Debra Saunders

Virginia News Stand: May 10, 2010

Annotations & Elucidations And They Say Nothing Happens On Monday

Virginia news is pretty slack today, but we are mentioned yet again in the media, this time by Washington Jewish Week, about the state police chaplain prayer policy. People can't seem to stop writing about us. It's because we are making an impact and — to the shock of a startled elite — social conservatism is not out of favor with Americans.

Except for those here watching over the impending European implosion, the major news nationally deals with a Supreme Court nominee and one who will vote to confirm her. President Barack Obama selected Solicitor General Elena Kagan to fill the spot of retiring Justice John Paul Stevens. Meanwhile, one who will vote to confirm her, U.S. Senator Bob Bennett (R-Utah), didn't even qualify for his party's primary ballot, the first Tea Party scalp this year. Infiltrating a Republican nomination process may sound predictable, and cheered by liberals who think GOP divisions may stave their pending November doom, but you may be surprised at the next incumbent Tea Party scalp in the queue: Democrat Representative Allan Mollohan (D-W.Va.), a senior appropriator, who has a primary challenge from a state senator gaining traction because of Rep. Mollohan's pork barrelling ear marks and questionable ethics. 

Finally, the health care law has come up short. Already. Again! According to the AP, that guaranteed "kid" coverage (up to age 26!) has run into a snag. Government efficiency and liberal utopia at its best.

News

*Virginia prayer reversal blasted (Washington Jewish Week)

Police chaplains wary of Va. program (Washington Post)

Effort to shrink Virginia government isn't new (Richmond Times-Dispatch)

McDonnell reform commission chairman pick sparks protest (Norfolk Virginian-Pilot)

1st District GOP candidate: Lawmakers guilty of treason (Woodbridge/Manassas News & Messenger)

McDonnell backs O'Brien in Northern Virginia Senate primary (Washington Post Virginia Politics Blog)

Saxman now a lobbyist (Staunton News Leader)

National News

Obama Nominates Kagan to Seat on Supreme Court (Wall Street Journal)

Conservatives Note Kagan’s Anti-Military Views, Lack of Judicial Experience (CNSNews.com)

Federal Reserve opens credit line to Europe (AP/GOPUSA.com)

Premiums may undermine coverage guarantee for kids (AP/GOPUSA.com)

Anti-incumbent mood challenge to veteran Democrat (AP/GOPUSA.com)

Conservatives focus on KY following Bennett defeat in Utah (AP/GOPUSA.com)

Analysis

Supreme Court Nominee Elena Kagan (Ed Whelan/National Review's The Corner Blog)

The Great Disentangling Has Begun: What Bob Bennett’s Defeat Means and Does Not (Erick Erickson/RedState.com)

Commentary

Will America Follow Greece? (Star Parker/GOPUSA.com)

Arizona Law Also Happens To Be Good Politics (Debra Saunders/GOPUSA.com)

Virginia News Stand: April 29, 2010

Annotations & Elucidations The Comeback Continues

The last 48 hours have been good ones for the culture and religious freedom in America and Virginia. Pro-life laws in Oklahoma, a Cross allowed to stay at a memorial and, now, the reversal of a horrible and discriminatory policy in Virginia: the gag on State Police chaplains to pray in Jesus' name. Add that to the elimination of taxpayer funding of abortions in the commonwealth and tighter abortion restrictions in Nebraska, and it's been a reassuring spring in America at the state level, proving there is a movement (that gets results) looking to make its first strike back at a national government governing opposite the will of the people.

We are featured prominently in the lead, as one might expect, with four articles seeking Family Foundation response on Governor Bob McDonnell's reinstatement of the policy allowing state police chaplains to pray in public as they deem. That executive order dominates the news, but there is a curious item that slipped in the news cycle amidst all the chaplain coverage: The governor's reappointment of several Kaine administration officials, including State Police Superintendent Steven Flaherty (who needlessly started the chaplain mess, and boy musn't that been a fun conversation: Colonel Flaherty, if you want to stay, you will let them pray); Daniel Timberlake as director-Department of Planning and Budget; Richard Sliwoski as director-Department of General Services; and Patricia Wright as state superintendent of public instruction. He previously kept Secretary of Finance Ric Brown.

