The Washington Post

Sexual Orientation Bill Passes Senate Committee

In a surprise vote Monday afternoon, the Senate General Laws Committee, by a vote of 8-7, reported SB 701 to the full Senate. This bill would add sexual orientation to the state's hiring policy of non-discrimination. A similar bill died in the same committee last year, but Senator Jill Vogel (R-27, Winchester) changed her vote. If this bill is successful, it would be the first time in Virginia history that sexual orientation would be elevated to a protected class in the law. A vote is likely by the end of the week.

Please contact your senator today and urge him or her to vote NO on SB 701 when it comes up for a vote in the full Senate.

Debates over similar legislation during the last several legislative sessions revealed no evidence of widespread discrimination. In fact, according to The Washington Post, there are "thousands of homosexuals" working in state government. Both previous governors, Mark Warner and Tim Kaine, signed executive orders against discrimination, and Governor Bob McDonnell issued an executive directive stating that his administration will not discriminate against homosexuals. In fact, since 1992, a span of 18 years, an allegation of discrimination has taken place at a rate of just over one per year, and few, if any, have been found to be true discrimination.

This is a solution in search of a problem.

In addition, SB 701 will open the Commonwealth of Virginia to costly litigation by people who fail to qualify for employment but sue the state based on this proposal. SB 701 would open private businesses and faith-based entities to similar litigation. The words of an Equality Virginia lobbyist reveal the true intent of the legislation: she stated that voting for the bill that would add sexual orientation to the state government hiring policy was a "baby step."

A baby step toward what? In response, we presented the committee with the argument that passing the legislation is a "baby step" toward requiring private businesses, and faith-based ministries that receive state funding, to hire homosexuals. This has already happened in other states, including our neighbor Maryland.

Elevating sexual orientation to a protected class, despite the fact that homosexuality is not immutable, would create an entirely new level of protection — protection based on one's sexual behavior. Senators need to hear from you today!

Saslaw: "80 Out Of 81 Ain't Bad" Unless Your The Unborn

Senate Majority Leader Dick Saslaw (D-35, Springfield) is known for his bluntness. Sometimes that's refreshing in politics. But there's a fine line between blunt and crude. Today, on Washington station WAMU-FM's The Politics Hour, he offered this braggadocio when asked about the abortion center regulation amendment to SB 924 that the Senate approved on a 21-20 vote, as reported by Rosalind Helderman of the Washington Post's Virginia Politics blog:

"Let me just say this: Over the last decade, it's no secret. I happen to be pro-choice. I've been pretty much responsible for bottling up or killing 80 bills."

He noted that most of those anti-abortion bills have died in the Senate's Education and Health Committee, whose pro-abortion rights membership, he said, he'd helped "engineer."

"One finally got through through circuitous means," he said. "Eighty of 81 ain't a bad batting average."

Not bad at all, senator, unless you're one of the hundreds (even thousands) of unborn babies who've died because of your obstruction. On the other hand, he didn't try to fool anyone — no pretense of "safe, legal and rare," so many liberals try to effect to appease some voters as a sensible position. He gladly took credit for the out of proportion stacking of the Education and Health Committee, as well. But it was nice to see Ms. Helderman's equally frank, fair and accurate description of Senator Saslaw as "pro-abortion," a term we expound upon here as the true motivation of many who call themselves "pro-choice."

Speaking of stacking committees, he was equally blunt on redistricting, saying he expected to redraw district lines in an effort to elect more liberals. The interview also included a surprise caller that sparked real fireworks. It's worth a listen. You can find the audio here.

