Roanoke Times

Primary Thoughts

Now that the dust has settled — not from the earthquake (another aftershock of 4.5 magnitude at 1:00 a.m. with possibly more in the offing) — but from Virginia's General Assembly primary season, some thoughts. First, although my prediction on Monday concerned the general election, it already has taken an embryonic form. It was an exceptional night for conservatives in numerous Republican Senate primaries, yet barely a whisper emanated from the mainstream media about this revolution. Throw in a previously held nomination contest in Hampton Roads as well as some conservatives who were unopposed. it's almost a lock that whether the GOP wins the Senate or not, its caucus, already trending to the right, may become nearly aligned with its House counterparts. But not all media are ignoring this trend or letting it slip them by. John Gizzi at Human Events recognizes it and is one of the few national columnists to trumpet the results.

If the GOP does win control of the Virginia Senate, not only will the caucus have a decidedly different philosophical bent from its past leaders, the likes of Ben Loyola, Jeff Frederick, Dick Black, Bill Carrico and Tom Garrett, among others, joining Mark Obenshain, Steve Martin, Jill Vogel and company, will create a dynamic not ever seen in Virginia history. The possibilities should jump start all ends of the conservative coalition, from social conservatives to limited government advocates, into a turbocharged grassroots effort this fall for an unprecedented opportunity — delivering both chambers of the General Assembly into conservative stewardship.

As for specific highlights: Turnout wasn't great, and there was the earthquake to deal with, but 10 percent turnout was not unexpected. What was shockingly appalling was the 2.5 percent turnout in the Southwestern 21st district. Delegate Dave Nutter took a late gamble by forsaking his safe House seat very late in the process (Roanoke Times), after denying he was interested, and jumped into the Senate race, defeating Tea Party backed Tripp Godsey. He will have to not only gain the Tea Party's enthusiastic backing, but energize a slew of activists to work hard for him to defeat entrenched liberal incumbent John Edwards. In what is still a blue district, Delegate Nutter now has even more work cut out for him.

Speaking of blue districts, now that he's won the 30th district Democrat primary, say hello to Senator Adam Ebbin. More reason than ever to turn the Senate conservative: As left as there is this side of Europe, Mr. Ebbin in the Senate majority will be able to advance every left-wing cause he advocated for in the House, but which met merciful deaths there.

In the hotly contested, newly drawn very red 22nd Senate district, where five Republicans went at it, Louisa County Commonwealth's Attorney Tom Garrett won. Some have asked whether it's a coincidence or irony that the 22nd was the epicenter of Tuesday's earthquake, as hard fought as it was. Bryan Rhode proved good looks, youth and a lot of money can't overcome among GOP voters a perceived slight to then-Attorney General Candidate Ken Cuccinelli (Lynchburg News & Advance).

Meanwhile, the Republican Party of Virginia establishment got crushed by the former state party chairman it ousted. Despite former U.S. Senator George Allen and other establishment Republicans endorsing opponent Tito Munoz, Jeff Frederick won the 36th district easily (Fredericksburg Free Lance-Star). Lesson for the party royalty: Opposing Jeff Frederick typically leads to his success. He is the supremo at channeling establishment opposition into intense grassroots insurgencies that make said opposition look clueless.

Another loser — Bearing Drift. Perhaps the most influential and most read Virginia conservative political blog, and very dear friends, its endorsed candidates in the four highest profile and contested primaries took a beating — five if you consider the fact that it endorsed Rhode and Mark Peake in the 22nd, hedging its bets. The winner: Social and grassroots conservatives. In many races, all candidates had certified conservative bona fides and other factors came into play, notably, experience and electability. The latter taking in many considerations, such as residence and community involvement and name identification in the most populous portions of the district, for example.

What about the Tea Party? A surprise during the filing period was that the expected shoe did not drop on many GOP incumbents. Only one, caucus leader Tommy Norment of the 3rd district, received a challenge. Instead, Tea Party backed candidates (really, the old-line movement/grassroots conservatives) went another route, gunning instead for newly redistricted and open seats. By and large, they were successful.

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.

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.

Roanoke Times Op-Ed: Myths About Abortion Center Regulation

Today, the Roanoke Times published an op-ed by Family Foundation President Victoria Cobb that addresses the myths pro-abortion activists and some in the media have propagated about the abortion center regulation bill recently passed by the General Assembly. Herewith, an excerpt of the op-ed. The entire column can be read by clicking here.

