twitter

Quote Of The Day 1-16-14

Our Quotes Of The Day don't always come from the House or Senate floor, or from committee meetings. These days, they come from tweets. Continuing in our bipartisan manner, we found this last night from Delegate Scott Surovell (D-44, Fairfax): Surovell Tweet (1)

Notice TFF's and your my own logos on, ahem, the right.

First it was the rush of NOVA Rs (Senator Dick Black and Delegate Barbara Comstock) to enter the race to win the 10th House District seat opening up due to U.S. Representative Frank Wolf's retirement. Then, yesterday, Jim Moran announced he was retiring from his 8th District seat, prompting reports that several NOVA Ds will jump into the fray. Ah, yes. The General Assembly as the farm system for Congress.

Just Learned: N.Va. Woman Rushed To Hospital Last Month After Botched Abortion

Steven Ertelt, editor of LifeNews.com, and one of Planned Parenthood's 10 most hated people, broke a story last night that flew through cyberspace at Twitter speed, which is how I became aware of it. It concerns a 35-year old diabetic woman who suffered heavy bleeding after a failed abortion on March 3 at Nova Women's Healthcare in Fairfax County (see article). The news came to light after investigative work by Operation Rescue, which had plenty of reason for concern about the abortion center, which is still  operated by Mi Yong Kim, even though she is at the center of several previous botched abortions and  surrendered her license in 2007. In fact, a long series of abortion injuries and standard of care violations at her abortion center go back as far as 1998 and include deaths women in 2002 and 2005 from botched abortions. The 2005 death resulted from an improper sedation and subsequent cardiac arrest. Kim did not attempt to resuscitate her. In 2007, the health board concluded she did not perform proper followups with her patients and in 2009 she and the abortion center were sued, according to the article . . .

for conducting an abortion on a woman with an ectopic pregnancy. The patient was told the abortion was successful and sent home. The ectopic pregnancy later ruptured and caused a painful, life-threatening emergency for the woman.

Cheryl Sullenger, Senior Policy Advisor for Operation Rescue and Pro-Life Nation, told LifeNews.com:

There can be no doubt that Kim's policies and procedures . . . are in place at Nova and are endangering the lives and health of women every day. She has no business operating any kind of facility. We are filing complaints and urging the medical board and the health department to step in and close the clinic on an emergency basis in the interest of public safety.

Operation Rescue was at the abortion center when the ambulance arrived to take Kim's latest victim to the hospital and video taped it. It then, through Freedom of Information Act requests, secured the audio of the 911 one call (see below).

Planned Parenthood, NARAL and the abortion industry call abortion "one of the safest medical procedures." But this is only one abortion center. Imagine the aggregate number of emergencies, injuries and deaths to women, not to mention the unborn children. Yet, we still hear the howls of indignation over abortion center regulations. How can abortion proponents in good conscience defend self-governance by these abortion centers when more and more of these instances are coming to light?

Furthermore, where are the mainstream media, political pundits and activists who were all over the news during the General Assembly? If the media devoted even five percent of its coverage to this story as it did to the ultrasound bill, maybe it wouldn't have taken a chance viewing on Twitter for me to hear about this. Sad but true: We will hear more about these injuries and deaths eventually; but to hear about them they have to happen. As long as there are determined abortionists willing to skirt abortion center safety regulations, at any risk, they will indeed continue to happen.

Another botched abortion, another ignoring of it by abortion-on-demand apologists and the media. Besides, there's no need for abortion center regulations, right?

TFF "Fans" Show Need To Stay On The Ready To Defend Culture Of Life

Every now and then we get some hate mail — believe it or not. People and organizations that stand for truth often take heat. That comes with the territory when active and visible in the public square. It's a sign of success. Secular and progressive opponents don't pay attention to people who aren't defeating them or advancing Biblical worldview principles. So, while the digital age is great in that it gives people the extraordinary ability to disseminate information to a wide audience instantly and frequently with relatively little effort, it also allows opponents to see what you do and reply in kind — and often with venom. But it is instructive to see the other side in hysterics. It shows that no level is too low for them and that they will stop at nothing to maintain a culture of death. It shows what we're up against and that we must constantly be ready to redouble our efforts. If you haven't liked us on Facebook (see our new Timeline page) or follow us on Twitter, please do. If you have, spread the word. Share our blog links and Facebook updates, and retweet our tweets. You're not only getting others to follow us, but promulgating needed and useful information to combat the bias we see in the Mainstream Media and the misinformation from our opponents that it willingly swallows.

