new jersey

If It's Good Enough For New Jersey, Shouldn't It Be Good Enough For Virginia?

Every legislative session we make open government, transparency and spending reform major issues on our legislative agenda. In 2009, after years of trying, we were successful in helping guide the passage of a online spending transparency bill into law. While it did not put an online a search mechanism as straightforward and simple to use as those put into online in Nebraska or Missouri, it was a significant step forward. Since then, we have advocated for transparency on the budgeting side of the issue, as opposed to after-the-fact spending transparency. While it is great for citizen watchdogs to have the ability to investigate how much and with whom the commonwealth spends our money, it would be better to see where our lawmakers are appropriating it before it gets that far, in order to stop the wasteful spending before it becomes law. That's why we've supported bills to flag down earmarks in the appropriations process, to require a 48-hour or 72-hour reading period before the budget is voted on, to require agency budget prioritization, to spotlight new major spending priorities and for zero-based budgeting.

Not only would each of these reforms help taxpayers learn where there money is going, as well as reduce wasteful spending (and keep overall spending under control), it would help lawmakers — ostensibly. One would think, anyway. After all, it's pretty hard to keep up with 80-plus billion dollars over a two-year budget when you're a part-time legislator, even if you are a Prince of the Highbacks. But each of these bills died silently in General Assembly money committees, including five unanimously in sub-committee in the Republican controlled House.

The reason given was pretty simple and seemingly on the up and up: The House and Senate leadership of both parties and  both chambers made a fairly well publicized "we're all getting along" declaration prior to the legislative session's start that many of the transparency principles would be adhered to in a gentleman's agreement, while the budget prioritization stuff was coming from the executive branch with its new $15 million "performance based budgeting" software. Easy to say then, with fresh-off-elections, beginning-of-session-optimism reigning supreme. Not as easy to do without a budget. Or even a process.

That all as prelude, or even an aside, to the news today, about another reason transparency is important: corruption. It turns out that an unprecedented — in size and scope — 18-month investigation of state corruption safeguards ranked Virginia — Yes, Virginia — sweet, innocent, stately Virginia, as the 47th ranked state for anti-corruption laws and regulations (see report here). We received a big, fat, F. Kind of puts a new spin on that "Best Managed State" stuff, doesn't? Said Randy Barrett, a spokesman for the Center for Public Integrity, one of the sponsoring organizations of the State Integrity Investigation (see The Daily Press):

The bottom line is that Virginia did really poorly in nine of the 14 categories. The areas where Virginia did well were in procurement and internal auditing and it did fair or OK in redistricting, and civil service management did pretty well. The rest of it was pretty weak. 

What constitutes "the rest of it"? Take a guess: access to information, campaign finance, executive accountability, legislative accountability, judicial accountability, budgeting and ethics enforcement, among others. "Follow the money" isn't a cliche. It certainly follows that if the money is spent in the light of day, there will be less temptation (former Delegate Phil Hamilton, for example). One year, when the spending transparency bill was defeated in a Senate committee, then-Senator Edd Houck infamously bellowed out that the whole idea of the bill implied that General Assembly appropriators were doing something "in the dark" and evil, and they couldn't spend the money for an online transparency program because they were trying to "educate the children." (Seriously.)

Perhaps the most ignominy about this study is that New Jersey was ranked first (see Reuters and Real Clear Politics). New Jersey, where an elected is arrested ever other week, has stronger anti-corruption laws than Virginia (which is probably why New Jersey officials regularly are arrested.)

Then there are those fiscal conservatives went after their social conservative colleagues this session, complaining that "social issues" distracted our representatives from doing "real" work. But there was plenty of fiscally conservative spending reform bills far removed from "distracting" debates in other areas. Oh, for those halcyon days of early January when handshake deals were transparent for media consumption. All of which begged the question: If it's good enough for a handshake deal, why isn't it good enough for a law? Put another way, if it's good enough for New Jersey, isn't it good enough for Virginia?

Today,  the sun shines only on New Jersey. New Jersey!

Virginia Beach Abortionist Exposed In Virginian-Pilot Article!

An explosive article on the front page of today’s Norfolk Virginian Pilot rips the cover off a Virginia Beach abortion center owned by a New Jersey doctor under investigation for a host of questionable activities. The article also reveals that doctors associated with the clinic also are on staff at Planned Parenthood centers in Virginia. The story is more evidence of the need for abortion center regulation in Virginia. The Family Foundation has informed legislators, media and the public about Dr. Steven Brigham's ties to Virginia for some time now, and reminded lawmakers last month during the General Assembly debate over abortion center regulations, which eventually passed on a historic 21-20 Senate vote. Brigham lost his license to practice medicine in New Jersey recently for beginning second and third trimester abortions in that state and then transporting the patients to his Maryland facility to complete the procedure, but his history of unethical behavior dates back at least to the early-90s.

According to NJ.com:

On Aug. 13 [2010], three women seeking second-trimester abortions followed physician Steven Brigham from his Camden County office to a Maryland clinic he owns, according to claims by the attorney general’s office. They were wracked with contractions as they traveled because Brigham had given them labor-inducing drugs a day or two earlier, the state said. In Maryland, the women met another doctor, who performed their procedures. One of the women, 18, needed emergency surgery at a hospital to treat a lacerated bowel and uterus.