WRVA Interview With Victoria Cobb, Washington Post Coverage Of Education Choice Rally

Speaking of education choice, yesterday was our annual lobby day. This year's theme was education choice and we added a rally in Capitol Square as well. The media attention was excellent. Starting the day was an interview on WRVA's Richmond's Morning News With Jimmy Barrett, but with an adversarial guest host, Juan Conde of WRIC-TV, sitting in for the decidedly conservative Mr. Barrett. Victoria Cobb, our president, took it all in stride, even when Mr. Conde misunderstood, shall we say, the issue, and claimed HB 2314, if passed, would give "our" money to businessesThe Washington Post also covered the rally on its Virginia Politics Blog, and a Google search reveals publications from The India Times to Forbes picked up the Post's post, as well as various state television and print media.

Listen to Victoria Cobb's WRVA interview on school choice from Thursday, February 10 (5:30) on Richmond's Morning News With Jimmy Barrett.

General Assembly Issue Five: General Assembly Liberals Take Page From Lady Gaga Playbook

This is the fifth in a series about key issues facing the 2011 General Assembly, which starts January 12. Issue One, Life Defined And Protected, was posted Tuesday; Issue Two, Eliminate ObamaCare Induced Abortion Funding In Virginia, was posted Wednesday; and Issue Three, Restoring The Balance Of Power, was posted Thursday; and the fourth, Transparency Isn't Just A Word, was posted Friday.

Richmond's liberal political class appears to have completely missed the message of the voters in Virginia concerned about over spending and joblessness. Instead, taking a page out of the Harry Reid-Lady Gaga playbook (see Film Industry Network blog), they plan on making homosexual issues their top priority (see Richmond Biz Sense) the coming General Assembly session.

Building on what they view as "momentum" from the lame-duck Congress' vote to repeal the military's "don’t ask, don’t tell" policy, Democrat leaders will focus their energies on passing legislation that would give special protections to homosexuals, not just in state government hiring as they tried in the past, but in all hiring — public and private — across Virginia.

This fulfills the dream of the ACLU's Kent Willis who said last year:

We hope this is only the beginning, and that [it] will inspire legislators to finally pass a law prohibiting discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity in both private and public sector employment. (Emphasis added.)

This blatant attack on religious freedom would pose a threat to every church, faith based ministry, adoption agency, school and charity in the commonwealth. No longer content with an incremental approach, it appears that Virginia liberals want it all and they want it now.

Of course, we are confident that their legislation will go no further than it did last year. The fact is that there is no evidence of broad discrimination against homosexuals taking place in Virginia. Even The Washington Post admitted that there are "thousands of homosexuals" working in state government. Proponents of the measure can point to one —just one — case where someone filed suit that they were fired because of their "sexual orientation," but even that case has been disputed.

According to one of the nation’s leading homosexual activist leaders and recent Obama appointee to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (approval for her nomination took place in the late night final hours of the lame duck Congress), Chai Feldblum:

There can be a conflict between religious liberty and sexual liberty, but in almost all cases sexual liberty should win. I'm having a hard time coming up with any case in which religious liberty should win.

Those who advocate for the advancement of sexual behavior protections in our law have little or no room for those who have religious convictions on those issues. In her paper, Moral Conflict and Liberty: Gay Rights and Religion, Feldblum, who authored the federal Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA), argues quite openly that it is the primary goal of this political movement to elevate (either through legislation or the courts) homosexual orientation to moral equivalence with heterosexual orientation, and to do so at the cost of religious liberty. She admits in her assessment of the clash that:

We are in a zero-sum game: a gain for one side necessarily entails a corresponding loss for the other side, (but) in making the decision in this zero-sum game, I am convinced society should come down on the side of protecting the (sexual) liberty of LGBT people.

So there you have it, the true motivation behind the so-called "non-discrimination laws." It is to discriminate against people whose faith teaches that homosexuality is wrong.

