Norfolk Virginian-Pilot

"Close The Window, Pull Down The Shade"

Earlier today, the Virginia Senate voted to pass SB 617, a bill to repeal the 2012 ultrasound update to the abortion informed consent law. The version of the story you'll probably hear is simply that the bill passed on a 20-20 vote with Lieutenant Governor Ralph Northam breaking the tie in favor of the bill. What really happened though involves multiple votes, a win and then a loss and then another loss, procedural gymnastics, mistakes and tears. But worst of all, the silencing of one senator's conscience by the strong arm of his caucus. Let me back up though and tell you the whole story. Even before SB 617 passed out of the Senate Education and Health Committee on Thursday, The Family Foundation met with lawmakers, lining up votes in favor of life and against SB 617. As today approached, we were cautiously optimistic that we had the necessary votes to defeat SB 617.

When the bill came up on the floor of the Senate, Senator Mamie Locke (D-2, Hampton) urged senators to vote on the side of John Stewart and Rachel Maddow and repeal this "shameful" law. Senator Locke quoted Family Foundation testimony given in committee stating that an ultrasound is a powerful "window into the womb" and referencing that testimony, she urged the Senate to "close the window, pull down the shade."

In other words: Do not, under any circumstance, show a woman a picture of the life she is carrying. Make no mistake — despite the opponent's rhetoric to the contrary — this bill is about hiding critical information from women.

After much debate, the vote was called and the bill failed, 18-22. The vote was party-line with the exception of Senator John Watkins (R-10, Powhatan) who voted in favor of the repeal and Senators Chuck Colgan (D-29, Manassas), Phil Puckett (D-38, Tazewell) and Toddy Puller (D-36, Mount Vernon) who voted against the repeal. This vote line up struck us as odd because Senator Puller has never (in our recollection) voted pro-life. Sure enough, a few minutes later, she made a motion to reconsider the vote by which SB 617 failed to pass (this is a fairly common procedure when someone accidentally votes the wrong way). The bill's passage was reconsidered and the vote sudenly was 20-20 (Senators Colgan and Puller switched) and  Lieutenant Governor Northam broke the tie in favor of the repeal.

Senator Colgan confirmed with media (see Norfolk Virginian-Pilot) and pro-life lobbyists alike that his vote switch was entirely accidental. He even filed a "yellow slip" in which the official record reflects that he intended to vote no (but that cannot change the outcome of a vote).

Because of Senate Rule 48a, a bill can only be reconsidered once. Therefore, Senator Colgan's mistake would stand unless unanimous consent to temporarily suspend the rule was given by the entire chamber to allow Senator Colgan to change his vote. Proving his sincerity, a very emotional Senator Colgan petitioned his Democrat caucus colleagues to give him unanimous consent to vote his conscience and right his incorrect vote. Senator Watkins, who was on the prevailing side, as required, made the motion to reconsider the vote, but it failed 37-1. The sacrificial lamb for the caucus, Senator Locke, voted no. Clearly, among Senate Democrat leaders, orthodoxy to the abortion industry took precedent over the conscience of even one of their own members. Senator Colgan was not allowed to vote his conscience.

But Senate Republicans were determined to allow Senator Colgan his voice. The next bill up for debate was a bill dear to the hearts of the Democrat caucus — a bill to increase the minimum wage. However, the bill needed unanimous consent for it to be moved to "third read" and properly before the Senate for a vote on final passage (a common procedure). Senate Minority Leader Tommy Norment (R-3, Williamsburg) took to the floor to make the point that he could vote against the motion requiring unanimous consent and thus defeat the bill singlehandedly. Senator Norment impressed upon the Democratic caucus the inappropriateness of their stifling the conscience of Senator Colgan and reminded them that if the Republican caucus wanted to retaliate, that they had the perfect opportunity by singlehandedly defeating the minimum wage bill. Taking the high road, Senator Norment made his point and then encouraged the Republican caucus to be statesmen and not vote in a retaliatory fashion. However, the point was clear — the Democratic caucus had played dirty today and their shameful actions would not be ignored.

SB 617 will probably be heard next in the House Courts of Justice Committee where it will likely meet its demise (the same fate as a similar House bill, HB 1056). Senate Democrats are already claiming the "win" on the ultrasound repeal bill's Senate passage, conveniently ignoring that there were more members of the Senate today who opposed the ultrasound bill than supported it. It was only by mistake that it passed. Words cannot express the emotional roller coaster of today and the extreme disappointment felt when Senator Colgan was not allowed to vote his conscience. Please thank the 19 Republican Senators, Senator Puckett, and yes, Senator Colgan, for their principled stand for life.

On a positive note, SB 618, a bill to force taxpayers to subsidize abortions in Virginia's federally-mandated health exchange, failed to pass the Senate on a vote of 18-22 (Senators Colgan and Puckett joined the Senate Republican caucus to defeat the bill).

Vote For Question 1! New Ad, Editorials In Favor Of Property Rights Amendment!

On November 6, Virginians have a lot of important decisions to make at the ballot box. There are choices for President, U.S. Senate and House of Representatives. In some cities, there will be choices for mayor, city council and school board. But there is another important decision to make that does not involve a candidate: Virginians will have an opportunity to amend the Virginia Constitution to protect private property rights. Protecting private property rights has become an urgent and priority issue for The Family Foundation and other concerned organizations since 2005 when the U.S. Supreme Court incredibly ruled in Kelo v. New London, Conn. that the U.S. Constitution did not protect one's private property rights in the case of a taking by a locality. (Funny, other protections, such as free speech, seem to trump state and local laws.)

Since then, state after state has enacted constitutional protections. Virginia, meanwhile, dragged its feet for seven years as the General Assembly, session after session, found ways to deny and delay its citizens' the opportunity to speak on this vital issue — and by the trick of a parliamentary maneuver came within a vote of killing it again this year.

