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Manufactured Abortion Outrage

You have probably heard by now that state Senator Steve Martin has found himself in a bit of a brouhaha over a comment he made on Facebook over the weekend. And while the fact that a Facebook comment merits news coverage at all is an indictment on Western civilization in and of itself, the manufactured hysterical reaction of the abortion industry to sarcasm — yes, sarcasm — is simply fascinating. Our friends at Bearing Drift have a couple of takes on "MartinGate" here and here. Both are good reads. It is interesting that the abortion industry recognizes someone who is pregnant is a "mother," the definition of "mother" implying parenthood, which, of course, requires the existence of a child. As in the unborn child.

But I'm more interested in the fact that the abortion and gay rights obsessed Richmond Times Dispatch jumped all over the abortion industry's press release and ran with it. Apparently, an abortion industry press release about a sarcastic Facebook post earns a story in that once proud newspaper.  But over the past three years, not a single story can be found in the Richmond Times Dispatch that examines the abortion centers in Richmond that had multiple health and safety violations — all of which was shared with the RT-D through numerous press releases. You know, the unsanitary conditions, the lack of safety policies, the ownership of one Richmond center by someone who has had abortion centers shut down by health officials in other states. Nope, not a word in the old RT-D.

It's a shame. There are some good reporters at the RT-D, people who work hard and do their jobs well. But I really have to wonder why they (or is it the editors?) are so animated by the abortion industry being "offended" by a Facebook comment, and so uninterested in women being put in danger by abortion centers in their own city.

Time For Pro-Lifers To Leave The Republican Party?

As Virginia Republicans meet this weekend for their annual "Advance," there will be plenty to talk about. From this year's election results to this week's stunning announcement in the Virginia's governor race (which we were one of the first to blog about), there's plenty of debate going on between the so-called "establishment" and the "grassroots" of the Republican Party. As usual, the primary target of some in the debate is pro-life voters. Many words have been spilled from pundits and politicians over this debate, not just this year, but in nearly every election cycle as far back as many of us can remember. It's important to recall that in 1980 the political experts told Ronald Reagan to "tone down" the rhetoric on abortion and talk only about the economy. Of course, most will remember that the 1980 election focused almost entirely on the economy, foreign policy and moral decay. Abortion wasn't a major "theme" of the election or of Reagan's agenda.

But when asked, he wasn't ashamed to be pro-life. In fact, he used the opportunities his leadership position presented to persuade people to his position — one he believed most Americans shared. Was he offensive? No. Was he restrained? Never. He simply was willing to talk and sought to convince people of the legitimacy of his position that the unborn should be protected.

Unfortunately, in our culture of "all or nothing" politics, even those seeking to be incremental and strategic in advancing conservative causes with reasoned rhetoric are labeled and attacked as "putting ideology ahead of winning."

It's time we pro-life, pro-family, pro-limited government, pro-religious liberty conservatives require the candidates we support hold strong, principled — dare I say — ideological positions, but who also are able to persuade people in a logical, approachable, reasonable way that those principles are really what is best for America and our commonwealth.

Why must we so often have to choose between angry belligerence and cowardly silence? Is there no room in the Republican Party tent for reasoned, rational and principled pro-life voters? Certainly, as evidenced by this year's Democrat convention, there's little room in that party's tent for pro-lifers.

In a recent opinion piece in the Richmond Times-Dispatch, a well-known political commentator made the statement that wherever I go, "a fight breaks out." Truth be told, I believe The Family Foundation has been very good at using reasonable and logical arguments to persuade people to our position, never personally attacking people or throwing "rhetorical bombs" that drive people away. After 10 years of doing this, we're still attacked by the media as the group that "picks fights," while it falls at the feet in worship of those who were arrested on the Capitol steps in violation of the law, and who daily use vile, vulgar rhetoric (click links to see examples).

Let's face it: We live in a commonwealth where those who believe that women making the sad choice of abortion should enter sanitary facilities with emergency equipment are attacked by the media and secular left as "extreme" and "out of touch." All the while, those who support abortion through the ninth month of pregnancy (as our president does) are considered "centrist." That's the environment, that's the playing field. We can whine all we want about how unfair it is, or we can do something about it.

We live in a culture of cynicism and skepticism making it even more difficult to persuade. But giving up is not an option, and neither is compromising our principles. We, the whole of the conservative movement — not just social conservatives — must figure out a way to improve our message. Then, perhaps more importantly, find new ways to go around the Mainstream Media to get our message out. Blogs aren't enough. Social media isn't enough. Cutesy Facebook posters won't cut it.

Could the answer be going back to the basics (and hard work) of grassroots organization and mobilization? It's how conservatives changed the course of the nation before. Its successes are proven.

So, back to the question at the top. Is it time for pro-lifers to leave the Republican Party? Frankly, trying to answer that question is a colossal waste of time. While many are debating it, secularist liberals are unified and mobilized to take our state. Let's stop arguing about 30-year-old partisan struggles that may never be resolved. Let's start telling others about our principles, and let's put together the plan that will save our commonwealth.