Family Foundation research found that Brigham's Virginia abortion centers (Virginia Beach and Fairfax) advertised similar options on its websites, stating that they would begin the procedure in the Virginia clinics and then transport the patients to other states "for the completion of the procedure." Virginia requires second and third trimester abortions to be done in hospitals for the health and safety of the women involved.

Another op-ed on abortion center regulations by Family Foundation President Victoria Cobb, in Tuesday's Richmond Times-Dispatch, tells some of the story. She also published an op-ed on this issue in the Roanoke Times a few days earlier.

Today's Pilot article goes deeper, connecting doctors who worked at Brigham's Virginia Beach facilities with Planned Parenthood. Our research found that one, Dr. David Peters, lists his business address as one of Planned Parenthood's Richmond abortion centers. In the New Jersey incident, Planned Parenthood attempted to distance itself from Brigham. A spokesperson said it "had nothing to do with" Brigham. In Virginia, nothing could be further from the truth.

Peters defends the Brigham clinic in today's article, even denying that the clinic does what its website advertises. He does admit, however, that instead of referring women to a hospital for a second or third trimester abortion, as required by law for safety reasons, Brigham's abortion centers refer them to other states to avoid hospitals. Either way, it's clear that the health and safety of patients isn't paramount.

Another doctor the article named as working for Brigham in Virginia has a long history of restrictions on, and suspensions of, his license to practice medicine in Virginia, yet presently holds a current and active Virginia license. The article only touches on the mistakes made by Dr. Craig Cropp, but our research found at least 22 separate incidents since 1998 where he put the life of patients in jeopardy, from breaking instruments and losing pieces inside a woman’s abdominal cavity, to misdiagnosing ectopic pregnancies, to perforating a woman’s uterus (and blaming that one on his bifocals). Incredibly, Dr. Cropp still is licensed to practice medicine here and splits his time between Brigham's two Virginia abortion centers.

Unfortunately, the Commonwealth of Virginia cannot revoke Dr. Brigham's license to practice medicine in Virginia because he doesn't have a medical license in Virginia. In fact, without the New Jersey story and subsequent research by The Family Foundation, it is unlikely anyone would know about Dr. Brigham's Virginia abortion centers because the Commonwealth does not currently regulate or inspect abortion centers. Today's Virginian-Pilot article is the first investigative piece in the Virginia media since the New Jersey story broke in the fall.

The abortion industry claims abortion is a safe procedure in no need of oversight. Today's story about Dr. Brigham and his abortion centers is just one example of why abortion center safety regulations are desperately needed in Virginia. While Planned Parenthood, NARAL and their allies in the legislature claimed during debate that their centers are safe, they knew that Dr. Brigham was operating in Virginia. Your head has to be buried pretty deep in the sand to believe anything Planned Parenthood has to say about the safety of abortion after today’s shocking article.

Historic Pro-Life Vote To Take Place On Senate Floor This Week!

For years pro-life Virginians have tried to convince the General Assembly that abortion centers need to be regulated for the sake of the safety of the women who unfortunately decide to end their pregnancies. The fact that the Virginia Senate, in particular, has refused to let regulation bills out of committee has proven that they aren't serious about the so-called "safe, legal and rare" policy. However today, on the House floor, Delegate Kathy Byron (R-22, Lynchburg) was successful in amending SB 924, a bill that requires the Board of Health to promulgate regulations containing minimum standards for certain medical facilities, to include abortion centers! A pro-abortion delegate challenged the germaneness of the amendment, but after consulting with his parliamentarian, House Speaker Bill Howell (R-28, Stafford) ruled that the inclusion of abortion centers was germane because it was in the class of medical facilities enumerated in the bill and did not change the definition of the bill. After a brief debate, the amendment passed 63-34, then the bill itself passed 67-32

Because it is a Senate bill amended by the House, the full Senate must vote on it again in the next day or two! Finally, we will have a historic vote on regulating abortion centers in Virginia! Please contact your senator immediately and urge him or her to vote for the amended version of SB 924!   

Abortion center safety has received increased attention recently due to two unrelated events: a botched abortion originating with New Jersey-based Dr. Steven Brigham and a "horror shop" abortion center in Philadelphia. Pro-abortion advocates look at these examples and say, "Tell us of something in Virginia and then maybe we'll listen." The fact is that Dr. Brigham, who lost his license because he started late term abortions at his New Jersey centers and then transferred patients to Maryland to complete them, owns two abortion centers in Virginia and has no Virginia medical license. (He is not licensed in Maryland, either.)

Additionally, Dr. Brigham's two Virginia abortion center Web sites offer the following surgical abortion procedure:

Surgical abortion patients who are between 14 and 24 weeks pregnant will be referred to our Cheverly [MD] location after their first appointment for the completion of their procedure.

Abortions after 13 weeks in Virginia must be done in a hospital, not a clinic. It is not clear whether these two Virginia abortion centers are beginning illegal abortions or if a doctor at these two centers is practicing in Virginia without a license. We were able to locate Dr. Brigham's centers in Virginia  only because of the tragic situation in New Jersey.

Sadly, without the tragic medical emergency in New Jersey that led to his discovery, Virginians would never know about Dr. Brigham. Of course, we still don't know as much as we should because his abortion centers, and those of Planned Parenthood and every other abortionist, are neither inspected nor reviewed. Currently, the only way for the state to find out if there is a problem in an abortion center is if a woman who had an abortion files a complaint with the state — violating her right to privacy and opening herself up to publicity.