Property rights are vital because without the guarantee of private property, there is no check on government's ability to grow in size or power. Without private property, you have nowhere from which to speak, worship or work. Without it, government is unchecked in its ability to do anything it wants, including taking property only after you have increased the value of it, as has happened time after time across Virginia.

The amendment specifically prohibits what happened in Connecticut — perhaps the most blatant abuse of governmental power in recent years — when New London took private property (in this case homes) and not only did not use it for a public purpose, such as a school or road, but gave the homes to a private company!  New London said the company could do something better with the property and create more tax revenue for the city. It's always about revenue to the government, isn't it?

So, who could be against this amendment? Precisely! Local governments, which use your tax dollars to lobby against your rights. They claim this amendment will prohibit economic development. That's a peculiar argument because securing private property is the best way to promote economic development. What entrepreneur wants to build a business if he or she knows the city or county will decide it can do something better with that land and take it for themselves?

Only local government can think this way because local government bureaucrats think their job is to run their county or city as their own powerful, controlling entity, and not as stewards of your money and rights. This amendment — which among its guarantees provides that government can only take the amount of land it needs when it truly has a public use; and that it must provide just compensation for that land, including for lost access to the property and for lost business profit — will be a necessary brake on that attitude. It will foster true economic growth by guaranteeing property rights as well as limiting government power. It will be another stroke for the liberty intended for us by the Founding Fathers.

We urge a vote for Question 1, to protect our basic liberty and rights to own property and to check the growth and power of government.

We're not alone. The amendment was put on the ballot by a bipartisan vote in the General Assembly. A coalition of organizations, including The Family Foundation, The Virginia Farm Bureau, Americans for Prosperity, The Virginia Agribusiness Council, Virginia Forestry Association, National Federation of Independent Business, and the Virginia Property Rights Coalition all are working hard for its ratification. In addition, two major papers, which typically have different editorial views, recently endorsed Question 1: The Richmond Times-Dispatch and the Norfolk Virginian-Pilot.

Click on the image to hear this radio ad by the Virginia Farm Bureau. Then spread the word about Question 1, Virginia's Property Rights Amendment, by sharing this post, logo and radio spot!

There has only been one public poll released on Question 1, and it was done by Public Policy Polling, a Democrat polling firm based in North Carolina. While its results were favorable, it is from September and the local government opposition has been working in high gear ever since. (The Castle Coalition, a national property rights group, has a take on the poll here.)

Perhaps the biggest opponent of the amendment is unawareness. With the presidential and senate campaigns sucking up all the political oxygen this fall, most Virginians are not aware the question is on the ballot. When they find out, they are supportive. So the mission is to get the word out! Above is a radio ad released yesterday by The Farm Bureau. Please share it and this link with as many people as you can by e-mail, Facebook, Twitter and other social media. After seven years, this is our one and only chance to protect our property rights in Virginia and to further secure our liberty and restrain government growth and power.

Board Votes To Delay Adoption Regulations 30 Days, But No Change Is Expected

The Virginia Board of Social Services yesterday voted to delay the implementation of recently approved adoption regulations under the threat of costly litigation from the ACLU and Equality Virginia (see The Norfolk Virginian-Pilot). In a not unexpected decision, the vote will allow for 30 days of additional comment, beginning September 12. As we noted yesterday, however, with Governor Bob McDonnell and Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli opposing the old proposed regulations on several grounds, opponents will only succeed in dragging out the process longer and perhaps set the stage for a legal action challenging Virginia law. In April, the VBSS voted 7-2 to adopt new regulations for Virginia's private adoption services. The regulations approved did not include a proposal that would have discriminated against faith-based adoption agencies by forcing them to adopt children to homosexuals. Despite having nearly two years to make their case through the regulatory process, organizations such as Equality Virginia and the ACLU claimed that the decision to not include the discriminatory language was done so without adequate information (see the AP via wral.com).

After losing the vote in April, Equality Virginia and the ACLU threatened to sue if they did not get an additional public comment period (see The Richmond Times-Dispatch). During the initial public comment time, more than 1,000 Virginians commented on the proposed regulations, with only around 30 in favor. On average, proposed regulations receive less than two dozen comments.

At yesterday's meeting, a host of representatives from the homosexual lobby spoke in favor of the additional comment period (see Washington Post Virginia Politics Blog). Some of the speakers honestly stated that they believed allowing homosexuals to adopt should take precedence over the religious liberty rights of faith-based organizations.

When the comment period is opened we will encourage you to make your voice heard on this important issue. It is clear that homosexual groups intend to use the additional 30 days to get as much publicity as possible. We must make sure that the Board of Social Services hears from Virginians who believe in religious liberty.

Admin's notes: Family Foundation staff is quoted in every cited link in the post above. Please click those links to read further. In addition, we were cited on the National Organization For Marriage Blog (click here).

Also, Family Foundation Vice President for Policy and Communications Chris Freund was featured in coverage from WTVR/CBS6 in Richmond (immediately below) and on Charlottesville's WVIR/NBC29 (click this link)

30 days more. The homosexual lobby and ACLU couldn't wait to slow down the process. 

Planned Parenthood Unmasks Its Own Ignoble Goals And Its Unholy Alliance With Eastern Virginia Medical School

This morning, the Virginia Department of Health held an Informal Fact Finding Conference on Planned Parenthood of Southeastern Virginia's Certificate of Public Need application to expand its Virginia Beach center to include two operating rooms. This hearing comes on the heels of the department's initial denial of Planned Parenthood's request. The issue of the expansion has been the subject of media attention (see our commentary) since The Norfolk Virginian-Pilot uncovered ties between people involved with the center and Dr. Steven Brigham in March. This morning's proceedings operated much like a court hearing, in which Doug Harris, the Health Department's adjudication officer, heard testimony from counsel on both sides, as well as from witnesses on Planned Parenthood's behalf. At the hearing, Planned Parenthood first claimed its expansion would be for the purpose of surgically treating conditions such as chronic pelvic pain, suspicious breast lumps and incontinence, specifically for low-income, uninsured women.