Are You Better Off?

National Republicans are nearly weeping with excitement at the flubbed response of Maryland's Democrat Governor Martin O’Malley to the question Sunday on Face the Nation: “Are people better off than they were four years ago?” It has become the new mantra of Mitt Romney's campaign; a question uttered by Ronald Reagan more than three decades ago, and it has forced Democrats to go on the defensive. It could very well be a question that remains constant for the remainder of the election, as most Americans likely don’t feel better off than when Barack Obama was elected four years ago. I’ve seen it asked by many conservative Facebook friends recently, and it is certainly a fair question to ask. It’s just that it’s the wrong question to ask.

Primarily, the implication is that if you’re not better off, well it’s the government’s fault (see President Obama) and by default, if you want to be better off, it’s the government’s job to make sure you are. And, if you aren’t better off four years from now? Well, whose fault is it then?

Except conservative principles that Republicans theoretically believe and want to apply don’t guarantee anyone that they’ll be better off in the future. Not by a long shot. Conservative principles guarantee only that we’ll have more freedom to pursue life, liberty and happiness, but along the way, you might just lose a few times, and that's okay.

For example, let’s say that a new President and a new Congress are elected, government regulations are repealed to get out of the way and you decide to act on that amazing business idea that you’ve come up with. Once free of government bureaucracy, you leave your safe and secure current job and venture into the world of small business self-employment.

And you flop.

The possibility exists that you will not be better off than you are now, in a purely material and fiscal sense. Will that be the President’s fault? Government's? An unfair marketplace? Amazon.com's?

Or, perhaps, your idea is just a bad one. It’s called risk, and the free market (the real free market) and conservative principles allow you to take that risk, and fail. Miserably.

Better off? Nope.

More free? Absolutely!

And that, my friends, is what this election should be about. It’s the question all of us should be asking.

Even Democrat Governor Martin O'Malley admits we are not better off than we were fours years ago. We're not as free, either.

TFF "Fans" Show Need To Stay On The Ready To Defend Culture Of Life

Every now and then we get some hate mail — believe it or not. People and organizations that stand for truth often take heat. That comes with the territory when active and visible in the public square. It's a sign of success. Secular and progressive opponents don't pay attention to people who aren't defeating them or advancing Biblical worldview principles. So, while the digital age is great in that it gives people the extraordinary ability to disseminate information to a wide audience instantly and frequently with relatively little effort, it also allows opponents to see what you do and reply in kind — and often with venom. But it is instructive to see the other side in hysterics. It shows that no level is too low for them and that they will stop at nothing to maintain a culture of death. It shows what we're up against and that we must constantly be ready to redouble our efforts. If you haven't liked us on Facebook (see our new Timeline page) or follow us on Twitter, please do. If you have, spread the word. Share our blog links and Facebook updates, and retweet our tweets. You're not only getting others to follow us, but promulgating needed and useful information to combat the bias we see in the Mainstream Media and the misinformation from our opponents that it willingly swallows.

So, while not as bad as what some legislators receive, you can see an example of the vile directed at us in the tweet below, complete with abbreviations best left unexpounded upon. It isa screenshot from one of our Twitter "followers" who tweeted it last week (click here's to see the original). As you can see, the pro-abortion left reserves unto themselves the right to be crude to its opponents, but whenever we engage in legitimate debate on the issues, we're "waging war on women."

 

Truths And Facts About The Abortion Industry: What It Doesn't Want You To Know

Last week and the week before, in the run-up to the vote by the Virginia Board of Health's vote to approve abortion center regulations drafted by the Department of Health, we posted on our Facebook page and tweeted one truth or fact per day about the abortion industry in order to cut through the misinformation pumped out by its well funded and powerful lobby. Below, we have reconstituted them, added four more, expanded on others, and provided a couple of reference links as we continue to provide more information about the nefarious abortion industry and as public sentiment continues to grow in favor of these common sense measures — even though the Mainstream Media continues its pandering to the pro-abortion side (see The Daily Press as an example). Speaking of Facebook and Twitter, this is a good time to remind you that if you do not follow us on those social media networks yet, be sure to join us there and remind others you think would be interested. We post exclusive content there, link to newly written blog posts, announce breaking news from state government and politics, capitol square, the General Assembly and important regulatory meetings, as well as provide Family Foundation, grassroots activist and pastors updates. Click here to join us on Facebook and click here to follow us on Twitter.

Truths and Facts about the abortion industry:

Truth: Waivers available through regulations give abortion centers ability to make a case to the Department of Health that some construction standards are not necessary for the procedure.

Fact: The abortion industry claims it self regulates, but the National Abortion Federation standards allow non-physicians to perform surgical abortions!