So, while not as bad as what some legislators receive, you can see an example of the vile directed at us in the tweet below, complete with abbreviations best left unexpounded upon. It isa screenshot from one of our Twitter "followers" who tweeted it last week (click here's to see the original). As you can see, the pro-abortion left reserves unto themselves the right to be crude to its opponents, but whenever we engage in legitimate debate on the issues, we're "waging war on women."

 

Truths And Facts About The Abortion Industry: What It Doesn't Want You To Know

Last week and the week before, in the run-up to the vote by the Virginia Board of Health's vote to approve abortion center regulations drafted by the Department of Health, we posted on our Facebook page and tweeted one truth or fact per day about the abortion industry in order to cut through the misinformation pumped out by its well funded and powerful lobby. Below, we have reconstituted them, added four more, expanded on others, and provided a couple of reference links as we continue to provide more information about the nefarious abortion industry and as public sentiment continues to grow in favor of these common sense measures — even though the Mainstream Media continues its pandering to the pro-abortion side (see The Daily Press as an example). Speaking of Facebook and Twitter, this is a good time to remind you that if you do not follow us on those social media networks yet, be sure to join us there and remind others you think would be interested. We post exclusive content there, link to newly written blog posts, announce breaking news from state government and politics, capitol square, the General Assembly and important regulatory meetings, as well as provide Family Foundation, grassroots activist and pastors updates. Click here to join us on Facebook and click here to follow us on Twitter.

Truths and Facts about the abortion industry:

Truth: Waivers available through regulations give abortion centers ability to make a case to the Department of Health that some construction standards are not necessary for the procedure.

Fact: The abortion industry claims it self regulates, but the National Abortion Federation standards allow non-physicians to perform surgical abortions!

Truth: During the last three General Assembly sessions, the abortion industry rejected "regulation lite" — just an annual inspection, licensing and emergency equipment. It simply does not want even the slightest independent oversight. (See Thomas Peters at LiveAction.org's blog.)

Fact: Currently, a woman who wants to report a medical complication resulting from an abortion must give up her privacy.

Truth: The abortion industry claims it is safe, but there is absolutely no way to know. It has blocked efforts to require reporting of medical complications due to abortion.

Fact: In Arizona, the legislature called the abortion industry's bluff, and codified the abortion industry's supposed self-governing regulations. The abortion industry immediately sued Arizona!

Truth: Planned Parenthood is a $1 billion industry (see Lisa Grass at LiveAction). It can easily afford the cost of the regulations to its facilities.

Fact: Abortion center regulations are not politically motivated. The Department of Health that drafted them is directed by an appointee by former Governor Tim Kaine, a Democrat.

Truth: Opposition to abortion has and always will be bi-partisan. Of the 12 votes in last week's 12-1 vote by the Board of Health to approve the Department of Heath's abortion center regulations, three were by appointees of former Governor Kaine. (A fourth was the lone dissenting vote and not one of his amendments received a seconding motion.)

Fact: Of the 15 board members, nine are Republican appointees and six are Democrats (two did not attend). 

Fact: Planned Parenthood says abortion is only a small part of its business, that it offers a full range of medical services — even to men. If so, then how can abortion center regulations put them out of business?

