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Key Votes In House Education Committee On Monday!

Two of The Family Foundation's highest priorities this year will be voted on in the House Education Committee Monday morning. The first, HB 1442, is legislation that would assist home school students in participating in public school sports, often called the "Tebow Bill," and the second, HB 1617, is a bill that protects the rights of college student groups to organize according to their beliefs.

If your delegate is on the House Education Committee, please contact him or her as soon as possible and urge him or her to vote in favor of HB 1617 (student groups) and HB 1442 ("Tebow Bill")!

The home school sports bill, once again this year patroned by Delegate Rob Bell (R-58, Charlottesville), would break down barriers that prevent home school students from playing public high school sports by prohibiting localities from joining the Virginia High School League, a pseudo-state/private entity that regulates public school sports. Under the provisions of the measure, localities would not be able to contract with VHSL if they don't allow home school students to participate. Half the states in the nation have some type of measure that provide opportunities to home school students to participate in public school sports.

The children of families who pay taxes that support the local public schools and are part of our communities, continue to be denied the ability to try out for an activity that they are funding for the simple reason that they are home schooled. This discriminatory practice must end.

A VCU poll released just yesterday for the Commonwealth Education Policy Institute, an education think tank headed by former State Public Education Superintendent Dr. Bill Bosher, indicates that nearly two-thirds of Virginians support fairness for homeschoolers. It receives more than 60 percent support from people in all demographics, incomes, political parties and independents, education levels and regions of Virginia except Hampton Roads, where it is favored by 54 percent. Talk about bipartisanship! 

HB 1617 is a new proposal. Participating in groups and organizations with missions that match their religious or political beliefs is a longstanding tradition for college students. Unfortunately, some universities around the country have begun enacting so-called "all-comers" policies, which essentially eliminates these groups from being able to set criteria for members and leaders. Consequently, a student group that is recognized by the university and receives funding from student activity fees or use of facilities couldn't have any kind of requirement that members or leaders actually share the beliefs or believe in the mission of the group!

Free association is a foundational constitutional principle, but as we know, those kinds of freedoms are slowly being reduced. Incredibly, the U.S. Supreme Court has upheld "all-comers" policies as constitutional, though it didn't require universities to have them. HB 1617, patroned by Delegate Todd Gilbert (R-15, Woodstock), will ensure that the current policy of the majority of Virginia's universities will continue.

The only opposition to this bill that we are aware of is the ACLU, which argued against the bill earlier this week in sub-committee. In essence, they view free association as inherently discriminatory. Despite that, the bill passed subcommittee unanimously. We have worked with representatives of various Virginia colleges and universities to ensure that they are not opposed to the bill.

Now This Is A Press Statement!

I wish communications and public relations types could be more like this. From The Club For Growth's Economic Freedom Blog about two hours ago, the entirety of the news release and quote therein:

Club PAC Analyzes New FL-Sen Poll

Club for Growth Communications Director Michael Connolly issued the following statement analyzing a new poll released today by Sunshine State News, which shows pro-growth conservative Republican Marco Rubio with a 14-point lead over Gov. Charlie Crist in the Florida Senate race.

"Well, duh," Connolly said.

As Connolly subtly implies, the poll shows that as Floridians turn their attention to the Senate race, they are finding themselves as embarrassed by Crist's thieving, creepy, self-serving campaign as the rest of the country.

Virginia News Stand: October 19, 2009

Annotations & Elucidations  Which Is It?

As election day nears, the media starts to pay closer attention to the House of Delegates campaigns. Accordingly, we have articles on four of them today. Sounds like Ward Armstrong (D-10, Martinsville), the House's top Democrat, is a bit rankled.

In a case study as to how people see the same object differently, the Washington Post claims Senator Ken Cuccinelli (R-37, Fairfax) is bringing much more attention to the office (attorney general) that gets the least coverage every four years. On the other hand, The Daily Press offers the more traditional afterthought coverage. Which is it? The Post article is amazingly fair and perceptive. It does the senator right.