Truth: During the last three General Assembly sessions, the abortion industry rejected "regulation lite" — just an annual inspection, licensing and emergency equipment. It simply does not want even the slightest independent oversight. (See Thomas Peters at LiveAction.org's blog.)

Fact: Currently, a woman who wants to report a medical complication resulting from an abortion must give up her privacy.

Truth: The abortion industry claims it is safe, but there is absolutely no way to know. It has blocked efforts to require reporting of medical complications due to abortion.

Fact: In Arizona, the legislature called the abortion industry's bluff, and codified the abortion industry's supposed self-governing regulations. The abortion industry immediately sued Arizona!

Truth: Planned Parenthood is a $1 billion industry (see Lisa Grass at LiveAction). It can easily afford the cost of the regulations to its facilities.

Fact: Abortion center regulations are not politically motivated. The Department of Health that drafted them is directed by an appointee by former Governor Tim Kaine, a Democrat.

Truth: Opposition to abortion has and always will be bi-partisan. Of the 12 votes in last week's 12-1 vote by the Board of Health to approve the Department of Heath's abortion center regulations, three were by appointees of former Governor Kaine. (A fourth was the lone dissenting vote and not one of his amendments received a seconding motion.)

Fact: Of the 15 board members, nine are Republican appointees and six are Democrats (two did not attend). 

Fact: Planned Parenthood says abortion is only a small part of its business, that it offers a full range of medical services — even to men. If so, then how can abortion center regulations put them out of business?

David Barton Schools Jon Stewart On The Constitution And Religious Liberty

We were very blessed that the respected historian David Barton taped a video for us last fall, while here to keynote our Pastors Summit, to promote this year's Call To Prayer in Colonial Williamsburg on June 1. Little did we know, coincidentally, that he appeared on Comedy Central's The Daily Show with Jon Stewart yesterday, the day after we debuted the video here and via e-mail, Facebook, YouTube and Twitter to tens of thousands of people (see it here). As an avid student of history, especially the Founding period of America, and with a degree in history and English from one of the commonwealth's well thought of institutions of higher learning, I always thought of myself as pretty well informed on early American history. Not that I knew it all, but with a life-long study of it, I thought I at least knew the major points pretty well. But then I started my association with The Family Foundation and got my first exposure to Mr. Barton, the founder of WallBuilders.

What a breath of fresh air! Not only does he give voice, reason and fact to what I always instinctively and academically believed was our Founding Fathers' actual intent regarding religious liberty, he also has thousands of original period documents which prove the point — that nowhere in the constitution can it be construed that government is hostile to religious expression, whether in private or public. No one in America has done more research from original sources on this topic than David Barton and he can quote from them faster than I can items from a fast food menu. It's hard to imagine a more informed person on this subject — anywhere.

He also points to hundreds of events from the period, long neglected in the classroom, that flesh out principles by which these Founders lived, argued, fought and died. Actions do speak louder than words, even words on paper, and the same men who put those words to paper participated in events that today would have them fined, suspended, fired or kicked out of club, association, job or public position. Go figure. In the end, though, no one is better than simply explaining the simple or basic elements of an already straightforward document: Congress shall establish no law . . . how does that translate to prohibiting a prayer to Jesus at a high school graduation? Or state police chaplains praying in Jesus' name? Or a city council opening its session with a prayer? How are public acts of prayer a Congressional law establishing a religion? Maybe if secularists just read the constitution they would come to understand this themselves. Otherwise, we are left to think they have a blatant disregard for it and are intent on nothing less than to "transform" America.

No one exemplifies this misguided, misinterpreted, contorted, secularist slant on the constitution in pop culture more than Jon Stewart. I give him credit for inviting Mr. Barton on his show (at the insistence of another guest, former Arkansas Governor and another friend of The Family Foundation, Mike Huckabee). But it was nothing more than mismatch, a true learning moment for Mr. Stewart.

Learning curve: David Barton taught Jon Stewart, a William & Mary grad (and not his real name), a good deal Wednesday night on The Daily Show. (Part 1 is mainly introductory talk.)

It's unfair debating a left-wing celebrity type, but instructive: Stewart gives truth to the adage "That a little bit of knowledge is a dangerous thing."

21-20, 21-20, 21-20: Pro-Life Bills Finally Pass Virginia Senate Roadblock To Become Law; Behind The Scenes At Last Night's Drama!

Near the end of an already extraordinarily long annual "Veto Session" last night, at around 10:00, after intense debate and several failed parliamentary maneuvers by opponents, the Virginia General Assembly handed pro-lifers and Governor Bob McDonnell another big victory. After passing the House of Delegates by a comfortable margin, the Virginia Senate — whose committees long have been the burial ground for commonsense bipartisan pro-life legislation, deadlocked 20-20 on the governor's amendments to HB 2434 — to restrict Virginia's health insurance exchanges (when and if ObamaCare takes effect) from publicly funding abortions except in the cases of rape, incest, or life of the mother — allowing Lt. Governor Bill Bolling to break the tie and send the bill back to Governor McDonnell for his signature. We long have stated that if certain measures could get to the floor, they would pass. This victory, another vote last night to restore the abstinence education funding eliminated by former Governor Tim Kaine, as well as the landmark vote the last week of the regular session to regulate abortion centers (all by 21-20 margins with Lt. Governor Bolling casting the tie-breaking vote each time), vindicates us. As represented by their legislators in Richmond, Virginians are decidedly pro-life.

