Washington Times

Lawsuit Threatened In Adoption Regulations Battle

Today, the Virginia Board of Social Services is scheduled to consider a request by several homosexual activist groups to reopen its decision to protect the rights of private, faith-based adoption agencies. In April, the VBSS approved new regulations for adoption agencies that did not include a proposal that would have forced private, faith-based adoption agencies to adopt children into homes with co-habitating, unmarried couples. Unfortunately, homosexual activist groups are not satisfied with the nearly two-year regulatory process and 30-day public comment period already undertaken and are petitioning the VBSS for an additional 30 days of public comment, thus requiring a second, unnecessary vote. Oddly, groups like Equality Virginia and the ACLU that today are advocating for more public comment were silent for nearly two years as the regulations, stealthily proposed by former Governor Tim Kaine, went through the process. After losing the vote (7-2) in April, they suddenly are very interested in more time and another vote. Now they are threatening a costly, frivolous lawsuit if they don't get their way. It's also odd that they talk a lot about freedom, but they have no forcing private institutions into policies that run counter to their believes. Apparently, religious liberty isn't a freedom they choose to protect.

During the earlier comment period, only an approximate 30 of the 1,000-plus public comments were favorable toward adding restrictions on faith-based charities (see Washington Times). In 2002, the last year for which data is available, nearly 80 percent of adoptions in Virginia were facilitated by private organizations, nearly half of which are faith-based. Adding the restrictions advocated by Equality Virginia and the ACLU would seriously threaten the well-being of thousands of children awaiting adoption. Similar actions have forced charities to close their doors to children and families in other states.

Sadly, it appears that these organizations are more interested in advancing their political agenda than helping vulnerable children. Punishing the organizations that handle 80 percent of the adoptions in Virginia to advance a political agenda is punitive and harsh. The Board of Social Services, as well as the overwhelming majority of those in the public who commented, saw that and rejected the proposed regulation.

The Family Foundation will monitor the meeting today and comment if necessary. Regardless of the VBSS' decision on opening the public comment period again to avoid an unnecessary lawsuit, we don't anticipate a change in the final vote. The majority of Virginians have spoken in the previous public comment period, Governor Bob McDonnell has committed to protecting faith-based agencies (Richmond Times-Dispatch), and Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli (Washington Post) has made it clear that the proposed restrictions are unnecessary. Equality Virginia and the ACLU may get their press conference and media exposure, but we will fight for the children and families as well as religious liberty.

It's Not Only About Congress

The November mid-term elections this November is about more than who controls Congress. Although it looks increasingly like a wave of near unprecedented proportions will wipe out the Leftists in charge of the House, and possibly the Senate, (see Michael Barone's analysis in the Washington Examiner), it could be going pear shaped for the libs in more way than one. There are more than 20 state legislative chambers that may flip from Democrat to Republican control this year, reports Joseph Weber at the Washington Times. A flip of this magnitude by either party always is huge news as states are the great policy labs as well as providing a bench for future statewide and federal office. But this year, still more is at stake: redistricting. The party in charge of a state's legislature will draw the new Congressional districts based on the census figures as well as their own districts. A large legislative sweep could ensure GOP control of Congress and state houses for at least 10 years. Not only that, the GOP is poised to regain a majority of governorships according to polling data.

Here's the devastating news to left-wing hearts:

A survey by the Washington-based Governing magazine last week found that more chambers could change party hands in 2010 than in any other election cycle since at least 2002. Although more than 20 Democrat-controlled state chambers are in play, Republicans are in jeopardy of losing just four.

Other surveys show Republican gubernatorial candidates looking strong in many states, increasing the chance of a major shift in the balance of power in state-level politics heading into the 2012 presidential election.

The party in the White House usually loses seats at the state level in midterm elections.

According to the National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL), the White House party has been a net loser of state legislative seats in every election in the past 110 years except 1934 and 2002, the first midterm elections of Presidents Franklin D. Roosevelt and George W. Bush, respectively.

That dynamic, combined with voter concerns about the economy, federal spending and Democratic control of 55 percent of state seats means 2010 is "shaping up to be the worst election for Democrats since 1994," said the NCSL's Tim Storey. 

How Virginia Can Create More Wealth And Jobs

Even with the hodge podge of economic incentives Virginia has had or created during the last session of the General Assembly (see Governor McDonnell talk about them in previous post), there is one sure way to guarantee prosperity. Get married, and stay that way. That is essentially the finding in a study released last month by Pew Charitable Trusts. Researchers found that family structure, and in particular the defragmenting of family through divorce, has a significant economic impact on children and their ability to rise into higher income brackets.

