Tertium Quids

While Digging For New Roads Apparently VDOT Buried The Money

All these years General Assembly tax and spenders tried to out bid each other for the highest tax increase possible to pay to improve Virginia's transportation system. The most partisan governor in recent years, Tim Kaine, even closed down rest areas to make it seem as if we couldn't even perform basic highway functions, just to prove his tax-increasing point. Well, now. A just completed private audit of VDOT, the results of which were released this afternoon (Washington Post), shows that while Mr. Kaine was robo-calling into House of Delegate districts to bludgeon Republicans who wouldn't support a tax increase — many of whom called for this very audit first before any new taxpayer money was thrown at VDOT — his administration wasn't even spending the money it had! As in about $500 million in money laying around.

This story already is making national headlines as a perfect example of government inefficiency (Business Week). Unfortunately, it proves too many people's suspicions and confirms much of the reputation VDOT has curiously earned over the years. To be sure, there are many angles to this story, and just taking this money and putting it to work isn't as easy as it appears. It also may put the clamps on real government and VDOT reform (we have the cash, now, no longer a need to change things) as Norm Leahy explains at Tertium Quids. Mind you, this wasn't a performance audit, as to whether the state has planned wisely and where roads and systems should go, but a spending audit. But the McDonnell adminstrationgets kudos for at least finding these dead bodies. For his part, the DNC chairman took time out from slamming Congressional Republicans to claim his "reforms" led to the "saved" cash. Un-huh.

There will be more about this story and hopefully it will lead to some good somewhere down the road. At the very least, it may be the most significant evidence yet that discredits the idea that massive (unchecked) spending by the government works, that the government knows what it is doing, and that the answer to every ill is a knee-jerk reaction to siphon off families' hard earned money for centrally planned, government-run schemes. Somehow, we think, they'll still come back for more next year, having either still not learned their lesson, or displaying about $500 million worth of chutzpah.

Wah-Hoo-Wah For The AG!

I have been asked by several people — some liberal activist types, some of no political stripe whatsoever (okay, more like confronted by the liberal activist types) — why Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli is investigating poor old U.Va. and a former professor there, Michael Mann, one of the world's (literally) leading so-called global warming scientists. I'm told that "he's imposing his agenda" and "wasting taxpayer money" and "infringing on academic freedom." Mr. Cuccinelli is seeking records, such as e-mails, of Dr. Mann's when he taught in Charlottesville. He now teaches at Penn State.  My answers are, respectively:

What politician doesn't have an agenda? After all, he ran on a very certain platform and received more votes for attorney general than any candidate in Virginia history;  

He's doing his job as the chief legal officer for state agencies and, in fact, there is a statute he's enforcing, and, by the way, it just may be U.Va. and Professor Mann who wasted tax dollars (the predicate for the investigation); and

Where were the protests of academic freedom when U.Va. gave out the contents of e-mails by another professor, Dr. Pat Michaels, the former state climatologist, who doesn't believe in man caused global warming, to private organizations trying to discredit Dr. Michaels? Furthermore, why did U.Va. at first say it would comply with the AG's request for the records under state law, but now truly is wasting taxpayer and student/parent/donor money on hiring very expensive Washington, D.C., outside legal counsel to contest the AG's investigation?

Okay, those are some detailed answers to some pretty lame questions, but I like to set the record straight, get the truth out and expose liberal double standards. Now, the truth is coming out from our good friends at Tertium Quids, we learn that that there was certain information that U.Va. had but was never disclosed in a previous investigation of Dr. Mann (see exerpt from AG's response and see response itself here).

Writes Norman Leahy:

So those other looks into Climategate and Mann's research, including one conducted by Mann's current employers at Penn State University that "cleared" Mann didn't have access to all the information . . . because UVA said it didn't exist.

Except that it did, and the fact of the data's existence wouldn't have been known by anyone without Cuccinelli's investigation.

What's at stake? About $500,000 in taxpayer money from grants Dr. Mann and U.Va. secured for fraudulent research. Not to mention the basis for an entire movement that seeks government rule over almost every aspect of our lives. Other than that, not much. Go 'hoos!

Speaking Of No Clue . . . Representative Gerry Connolly

This does and does not deserve comment. I mean, it's so tempting, but in the end, when a liberal wants to supply his own rope. ... Here we have one of Virginia's own, U.S. Representative Gerry Connolly, a Fairfax County Democrat, telling the Federal Reserve Bank Chairman Ben Bernanke on June 9 there's no money in the federal budget to get cut (H/T Norman Leahy at Tertium Quids). Timing, they say, is everything: As if set up to be punked (Hanother Tertium Quids H/T to Josh Eboch), The Heritage Foundationposted this video the very next day, complete with cartoon character and a multiple choice word problem Rep. Connolly surely would fail. When they say we don't make Washingtons, Jeffersons and Madisons anymore, the Connollys of the world make it hard to argue. (For budget cutting ideas, see Cut Spending Now.)

From U.S. Representative Paul Ryan's (R-Wisc.) YouTube channel:

Rep. Connolly: A $3.5 trillion budget and nowhere to cut.

From The Heritage Foundation's YouTube channel:

Maybe start with the first class travel, extra postal workers, NASCAR sponsorship and aid to Chinese prostitutes!