First, the myth that abortion centers will now have to meet the same regulatory standards as general hospitals is simply untrue. Abortion centers will not necessarily be subject to the licensing requirements or the construction standards of general hospitals.

In Virginia, there are numerous categories of "hospitals," including general (or inpatient), psychiatric, rehabilitation, outpatient surgical and others. Outpatient surgical centers, for example, are a category of hospital, but are not subject to the same regulations as general hospitals.

Similarly, abortion centers will now be subject to regulations specifically tailored to that procedure.

Second, the myth that regulations are automatically unconstitutional is inaccurate. In fact, the U.S. 4th Circuit Court of Appeals, in which Virginia resides, upheld South Carolina abortion center regulations in Greenville Women's Clinic v. Bryant.

Regulations there include licensing requirements, staffing rules, specific drug and equipment availability, safety and emergency policies and sanitation procedures, none of which are currently applied to Virginia's abortion centers.

Third, the myth that the new law will limit abortion access is fallacious. Until 1984, Virginia did regulate abortion centers and, based on the increasing number of abortions at that time, the industry did not suffer.

In addition, considering that Planned Parenthood, the nation's largest private provider of abortion and owner of several Virginia abortion centers, is a $1 billion organization that profited almost $100 million in its last annual report, one would think it could prioritize women's health and spend some of that money on safety and less on political activity.

Finally, the myth that abortion centers are currently regulated is misleading. Abortion centers in Virginia are viewed by the state as physician's offices, which is essentially meaningless in that the state does not inspect or license those offices.

The only standard of care in Virginia requires that abortions done in the first trimester be performed by a licensed physician, but the facilities themselves are not required to meet standards. Currently, doctors' offices in Virginia, and thus abortion centers, do not meet any state-imposed standards of cleanliness, inspections or requirements for life-saving equipment on premises.

Abortion center safety has received increased attention recently due to two unrelated events: a botched abortion originating with New Jersey-based Dr. Steven Brigham and a horror shop abortion center in Philadelphia.

Pro-abortion advocates look at these examples and say, "Tell us of something in Virginia and then maybe we'll listen." The fact is that Brigham, who lost his license because he started late-term abortions at his New Jersey clinics and then drove the patients to Maryland to complete them, owns two abortion centers in Virginia and has no Virginia medical license. (He also is not licensed in Maryland.)

Additionally, Brigham's two Virginia abortion center websites, until exposed by The Family Foundation last month, offered the following surgical abortion procedure: "Surgical abortion patients who are between 14 and 24 weeks pregnant will be referred to our Cheverly [Md.] location after their first appointment for the completion of their procedure."

BREAKING: Habeeb Keeps 8th District House Seat For GOP

Republican Greg Habeeb kept the Salem-area 8th House of Delegates seat in Republican hands tonight with a win in a special election to fill the vacated seat of former Majority Leader and now-U.S. Representative Morgan Griffith. The details are at the Roanoke Times, here. His win keeps the GOP majority at 60-39 with one seat open (91st district) due to former Delegate Tom Gear's sudden resignation.

Update: Representative-Elect Griffith, Mike Pence To Address November Speaks Rally

Representative-Elect Morgan Griffith (Roanoke Times) will make his Washington debut at the November Speaks rally on Capitol Hill on November 15 (click here for more information). Representative Mike Pence (R-Ind.), The Family Foundation Gala keynote speaker and a potential presidential candidate, also has committed to speak at the event. They will join previously announced Representative Michele Bachman and Americans For Prosperity President Tim Phillips. The event will call the public's attention to the lame duck Congress' attempts to sneak unpopular legislation through, now that many of them have been retired by the voters, as well as send a warning signal to the new Congress to live up to its promises.

Mark Warner's Confused

I happened across a fascinating statement by our self-described "radical centrist" U.S. Senator Mark Warner in a well-done weekend post-election analysis piece in the Roanoke Times. Here is the paragraph:

But Democrats struggled with their message this fall, especially when it came to the economy. [Senator Mark] Warner said that when he would tell audiences about middle class tax cuts and homebuyer tax credits pushed by Democrats, "you still get people looking at you askew." The party could not persuade voters that it had the country on the right track. (emphasis added)

Beside the fact that the Senator is parroting the Democrat talking points about "not getting our message out" (does anyone really buy that line anymore?), or the whole bizarre concept that Democrats actually think the country is on the "right track," I find Senator Warner's statement about tax cuts especially comical. I have a guess as to why no one would listen to our senior Senator on the subject — he lied about taxes the first time and Virginians remember.