If NBC's Pledge Omission Sounds Familiar, Maybe It's Emulating The President

During yesterday's coverage of the U.S. Open golf championship, NBC, if it hadn't already, proved it was all in for the secular progressive agenda. It's one thing to slant news reporting toward a political party (not to mention the vitriolic MSNBC, which we won't, since no one watches it). Still another to use a news department to promote the crony capitalist agenda of the parent conglomerate. Yet another to use the entertainment division to champion certain causes and candidates. But corrupt the sports division? That's really sad. Apparently, now, no division inside the once proud peacock is exempt from towing the all encompassing leftist secular line. Jordan Sekulow has a good analysis at the Washington Post's Religious Right Now blog, here. In what it called an attempt at promoting "patriotism," the network opened its coverage with a video of children reciting the Pledge of Allegiance, coupled with scenes of military personnel and great moments from the tournament's past. One slight problem — it omitted the children saying "under God." Oops! Make that two problems — it did it twice! The outcry was instant and furious, so much so that only a couple of hours later NBC issued a rare live, on-air, same-event apology. Of course, it was excuse laden . . . you know, the good intention "patriotism" angle and the inevitable editing mistake. Right. Editing mistake. An editing mistake on a specially produced video for a major sporting event, that just happened over the same passage not once, but twice? Sure . . . and Anthony Wiener had his Twitter account hacked (which many in the same media at first believed).

There's more, though scarcely reported: Not only was "under God" removed, but in one of the two instances, "one nation, indivisible" was removed — creating a secular progressive anthem that we are not one people united by certain principles, history, ethic and ideal, but rather a collection of special interests groups, each aggrieved in some way shape or form, a Balkanized society with each group looking for its leg up at the expense of another.

But it's worse than NBC using its vast communication apparatus to whitewash American culture under the double speak of promoting patriotism. If this type of "accident" seems familiar, perhaps it's because it has come from the top, from the candidate NBC championed in 2008: President Barack Obama telling an audience in Indonesia last December that the American motto is E pluribus unum (Out of many, one), when, in fact, it is "In God We Trust." Then there is this, from last September, when he omitted "Creator" from a passage of the Declaration of Independence.

While at first it seems these instances are nothing more than fodder to ridicule incompetence, it runs through a much deeper, serious layer of who we are and what some in our country would rather we be. Never mind the truth.

Patriots without purpose, as NBC would have us believe.

David Barton Schools Jon Stewart On The Constitution And Religious Liberty

We were very blessed that the respected historian David Barton taped a video for us last fall, while here to keynote our Pastors Summit, to promote this year's Call To Prayer in Colonial Williamsburg on June 1. Little did we know, coincidentally, that he appeared on Comedy Central's The Daily Show with Jon Stewart yesterday, the day after we debuted the video here and via e-mail, Facebook, YouTube and Twitter to tens of thousands of people (see it here). As an avid student of history, especially the Founding period of America, and with a degree in history and English from one of the commonwealth's well thought of institutions of higher learning, I always thought of myself as pretty well informed on early American history. Not that I knew it all, but with a life-long study of it, I thought I at least knew the major points pretty well. But then I started my association with The Family Foundation and got my first exposure to Mr. Barton, the founder of WallBuilders.

What a breath of fresh air! Not only does he give voice, reason and fact to what I always instinctively and academically believed was our Founding Fathers' actual intent regarding religious liberty, he also has thousands of original period documents which prove the point — that nowhere in the constitution can it be construed that government is hostile to religious expression, whether in private or public. No one in America has done more research from original sources on this topic than David Barton and he can quote from them faster than I can items from a fast food menu. It's hard to imagine a more informed person on this subject — anywhere.

He also points to hundreds of events from the period, long neglected in the classroom, that flesh out principles by which these Founders lived, argued, fought and died. Actions do speak louder than words, even words on paper, and the same men who put those words to paper participated in events that today would have them fined, suspended, fired or kicked out of club, association, job or public position. Go figure. In the end, though, no one is better than simply explaining the simple or basic elements of an already straightforward document: Congress shall establish no law . . . how does that translate to prohibiting a prayer to Jesus at a high school graduation? Or state police chaplains praying in Jesus' name? Or a city council opening its session with a prayer? How are public acts of prayer a Congressional law establishing a religion? Maybe if secularists just read the constitution they would come to understand this themselves. Otherwise, we are left to think they have a blatant disregard for it and are intent on nothing less than to "transform" America.