The Virginian-Pilot offers up a poll which shows Virginians decidedly againsta tax increase for transportation. Sorry, Creigh. Expect the aforementioned House (Democrat) candidates to sprint like Usain Bolt away from that proposition.

Speaking of the Post and The Daily Press, each endorsed a candidate this weekend. The Post predictably stuck with the guy it brung to the dance, Creigh Deeds, despite his attempts to avoid using the T word. Rumors are that he's buying up stickers to slap on yard signs in Northern Virginia that say, "Endorsed by Washington Post," just as he did in May shortly after it sponsored endorsed him in the Democrat primary. It was what gave him the edge then. The Daily Press, on the other hand, was not so predictable. It endorsed Tim Kaine four years ago, but now endorses Republican Bob McDonnell. It had no dog in the hunt it seems, and went with its best judgment.

Finally, the Post runs an opinion piece by a local teacher, Patrick Welsh, who offers common sense not often seen in those pages or in the D.C area: It's the parents, stupid, not the race.

News:

McDonnell, a poised presence, could lift the GOP (Richmond Times-Dispatch)

McDonnell moored by conservative values (Richmond Times-Dispatch)

McDonnell and Deeds: The men who would be Va. Governor (Norfolk Virginian-Pilot)

Attorney general hopefuls offer stark contrast (The Daily Press)

Cuccinelli's bid puts focus on a job often off the radar (Washington Post)

Deeds seeks to beat the odds (Charlottesville Daily Progress)

Deeds fights to hold Obama's Va. Coalition (Richmond Times-Dispatch)

Hopefuls Summon Spirit of '08 Race (Washington Post)

Va. Lt. Gov. candidates spar over job records (The Daily Press)

Lohr, Hart Spar On Social Issues (Harrisonburg Daily News-Record)

94th House District: A civil disagreement between Oder and West (The Daily Press)

A rocky path for 11th District candidates (The Roanoke Times)

Armstrong questions 10th District opponent (The Roanoke Times)

Analysis:

Poll: Fix roads, but don't raise taxes (Norfolk Virginian-Pilot)

Commentary:

Editorial Page Endorsement: Mr. Deeds for Governor (Washington Post)

Editorial Page Edorsement: Budget discipline and executive experience make Bob McDonnell the right choice in difficult times (The Daily Press)

Making the Grade Isn't About Race. It's About Parents. (Patrick Welsh/Washington Post)

Post Poll: Who Is Bob McDonnell And Why Is He Winning?

The Washington Post poll on the statewide races is out this afternoon, showing the three Republican candidates with rather commanding leads just a few weeks before election day. I'll leave the chest pumping and panicked spinning to the campaigns. But as someone who is fascinated by the media and rather enjoys the give-and-take we have with some of our friends in the capitol press corps, the Post article really fascinates me.

There is not a single line in the entire article about why Bob McDonnell is winning. The entire article is about why Democrat Creigh Deeds is losing . . . amazing. It's like they are stunned and just can't write from the perspective of a Republican leading. The article goes so far as to include yet another quote from somebody who won't vote for McDonnell because of "the thesis." It's as if they think if they yell it a little louder people will care. Let it go. 

Anyway, I'm not one to bash the media in Virginia who follow the campaigns and the General Assembly. Honestly, I think most of them are very good journalists who have a very challenging job. Cynical, some are no doubt. Bias? Probably, at times. But overall, compared to the national media types I've dealt with, they're a good group. 

It really is too bad about the Post, though. Their reporters are incredibly smart and they do good journalism at times. But when Terry McAuliffe is calling them out for carrying water for Creigh Deeds, it's more than just sour grapes.

It's the truth.

Now This Is Extreme!

According to a Washington Post article today, analyzing the internal demogrpahics and responses to issues in its recent poll on the gubernatorial campaign:

More than six in 10 women ages 18 to 44 said they think abortion should be legal in all or more cases.