But while discussing the details of the regulatory and licensing process, Harris stated:

Operating rooms are approved in Virginia and are fungible. There are no subsets of ORs. An OR is an OR is an OR under the regulatory umbrella. If you did something outside your COPN authorizing, there’s nothing we can do about it because the license is for a general OR.

Harris then pointedly asked Planned Parenthood's legal counsel, Steve Rosenthal, what its intention is regarding second and third trimester abortions. Rosenthal paused and said, "There is no intent about third trimester abortions."

What about second trimester abortions? The attorney seemed to cleverly dodge the question and provide a glimpse into the real motive for Planned Parenthood's expansion — more abortions. Finally! A shred of honesty from Planned Parenthood — an implicit admission of its goal to perform second trimester abortions if its COPN application is approved.

Rosenthal's statement contradicts what had been Planned Parenthood's public position to this point. When asked in May 2011 if it would perform second or third trimester abortions (a procedure not allowed in abortion centers in Virginia) if its application was granted, Dr. Bob Rashti (Planned Parenthood's CEO at that time) promised The Virginian-Pilot, "As long as I’m CEO, certainly not." Conveniently, Dr. Rashti retired on July 1 and the center's new CEO, Patrick Hurd, has not issued a similar guarantee. Mr. Hurd was noticeably absent at today's hearing, while Dr. Rashti was present as a "volunteer."

Of course, none of this comes as any surprise to the pro-life community and today's testimony simply confirms The Family Foundation's suspicions regarding Planned Parenthood's intent. Abby Johnson, a former director of a Planned Parenthood abortion center who is now pro-life, sheds light on Planned Parenthood goals:

The bottom line about Planned Parenthood is that it's about all the numbers. … there is an abortion quota … 98 percent of Planned Parenthood services to pregnant women are abortion services. There is only money for Planned Parenthood in abortion services. … My superiors actually instructed me to increase the number of abortions at my facility.

Not surprisingly, Planned Parenthood of America recently ordered all of its centers to begin performing abortions or lose affiliation with the parent group. In keeping with Ms. Johnson's account of the inner workings of Planned Parenthood, it is not hard to see that the Virginia Beach COPN application is just another attempt by a Planned Parenthood abortion center to increase its abortion numbers and, as a result, its profits. It’s unfortunate that Planned Parenthood chooses to use low-income and uninsured women as a marketable facade for its real motives.

Planned Parenthood took the next hour of the COPN hearing to cast a haze over its brief glimpse of honesty. It presented five witnesses (the surgical coordinator, a board member, a client, the medical director/doctor, and Dr. Rashti), all of whom reinforced the non-abortion surgical needs for low-income/uninsured women in the Virginia Beach area — a clever mask for an ignoble cause.

We discovered another interesting development today — Planned Parenthood's relationship with taxpayer-funded Eastern Virginia Medical School. Dr. Thomas Kimble, Planned Parenthood's Virginia Beach Medical Director as well as a professor at EVMS, said:

[EVMS has] had to refer patients from the academic center to Planned Parenthood. ... We have a formal rotation for our medical students to rotate through Planned Parenthood.

Taxpayer dollars funneled to the university should not be used to support Planned Parenthood and its destruction of human life. This is an unacceptable practice and The Family Foundation will discuss how to correct this issue with state lawmakers.

When asked to describe the Virginia Beach Planned Parenthood center, Dr. Rashti said, "Our organization is not driven by financial goals, but driven by reaching low-income women. That is our mission.” He later clarified, "That is our basic mission."

More accurately, that is what it says its mission is. There is no other way to couch it — Planned Parenthood is laser-focused on abortion and any attempt to disguise that simply is a public smokescreen. While a decision regarding the final status of its COPN application will not be rendered until February 2012 at the earliest, Planned Parenthood must be stopped at all costs from performing second trimester abortions in its Virginia Beach center and further destroying innocent human life.

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.

History Bothers ACLU, Atheists, But Not Giles Country School Board

Tuesday, the Giles County School Board voted to display the Ten Commandments in its schools, along with several other historical documents, such as the Declaration of Independence (see Norfolk Virginian-Pilot). This decision came despite threats from the self-styled defender of freedom ACLU and the atheist Freedom from Religion Coalition which, among other activities, tried to stop the issuance of the Mother Teresa stamp last year (see RealCatholicBlog.com ). Somehow, these two groups reason, displays of these historical documents are "unconstitutional." Now, they may file suit to stop the displays.

Unfortunately, the legal precedent for the display of historical documents is anything but clear. In fact, the U.S. Supreme Court, on the same day in 2005, issued two separate opinions on the display of the Ten Commandments. One it deemed constitutional, the other not. In an effort to "split the baby," the court showed that, at least in its opinion, motives for displaying historical documents are more important than the words on the documents.

The primary difference between the two cases (Van Orden v. Perry and McCreary County, Kentucky, et al. v. ACLU), according to Justice Steven Breyer, the swing vote in each decision, was that the Kentucky displays stemmed from a governmental effort "substantially to promote religion," while the other (in Texas) served a "mixed but primarily non-religious purpose."

To come to that conclusion the justices had to determine the motives of those involved in the displays, something that many legal analysts argue is difficult to pin down. Justice Sandra Day O’Conner, who voted against the displays in both cases, is no longer on the court.

When the display of the Ten Commandments in Giles County was initially removed, both students at the schools and droves of citizens protested. Testimony at school board meetings overwhelmingly supported reposting them. Officials determined that it would be constitutional if it was included with other documents of historical significance to the United States.

