Southwest virginia

Budget Games End Tuesday

Tomorrow, lawmakers will be back in Richmond to hold a public hearing on Obamacare expansion. Your presence and voice will make the difference. The Senate Finance Committee — controlled by the same senators who have held the commonwealth's budget hostage to force Obamacare on Virginians, at the expense of funding schools, public safety and everything else — will hear public comments on whether or not to pass a clean budget without expansion. The Family Foundation will join a large coalition of conservative organizations offering testimony tomorrow to oppose the expansion. We need to deliver a clear message to these lawmakers that our emergency service personnel and schools are not pawns for their political games.

While the hearing begins at 2:00, sign-up for those interested in speaking starts at 1:00. Please arrive early enough to help us stop the Obama OFA group and other leftist organizations, such as Moveon.org, from blocking our voice by taking all the speaking slots. It wouldn't surprise us if those groups were given a heads up on this maneuver precisely so it can pack the room with left wing activists.

We cannot stress enough how important it is that conservatives take a public stand in support of a clean budget. Trying to force Obamacare expansion into the budget is wrong for many reasons, not to mention that is highly questionable whether or not it belongs in the budget: It is not an appropriation of state tax dollars, it wasn't passed as stand alone legislation that needs to be funded and it would contravene a law last year that mandated the Medicaid Innovation and Reform Commission do its work and recommend the commonwealth's next move. Furthermore, a program notoriously rife with abuse and never subject to an independent audit should most certainly not be included in the Virginia budget.

There will be free bus rides available for those in Southwest Virginia (as far as Bristol) and Northern Virginia. Sign-up here for a ride from a bus stop near you.

If you cannot make it to the event (and even if you are attending), please take two  convenient actions: Contact members of the Senate Finance Committee by phone or e-mail. Click here for committee members and their contact information. Then, if you haven't done so already, please sign the Pass A Clean Budget Terry Petition to make your voice heard to Governor McAuliffe to pass a clean budget.

BREAKING NEWS: Biden Campaigning In Danville Tells Crowd They're In N.C.!

This just happened within the hour: Vice President Gaffe-a-Lot Joe Biden, campaigning in the Commonwealth in Danville, screamed to the crowd that "with you" he and he and President You-Didn't-Build-It Obama "will win North Carolina" and "the election." This is really funny since the cutline on the television screen notes "Danville, Virginia" which must have left thousands scratching their heads. What is it about Leftists seeking national office campaigning in Virginia? But as bad as Biden's recent gaffe is — see some of his greatest hits here — the insult likely will wipe out the inroads Democrats made in Southside and Southwest Virginia in 2008, with GOP ads coming faster than a NASCAR vehicle, there not as bad as his boss' "You didn't build it" remark two weeks ago in Roanoke.

UPDATE: Maybe not: Also coming to light is that Biden accused Mitt Romney of wanting to put black Americans "back in chains!" while patronizing Virginians with an affectation of a Southern drawl. Dispicable!

That all said, please note this: Just as with the Obamabots who screamed their approval in Roanoke and who showed an amazing inability to discern logic at another rally, the liberals who turned out in Danville didn't seem to notice, either. They screamed their approval of being in Biden's fantasy land of "Danville, North Carolina."

Vice President Joe Biden campaigning in Danville, North Carolina Virginia this morning.

Updated:

"Put y'all back in chains!" Oh, imagine the riots that would've started had a conservative made this comment.

The Obama campaign is saying it "has no problem" with this comment. It is saying it is out of context. So, whenever they insult or demean or lie or just say stupid things, the Left claims its "out of context." The Left is never responsible for anything, even when it's on tape (not surprisingly, since personal responsibility is not a tenant of liberalism) and often is saying what it really thinks because it believes rules of accountability do not apply to them.

But let's look at his campaign says Biden meant, that an Obama loss would mean a return to economic chains (never mind the key word "back" and the "Southern" drawl). Who has done more to put the iron clamp on economic prosperity than Barack Obama and Joe Biden? "The Food Stamp President" has created the largest class of dependency in American history: highest number of Americans at or below the poverty line in decades, a record number of Americans on food stamps, and he's gutted the landmark welfare reform by removing the work provision for recipients to receive checks. I documented the entire litany of more than two dozen economic lows under the Obama administration here.