"In all or more cases?" How can there by "more" than "all"? Just shows how extreme some women and media have been conditioned to think — all abortion all the time!

Abortion Schizophrenia

For the first time since Gallop began asking the question over a decade ago, a majority of Americans now consider themselves "pro-life" when it comes to the issue of abortion, according to the results of a new Gallop poll released this week. In a near reversal from Gallop's Values and Beliefs survey from a year ago, 51 percent of Americans questioned now call themselves "pro-life," while just 42 percent claim the "pro-choice" label. Interestingly, 23 percent of those polled said abortion should be illegal in all circumstances, with 22 percent saying it should be legal in all circumstances — a dramatic shift from past polls. The majority, 53 percent, still support abortion under limited circumstances.

So, what does it all mean? Has there been a deep, philosophical change in the minds of Americans when it comes to abortion? Do these numbers signal a backlash against the in-your-face abortion happy Obama administration?Will these numbers mean anything on election day?

Good questions and, as with any poll, the answers are difficult to pinpoint. One thing is certain, Americans continue to be schizophrenic when it comes to abortion. Most consider abortion "immoral," but most approve of its legality at least in very rare circumstances (rape, incest). At the same time, they just elected the most pro-abortion President in the history of the country. (Did they really believe this guy was a moderate?)

Perhaps the dirty little secret of abortion in America is that Americans prefer it to be a dirty little secret. Most clearly are uncomfortable with the concept of killing unborn babies. We just don't want to talk about it. And we don't want our politicians talking about it. Perhaps its because talking about it forces us to face the duplicity of our reasoning on the issue.

Here's hoping that the minds of Americans are finally catching up with the evidence. More and more of us have seen into the magnificent world of an unborn child through modern 3-D and 4-D ultrasounds. Only the most cold-hearted can see those pictures and deny the humanity. Unfortunately, one of them happens to occupy the nation's highest office.

Poll: Did You Go To A Tax Day Tea Party?

We'd like to know how many of you went to a Tax Day Tea Party and where, so please vote for the location you attended. If you didn't go to one, let us know that, too. Then leave a comment on the thread about why you went or didn't go, where you went if it's not listed, what your experiences were, what you liked or didn't like, and what you got out of it all.

Poll: Rate Sarah Palin

Now that the presumptive Republican presidential candidate, U.S. Senator John McCain (R-AZ), has picked Alaska Governor Sarah Palin to run with him as the GOP's vice presidential candidate, and there's been a full 24 hour news cycle to digest it all, what do you think? Give us your impressions by voting in the poll below. We'd love to have your comments as well — let us know the reasons for your vote. Please post them in the blog's thread (not at polldaddy). The poll closes Friday, September 5, at noon (to give you a chance to size her up at the Republican National Convention. You can only vote once.

The Great Divide, Part II

Yesterday I posted about the divide between citizens and their elected officials. Today I want to talk about the divide between citizens and, well, themselves. Two recent Gallop polls reveal a strange contradiction in American thinking. A January 2008 poll about the "State of the Union" found that only 39 percent of Americans are satisfied with the "moral and ethical climate of the nation." 

A few weeks later another Gallop poll about moral issues found that Americans now find divorce, gambling, sex outside marriage, out of wedlock births and the destruction of human embroys for research "morally acceptable." Each had increased in their support since 2001, some substantially.

So, lets get this straight. The more "tolerant" we become of what used to be considered "immoral," the more "unsatisfied" we are with the moral climate of our nation. One would think the opposite would be true. Yet, it appears that the "tolerance" of what were once considered immoral behaviors hasn't brought the promised utiopia. Instead of making us happier, we're more disatisfied than ever.

Which brings us back to the divide between politicians and people. Politicans are poll driven. For the most part their driving ambition is reelection. Thus, they try to find out what people are thinking and act/vote accordingly. But when people are completely contradictory in their opinions, it makes it tough for these poor poll driven politicans.  How is one to know what to vote for when people are so confusing?

Feel their pain.