While they may be good folks, at first glance it seems odd to holdover people after getting elected with such a large mandate to make change in economic and education policy. One appointment we do like for certain is that of former colleague Mark Early, Jr. — his Family Foundation connection omitted from the Richmond Times-Dispatch article notwithstanding.

Among the other features in today's News Stand: Governor McDonnell's Rest of Virginia Ask The Governor from earlier today on WRVA-AM in Richmond (yesterday we had the N.Va. version), more reports on the Mojave Desert Cross decision by the U.S. Supreme Court and, speaking of the court, another case it heard regarding the privacy rights of those who signed a petition to initiate the repeal of Washington State's homosexual unions law. 

News

*Governor Lets Va. Troopers Refer to Jesus (Washington Times)

*McDonnell Rescinds State Police Prayer Policy (Norfolk Virginian-Pilot)

*Va. reinstates prayer policy for state police chaplains (Richmond Times-Dispatch)

*Va. Reinstates Prayer Policy for Police Chaplains (AP/WJZ.com)

McDonnell Reverses State Police Prayer Policy (Roanoke Times)

McDonnell reappoints several Kaine administration officials (Richmond Times-Dispatch)

McDonnell promises a statewide housing policy (Richmond Times-Dispatch)

Audio

Ask The Governor (38:59) (WRVA/WRVA.com)

National News

Court skeptical on keeping petitioner IDs private (AP/GOPUSA.com)

Mojave Cross Case: A Signal on Religious Symbols (AP/FoxNews.com)

Supreme Court Allows Mojave War Memorial Cross (Los Angeles Times)

Illegal immigrants plan to leave over Ariz. law (AP/GOPUSA.com)

Democrat senators developing immigration bill (AP/GOPUSA.com)

Fla. gov. on cusp of independent bid for US Senate (AP/GOPUSA.com)

Obama warns of a 'conservative' judicial activism (AP/GOPUSA.com)

Census mail results could be trouble for 5 states (AP/GOPUSA.com)

In financial regs debate, senators look to details (AP/GOPUSA.com)

Commentary

After Policy Stumbles, Obama Turns to Politics (Michael Barone/GOPUSA.com)

Democrat Cabal Dangles Bait For Unwitting Republicans (Christopher G. Adamo/GOPUSA.com)

The National Day of Prayer: The Value of Offending (Paul A. Ibbetson/GOPUSA.com)

America's Political Grand Canyon (Debra Saunders/GOPUSA.com)

Another RINO Punch to the Conservative Gut (Bobby Eberle/GOPUSA.com)

Virginia News Stand: April 26, 2010

Annotations & Elucidations 100 Day Review

Much of the state news today is about the "first 100 days" and how the new Gov did during them. He even grades himself in a Richmond Times-Dispatch op-ed yesterday. Also in News, if you didn't see it in a previous post, is an interview with Family Foundation President Victoria Cobb on Richmond's WTVR-TV/CBS6 about the General Assembly's approval of the landmark budget amendment restricting taxpayer funded elective abortions.

In National News, President Obama pays a visit to Pastor Billy Graham even as his Pentagon revokes an invitation to his son Franklin Graham to speak at a National Day of Prayer event there. Meanwhile, Sarah Palin raises money behind enemy lines, but the wind may have already dissipated from the GOP's sails in Massachusetts. In Analysis and Commentary, Michael Barone examines the VAT, Paul A. Ibbetson looks at Barack Obama as King George III, and Debra Saunders details the extreme left-wing views of judicial nominee Goodwin Liu who, during his confirmation hearing, attempted to pull an Obama — What me? An extremist? Oh, my past, that little thing. He's young and a minority and the parallels are remarkable.