Lunch With Jim And Mark

Not exactly, but I did check out the health care bill protest in front of the Richmond offices of Senators Mark Warner and Jim Webb that started at noon and ended at 2:00. I arrived at Webb's office around 12:45 to a crowd of about 50 people. There were plenty of signs and flags — U.S. and Gadsden (i.e., Don't Tread On Me!). There was also a fair amount of horn blowing. Cars that is. Lots of drivers signaling their agreement. As for human spouting, there wasn't any. A nice, jovial, peaceful, conversational crowd, although an occasional agitator swung by to try to stir trouble. They were  mostly ignored. Senator Webb's staff was very accommodating. They let people enter the office and provided us with forms to fill out to express what we were there for. One protester in the office writing his comments asked a staffer if he knew about an amendment that would require the 2,000-plus page Senate bill to be read in its entirety on the floor. He said, yes, and that the senator was in favor of that. We'll see if there's such an amendment, if it passes and what Senator Webb's eventual vote is. I asked him a procedural question and we had fun comparing General Assembly procedures to the U.S. Senate.

Then there was the phone. It didn't stop ringing. The poor receptionist couldn't get any work done.

"Good afternoon, Senator Webb's office. Yes, we're taking a poll on that today. Okay, against the health care bill? And your name, please. ..."

Call after call.

500px-gadsden_flag

After mingling and promoting "Virginia's best political blog" ("I should know because I write it,"was my catch line) and walked down to Senator Warner's office, which is in a high rise. Very analogous to the two men. Webb, who fashions himself one of the common folk with his Southwest Virginia roots, has an office at street level. Warner, Mr. High Tech, very Northern Virginia high end, is waaaaaaaaaaay above it all in the SunTrust building. A staffer gave one of the organizers a pile of sheets that had room only for name, address, a box to check if you want to get on his e-mail list, and your concern. That's it. Small boxes and no more. At least Webb let you write to your heart was content. Not Senator Warner. He should at least learn the value of appearances.

There were more people at Senator Warner's office, although people walked the six or so blocks back and forth between the two, and lots of car honks (Main Street is busier than Franklin, anyway.) More networking on my part. Another great crowd, including former Virginia Senator Eva Scott of Amelia County. Everyone was concerned, but not panicked.

So, what if the Senate clears its first hurdle Saturday? Not to worry, but only to work harder. The process is long. Floor amendments, negotiations,procedural tactics, conference committee with the House, more debate and votes. The longer it plays out, with nothing to show for it, and the closer November 2010 gets, the hot passions of the left may very well turn to cold feet.

The Biting Truth Some Pols Won't Acknowledge About Embryonic Stem Cells

You never know where you're going to find material for a blog post. For example, newspaper headlines can be inconspicuous and articles unsuspecting. So can key facts. In Thursday's Richmond Times-Dispatch, a small article by its medical reporter was headlined, "Dental building opening at VCU." I took a read because I'm interested in how VCU has decimated the historic fabric of the old MCV campus and surrounding neighborhood, and wanted to see if this building did more of the same.

But it was a good story about a dentist who donated more than 10 percent of the cost of the $20 million building, which will enable VCU-MCV to, among many other good medical deeds, train dentists for Southwest Virginia, which so desperately needs them.

(One recent year during the G.A., a bill to help foster more dental care in that part of Virginia came before a House committee. Before the patron could finish introducing the bill, the chairman asked, "Is everyone in favor of better dental care in Southwest Virginia? Bill is passed!")

It was a short article, but what struck me was this accidental, tucked-away tidbit:

Dentist W. Baxter Perkinson Jr. believes that one day the biological beginnings for replacement human teeth will be grown in laboratories. ...

"It's not just fantasy," said Perkinson, who donated $2.5 million for the $20 million building project. ...

"What we're hoping one day is we can put a material down in somebody's bone" and then a tooth abutment forms, said Perkinson. Researchers elsewhere are studying the use of stem cells taken from a patient's wisdom teeth to grow teeth. Studies in mice suggest it could be possible. (Emphasis added.)

When the Mainstream Media uses only "stem cells" they mean adult stem cells — any cells taken from one's own body are adult. But by leaving out that one small word, they try to leave the impression that all stem cell research is the same. It clearly is not. There are too-many-to-list breakthroughs via adult stem cell research, such as for wind pipe re-attachment, sickle cell anemia and multiple sclerosis, and none from embryos. 