Remember, then candidate for governor Mark Warner in 2001 swore up and down on the campaign trail that he had no intention of raising taxes — and then forced the largest tax hike in Virginia history through the legislature. Fast forward to 2010 and Warner is out there swearing up and down that Democrats really do want to cut taxes. And the Senator is perplexed as to why people looked at him "askew."

What's the line about people believing their own lies ... ?

VA-9 Update: Griffith Edges Ahead In Latest SurveyUSA Poll; Independent Does Boucher's Dirty Work And Takes Free Ski Vacations?

Republican House candidate Morgan Griffith, the House of Delegates Majority Leader, continues to gain momentum Virginia's 9th congressional district race. Starting off 20 points down in its first poll a few months ago, the last News7/SurveyUSA poll released a week ago shows a change in the numbers between long-time incumbent Rick Boucher and Delegate Griffith (see SurveyUSA for analysis).

Just a few weeks ago, Boucher appeared to be cruising to another term with double-digit leads. Each subsequent poll showed Griffith making progress until he was within striking distance, and now, possibly poised to a major upset. According to the poll, the race is too close to call as independents have shifted their votes to Griffith, and Boucher's lead among women has evaporated.

Here is a look at the results (see WDBJ.com/News7 for more):

Morgan Griffith (R): 47 percent

Rick Boucher (D): 46 percent

Jeremiah Heaton (I): 4 pecent

Undecided: 3 percent

Margin of error: 4.1 percent

But there's more to the story. The independent, Mr. Heaton, isn't only a wild card, he's more like a wild man. In the most recent debate, he relentlessly attacked Griffith on personal matters, including his wife, while nary a complaint against the incumbent. That's particularly odd, since since elections are referendums on incumbents. But the out of left field attacks on Delegate Griffith's family were over the top. It led to much suspicion in the local media about not only why Mr. Heaton made the attacks, but who put him up to it (see Roanoke Times). Adding to the intrigue was Mr. Boucher's "good cop" approach, which was strange considering his perilous position in the polls. But why do the dirty work if a rapid dog is willing to do it for you? 

But it wouldn't be the Fightin' Ninth if not for still more controversy. The Washington Examiner's David Freddoso recently reported that Mr. Boucher, on top of buying a new Fordwith campaign cash (see Not Larry Sabato), he's been vacationing in plush Rocky Mountain ski resorts on lobbyists money. Seems Mr. Boucher has parlayed his sellout of the coal industry into some influence among the special interests, basically flaunting it in a district that is seeing some of the worst economic conditions in the country.

It's all a Winter Wonderland to Mr. Boucher who seems more and more out of touch with his constituents. Will he be out of a job late tonight?

Will it only snow . . . or completely avalanche on Rick Boucher and the Democrats tonight?

Bolling Op-Ed Offers Ideas On Economy To President Obama

In Sunday's Roanoke Times, Lt. Governor Bill Bolling offered up an op-ed with some basic, sound ideas for improving the economy to President Obama in what amounted to an open letter. He provided seven suggestions to the president's economic team, but the likelihood of the administration adhering to any of them is slight at best. After all, not only is this the most ideologically left-wing rooted president in history . . . but he doesn't have an ecomomic team. They've all resigned (Business & Media Institute). Just in case someone remained behind, the White House should take heed from someone who, in his role of Chief Jobs Creation Officer, meets with people every day who create jobs, not theoriticians who have worked in government their entire lives. The country is overtaxed, over regulated and feels the weight of the behemoth government suffocating the life out of our economic system.

Among the ideas offered by the LG are to extend all of the 2001 and 2003 tax cuts and provide additional tax relief, reign in the job-killing EPA and relax restrictive regulations preventing banks from lending money to businesses for expansion. He also advocates repealing "those portions of the federal health care bill that impose massive mandates, fines and penalties on businesses." That may be almost all of the new law, but he should have stated simply that it should be repealed in its entirety.

Lastly, Mr. Bolling wisely suggests a reduction of federal spending by at least  five percent per year until it reaches 2006 levels. A good start, and better than the House Republicans' "Pledge To America" which plans to bring  spending down to the 2008 level. But the federal budget was in the $2.5 trillion range even in 2006. There is much more fat to be cut.