The study found that children of divorced parents are more likely to remain in lower income brackets as adults than children of continuously married parents. Also, while only 26 percent of children of divorce move from the lower income brackets to the middle or upper class, 50 percent of children from intact marriages are "upwardly mobile." The report concludes that while there are certainly a number of factors that determine a child's economic opportunities, family structure is high on the list.

This is not the first study that tells us marriage is good for children and that divorce has a negative impact. Social science is nearly unanimous in its conclusions in this area. On the other side of the equation, a study done in 2008 found that divorce and family fragmentation costs taxpayers in the United States $1 billion annually, and Virginians in particular pay $776 million annually in various social services because of family fragmentation.

My first response to this new study was "big surprise." After all, we have argued for years that family structure is a driving factor in economic success. My second response was, "where were all the news stories about this important research?"

Reports that come to these types of conclusions normally are dismissed by the mainstream media and "experts" as scientifically flawed or agenda driven. This time, however, perhaps because Pew Charitable Trusts has a positive reputation and the organizations involved in the study range from the Heritage Foundation on the political right to the Brookings Institution on the political left, no dismissals of the study can be found. In fact, outside one small Washington Times article and The Economist's Democracy In America Blog, no mention of the study can be found in our cursory Google search.

But regardless of the media's refusal to print the facts about marriage and divorce, the evidence continues to mount. Strong, stable marriages where couples stay together prove fertile ground for the economic success of children.

So, as Virginia's elected officials ponder how to create a better atmosphere for people to get good jobs and create more wealth — in addition to the labyrinth of Opportunity Fund Grants, tax credits and other complex corporate incentives — maybe they can learn to keep it simple,  starting with policies that promote and encourage the most basic economic unit of all. Strong families.

Virginia News Stand: April 29, 2010

Annotations & Elucidations The Comeback Continues

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

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

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

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

News

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

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

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

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

McDonnell Reverses State Police Prayer Policy (Roanoke Times)

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

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

Audio

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

National News

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Commentary

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

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

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

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

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

Virginia News Stand: April 28, 2010

Annotations & Elucidations Cultural Conservatism's Comeback (Or Was It Ever Really Dead?)

Who said cultural conservatism is dead? In Virginia last week, there was bipartisan support to end taxpayer funding of elective abortion and within the last 24 hours two major blows for traditional values — and constitutional law — occurred. Yesterday, the Oklahoma Senate joined with the House there in a bipartisan vote to override Democrat Governor Brad Henry's veto of an informed consent bill which would requires women seeking abortions to see an ultrasound of her baby and receive certain information, not terribly different than a bill we have advocated for in the General Assembly the last several years. (There is always hope!) Then, earlier today, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that a memorial Cross on federal land in the Mojave Desert can stay, reversing a lower court ruling.

But was cultural conservatism dead? Hard to believe that when each state that has voted on a Marriage Amendment has passed it. The truth is that there are certain truths in life and embedded in the constitution. Only when they are purposefully misinterpreted and laws misapplied to achieve agenda goals are they ever defeated. But defeat is not death. Values endure. We've seen that in the last 24 hours.

News

Gov discusses Confederacy, felons' rights, condoms (The Daily Press)

Va. ponies up millions to add Northrop (Washington Examiner)

Albemarle tea party crashes Fifth District chairman’s endorsement (Richmond Times-Dispatch)

Audio

Ask The Governor (39:56) (WTOP/WTOP.com)

National News

Strict Abortion Measures Enacted in Oklahoma (New York Times)

States seek new ways to restrict abortions (USA Today)

High court supports Mojave cross in Calif. (AP/FoxNews.com)

High Court Says Mojave Desert Cross Can Remain (Wall Street Journal)

Sounding alarm on gonorrhea (Washington Times)

Poll finds Americans in an anti-incumbent mood as midterm elections near (Washington Post)

Reid: Senate to act on climate before immigration (AP/GOPUSA.com)

GOP eyes comeback for New England House seats (AP/GOPUSA.com)

Not us: Goldman execs deny wrongdoing in crisis (AP/GOPUSA.com)

Obama continues to hammer AZ immigration law (AP/GOPUSA.com)

AG: Court challenge possible on immigration law (AP/GOPUSA.com)

