New York

It's "Gay" Marriage, Stupid!

The normal political diatribe for years, from politicians and pundits alike, has been that the focus of nearly every candidate and elected official is and ought to be the economy. No need to be "distracted" by or waste time on those pesky social issues. Usually, that line is thrown in the face of values voters who actually care about the culture. Seldom is it used against those whose "values" are different than ours. Remember another famous line, "It's the economy, stupid"? With New York's legislature and Governor Andrew Cuomo recently passing and signing same-sex marriage into law (see Chuck Donovan at Heritage's The Foundry Blog), the claim by any liberal politician or pundit — or anyone else for that matter — that the focus is, and must be, on economic issues amounts to nothing more than blatant hypocrisy. After all, during an economic meltdown in a state bleeding jobs, in a state on the verge of economic bankruptcy, New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, Governor Cuomo and the entire legislature were "distracted" for days debating homosexual marriage. (Not to mention Congress and the Obama administration last December, during a lame duck session, ramming through repeal of the "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy as unemployment continued to skyrocket.)

Simply put, the next time someone tells you that social issues are a distraction from what's really important, they must be forced to answer the question, "What about New York?"

In Virginia, as we approach this November's crucial elections, that question isn't just for us, it's for the candidates as well. After all, as liberals across Virginia celebrate New York's attempt at redefining one of God's most basic institutions, candidates for the House of Delegates and the Virginia Senate must be asked, "What about New York?"

Politicians, policy makers and pundits, academics and activists simply can’t have it both ways. If social issues such as homosexual marriage are a distraction from the important economic issues, then every candidate in Virginia — regardless of political party — must reject what has happened in New York. If taking weeks to debate the definition of marriage is a waste of time then every candidate in Virginia must be absolutely critical of their colleagues in New York.

Is the same-sex marriage debate a distraction from what’s important? Yes? Go ahead, and say so. Oh, and if it's not, feel free to run on that in Southside and central Virginia.

Virginians made it clear where they stand on the issue of same-sex marriage in 2006. While the ink on our state constitutional amendment is barely dry, we at The Family Foundation have attempted to focus on other issues in recent years, issues like strengthening traditional marriage — the best economic safety net there is — to ensure Virginia’s future economic strength. But with what happened in New York, we have little choice but to once again ask every candidate for office in Virginia, "What about New York?"

So, maybe the question isn't so much about the economy as it is about New York. We look forward to their responses.

It's Only A Matter Of Time

In just the past few years, nearly half a dozen states have voted to make it legal. Public polling on it has reversed and a majority of Americans (including a large majority of Virginians) now are in support of it.

It is one of the most important civil rights issues of our day.

What is "it" you ask? With all the media coverage and hyperventilation over New York's legislature voting to approve homosexual marriage, you would think that is the answer. But it is not.

"It" is actually school choice, the opportunity for school children to attend the school that best suits their educational needs. Yet, compared to the nearly daily media articles, plethora of news editorials and nearly constant television news cycle coverage of one state's legislature passage of same sex marriage, you wouldn't know that school choice is expanding far faster and is vastly more popular.

Wonder why?

It's quite simply. The political and media elites that are foaming at the mouth over same sex marriage, because they support it, aren't so fond of the idea that parents ought to choose where to send their children to school.

While homosexual organizations and proponents were celebrating their "victory" in New York, we began receiving media calls asking for comment about how that vote affects Virginia. Interestingly, when Pennsylvania passed school choice, no one called. When Arizona passed school choice, no one called. When Florida passed school choice, no one called. When Indiana passed school choice, no one called. When Wisconsin passed school choice, no one called.

When we released polling that indicated 76 percent of Virginians support education freedom, not a peep from the news media.

So let's take the same sex marriage message of some in the media and homosexual advocates to its logical conclusion: because one state, New York, has passed homosexual marriage, it's inevitable that all other states will follow suit. Because one recent media poll indicated that a majority of Americans support same-sex marriage, it's only a matter of time before it's legal everywhere. Because homosexual groups claim it's a "civil rights" issue, there can be no logical opposition.