News

*Abortion amendment passes (Video 2:36) (CBS6/WTVR.com)

Mixed reviews for McDonnell’s first 100 days (Richmond Times-Dispatch)

McDonnell's first 100 days: Trip-ups, but more triumphs (Norfolk Virginian-Pilot)

McDonnell reflects on early days in office (Roanoke Times)

Secretary chases goals of governor (Roanoke Times)

Summing up the state budget: what amendments mean (Richmond Times-Dispatch)

McDonnell urges respect for civil liberties in enforcement of immigration laws (Richmond Times-Dispatch)

Family Research Council and Republican Liberty Caucus endorse in the 5th (BearingDrift.com)

National News

Climate bill placed on hold over Senate dispute (AP/GOPUSA.com)

Shelby: No deal on financial overhaul before vote (AP/GOPUSA.com)

Health care law's unfinished business: cost curbs (AP/GOPUSA.com)

Obama visits Pastor Billy Graham (AP/GOPUSA.com

Palin raises money for GOP in liberal Oregon town (AP/GOPUSA.com

Despite Kennedy loss, Coakley has no GOP opponent (AP/GOPUSA.com)

Analysis

Hold the VAT (Michael Barone/GOPUSA.com)

Commentary

Significant Accomplishments in 100 Days (Bob McDonnell/Richmond Times-Dispatch)

Defining the Political Divide (Star Parker/GOPUSA.com)

Barack Obama: Another Grasp at the Crown? (Paul A. Ibbetson/GOPUSA.com)

My Last Goodwin Liu Column — I Really Hope (Debra Saunders/GOPUSA.com)

Philip Dru Obama (Henry Lamb/GOPUSA.com)

Virginia News Stand: April 20, 2010

Annotations & Elucidations Travel Plans, Conservative Media And Scary Sonia

The buzz around Capitol Square today is all about Europe — as in stranded travellers there trying to get back here. Among them, one Lt. Governor Bill Bolling, who is to preside over the Virginia Senate in tomorrow's reconvened General Assembly session (aka, "Veto Session"). There may very well be several tie votes and, at this point, it looks like he won't be there to break them. Ties kill bills or amendments. It's always something when it comes to the General Assembly, although no one seems to remember anything like this.

Nationally, a new conservative television network is about to launch and there are implications for NBC and its propaganda News Division and its whining, scratching ugly step child MSNBC. See Carl Franzen of AOLNews in Analysis. However, the big news was yesterday's hearing at the Supreme Court in the Christian Legal Society case. I especially point that out to you because, if reading is believing, maybe you can see why Justice Sonia Sotomayor is every bit the unqualified jurist her critics portrayed her. It's more than just a little bit scary. Of course, never miss our all-stars: Among them today, Thomas Sowell, Michael Barone and Debra Saunders.

News

Fight brewing over McDonnell health care cuts (Washington Post)

Bolling grounded in Italy by volcano ash (Richmond Times-Dispatch)

Bolling stranded in Italy, likely to miss Wednesday's reconvene legislative session (Washington Post Virginia Politics Blog)

Virginia State Police told to back governor's plans (Norfolk Virginian-Pilot)

Chesterfield optometrist to run for Nixon’s seat in House of Delegates (Richmond Times-Dispatch)

Analysis

Right-Wing RightNetwork Already Causing a Stir (Carl Franzen/AOLNews.com)

National

Court splits sharply on campus Christian argument (AP/GOPUSA.com)

Divorce dilemma: Texas says gays can’t get divorce (AP/Richmond Times-Dispatch)

Obama says Boxer could lose if Dems don't work (AP/GOPUSA.com)

Palin set to take stand in Tenn. hacking trial (AP/GOPUSA.com)

Ignoring DC pressure, Crist mulls independent run (AP/GOPUSA.com)

Commentary

Using the Oklahoma City Bombing (Debra Saunders/GOPUSA.com)

The Limits of Power (Thomas Sowell/GOPUSA.com)

Tea Partiers Fight Obama's Culture of Dependence (Michael Barone/GOPUSA.com)

Two Views in Conflict (Star Parker/GOPUSA.com)

Virginia News Stand: April 6, 2010

Annotations & Elucidations Obama's 17-Minute Non-Answer; George Orwell Proven Right?

We lead off the News today with our own Victoria Cobb interviewed about the McDonnell administration's prices of filling 900-plus positions on state boards and commissions. The Richmond Times-Dispatch was intrigued by conservative activists (namely us, see here) urging conservatives to get involved and apply. Otherwise, the state's political media remains obsessed with the attorney general.

Nationally, there is intrigue of another sort: Republican U.S. Senate primaries. Former U.S. Representative J.D. Hayworth (R-Ariz.) is putting up a serious challenge to incumbent John McCain while former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani endorsed former Florida House Speaker Marco Rubio in the hotly contested GOP nomination fight which also includes current Governor Charlie Crist. Speaking of the GOP, the fallout from the wacky fundraiser has one resigning and Chairman Michael Steele under fire.