Virginia News Stand: November 16, 2009

Annotations & Elucidations The Biggest Loser Strikes Again

The Washington Post is at it again . . . still! Forget Creigh Deeds, Jody Wagner and Steve Shannon, election night's biggest loser was the Post. It created Deeds with its Democrat primary endorsement of him. His campaign slogan effectively became, "Endorsed by the Washington Post" and its influence over the liberal Northern Virginia base carried him to primary victory. It then became his de facto political consultant, telling him to come clean on his tax increase plans, which he did in a Post op-ed, and coaching him every step of the way. It even gave him his singular line of attack against his Republican opponent — a thesis Bob McDonnell wrote while earning his MBA at Regent University. Now, after a couple of weeks of silence, the Post can't contain itself and is back on the hunt, trying to tie the governor-elect to a comment Regent founder Pat Robertson made about Muslims. Lesson learned number one from the campaign: Don't hire the Washington Post as your campaign advisor. Lesson two: It's a real sore loser.

Elsewhere, we're mentioned in a piece about Governor-elect McDonnell's transition team. One of our board members, Dave Barrett, was named as a transition team senior advisor. Richmond Times-Dispatch columnist Jeff Schapiro speculates on whom McDonnell will name as Secretary of Finance, his most important personnel decision, according to Mr. Schapiro. Is House Majority Whip Kirk Cox (R-66, Colonial Heights) a contender? The T-D also examines the online advertising aspect of the late campaign — it was among the best, it says. No wonder, there was a lot of material to work with. Also, policies are starting to emerge from the Team McDonnell. Finally, please check out Michael Ramirez's editorial comics at the links below. He's a hoot. Maybe the Post should look them over, laugh . . . and lighten up.

News:

*Gov.-elect McDonnell announces senior advisers to transition team (Richmond Times-Dispatch)

McDonnell meets House Democrats, stresses common ground (Richmond Times-Dispatch)

McDonnell eyes health-care changes at state level (Richmond Times-Dispatch)

Robertson's remarks put McDonnell in a bind (Washington Post)

Online ads in Va. gubernatorial race 'set the standard' (Richmond Times-Dispatch)

Dates set for special Senate primaries; "Debate" held in the 8th today (BearingDrift.com)

Tickets on sale now for Glenn Beck, Bill O'Reilly in Norfolk (The Daily Press)

Analysis:

Budget boss atop concern (Jeff Schapiro/Richmond Times-Dispatch)

Editorial Comics:

Pork Flu (Below) (Michael Ramirez/TheWeek.com)

Pelosi & Reid's Miracle Health Care Reform (Michael Ramirez/Townhall.com)

RINO: A Scene From "The Godfather" (Michael Ramirez/Townhall.com)

porkflu

Who Says Bloggers Can't Fill The Gap?

Hopefully, you've perused the March 3 News Stand. In it, I bring to readers' attention an article by The Washington Post's Marc Fisher who laments that economic downsizing has led to a reduction in media coverage of state government in Richmond and Annapolis. Among the Mainstream Media, he notes, several newspapers have reduced the number of reporters at the capitols, about half as many in Virginia as there used to be, and that only one Virginia television station still maintains a bureau in capitol square. Alas, he maintains, despite the explosion of new media —blogs in particular — it isn't enough to fill the gaps left by the reduction of full-time journalists. Says who? While we won't be pretentious enough to claim bloggers fill the exact same role as political beat journalists, especially the old-fashioned five W's objective reporters — those days disappeared along with the buggy whip manufacturers anyway — we can say, speaking for ourselves, that bloggers have more than replaced what passed for electronic media coverage of the legislature. Never more than sound byte "journalism," exactly how much depth do viewers get from one- and two-minute television reports, or 30-second updates on radio?  

Perhaps Mr. Fisher should have looked at our blog during session (see Capitol Square Diary) and our YouTube page. Everyone should. At last count we had 23 videos posted there, almost all concerning the General Assembly, and many of them from committee hearings. Not five- or 10-second sound bytes, but full testimonies and questions and answers between committee members and witnesses, not to mention the committee votes. Ahh, the votes.

Often what passes for news coverage of devious parliamentary gimmicks that kill bills without the legislators going on record is the media's complyingly innocuous, "the bill died in committee." But how? We show you! Which is something, that no matter how many television or radio station bureaus there are, never seems to be told. We don't let the politicians escape, unlike the Mainstream Media. I'm not sure why Mr. Fisher doesn't think that's laudable.