Virginia News Stand: April 27, 2010

Annotations & Elucidations Northrop Grumman Day In The Commonwealth 

At VITA, of course, every day is Northrop Grumman Day, but there is legitimate news to celebrate: A major domestic corporation, a Fortune 500 company, that does business all over the world is moving its HQ to our commonwealth. Of course, to get it to move here, we're giving  away 14 million taxpayer dollars and a labyrinth of incentives, tax credits, etc., Wouldn't it be simpler to do away with — or at least greatly reduce — the state corporate income tax? A discussion for another day.

Elsewhere, we make the news in the Old Dominion Watchdog, Governor McDonnell is asked to lift the ban on State Police Chaplains praying in Jesus' name, and how much real estate does the commonwealth own? Norman Leahy, of Tertium Quids, asks. Speaking of such, is the governor going to sell the gubernatorial retreat? Say it ain't so! As usual, our Commentary section is loaded, with Bobby Eberle returning from hiatus and Thomas Sowell as brilliant as ever.

Lots of National News to contemplate, including two GOP insiders in serious trouble in Senate primaries, more about the health care law not doing all it said it would (except for the tax increases, of course), President Obama uses divisive identity politics for partisan political gain, and a commission meets at taxpayer expense to figure out how to reduce the national debt. I'll do it for free: CUT SPENDING!

News

*Lawmakers restrict public funding for abortions (Old Dominion Watchdog)

Northrop Grumman picks Virginia for headquarters (Richmond Times-Dispatch)

McDonnell, Northrop confirm company has chosen Virginia for headquarters (Washington Post Virginia Politics Blog)

Va. offered Northrop Grumman up to $14 million (Richmond Times-Dispatch)

Virginia gives Northrop Grumman up to $14 million to move headquarters (Washington Post Virginia Politics Blog)

McDonnell considers sale of gubernatorial retreat (Richmond Times-Dispatch)

On role of federal lawsuits to AG's term, Cuccinelli and Democrats agree (Washington Post Virginia Politics Blog)

McDonnell asked to lift a ban on State Police troopers referring to Jesus in public prayers (Washington Post Virginia Politics Blog)

Off-track betting center proposed at Innsbrook (Richmond Times-Dispatch)

Sullivan seeks GOP nomination for Chesterfield House seat (Richmond Times-Dispatch)

Analysis

Virginia's messy real estate portfolio (Norman Leahy/Tertium Quids)

National News

Arizona pushes immigration politics to forefront (AP/GOPUSA.com

McCain: Arizona had to crack down on immigration (AP/GOPUSA.com)

GOP prevents cloture on Democrat financial regulation bill (AP/GOPUSA.com)

Obama panel weighs politically toxic deficit fixes (AP/GOPUSA.com)

Some families will face wait to cover young adults (AP/GOPUSA.com)

Free speech versus kids and violent video games (AP/GOPUSA.com)

Obama asks specific Americans for help in 2010 (AP/GOPUSA.com)

Coats favored (barely) in crowded Indiana GOP primary (AP/GOPUSA.com)

Commentary

With Obama, It's Always 'His' People vs. 'Those' People (Bobby Eberle/GOPUSA.com)

Filtering History (Thomas Sowell/GOPUSA.com)

Are Americans Going John Galt? (Doug Patton/GOPUSA.com)

Obamacare Revealing Changes to Come (David Limbaugh/GOPUSA.com)

Obama Sends in the Clowns (J. Matt Barber/GOPUSA.com)

Cut Gas Prices Now (Richard Olivastro/GOPUSA.com)

National Debt — The Real Dirty Little Secret (Thomas D. Segel/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: March 29, 2010

Annotations & Elucidations Obsessed Thee With KC

Never before has a Virginia attorney general dominated the headlines and driven the debate (nationally as well as in state) as Ken Cuccinelli — and he's only a little more than two months into his term. He's everywhere — it's impossible to keep up with the national television interviews and articles. But, according to sources (as they say) it may not be cutting well with fellow Republicans, and Democrats seem to be salivating over his early and frequent actions. Are these the same people who have misread the growing conservative and independent grassroots pushback against ever expansive government control of our lives? Perhaps they misread at their own politcal futures.

No matter the motivations or interest, members of both parties are obsessed with the AG. Dr. Bob Hollsworth, at his Virginia Tomorrow blog, fielded comments from unnamed Republicans about the Cuccinelli phenomana and Norman Leahy at Tertium Quids follows up, both in the Analysis bin today, as the Richmond Times-Dispatch sets the table with its piece in the News section. Also in Analysis is a Style Weekly (Richmond) symposium on the AG, with cute liberal headlines, such as "Right Hook" and "Fight For The Right," as well as the ever-present hit-you-over-the-head, "Sorry Politics."

The lead in National News is more concern about doctors retiring than joining the Obama adminstration, as all health care workers will de facto be when the new law is fully in effect. After all, about the only job growth now is in the federal government (ABCNews.com). In Commentary, we feature Andrew McCarthy and Ed Morrissey of National Review's The Corner blog and HotAir.com, respectively, who reveal more devastating ills of the health care takeover only now discovered. (Nancy said it would be like this!)

Meanwhile, Governor McDonnell manages a headline. He puts his (contributors') money where his mouth is for charter schools. Plus, sad news: Former U.S. Representative Stan Paris passed away. He was 80 years old.