Virginia once responsibly regulated abortion centers with regulations upheld by the federal courts as constitutional. Years ago, we unilaterally suspended them. Now, after decades, the full Senate will have a historic vote as to whether the Board of Health must develop new ones. Please don't let this opportunity pass. Help us create history this session with a landmark Senate pro-life vote. Ask your senator now to vote for SB 924 as amended, as it will come up in the next day or two.

Contact your senator by e-mail.

Contact your senator by phone.

Learn who your senator is.

Abortionist With Ties To Virginia Has Medical License Suspended

They are not "clinics" as they are commonly called. Clinics are places you go to get well. Rather, they are abortion centers. Women do not get well at a Planned Parenthood abortion center. In fact, in Virginia, a woman's health may be in danger at an abortion center, as the commonwealth enforces no safety regulations at such facilities. Recent news out of New Jersey and Maryland confirm the danger women face in these unregulated abortion centers. On Wednesday, New Jersey suspended Dr. Steven Brigham's medical license. Dr. Brigham is an abortionist who owns American Women's Services Inc., headquartered in New Jersey, but also operates abortion centers in Maryland, Pennsylvania and Virginia. Dr. Brigham's manipulation of the system recently came to light (resulting in the suspension of his license) when the uterus and small intestine of one of his clients ruptured during an abortion.

This isn't the first time Dr. Brigham's license has been suspended or revoked. He was cited in two botched abortions in New York — resulting in the revocation of his New York license — and has shady standing in other states.

It was Dr. Brigham's routine to begin third trimester abortions in New Jersey (where third trimester abortions must be done in a hospital) and then caravan with his clients to Maryland (where they can be done in so-called "clinics") where he finished the procedure. In New Jersey, Dr. Brigham had no hospital admitting privileges, no OB/GYN training, and no medical permission to perform third trimester abortions (hence the get-away to Maryland).

However, Dr. Brigham was barred from practicing medicine in Maryland as the result of another botched procedure in the mid-1990s. But never mind about that. It wasn't going to stop him. He simply listed George Shepard, Jr., an 88-year-old disabled physician, as the physician of record to cover for his proceedings in Maryland — a move that is a felony under Maryland law.

Dr. Brigham rationalized his actions, stating that he believed Dr. Shepard was in the office at the time of the abortions. However, Dr. Shepard suffered a stroke some time ago, leaving him incapable of assisting in case of an emergency during Dr. Brigham's risky third trimester abortions. Medically responsible? Not at all.

According to records, Dr. Brigham's clients were not even aware that they would have to travel to Maryland for the completion of their abortions. The abortion industry has proven to be quite profitable for people who, like Dr. Brigham, routinely perform abortions, which likely explains his "creativity."

Is Dr. Brigham the only disreputable abortionist operating in Virginia and neighboring states? It's hard to tell. However, since abortion center reporting and inspections are not required here, unlike at other surgical facilities, it's virtually impossible to know for sure.

If Dr. Brigham had caravanned to Virginia instead of Maryland on this particular occasion, the chances that his client's complications would have been linked to a botched abortion are slim to none. Additionally, no emergency equipment (defibrillator, hemorrhage equipment, etc.) is required at Virginia abortion centers and therefore a Virginia facility may not have had the ability to even save the woman's life.

The health and safety of women demands the arraignment of men like Steven Brigham. Virginians must demand a higher level of professionalism and medical aptitude from abortion providers and facilities. To address this critical issue, The Family Foundation will continue to advocate for increased safety and regulation of abortion centers in Virginia in future General Assembly sessions.

New Jersey: A Nice Place For Education Reform

There's an old saying that, "New Jersey is a nice place to be from." Despite its reputation and the brunt of numerous jokes, New Jersey soon may be the place for cutting edge education reform. At least from an education freedom viewpoint, our friends to the north are getting closer to bringing education freedom and choice to families than we are here in Virginia. Earlier this month, the New Jersey Senate advanced a bill similar to legislation The Family Foundation advocates for here in Virginia that creates a tax credit for donations made to private scholarship foundations. The foundations then can give scholarships to students that meet certain eligibility criteria so that they can attend a school of their choice. Unflattering, and deceptively called a "voucher" by opponents and the mainstream media, these scholarship programs have seen great success in several places, from Florida to Pennsylvania.

The fact that New Jersey is attempting to join the growing list of states that offer this education freedom while Virginia continues to stall shows just how quickly we are falling behind more modern education movements in other states. The legislation in New Jersey faced the opposition of the powerful New Jersey Education Association (sister to our own anti-reform, left-wing Virginia Education Association). But through the leadership of Governor Chris Christie and several Democrat legislators, including a key committee chairman, the bill is advancing — complete with the drama of the Senate committee moving its meeting outside the capitol so that thousands of school choice advocates holding a rally could hear the debate.

Opposition to education reform, such as scholarship programs, continue to be stuck in the past. African-American leaders and legislators all over the country are beginning to reject the typical accusations that these tax credits will "drain money from public schools" or reestablish segregation. Even the Newark Star-Ledger, which has one of the most liberal editorial boards in the nation, has endorsed the tax credit bill.