The hard work began as lawmakers returned to the capitol Monday. Family Foundation lobbyists hit the ground running, going door to door to sure up votes and answer questions from legislators. Preceding that were efforts well before the reconvened session to educate lawmakers and their constituents. While the House looked secure, the Senate was always going to be close, with perhaps one or two senators leaning one way or another, but not fully committed.

Meanwhile, opponents in both chambers used several procedural motions to derail the votes. House members yielded their time from member to member in an attempt to control the debate and even moved to break up the governor's amendments into separate votes. While that succeeded, all four passed. The bill then moved down the hall where Senator John Edwards (D-21) challenged the germaneness of the governor’s amendments. When Lt. Governor Bolling ruled them in order, opponents attempted to overturn the decision by a floor vote, but lost 21-19 (see vote).

After intense debate, the Senate voted 20-20, with all 18 Republicans and pro-life Democrats Chuck Colgan (D-29, Manassas) and Phillip Puckett (D-38, Tazewell) voting yes. Interestingly, Senator Roscoe Reynolds (D-20, Martinsville), who voted to sustain Lt. Governor Bolling's ruling, voted no. When the clerk read the result, The LG decisively announced that "The chair votes aye." Thus, the making of a law (see vote).

Despite the late vote, an early morning event may have had the most impact — the first ever meeting of the Virginia Legislative Prayer Caucus (more on the LPC in a future post). More than 500 Virginians, including many delegates and senators of both parties, gathered at the steps of the historic capitol to pray for God to shower His blessings on our Commonwealth. As Governor McDonnell reminded attendees, Matthew 19:26 says, "With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible."

The Family Foundation gives its overwhelming appreciation to Governor McDonnell, Lt. Governor Bolling, all 20 Senators who voted for this pro-life amendment, and to all who contacted their senator to urge their support. If you don't think this has the grassroots excited, see our Facebook page!

Another Type Of Google Alert: Protect Your Children, Monitor Even Their "Harmless" Online Activities

Last year we formed a relationship with Enough is Enough — an organization that educates parents on Internet safety, as well as with the Interfaith Center for Public Policy and the Attorney General's office, to bring Internet education to parents through churches in Virginia. Through that effort, we've distributed dozens of Enough is Enough's very effective Internet 101 curricula. While the program focuses on protecting our children from Internet predators who stalk Facebook and other social networking sites, there are other dangers online that, while not physically threatening, are problems nonetheless. For example, the online conglomerate Google currently is promoting an art contest for students called "Doodle-4-Google," offering prize money to schools and prizes to winners. Sounds harmless enough and, for the most part, it is.

Except in early online parental consent forms (and forms distributed to schools) Google asked the children participating to hand over private information, such as home addresses, dates of birth and the last four digits of their social security numbers. This is information that is perhaps worth millions of dollars to marketers and retailers. They also ask for the children's place of birth — information that, when combined with one's date of birth, can be used to take a statistical guess about the first five digits of social security numbers.

Now, there is no evidence that Google plans to financially benefit from the information. It simply may plan to toss it. But if that's the case, why ask for it in the first place? Under pressure from advocacy groups, the company did change the parental consent form and no longer requires the social security number, but many schools participating in the contest still are using the original form.

This is just one example of why it is very important to monitor what our children are doing online and, just as important, teach them not to share personal information online. Whether it's sexual predators or marketing executives, our childrens' safety and personal information is highly valuable. Please take the time to monitor everything your children do online — even when it seems "harmless."

Join Us On Flickr!

We've just added Flickr to our network of Internet sites. We hope you take time to visit our page there, bookmark it, and return to it from time to time. Our first presentation is a slide show of General Assembly highlights created out of freeze frames from the many videos we shot and produced of committee hearings. All of those videos are on our YouTube channel, which we encourage you to peruse so as to see how things really are done in Richmond (and what we're up against). We have a permanent link to our Flickr page, as well as all of our social media sites (including Facebook and Twitter), in the column on the right under the Family Foundation Internet Network header. 

Click here to visit our new Flickr page.

Half-Time Report: Several Family Foundation Priorities Pass The House!

Today is crossover at the General Assembly, the day when the House and Senate have to complete work on bills introduced in their respective chambers. Consequently, yesterday the House spent nearly 11 hours on the floor debating bills, with final votes taking place today. The Senate did their marathon debate and vote session today. Several Family Foundation priorities passed the House of Delegates, some after lengthy debates took place on the proposals yesterday.