In fact, according to a recent study by Northwestern University researhers, and published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, there may be literally hundreds of medical advancements via adult stem cells, including:

. . . systemic lupus, system sclerosis, Type I ( juvenile) diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis, Crohn disease, and cardiovascular diseases including acute heart attack damage, chronic coronary artery disease, and peripheral vascular disease.

Not only that, adult stem cells soon will be made to mimic embryonic stem cells, making embryo harvesting mute. Furthermore, none other than Oprah's favorite doctor says only adult stem cell research is the way forward.

So, now we have the real potential of adult stem cells growing new teeth, and maybe here in Virginia. Yet, some politicians here still sound the trite call for embryo destruction. It's time to ask them some questions — with bite.

Welcome, Attorney General Bob McDonnell!

General McDonnell, thank you for joining us today for the second consecutive year for our Annual Virtual Lobby. Today, hundreds of grassroots, traditional values conservatives are e-mailing their delegates and senators and asking them to stand up for pro-life, pro-traditional marriage and limited constitutional government principles, as well as for particular issues and bills. We also are hosting our Annual Pastors Day today with dozens of pastors from the Southwest to Hampton Roads here lobbying their legislators. Combined with our Family Foundation Day at the Capitol in January, where more than 250 people attended, we hope to have made a big impact on this year's General Assembly session and beyond.

So it's with a great deal of pleasure that we welcome you today and yield the blog screen to you for a round of robust questions.

Eminent Domain Update In Virginia

One of the many legislative victories of which we have been a part during recent years, and one in which we are most proud, is the 2007 eminent domain reform law. Proud for a number of reasons: It righted a grievous wrong and demonstrated that when we stand on principle and work hard, much can be accomplished; we were part of a large coalition that fought the entrenched corporate and bureaucratic interests and proved that good really can come out of the legislative system; and because so many of you faithfully stayed engaged and kept up the pressure on legislators as the story of the legislation took more twists in the tale than the Crooked Road in our Great Southwest. Bills patroned by Senators Ken Cuccinelli (R-37, Fairfax), Mark Obenshain (R-26, Harrisonburg), Steve Newman (R-23, Forest), Delegates Rob Bell (R-58, Charlottesville) and Johnny Joannou (D-79, Portsmouth), and others helped overturn the effects of the deplorable Kelo vs. New London, Conn. decision by the U.S. Supreme Court which allowed governments to take private property, often family owned homes and businesses, and give it to large corporations. The bills were passed — after much redrafting and debate (one powerful senator said property rights are not in the constitution!) — by overwhelming majorities in both chambers and signed into law, somewhat reluctantly, and with a few slight amendments, by Governor Tim Kaine.

While the law has immensely improved property protections for Virginia families who own homes and family-owned businesses, it still doesn't go far enough as evidenced by "quick takes" of local governing bodies. Nor are its protections fool-proof since a future General Assembly can change the law. Don't think it can happen? Jeremy Hopkins, in a study he authored for the Virginia Institute for Public Policy, documents Virginia's lapse from a leading private property state that cherished and constitutionally protected individual property rights, to one of the weakest in the union prior to the 2007 legislation (click here). (This study was the "Bible" for those of us who worked on this bill in 2007. The state's power over the fruits of you labor will frighten you.) 

Hopkins underscores the foundational importance of private property rights to a democratic society:

Finally, the right to private property undergirds and protects all other rights. It truly is "the guardian of every other right." A cursory review of the Bill of Rights reveals that many of the rights Americans cherish have little significance without the recognition and protection of private property. Not only do many of these rights presume the right to private property, but these rights have little meaning without the right to private property.

For instance, what good is the right to free speech if one has no property from which to speak freely? What good is the right to free speech if the government owns all printing presses and all means of recording, producing, and dispensing speech? What good is the right to assemble and petition the government if one has no property on which to freely assemble and petition? What good is the right to worship freely if one has no property on which to freely worship? What good is the right to worship freely if the state owns the church, employs the clergymen, and prints all religious material?

For an absolute guarantee of secure property rights in Virginia tougher measures are needed and they need to be put into the constitution. Some of the same lawmakers noted above are interested in proposing such an amendment this coming session. It's never too early to encourage your delegates and senators to support such constitutional protections (click here)

To get an update on the status of eminent domain in Virginia — and your rights — read this post and hear this interview with Hopkins from the blog Tertium Quids (click here). Just as with any right, to secure it, we must stay informed and active.