If that's true, then I expect our Commonwealth's most ardent opponents of school choice, homosexual rights advocates such as Delegate David Englin (D-45, Alexandria) and Senator Dick Saslaw (D-35, Springfield), to carry the banner for education freedom very soon. After all, if one state has made it law and one poll says it's popular, well then, there's nothing anyone can do to stop it! I expect the editorial pages at the Washington Post, Richmond Times-Dispatch, Roanoke Times and Norfolk Virginian-Pilot to beat the drum for education choice any day now!

Yeah, I'm not holding my breath either.

If Charter Schools Make No Difference, Why The 40,000 Waiting List In New York?

Educrats and assorted opponents of school choice and competition love to point to statistics that show student achievement in charter schools is no greater than in government-run schools. Therefore, they demand that we stop "taking away resources" from public schools. (First, can we stop using the euphemism "resources"? It's taxpayer money, for Pete's sake! It doesn't come from the ground or trees or the river, where real, actual, put-to-use resources come from.)

Second, we know what they say about statistics. Third, and most important, if charter schools are so bad or indifferent, why do so many parents and students want in? In New York alone, there is a waiting list of 40,000 students trying to escape the government-run monopoly!

Unfortunately, New York, as does Virginia, has a cap on the amount of charter schools. Different formula, same result — restricting competition and choice as well as the variety of teaching methods and environments. The only thing it does produce is more student failure and teacher inadequacy. But there is hope for New York. Its Board of Regents Chancellor Merryl Tisch told Maura Walz of the blog Gotham Schools that she favors raising the charter school cap. There is hope in Virginia as well, since Governor-elect Bob McDonnell, his running mates Lt. Governor Bill Bolling and Attorney General-elect Ken Cuccinelli, and the increased GOP majority in the House of Delegates favor more school competition. With McDonnell's giant mandate, there are rumors of some big idea education reform legislation that may be proposed during the upcoming session of the General Assembly. After all, even President Barack Obama is in the odd position of being on McDonnell's side on this issue. 

For a good briefing on the actual value of charter schools, here's part one of an interview with Caroline Hoxby, Ph.D., the Scott and Donya Bommer Professor of Economics at Stanford University, conducted by the Show-Me Institute in May (for the other three parts, click on this YouTube link and the the "more info" link on the right):

If charter schools are so bad, why are is there a waiting list of 40,000 students in New York?

Virginia News Stand: December 1, 2009

Annotations & Elucidations Hope For Hollywood?

Almost all the news today is national in scope, and much of that is about culture. It appears now that the same-sex marriage drive in the Northeast has stalled. Starting with Maine's decisive ballot victory November 3 (another conservative victory that historic night almost unnoticed by the media), now the legislatures in New York and New Jersey have ground to a crawl their moves to put the issue to a vote. In the nation's capital, however, the city council there most certainly will approve a same-sex marriage measure. But a reluctant hero is emerging in Catholic Archbishop Donald W. Wuerl, who is telling the D.C. government that if you force this immorality on my faith, you can forget about Catholic Charities' help. The liberal hysteria is amazing.

In another battle in the culture war, Virginian Lisa Miller has been ordered, incredibly, by a Vermont judge, to cede full custody of her daughter to her former lesbian lover. Meanwhile, Pastor Rick Warren asks liberals if they think abortion is so bad it should be "rare," why not ban it?

In other news, the global warming hoax scandal is shedding still more light on the motives and evil mentality of its perpetrators (celebrating a man's death, for example) and we see a school without God. Yesterday, we posted a link to an article about Angelina Jolie calling President Obama a "socialist." Today, we find one about Sandra Bullock's "blessing to meet a Christian," (the woman she portrays in her hit movie Blind Side). Who knows? Maybe there's hope for Hollywood yet. 