The fact is, the new media is here and will continue to grow in outlets as well as users, evolve in its delivery mechanisms (we were just getting used to blogs, then Facebook, when Twitter came around), and increase in importance. If that's to the Mainstream Media's demise, so be it. But if the MSM is at least partly responsible for its own demise for its complacency in  seeing the future, it surely is fully responsible for its diminishing presence by its lack of depth of coverage and its flat-out distortations of its coverage of politics and policy.

Apparently, what matters most to MSM apologists is numbers — after all, what can legitimize the biased MSM other than to say tens of thousands read their publications or watch their broadcasts? It certainly isn't in the quality or depth of coverage. But the velocity of change in information consumption is happening faster than a Dick Saslaw foot-in-the-mouth comment. So new media audience numbers will grow in time. Of course, expecting the MSM to acknowledge that is like expecting them to cover a Dick Saslaw foot-in-the-mouth comment. It rarely, if ever, happens.

Embryonic Stem Cell Research: Discovery Makes It Obsolete (Again)

The Washington Post yesterday reported (click here) on another major breakthrough in creating from adult stem cells, cells with all of the characteristics of embryonic stem cells. The difference being, of course, these manipulated versions don't come from embryos and, therefore, don't destroy life. The research was published online yesterday at the Web site of the journal Nature (click here). The key here is the word "another" because many may remember about 15 months ago a different group of scientists discovered the first such procedure to do this. Please see this extensively cited post I wrote at the time.

If the first method made the argument for embryonic stem cell research obsolete, surely this method does, reducing to practically nothing risks associated with diseases caused by viruses. Furthermore, doctors quoted in The Post article say more such methods are on the way to fruition.

Regardless, all of the procedures proven or under research have in common the fact that they make research with these emulated embryonic stem cells more accessible and less expensive because highly sophisticated labs won't be needed. That means if there's any cure to be had from them, more researchers, doctors and scientists will be able to have at it. That is to say, if something is there to be discovered it'll happen quicker with more people giving it a go. The embryonic crowd should be delighted.

Of course, the best part of it all is that the divisiveness over embryonic stem cell research — which has produced not one significant medical advancement, while adult stem cell therapy is responsible for dozens of cures — can end, now, right? Let the harmony begin. Oh, were we to wish. ...

Said Mark A. Kay of Stanford University:

"The point is, we don't know yet what the end potential of either of these approaches will be. No one has cured any disease in people with any of these approaches yet. We don't know enough yet to know which approach will be better."

How ironic. Who are supposed to be the flat earthers? Sadly, destroying life still trumps obsolescence, while the argument remains obstinate.  

Virginia News Stand: March 3, 2009

The first News Stand of March yields a plethora of articles on a number of subjects. One article of personal interest: The Washington Post's piece about bloggers not being able to fill the gap left by the shrinking press corps. Who says?! On a more serious note, the Post also reports on more bad news for the pro-abortion crowd — scientists have created another way to enable adult stem cells to emulate embryonic stem cells. It also reports on the Obama administration revoking the conscience clause for medical personnel of faith. This, most assuredly, is horrible, but expected, news. Lots of reading . . . time to delve into it!

Divisive Issues No Longer McDonnell's First Words: Va. GOP Nominee for Governor Goes Centrist (Washington Post

Deeds, Moran Take Different Routes in Va. Race (Washington Post

General Assembly adjourns; Kaine says stimulus saved 7,100 state jobs (Richmond Times-Dispatch

Va.'s $77B budget spared major cuts, Assembly adjourns (Norfolk Virginian-Pilot

Lawmakers Approve Revisions to 2-Year Budget (Washington Post

Legislators Split On Budget (Harrisonburg Daily News-Record

Local lawmakers say session was productive (Winchester Star)