Commentary is abuzz with The Answer — President Obama's 17 minute ramble to a simple question from a woman about taxes! Bobby Eberle, David Limbaugh and Debra Saunders share their thoughts. We gladly feature the great Thomas Sowell, again, and Harris Sherline expounds on something mentioned here from time to time: George Orwell is more right than even he had a right to expect.

News

*McDonnell urges online applications for boards, panels (Richmond Times-Dispatch)

GOP has dream activist in Cuccinelli (AP/Danville Register & Bee)

Cuccinelli casts a shadow (Norfolk Virginian-Pilot)

State employee argues to Va. Supreme Court that he was fired for being gay (Washington Post Virginia Politics Blog)

Analysis

Supreme Court prospects are Kagan, Wood Garland (AP/GOPUSA.com)

National News

Hayworth defines Ariz. race as tea party vs. DC (AP/GOPUSA.com)

RNC official steps down, but Steele stands firm (AP/GOPUSA.com)

Gingrich tells GOP: Back off RNC's Michael Steele (AP/GOPUSA.com)

Giuliani endorses Rubio for Senate seat in Fla. (AP/GOPUSA.com)

Whitman chips in $20M more in Calif. gov. race (AP/GOPUSA.com)

Karl Rove ad urges residents to fill out census (AP/GOPUSA.com)

Commentary

Race and Politics (Thomas Sowell/GOPUSA.com)

Just think if Obama had to answer a hard question (BobbyEberle/GOPUSA.com)

Didn't Obama Get the Memo that His Bill Passed? (BobbyEberle/GOPUSA.com)

Read the Transcript and Freak (David Limbaugh/GOPUSA.com)

Obama's 17-Minute Non-Answer Answer (Debra Saunders/GOPUSA.com)

Congress Has Become an Institution of the Useless (Doug Patton/GOPUSA.com)

George Orwell's Predictions Come True (Harris R. Sherline/GOPUSA.com)

Virginia News Stand: March 31, 2010

Annotations & Elucidations Obama Says Drill, Baby, Drill

Wow, the Obama administration is doing something that makes sense? Allowing drilling off the coast of Virginia? There must be some catch. But, at least in its preliminary stage, Governor Bob McDonnell and the vast majority of Virginians are getting their wish. Of course, he's slamming the door on production in Alaska, California, Florida and elsewhere. No doubt, he's aiming for some political cover, especially as he now pushes for extreme regulatory restrictions on U.S. energy consumption. (See? I'm for all types of energy, I support drilling.)

Elsewhere, does the governor's "no major budget changes" include the status quo on Planned Parenthood, elective abortion and embryonic stem cell research? He also looks to make some permanent restructuring (smaller) state government. So have others. We'll see.

Meanwhile, offering reason to the disingenuousness of the left, who claim Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli's court challenge to the federal government's health care takeover is a waste of taxpayer money, are editorials, commentaries and news coverage from all over the commonwealth. I commend them to you all. Speaking of the power grab, it's not all as great as the libs projected as they find out not more than a week after it passed. So much for that child coverage being cheaper — or even existent; and Henry Waxman is showing his tolerance for speech and financial freedom by a witch trial for companies that dare say they will lose money because of the health care takeover. The AP has the details. 

News

Va. governor to name team to reshape, shrink operations (Washington Post)

McDonnell not expecting major budget changes (Richmond Times-Dispatch)

Cuccinelli: Health-care lawsuit could save state $1 billion (Richmond Times-Dispatch)

Obama to Allow Oil Drilling Off Virginia Coast (AP/AOLNews)

Group opposing health care orders DNC to stop using its slogan (Washington Post Virginia Politics Blog)

One threat proven real against GOP Congressman (AP/GOPUSA.com)

Editorial: Health Care: Unconstitutional (Richmond Times-Dispatch)

National News

University of Wyo. cancels William Ayers speech (AP/GOPUSA.com)

Health premiums could rise 17 pct. for young adults (AP/GOPUSA.com)

Obama administration moves to fix kids coverage gap (AP/GOPUSA.com)

Obama: Tea party features 'core group' against him (AP/GOPUSA.com)

