large seat truly needs to represent the entire city,” she told Notebook.

“The major reason I’m very interested in this is we live in a coastal city,” she said. “I believe we need to recognize that in every single decision we make.”

She said she will support preserving the environment and natural resources, the importance of which has been seen in flooding concerns and in the wake of the novel coronavirus public health emergency.

“I believe developers and the city can win if we start making decisions about where we live, which is a coastal city,” Paniccia said.

Joanna Moran, who lives in the Timberlake area, has filed paperwork to run for the School Board in the Rose Hall District. School Board Member Jessica Owens has not yet filed paperwork to seek reelection but has told Notebook she intends to do so. [Ed. — Owens’ paperwork has been filed since this appeared in the print edition.]

Moran became interested in the School Board when class rankings shifted — the valedictorian-salutatorian flap — and over concerns about minimum grading practices.

“It leads to complacency,” Moran said. “Children are really important. They are the future. If we’re not preparing them for the actual future, we are doing them a disservice.”

Moran also is concerned about classroom discipline to protect students and teachers. “They’re there to teach, not to get punched in the face,” Moran said. “And the students are there to learn, not get punched in the face.”

Moran said another key issue is supporting vocational education opportunities to prepare students for the work force.

James Mattis, the retired Marine general who resigned as defense secretary over a policy disagreement with President Trump, this past week released a statement condemning Trump’s threat to use the U.S. military to crack down on riots and for dividing the nation at a perilous time of unrest. 

The statement followed Trump’s Bible-in-hand photo op, in which the leader of the free world looked as natural as a child holding a live fish for the first time so Mom can snap a quick pic before releasing it back into a municipal pond. Mattis unloads:

“We must not be distracted by a small number of lawbreakers,” Mattis wrote. “The protests are defined by tens of thousands of people of conscience who are insisting that we live up to our values—our values as people and our values as a nation. When I joined the military, some 50 years ago, I swore an oath to support and defend the Constitution. Never did I dream that troops taking that same oath would be ordered under any circumstance to violate the Constitutional rights of their fellow citizens—much less to provide a bizarre photo op for the elected commander-in-chief, with military leadership standing alongside.”


“Donald Trump is the first president in my lifetime who does not try to unite the American people — does not even pretend to try. Instead he tries to divide us. We are witnessing the consequences of three years of this deliberate effort. We are witnessing the consequences of three years without mature leadership.”


“James Madison wrote in Federalist 14 that ‘America united with a handful of troops, or without a single soldier, exhibits a more forbidding posture to foreign ambition than America disunited, with a hundred thousand veterans ready for combat.’ We do not need to militarize our response to protests. We need to unite around a common purpose. And it starts by guaranteeing that all of us are equal before the law.”

A minor matter: The passage Mattis quotes is from Federalist 41 by Madison, not 14.

Just think of the mistake — which has since been quietly changed rather than corrected by The Atlantic — as a slight sequencing difficulty in the national discourse. 

Publius out.

But not before a reading from the Apocryphal Book of Playing to the Base, rubricated for emphasis: 

Lo, on Monday, June 1, in the capital city of these United States of America, a besuited man posed with a Bible he does not own at a church he does not go to after law enforcement used tear gas to clear a presidential path to the holiest of photo ops.

And the people did see it was awkward.

Later, some of his friends who are not the media, though they use media to say things, did useth the media to say it totally was not tear gas, but it was fake news, and that was good enough for those who doth agree.

And those who doth disagree said other things that were not agreeable to those who doth agree with the first bit. 

Mileage varies, it is said.

As the besuited man stood there, people did take photographs and make digital videos, even as the man did hold the Good Book backwards, for surely the Holy Ghost was behind him and could so seeth the cover better.

And the fake news did ask the besuited man, “Is that your Bible?” 

Yet the man answered neither yes nor no.

It’s a Bible,” sayeth the man.

It’ll be greater than ever before,” he addeth, after a moment, about the land.

And later the man did goeth onto the radio and sayeth unto Brian Kilmeade, “I think it was very symbolic. I did hold up a Bible.

Bless his heart. 

And every other heart.


Notebook runs announcements of political endorsements, fundraisers and events as space allows at no cost. Reach jhd@princessanneindy.com with submissions and tips.

© 2020 Pungo Publishing Co., LLC

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One thought on “Political Notebook: Northam unmasked; new VB candidates; Mattis cites wrong Federalist paper; rubricated for emphasis

  1. I would feel sorry for this person except for the fact that I feel there is no hope for this person. If you look through calloused eyes using a closed mind then you have this person. They would see Mother Teresa as poverty stricken female wasting her life on indigent foreigners. We must understand that we live in a world where ALL people have rights and opinions and they must be respected. If you walk though a field looking for manure you will find it. If you walk through the same field looking for flowers you will find them. This person does not even know what a flower looks like. I would not live their life the must be miserable or unable to see the roses.

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