HB 1440, patroned by Delegate Bob Marshall (R-13, Manassas), which would provide protection (civil recourse) for the unborn in cases where they lose their life due to the negligence of another, passed 62-36 — despite the wild accusations by Delegate Vivian Watts (D-39, Fairfax), who claimed the legislation would outlaw contraception. Delegate Dave Albo (R-42, Fairfax), the chairman of the Courts of Justice Committee, which reviewed the bill, defended it on the floor. He said that he had several attorneys and committee legal counsel review the legislation and all agreed that the bill, nearly identical to a 20-year-plus Missouri law, and which was upheld by the U.S. Supreme Court in 1989, would not affect legal contraception in any way.

HB 2147, patroned by Delegate Ben Cline (R-24, Rockbridge), would prevent health insurance plans in the Virginia health insurance exchange, required by ObamaCare, from providing abortion coverage. This preemptive strike against ObamaCare, should it be implemented, passed 60-36.

The House today also passed by a vote of 54-45 HB 2314, legislation patroned by Delegate Jimmie Massie (R-72, Henrico), that would provide a tax credit for corporate donations to private scholarship programs. This education opportunity legislation is tailored to help low-income families. It is modeled after a successful Florida scholarship program that has helped more than 20,000 students and saved the state more than $36 million in FY2008-09. (We hope you join us this Thursday for our Family Foundation Day at the Capitol and Rally, which will focus on this legislation.)

Also passing today was legislation that will create an "In God We Trust" license plate. The bill, HB 1418, is an omnibus license plate bill patroned by Delegate John O’Bannon (R-73, Richmond) that incorporates the "IGWT" plate bill introduced by Delegate Dickie Bell (R-20, Staunton). A Senate bill (SB 811), patroned by Senator Mark Obenshain (R-26, Harrisonburg) creating the same license plate also passed the Senate today.

Thank you to everyone who has contacted their delegates and senators on these and other issues. After today the bills that have passed the House or Senate will "crossover" to the other chamber to go through the committee process. Please continue to respond to our action alerts (sign up here) and keep up with all the General Assembly news and video by returning to this site, and by following us on Facebook, Twitter and YouTube as the General Assembly session continues in the coming weeks.

"Like" Us By January 12!

It's one of those cold realities of our calendar: a few days after celebrating the promise of a New Year, our vacation evaporates and the real world beckons our attention ever so quickly. It's especially true for us as the General Assembly starts its "short session" in just a few days. We are busy preparing for the thousands of bills that will be filed and the more-demanding-than-normal-pace of the short session (almost as many bills, two less weeks). Because of that pace, and the importance of this session, we need your help now. But we're not asking a lot, only that you take a few seconds and:

Help us reach our goal of 1,000 Facebook friends by January 12, the start of the 2011 General Assembly!

All you need to do is click on the link above, sign in or register, and click "Like" on our Facebook page.

Success at the General Assembly depends on active and engaged constituents contacting their legislators on crucial votes in committee and on the floor. As much as we lobby them, constituents have the most influence. Currently, we have more than 800 Facebook fans. Not bad. But we are only as effective as the number of informed values voters who contact their lawmakers — and in order for us to maximize our collective clout, the timely communication of information is vital. Facebook is an essential tool to accomplish this.

Additionally, follow us on Twitter. With Twitter and Facebook, not only can you receive our instant notifications on important actions, it is easy to forward that information to others.

We also will continue to make great use of our YouTube channel. There, we will post videos of key committee hearings so that all is exposed and you can see for yourself how your representatives voted on major legislation — and where they can't hide behind procedural votes.

Of course, this blog will keep the public informed on all the goings-on during session. With our team of lobbyists, as well as key contacts and sources, no one covers the General Assembly online better than we do. After another record shattering year of readers, we hope you will continue to share our posts on your social media sites and via e-mail. 

But in the meantime, please go to our Facebook page, click "Like," spread the word on your social media sites, then sit back and get ready for all the breaking news from the 2011 General Assembly.

Happy New Year From The Family Foundation!

As the clock winds down on an eventful 2010 and the first decade of a new millennium, and we head into the unknown of a new year and new decade, we can and should take pause over the next few days to reflect on what has been. But also what could be and how to bring it to fruition — personally and in the public square. It hardly seems possible that another decade has whisked by. Watching not only a couple digits change, but all four at the millennium, was quite something. It's been tumultuous — an impeached president left office and one who barely won came in; sneak terrorist attack, war, roaring economy, economic panic and Great Recession; leftist electoral wins and a conservative comeback (started here in Virginia).

While there are many highlights from 2010 on which to reflect upon, here we mention, briefly, a local one: this blog. Thank all of you for making it immensely popular. We have doubled our readership, easily, over the last year, and thousands visit this site every month. We greatly appreciate your loyalty. But 2011 only will get bigger and better. We have plans for many upgrades and features — starting with a bang as the General Assembly gets underway in a couple of weeks and we bring you unrivaled coverage with our many sources and lobbyists.