Bloggers Can't Fill the Gap Left by Shrinking Press Corps (Washington Post

Goodlatte Endorses Brownlee (Washington Post Voices blog)

Researchers Find Safer Way to Produce Stem Cell Alternative (Washington Post

Health Workers' 'Conscience' Rule Set to Be Voided (Washington Post)

Former Equality Virginia Leader Indicted

The Washington Post reported late last week that Joe Price, an attorney and former chairman of the board of Equality Virginia, was indicted on obstruction of justice charges surrounding a murder that took place in Price's home in 2006. (Read The Post's account of the indictment, by clicking here.)  What makes this information relevant to all Virginians is that Price is currently the Virginia attorney representing Janet Jenkins who is seeking full custody of Isabella Miller, the small child caught in the custody dispute between Jenkins and her former partner Lisa Miller. The case has extraordinary implications not only for little Isabella, but for Virginia's marriage amendment and the future of family law.

Not surprisingly, The Post makes no mention in its article of Price's longtime affiliation with the commonwealth's largest homosexual rights group, or his involvement with one of the most important legal cases regarding family law in the nation.

The Family Foundation first heard rumors of Price's involvement in the August 2006 crime during the marriage amendment campaign that fall. Because there were no mainstream media stories that verified the situation we decided that raising awareness of the case during the amendment campaign would have detracted from the effort to pass the amendment.

It will be interesting to see if Price continues to represent Jenkins in the high profile custody case while he is under indictment, or if anyone in the mainstream media will ever report all the facts about the Price situation.

Virginia CD-11

One of the most interesting congressional campaigns in Virginia in several years is in Northern Virginia's 11th congressional district. Democrat Gerry Connolly and Republican Keith Fimian are waging a competitive race which, according to the pundits, was not supposed to happen. The seat currently is held by retiring U.S. Representative Tom Davis, a so-called "moderate" Republican. Because of Northern Virginia's changing political climate, this was supposed to be a slam dunk for the ultra-liberal Connolly, a career Washington bureaucrat turned Fairfax career politician. The conservative Fimian, on the other hand, has only spent his  career as a successful CPA for the respected international firm KPMG before starting his own business out of his garage — U.S. Inspect — which has grown into the largest provider of residential and commercial  property inspection services in America.

There's one problem with the campaign, however. While Mr. Fimian is out door-to-door, at festivals, addressing groups and campaigning hard, Mr. Connolly is nowhere to be seen — except on television "approving" his character-assassin advertisements that even The Washington Post says are false (see here). There's no wonder why he's hiding behind such unscrupulous ads. You see, Mr. Connolly has for some time now been the chairman of Fairfax County's board of supervisors. He is presiding over a whopping $430 million budget deficit. That's a $430 million deficit for a single county — big money even by Tim Kaine standards. What truly is incredible about the deficit, however  — in the literal sense of the word — is that the deficit came after Mr. Connolly raised property tax rates on top of increased house assessments! (By the way, let this budget debacle be a microcosmic warning to those who also think raising taxes will balance the federal budget.) Now, the county is in trouble because of declining home values, despite the fact that it is ranked as one of the five most prosperous counties in the nation. (Why does a wealthy county need to spend so much on government?)

Is there no end to the liberal lust for more and more of the hard-earned money from hard-working, play-by-the-rules, Virginia families, especially in economic times like these? This is why, despite the slanderous attack ads by Connolly, the race is in a statistical dead heat — also despite the Democrat Congressional Campaign Committee making it one of its highest profile target races. While millions of dollars are spent trying to ruin a good man's reputation, for doing nothing more than working in the real world and creating hundreds of jobs, the voters know the real story. See this news report by local station WJLA-TV, the ABC affiliate:

A tax-increaser who still has left his county in financial ruin (not to mention his extremist positions on life issues), Connolly not surprisingly has failed to address the deficit or take a stand on solutions to our pressing energy problems and repeatedly has blown off  joint speaking appearances. Connolly has twisted the old expression, "You can run but you can't hide." He isrunning (for Congress) by hiding from his out-of-touch liberal record. 