Analysis

How Arizona became center of immigration debate (AP/GOPUSA.com)

Commentary

How Mexico Treats Illegal Aliens (Michelle Malkin/GOPUSA.com)

Trying To Make People Like Us (Harris Sherline/GOPUSA.com)

Arizona's 21-Bottle Salute (Brent Bozell/GOPUSA.com)

The Return of 'Social Utility' (Tony Blankley/GOPUSA.com)

Virginia News Stand: April 13, 2010

Annotations & Elucidations Calling Mr. Ripley 

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

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

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

News

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

Griffith reaping GOP support (Roanoke Times)

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

National News

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

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

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

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

Analysis

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

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

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

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

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

Commentary

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

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

Stupak's Final Retreat (Editorial/Washington Times)

Good Riddance (Thomas Sowell/GOPUSA.com)

Democrats Manipulate CBO (David Limbaugh/GOPUSA.com)

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

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

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

Virginia News Stand: April 12, 2010

Annotations & Elucidations Time For Tea (Parties)

It's a busy Monday version of the News Stand. We're in the news, again, because liberals are complaining about us. Translation: We're doing an effective job thwarting their agenda.

Someone else doing an effective job are the lobbyists paid for by local governments with  your tax money, who lobby, mostly, against interests of taxpayers and for the interests of government. Hundreds of thousands of dollars across the state, in fact. The Norfolk Virginian-Pilot features one such lobbyist and the dough she rakes in for the Virginia Beach School Board. However, some localities have stopped paying for outside help, which is good. But they continue to lobby the General Assembly with in-house staff. Not much better. Elsewhere, Tea Parties are spring up across the state and there are several dispatches regarding such. In news sure to cheer Planned Parenthood, a Catholic pharmacy which did not sell contraception, closed.

Nationally, we see the class exhibited by the New Jersey teachers union (it circulated an e-mail wishing for Republican Governor Chris Christie's death). In Analysis, Internet safety  activist Stacy Rumenap looks at a recent big win in federal court against the FCC and Henry Lamb discusses how President Obama got that national security force he campaigned for . . . in the health care bill! Nancy Pelosi was right. We did have to pass the bill to learn what was in it! In Commentary, Michelle Malkin and Mark Tapscott examine how the left in the media and out will try to sabotage the Tea Parties.

News

*UR recognition of Family Foundation leader protested (Richmond Times-Dispatch)

*Jepson alumna condemned by students for leadership award (The Collegian)

*Family Foundation lobbies McDonnell on abortion, stem cell research (Washington Post Virginia Politics Blog)

Some school divisions think lobbyists worth the investment (Norfolk Virginian-Pilot)

Catholic pharmacy shutters in Virginia (Washington Times)

Tea Party: We're taxed enough (Fredericksburg Free Lance-Star)

Farris, Viguerie To Speak At Culpeper Tea Party (Culpeper Star Exponent)

Tea Party seeks to ‘wake up’ America at Freedom Rally (Danville Register & Bee)

New flap brings McDonnell’s national viability to fore (Richmond Times-Dispatch)

'Jobs' governor's first 90 days have veered off course (The Daily Press)

Mims sworn in as Supreme Court justice (Richmond Times-Dispatch)

After loss, Va.'s Deeds tries to regain his footing (Washington Post)

National News

Teachers union memo 'prays' for governor's death (CNN.com)

Obama election-year jobs agenda stalls in Congress (AP/GOPUSA.com)

GOP senators push for 'mainstream' court nominee (AP/GOPUSA.com)

Psst: Hilary Rodham Clinton for court? (AP/GOPUSA.com)

GOP Chairman Steele: 'I've made mistakes' (AP/GOPUSA.com)

Analysis

Obamacare Will Be at Center of High Court Hearing (Michael Barone/GOPUSA.com)

Obama's Private Army (Henry Lamb/GOPUSA.com)

Court Rules FCC Lacks Authority to Regulate Internet (Stacy Rumenap/GOPUSA.com)

Commentary

Crash course: Your illustrated guide to Tea Party saboteurs (Michelle Malkin/MichelleMalkin.com)

Will Mainstream Media reporters and editors expose, screen out, or help Tea Party saboteurs? (Mark Tapscott/Beltway Confidential-WashingtonExaminer.com)

Are All Cultures Equal? (Thomas Sowell/GOPUSA.com)

Virginia News Stand: January 4, 2010

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

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

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

News:

Back to GOP Basics (Wall Street Journal Online)

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

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

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

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

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

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

National:

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

Video:

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

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

Jim Gilmore To Lead Free Congress Foundation: Not the Breaking News People Thought, But Good Nonethesame

This is an interesting tidbit: Former Governor Jim Gilmore announced Monday that he had been elected the new president and CEO of the Free Congress Foundation, the influential conservative think tank founded by the legendary conservative leader, strategist and grassroots activist Paul Weyrich (see New York Times), who died last December. Weyrich was one of the architects of the conservative renaissance that eventually brought about the Reagan and Gingrich Revolutions. When the announcement hit my inbox, I was eager to post it. This is big news — a Virginian taking the lead at a conservative hallmark, in the shoes of a true legend (Washington Times). But in his letter, the former governor included a link to a December 10 column by John Gizzi of Human Events in which he explains why he is taking the position and his goals, etc. That was more than two weeks prior to Monday's e-mailed letter. Figuring it was old news, I ignored it. Yet, the announcement still exploded in the media, new and mainstream. There's articles everywhere. Interesting how news can still trail real time, no matter how electronic and digital we become. It just goes to show that good reporting still beats all.

So, we join in the congratulations to former Governor Gilmore in his new position. He is a good, hard working, earnest man. He will have a national platform and a well schooled staff to put forth and advance conservative ideas and solutions to problems America faces in the economy, foreign policy and cultural and social issues, of which Weyrich was a determined traditionalist. In the age of Obama, there can be no shortage of limited government conservatives working in the vineyard.

Virginia's Budget Process

Yesterday, Governor-elect Bob McDonnell (see his statement) urged a revamping of Virginia's budget process, one as peculiar as the one-term gubernatorial limit (Washington Times), keeping a campaign promise he and Lt. Governor Bill Bolling made in September. As it is now, the Old Dominion's two-year budget is proposed by the governor in even years, meaning the lame duck outgoing governor proposes one while the incoming governor is still moving furniture into the executive mansion. It's up to the new guy and the General Assembly to amend it, while the old guy laughs at them stumbling all over themselves (Richmond Times-Dispatch). It also means a governor only has one opportunity to thoroughly shape fiscal policy and spending priorities during his one term — the two year budget beginning with the second even year of his term (Washington Examiner). So, Governor-elect McDonnell proposes to move the governor's budget submission to odd number years (Washington Post Virginia Politics Blog). Not a bad idea. He even has Governor Tim Kaine's support (whose outgoing, tax-increase laden budget is a great impetus for this change) as well as that of key lawmakers, and it was recommended as far back as 2002 from the Wilder Commission that studied ways to improve efficiency in state government. 

But another idea has floated through Capitol Square in recent years: Keep the even year cycle, but let the new governor do the proposing. To give him time, move the legislative session back a month or two. That way, he can propose two full budgets and the next governor can start with a clean slate. Under the odd year proposal, a new governor would take office in the middle of a already adopted two-year budget (better than the current system) and could propose amendments. But why not have the governor do what he was elected to do and have an impact the entire four year term? Besides, starting the legislative session in January can be such a bummer coming off the holiday season. Never does such good cheer turn to agony so fast.

Gov's mansion

Bob McDonnell will hardly have moved in before he has to start tearing up Governor Tim Kaine's proposed lame duck budget.

Virginia News Stand: December 15, 2009

Annotations & Elucidations Bringing Back The Car Tax?

Governor Tim Kaine is yanking the commonwealth's collective chain on whether he will propose re-instituting the car tax in his last budget. Will he or won't he? We'll know Friday when he releases it. Republicans, from Governor-elect Bob McDonnell on down, say they will not go along. Meanwhile, the GOP's sixth House of Delegates seat pickup is official as Ron Villanueva maintained his 16 vote lead in a recount. Speaking of the House, the pre-filing deadline for legislation has brought in a pile of bills and the Washington Times has a preview of some early newsworthy favorites come January. Over in the national House, the Washington Post reports that Dems are fretting over another crush — a crush of retirements that may throw up into the air the issue of control of the House of Representatives in the 2010 elections.