Of course, including other historical documents is likely to provide little comfort to those bent on expunging our history — and the public square — of any hint of Christianity. It is very clear, from this case to the many other cases in federal court dealing with prayer at public meetings and school graduations, to the use of public facilities by religious groups, that a handful of secularists have absolutely no interest in historical accuracy or any reference to religious heritage. As one federal court said, the biggest threat may be that children in schools might actually read the Ten Commandments and obey them.

Recently, a student at a public school in Texas ignored a federal judge and led her cheering classmates in prayer at their graduation (a subsequent decision by a higher court overturned the judge's decision). Now, Giles County has voted to thumb its nose at the ACLU. Here's hoping that we've reached a point where the citizens of our nation have decided that the ACLU doesn't speak for everyone.

Virginia Beach Abortionist Exposed In Virginian-Pilot Article!

An explosive article on the front page of today’s Norfolk Virginian Pilot rips the cover off a Virginia Beach abortion center owned by a New Jersey doctor under investigation for a host of questionable activities. The article also reveals that doctors associated with the clinic also are on staff at Planned Parenthood centers in Virginia. The story is more evidence of the need for abortion center regulation in Virginia. The Family Foundation has informed legislators, media and the public about Dr. Steven Brigham's ties to Virginia for some time now, and reminded lawmakers last month during the General Assembly debate over abortion center regulations, which eventually passed on a historic 21-20 Senate vote. Brigham lost his license to practice medicine in New Jersey recently for beginning second and third trimester abortions in that state and then transporting the patients to his Maryland facility to complete the procedure, but his history of unethical behavior dates back at least to the early-90s.

According to NJ.com:

On Aug. 13 [2010], three women seeking second-trimester abortions followed physician Steven Brigham from his Camden County office to a Maryland clinic he owns, according to claims by the attorney general’s office. They were wracked with contractions as they traveled because Brigham had given them labor-inducing drugs a day or two earlier, the state said. In Maryland, the women met another doctor, who performed their procedures. One of the women, 18, needed emergency surgery at a hospital to treat a lacerated bowel and uterus.

Family Foundation research found that Brigham's Virginia abortion centers (Virginia Beach and Fairfax) advertised similar options on its websites, stating that they would begin the procedure in the Virginia clinics and then transport the patients to other states "for the completion of the procedure." Virginia requires second and third trimester abortions to be done in hospitals for the health and safety of the women involved.

Another op-ed on abortion center regulations by Family Foundation President Victoria Cobb, in Tuesday's Richmond Times-Dispatch, tells some of the story. She also published an op-ed on this issue in the Roanoke Times a few days earlier.

Today's Pilot article goes deeper, connecting doctors who worked at Brigham's Virginia Beach facilities with Planned Parenthood. Our research found that one, Dr. David Peters, lists his business address as one of Planned Parenthood's Richmond abortion centers. In the New Jersey incident, Planned Parenthood attempted to distance itself from Brigham. A spokesperson said it "had nothing to do with" Brigham. In Virginia, nothing could be further from the truth.

Peters defends the Brigham clinic in today's article, even denying that the clinic does what its website advertises. He does admit, however, that instead of referring women to a hospital for a second or third trimester abortion, as required by law for safety reasons, Brigham's abortion centers refer them to other states to avoid hospitals. Either way, it's clear that the health and safety of patients isn't paramount.

Another doctor the article named as working for Brigham in Virginia has a long history of restrictions on, and suspensions of, his license to practice medicine in Virginia, yet presently holds a current and active Virginia license. The article only touches on the mistakes made by Dr. Craig Cropp, but our research found at least 22 separate incidents since 1998 where he put the life of patients in jeopardy, from breaking instruments and losing pieces inside a woman’s abdominal cavity, to misdiagnosing ectopic pregnancies, to perforating a woman’s uterus (and blaming that one on his bifocals). Incredibly, Dr. Cropp still is licensed to practice medicine here and splits his time between Brigham's two Virginia abortion centers.

Unfortunately, the Commonwealth of Virginia cannot revoke Dr. Brigham's license to practice medicine in Virginia because he doesn't have a medical license in Virginia. In fact, without the New Jersey story and subsequent research by The Family Foundation, it is unlikely anyone would know about Dr. Brigham's Virginia abortion centers because the Commonwealth does not currently regulate or inspect abortion centers. Today's Virginian-Pilot article is the first investigative piece in the Virginia media since the New Jersey story broke in the fall.

The abortion industry claims abortion is a safe procedure in no need of oversight. Today's story about Dr. Brigham and his abortion centers is just one example of why abortion center safety regulations are desperately needed in Virginia. While Planned Parenthood, NARAL and their allies in the legislature claimed during debate that their centers are safe, they knew that Dr. Brigham was operating in Virginia. Your head has to be buried pretty deep in the sand to believe anything Planned Parenthood has to say about the safety of abortion after today’s shocking article.

Cuccinelli Schools Clueless Demagogue Chris Matthews

Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli appeared on MSNBC's Hardball with Chris Matthews Thursday night to discuss the proposed Repeal Amendment (see Norfolk Virginian-Pilot), a mechanism that would allow two-thirds of the states to nullify a federal law or regulation (see Speaker Bill Howell's op-ed at Cato.org). Because A) he utterly disassembled Matthews, as he did Eliot "Client Number 9" Spitzer a couple of weeks ago on CNN, and B) because no one watches MSNBC, we thought we'd post the video for your entertainment. These things often are painful to watch. The liberal, in this case Matthews, either cannot grasp the issues and/or ignores them and makes, as the Attorney General accurately states, "assumptions" to suit his argument. In other words, the old leftist tactic of putting his negative words in your mouth and trying to force you to defend the absurd proposition. In this case, Matthews continue to ram the proposition that anyone who favors the repeal amendment was appealing to Johnny Reb and the redneck South. Nevermind that the U.S. Constitution was created by the states for the states, not to cede every element of life to a small band of federal government bureaucrats.