News:

Jan. 12 Va. Senate elections to fill Cuccinelli, Stolle seats (Richmond Times-Dispatch)

Marshall to propose 'healthcare freedom' constitutional amendment (Washington Post Virginia Politics Blog)

GOP in 5th District to meet, choose route for '10 election (Roanoke Times)

National News:

Gay marriage vote stalls in N.J., N.Y. (Washington Times)

Lisa Miller Ordered to Hand Custody of Daughter to Former Lesbian Lover  (LifeSiteNews.com)

D.C. Council poised to legalize same-sex marriage (Washington Post)

Archbishop takes a reluctant turn in the spotlight (Washington Post)

Evangelical Pastor Rick Warren on abortion, sexuality and Obama (Politico.com)

Sandra Bullock: A blessing to meet, portray a real Christian (OneNewsNow.com)

E-mail reveal more than global-warming scam (OneNewsNow.com)

Tax increases may stall healthcare vote (OneNewsNow.com)

Long, bitter debate ahead in health care bill (AP/OneNewsNow.com)

Huckabee's White House hopes hurt by commutation (Washington Times)

Commentary:

Global Warming Hypocrisy (Matt Friedeman/Rightly Concerned Blog)

A School Without God (David P. Smith/Rightly Concerned Blog)

You Think ObamaCare Is Bad? Wait To You See The United Nations Convention On The Rights Of The Child!

If you think ceding your freedom to choose your doctor to the government is bad, or forcing medical professionals to perform services contrary to their religious beliefs (such as abortion) is reprehensible, or eliminating employees' rights to a secret ballot in determining union representation is undemocratic, or the suppression of free speech through the re-institution of the "fairness" doctrine is unconstitutional, or if any of the other numerous proposals of government consumption of individual and family rights under consideration by the fringe left that controls Washington, D.C., concerns you — as they all should — then just wait until you hear about the . . .

United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child.

If you think Washington controls too much of our lives now (not to mention what might happen in the next four years) wait until decisions about your child come to you from New York. No, the capital isn't reverting to the Big Apple, where it was when George Washington took the first presidential oath of office. But if the U.S. Senate approves the UNCRC, and the U.S. becomes a party to it, you may want to hesitate before you sign your children's permission slips or allow them to go to camp until you hear from the U.N.

In fact, the order won't come from U.N. HQ in New York, but from Geneva, Switzerland, where a U.N. commission will sit. These are the same clowns who gave us five-year-old masturbation.

Okay, enough from me. Let's turn it over to Terry Beatley of Lancaster, who is with ParentalRights.org, a Web site you should see to further educate yourself on the most serious assault on parental rights in American history.

The same folks that once put Syria in charge of its human rights commission and advocate for teaching five-year-olds masturbation, want to tell you how to raise your children.

Come this General Assembly, Delegate Brenda Pogge (R-96, Yorktown) will co-patron a resolution for Virginia to formally oppose this treaty's ratification by the U.S. Senate. If ratified, it will represent the greatest loss of state and national sovereignty in our nation's history.

There also is federal legislation: H.J. Resolution 42 and S.J. Resolution 16, the parental rights amendment, would guarantee the rights of parents to raise their children without government interference. Ask your representative and U.S. Senators Mark Warner (804-739-0247) and Jim Webb (804-771-2221) to co-sponsor this legislation, and for the senators to oppose the  the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child.

Following The Leader Off The Cliff

It's beyond lame, now . . . the automatic, reflexive response by Virginia's liberals that not only do we need more taxes but that we can afford them. Regarding the former, it's that the "government doesn't have enough money," as if the people it is sucking it from does. That's the problem we're facing now, right? People have less money. Too bad. Government elites want whatever it is you have left. Regarding the latter, whether it's Senate Majority Leader Dick Saslaw (D-35, Springfield) pitching higher gas taxes or now Governor Tim Kaine pleading  for higher unemployment insurance taxes on businesses, it's always something about Virginia's taxes aren't as high as a neighboring state's or the national average or states that begin with letters never chosen in the final round on Wheel of Fortune, therefore we can afford them. As if the fact that Virginia may happen to have a particular tax lower than North Carolina, Maryland or Utah makes a difference as to whether it's justifiable on the merits to raise it .