News

Cuccinelli vows no letup to restrain federal power (Richmond Times-Dispatch)

VEA opposes requiring local employees to begin paying share of pension costs (Richmond Times-Dispatch)

McDonnell inaugural fund gives $25,000 to charter school (Richmond Times-Dispatch)

Virginia diversity-contract program is faulted (Richmond Times-Dispatch)

Man charged with threatening to kill Cantor, family (Richmond Times-Dispatch)

Hugo, O'Bannon to compete for House GOP caucus chairman (Washington Post Virginia Politics Blog)

Former six-term Rep. Stanford E. Paris dies at 80 (Richmond Times-Dispatch)

Analysis

The Virginia Scorecard 3-28-10 (Dr. Bob Hollsworth/Virginia Tomorrow)

Inside Republican thinking (Norman Leahy/Tertium Quids)

Fight for the Right (Peter Galuszka/Style Weekly)

Right Hook (Warren Fiske/Style Weekly)

Sorry Politics (Margaret Edds/Style Weekly)

George Allen's wrenching presence (Jeff Schapiro/Richmond Times-Dispatch)

National News

Health overhaul likely to strain doctor shortage (AP/GOPUSA.com)

Palin to tea party rally: Don't sit down, shut up (AP/GOPUSA.com)

Obama announces 15 recess appointments, scolds GOP (AP/GOPUSA.com)

White House defends special appointments (AP/GOPUSA.com)

Crist, Rubio face off in 1st Fla. Senate debate (AP/GOPUSA.com)

Commentary

Thugoracy Whips Capitalism (Andrew McCarthy/NRO's The Corner Blog)

Another ObamaCare mandate we had to discover after its passage (Ed Morrissey/Hot Air)

The Law of Unintended Consequences (Doug Patton/GOPUSA.com)

The Record Speaks For Itself (Harris Sherline/GOPUSA.com)

The Constitutional Crisis Started Long Ago (Frank Salvato/GOPUSA.com)

Virginia News Stand: March 22, 2010

Annotations & Elucidations Day One Of Amerika? Or The First Day Of Revolution Two?

The News Stand has returned. Forgive us for its absence, but a little thing called General Assembly session kind of got in the way. Our Communications Department was kind of preoccupied. Today, of course, is quite the time to return. There's not much to add to the major news story of our time — the federal government's takeover of our health care system. We have some excellent commentary below. But I do want to add one ironic historical note, a reminder from our friend Norman Leahy at Tertium Quids: Today is the day in 1765 that the British Parliament passed The Stamp Act. We all know what that precipitated. Started here in Virginia, too. Parallels?

News

McDonnell to soon name panels on jobs, government reform, higher education (Richmond Times-Dispatch)

Danville debate draws 7 who hope to challenge Perriello (Richmond Times-Dispatch)

Democrats to gather in Richmond for low-key Jefferson-Jackson dinner (Washington Post Virginia Politics Blog)

Cuccinelli says Va. will sue over health-care bill (Richmond Times-Dispatch)

National News

Abortion compromise doesn't satisfy critics (AP/GOPUSA.com)

Insurers, doctor-owned hospitals get late help (AP/GOPUSA.com)

Commentary

American People Say 'No' While Democrats Say 'Yes We Can' (Bobby Eberle/GOPUSA.com)

Health Plan Means Bigger Deficits and Higher Taxes (Michael Barrone/GOPUSA.com)

The Goal is Control (Henry Lamb/GOPUSA.com)

Doctors and Health Care Reform (Harris Sherline/GOPUSA.com)

'Don't Tread On Me' Was More Than A Slogan (Thomas D. Segel/GOPUSA.com)

The 'Historic' Health Care Bill that Americans Don't Want (Bobby Eberle/GOPUSA.com)

Ok . . . Let's Get Serious About Cutting Spending (Bobby Eberle/GOPUSA.com)

Unions, Public Schools and Minority Kids (Star Parker/GOPUSA.com)

A Little Disinfectant Will Do Wonders: The HB 570 Vote Is Back Up

Is it possible for a bill to create more buzz in death than in life? That's a pretty tall order, especially with an important bill such as HB 570. But we caused quite an uproar yesterday and today with the post about its missing PBI vote. Delegate Sal Iaquinto's (R-84, Virginia Beach) bill wold have made the burden of proof an equal share between homeowners and assessors in assessment appeal cases. Several blogs picked up on it, including our friends Norman Leahy and Lynn Mitchell at Tertium Quids and SWAC Girl, respectively. Even though the vote was taken a couple weeks ago, the bill's home page yesterday reflected a "Left In Committee" inaction by the Senate Finance Committee, even though the world knew it got plenty of action as committee liberals sunk it on a straight party line vote (a motion to "Pass By Indefinitely"). We reported the whole affair here along with the video of the entire committee debate and vote, yet the vote was taken down as if the world wouldn't find out.

"Left In Committee" has a totally different meaning than PBI. It means that the bill was never given a hearing and the patron never had the opportunity to introduce the bill. There's a big difference between a committee shirking its responsibility by not voting and in hiding its vote (that its members sought office to cast and for which they get paid to make). Not that one is worse than the other, there's just a big difference between the two.