Never fear. Attorney General Cuccinelli would have nothing of it and, in the process, took apart and exposed the visibly disgusted Matthews — who plainly indicated his elitist belief that only Washington, D.C., can make good decisions — and revealed him as both of the above: clueless and a demagogue.

Update: The AG is saying tonight that the federal court ruling on the constitutionality of Obamacare will be issued Monday. Stay tuned. If he has a news conference, we will be there to cover it.

Enjoy the video (9:05):

A little knowledge is dangerous, Chris. Perhaps a little preparation next time? Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli takes apart elitist Chris Matthews. 

Historic Elections: But Why?

The results of yesterday's elections are historic in many obvious ways. Unlike 1994, Virginians participated in making that history by turning over three liberal incumbent members of the House of Representatives (see Washington Post), including a 28-year veteran previoulsy thought unbeatable, someone who hadn't had a competitive race in years. So we congratulate three friends of The Family Foundation who won their races yesterday and are on their way to Congress:

» Congressman-elect Morgan Griffith (Newsweek's The Gaggle blog), a 100 percent TFF voter as a member of the House of Delegates;

» Congressman-elect Robert Hurt (Danville Register & Bee), a 91 percent TFF voter as a member of the Virginia Senate; and

» Congressman-elect Scott Rigell (Norfolk Virginian-Pilot), a donor to our organization.

In the 11th district, liberal incumbent Gerry Connolly has a narrow lead over conservative challenger Keith Fimian, a vote likely to be recounted (Wall Street Journal Washington Wire blog). Pending that outcome, eight of Virginia's 11 Representatives are Republican. We were pleased to participate in the voter education and get-out-the-vote efforts in these districts. Some of you may have received our GOTV phone calls over the weekend.

In some ways, though, the elections went beyond politics. While the national and state media focus on Congressional outcomes, something happened a bit below the surface that is even more historic — and perhaps longer term.

For example, at least 19 state legislative bodies, including those in Wisconsin, New Hampshire, Iowa, North Carolina and Ohio flipped partisan control to Republicans (John Hood at National Review's The Corner blog and Ryan Beckwith at CQ Politics' The Eye blog). In fact, the North Carolina Legislature is Republican for the first time since 1870. The Alabama legislature is Republican for the first time since 1876.

I don't tell you that to trumpet Republicans, but because our sister family policy council organizations inform us that many of those elected yesterday support pro-family policies. These organizations ran campaigns similar to our Winning Matters 2009 program and saw pro-life, pro-family candidates win across the board. More important than simply electing people of one particular party, citizens in these states elected pro-family conservatives.

Possibly more telling, voters in Iowa defeated three Supreme Court judges instrumental in imposing homosexual marriage on that state against the will of the people via judicial fiat (New York Times). It is the first time since judges have been on the ballot in Iowa (1962) that they have been defeated on Election Day. Once again, when the issue of marriage is put to the people, traditional marriage wins.

Now, the question is, will the message sent by the voters yesterday carry over into next year's crucial Virginia Senate elections? Will party leaders get the message that motivates voters and give us candidates that are unapologetically pro-life and pro-family? Will Virginia follow the lead of other states that brought wholesale change to their legislatures? Will party leaders endorse incumbents for the sake of "party unity" or listen to the voters? Time will tell if they truly got the message.

HHS Attempted To Coverup Its Own Research: Abstinence Education Works

The reaction to Tuesday's announcement that Governor Bob McDonnell has applied for federal funds for abstinence-centered education has been intense (see Washinton Post Virginia Politics Blog). As you would suspect, Planned Parenthood and NARAL Pro-Choice Virginia have opened rhetorical fire on the governor, as have several leftist blogs and commentators. If you read the comments at the end of newspaper articles (and unless you have a thick skin I wouldn't) you would think the decision to help our teenagers delay sexual activity until marriage is a conspiracy to bring back chastity belts. You may be running into some of the same misinformed rhetoric in your circles, much of it based on false claims or outright deception. Of course, those who profit from risky sexual behavior, Virginia's abortion industry, are viscerally opposed to the idea that teenagers can control themselves. One legislator who works closely with Planned Parenthood and NARAL carried this message (see Norfolk Virginian-Pilot):

The reality is with teenagers their hormones come into play, and abstinence-only doesn't always work.

Then again, if they can be taught effective ways of postponing sexual activity it cuts into the abortion industry's profits.

But the primary argument has been that "abstinence education doesn’t work," "parents don't support abstinence education," or "it’s naive to think that teenagers can be abstinent." None of those arguments, according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, are correct. In fact, this year a study paid for by HHS, and its own recent survey, found that abstinence education is highly effective and widely supported by parents and teenagers (Washington Post).

The HHS survey released late last month (see here) found that 70 percent of parents agreed that it is "against [their] values for [their] adolescents to have sexual intercourse before marriage" and that "having sexual intercourse is something only married people should do." Adolescent beliefs, according to the survey, were similar.

More interestingly, HHS buried the survey results and was forced to release it to the public only after a deluge of Freedom of Information Act requests (as reported by Mark Tapscott of the Washington Examiner's Beltway Confidential). Why, one must ask, would HHS not want people to know the results of taxpayer funded research — results that show Americans want and support abstinence before marriage?

Let’s face it, the battle over sex education is indeed a battle of worldviews and a battle for the hearts, minds, and bodies of our children. The fact is that abstinence centered programs do work and they are making a difference — science is showing that. It’s up to us to get the word out.