We will need you then more than ever. Stay engaged to bring positive, conservative change to restore our traditional values to the Commonwealth. Not only will we need you to stay informed here, but to stay on top of it all by joining us on Facebook and following us on Twitter. The GA moves fast and we'll pump out crucial information through those sites, as well as our highly praised e-mail alert system (sign up here). When your legislators need to be contacted to vote for or against a bill, we'll let you know through all of these systems as well as this site, which will have more detailed analysis. Our numbers on all of our social media sites are good, but as the stakes in Richmond get higher, we need every possible conservative activist engaged. So help us spread the word!

In the meantime. we will heed our own advice and take advantage of the next few days to unwind and recharge and reflect, and have some fun. We hope you do, too. From all of us at The Family Foundation of Virginia — the Board, staff, volunteers and thousands of grassroots activists across the Commonwealth — we wish everyone a joyful, safe, healthy, prosperous and happy New Year.

Join The Family Foundation Blog On Facebook And Twitter At The Tea Party Convention This Weekend!

A lot has been said and written about the first ever Virginia Tea Party Convention this Friday and Saturday at the Greater Richmond Convention Center. National as well as state media are expected to turn up as the convention's organizers are billing it as the largest such gathering in the country. So far, 2,300 attendees have registered to hear an assortment of national figures as well as state leaders, such as Governor Bob McDonnell and Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli. But the convention will be more than speakers. It is going to have policy round tables and workshops for activists to better prepare for the upcoming and future elections. Your humble admin will be in attendance along Blogger's Row. I will post live on our Facebook page (click here to join that page) which also tweets to our Twitter page (click here). Our tweets also pop up in our Twitter box on right margin of this blog. I'm not sure how much live blogging  I will do but I will take it all in and do a wrap up early next week. But I think  convention  settings are tailor made for quicker observations which allow for more audience give and take. I hope you will join me online. 

With our Gala taking shape in the same building hours after the convention ends, it's going to be an active and hectic weekend. One thing I will look out for: the extent to which "social issues" are discussed. After all, you can't have liberty without Life, and for all the discussion about how social conservatives and libertarians don't mix well, most of those I know are firm pro-lifers.

Regardless, please, check in here during the weekend for the latest on what should be one of the most memorable two days of conservative activism in the commonwealth's history: The Tea Party Convention and The Family Foundation's 25th Anniversary Gala (which has its own gaggle of state and national media coverage, including Fox News). In fact, more than 1,00o people will gather at the gala to celebrate a quarter century of advocacy of family values in Virginia public policy, and to hear rising conservative leader Congressman Mike Pence of Indiana.

A Lot In Seven Minutes: Victoria Cobb On WAUQ/AFR Radio

As we mentioned earlier this week, it's a Cobb's web and we just live in it. Family Foundation President Victoria Cobb appeared on the Jimmy G show on WAUQ-FM, American Family Radio in Richmond, and spoke about our 25th Anniversary Gala on October 9 (order tickets here or call 804-343-0010), featuring Congressman Mike Pence (R-Ind.). But the 7-minute interview also is a good brief on what we do and why we do it. Plus, a little presidential politics and Wayburn Dean music is discussed as well. In short, it's a good take and we hope you take the time to listen to it (even if she failed to mention this blog). Click the photo to hear the interview:

Victoria Radio Interview 1 for blog

WAUQ's Jimmy G with Victoria Cobb in a recent interview that touched on The Family Foundation's 25th Anniversary, the gala, politics and music. They even discussed our online presence: Web site, Facebook, Twitter . . . BUT NOT THE BLOG!

Newly Released Family Foundation 2010 General Assembly Report Available Online

Each year, The Family Foundation compiles a General Assembly report — essentially a storybook retelling of the past session along with Family Foundation commentary and insider information, based on the hard work of our lobbyists and the insights they gained through legislative interaction and contacts. Now, fresh off the press, is our 2010 report, entitled Expect The Unexpected. We hope you take the opportunity to read this uniquely  insightful, thorough and well put together review of this year's legislative session. It is available for you to read by clicking here. In addition, this year's report has an exciting new feature: When you click on certain pictures, you will be redirected to our YouTube channel where you can view video of the corresponding committee hearings, Family Foundation television interviews, candidate campaign promises, and more. This report, in combination with related videos, will give you a insider's look at what happened this past session so that you can better understand what effect it will have on you and pro-family citizens of Virginia. Combined, the print and video provides an interactive and in-depth coverage and review of session unlike any public policy organization in Virginia.

If you like what you see, then don't forget that we compile and convey information about the General Assembly as events happen at the capitol each session, so please follow us on the social networking sites YouTube, Twitter and Facebook; and subscribe to our blog's RSS Feed as well as our e-mail alerts. Additionally, today we added to this site links to several studies and position papers we've written or commissioned in recent years, giving you full access to research and information you can use to make the case for traditional values and constitutional government in the public square. Look in the right margin for the heading Family Foundation Publications & Position Papers.