Holy Cow! Someone DID Call The ACLU!

On June 25, I sarcastically wrote that someone needed to call the ACLU because Fort Lee scheduled a concert of Christian and Gospel music. It's not as if the ACLU doesn't have a track record here: It has spouted its most tenuous of all its "separation of church and state" claims into the ranks of the military before, especially when the Boy Scouts contracted the use of one of its bases (Fort A.P. Hill) for its Jamboree a few years ago because the Boy Scouts recognize God. ("God forbid!" the atheist said.) Well now! Who is to say we don't have an influence around these here parts? Look what we found in The Washington Post, datelined June 25 (click here for entire article):  

The American Civil Liberties Union is threatening to sue the U.S. Naval Academy unless it abolishes its daily lunchtime prayer, saying that some midshipmen have felt pressured to participate.

In a letter to the Naval Academy, Deborah Jeon, legal director for the ACLU of Maryland, said it was "long past time" for the academy to discontinue the tradition. She said the practice violates midshipmen's freedom to practice religion as their conscience leads them.

We like the Naval Academy's response:

The Naval Academy rejected the ACLU's request that the prayer be eliminated.

"The academy does not intend to change its practice of offering midshipmen an opportunity for prayer or devotional thought during noon meal announcements," the university said in a statement. It said that some form of prayer has been offered for midshipmen at meals since the school's founding, in 1845, and that it is "consistent with other practices throughout the Navy."

This prayer is voluntary. If those in training to defend our country want to give thanks and receive the blessings through the strength of group prayer to the Lord their Creator throughout this process, they have every right. If they have not a care, a minute of silence might do them good in the bustle of an Annapolis day. If it makes them better officers to defend America, why should the atheists care? Who does this hurt, except our country, if this moment of prayer benefits us with the best possible officers? Shouldn't we all want the best possible officers? 

We want to publicly offer our apologies to the entire U.S. Military and, in particular, the United States Naval Academy for any role we may have had in this nuisance of an inconvenience brought on by the busy bodies at the ACLU, who constantly look for a solution where there are only imaginary problems regarding church and state. So, while we have nothing against West Point, in this instance, we're fully behind the Middies.  

GO NAVY!

Interviews For Your Convenience

Even though our blog is young, we're proud that we've been able to secure a number of exclusive interviews with significant newsmakers, including statewide office holders such as Attorney General Bob McDonnell and Lieutennent Governor Bill Bolling, party chairmen, General Assembly leaders and a national political strategist. A few of these interviews made the news themselves. (Click here for The Washington Post's mention of our interview with Delegate Jeff Frederick (R-52, Woodbridge) when he announced his candidacy for Republican Party of Virginia chairman; or here for Black Velvet Bruc Li's comment on our interview with state Democrat Chairman Richard Cranwell; and also this one from Right Wing Liberal on Chairman Cranwell.) That these people are willing to speak directly to our audience says a lot about you, our readers, and your feedback has been very positive. More interesting interviews are on the way with General Assembly members, but also with reporters in the mainstream media (should be interesting!) and local officials who are doing exemplary work in their communities, whose successes and conservative ideas for solutions need to be shared to a broader audience. We also hope to have a national political figure or two, religious leaders and people from different walks of life who are playing big roles in affecting our culture and public policy.

In the meantime, in order to make reading these electronic conversations easier, we have created an Interviews category to archive them so you can more conveniently find them. We hope you take time to read some of the older interviews if you haven't already and let us know what you think. Also, feel free to suggest names of Virginia leaders, policy makers, media types or other individuals you'd like to hear from. 

Also of note, check our growing blogroll, as we continue to strive to become your one-stop shop, your portal of Virginia politics. (Make us your home page!) Among our latest additions is Alton Foley's highly regarded I'm Not Emeril. We hope you give it a visit.