George Mason University

Despite Survey, Freedom Isn't Very Free For Virginia Parents

As we celebrated the birth of our nation over the weekend, a George Mason University Mercatus Center study pronounced Virginia the "ninth" freest state in the nation (Richmond Times-Dispatch). Taking into consideration tax rates, criminal law, education and several other factors, the study proclaimed Virginia the freest state in the South. Juxtaposed to this study is an editorial in Tuesday's Wall Street Journal that announced 2011 as “the year of school choice.” According to The Journal, "No fewer than 13 states have enacted school choice legislation in 2011." From Florida to Maine to Utah, state legislatures have enacted policies that advance the cause of freedom for parents of school children.

The piece goes on to say:

School choice proponents may have had their biggest success in Indiana, where Republican Governor Mitch Daniels signed legislation that removes the charter cap, allows all universities to be charter authorizers, and creates a voucher program that enables about half the state's students to attend public or private schools.

Unfortunately, Virginia is not one of the states that has advanced in the area of education freedom. In a state where its politicians tout its business-friendly environment seemingly on a daily basis, parents are unfortunately left with little or no option when it comes to where they can send their children for their education. Unless financially able, most parents lack the freedom to choose the school that best meets their children's needs.

While many other states recognize the advantages of education freedom and its benefits for both families and our economy, Virginia remains stuck in the past, bowing to education elites and failing to live up to its perception of liberty. Unfortunately, this is not just a partisan issue, as some Republicans who wouldn't dare vote against anything that would hinder business in Virginia are all too happy to vote against freeing families from education purgatory, joining Democrats who have blocked even the most modest education freedom legislation for years. All seem fearful of the Virginia Education Association, the state chapter of the powerful National Education Association, which just endorsed President Obama in his 2012 presidential bid despite his Republican opponent not yet being chosen. The VEA leads the opposition to Virginia educational freedom and many elected officials in Virginia march in lock step with the VEA.

The Family Foundation has fought for education freedom since its early days and will continue to do so. Providing families with multiple education options for their children remains one of our highest priorities. Virginia’s ranking as a "free" state would be more believable if parents were actually free.

A Patriot Center Omen? (Or, The Obama-NoVa Jinx?)

President Obama held a campaign-style rally today at the the Patriot Center on the campus of George Mason University. We noted yesterday that the president didn't necessarily have an impeccable track record campaigning for others in NoVa land last fall and wondered if that jinx would follow him to Congress' vote on his scheme to take over the American health care system this weekend. For opponents of the government takeover, there's more reason for hope. The night before may have ushered upon us another omen: George Mason's basketball team, which is nearly unbeatable at the Patriot Center, blew a 27-point lead over Fairfield University in the last nine minutes of regulation, and completed the fold in a 101-96 loss in the second round of the College Tournament ( Hmm. Sound like ObamaCare? Big numbers in Congress at the start . . . early lead as both chambers passed it . . . barely holding on in the late stages of the game . . . blowing in in overtime (i.e., Sunday)? Perhaps the president needs to get a new advance team. The symbolism just isn't working out right now.

Anti-Health Care "Reform" Rally Tomorrow With President Obama In Fairfax!

Remember in the fall when President Obama came to Fairfax to campaign for the failed statewide Democrat ticket? He basically told everyone who disagreed with him to "shutup." Funny how things turn around. The public is disagreeing with him now, and very loudly, saying "No!" to his scheme of a government takeover of our health care system. Now, he's coming back to Fairfax — tomorrow. Just in time for us to disagree with him, again — and hopefully with the same degree of success he had the last time. This just in from our friends at Americans For Prosperity and its Virginia director, Ben Marchi:

President Obama will speak in Fairfax tomorrow (Friday) at at George Mason University’s Patriot Center — get directions here. Doors open at 9:00 a.m.

The White House says, "There are no tickets needed for this event, just show up." So we're going to. If you want to get inside for the rally, you will likely need to get there early and stand in line. If you want to bring signs to send your message outside the arena, be aware that if you want to go inside afterwards, "no signs or banners are permitted, and those who come are encouraged to limit personal items and not bring bags or purses," according to the White House Web site.