Obama signs student loan/health care legislation in Virginia (AP/GOPUSA.com)

Commentary

Is the Va. attorney general wasting tax money on Obamacare lawsuit? No. (Mark Hemingway/Washington Examiner)

Virginia Democrats suddenly discover spending discipline (Mark J. Fitzgibbons/Washington Examiner)

'Change' Is Not New (Thomas Sowell/GOPUSA.com)

Liberals In Vitriol Denial (Brent Bozell/GOPUSA.com)

Henry Waxman: the Witch Hunter of Capitol Hill (Michelle Malkin/GOPUSA.com)

Frustrating, Stubborn Facts (Tony Blankley/GOPUSA.com)

Why the Tenth Amendment is Important (Richard Olivastro/GOPUSA.com)

Obama's Gifts to the 'Outlier' Have Only Just Begun (David Limbaugh/GOPUSA.com)

The (Health Care) Law of Unintended Consequences (Doug Patton/GOPUSA.com)

Clowns to the left, Jokers on the Right (Debra Saunders/GOPUSA.com)

Virginia News Stand: March 23, 2010

Annotations & Elucidations Suits And Budgets

The news is all about Virginia, as it always seems to be, as it has been for some years now. Must mean we're an important state. But Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli's law suit against the federal government for its forced mandates on individuals is making headlines and he's making the rounds — on cable news — frequently: Fox News Channel multiple times, a viewer call-in on C-SPAN and even an appearance on DNC-TV, er, MSNBC.

The Wall Street Journal even says great things about Virginia, although the focus of the piece below is on our budget. By comparison the article notes, if Congress had just kept to its 2006 levels of spending, as the General Assembly did recently, the budget would be nearly in balance. Hmmm. 2006? Who's been running the show since then?

In Commentary, it's all about health care, with one of our generation's giants, Thomas Sowell, asking if we've reached a point of no return. We pray not. Michael Barrone, David Limbaugh and Debra Saunders also look at the dark side of the legislation. But it's not just "right wingers." The AP reports the the government is going to count our calories. Oh, how grand! Meanwhile, the Cornhusker Kid, Senator Ben Nelson (D-Neb.) now says he'll vote against the "reconciliation" bill. Also from the AP: The Supreme Court says it's fine for schools to ban music and that the Tea Party is just getting going. Watch out, liberals.

News

McDonnell backs Cuccinelli on challenge to health-care bill (Richmond Times-Dispatch)

Virginia attorney general ready to challenge health-care law (Norfolk Virginian-Pilot)

South Carolina, Florida AGs say they'll join Cuccinelli in challenging health-care bill (The Daily Press)

Attorneys general in 14 states sue to block healthcare reform law (Christian Science Monitor)

Liberty Counsel, attorney general challenge health care bill (Lynchburg News & Advance)

Virginia Democrats say Cuccinelli suit wastes taxpayer money (Washington Post Virginia Politics Blog)

Will lower taxes create school crisis? (Charlottesville Daily Progress)

Analysis

States of Progress: Two new Governors tackle deficits without tax increases (Wall Street Journal)

National News

It's not over for Tea Party activists (AP/GOPUSA.com)

Health overhaul: Immediate change, long term steps (AP/GOPUSA.com)

Your government will count your calories (AP/GOPUSA.com)

Axelrod, Steele tangle on health care overhaul (AP/GOPUSA.com)

Court: Student can't sue over 'Ave Marie' ban (AP/GOPUSA.com)

Ben Nelson plans to vote against health care bill (AP/GOPUSA.com)

Commentary

A Point of No Return? (Thomas Sowell/GOPUSA.com)

The Beginning of the End or a Rebirth of Freedom? (David Limbaugh/GOPUSA.com)

Leadership for a New Generation (Doug Patton/GOPUSA.com)

The New Electorate (Jon N. Hall/GOPUSA.com)

ObamaCare Means: Don't Look Behind the Curtain (Debra Saunders/GOPUSA.com)

Stupak's 'Hans Brinker — Unmasked (Richard Olivastro/GOPUSA.com)

Health Plan Means Bigger Deficits and Higher Taxes (Michael Barrone/GOPUSA.com)