News:

Kaine coy about plans for car tax (Northern Virginia Daily)

Dems on McDonnell advisers list: I'm doing what now? (Washington Post Virginia Politics Blog)

Pre-filing allowing avalanche of new bills (Washington Times)

It's official: Villanueva wins close election in Virginia Beach (The Daily Press)

Villanueva winner of 21st District seat in Va. Beach recount (Norfolk Virginian-Pilot)

Conservatives launch PACs to grab for Tea Party cash (Norfolk Virginian-Pilot)

State fines disappearing candidate (WVEC.com/WVEC-TV)

National:

House Democrats lose fourth member to retirement (Washington Post)

When 'real world data' fails (OneNewsNow.com)

Family group uneasy with FCC appointee (OneNewsNow.com)

FAIR to fight 'ridiculous' amnesty bill (OneNewsNow.com)

Obama to work to solidify support for health bill (AP/OneNewsNow.com)

Commentary:

Chinese official pushes 'one child' policy in Copenhagen (Matt Friedeman/Rightly Concerned Blog)

'Religious Test' — Belong to a Particular Denomination (Bryan Fischer/Focal Point, Rightly Concerned Blog

Muslim followers of Jesus? (Matt Friedeman/Rightly Concerned Blog)

Dave Marsden Now Is A Low Tax Guy?

It may be December, and it may be a one month campaign, but it's already a hot one in the 37th Senate District special election (to be held January 12) to fill the seat of Attorney General-elect Ken Cuccinelli. It was guaranteed to be so from the beginning: The Dems think the seat belongs to them because of they way Fairfax County has trended recently. As the number one targeted Republican in 2007, they thought they had Cuccinelli dead in their sights, but he escaped with a victory of less than 100 votes. (Now, he's attorney general, surely to endless liberal heartburn, mental anguish, knashing of teeth and sleepless nights.) But a Democrat victory now would be a welcome buttress to its current one seat firewall against GOP policy initiatives.

However, the climate is much different now. The GOP did very well in Fairfax in November and has momentum and the weight of landslide victors Governor-elect Bob McDonnell and re-elected Lt. Governor Bill Bolling as well as Cuccinelli behind its nominee, Stephen Hunt. Hunt has been elected county wide before (to the Fairfax County School Board), while the best the Demscould come up with is Delegate Dave Marsden (D-41, Fairfax), who barely won re-election in November to his House seat, which partially overlaps the Senate district.

But it's not only a matter of a changed political atmosphere, but also Marsden's residency, at least for now. He doesn't live in the district, but a couple of weeks ago took up in a room in a friend's house that is in the district (see Washington Times).

But political climate and residency aren't the only things that have changed. Now, Delegate Marsden claims to be a low-tax guy. Talk about reading political tea leaves, or at least election results. In a recent direct mail piece, Delegate Marsden stakes out the low-tax mantle, claiming he will  "Hold the line on taxes," although he has consistently voted for numerous tax increases in the House of Delegates, including this $2 billion increase (click here) in 2008. It would have raised taxes on car and home purchases (just what we need in a recession) and encouraged a Northern Virginia sales tax increase.

When voters ask for change, residency and glossing over voting records isn't what they have in mind. Virginia Democrats won several elections in Virginia prior to November by basically saying, "We're not Republicans." Now, facing a statewide catastrophe, they have to say who they are, for once. According to the mailer released by Delegate Marsden, they still aren't.

Virginia News Stand: November 2, 2009

Annotations & Elucidations  Election Eve Edition

Will tomorrow be the dream come true for exiled Virginia Republicans? Or will the vaunted Democrat machine of Obama, Warner & Kaine pull a dramatic upset? The Mason-Dixon Poll, the Gold Standard of Virginia political polls, has always called the winners, usually with remarkable accuracy. In 2006, it called it for Jim Webb by one percent. Yesterday's results, in the Times-Dispatch, have it 53-41 for Republican gubernatorial candidate Bob McDonnell. It also has his running mates, Lt. Governor Bill Bolling, and attorney general candidate Senator Ken Cuccinelli, up by double digits. 

What of the House of Delegates? Only months ago, Democrats were hopeful of a takeover. Now, projections run anywhere from a two to 12 seat gain for the GOP (see the Washington Times below). Expect at least one shocker. Maybe two. Today, of course, the News Stand (even the National and Commentary sections) is all about  the election.