In fact, the bill introduced by Delegate Jimmie Massie (R-72, Henrico) during this year’s legislative session would have saved the state and local governments money while reducing class sizes (children leaving for private schools), thereby improving teacher-student ratios, something the education establishment claims it wants. Far from hurting low-income families in urban areas, the private-aid scholarship program the bill would establish would provide them a way out of failing schools that are not meeting their needs nor preparing them to be able to compete in a global economy.

Momentum for school choice is growing. Successful programs in Florida, Arizona and other states are improving education outcomes for many children, despite efforts to block them. In the Arizona case, the U.S. Supreme Court will review a Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals decision declaring education freedom is unconstitutional. The Ninth Circuit is the most overturned appeals court in the nation and is infamous for its overtly radical decisions. Stay tuned. There will be a lot of action in on this important matter in New Jersey, Arizona and even here in Virginia.

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: December 1, 2009

Annotations & Elucidations Hope For Hollywood?

Almost all the news today is national in scope, and much of that is about culture. It appears now that the same-sex marriage drive in the Northeast has stalled. Starting with Maine's decisive ballot victory November 3 (another conservative victory that historic night almost unnoticed by the media), now the legislatures in New York and New Jersey have ground to a crawl their moves to put the issue to a vote. In the nation's capital, however, the city council there most certainly will approve a same-sex marriage measure. But a reluctant hero is emerging in Catholic Archbishop Donald W. Wuerl, who is telling the D.C. government that if you force this immorality on my faith, you can forget about Catholic Charities' help. The liberal hysteria is amazing.

In another battle in the culture war, Virginian Lisa Miller has been ordered, incredibly, by a Vermont judge, to cede full custody of her daughter to her former lesbian lover. Meanwhile, Pastor Rick Warren asks liberals if they think abortion is so bad it should be "rare," why not ban it?

In other news, the global warming hoax scandal is shedding still more light on the motives and evil mentality of its perpetrators (celebrating a man's death, for example) and we see a school without God. Yesterday, we posted a link to an article about Angelina Jolie calling President Obama a "socialist." Today, we find one about Sandra Bullock's "blessing to meet a Christian," (the woman she portrays in her hit movie Blind Side). Who knows? Maybe there's hope for Hollywood yet. 

News:

Jan. 12 Va. Senate elections to fill Cuccinelli, Stolle seats (Richmond Times-Dispatch)

Marshall to propose 'healthcare freedom' constitutional amendment (Washington Post Virginia Politics Blog)

GOP in 5th District to meet, choose route for '10 election (Roanoke Times)

National News:

Gay marriage vote stalls in N.J., N.Y. (Washington Times)

Lisa Miller Ordered to Hand Custody of Daughter to Former Lesbian Lover  (LifeSiteNews.com)

D.C. Council poised to legalize same-sex marriage (Washington Post)

Archbishop takes a reluctant turn in the spotlight (Washington Post)

Evangelical Pastor Rick Warren on abortion, sexuality and Obama (Politico.com)

Sandra Bullock: A blessing to meet, portray a real Christian (OneNewsNow.com)

E-mail reveal more than global-warming scam (OneNewsNow.com)

Tax increases may stall healthcare vote (OneNewsNow.com)

Long, bitter debate ahead in health care bill (AP/OneNewsNow.com)

Huckabee's White House hopes hurt by commutation (Washington Times)

Commentary:

Global Warming Hypocrisy (Matt Friedeman/Rightly Concerned Blog)

A School Without God (David P. Smith/Rightly Concerned Blog)

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)

Obama White House Gently Kills Deeds With Insults, Just Plain Bludgeons Christie

It's one thing to be thrown under the bus, but quite another when the driver drives over you, then puts it in reverse and flattens you again. Even if the driver feels guilty and gets out to see if he can help, it's still rubbing salt in the wound — which is how Creigh Deeds must feel after President Barack Obama agreed to campaign for him this week after this article Friday in the Washington Post pretty much undermined what's left of his gubernatorial campaign. The president wants plausible deniability that he and his policies have nothing to do with the sinking Deeds ship, yet he's still coming to campaign for him. Part of his legendary ego? Who knows? Pretty strange, even for this crowd, and disturbing to Virginia Dems, as this Post follow-up concludes.

The White House says Deeds has been too negative. This from the crew compiling an enemies list that includes the U.S. Chamber of Commerce of all people. Plus, it's helped New Jersey Governor Jon Corzine shred Republican Chris Christie into confetti with a television assault never before seen. Bill Pascoe of CQ Politics' In The Right blog struggles with the difficult task of trying to make sense of it all.

Virginia News Stand: October 12, 2009

Annotations & Elucidations  The Debate/Mason-Dixon Edition

The news is almost all campaign, with several national articles (including the New York Times, which has two pieces — one specifically on Virginia, in the News section, and one on Virginia and New Jersey and their national implications, in National News) continuing to shine the national flood lights on the commonwealth. Tonight is also debate night, the first live televised one. Will Democrat Creigh Deeds apologize for his negative campaign? Will he finally explain his transportation and tax increase plans (his last attempt at explaining the latter was called "embarrassing" today by his patron, the Washington Post, and now has been turned into a new ad, which will begin running tonight).