If Republicans do succeed in winning control of either or both chambers of Congress, it's first test will be to prove their seriousness in significantly reducing the size and scope of governement and to provide a glide path down to solvency.

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)

Original State Police Chaplain Prayer Policy Restored By Governor McDonnell

Earlier today, the McDonnell administration reversed former Governor Tim Kaine's discriminatory prayer policy that prohibited Virginia's State Police chaplains from praying according to their faith at public events. We greatly welcome this long-sought change back to the original, decades-old policy. The Family Foundation advocated for this policy reversal since the day it was announced by Governor Kaine and the State Police Superintendent Steve Flaherty in September 2008. The Kaine administration based its policyon a flawed understanding of a Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals decision regarding prayer policy in Fredericksburg. That decision determined that a discriminatory prayer policy that silences people of faith is constitutional, but the decision also clearly stated, "We need not decide whether the Establishment Clause compelled the Council to adopt their legislative prayer policy because the Establishment Clause does not absolutely dictate the form of legislative prayer."

In other words, the policy is not required. Anti-religious organizations like the ACLU continue to deceive people by arguing that so called "non-sectarian" prayer is required by the Constitution at "government meetings." That simply is not true.

We are thrilled that Governor McDonnell has fulfilled his campaign promise to restore the religious liberty rights of state police chaplains (see Roanoke Times article, vote in poll). His action reverses the discriminatory policy of the previous administration and ensures that chaplains can remain true to their faith at public events. The gags on State Police chaplains, six of whom resigned after the Kaine policy went into effect (out of 17 at the time), must now come off. (State Police chaplains are voluntary positions among active troopers; those who resigned maintained their trooper jobs.)

There was no legitimate reason for the policy change in the first place. This was an act of discrimination by the Kaine administration, plain and simple. No court anywhere requires the Kaine policy. Governor McDonnell is completely within his authority and has the constitution on his side.

The censorship of state police chaplains is yet another example of the growing anti-Christian sentiment among many in the political class in Virginia. It is evidence that more must be done to protect our right of conscience. The Family Foundation is working with several national experts on ways to further protect your religious liberty rights. We look forward to rolling out our plans in the coming months.

In the meantime, we thank Governor McDonnell for this decision. You can thank him as well by clicking here.

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 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)

Virginia News Stand: April 15, 2010

Annotations & Elucidations The Nuts And Bolts, Tax Day, TEA Party Version

After yesterday's very meaty edition of the News Stand, we've compiled a very basic version today — can't always keep that pace up, you know. Plus, there's other stuff to do. (What good conservative blogger wouldn't be getting ready for the TEA Party tonight?) Still, we have a good variety of reading for you today, especially of state news, of which we play a big part (the first three links).

Something else of interest: The Virginia Supreme Court heard arguments earlier this week on a property dispute between the (liberal) Episcopal Diocese of Virginia and nine more traditional (or orthodox) parishes that broke away and kept their property when the Episcopals appointed an openly homosexual bishop in New Hampshire a few years ago. The diocese wants the land back. At contention is an 1867 Virginia law meant to referee such disputes. 

Nationally, the polls show liberal leaders falling faster than American prestige around the world, and — lo and behold! — TEA Party members are wealthier and better educated than most and not racist! Golly Gee! (This is only news to mainstream media types, but fun to cite.)

Have fun paying your taxes (those who do) and attend a TEA Party!

News

*McDonnell proposes adding to Va. budget to attract commerce (Washington Post)

*Pro-choice plate avoids McDonnell veto pen (Norfolk Virginian-Pilot)

*Governor McDonnell Targets Abortion Funding (Video 2:16) (CBS6/WTVR.com)

McDonnell makes no vetoes to legislation (Richmond Times-Dispatch)

Going fast more costly (Fredericksburg Free Lance-Star)

McDonnell amends 122 bills (Roanoke Times)

19 Baptist pastors criticize McDonnell (Richmond Times-Dispatch)

Va. Episcopal hierarchy fights to keep church property (Richmond Times-Dispatch)

Analysis

Tea Party Supporters Richer, More Educated Than Most, Poll Finds (FOXNews.com)

AP-GfK Poll: Obama slips, other Dems slide, too (AP/GOPUSA.com)

Poll shows resistance to health care bill rising (AP/GOPUSA.com)

National News

Tea Party leaders on alert for infiltrators (AP/GOPUSA.com)

