Kaine administration

Virginia News Stand: April 30, 2010

Annotations & Elucidations Close Of Business, April

It's almost like it's a holiday weekend — there's not much going on. Maybe it's a collective political sigh. After all, it's been an eventful week. So, today brings us more reflection on all of the good news on the cultural front as the media still can't get enough of it. Leading the News, again, is coverage of Governor Bob McDonnell's reversal of the Kaine administration's gag order on Virginia State Police chaplains not to pray according to their faith tradition. We're mentioned in both articles linked below.

News

*McDonnell reverses chaplain prayer policy (Fredericksburg Free Lance-Star

*McDonnell lifts ban on State Police troopers referring to Jesus in public prayers (Washington Post Virginia Politics Blog)

VCU reaffirms nondiscrimination policy (Richmond Times-Dispatch)

National News

Hawaii Lawmakers OK Civil Unions, Send Bill to Gov (AP/FoxNews.com)

Lawsuits target AZ law amid calls for boycotts (AP/GOPUSA.com)

Denver school district bans work travel to Arizona (AP/GOPUSA.com)   

Congress sets Puerto Rico statehood effort in motion (AP/GOPUSA.com)

Crist's defection could be gift to Democrats (AP/GOPUSA.com)

Feds open criminal probe of Goldman (AP/GOPUSA.com)

Palin wades into Minn. governor's race (AP/GOPUSA.com)

Okla. lawmakers want tougher immigration law (AP/GOPUSA.com)

Commentary

Barack Obama, America's Selective Salary Policeman (Michelle Malkin/GOPUSA.com)

Strikingly Unpresidential (David Limbaugh/GOPUSA.com)

First, He Was a Community Organizer (Frank Salvato/GOPUSA.com)

Will 'Independent Day' Work? (Matt Towery/GOPUSA.com)

Superheroes and Slashers (Brent Bozell/GOPUSA.com)

Big Week For Religious Liberty! (Or, Kaine And Stevens Cut From The Same Cloth)

Just two days ago, the U.S. Supreme Court rendered a 5-4 decision to uphold the display of a Cross on a World War I Mojave Desert memorial on what had been public property (once a national park, the land now is owned privately, yet a lower court ruled the Cross still could not be displayed.) In its majority opinion, the court stated:

The goal of avoiding governmental endorsement does not require the eradication of all religious symbols in the public realm.

The timing of the decision couldn't have been more fitting — the same day, Governor Bob McDonnell reversed the Kaine administration's discriminatory prayer policy that prohibited Virginia State Police chaplains from praying at public events according to their faith.

Religious liberty 2, ACLU 0!

This recent Supreme Court case, Salazar v. Buono, reversed the decision from a California lower court that ordered the removal of a Cross placed by the Veterans of Foreign Wars in the Mojave National Preserve in 1934 as a memorial to World War I soldiers (see California Catholic Daily). The circumstances surrounding the case, however, are far from simple.

The disagreement began in 1999 when a retired National Park Service employee sued saying that the Cross on public property constituted an unconstitutional establishment of religion. A federal court agreed and ordered that the Cross be removed. The decision was appealed and the U.S. 9th Circuit Court (the nation's most left-wing court) upheld lower court's decision. However, in 2003, before the Cross could be removed, Congress intervened and transferred the land in question to a private owner in an effort to side step the controversy.

Once again the lower courts and 9th Circuit weighed in and stated that Congress' maneuver was objectionable and did not solve the problem. In the meantime, plywood was used to cover the cross to prevent "any further harm." The U.S. Supreme Court then granted cert in the case to put the confusion to rest.

Justice Anthony Kennedy wrote the majority opinion and sent the case back to the lower court to be reassessed "in light of a policy of accommodation." The logical assumption is that the display of the Cross will now be allowed. Justices Antonin Scalia and Clarence Thomas agreed with the majority, but additionally argued that the retired park employee did not have standing to sue since the property had been transferred to a private owner. In addition, while the court did not specifically rule on the display of a Cross on public property, it certainly hinted that it would find such a display acceptable in some circumstances.

However, the written dissent truly was tragic. Justice John Paul Stevens, soon to retire,  wrote that the Cross was an improper and intolerable government endorsement of a specific faith. Similar to Kaine's discriminatory chaplain prayer policy, this opinion is yet another example of growing anti-Christian sentiment (see Huffington Post for anti-Catholic hysterics). Simply the fact that four Supreme Court justices could buy into this "logic" of censorship is proof that we must do more to protect our freedom of conscience. The Family Foundation will continue to keep a pulse on this issue and work on efforts to further protect religious liberty.