The latest in this nonsense is the aforementioned tax on businesses that funds unemployment insurance for laid-off workers. Last week, during its veto session, the General Assembly rejected the governor's attempt to accept federal "stimulus" money for extended unemployment insurance payments. The main argument against accepting the money was that, after the two year federal funding period, Virginia would have been obligated to continue the expenditures at a level necessitating a large tax increase on the people that create the jobs to begin with — businesses, including small businesses (often family owned) which create most jobs.

According to Governor Kaine, as reported in yesterday's Richmond Times-Dispatch, "Virginia employers pays the second lowest annual amount of unemployment taxes in the nation." By that logic, let's raise every tax in Virginia in which we are in the bottom 10 percentile. Or 20 percentile . . . or heck, make it the 50 percentile. Don't want to feel too fortunate, here, do we?

In effect, they're saying let's give up our advantage in order to tax more people because other states are doing it. But isn't the idea to create an economic environment to recruit new business to Virginia and to encourage start-ups? But these liberals are saying, "We're not taxing our residents enough. If other states can do it, so can we!" Worse, they believe it!

Turns out though, Virginia isn't such a low tax state after all, the perception perhaps perpetuated as a ready excuse to raise taxes (we're under taxed, so ante up more). According to Scott Hodge of the nonpartisan Tax Foundation, Virginia's overall tax burden is one of the nation's worst, rivaling notoriously high-taxing New York, New Jersey, California and, even, "Taxachussetts." (So much for our low-tax advantage.) Hodges spoke recently on Freedom & Prosperity Radio and you can hear the interview here with other interesting statistics.

Either way — whether they believe there is "room" to raise taxes compared to other states or they selectively pick and choose taxes that are lower here by comparison in order to raise a sense that an increase won't hurt — Virginia's tax-and-spenders insist on following other states rather than leading. Never mind that it's following them right off the economic cliff.

Clintons Creep Into Virginia

The Clintons are looking to expand their political empire into Virginia. While most thought the 2009 Democrat nomination for governor would be between two established Virginia pols, Delegate Brian Moran (D-46, Alexandria) and Senator Creigh Deeds (D-25, Bath), it looks like a complete outsider to Old Dominion politics, Terry McAuliffe, the very top Clinton lieutenant — he was handpicked by Bill to run the DNC and was Hillary's presidential campaign chairman — wants to usurp the nomination from both Moran and Deeds. McAuliffe, a native New Yorker, while never active in Virginia politics, doubtless is familiar to many, showing up on any and all political television shows, even on Fox News (to the chagrin of The Angry Left). While he's floated the idea for some time, he pretty much gave away his intentions last night to a Richmond Times-Dispatch reporter:

McAuliffe, 51, who lives in McLean, is considering seeking the Democratic nomination for governor in 2009. He said he will make a decision after the Nov. 4 election, but he indicated he likely would run.

So, the Clintons want to creep into Virginia? Arkansas and New York aren't enough. There is a method to the madness here: Hillary lost the Virginia primary, huge. But suppose the Democrat presidential nomination is open again in 2012? Having a friendly governor here to swing Virginia's Democrat delegates her way would be significant. All of a sudden, Delegate Moran and Senator Deeds have a lot more to be concerned about than only each other.

McAuliffe has his baggage, though. He's never been fully vetted by the Mainstream Media for a get-rich-quick scheme in the Global Crossing bankruptcy scandal; and the media, for all his thousands of appearances on their networks, have never questioned him about the widely known Teamsters money laundering scheme he hatched; nor have authorities fully investigated him for it, even though several Teamster bosses went down for their participation. (Maybe because it was during Bill's presidency?) Other McAuliffe money scandals, where he enriched himself, are well documented here, at Counter Punch. He's escaped scrutiny thus far. Charmed? Or just well protected?

But does he want to risk all of it coming out in a gubernatorial campaign to a state he has little connection? For Clinton creep, apparently yes.