We hope that if you haven't already, that you please thank Governor McDonnell for taking this strong stand on abstinence education funding by clicking here to e-mail his office. Abstinence opponents are well-funded and are on the attack. We have to show the governor that the families of Virginia appreciate his action. Please contact him today.

A Floor Not A Ceiling: Governor McDonnell Explains Withdrawal From Race To The Top

Last week, Governor Bob McDonnell withdrew Virginia from the federal government's Race To The Top program (Norfolk Virginian-Pilot), which provides millions of dollars in grant funding to public education. However, the inevitable federal strings come with those millions. In this case, the deal breaker was the adoption of federal academic standards that are weaker than our own Standards of Learning. As the governor told Joe Scarborough on MSNBC yesterday, standards should be a floor, not a ceiling. Of course, the federal government's involvement in local education is a problem in and of itself — good intentions and incentives aside, it shouldn't bribe states and localities with other people's tax dollars for a one-size-fits-all approach. (Instead, how about letting the states — the people — keep the money to begin with, or using the money to balance the budget?) Here's the governor explaining his reasons himself:

Governor McDonnell: Virginia won't be bought off by the feds, not even for a couple hundred million dollars!

Virginia News Stand: May 10, 2010

Annotations & Elucidations And They Say Nothing Happens On Monday

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

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

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

News

*Virginia prayer reversal blasted (Washington Jewish Week)

Police chaplains wary of Va. program (Washington Post)

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

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

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

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

Saxman now a lobbyist (Staunton News Leader)

National News

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

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

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

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

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

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

Analysis

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

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

Commentary

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

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

Virginia News Stand: May 8, 2010

Annotations & Elucidations Weekend Edition

Wow! It looks like there was public prayer in Fredericksburg and the city is still standing. Amazing! Who would've thought? In other news sure to frighten liberals, the feds asked for and received more time to respond to Virginia's defense of its Health Care Freedom Act. Hmmm. Haven't all the experts said Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli doesn't have a chance? So, then, why do the G-men need more time? 

On the other hand, U.Va. snapped in line quickly, promising to turn over all documents the AG has requested in the case of former university professor Michael Mann, one of the main characters in the "Climate-gate" scandal, in which "global warming" scientists admitted they made up facts and concealed others to manipulate date and public perception — and, more importantly — public policy (i.e., job-killing taxes and cumbersome regulations). Meanwhile, Governor Bob McDonnell announced that transportation meetings now will be streamed online as well as members of a commission to recommend streamlining government. That should be news only when the recommendations, if any, are put into effect, as we've seen governor after governor put commissions in place. Nothing much ever results from them.

Nationally, Dems are worried stiff over two long-held House seats in which there are special elections this month. Many think they could be bellwethers for November.  

News

Prayers are shared with no complaints (Fredericksburg Free Lance-Star)

Online-schools firm hires former lawmaker as lobbyist (Richmond Times-Dispatch)

State has teeth but rarely bites schools suspected of cheating (Norfolk Virginian-Pilot)

Bedford student sues after suspension over 'sexting' (Lynchburg News & Advance)

Feds given more time to respond to Virginia health care suit (Washington Post Virginia Politics Blog)

U.Va. plans to comply with Cuccinelli subpoena (Washington Post Virginia Politics Blog)

Cuccinelli plans to propose legal changes in wake of U.Va. lacrosse killing (Washington Post Virginia Politics Blog)

McDonnell names commission to reshape, shrink government (Washington Post Virginia Politics Blog)

Gingrich to join McDonnell in Richmond to talk about health care (Washington Post Virginia Politics Blog)

McDonnell announces transportation meetings will be streamed online (Washington Post Virginia Politics Blog)

National News

Dems may abandon House race in Hawaii (AP/GOPUSA.com)

Dems fear losing four-decade grip on Pa. seat (AP/GOPUSA.com)

Graham prays at Pentagon, says 'Islam got a pass' (AP/GOPUSA.com)

Palin endorses Fiorina in California Senate race (AP/GOPUSA.com)

Ariz. governor rejects delay of immigration law (AP/GOPUSA.com)

Lawmakers: Revoke citizenship of terrorists (AP/GOPUSA.com)

Wall Street regulations stagger ahead (AP/GOPUSA.com)

Commentary

Debt-Deflation-Contagion Panic: It's a Bloody Mess (Larry Kudlow/GOPUSA.com)

Leftist Turnout is what Motivates Obama (Dick Morris/GOPUSA.com)

Misperceptions and Media Bungles (Matt Towery/GOPUSA.com)

Fox Entertainment's Dung Pile (Brent Bozell/GOPUSA.com)

The Problem With the NFL (Oliver North/GOPUSA.com)

The Go-Fly List for Terrorists (Michelle Malkin/GOPUSA.com)

How Dare Arizonans Try To Protect Themselves? (David Limbaugh/GOPUSA.com)

Arizona: Been There, Done That (Harris Sherline/GOPUSA.com)

Virginia News Stand: May 4, 2010

Annotations & Elucidations Ashcroft Envy?

Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli has reminded us of a move by then-U.S. Attorney General John Ashcroft in 2002, who had the topless female Spirit of Justice statue covered in the Great Hall of the Department of Justice. In Mr. Cuccinelli's case, he wanted to issue a new lapel pin with a modified Seal of the Commonwealth, which features an exposed breast of the Roman goddess Virtus, that would be fully clothed. He said it is a replica of an old version of the seal. Knowing the AG's love of history, that must be true. Yet, the ensuing media racket persuaded him to revert to the standard issue. Unsurprisingly, the same people who have created this disproportionate distraction over this incredibly minor deal are the same ones hammering him for "distracting and frivolous" actions fighting the EPA and ObamaCare, though that is what he is sworn to do — uphold Virginia law. But blowing up minutia to cover for a lack of substance is never a consideration for the left.

