He wore blackface. Him, too. Virginia, explained.

Editors, USA TODAY Published 5:37 p.m. ET Feb. 7, 2019 | Updated 5:52 p.m. ET Feb. 7, 2019Virginia's top three officials entangled in scandals, two for blackfaceFrom left, Virginia leaders Justin Fairfax, Mark Herring and Ralph Northam have had to deal with scandals. (Photo: Bob Brown, AP)Virginia's political turmoil. Seven-hour waits for an emergency room. The death of a baseball legend. It's all in Thursday's Short List.But first, breaking: A judge approved a last-minute deal Thursday to save Sears, giving the American retailer a second chance at life.Virginia is for scandalsTwo blackface scandals and a sexual assault claim could bring down Virginia's top three officials – all Democrats – and hand the governor's office to a Republican. Political experts in Virginia say Dems (one of them, at least) may survive.Here's the laundry list: Gov. Ralph Northam admitted to wearing blackface in the 1980s after a racially offensive yearbook page surfaced Friday.  Lt. Gov. Justin Fairfax, the first in line to succeed Northam, denied claims this week that he sexually assaulted a woman in 2004.  Attorney General Mark Herring admitted Wednesday that, yes, he wore blackface in the 1980s, too.A history lesson: Blackface is tied to America's slavery and Jim Crow oppression. White entertainers mocked blacks in shows dating to the 1830s. Today, white people wear blackface to act out their curiosity – and also their contempt – regarding black people, experts say. Either way, it's racist.Also in the news: This blackface-looking sweater that Gucci apologized for this week and Joy Behar dressing herself as a "beautiful African woman."What's next for Virginia? Think KavanaughVirginia's Larry Sabato, a political analyst so known for predictions that his newsletter is called "Sabato's Crystal Ball," said there's no way all three Democratic leaders – Northam, Fairfax and Herring – go down. "One or more will survive," Sabato said on Twitter. John McGlennon, a government professor in Virginia, said the last Dem standing may be Fairfax. Why? Brett Kavanaugh made it to the Supreme Court amid multiple sexual assault accusations, giving precedent for Fairfax to make it into the governor's office – if no damning evidence or added accusers arise. Fairfax even hired the law firm Kavanaugh used.If Northam, Fairfax and Herring all fall, the governor's office will go to GOP House Speaker Kirk Cox.Real quick:President Donald Trump, in a National Prayer Breakfast gaffe, praised the "abolition of civil rights."Michelle Rodriguez defended Liam Neeson: "You can’t call him a racist, ever."A missing New York woman was found dead in a suitcase. Frank Robinson, baseball's first black manager, died at 83.Beyonce, Taylor and Drake might skip Sunday's Grammys The Grammys will debut new rules this year, expanding its biggest categories from five nominees to eight. The result? Highly diverse races for awards such as album of the year, which has no clear front-runner. The Grammys will air Sunday on CBS, beginning at 8 p.m. EST/5 p.m. PST, offering streaming options online. Don't count on seeing Beyonce, Taylor Swift and Drake in the audience, all artists who got snubbed and may not attend.Taylor Swift accepts the album of the year trophy for "1989" in 2016. (Photo: Matt Sayles, Matt Sayles/Invision/AP)A woman waited 7 hours at a VA hospital's ER, and that's not unusualAt most Department of Veterans Affairs hospitals, the median admission time for the emergency room was longer than at other hospitals, sometimes by hours, according to a new USA TODAY analysis. That included Loma Linda, California, where the median wait is more than 7½ hours. The news isn't all bad for the VA. The border wall fight boils down to 200 milesPresident Trump wants $5.7 billion to add about 100 miles, and upgrade 115 more, of fencing between the USA and Mexico. Let us put that 100 miles in perspective for you, visually:That 100 miles of new wall, in perspective. (Photo: USA TODAY)That's it for The Short List this week. We'll see you Sunday.This is a compilation of stories from across the USA TODAY Network. Want The Short List straight to your inbox? Sign up, and tell your friends.Read or Share this story: https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/2019/02/07/ralph-northam-blackface-virginia-fairfax/2795587002/
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