News:

McDonnell extends advantage in Times-Dispatch poll (Richmond Times-Dispatch)

3 Points in 3 Months: VA Gov Contest Polling Ends Just About Where It Began, with GOP Sweep of VA Races (SurveyUSA.com)

McDonnell maintains large lead (PublicPolicyPolling.com)

Republicans Unleash "McBollinelli" (WTVR.com/WTVR-TV)

Virginia candidates step up efforts in waning hours (Richmond Times-Dispatch)

Now it's a sprint to Tuesday (The Daily Press)

Virginia governor candidates hold last-minute rallies (Norfolk Virginian-Pilot)

McDonnell, Deeds push key campaign themes as race nears end (Richmond Times-Dispatch)

Welcome to work, governor. It's time to slash the budget. (Norfolk Virginian-Pilot)

McDonnell and Deeds mostly mum on how to fund their ideas (Washington Post)

Virginia Republicans expect to make gains (Washington Times)

Republicans hope to gain House seats (Fredericksburg Free Lance-Star)

Palin records calls urging Virginians to vote (Washington Post Virginia Politics Blog)

LU hoping for strong voter turnout on Tuesday (Lynchburg News & Advance)

National:

A few elections, a few clues about our politics (AP/GOPUSA.com)

Scorn for property taxes drives NJ governor's race (AP/GOPUSA.com)

Third party challenges in NJ, NY are warning sign (AP/GOPUSA.com)

Limbaugh says Obama 'in over his head' (AP/GOPUSA.com)

Commentary:

Republican Leaders Seeing the Light and Going Conservative? (Bobby Eberle/GOPUSA.com)

Virginia News Stand: October 30, 2009

Annotations & Elucidations  Close Of Business, October 2009

Another month, another campaign draws toward conclusion. Where does the time go? Where does life go? A sign of the times: Campaign news is light today. Everyone is expecting an anti-climatic GOP blowout. But will it be? What about New Jersey and the special Congressional election in upstate New York? If the Dems pull those out will that blunt any GOP resurgence nationally otherwise gained from a Virginia sweep? If the numbers hold, how many Republican delegates will win? Retirements alone guarantee a large freshman class in January.

About today's headlines: The Richmond Times-Dispatch gets up close and personal with the LG candidates and the Washington Times already is analyzing where Creigh Deeds went wrong. Why is it always where Creigh Deeds went wrong? Bob McDonnell, Bill Bolling and Ken Cuccinelli have done a lot right. Meanwhile, political soothsayer Dr. Larry Sabato offers his predictions on the election.

Nationally: It's unfortunate that several pastors in Washington, D.C., are supporting homosexual "marriage" there; the AP reports that, indeed, abortion funding is in the health care "reform" bill; and sociologist Brad Wilcox of U.Va., and The Family Foundation Marriage Commission, caught the AP's attention with his research that faith helps marriages!

In Commentary, Dr. Thomas Sowell offers part two of his "Dismantling of America" exposition, the first part of which we posted earlier this week, and which drew considerable praise from Rush Limbaugh, among others. Also, a skin care company is using fetal cells in its product; Tim Kaine's DNC has selected as a finalist in a contest promoting the health care bill a video that desecrates the American flag; and a high ranking Obama administration official reveals her "ultimate expression of self-righteous victimhood." This is the weekend we move our clocks back and it gets dark earlier. How appropriate.

News:

Candidates for lieutenant governor come with different backgrounds (Richmond Times-Dispatch)

Republicans rally supporters in Lynchburg as Election Day nears (Lynchburg News & Advance)

Money, missteps cost Deeds in polls for gubernatorial race (Washington Times)

Deeds makes stop in Roanoke (Roanoke Times)

National News: 

Health care businesses at risk in House overhaul (AP/OneNewsNow.com)

Believe it or not . . . abortion funding is in health care bill (OneNewsNow.com

Sociologist: Faith benefits marriage and family life (AP/OneNewsNow.com)

Pastors unite to support same-sex marriage in D.C. (Washington Post)

Analysis:

So who's going to win? (Dr. Larry Sabato/Center For Politics)

Commentary:

Dismantling America, Part II(Thomas Sowell/OneNewsNow.com)

Desecrated Flag Video Is Finalist In DNC Contest(Tasha Easterling/Rightly Concerned Blog)

Got Waste? No Surprises There (Jeremy Wiggins/Rightly Concerned Blog)

Skin Care Company Using Fetal Cells In Anti-Wrinkle Cream (Jeremy Wiggins/Rightly Concerned Blog)

Obama Advisor: We're Just Speaking Truth To Power (Tasha Easterling/Rightly Concerned Blog)