In the News: The prayer State Police Chaplain prayer policy continues to make news, even nationally, and we're along for the ride in the three of the first four links below. The AG makes headlines for other reasons, as well. He has a 100-day review in the Richmond Times-Dispatch (where you'll find more Family Foundation quotes) and he's made more national headlines requesting — under Virginia law — documents from a former U.Va. professor who may have been involved in deceptive "science" and defrauded the commonwealth out of hundreds of thousands of dollars in grant money.

In Analysis, Erica Werner of the AP may not have a job tomorrow after the White House reads her piece documenting what it says about its actions on the Gulf oil spill aren't exactly the truth. Also, according to the AP, as many as 80 Dem Congressional seats now are in play; and Marc Thiessen reports that Senator Jim Demint (R-S.C.) is leading a conservative revolution in GOP Senate primaries. In Commentary, it's Larry Kudlow on money and Star Parker on Life. If that doesn't sum it up, nothing does.

News

*McDonnell strikes a balance, conservatives rethink support (Washington Post)

*Virginia's new policy on prayer policy (Newsweek/Washington Post)

*Va. governor lifts ban on police chaplains’ sectarian prayers (Associated Baptist Press)

*Cuccinelli draws praise, derision (Richmond Times-Dispatch)

State attorney general demands ex-professor's files from University of Virginia (Washington Post)

Cuccinelli goes for a more modest version of the state seal (Richmond Times-Dispatch)

AG Cuccinelli drops new lapel pin to get away from distractions . . . (The Shad Plank Blog)

Cuccinelli ditches lapel pin with altered Virginia seal (Richmond Times-Dispatch)

Cuccinelli yanks lapel pin with breast-plate-covered goddess (Norfolk Virginian-Pilot)

Franklin County activist to head 5th District GOP (Richmond Times-Dispatch)

Independent says he would run if Hurt on ballot in 5th District (Lynchburg News & Advance)

National News

Attorneys agree to block on Oklahoma abortion law (Washington Post)

Union: Va. Firm's Ads chiding Ark. Senate candidate 'racist' (AP/GOPUSA.com)

Report: Congress makes too many vague laws (AP/GOPUSA.com)

Dobson changes mind, endorses Paul for Ky. Senate (AP/GOPUSA.com)

Analysis

Virginia Attorney General goes after Mann and UVA (Anthony Watts/Watts Up With That? Blog)

Leading the charge for GOP insurgents (Marc A. Thiessen/Washington Post)

SPIN METER: There since Day One? Maybe not (Erica Werner/AP/GOPUSA.com)

GOP expands political playing field; Dems slipping (Liz Sidoti/AP/GOPUSA.com)

Commentary

The Left Loses Its Way by Abandoning 'Third Way' (Michael Barone/GOPUSA.com)

The NAACP and Abortion Politics (Star Parker/TownHall.com)

Race and Resentment (Thomas Sowell/GOPUSA.com)

Obamacon Doves vs. Hard-Money Heartland Hawks (Larry Kudlow/GOPUSA.com)

'Government is Us' (Richard Olivastro/GOPUSA.com)

Virginia News Stand: April 29, 2010

Annotations & Elucidations The Comeback Continues

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

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

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

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

News

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

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

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

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

McDonnell Reverses State Police Prayer Policy (Roanoke Times)

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

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

Audio

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

National News

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Commentary

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

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

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

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

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

Virginia News Stand: April 26, 2010

Annotations & Elucidations 100 Day Review

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

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

News

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

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

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

McDonnell reflects on early days in office (Roanoke Times)

Secretary chases goals of governor (Roanoke Times)

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

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

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

National News

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

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

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

Obama visits Pastor Billy Graham (AP/GOPUSA.com

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

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

Analysis

Hold the VAT (Michael Barone/GOPUSA.com)

Commentary

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

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

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

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

Philip Dru Obama (Henry Lamb/GOPUSA.com)

Virginia News Stand: April 22, 2010

Annotations & Elucidations The Landmark Edition

A short edition today, which gives you no excuse for not reading every article. Leading the news is the landmark pro-life budget amendment passed last night by both chambers of the General Assembly. We're quoted and mentioned prominently in the lead link below. This may only be the start. Nationally, states are moving toward using a provision in the government health care takeover law that allows them to opt out of paying for abortion in health care. Ashley Horne of CitizenLink.org has an in-depth analysis of the hows and whys of federal government funding of abortion in this new law, despite the so-called prohibitive language in the legislation and President Obama's executive order supposedly prohibiting it. Speaking of executive orders, Peter Sprigg of FRCBlog explains the impact of the president's order allowing "same-sex partners" hospital visitation rights and such.  

While most of the ink is about yesterday's "Veto Session," the Richmond Times-Dispatch highlights yesterday's "Virginia Annual Political Rite of Spring," The Shad Planking in Wakefield. Former governor and senator George Allen was the keynote speaker and about 1,200 attended, less the 138 (two House seats are vacant) from the General Assembly. You'd think they could schedule it on a day when Virginia's princes and princesses could attend. On the other hand . . . maybe that's the point?