Now the Dems, including DNC Chairman Tim Kaine, are targeting Senator Ken Cuccinelli. He began an ad they say is unfair and misrepresents Democrat attorney general candidate Steve Shannon's position on the special session that remedied a Supreme Court decision that would ceased prosecutions on drunk drivers and drug offenders. Hmmm. How do you misrepresent Shannon's view? Calling it a "political stunt" is pretty hard to misinterpret.

But the big news was the release of Mason-Dixon's first poll this campaign season. Mason-Dixon is the gold standard in Virginia political polls. The last poll it conducts, the Sunday before each election day, has never predicted the wrong winner, so it is awaited with baited breath. Its 2009 debut has all three Republicans leading: Bob McDonnell up by eight for governor, Lt. Governor Bill Bollingup by 13, and Cuccinelli up by seven. Not to be outdone, however, is SurveyUSA, which conducted another poll last week for WDBJ-TV in Roanoke and WJLA-TV in Washington (its fourth consecutive weekly poll). It was mostly drowned out by the Washington Post poll results, which showed all three Republicans up by nine. SurveyUSA has the three Republicans up by 11, 17 and 10, respectively. Details on everything mentioned above, and more, are below.

News:

Mason-Dixon Poll: McDonnell up by 8 points over Deeds (Richmond Times-Dispatch/Lynchburg News & Advance

Mason-Dixon Shows McDonnell by 8 (Washington Post Virginia Politics Blog)

Poll: GOP's Bolling, Cuccinelli lead (Richmond Times-Dispatch)

Virginia: 4 Weeks Until Votes Are Counted, Republicans Remain Poised to Win 3 Top Statewide Contests (SurveyUSA.com)

Results of SurveyUSA Election Poll (SurveyUSA.com)

Va. Candidates Meet Tonight in First Live TV Debate (Washington Post)

Debate a major moment in Va. governor's race (AP/The Daily Press)

Two State Races May Put Lens on Obama (New York Times)

GOP Launches New Ad on Deeds and Taxes (Washington Post Virginia Politics Blog)

Cuccinelli Airs New Ad; Shannon, Kaine Protest (Washington Post Virginia Politics Blog

Kaine says Obama supporters key for Deeds (Richmond Times-Dispatch)

Biden calls Virginia race winnable for Deeds.... (The Shad Plank Blog)

Debate in House race heats up over transportation question (Lynchburg News & Advance)

8th District candidates debate in Roanoke Co. (Roanoke Times)

Sexually explicit novel pulled from Roanoke school libraries (Richmond Times-Dispatch)

National News:

Democrats May Lose Two Governors Races (Reuters/New York Times)

McDonnell Holds GOP Comeback Hopes in Virginia; Dems Hope Deeds Bet Pays Off  (PoliticsDaily.com)

House Votes to Add Sexual Orientation to Law on Hate Crimes (Washington Post)

Analysis:

Republican sweep looking likely in Virginia (Josh Kraushaar/The Scorecard Blog Politico.com)

Virginia News Stand: October 5, 2009

Annotations & Elucidations  Dems Abandoning Deeds? Surprisingly Close House Race?

Articles of note in today's large News Stand: At the top of the News section, as well as at the top of the National News section, are articles in which leading national Democrats  sound as if Democrat gubernatorial candidate Creigh Deeds is in the bottom of the ninth, with at least one out. New Jersey is the name of the game, now, they say (see this QOD if you haven't yet).

Meanwhile, Republican attorney general candidate, Senator Ken Cuccinelli (R-37, Fairfax), was the only one of the six statewide candidates to speak at the traditional Jefferson Assembly at Poplar Forest. (Virginia pols turning down a chance to appear Jeffersonian?) The Richmond Times-Dispatch looks at 10 House of Delegates races that may decide its control. Most interesting, it includes the 69th district race. The 69th is a majority-minority district and is overwhelmingly Democrat. But Republican Ernesto Sampson is giving Democrat Betsy Carr more than she wants.

Aside from campaigns, the Life issue continues to confound liberals, who don't seem to understand that people have a natural instinct to preserve it. First, a new Pew Research poll confirms a Gallup survey earlier this year — support for Life continues to rise. Those supporting abortion are stagnant or falling. See the Analysis section. Then, for all the stereotype of college students being pro-abortion, there are Students for Life groups springing up all over Virginia campuses and around the country. The James Madison University Dukes for Life are profiled in the Harrisonburg Daily News-Record

News:

Schweitzer: Dems Have Better Shot in New Jersey (Washington Post Virginia Politics Blog)

Deeds: From Patching Fence to Straddling It (Washington Post)

McDonnell Tops Deeds On TV Ad Spending (Washington Post)

In cash race, businesses back Va. governor candidate McDonnell (Norfolk Virginian-Pilot)

RPV Blasts Deeds for GOP-Backed Bill (Washington Post Virginia Politics Blog)

Deeds, McDonnell each claim endorsements (Richmond Times-Dispatch)

DNC giving Deeds additional $1 million (Richmond Times-Dispatch)

Politicians stump at Poplar Forest event (Lynchburg News & Advance)

TV ad wars heat up in governor's race (Richmond Times-Dispatch)

House of Delegates control up for grabs (Richmond Times-Dispatch)

Gilbert Boosts War Chest With $19K Fundraiser (Harrisonburg Daily News-Record)

Newcomers compete for Del. Kenneth Melvin's seat in 80th House district (Norfolk Virginian-Pilot)

JMU Group Joins Abortion Protest (Harrisonburg Daily News-Record)

High court rejects 'Choose Life' plates case (Washington Times)

National News:

Democrats see rise in New Jersey, fade in Va. governors' races (Norfolk Virginian-Pilot/Politico.com)

Same-sex marriage close to D.C. approval (Washington Times)

Analysis:

Support for abortion slips (Pew Research Center for the People & the Press

Poll Check: A Shift on Abortion? (Jon Cohen/Washington Post Behind The Numbers Blog)

Voter Registration Deadline This Monday Afternoon!