In days past, session intrigue was oblique, at best. No longer. Wait until 6:00 to see the video on the local news — or the next morning's paper? If they cover session at all, will they report on the committees and votes you care about? Even then, will it be accurate? Or fair? Will they have the level of detail and behind the scenes information we get working in the trenches, previously obscured from the public? The Internet allows us to be the media ourselves and report on the actions of our lawmakers. We now can multiply our reach and arm more people with more information, which helps advance our shared the principles that much quicker.

To order a hard copy of Expect the Unexpected, send $3.00 (cash or check) to cover printing and shipping expenses to The Family Foundation at 830 East Main Street, Suite 1201, Richmond, VA 23219 (write "2010 GA Report" in the memo line or include a note). Alternatively, you can pay online by credit card by clicking here. (Be sure to type "2010 GA Report" in the box entitled "How did you find out about The Family Foundation?") We hope you forward this link and spread the word to people interested in staying informed on the important issues confronting Virginia and the culture at large.

Save The Date: The Family Foundation's 25th Anniversary Gala October 9!

Our Annual Gala this year will be a little more special than most years and we're excited about that. It will be extra special because it will be our 25th Anniversary Gala, and we're celebrating it on a Saturday evening instead of the typical weekday so more people can attend.

So, please save the date: October 9 at the Greater Richmond Convention Center.

Befitting a silver anniversary event, we're planning activities throughout the day in addition to the dinner, which will make the Gala a fully rounded, lively and engaging celebration. It is certain to be a memorable event as we look back on a quarter century of defending our shared values and celebrate our many victories. We’ll also look ahead to the next 25 years as we advance our critical mission.

Okay, Okay . . . people hear that all the time and the word has been out for a bit, but people keep asking me who the keynote speaker is, or even if we have one lined up yet. The answer is, yes, we do a have a speaker and, just as with last year, when former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee inspired a crowd of more than 1,250 guests, the keynoter this year will encourage, motivate and energize you for the future. In fact, we have a pretty good track record of Gala speakers: William Bennett, Tony Snow, former Senators Rick Santorum and George Allen, Gary Bauer, David Barton, Rabbi Daniel Lapin, Steve Forbes, Maggie Gallagher, Eric Metaxas and former Kansas Attorney General Phill Kline, among them.

This year's speaker — named one of the "Top 20 Most Influential Conservatives in America" and a frequent national television guest — is a national leader for conservative principles and is certain to bring a powerful, engaging and inspiring message that you won't want to miss. In fact, you will be disappointed if you do. So, please get your tickets now to see. . . .

Stay tuned for the big reveal in the weeks to come. We will have exciting announcements and updates delivered to you in exciting ways, so sign up for our e-mails, return to this blog, join us on FacebookTwitter and YouTube. Help us launch an exciting new era at The Family Foundation where we bring our traditional message to new audiences with modern techniques. 

The dinner will begin at 6:30 p.m., preceded by a private reception for sponsors with the speaker. We hope you’ll reserve this date on your calendar.

Additional information on sponsorship packages, tickets and program advertisements will be provided this summer via email and online at www.familyfoundation.org/gala.htm. To receive the information by mail, please call us at (804) 343-0010 or e-mail Gala@FamilyFoundation.org.

Donna Rice Hughes To Present Enough Is Enough Child Internet Safety Class

Internet pornography, sexting, online predators . . . our children are exposed to garbage and dangers that once could only be found in the seediest parts of town. Now, with a click and a keystroke, your children, from the comfort of their bedroom, can visit Web sites that offer the vilest types of pornography. These images can even be downloaded onto a cel phone or an iPod. Child predators posing as teenagers are befriending our children on Facebook and MySpace, creating dangerous relationships that can end in tragedy. What can you — as a parent, youth pastor, teacher or mentor — do to alert the young people in your life of the dangers awaiting them in the online world that they all live in? What do you need to know to protect them as they surf the Web, download movies and music, and make new friends online?

Learn how you can protect your children from the dangers that the digital age poses. The Family Foundation is joining with Enough is Enough and the Attorney General’s office to present Internet Safety 101 on Thursday, April 29, from 1:00 – 4:30 p.m. at Immanuel Baptist Church in Richmond. This free, hard-hitting session, led by Enough is Enough president Donna Rice Hughes, will prepare you to protect your family and equip you to train others in this critical area of need. Each church or ministry represented will receive a complimentary 200+ page workbook and a 4-lesson DVD to share with others in their congregation. All are welcome to attend. To register or for more information, call Roger Pogge at 804-343-0010 or e-mail roger@familyfoundation.org.

What: Internet Safety 101

Where: Immanuel Baptist Church, 3601 Monument Avenue, Richmond

When: Thursday April 29, 1:00 – 4:30 p.m.

Trainer: Enough is Enough President Donna Rice Hughes

Register: Call Roger Pogge at 804-343-0010 or e-mail roger@familyfoundation.org.