News

*Va. legislature votes to restrict abortion funding (Washington Post Virginia Politics Blog)

McDonnell bid to restrict abortion funding upheld (Norfolk Virginian-Pilot)

Virginia legislature restricts abortion funding (Washington Post)

McDonnell cuts for broadcasting, at-risk children rebuffed (Richmond Times-Dispatch)

House rejects at-risk youth cuts, others by gov (The Daily Press)

Session finalizes budget matters (Fredericksburg Free Lance-Star)

General Assembly veto session a mixed bag (Roanoke Times)

Former McDonnell brother-in-law addresses gay-rights rally (Richmond Times-Dispatch)

Allen and about 1,200 turn out for Shad Planking (Richmond Times-Dispatch)

Rep. Scott questions police procedures after hotel visit (Richmond Times-Dispatch)

National News

States Opt Out of Paying for Abortion in Health Care (CitizenLink.org)

Analysis

Hospital Visit Horrors? Here’s the Rest of the Story (Peter Sprigg/FRCBlog.com)

How Exactly Will the Government Fund Abortion Under the New Health Care Law? (Ashley Horne/CitizenLink.org)

Virginia News Stand: April 20, 2010

Annotations & Elucidations Travel Plans, Conservative Media And Scary Sonia

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

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

News

Fight brewing over McDonnell health care cuts (Washington Post)

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

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

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

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

Analysis

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

National

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

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

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

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

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

Commentary

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

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

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

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

Virginia News Stand: April 19, 2010

Annotations & Elucidations The Mostly All Virginia Edition

Today's News Stand is all Virginia, for the most part. Even The Weekly Standard'sMary Katherine Ham's feature on the use of the Internet by GOP campaigns has a lengthy portion devoted to the expertise in which Governor Bob McDonnell's campaign used new technology to find and target voters. We have a round-up of Tea Party Day across the commonwealth. Commentary also has a Virginia ledger today, with Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli's opinion piece making National Review Online.

News

Va. public broadcasting funds in peril (Richmond Times-Dispatch)

Roxann Robinson to run for Nixon’s delegate seat (BearingDrift.com)

At UVa, Justice Scalia warns of scholars’ agendas, biases (Charlottesville Daily Progress)

How do LGBT people fare in the area? (Richmond Times-Dispatch)

Think tank says Virginia budget raises taxes on poor (Richmond Times-Dispatch)

Black Baptist pastors criticize McDonnell’s policies (Richmond Times-Dispatch)

Tea-party supporters rally in Richmond (Richmond Times-Dispatch)

Hundreds of Tea Party activists rally in downtown Norfolk (Norfolk Virginian-Pilot)

Election plans brewing for Roanoke Tea Party (Roanoke Times)

Tea Party activists sh0w frustration at local rally (Charlottesville Daily Progress

Lynchburg tea partiers sound off on Tax Day (Lynchburg News & Advance)

Cuccinelli: I’m fighting for Constitution (Lynchburg News & Advance)

Cuccinelli opines that taxes and fees can be embedded in the state budget (Washington Post Virginia Politics Blog)

Will Marshall run for U.S. Senate in Va. again? (Washington Post Virginia Politics Blog)

National News

Obama extends hospital visitation rights to same-sex partners of gays (Washington Post)

No hooking up, no sex for some coeds (CNN.com)

Analysis

Tea-party influence could cut two ways (Tyler Whitley/Richmond Times-Dispatch)

Tea partiers in two camps: Palin vs. Paul (Politico.com/Norfolk Virginian-Pilot)

Techno-GOP (Mary Katherine Ham/The Weekly Standard)

Commentary

Unconstitutional Mandate: Virginia’s Obamacare lawsuit is about more than just health care(Kenneth T. Cuccinelli, III/National Review Online)

McDonnell is tarred by missteps (Jeff Schapiro/Richmond Times-Dispatch)

Budget Amendments, Part 2

Friday, we posted important information about one of the most significant gubernatorial pro-life budget amendments in years. We are urging the General Assembly, especially five key senators, to approve the amendment. Please read the post to see how you can help. While we are happy that Governor McDonnell has proposed this significant amendment, he unfortunately chose not to introduce budget amendments this year that would defund Planned Parenthood (Washington Post) or embryonic stem cell research. So, did we win or did we lose?

I was asked that question last week by a reporter regarding the governor's decision not to amend the state budget to forbid funding of Planned Parenthood. Such an amendment has been, and continues to be, one of The Family Foundation's highest priorities.

  

Wins and losses: A good start on some issues, work continues on others.

Interestingly, in the several years since The Family Foundation first exposed the issue of taxpayer funding for Planned Parenthood (see our position paper), the amount of money flowing to that radical group has decreased. It is our understanding that there is only one unfunded contract in place, and that it soon will expire.

If correct, this means that when we do our annual research regarding funds directed to Planned Parenthood and its subsidiaries — for any reason — it should read $0.00. However, without budget language, funding can begin at any time (through contracts awarded to it by state agencies). Consequently, Governor McDonnell will have to ensure that his administration continues to fulfill his campaign promise and make sure that no taxpayer dollars go to Planned Parenthood each year of his term. While he chose not to do a budget amendment at this time as we would prefer, there is more than one way to skin a cat. Ultimately, the goal has always been to protect the taxpayer. 

We still believe the best safeguard for taxpayers is to have a budget amendment specifically defunding Planned Parenthood, rather than asking taxpayers to rely on a campaign promise. We will continue to hold Governor McDonnell (contact) accountable by checking each year to make sure that no state funds flow to Planned Parenthood.

However, we do thank the governor for amending the Planned Parenthood license plate bill to ensure that no money from the license plates will ever be used to fund an abortion (Norfolk Virginian-Pilot). Given the Senate's unwillingness to remove Planned Parenthood as the recipient of the plate funds, the governor's amendment was the second best option. But, now that it appears Virginians will be able to fund Planned Parenthood by "choice" through the purchase of a Planned Parenthood license plate, there is even more reason to ensure that they do not get budget money.

Finally, we must continue to fight for a total ban in the budget on state funding for embryonic stem cell research (see our position paper here). Although The Family Foundation has had 100 percent success ensuring that no new bio-tech funds or research tax credits are created without a ban, without a budget amendment universities still have license to destroy embryos in the name of research. Universities have refused to acknowledge that they are doing this controversial research and thus the governor determined an amendment may be premature. Expressing our disappointment with the administration, we have been assured that Governor McDonnell shares our concern on this issue, will investigate what is currently being funded and take appropriate action.