Virginia News Stand: December 14, 2009

Annotations & Elucidations Budget, Administrations In Transition

The GOP and the outgoing Kaine administration are going at each other over the budget he is soon to submit. It is very likely to include tax increases and some disturbing social policies directly in contrast to what voters expect given the overwhelming conservative victory last November. So, why do one anyway? The law, for one. Governor Tim Kaine, still is the governor until mid-January and the budget must be submitted before then. A case for budget making reform? One was made last year in the General Assembly, regarding the cycle and a new governor's ability to shape state spending his first year. It went nowhere. Which often is the seal of a good, common sense bill. Maybe this year. 

The other theme the media seems to have a preoccupation over is the makeup of Governor-elect Bob McDonnell's transition team. Surprise! Business people and supporters are in it! 

News:

Kaine to force tough choices on McDonnell (Richmond Times-Dispatch)

GOP leaders urge Kaine not to raise taxes for budget (Richmond Times-Dispatch)

Kaine, GOP leaders fued over budget (Washington Times)

Business gets big role in McDonnell transition (Washington Times)

McDonnell's advisers (Washington Post Virginia Politics Blog)

When part-time lawmakers land full-time government jobs, pensions soar (Norfolk Virginian-Pilot)

Payday lenders try to get high interest rates through a loophole (The Daily Press)

State delegate joins flap over U.S. flag (Richmond Times-Dispatch)

Primary to determine GOP’s 2010 5th District candidate (Danville Register & Bee)

Analysis:

McDonnell's advisors a peek into the future (Jeff Schapiro/Richmond Times-Dispatch)

If Only Wagner's Revenue Projections Were As "Clear," Or, A Campaign Without Communication . . . Yet!

If you haven't heard it by now, and you want a good laugh, listen to Democrat lieutenant governor candidate Jody Wagner's interview this morning with WRVA's Richmond's Morning News host Jimmy Barrett (click here). Barrett gets right to the point and asks the former Kaine administration finance secretary about her missed revenue projections, which have resulted in consecutive budget deficits and multiple budget cuts. I'll give her some credit for her answer — she's at least learned something from the Obama administration, and that's the one thing it's good at: blame, blame and pass the buck, with a litany of boilerplate liberal excuses:

» It was the Bush administration's fault (at least twice);

» At least Virginia isn't as bad off as some other states (that'll make people feel secure);

» Passed the buck to economic forecasting agencies, business leaders and groups, and General Assembly leaders (how about that, Dick Saslaw?);

» But the 6.6 percent revenue growth projection in a slowing economy never gave her pause, even as many in the General Assembly warned the Kaine administration it was too high (she emphatically was "not overly optimistic"); and 

» Repeatedly said, "Let's be clear," (to the point where Barrett mockingly repeated it himself).

Not to mention her defensiveness when Barrett tried to loft her a softball about her campaign — she thought he was trying to blame her for the recession, for which she blamed George W. Bush (again).

All these excuses inevitably led to contradictions. Follow this bit of illogic: If it's the federal government's fault when things are bad, she must then credit it when things are good; if so, we have no reason for state government. So why is she running? She also got defensive when Barrett mentioned the recession came into focus a year ago, and rudely interrupted him to say she wasn't in office then, as well as when he simply asked how forecasts might be improved in the future.

But we still haven't heard the classics from her! Here goes:

On the grossly inaccurate revenue forecasts: 

"If I'm powerful enough to be personally responsible for that, then you want me to be your lieutenant governor."

Then, the absolute best for last: On the Public Policy Poll (a liberal pollster) that shows all three Democrats behind by double digits:

"The Democratic candidates have not yet begun communicating with the public yet and we will be doing that as the campaign moves along." 

So, that entire primary thing back in June was a what? Those television ads she ran . . . ? Those campaign appearances and interviews . . . ?

There you have it. It has nothing to do with her previous job performance, but that she and her ticket mates haven't yet communicated with the public. Don't worry, though. They plan on it. But with interviews like this, Ms. Wagner may want to delay that communication as long as possible.

Family Foundation Pastors' Day At The Capitol

This Thursday is the official lobby day for Planned Parenthood. If history repeats itself, this leading provider of abortion will bring hundreds of people to the capitol to ask our law makers to turn a blind eye to the abortion industry. They will say the following:      

» Abortion is a birth control option that should be exercised as one sees fit.

» Drugs, such as emergency contraception, that have the potential to take a human life from conception, should be made more readily available — even to teenage girls.

» Legislation to encourage women to have the opportunity to see an ultrasound prior to making their decision regarding abortion, parenting or adoption is a form of coercion.