This coming Monday, October 5, is the last day to register to be eligible to vote in the November election. If you are not registered, or if you have recently moved, be sure to go to your local voter registrar’s office and register to vote. You may also download the Virginia voter registration from the State Board of Elections’ Web site by clicking here. All eyes are on Virginia and New Jersey this November, as the only two states with statewide elections. The outcomes will be crucial and it is vital that your voice is heard. Will Virginia continue down the path of secular progressivism, the seeds of which are being planted by the Obama Administration, or will we say, "enough is enough," and return to the proven principles of freedom, respect for life, traditional marriage and smaller, limited government? We are blessed in this nation to be able to choose our governmental leaders. We must do all that we can to ensure that we elect men and women who understand that the greatness our nation is in its Judeo-Christian foundation and that we must uphold those principles if we are to remain a great nation.

If you already are registered to vote, make sure your friends and family members also are registered. Offer to take them to the registrar’s office or help them download the registration form (you can also register at places such as libraries and the DMV). If possible, hold a voter registration drive in your church this Sunday.

Four years ago, the Attorney General’s race was decided by just 360 votes. Every vote counts!

In addition, the military deadline is approaching as well! If you are a Virginia resident serving in the military outside of the commonwealth or have a son or daughter deployed who needs to register, military personnel may use the Federal Post Card Application to register to vote and apply for an absentee ballot both at the same time. The application must be received by the local registrar by 5:00 p.m. on Monday, October 5. There is a provision for these to be faxed or e-mai as well as through the U.S. Postal Service. For more information, click here for the Virginia State Board of Elections page on the military.

Answer The Call: Volunteers Needed!

The entire country is focused on the Commonwealth of Virginia this election season. Other than New Jersey, we are the only state holding statewide elections, which includes the campaigns for governor, lieutenant governor, attorney general and all 100 seats in the House of Delegates. Accordingly, The Family Foundation needs ongoing assistance in distributing General Assembly Report Cards and other voter education materials to help educate pro-family citizens around the commonwealth regarding the principles each candidate represents. If you are a middle school, high school or college student needing to fulfill any community service requirements for graduation or any adult who would enjoy assisting us in our mission on a weekly, bi-monthly or monthly basis — we need your help, especially until November! The Family Foundation headquarters is located across from the capitol in downtown Richmond. Parking is located only a few blocks from our office building.

Responsibilities and duties include:

» Data Entry (basic computer skills)

» Mailings (production and stuffing)

» Distributing Report Cards and other items to churches

» Database Management (basic computer skills)

» Making phone calls

Potential candidates include students in sixth grade through college, home-educated families, stay-at-home mothers and fathers, and retirees. If interested in volunteering your valued talent in order to advance the cause of traditional values in the commonwealth, then please contact Marie Edwards at marie@familyfoundation.org or at (804) 343-0010.

Non-profit and non-partisan, The Family Foundation of Virginia is the commonwealth’s oldest and most influential family public policy organization. Our mission is to strengthen the family through accurate research and education, prompting civic activism and affecting public policy outcomes. The Family Foundation is proud to be associated with Dr. James Dobson’s Focus on the Family and its network of nearly forty independent state policy councils.

We're Looking For More Than A Few Good People

Since 1985, The Family Foundation has been on the forefront of critical public policy debates helping Virginia citizens, lawmakers and business leaders better understand and apply to law the principles of life, marriage, parental authority, constitutional government and religious liberty. Non-profit and non-partisan, we are the Commonwealth's oldest and most influential family public policy organization. Our mission is to strengthen the family through accurate research and education, prompting civic activism and affecting public policy outcomes. The Family Foundation of Virginia is proud to be associated with Dr. James Dobson's Focus on the Family and its network of nearly forty independent state policy councils.

The entire country is focused on Virginia this year. Other than New Jersey, we are the only state that has statewide elections (for governor, lieutenant governor, attorney general and the entire House of Delegates). We will need ongoing assistance so we can distribute our 2008-09 General Assembly Report Card (to be made public within a couple of weeks) and other materials to help educate Christians and churches around the Commonwealth regarding the principles each candidate represents during this November's elections. While candidates campaign for votes, we will educate citizens on the principles these numerous  individuals represent.

To pull this off, we need you! We have various needs that can be fulfilled by middle school, high school (homeschoolers welcome!) or college students. These activities are perfect to meet community service requirements for graduation or for adults (such as retirees or stay-at-home-parents) who would enjoy assisting us in our mission. We can use help on a weekly, bi-monthly or monthly basis. Our headquarters is located across from the Capitol Square in downtown Richmond and we there is convenient parking. 

Some of the areas where we can use help include data entry and data base managment (basic computer skills) in office or at home; mailings (production and stuffing); and distributing General Assembly Report Cards and other items to churches. 