Just a few minutes ago, however, I received an update on HB 570 from the Legislative Information System. An unexpected update yesterday verified another twist in this dead bill's life. Sure enough, voila! Just like David Copperfield (again) it appeared! So, if seeing the (video) isn't believing, it's now official with the vote listed here. Our disinfectant (this blog) did a little good as it turns out.

Earlier today, it must be said, at a meeting with another conservative organization, an ally relayed what she was told by someone either at LIS or from the Finance Committee staff: That since a vote to PBI doesn't technically kill a bill, it was still alive, thus the vote was not posted online until it was past time upon which official action could be taken. But this explanation still doesn't make sense.

A PBI vote kills a bill. If it is to be resurrected, it must be done so with a motion to reconsider. For that, the public needs to know how the vote went because only a member from the prevailing side can ask for such a motion. Either the bill was killed, and the people have a right to know who voted which way, or it was technically still alive and citizens need to know who to approach to try to save it. Furthermore, yesterday was the last day for committee action on bills. No matter the rationalization, the committee vote should have been posted within 24 hours of the meeting and not taken down. Just more games politicians used to get away with.

Property Rights Heads To Senate Finance And Who's Behind The Mystery Memo Opposing It?

Another major bill had a less thrilling outcome today, setting the stage for a showdown in Senate Finance Wednesday. The Senate Courts of Justice Committee referred HB 652, the property rights bill, to the Senate Finance Committee on a 15-0 vote. It will be heard there Wednesday morning. Ever since the middle of last week when COJ yanked the bill from its Civil sub-committee for a full hearing committee hearing, rumors have bounced off every wall and ceiling on every floor of the GAB: It's going to pass because of this. It's going to die, because of that. These guys are for it. Those guys are against it. Who's to know what's true? Oh, if I could say what I know.

Here's what we do know: Big government forces continue to lobby against it and pressure senators (see video here). Their lobbyists have been in every committee room HB 652 has been heard in, waiting to ounce. In fact, the lobbyist for the Virginia Association of Counties and the Virginia Municipal League, begged Committee Chairman Henry Marsh (D-16, Richmond) to let him and other opponents to speak today. Senator marsh told him to save it for Finance.

Think this is all stuff of a conspiracy? Check out the case of the mystery memo posted on Tertium Quids: A set of unattributed talking points opposed to the bill was found, apparently being dropped off at certain senators' offices. Lobbying information is supposed to be identified, sort of like campaign mailers. Hmmmmmmm.

On the other hand, the good guys have an expanding coalition for the bill and three major editorial pages, of different political philosophies, have endorsed it since Thursday: The Richmond Times-Dispatch, The Fredericksburg Free Lance-Star and the Norfolk Virginian-Pilot.

In the meantime, do your part to protect property rights. Contact members of the Senate Finance Committee and ask them to pass HB 652 Wednesday morning.

Beat Back Big Government And Protect Property Rights!

Thursday afternoon in the Senate Courts of Justice Civil Sub-committee, a bill to allow people to receive just compensation when their property is taken by the government in eminent domain cases will be heard. The bill, HB 652, is supported by a broad coalition including The Family Foundation, the Farm Bureau, Tertium Quids (see comment here) and the National Federation of Independent Businesses.  The bill passed the House of Delegates 98-1, but that doesn’t necessarily mean anything to the Senate. The patron of the bill is House Democrat Leader Ward Armstrong (D-10, Martinsville) and is co-patroned by several Republicans.  It faces the forces of big government — VDOT and local governments who use our tax money to hire lobbyists to work against our interests — who forced the bill while in the House from the Courts of Justice Committee to the Appropriations Committee with a tactic designed to kill it. There is no doubt they will pull out all the stops in the Senate as well.

But we can beat them in the Senate, too: In the House Appropriations Transportation Sub-committee, Delegate Bob Tata (R-85, Virginia Beach), a senior member of the committee, said he HB 652 came to his attention after he received more e-mail on it than any other bill this session. It shows that actively engaged citizens truly have power!

The bill simply allows property owners to present evidence to juries that they deserve just compensation for land not taken in eminent domain cases, but rendered useless because of the taking of adjacent land.  Right now, people are compensated only for the land taken, not additional land that the taking has rendered unusable. The bill is a complement to the landmark 2007 eminent domain reform law that limits government abuse of people’s property rights.

This is a very fair, very needed and very just bill for families who own homes, small businesses and farms.  If government really needs your land, they should buy only what they need and not try to get more of it on the cheap. This bill costs government nothing — it only provides for a fair hearing as to what property owners are entitled to. Government agencies will retain their right to make their case as well. It’s about fairness! As Delegate Armstrong has said, 'The worst thing the government can do is take your life; the second worst thing it can do is take your property."

If you who think the 2007 law solved all eminent domain problems, a case in Roanoke from two years ago is still in the news (see From On High), where the Burkholder family is losing its small business to the city who wants its land, even though it has no plans for it! So, click here to contact members of the Senate Courts of Justice Civil Sub-committee and ask them to vote for HB 652 in sub-committee this Thursday afternoon.

Eminent Domain Reform Bill In Sub-Committee Tomorrow Afternoon!

