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Pod Virginia

  • AI Voices, Predatory Lenders, and Confederate-Favoring Vetoes

    27 MAG 2024 · SPONSOR: LINKS: IN THE NEWS: In his final round of record-breaking vetoes, Governor Glenn Youngkin is taking action against contraception and in favor of Confederates. He vetoed a bill that would have allowed slot machine style games at convenience stores and truck stops.  He also vetoed two bills that were opposed by Confederate groups: one would have eliminated tax breaks for the United Daughters of the Confederacy, and the other that would have eliminated two state-issued license plates, one celebrating Robert E. Lee and another celebrating the Sons of Confederate Veterans.  Some predatory lenders advance cash to grieving relatives about to gain an inheritence while trying to claim the money isn't a loan--but a new bill signed by the Governor would help fight those practices. Did Sam Altman steal the voice of Scarlett Johansson? That's a question that's troubling for Congressman Don Beyer, who introduced the AI Foundation Model Transparency Act. The idea is that OpenAI should share the identity behind "Sky” – the now-suspended voice of artificial intelligence bot ChatGPT. Beyer is focused on building trust in an era of deep fakes. TRIVIA: What Virginia county claims to be the birthplace of Father's Day? At the Watercooler: - Eileen Filler-Corn's response to progressive attacks in the race for the 10th Congressional district -- and why responding to criticism might increasingly be the right move - Voting has opened for the June primary! An Arlington Democratic candidate forum on Wednesday, June 5 at Innovation Elementary School, and an Alexandria Mayoral forum for on Saturday, June 8th at Taqueria Picoso Learn more at
    37 min. 42 sec.
  • Trevor Baratko: Inside NoVa's 7th Congressional District Race

    23 MAG 2024 · SPONSOR: LINKS: This week, Trevor Baratko, editor of and joins Michael to break down the dozen or so candidates for Virginia's 7th Congressional District and the race to replace Congresswoman Abigail Spanberger. The Democratic primary is being led by Eugene Vindman, but with plenty of other candidates including Margaret Franklin, Andrea Bailey, Elizabeth Guzman, Brianna Sewell, Carl Bedell, and Clifford Heinzer; while the Republican race is led by Derrick Anderson, with Cameron Hamilton, Maria Martin, Jonathon Myers, John Prabhudoss, and Terris Todd. What differentiates the candidates, and what will the truly competitive general election race look like?
    46 min. 37 sec.
  • Remembering Massive Resistance, Budget Compromise, and the Endless Special Session

    20 MAG 2024 · SPONSOR: LINKS: IN THE NEWS: After failing to pass a budget before they left town, the General Assembly returned for a special session last week to strike a deal. No new taxes, skill games remain unresolved, and several Democratic priorities were cut--but both sides call it a win.  On last week's game show, Senator Scott Surovell pointed out that the General Assembly never really adjourned, so we're in a sort of neverending special session--a common practice to prevent the Governor from being able to appoint judges. This month is the 70th anniversary of the landmark 1954 Supreme Court case Brown v Board. And so it’s worth remembering how Virginia responded. TRIVIA: What town was once located where Dulles Airport is now? At the Watercooler: - Senator Lucas' observation that the Washington Post's endorsements in the 7th and 10th district oppose the 13 total women and minority candidates for both races - The controversy over Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito's upside-down American flag stunt--and journalistic confusion when it comes to Fairfax County and Alexandria   Learn more at
    58 min. 55 sec.
  • Buy, Sell, or Hold? Special Session Edition with Sarah Taylor, Delegate Alfonso Lopez, Delegate Marcus Simon, and Senator Scott Surovell

    16 MAG 2024 · SPONSOR: LINKS: On this week's live-to-tape game show, Michael sits down with Senator Scott Surovell, Delegate Alfonso Lopez, Delegate Marcus Simon, and Alexandria Assistant City Manager Sarah Taylor to get their takes on Governor Youngkin's legacy budget, student protests, invasive plants, and Jeff Ryer on Pod Virginia.
    53 min. 59 sec.
  • Budget Compromise, Protest Crackdowns, and Lawmaker Investments