If interested in volunteering your valued talent in order to advance the cause of traditional values in the Commonwealth, then please contact Marie Edwards at marie@familyfoundation.org or call her at (804) 343-0010.

During this crucial time in our Commonwealth's and nation's history, we believe it is more important than ever to do whatever possible to secure the traditional values we hold dear and precious, while they are under heavy assault. Please consider helping us with what will be a rewarding experience.

Following The Leader Off The Cliff

It's beyond lame, now . . . the automatic, reflexive response by Virginia's liberals that not only do we need more taxes but that we can afford them. Regarding the former, it's that the "government doesn't have enough money," as if the people it is sucking it from does. That's the problem we're facing now, right? People have less money. Too bad. Government elites want whatever it is you have left. Regarding the latter, whether it's Senate Majority Leader Dick Saslaw (D-35, Springfield) pitching higher gas taxes or now Governor Tim Kaine pleading  for higher unemployment insurance taxes on businesses, it's always something about Virginia's taxes aren't as high as a neighboring state's or the national average or states that begin with letters never chosen in the final round on Wheel of Fortune, therefore we can afford them. As if the fact that Virginia may happen to have a particular tax lower than North Carolina, Maryland or Utah makes a difference as to whether it's justifiable on the merits to raise it .

The latest in this nonsense is the aforementioned tax on businesses that funds unemployment insurance for laid-off workers. Last week, during its veto session, the General Assembly rejected the governor's attempt to accept federal "stimulus" money for extended unemployment insurance payments. The main argument against accepting the money was that, after the two year federal funding period, Virginia would have been obligated to continue the expenditures at a level necessitating a large tax increase on the people that create the jobs to begin with — businesses, including small businesses (often family owned) which create most jobs.

According to Governor Kaine, as reported in yesterday's Richmond Times-Dispatch, "Virginia employers pays the second lowest annual amount of unemployment taxes in the nation." By that logic, let's raise every tax in Virginia in which we are in the bottom 10 percentile. Or 20 percentile . . . or heck, make it the 50 percentile. Don't want to feel too fortunate, here, do we?

In effect, they're saying let's give up our advantage in order to tax more people because other states are doing it. But isn't the idea to create an economic environment to recruit new business to Virginia and to encourage start-ups? But these liberals are saying, "We're not taxing our residents enough. If other states can do it, so can we!" Worse, they believe it!

Turns out though, Virginia isn't such a low tax state after all, the perception perhaps perpetuated as a ready excuse to raise taxes (we're under taxed, so ante up more). According to Scott Hodge of the nonpartisan Tax Foundation, Virginia's overall tax burden is one of the nation's worst, rivaling notoriously high-taxing New York, New Jersey, California and, even, "Taxachussetts." (So much for our low-tax advantage.) Hodges spoke recently on Freedom & Prosperity Radio and you can hear the interview here with other interesting statistics.

Either way — whether they believe there is "room" to raise taxes compared to other states or they selectively pick and choose taxes that are lower here by comparison in order to raise a sense that an increase won't hurt — Virginia's tax-and-spenders insist on following other states rather than leading. Never mind that it's following them right off the economic cliff.

Same-Sex "Marriage" In Iowa Decreed By State Court

But it couldn't happen here, right? That's why there was no need for a Constitutional Marriage Amendment in 2006. Sure. That's what the opponents said.  Unfortunately, as we've seen in Iowa today (see New York Times), and in various states where courts force "civil unions" or same-sex "marriage" on its citizens by arbitrary decree, constitutional amendments absolutely are necessary.

The fact is, we have a judiciary that is no more interested in interpreting law than it is in giving up their salaries. Rather, they think of themselves as super legislators, not needing the imprimatur of the electorate as the legislature does, which is where law is made, which is why legislators are elected and judges are not. But, who cares about that?

Even though representative democracy was what this country was founded on, to certain judges — such as the ones in Iowa, New Jersey and Massachusetts — the electorate and its representatives don't matter. If these judges don't like something, they decree it and hand it down from on high, what the people think and expect be damned. If this doesn't make the case for constitutional restraint through each state's amending process, nothing does. At least in Virginia we're safe . . . just as we told we needed to be.

Virginia News Stand: March 6, 2009

The Communications Department says he's ill today, so I've cobbled together a couple of interesting articles — or at least an interesting topic: internal strife within the Virginia GOP. Didn't say it was news, because RPV fratricide certainly is nothing new. Still, interesting, as always. Also, there's a link to an interview with Republican gubernatorial candidate Bob McDonnell via podcast at Bearing Drift. Worth the listen (at least read the summary). Something else of interest that is news concerning the gubernatorial campaign: For as much as liberal groups and Democrat candidates have been, and are, ahead of conservatives and Republicans in the adaptation of new media and technology to campaign effect, Bob McDonnell, according to the March issue of Richmond Magazine, is leading all three Dems in a Facebook supporters landslide with nearly 2,100 as of a few minutes ago (at RM's publication it was 1,700). Sorry, no Web links provided by RM, but we hope to have a scan next week.

News:

Va. GOP chief asked to leave (Washington Times)

Major Va. donor named new state GOP finance chief (Daily Press)

Podcast:

VPOD #52: Bob McDonnell, GOP gubernatorial candidate (Bearingdrift.com)

Polls:

For more substantive polling information than Facebook, there's a recent Rasmussen poll that shows McDonnell leading all three Democrats by significant margins, increasing his December lead over his nearest rival, Terry McAuliffe, who, apparently, has not recovered from liberal blog attacks prompted by not knowing who we are!