Okay, here's one that defines strange political bedfellows. The Family Foundation, the Farm Bureau, Tertium Quids and the National Federation of Independent Businesses, are backing a HB 562, patroned by House Democrat Leader Ward Armstrong (D-10, Martinsville). The bill provides just compensation to those who have land rendered useless because of an eminent domain taking. Right now, people are compensated only for the land taken, not additional land that the taking has rendered unusable. The bill is a complement to the landmark 2007 eminent domain reform law which limits government abuse of people's property rights.  In other words, condemners want to take the land they need but not pay for all of it. This bill will allow the addition of the unusable land to be factored into the price of the compensation for the eminent domain taking. Very fair. Very needed. (For those who think the 2007 law solved all our problems, see this about the Burkholder's — a Roanoke couple and its small business, via FromOnHigh.)

The bill comes before the House Courts of Justice Civil Sub-committee (click here for members)tomorrow afternoon. Contact the members and ask them to support property rights in Virginia. This bill will go a long way to restoring the rights of farmers, small businesses and home owners who work very hard for their property, only for government agencies to take it, or worse, play games with it with no fair compensation.

Quote Of The Day: From Today And Years Ago

Session hasn't started yet and already we have a Quote of the Day. However, it comes as no surprise as today is the second Tuesday of the month which means it's Tuesday Morning Group Coalition meeting day. TMG President and dear friend John Taylor supplies it, and it wins not only for its self-deprecating humor, but because it mentions . . . us! At downtown Richmond's Bull & Bear Club, high atop the James Center in the capital's financial district, Taylor, whose sense of humor is matched only by his assured and ready opinions on constitutional government (see his Tea Party speech), recounted a story relevant to a recent cabinet appointment by Governor-elect Bob McDonnell. But first, the punchline:

Years ago the Family Foundation sponsored a conference on education. ... They asked me to moderate a panel — mainly because they didn't want me to speak!

Now, about that story: On the panel that Taylor moderated was none other than Senator Henry Marsh (D-16, Richmond), one of the General Assembly's most obstinate liberal reform obstructionists on education as well as other issues. Marsh, who is black, outrageously said that after all the hardships to desegregate public schools, the school choice and charter school movement was the effort to re-segregate public schools. After he finished his demagoguery, a young black man on the panel, of whom Taylor was not familiar, stood up and said, (from Tertium Quids):

Where once George Wallace stood in the schoolhouse doorway to keep black kids out, some politicians (like Marsh) were now standing in the doorway to keep them from leaving.

Marsh left the meeting very soon afterwards.

That young man was Gerard Robinson, nominated yesterday by Governor-elect McDonnell to be Secretary of Education (Norfolk Virginian-Pilot). Come to think of it, even though it was years ago, Secretary Robinson's remark to Senator Marsh, makes a dynamite QOD. Sorry, John.

Can The States Stop Nationalized Health Care? Bob Marshall Says, "Yes"

As mentioned here (and according to the AP), 13 attorneys general are preparing to file suit on behalf of their states to block any eventual nationalization of America's health care system — or at least leave their states free to choose whether to participate. Virginia Attorney General Bill Mims is one of the 13. Law suits have been known to work. It is, after all, the states which have the right and obligation to defend themselves from participation in any federal scheme not enumerated in the constitution as a federal responsibility — also known as the 10th Amendment. Of course, the 10th Amendment, nor anything about the constitution, has stopped the federales from increasing its size and scope over our lives throughout recent decades.

But law suits aside, what else can the states do? Apart from the attorney general, who else is in the game? What about legislatures? If Delegate Bob Marshall (R-13, Prince William) has anything to do with it, Virginia's General Assembly will have a lot to do with it. Last month, he made a presentation to the Tuesday Morning Group Coalition about HB 10, The Health Care Freedom Act, a bill he has already filed. Other patrons thus far are John O'Bannon (R-73, Henrico), Scott Lingamfelter (R-31, Prince William), Harvey Morgan (R-98, Gloucester) and Bob Tata (R-85, Virginia Beach). HB 10 reads, in its entirety, thus:

No law shall restrict a person's natural right and power of contract to secure the blessings of liberty to choose private health care systems or private plans. No law shall interfere with the right of a person or entity to pay for lawful medical services to preserve life or health, nor shall any law impose a penalty, tax, fee, or fine, of any type, to decline or to contract for health care coverage or to participate in any particular health care system or plan, except as required by a court where an individual or entity is a named party in a judicial dispute. Nothing herein shall be construed to expand, limit or otherwise modify any determination of law regarding what constitutes lawful medical services within the Commonwealth.

Marshall, as ever, is sure of its legislative cure as well as its constitutionality, as we are reminded by Norm Leahy at Tertium Quids. In fact, as Leahy points out, Delegate Marshall offers a Q&A on Dr. Bob Hollsworth's Virginia Tomorrow blog, asking and answering questions himself, a FAQ tutorial on state legislative prerogative on federal issues, if you will. At least as far as it concerns the federal takeover of the health care industry and individuals' constitutional rights to be forced into it. 

So, the 10th Amendment lives? We'll see what Virginia's General Assembly says — about its own authority. Virginia could make hay as the bulwark against the largest federal power grab in history. That would really give the lawyers something to fight about.