    13 MAG 2024 · SPONSOR: LINKS: IN THE NEWS: Virginia's budget is still a work-in-progress, but a deal was announced late last week--there's likely to be no RGGI, no ERIC, and no tax increases, but pay raises for Virginia teachers and state employees. Police officers in riot gear cracked down on student protestors at the University of Virginia last week, pushing students on the ground and using pepper sprays. More than 2300 have been arrested in protests nationwide so far, and support for Palestinians doesn't seem to be decreasing. What kinds of investments do members of the General Assembly make? The folks at VPAP made a chart--Democrats are likely to invest in Microsoft, Verizon, and Johnson & Johnson, while Republicans tend to be invested in Dominion, Tesla, and Amazon.  TRIVIA: Which two presidential elections did Virginia not participate in? At the Watercooler: - Will Trump actually try to contest Virginia, or is his stated plan a head-fake? - The race in the 5th Congressional District between Bob Good and John McGuire--which type of leader do Virginia Republicans want?   Learn more at
    48 min. 1 sec.
  • Antonio Olivo: The Race for Virginia's 10th Congressional District

    9 MAG 2024 · SPONSOR: LINKS: With the start of early voting, Antonio Olivo of the Washington Post joins Michael to discuss the race to succeed Jennifer Wexton in Virginia's 10th Congressional District--with twelve in the Democratic primary and and four in the Republican primary, what are the dynamics of the race this year?
    28 min. 48 sec.
  • Early Voting, Student Protestors, and Fracking Formalities

    6 MAG 2024 · SPONSOR: LINKS: IN THE NEWS: Republicans opposed the creation of a 45-day window for early voting in Virginia. But then last year, they switched gears After the election was over, several Republican delegates introduced bills to roll back early voting. Now that early voting has started for this cycle, Republicans are trying to embrace early voting...again. Governor Glenn Youngkin says he stands with law enforcement officials who arrested some students at Virginia Tech and Virginia Commonwealth University last week. A group of young Democratic opponents say it's important that students continue to have the right to speak their mind and assemble peacefully. Clean up your act or shut down--that's the message from the Environmental Protection Agency to power plants that use fossil fuels. The new rules issued last week are aimed at reducing greenhouse gas emissions. TRIVIA: When was the state flag of Virginia first adopted? At the Watercooler: - The state police crackdown at UVA's peaceful pro-Palestinian protest  - Michael's upcoming May 9th talk at the Arlington Historical Society about "Shotgun Justice," plus the May 18th Alexandria City Council Candidates Forum   Learn more at
    39 min. 23 sec.
  • Markus Schmidt: The Bob Good/John McGuire Republican Primary

    2 MAG 2024 · SPONSOR: LINKS: Markus Schmidt of the show to break down the interesting Republican Primary in Virginia's 5th Congressional District, as Freedom Caucus Chair Bob Good is facing a challenge from John McGuire. Good might be vulnerable after initially endorsing Ron DeSantis for president last year, and now faces accusations of being insufficiently loyal to Trump. What's likely to come from this race, and do Democrats have a chance at taking the seat?
    32 min. 56 sec.
  • Closed-Door Budgets, Campaign Finance Disclosures, and the LG Shuffle

    29 APR 2024 · SPONSOR: LINKS: IN THE NEWS: Forget public hearings and committee meetings--Virginia’s next budget will be crafted in secret behind closed doors with no input from the public and no transparency after lawmakers couldn't come to an agreement this week. One of the most contentious debates in the General Assembly this year was the debate over what happens with slot-machine-style gaming machines in convenience stores and truck stops. The governor's amendment limiting where the machines can be located was overwhelmingly rejected by the Senate. Schools across Virginia are crumbling, which is why Senator Jeremy McPike of Prince William County introduced a bill to allow local governments to impose a sales tax to finance school construction.  Some Republicans supported the original bill. But McPike was unable to persuade enough of them to get a supermajority vote to override the governor's veto. TRIVIA: How many budget amendments were lawmakers considering last week? At the Watercooler: - Congresswoman Spanberger has made her first endorsement--Leslie Mehta, an ACLU lawyer who represented Unite the Right organizer Jason Kessler  - Even Tennessee's legislature has open conference committees! Why can't Virginia?   Learn more at
    51 min. 57 sec.
  • Kelly McBride: What Crime Reporting Gets Wrong

    25 APR 2024 · SPONSOR: LINKS: Kelly McBride, a journalist and Senior VP at the Poynter Institute for Media Studies, joins Michael to talk about her long experience on the crime beat and the problems with crime reporting -- how framing sets the narrative and misses the big picture, the peer pressure and race-to-the-bottom nature in some newsrooms, and the long fight for journalistic ethics in the modern world.
    34 min. 46 sec.
Get smarter about Virginia politics every week with Journalist Michael Lee Pope and Strategic Consultant Thomas Bowman so you can engage like a political insider.

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