Bunning endorses outsider Paul in Kentucky US Senate race (AP/GOPUSA.com)

RNC chairman: GOP wants to help black community (AP/GOPUSA.com)

Fla. governor Crist might run for Senate as independent (AP/GOPUSA.com)

Commentary

Establishment Terrified by Tea Party Movement (Matt Towery/GOPUSA.com)

GOP Should Push Tough Regulation of Wall Street (Michael Barone/GOPUSA.com)

William Ayers' Wyoming Debacle Highlights Leftist Weaknesses (Christopher G. Adamo/GOPUSA.com)

The Individual Mandate: We're All Amish Now (Jon N. Hall/GOPUSA.com)

Virginia News Stand: April 13, 2010

Annotations & Elucidations Calling Mr. Ripley 

It's more Tea Party mania as Tax Day fast approaches. Groups are seeking Tea Party support in potential opposition to President Obama's next choice to the U.S. Supreme Court; liberal activists are trying to infiltrate Tea Parties with the purpose of embarrassing them (as we've known all along, and which the mainstream media finally has picked up on, see Aleksandra Kulczuga at The Daily Caller as well as the AP); and in Virginia, Tea Party activists have won two western GOP unit chair elections in recent days.

Meanwhile, nationally, and speaking of Tea Parties, support for the health care law is plummeting faster than a Soprano victim in the Elizabeth River, and more Americans than pay income tax think we're over taxed! That should tell you something, and Scott Rasmussen and Richard Olivastro do in Analysis and Commentary, respectively.

Think the Virginia Health Care Freedom Act is nervy, standing up to the big, bad federales? William Green of the Tenth Amendment Center has an idea that will knock your boots off. Also in that vein, and speaking of New Jersey (The Soprano's), many here patted themselves on the back after Governor McDonnell and the General Assembly balanced our budget without a general tax increase and reduced spending to $70 billion (over two years), a figure last seen in 2006. Very nice. But, as Norman Leahy notes at Tertium Quids, the other new governor, Chris Christie of New Jersey, is fighting for, and winning, real reforms, not to mention that even though it is larger than Virginia, it's annual budget is $29.3 billion. Even more impressive: The N.J. deficit is $10 billion; our two-year deficit was $4 billion. New Jersey more frugal than Virginia? Call Mr. Ripley.

News

Morrissey, Style Weekly settle $10 million libel lawsuit (Richmond Times-Dispatch)

Griffith reaping GOP support (Roanoke Times)

Boyer elected head of Bedford GOP unit (Lynchburg News & Advance)

National News

Groups look for Tea Party support on nomination (AP/GOPUSA.com)

Foes of Tea Party movement to infiltrate rallies (AP/GOPUSA.com)

Census: No evidence of a conservative boycott (AP/GOPUSA.com)

Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee on gay adoption: Kids 'aren't puppies' (New York Daily News)

Analysis

Support for Repeal of Health Care Plan Up To 58% (Scott Rasmussen/Rasmussen Reports)

66% Say America Is Overtaxed (Scott Rasmussen/Rasmussen Reports)

Florida Senate GOP Primary: Rubio 57%, Crist 28% (Scott Rasmussen/Rasmussen Reports)

Christie may be the real GOP model (Norman Leahy/Tertium Quids Blog)

Media Research Center: Coverage of Tea Parties is disparaging and biased (Aleksandra Kulczuga/The Daily Caller Blog)

Commentary

Next it will be government crashing the Tea Party (Richard Viguerie & Mark Fitzgibbons/Washington Examiner)

Ending the Fed From the Bottom Up (William Green/Tenth Amendment Center)

Stupak's Final Retreat (Editorial/Washington Times)

Good Riddance (Thomas Sowell/GOPUSA.com)

Democrats Manipulate CBO (David Limbaugh/GOPUSA.com)

Can You Afford More Taxes? (Richard Olivastro/GOPUSA.com)

A V-Shaped Boom Is Coming (Larry Kudlow/GOPUSA.com)

Is Romney Grasping at Straws? (Aaron Goldstein/The American Spectator)

Virginia News Stand: April 7, 2010

Annotations & Elucidations Back In The Day, Again

We've been here before . . . and before and before. A governor signs a proclamation designating April Confederate History Month and all, well, war, breaks out. One minute Governor Bob McDonnell is loved by libs for an executive directive; the next, they're on his back about a proclamation. But the libs are keeping busy. They're still harassing Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli over his law suit challenging the constitutionality of the government takeover of the health care system.