The Family Foundation counters these untruths with truth. We do this through a number of ways, especially by engaging grassroots citizen activists — for example, through our Lobby Day at the Capitol and our new Virtual Lobby Day. Now, we also are engaging pastors, encouraging them to counter untruth with prayer and presence. Thus, we are countering Planned Parenthood's lobby day not only with our virtual lobby day (click here to learn how to participate), but with a Pastors Lobby Day. These dozens of pastors will make a big impact and be a significant contrast to the pro-abortion types patrolling the General Assembly Building's halls on February 5.

Here's some of the pastors' agenda Thursday:

Nicknamed the "Committee of Death," they will attend the Senate Education and Health Committee, which reviews all bills relating to pregnancy and abortion. Nearly every time a pro-life bill has been brought to this committee in the last decade has been defeated, refusing to recognize the sanctity of human life.

Pastors also will get an update from the patrons of positive life restoring measures introduced this session of the Virginia General Assembly. 

In addition, Bill Haywood, of Abingdon Church of Christ, also will speak. He has taken it upon himself to organize pastors in his region to defeat the Freedom of Choice Act, a federal measure that will undo nearly all laws in Virginia that protect children who seek abortions and women who might be taken advantage of in a difficult situation.  

One of the six state police chaplains who resigned when he was ordered by the Kaine administration to not pray "in Jesus name" also will speak. Pastors and lay people have rallied behind these brave chaplains and we want  everyone to continue to be engaged on this issue as we challenge the administration's decision through corrective legislation. To cap off the day, the pastors will meet with legislators in the afternoon.

If you are a pastor who is interested, or if you think your pastor is interested, it is not too late to register. Call Suzanne at (804) 343-0010 or e-mail John Smith at john@familyfoundation.org.

Ugly Numbers For GOP, But Good For Conservative Bloggers?

The Norfolk Virginian-Pilot's Pilot on Politics blog recently reported on a Commonwealth Poll (see here) conducted in late December which showed Virginians by large margins preferring Democrats over Republicans on a range of issues, such as transportation, education and the budget. The latter is a bit surprising since it is the Kaine Administration whose utter incoherent forecast of tax revenue brought us to the mammoth deficit we face today. Aside from that, however, the survey found that:

Republicans are more apt to keenly observe the General Assembly session than Democrats or independents.

We don't know how that makes the House leadership feel, but for those of us conservative state policy and politics bloggers, it's nice to know that

A. There's a large audience out there from which to draw; 

B. Perhaps we and the other conservative bloggers are the reason our universe of interested voters is larger; and

C. Conservatives are more thoughtful and interested in issues, contrary to the stereotypes perpetuated by liberals and their media allies.

As for C, here's exhibit A:

 

 

2009 Lobby Day Especially Crucial; Great Speaker Confirmed

We're busy counting down the days. But while we're all preparing for Christmas, we have a dual countdown — the start of the 2009 General Assembly. Believe it or not, it's less than three weeks until our lawmakers return to Richmond to deal with the in-deficit budget. That means also time to remind our legislators of the principles we expect them to protect and promote during this upcoming important election year, even with the budget as a convenient distraction.

You can do your part by joining us in Richmond for:

Family Foundation Day at the Capitol on January 19, 2009!

9:00 a.m. - Afternoon

Richmond Marriott

500 East Broad Street

At this free-of-charge event, you can meet with and encourage your legislators to, among other things:

» Support a proposal that adds a requirement to teach about the positive benefits of marriage in the Family Life Education curriculum.

» Address the Kaine administration's decision to forbid chaplains from praying in Jesus name;

» Make the state budget more transparent by placing it online and ensuring that it is easily searchable; and

» Encourage support of bills that update and improve Virginia's Informed Consent Law.

All you have to do is register, at no charge, by January 13. We'll arrange meetings with your delegate and/or senator. We take care of the details; you just need to be here on January 19. Especially now, when so many pundits and liberal politicians have pronounced conservatism and traditional values issues dead, we want to have hundreds of pro-family Virginians lining the halls of the General Assembly Building to show them and our lawmakers quite the opposite is true.

In addition, we've lined up great speakers, including legislators as well as Jordan Lorence, senior counsel at the Alliance Defense Fund, a nationally known expert on several issues that affect religious conservatives. He will specifically address religious liberty issues and the case of the Virginia State Police chaplains who resigned in protest when ordered to cease praying in Jesus' name.

As a preview of how good a speaker Jordan Lorence is, we've posted below a video of him speaking about one of our favorite subjects — lessons on the life of William Wilberforce.

So, we hope you make a special effort to get to Richmond on January 19. In order to register, contact Grassroots Coordinator John Smith at 804-343-0010 or e-mail him at john@familyfoundation.org.

We look forward to seeing you make a difference in Richmond on Monday, January 19.