Then on Saturday, tea party groups from across the nation are coming together to send a resounding "KILL THE BILL" to Capitol Hill. Let's join them and say "Hands Off My Health Care"!

Saturday at Noon in Upper Senate Park — AFP President Tim Phillips will be speaking along with others. If you can get there earlier, some tea party groups will be rallying starting at 10 a.m. on the East Lawn of the Capitol. For a Capitol Hill map, click here.

Please note: If you're driving into Washington, D.C., on Saturday, take note of road closures due to the National Marathon. A list of closures and when roads will re-open is available here.

This is crunch time! Look forward to seeing you there!

Ben Marchi

State Director

Virginia Colleges: Laissez Le Bon Temps Rouler!

Tomorrow is Mardi Gras — actually, the festival of Mardi Gras is an ongoing, many-weeks New Orleans festival where the anything-goes-good-times only culminate tomorrow — whereas the rest of us have a one-day bash in preparation for the sacrifices and abstaining of Lent that begin on Ash Wednesday.  Getting into the swing are some of Virginia's best known institutions of higher learning. William and Mary's new administration, sadly, teased the public with a fig leaf of deference, only to pull it back. Yes, the sex show returns. See Delegate Brenda Pogge's (R-96, Yorktown) news release below (see her letter last year to then-W&M President Gene Nichol).

Not to be outdone, football-less George Mason University, best known for its Economics Department featuring the likes of Dr. Walter E. Williams and Dr. Don Boudreaux (also see here and here) not to mention Nobel winners, and for its hoops team's run to the Final Four a few years ago, had its annual Homecoming Basketball game this past weekend. It elected a boy homecoming queen. See the Washington Post's account here.

Not just any boy: a transvestite. As it turns out, not just any queen either: He works as a drag queen in D.C. area bars. Fantastique! Laissez le bon temps rouler!

Here's what's so instructive about the whole situation, as reported in the Post:

"Officially, the university is 'very comfortable with it. We're fine,' spokesman Daniel Walsch said. The school does not require participants in the Mr. and Ms. Mason pageant to compete along precise gender lines, he said."

So why even have "Mr." and "Ms." contests? Why not a "Homecoming Student" contest? Open it up. Truth in advertising. If it does not matter, then GMU officials should end the contest as is immediately, and simply have a generic "Homecoming Student" vote. Students could enter as they wish to have their personhood identified: homosexual, heterosexual, male, female, dean's list student, frat boy stud, jock, regular Joe or Jane, beauty contestant, whatever.

At least there's this, from The Post:

"But others say it is an embarrassment at an inopportune time when Mason is trying to revamp its image from commuter school to distinguished institution of higher learning."

Meanwhile, back at the academic seat of the western point of the Historic Triangle, on March 23, students can learn all about a potential professional field upon graduation. According The Daily Press:

"The show — which features strippers, prostitutes and other sex workers performing and discussing their work. ..."

will be paid for by student activity fees because, as new President Taylor Reveley, said:

"The elected representatives of the student body approve the use of student fees for these events, not administration. This experience in self-government is part of the learning process."

Self government? Or the inmates running the asylum? But who cares? It's Mardi Gras. Laissez le bon temps rouler! Let the good times roll!

POGGE Expresses Disappointment with Repeat of Sex Show

February 3, 2009

YORKTOWN, VA — Today Delegate Brenda Pogge, in response to an article in today's Daily Press,released a letter sent last week to William and Mary President, Taylor Reveley concerning her deep disappointment at the possibility that "The Sex Workers Art Show" would go on at the College.

The letter, dated January 30 made the request that, "given the controversy that this show created last year and in years past, I am humbly requesting that this year the show not go on."

The letter went on to say, "One of the tests that the Supreme Court used in defining obscenity is does it violate community standards. I submit to you on behalf of the majority of the citizens of my District, that it does." Delegate Pogge is opposed to the return of "The Sex Workers Art Show" to the College of William and Mary and today stated, "In my opinion the inclusion of the word "Art" is a vain attempt to put lipstick on a pig."