Nationally, Senate Republicans' spine seems to be growing thicker and sturdier, but it's too early to tell. But apparently, they are ready to oppose a hyper liberal Obama circuit court nominee. In Analysis, the great Michael Barone looks back at the mid-term election of 1946 to look for trends in 2010. Who knew? But 1946 was the biggest GOP Congressional landslide in decades, much bigger than even the famous 1994 sweep. Also, Phillip Dennis gives an inside look inside the Tea Party movement and its leadership. His conclusion may surprise the casual observer (and floor liberals!). Meanwhile, Commentary features our normal all-stars, including Walter E. Williams, Michelle Malkin and Thomas Sowell.

News

Democrats seek more information from Cuccinelli (Richmond Times-Dispatch)

McDonnell Confederate History proclamation criticized (Richmond Times-Dispatch)

McDonnell: April is Confederate History Month (Norfolk Virginian-Pilot)

McDonnell's Confederate History Month proclamation irks civil rights leaders (Washington Post)

McDonnell declaration draws ire, approval (Roanoke Times)

Allen rallies GOP faithful (Roanoke Times)

Church & Culture: Religious themes abound in arts, politics, sports (Richmond Times-Dispatch)

National News

Ready-to-run Mitt Romney could trip in health care (Philadelphia Daily News)

Republicans step up opposition to liberal court nominee (AP/GOPUSA.com)

Black conservative tea party backers take heat (AP/GOPUSA.com)

O'Connor: More justices may skip State of Union (AP/GOPUSA.com)

Analysis

What 1946 Can Tell Us About 2010 (Michael Barone/The American)

Palin? Armey? Republican Or Dem? The Leader Of Tea Party Is . . . No One! (Phillip Dennis/Investors Business Daily)

Fear and loathing at the RNC (Byron York/Washington Examiner)

Commentary

True Confessions from America's Census Workers (Michelle Malkin/GOPUSA.com)

The Face of Hate (J. Matt Barber/GOPUSA.com)

Parting Company (Walter E. Williams/GOPUSA.com)

Not Necessarily Discrimination (Thomas Sowell/GOPUSA.com)

A Sinking Ship of State (Tony Blankley/GOPUSA.com)

Virginia News Stand: January 4, 2010

Annotations & Elucidations Even On New Year's Day . . .

The News Stand is back after a Christmas/New Year's break. Not much comment today. With a new administration and two months of General Assembly upcoming, there will be plenty of news upon which to comment in the days and weeks ahead. For now, take a look at some articles of interest to ween you back into the Virginia political mindset: The Wall Street Journal's Brendan Miniter profiles Governor-elect Bob McDonnell while the Richmond Times-Dispatch and Roanoke Times bid adieu to Governor Tim Kaine; the Washington Times examines McDonnell's call to eliminate the governor's one term limit; the Washington Post looks areas of the Virginia budget that may no longer be sacrosanct from cuts; and the AP reports that 13 attorneys general, including outgoing Virginia AG Bill Mims, are  threatening a lawsuit over the pending nationalized health care legislation — and they are not all "red" state AGs, either. We anticipate that Attorney General-elect Ken Cuccinelli will continue Virginia's participation in the proceedings should the legislation become law.  

But, just to show you it's always something around here, in case you missed it, CNN called us for a New Year's Day interview regarding the Isabella Miller custody case. So, below, we posted the video of the report which includes reporter Mary Snow's interview with Family Foundation President Victoria Cobb.

News:

Back to GOP Basics (Wall Street Journal Online)

Parts of Virginia's budget may no longer be off-limits (Washington Post)

Kaine had wins but took some lumps as governor (Richmond Times-Dispatch)

A term of crisis: Gov. Tim Kaine exit interview (Roanoke Times)

Va. GOP names new executive director (Richmond Times-Dispatch)

Va.'s McDonnell seeks end to term limit (Washington Times)

Va. mom fails to hand over daughter in custody dispute (Richmond Times-Dispatch)

National:

13 attorneys general threaten suit over health care (AP/Roanoke Times)

Video:

*Lesbian Custody Battle (2:13) (CNN.com)

Family Foundation President Victoria Cobb speaks to CNN on New Year's Day about Lisa Miller apparently running away with her daughter, Isabella. 