Virginia News Stand: October 1, 2009

Annotations & Elucidations  It's Almost Too Sad — Too Much News, Not Enough Time

There is so much news out there . . . of course, it's campaign season, so one would expect that. But this year seems different. Different types of news, different angles. Wish I could cover it all. Looking for something you come across something even more interesting. Can I get to it all? No, and that's the one frustrating aspect of blogging. Oh well. I've bookmarked some articles I hope to get to tomorrow, particularly about how the Dems now are trashing former Governor Doug Wilder (see Washington Post) over his non-endorsement of Democrat gubernatorial candidate Creigh Deeds. But why trash him when, rumor has it, the DNC is already dumping Deeds? That was one thing I picked up on when searching something else (see here).

The one national story that's getting traction is a Democrat Congressman who said the GOP health care plan is to tell people to not to get sick and if they do, die quickly. Oh, yeah, the liberals are so pure, innocent and nice to play with. Please see the AP article and Bobby Eberle's commentary. Maybe we need to pray for liberals, which is what Newsweek looks at (remember, it's Newseek!). On a more uplifting note, there was a rally for school choice at the U.S. Capitol yesterday as the Washington Times documents.

News:

Race for governor: McDonnell takes swipe at Kaine (Richmond Times-Dispatch)

Election 2009: Virginia Governor Election McDonnell 51% Deeds 42% (RassmussenReports.com)

Poll: Bob McDonnell pads lead over Creigh Deeds in Virginia (Politico.com)

News7 SurveyUSA poll shows frontrunners in November elections (WDBJ-TV/WDBJ7.com)

Kaine sees tougher fight, more negative tone in governor's race (Lynchburg News & Advance)

On the Wilder Side of Politics, Picking None of the Above (Washington Post)

National News:

Democrat says GOP wants sick to just 'die quickly (AP/GOPUSA.com)

Vote on health care expected mid-month (AP/GOPUSA.com)

Rallying for school vouchers (Washington Times)

Obama admin. defends official for gay advice (AP/GOPUSA.com)

Essay in military journal urges end to policy on gays (Norfolk Virginian-Pilot)

Obama's 'Safe Schools' Czar Admits He Poorly Handled Underage Sex Case (FoxNews.com)

Commentary:

You Lie vs. You Die . . . Where's the Real Apology? (Bobby Eberle/GOPUSA.com

Praying for Liberals (David Waters/Newsweek)

Analysis:

Democrats Win Lobbyists But Lose Basic Reforms (Michael Barone/GOPUSA.com)

SurveyUSA's Results in Virginia Will Please Republicans, But . . . (Jim Geraghty/National Review Online's the campaign spot blog)

Virginia News Stand: September 14, 2009

Annotations & Elucidations Leftovers

The Communications Department was out today so I scrounged up some articles it passed along last week and some I found as well that I didn't have time to post last week. But they're evergreen, mostly.

Some interesting notes: Governor Kaine's car was hit while at VITA, the agency his administration has mismanaged. Omen? Speaking of the governor, he's abandoned the "Virginia way" for the that done by California — furloughs?! Oh yeah, more on Creigh Deeds "change" of thought on certain social issues. The Washington Times documents the growing importance of national issues in the gubernatorial campaign, while a study in the Richmond Times-Dispatch provides a demographic look at state legislatures. Meanwhile, that paper's Jeff Schapiro, of all people, doesn't quite think the Deeds' thesis strategy is going to pay off. Funny, how Mr. Schapiro and his colleagues continue to beat the same tone deaf drum.

News:

National issues dominate Va. Race (Washington Times)

State legislatures becoming older, more diverse, study says (Richmond Times-Dispatch)

Kaine's SUV damaged in VITA parking lot (Richmond Times-Dispatch)

Kaine's budget plan includes unpaid day off for state workers (Richmond Times-Dispatch)

Kaine to impose furlough for most state workers (Roanoke Times)

Deeds admits change in ideas (Washington Times)

Scott lays out case for health care reform (Richmond Times-Dispatch)

Warner walks fine line on health care (Richmond Times-Dispatch)

Controversy spreads before Obama's school speech (Richmond Times-Dispatch)

President's speech to schools: Pep talk or politics? (Norfolk Virginian-Pilot)

Candidates gather in Buena Vista for Labor Day parade (Richmond Times-Dispatch)

Getting to Richmond, By Way of A Parade (Washington Post)

Deeds, McDonnell at Buena Vista Labor Day Parade (Roanoke Times)