Election 2009: Virginia Governor Election — GOP's McDonnell Has Edge Over All Democrats In Virginia Governor's Race (Rasmussen Reports)

McDonnell takes early lead in poll (Pilot On Politics blog) 

Coincidentally, in New Jersey, the Republican gubernatorial candidate leads the incumbent, Democrat Machine Boss Governor Jon Corzine, by nine points, with Corzine's approval rating less than 40 percent.

Fairleigh Dickinson poll finds Corzine trailing Christie by 9 points (Newark Star-Ledger)

40 Days Of Prayer Works . . . In New Jersey And Everywhere

That Facebook thing is pretty cool. From it, we received the following message from our friends at the Richmond 40 Days for Life campaign and the Richmond Coalition for Life.

Dear Friends:

The prayers across the world are being felt.  There's something else BIG to report — the FIRST BABY SAVED from abortion during this brand-new campaign!

Two women were praying at a 40 Days for Life vigil in New Jersey — for one of them, it was the first time ever. As they were praying, they saw a woman who had just come out of the clinic and was standing near the door. When the women whowere praying asked if she would take a flyer, she had a simple response: "I didn't do it! I changed my mind." WOW! ...

Thank you for all that you are doing.

If you want to receive those emails (such as about the New Jersey woman) directly, just sign up on the 40 Days for Life website (click here) and Shawn, the national spring campaign director will send them to you.

The Richmond campaign started last night with a Prayer Kickoff Rally at St. Benedict's Catholic Church. 40 Days for Life is a national campaign, held throughout the country, where round-the-clock prayer vigils outside abortion centers are kept for 40 days. If you want to start one in your area, get the necessary information at the national organization's Web site linked above. Oh yeah, about that Facebook thing . . . go to it and learn more about 40 Days for Life (by signing in here) and our own Facebook page, here. Lots of great info at each, including General Assembly video at our site.

Absolutely Nothing

As the Special Tax Session approached, we posed two poll questions, one of which asked, "What do you think will happen at the Special Tax Session of the General Assembly?" One choice we provided was "Absolutely nothing." As it happened, it won the polling with 36%, while some of the more pessimistic in the crowd thought some tax increase was imminent. As it turned out, the session ended with a wimper and, as some of us guessed — or at least hoped — absolutely nothing got done. Now, it appears His Excellency is jumping on the bandwagon, describing the session to the media with an attempt at hipness: "It was like a Seinfeld episode — a show about nothing." How clever.

But what did he expect? Special sessions are called when there is a consensus and all involved — both parties in both chambers and the executive — have some type of understanding as to what they want to do and agree to do. So he calls for a session, proposes a whopping statewide tax increase during trying economic times, and blames the other side. That's helpful.

If he was serious, there were three issues that — as with most commonsense solutions — are popular and could make great progress toward Virginia's transportation problems.

  1. The House voted 95-0 for HB 6023, an independent, outside audit of VDOT. Governor Kaine's friends in the Senate let it die in committee. How can we spend billions on new projects when we don't have a clue now (or else we wouldn't be in this condition, now would we?). Washington state did an audit of its transportation department and discovered overlap and duplication in planning, projects and bureaucracy (what's new there?); and misplaced priorities. It found simple solutions to correct problems that were thought to cost billions more. The savings? $18 billion — and Washington is a lot smaller than Virginia. (Tertium Quids has more here.)
  2. Senator Frank Wagner (R-7, Virginia Beach) had a proposal to take profits from the Port of Virginia — no tax money involved — and apply that money to transportation. Better still, HB 6055, which originally was loaded with tax increases for Hampton Roads and Northern Virginia residents, was smartly amended by Delegate Glenn Oder (R-94, Newport News) with input, our sources tell us, from Delegates Brenda Pogge (R-96, Yorktown) and Sal Iaquinto (R-84, Virginia Beach), to strip out all tax increases and use profits from the Virginia Port Authority and Dulles International and Reagan National Airports. Following the lead of Yankees may be painful to some down here, but New York and New Jersey do this successfully with their port revenue. After all, according to the governor, his mates in the Senate and the big business special interests, we need transportation to help facilitate the growth of our ports, right? These bills also died in Senate committees.
  3. As ever, a transportation fund lock box (HJ 6001). Let's constitutionally seal up that money so it can't be used for, say, new government run baby sitting programs. The governor, like other famous campaign promises, seems content not to act or, if he acts at all, it's counter to his campaign rhetoric. HJ 6001 was changed by the Senate and eventually died.

So, if nothing was done, who's to blame? Why is it "bipartisan" only to increase taxes but a "waste of time" to adopt other measures proven to work elsewhere? Why do liberals, who know so much, are such great problem solvers and are smarter than the rest of us, only know one solution for every problem? Good, commonsense, practical measures were defeated while liberals scream that their tax increase schemes died — even though they got a full debate in the Republican controlled House in contrast to the committee killing Senate actions. Besides, if nothing was done, it's not like we didn't tell you, governor; and with our wallets still intact, we're better off for this "nothing" as well. In this case, nothing is something, indeed: A win for hard-working, taxpaying families and individuals.