The week in review

Best resurrection: Kay Slaughter's seemingly doomed nomination to the State Water Control Board is saved by the House of Delegates in an 86-1 vote in her favor February 6, prompting the Senate to reverse its earlier rejections in committee and on the floor and to finally confirm Slaughter's appointment 23-13.

Best description of Virginia's legislative branch by the Washington Post : "The alternative universe that is the 2003 Virginia General Assembly."

Best irony about pro-family Republicans: While claiming that restricting the privacy of teenagers seeking contraceptives or treatment for sexually transmitted disease through parental notification legislation strengthens family communications, the same pro-family Republicans refuse to pass a mandatory seatbelt law that would also protect families, the Post points out.

Best legislative session for anti-abortionists: While most Virginians are concerned about the state's gaping deficit, the General Assembly focuses on further restricting reproductive rights.

Worst visual aid: Delegate Richard H. Black grosses out state senators by sending them each a pink plastic replica of an 11-week-old fetus.

Worst week for the Governor: Mark Warner's initiatives– allowing governors to serve two terms, opposing repeal of the estate tax, and tightening seatbelt laws– are all defeated by the General Assembly.

Worst legislation for a cash-strapped state: Both the Senate and the House repeal the estate tax, which brings in revenues of $130 million a year. [See Essay, page 55.]

Best name for the estate tax: "Dead Millionaires' Protection Act"– credited to Fairfax Delegate Chap Petersen by Delegate Mitch Van Yahres.

Worst lost tax break: Retailers such as Toys R Us and Target have agreed to start collecting state sales tax on online purchases.

Best break for winos: Both the House and Senate pass bills allowing direct shipment of wine into and out of the state.

Worst break out: Five teens escape from the beleaguered Brown Schools of Virginia, which has racked up over 100 state licensing and human rights violations, Claudia Pinto reports in the Daily Progress. Two get as far as Staunton, but another one barely makes it out the front door.

Best break for Commonwealth's Attorney Jim Camblos: Opponent and fellow Republican Ron Huber withdraws from the race two weeks after declaring his candidacy for Albemarle County prosecutor.

Best thaw: UVA lifts the hiring freeze it imposed in July 2002.

Worst sentence for supplying booze to teens: An Earlysville couple is sentenced to eight years in jail. Prosecutors were looking for a 90-day sentence, according to Liesel Nowak in the Progress.

Worst misinformation in an editorial in the Cavalier Daily : A February 7 column states that Foxfield's liquor license is revoked by the ABC when in fact, Foxfield is on probation– and still has its license.

Best evidence that crime using fruit doesn't pay: A Lynchburg man robs a 7-Eleven brandishing a banana as a gun and is sentenced to 18 months in prison, the AP reports.

Worst omission from last week's worst: Worst loss ever– AOL Time Warner loses $98 billion in 2002.

Worst train wreck: The documentary "Living with Michael Jackson" airs February 6 on ABC's 20/20, and America is unable to look away.