Virginia News Stand: November 13, 2009

Annotations & Elucidations Built From Scratch

The communications department threw in the towel today, not providing its share of material for the News Stand. What to do? Build one from scratch. Go to traditional sources for national news and for the state stuff — raid blogs! You know what? I think this is one of the best News Stands, ever. Please read it all as most are short, but with loads of enlightening info. The Post's Virginia Politics Blog provides self-explanatory headlines. Tertium Quids was a source of much to note, including a free-market health care plan that will be introduced at this year's General Assembly. It's about two pages compared to the 2,000-page PelosiCare federal version. The Shad Plank connected the links in a compelling post about a possible challenger to Representative Bobby Scott (D-3rd District), which is rare. 

Elsewhere, the T-D contributes one article — about Representative Tom Perriello's tele-townhall on his health care vote, while TQ reports on a different type of meeting in Danville between Tea Partiers and the congressman. It looks like Representative Glenn Nye committed a mortal leftist sin. We also have reports on Governor Kaine's out-of-state fundraising while Virginia gets flooded. A VDOT land grab is chronicled in TQ. Nationally, the ACLU is trying to force a high school into allowing a same-sex prom date and the RNC is dropping staff health insurance plans that cover elective abortions. In Analysis, Bernie Quigley of The Hill's Pundits Blog debuts here with a look at the Dems and the South, while AFA looks at naughty and nice retailers (which ones say "Merry Christmas" and which don't).

Finally, our friends at TQ provide something we don't know how to describe, but it has to do with Glenn Beck, so we created our first ever Feature category. Look it over for a good laugh.

News:

Perriello telephone town hall draws 8,000 (Richmond Times-Dispatch)

Burning Perriello Effigy (Tertium Quids)

Nye Targeted From the Left (Washington Post Virginia Politics Blog)

A challenger for Bobby Scott? (The Shad Plank)

McDonnell heads to Austin a GOP star (Washington Post Virginia Politics Blog)

Only 9th Street astir on quiet holiday (Washington Post Virginia Politics Blog)

McDonnell, House Dems to meet (Washington Post Virginia Politics Blog)

GOP criticizes Kaine for absence during storm (Washington Post Virginia Politics Blog)

VDOT's costly attempt at a land grab (Tertium Quids)

Health Care Freedom for VA? (Tertium Quids)

National News:

GOP chairman ends abortion insurance for employees (AP/OneNewsNow.com)

ACLU defends lesbian student on prom issue (OneNewsNow.com

Evangelist gets 175 years for sex convictions (AP/OneNewsNow.com)

Analysis:

The South has won (Bernie Quigley/The Hill's Pundits Blog)

Retailers can be naughty or nice, too (OneNewsNow.com)

Governor's Travels (Tertium Quids

Feature: 

South Park does Glenn Beck (Tertium Quids)

Robo Kaine Desperate To Salvage Shannon

The DNC Chairman, Governor Tim Kaine (contact here) sounded off last night in the attorney general's campaign. Literally. He voiced a "robo call" on behalf of Democrat AG candidate Steve Shannon. Unfortunately, he really didn't have much to say about Delegate Shannon's qualifications. Instead, he launched into a vicious attack on Republican attorney general candidate Ken Cuccinelli, using a Washington Post editorial as cover for calling him "bigoted" (see Norm's Leahy's first-hand account at Tertium Quids). I, myself, got a call from an African-American friend immediately after he received the call. He reasoned the calls were going into African-American neighborhoods to pump the fear of Satan into otherwise disinterested black voters. But they also went into upper income, socially conscious (i.e., "moderate") white neighborhoods, too, the areas that the GOP seems to be gaining back this campaign. Which makes sense: with a double digit lead, the only way to defeat Senator Cuccinelli is to expand the voter universe and flip some votes (or get them to skip the AG ballot).

What is interesting is why the DNC chairman and his hacks think they can pick off Senator Cuccinelli. In the SurveyUSA poll, out today, he has the largest lead of the three (20 points!) — and even the Democrat Public Policy Poll says he leads in all regions of the commonwealth, including the liberal bastion of Northern Virginia. (How can that be?) The answer? Trashing the constitution and our founding principles. By parodying Senator Cuccinelli's principled stands and record of adhering strictly to the constitution, liberals think they can caricature him into something abominable because adhering to Life and Liberty aren't nearly so important as doling out government-style happiness.

No matter whether one interprets "bigotry" to be the racial kind or the "intolerant of other lifestyles" kind (the call left that open to your interpretation), it's interesting to note that it was Senator Cuccinelli who accepted, attended, spoke and stayed late to meet people at the Virginia NAACP's recent forum and Delegate Shannon who accepted — but stood them up. It's also strange that Governor Kaine thought highly enough of Senator Cuccinelli to work with him on this summer's special session to remedy the impact on Virginia from the U.S. Supreme Court's Melendez-Diaz decision. (You remember . . .the session Shannon called a "political stunt.")

Even stranger is Delegate Shannon's previous dinner engagements at the home of Senator Cuccinelli. Guess he was an okay guy before he went up double digits, huh? 

Ever since he took the DNC job, Governor Kaine has not been able to decide whether he is governor or desperate partisan in chief. His level of campaigning is beneath the dignity of the office Patrick Henry and Thomas Jefferson once occupied.