More Information: Internetsafety101.org

Enough Is Enough

Pastors For Family Values, our pastor outreach arm, works year round to provide an array of resources and opportunities that will have a direct affect on churches and ministries. One such resource we are proud to offer is the newly released Enough Is Enough: Internet Safety 101, designed to instruct pastors, educators and, most importantly, parents, on how to make the Internet safe for their children. To help best utilize this valuable resource, we are conducting Internet safety training in conjunction with Enough Is Enough and the Attorney General’s Office on Thursday, April 29, from 1:00-4:00 p.m., at Immanuel Baptist Church in Richmond. This training is designed for pastors, church lay leaders, school administrators or other ministry leaders. Each ministry represented will receive a complimentary four-lesson DVD and 200-page workbook (a $40 value).

This is program is relevant to everyone with a computer, cell phones, Playstations, etc., especially those with children in their home. Pornography is one of the most destructive forces in the decline of the American family. Recent studies published in the Journal of Adolescent Research indicate that 87 percent of young men and nearly 31 percent of young women report using pornography. The number is probably higher because many will not admit doing so, even anonymously.

Children also are prone to become targets for sexual predators if they don’t know how to protect themselves while navigating through social networking sites such as Facebook and MySpace. Too often, parents just don’t know the dangers.

If you are a pastor or private school administrator, we urge you to attend this important training. If you can’t attend, please consider sending a youth pastor, an associate pastor or administrator or another leader from your ministry. We know attendees will find the session informative and helpful in tackling this difficult and crucial issue. With your participation and that of other church leadership from across the Commonwealth, Virginia will lead the way in protecting our children from the dangers of internet pornography and sexual predators. Children deserve a life of healthy family relationships, not one scarred by stolen innocence.

This free training will equip you with the resources you need to educate the members of your congregation to make their homes safe from the dangers of online pornography. Our young people are very adept at getting around the Web, so parents and Christian leaders need to stay informed and knowledgeable in order to provide proper guidance and instruction to them in this area.

If you would like more information concerning the Enough Is Enough training or curriculum, or to reserve a spot at the April 29 training, please contact Roger Pogge at roger@familyfoundation.org or call 804-343-0010.

The Left Is Nervous Post Health Care Vote

If the left is so pleased with its government takeover of the health care system, and if they are so confident the American people are falling all over themselves in unbridled joy over "free" health care, then why does President Obama feel the need to schedule a series of campaign style events around the country to drum up support for the new law? Who looks for support after the fact? Maybe because Caterpillar (Wall Street Journal) and John Deere (agrimoney.com) have said this law will cost them more than $100 and $150 million, respectively, and cause layoffs? Or maybe because Walgreens (FoxNews.com) said it will no longer accept new Medicaid customers? Unintended consequences? Not. Very much intended. Let the system go to pot, so the government will "need" to intervene yet more. Furthermore, if this law is sound constitutionally, why is there such a huff by the left — by lefty netroots types (blogs, Facebook, etc.) and by publicity seeking liberal pols (many who held a news conference at the capitol yesterday) — so upset at the legal challenges filed against the law by 14 attorneys general? (See the hysteria in the comments at the T-D article link.) If, as Delegate Jennifer McClellen (D-71, Richmond) says, that the Virginia Health Care Freedom Act (Richmond Times-Dispatch) is akin to Massive Resistance (New York Times); or, as Senator Donald McEachin (D-9, Henrico) says, not engaging in economic activity is actual commerce; or, as Delegate David Englin (D-45, Alexandria) says, the law suits are frivolous, then why all the angst, consternation and worry?

(Make no mistake: The opposition to the Virginia Health Care Freedom Act is a fringe minority — at least five Democrat senators voted for it, more after amendments; and 55 percent of House Democrats voted for it, including several in the Legislative Black Caucus.) 

Apparently, American leftists, from the president on down, are a little nervous. In reality, for good reason. They are not accustomed to principled people fighting with vigor for the constitution, as sworn to do. Their response is a frenzy of complaint and falsity. Their actions belie their recent in-your-face celebratory confidence and giddiness.

Cuccinelli Petition Goes National

Yesterday, I commented on the frivolous, harrassing and taxpayer waste of money that is Delegate David Englin's Web site, which generates phone calls into the Attorney General's office. It's a poor response to the outpouring of nationwide support Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli is receiving as he seeks to have the government takeover of health care ruled unconstitutional. Not only has he been interviewed and written about by several national news organizations, but there are Cuccinelli for President and support groups springing up on Facebook. There's also a petition of support that got a big boost today when conservative guru Richard Viguerie wrote about it in his daily e-mail. The petition — Stop The Mandate, Support Liberty Now (click here) — also was promoted on Facebook and seems to be gaining traction. It's a great way to show support for someone who, for doing the job he is sworn to do — uphold Virginia law — is the subject of so much vitriol from the hyper left.