Labor Day: Deeds shines at Scott picnic (The Daily Press

McDonnell works to move past thesis criticism (The Daily Press)

McDonnell Changes Topic Amid Thesis Issue (Washington Post

Deeds uses radio, Internet to attack McDonnell on thesis (Richmond Times-Dispatch)

Deeds focuses on McDonnell thesis (Roanoke Times

Deeds jumps at opening to blast foe's 1989 thesis (Northern Virginia Daily)

Deeds sticks to thesis talk (Norfolk Virginian-Pilot)

Democrats Look For '08 Magic (Harrisonburg Daily News-Record)

Morrissey to pedal 74 miles through 74th to kick off re-election bid (Richmond Times-Dispatch)

Will feds find more e-mails to ODU? (The Daily Press)

Analysis:

Thesis fracas may not give Deeds the boost he needs(Jeff Schapiro/Richmond Times-Dispatch)

Video:

Cheers and Jeers (3:53) (Richmond Times-Dispatch.com)

About 50 percent of the crowd at Third District U.S. Representative Bobby Scott's (D-Va.) health care town hall meeting was against the "reform," or about 100 percent more than he likely expected. 

Virginia News Stand: August 11, 2009

Annotations & Elucidations The Answer Is . . . Abortion!

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

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

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

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

Video:

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

  

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

News:

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

Deeds picks off political scab: abortion rights (Roanoke Times

Deeds targets abortion issue (Washington Times)

Deeds Throws Abortion Gauntlet (Washington Post)

Commentary:

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

Is Sheila Johnson This Year's Patricia Cornwell?

Republican gubernatorial candidate Bob McDonnell received a huge boost yesterday in the form of an endorsement from billionaire Sheila Johnson, a lifelong Democrat and media mogul (see Washington Times). She is the co-founder of BET and other cable networks, among other businesses, and a big financial backer of Governor Tim Kaine's 2005 campaign. At first, this surprise and enthusiastic endorsement truly gives cover to McDonnell's umbrella group of supporters, Virginians For McDonnell. When he announced its formation in June, many Mainstream Media types scrutinized it as only a shelter for prodigal Republicans who've danced with Senator Mark Warner, but not welcome back as full partners by GOP regulars, and a few legit independents. But without visible support from true Dems, analysts said, this was a gimmick, and no proof of McDonnell's success in gaining a cross-section of support and/or middle-of-the-road and independent voters. 

Boy, does this change that. This modern-day Maggie Walker said she "did her homework" and interviewed all the candidates for governor, going back to the Democrat primary. Further, she said, she's not changing parties. It remains to be seen if the McDonnell campaign maximizes this endorsement or if she will carry enough juice to have an impact at all. But one would think she will star for him in television ads at least — pretty ironic if she doesn't, eh? — not to mention her potential financial support. 

In 1993, Virginians saw something similar when mystery novelist Patricia Cornwell, another very wealthy Virginia celebrity, who typically endorsed Democrats and who had endorsed Mary Sue Terry for governor, flipped to George Allen. Her reasons never were nearly as well explained as Ms. Johnson's, but she made a famous television ad announcing her newfound enthusiasm for Allen. It perhaps was the turning point in the campaign, and there was no going back for Allen, who stormed past a 17-point polling deficit to win by about the same margin. 

At the least, this is a momentum builder for McDonnell. A big-time businesswoman, she must recognize how desparate the economy is now, and her credibilty there is huge. But will it have the impact and result of the Cornwell endorsement of George Allen in 1993?

This year's Patricia Cornwell? Sheila Johnson stars at a news conference yesterday for Bob McDonnell. But will she star for him in campaign ads? Is this a campaign turning point or a momentum builder for McDonnell?

Unborn Memories

A new study published in the July/August edition of the journal Child Development says that unborn children have short-term memory capabilities at 30 weeks gestation. Researchers also found that 34-week-old unborn children are "able to store information and retrieve it four weeks later." 

Science advances the pro-life cause yet again. 

Once again, science is proving what pro-life Americans have always known — that unborn children "are members of the human family." According to the Washington Times, NARAL Pro-Choice American did not respond to requests for comment. Of course, as with the science that shows that unborn children feel pain, they will dismiss the science as irrelevant or misleading. 

But reasonable, thinking Americans everywhere are catching on. Science is advancing the pro-life cause faster than any politican could dream. The question is, will the politicans ever catch up with the science?