Virginia News Stand: October 8, 2009

Annotations & Elucidations  The Late And Washington Post Poll Edition

The big news was from the Washington Post this afternoon, when it releases its latest poll showing all three Republicans — Bob McDonnell, Lt. Governor Bill Bolling and Senator Ken Cuccinelli — leading their respective races for governor, lieutenant governor and attorney general by nine points. The other big news today concerning the statewide races is that Cuccinelli's opponent for attorney general, Democrat Delegate Steve Shannon, tried to emulate his gubernatorial ticket mate Creigh Deeds in question dodging (see Tertium Quids below). Who does it better? You watch. You decide.

Other than that, the debt is at third world levels, the CBO says BaucusCare is nearly as expensive, the Supreme Court hears a religious liberty case, and a more ineffective "jobs programs" is on its way. The good news is that we have some superior insights from Larry Kudlow, Michelle Malkin, Bobby Eberle, Michael Barone and Lisa Fabrizio on ObamaCare, his Olympic flame-out and political weakness, and how to create real and plenty jobs.  

News:

McDonnell Widens Lead in Virginia Governor's Race (Washington Post)

WaPo Poll: McDonnell, Bolling, Cuccinelli all +9 (Tertium Quids Blog)

Explicit 'Banned Book' Infuriates Virginia Father, Leads to School Review (FoxNews.com)

Democrats beg Deeds for positive message (Norfolk Virginian-Pilot)

Democrats vowing to hold strong in fight for governor (Northern Virginia Daily)

Deeds avoids Obama, embraces Warner (Washington Times)

Videos Highlight Dueling Images (Washington Post)

Meanwhile, at the AG Debate . . . (Tertium Quids Blog)

Delegates candidates speak at Henrico forum (Richmond Times-Dispatch)

Contrasting Candidates Enter Final Month In Race For House Of Delegates (Harrisonburg Daily News-Record)

Hurt will seek GOP nomination to challenge Perriello (Richmond Times-Dispatch)

National News:

Sharp debate at high court over cross on US land (AP/GOPUSA.com)

CBO: Budget deficit triples to record $1.4T in 2009 (AP/GOPUSA.com)

Health bill would cost $829B, cover 94 percent (AP/GOPUSA.com)

Bill increases spending on food stamps, nutrition (AP/GOPUSA.com)

Lawmaker: Cost of presidential copter tripled (AP/GOPUSA.com)

Obama huddles with Democratic leaders over jobs (AP/GOPUSA.com)

Commentary:

The Mundell-Laffer Solution (Larry Kudlow/GOPUSA.com)

Weak Himself, Obama Draws Strength From Bush (Michael Barone/GOPUSA.com)

O-lympics (Lisa Fabrizio/GOPUSA.com)

Couldn't the 'Men in White Coats' Just Take Obama Away? (Bobby Eberle/GOPUSA.com)

Spin Doctors For Obamacare (Michelle Malkin/GOPUSA.com)

Obama's 'No I in Team Syndrome (Bobby Eberle/GOPUSA.com)

Important Questions For Virginia's Congressmen At Their Town Hall Meetings

While The Family Foundation focuses primarily on the General Assembly and local issues, the "health care reform" debate and the proposals at its center are of seminal importance in our country's history:

Do we go down the road of the failed European socialist model of static economies and statism or sustain what remains of the free-market system that has served this country for more than 225 years and created the most prosperous society ever known to man?

Do we put the brakes on this leftward move and truly begin to reform health care, one without coerced taxpayer funding for abortion, coerced insurance coverage of abortion and the coercion of medical professionals to perform procedures against their consciences (from the side that believes in "choice")?

Do we begin to unshackle aspects of our economy that have been taken over and severely regulated by government and restore the free-market roots that created unprecedented economic freedom, upward mobility and prosperity?

With so many important issues at stake which can fundamentallychange forever our values, heritage, culture, and the inheritance from our Founders and succeeding generations of patriots, making your voice heard is more crucial than ever. Accordingly, we encourage you to attend the summer town hall meetings your U.S. Representative and Virginia's U.S. Senators have or will schedule. Stay informed, ask them questions and get their answers to your concerns on these critical issues.

Here are a list of thetown hall meetings made public at this point, but these schedules are fluid. Check with your Congressman's office (click here for House member and here for senator) to confirm times and locations of any public meeting.

Thanks to our friends at Americans For Prosperity and Tertium Quids for supplying much of the following information:

Senator Jim Webb No meetings scheduled at this time. Senator Webb left Sunday on a two-week, five-nation tour of Asia to "explore opportunities to advance U.S. interests in Burma and the region."

Senator Mark Warner He is still scheduling his meetings and will be post them on his Web site (here).

5th District Rep. Tom Perriello Congressman Perriello scheduled 21 public events called, "Tom In Your Town." The ones that remain are:

Charlottesville August 11, 6:00 - 8:00 p.m., Charlottesville High-MLK Performing Arts Center, 1400 Melbourne Road.

Fluvanna County August 17, 6:00 - 8:00 p.m., Fluvanna County School Board Office, 14455 James Madison Highway.

Charlotte County August 18, 6:00 - 8:00 p.m., 250 LeGrande Avenue, Charlotte Court House.

Lunenburg County August 19, 6:00 - 8:00 p.m., Kenbridge Community Center Auditorium, 511 E. 5th Avenue.