Virginia News Stand: October 22, 2009

Annotations & Elucidations  The Bell Sounds For Deeds

So much for Republicans for Deeds. Former Senator Brandon Bell, from the Roanoke area, originally, and surprisingly, signed on the Deeds campaign. Unlike three other liberal former senators who call themselves Republicans and announced their support for Senator Deeds earlier in the year, Bell's endorsement was puzzling. He even announced that he was backing Lt. Governor Bill Bolling for re-election and Senator Ken Cuccinelli (R-37, Fairfax) for attorney general. Yesterday, however, whether he's reading the tea leaves, a bandwagon jumper, or finally read the Deeds platform, he reversed course and now is in the Bob McDonnell camp. The Roanoke Times has the details. Speaking of the Times, it really hit the nail on the head with this headline: "Contrasts sharp in attorney general race." On the ball, they are, at the Times.

On another note, the federal government can't get the Pig Flu vaccine in on time, and we're supposed to trust it with nationalized health care? Not a chance.

News:

McDonnell talks business with Lynchburg furniture maker (Lynchburg News & Advance)

McDonnell wins Bell's endorsement (Roanoke Times)

Contrasts sharp in attorney general race (Roanoke Times)

Deeds repeats closing debate remarks almost verbatim (Washington Times)

In this show, special guest stars speak for Deeds (Washington Post)

Bolling, Wagner frame campaign on mutually low job evaluations (Washington Post)

Neff mailing compares Bell to bad hubby (Charlottesville Daily Progress)

TAP's fatherhood program focuses on responsible fathers (Roanoke Times)

National News:

Web makers release tape of Philly ACORN visit (AP/GOPUSA.com)

GOP senator says Obama showing Nixonian tendencies (AP/GOPUSA.com)

Obama to slash bailout exec pay by 90 percent (AP/GOPUSA.com)

Key senators may rebuff Obama on health care (AP/GOPUSA.com)

U.S. health care tab would grow under overhaul (AP/GOPUSA.com)

Education chief calls for teacher prep overhaul (AP/GOPUSA.com)

CDC concedes vaccine production behind schedule (AP/GOPUSA.com)

Commentary:

Obama Bails Out When Asked About Fox News (Bobby Eberle/GOPUSA.com)

The Real Flaw: Fox Is A No Fawn Zone (Debra Saunders/GOPUSA.com)

Obama Hits Opponents With Chicago Brass Knuckles (Michael Barone/GOPUSA.com)

Justice Department: Blacks MUST Have Democrat Label To Know How To Vote (Bobby Eberle/GOPUSA.com)

A Most Excellency Quote Of The Day

Yesterday, Governor Tim Kaine received a report from his Commission on Climate Change, because, as you know, the world is melting (based on fabricated statistics from a NASA scientist, see the blog OhMyGov, here, and Debra Saunders of the San Francisco Chronicle, of all papers, here). Apparently, last year wasn't exactly the warmest ever year on record.

But that's not necessarily the purpose of this post. The purpose is to congratulate His Excellency, the guvna: As we now know, despite all the alarmists' claims, we are not in the midst of an overheating globe; despite this, the commonwealth's global-warming-alarmist-in-chief qualifies for the most painfully contorted spin of the year. Quote the Richmond Times-Dispatch (see article here):

The state Commission on Climate Change unanimously adopted its final report yesterday, and Gov. Timothy M. Kaine indicated he would act on it.

"In my administration, we don't get reports and put them on shelves," Kaine told the panel during a meeting in the General Assembly Building.

But then . . .

Outside the meeting room, Kaine declined to specify which recommendations he will move on, saying he wants to read the report first.

Soooooooo, let's get this straight: He's going to take action on the report, because he won't put it on a shelf, but he can't say what action he will take, because he doesn't know what's in the report — but he guarantees it won't sit on the shelf. He will take action, though on what, no one, not even he, knows. That's fantastic!

Still later, in a daring feat, he claimed:

But, in one example, he said he supported efforts to increase energy efficiency.

Oh really? I suppose he'll come out for clean water and air, next, then possibly safe toys for children and expiration dates on milk cartons. Brilliant, sir! Are you sure you don't want to be Education Secretary? How did Virginia manage without you? Never mind that the Mainstream Media doesn't pick up on these inanities, even as you state them directly to them — because you, Excellency, have earned today's Quote of the Day.