Virginia News Stand: October 22, 2009

Annotations & Elucidations  The Bell Sounds For Deeds

So much for Republicans for Deeds. Former Senator Brandon Bell, from the Roanoke area, originally, and surprisingly, signed on the Deeds campaign. Unlike three other liberal former senators who call themselves Republicans and announced their support for Senator Deeds earlier in the year, Bell's endorsement was puzzling. He even announced that he was backing Lt. Governor Bill Bolling for re-election and Senator Ken Cuccinelli (R-37, Fairfax) for attorney general. Yesterday, however, whether he's reading the tea leaves, a bandwagon jumper, or finally read the Deeds platform, he reversed course and now is in the Bob McDonnell camp. The Roanoke Times has the details. Speaking of the Times, it really hit the nail on the head with this headline: "Contrasts sharp in attorney general race." On the ball, they are, at the Times.

On another note, the federal government can't get the Pig Flu vaccine in on time, and we're supposed to trust it with nationalized health care? Not a chance.

News:

McDonnell talks business with Lynchburg furniture maker (Lynchburg News & Advance)

McDonnell wins Bell's endorsement (Roanoke Times)

Contrasts sharp in attorney general race (Roanoke Times)

Deeds repeats closing debate remarks almost verbatim (Washington Times)

In this show, special guest stars speak for Deeds (Washington Post)

Bolling, Wagner frame campaign on mutually low job evaluations (Washington Post)

Neff mailing compares Bell to bad hubby (Charlottesville Daily Progress)

TAP's fatherhood program focuses on responsible fathers (Roanoke Times)

National News:

Web makers release tape of Philly ACORN visit (AP/GOPUSA.com)

GOP senator says Obama showing Nixonian tendencies (AP/GOPUSA.com)

Obama to slash bailout exec pay by 90 percent (AP/GOPUSA.com)

Key senators may rebuff Obama on health care (AP/GOPUSA.com)

U.S. health care tab would grow under overhaul (AP/GOPUSA.com)

Education chief calls for teacher prep overhaul (AP/GOPUSA.com)

CDC concedes vaccine production behind schedule (AP/GOPUSA.com)

Commentary:

Obama Bails Out When Asked About Fox News (Bobby Eberle/GOPUSA.com)

The Real Flaw: Fox Is A No Fawn Zone (Debra Saunders/GOPUSA.com)

Obama Hits Opponents With Chicago Brass Knuckles (Michael Barone/GOPUSA.com)

Justice Department: Blacks MUST Have Democrat Label To Know How To Vote (Bobby Eberle/GOPUSA.com)

Virginia News Stand: August 11, 2009

Annotations & Elucidations The Answer Is . . . Abortion!

If Virginia's gubernatorial campaign was modeled after the game show Jeopardy!, where the answers are the clues and the questions are the answers, Democrat candidate Creigh Deeds' response to the word "abortion" would be, "What is the winning campaign issue?" It may be, but not the way he's going after it. First, he's the one way out of touch. As a well -publicized poll showed earlier this year, a majority of Americans now consider themselves pro-life. But a super majority of Americans always have been against partial-birth abortion and for parental consent. So, who's the extremist here?

But what makes this a particularly odd move by Deeds is that he has simply proclaimed it! That is, out of nowhere, he has flat out declared this is the issue of the campaign. As if he declares the ground rules. Okay, maybe he does. So at the first and only debate, thus far, with Republican Bob McDonnell, Deeds said the "social" issues wouldn't be a big part of his campaign. Talk about decisive leadership!

Still, it remains funny that Deeds thinks he can make up the rules of the campaign (being far down in the polls does not dictate a position of strength); that he blurts it out of nowhere; that he contradicts himself; and, after all that, picks a losing issue.

Enjoy your briefing today from the News Stand. We are pleased to start off with video from WTVR/CBS6 in Richmond, which interviewed our very own Chris Freund about the Deeds gambit.

Video:

*Deeds goes after McDonnell on abortion (2:34) (WTVR-TV/WTVR.com)

  

The Family Foundation's Vice President-Policy and Communications Chris Freund is interviewed by Richmond CBS affiliate WTVR-TV/6.

News:

Economy, abortion rights focus of gubernatorial race (Richmond Times-Dispatch

Deeds picks off political scab: abortion rights (Roanoke Times

Deeds targets abortion issue (Washington Times)

Deeds Throws Abortion Gauntlet (Washington Post)

Commentary:

Desperate Deeds (Ramesh Ponnuru/Right Matters Washington Post Blog)