Nelson County August 20, 5:30 - 7:30 p.m., The Nelson Center, 8445 Thomas Nelson Highway, Lovingston.

Mecklenburg County August 21, 6:00 - 8:00 p.m., Mecklenburg County School Board Office, 175 Mayfield Drive, Boydton.

Brunswick County August 22, 1:00 - 3:00 p.m., Tiger Express, 137 West Hicks Street, Lawrenceville.

Buckingham County August 24, 6:00 - 8:00 p.m., Buckingham Middle School (auditorium), 1184 High School Road.

Prince Edward County August 25, 6:00 - 8:00 p.m. Prince Edward Middle School (cafeteria), 35 Eagle Drive, Farmville.

Cumberland County August 26, 6:00 - 8:00 p.m., Cumberland Restaurant, 1465 Anderson Highway.

Albemarle County August 27, 6:00 - 8:00 p.m., Victory Hall, 401 Valley Street, Scottsville.

Campbell County August 28, 6:00 - 8:00 p.m., Campbell County Technical Center, 194 Dennis Riddle Drive, Rustburg.

Franklin County August 29, 11:00 a.m. - 1:00 p.m., The Franklin Center for Advanced Learning, 50 Claiborne Avenue, Rocky Mount.

Appomattox County August 31, 6:00 - 8:00 p.m., Appomattox Community Center, 220 Community Lane.

"Tom in Your Town" works like this: Come by anytime during the time period and sign in. Meetings are on a first-come, first-served basis. After the constituent meets with the congressman, one of the staff members will be there to follow up with any concerns. All are welcome.

9th District Rep. Rick Boucher Dublin  Tuesday, August 18, 9:00 a.m., Edwards Hall, New River Valley Community College.

Abingdon Thursday, August 20, 9:00 a.m., Southwest Virginia Higher Education Center.

2nd District Rep. Glenn Nye Rep. Nye's office told Americans For Prosperity that he "won't be available next week, but there should be some planned in the future." Once scheduled, they should be available on the Events Page of his Web site (here):

1st District Rep. Rob Whitman No public meetings are scheduled at this time, but one is planned for Fredericksburg and one for Newport News.

8th District Rep. Jim Moran Reston Tuesday, August 25, with former Democrat National Committee Chairman and presidential candidate Howard Dean, 7:00 - 9:00 p.m., at South Lakes High School (auditorium), 11400 South Lakes Drive. Doors open at 6:00.

11th District Rep. Gerry Connolly No meetings are scheduled at this time but, according to his staff, a meeting may be held in late August or early September.

10th District Rep. Frank Wolf A meeting is planned for early September, but no details are yet available.

A Peek Inside The "Health Care" Bill

Our friend Brian Gottstein at Tertium Quids posted this yesterday about what's inside the "health care" bill. It's important that we know what's in it, since some members of Congress don't — because they refuse to read it (if you haven't seen this brief video, please do) — then tell them ourselves (see Congressional switchboard phone number and e-mail info). Quoting from Peter Fleckstein's Twitter updates (see his blog), Brian provides the following creepy elements to the bill:

Pg 22 of the HC Bill MANDATES the Govt will audit books of ALL EMPLOYERS that self insure!!

Pg 30 Sec 123 of HC bill —THERE WILL BE A GOVT COMMITTEE that decides what treatments/benes u get

Pg 29 lines 4-16 in the HC bill — YOUR HEALTHCARE IS RATIONED!!!

Pg 42 of HC Bill — The Health Choices Commissioner will choose UR HC Benefits 4 you. U have no choice!

PG 50 Section 152 in HC bill — HC will be provided 2 ALL non US citizens, illegal or otherwise

Pg 58HC Bill — Govt will have real-time access 2 individs finances & a National ID Healthcard will b issued!

Pg 59 HC Bill lines 21-24 Govt will have direct access 2 ur banks accts 4 elect. funds transfer

Pg 72 Lines 8-14 Govt is creating an HC Exchange 2 bring priv HC plans under Govt control.

PG 84 Sec 203 HC bill — Govt mandates ALL benefit pkgs 4 priv. HC plans in the Exchange.

Here's the bill's home page, all 1,087 pages!

Tea Party Redux

We were so overwhelmed by pictures and video of the almost two dozen official Tax Day Tea Parties last month, that we haven't been able to post all the great sights and sounds from them. We got some of them up — from Richmond, Woodbridge, Virginia Beach, and even Chicago. We pledge to get more highlights up as we approach July 4, when more are planned across the country, as a follow-up and a reminder not to let this fire die. Below is video of John Taylor, president of the Virginia Institute for Public Policy and Tertium Quids, at the Richmond Tea Party, where he addressed an estimated 5,000 people as one of the featured speakers. (He also spoke in Charlottesville that day.) A combination of intellect and inspiration, he covers a lot of ground. But it's well worth a look and listen. The applause at the  conclussion of his speech doesn't do justice to the actual level of noise and approving enthusiasm he received.

"In a sentence in a half . . . Jefferson . . . set forth a new world order for the ages. ... The role of the sovereign would be performed by the people." 

"We know what our Founders stood for. Do we know what we stand for?" Freedom is something "no good man surrenders but with his life."