No one exemplifies this misguided, misinterpreted, contorted, secularist slant on the constitution in pop culture more than Jon Stewart. I give him credit for inviting Mr. Barton on his show (at the insistence of another guest, former Arkansas Governor and another friend of The Family Foundation, Mike Huckabee). But it was nothing more than mismatch, a true learning moment for Mr. Stewart.

Learning curve: David Barton taught Jon Stewart, a William & Mary grad (and not his real name), a good deal Wednesday night on The Daily Show. (Part 1 is mainly introductory talk.)

It's unfair debating a left-wing celebrity type, but instructive: Stewart gives truth to the adage "That a little bit of knowledge is a dangerous thing."

Join Us On Flickr!

We've just added Flickr to our network of Internet sites. We hope you take time to visit our page there, bookmark it, and return to it from time to time. Our first presentation is a slide show of General Assembly highlights created out of freeze frames from the many videos we shot and produced of committee hearings. All of those videos are on our YouTube channel, which we encourage you to peruse so as to see how things really are done in Richmond (and what we're up against). We have a permanent link to our Flickr page, as well as all of our social media sites (including Facebook and Twitter), in the column on the right under the Family Foundation Internet Network header. 

Click here to visit our new Flickr page.

Half-Time Report: Several Family Foundation Priorities Pass The House!

Today is crossover at the General Assembly, the day when the House and Senate have to complete work on bills introduced in their respective chambers. Consequently, yesterday the House spent nearly 11 hours on the floor debating bills, with final votes taking place today. The Senate did their marathon debate and vote session today. Several Family Foundation priorities passed the House of Delegates, some after lengthy debates took place on the proposals yesterday.

HB 1440, patroned by Delegate Bob Marshall (R-13, Manassas), which would provide protection (civil recourse) for the unborn in cases where they lose their life due to the negligence of another, passed 62-36 — despite the wild accusations by Delegate Vivian Watts (D-39, Fairfax), who claimed the legislation would outlaw contraception. Delegate Dave Albo (R-42, Fairfax), the chairman of the Courts of Justice Committee, which reviewed the bill, defended it on the floor. He said that he had several attorneys and committee legal counsel review the legislation and all agreed that the bill, nearly identical to a 20-year-plus Missouri law, and which was upheld by the U.S. Supreme Court in 1989, would not affect legal contraception in any way.

HB 2147, patroned by Delegate Ben Cline (R-24, Rockbridge), would prevent health insurance plans in the Virginia health insurance exchange, required by ObamaCare, from providing abortion coverage. This preemptive strike against ObamaCare, should it be implemented, passed 60-36.

The House today also passed by a vote of 54-45 HB 2314, legislation patroned by Delegate Jimmie Massie (R-72, Henrico), that would provide a tax credit for corporate donations to private scholarship programs. This education opportunity legislation is tailored to help low-income families. It is modeled after a successful Florida scholarship program that has helped more than 20,000 students and saved the state more than $36 million in FY2008-09. (We hope you join us this Thursday for our Family Foundation Day at the Capitol and Rally, which will focus on this legislation.)

Also passing today was legislation that will create an "In God We Trust" license plate. The bill, HB 1418, is an omnibus license plate bill patroned by Delegate John O’Bannon (R-73, Richmond) that incorporates the "IGWT" plate bill introduced by Delegate Dickie Bell (R-20, Staunton). A Senate bill (SB 811), patroned by Senator Mark Obenshain (R-26, Harrisonburg) creating the same license plate also passed the Senate today.

Thank you to everyone who has contacted their delegates and senators on these and other issues. After today the bills that have passed the House or Senate will "crossover" to the other chamber to go through the committee process. Please continue to respond to our action alerts (sign up here) and keep up with all the General Assembly news and video by returning to this site, and by following us on Facebook, Twitter and YouTube as the General Assembly session continues in the coming weeks.

"Like" Us By January 12!

It's one of those cold realities of our calendar: a few days after celebrating the promise of a New Year, our vacation evaporates and the real world beckons our attention ever so quickly. It's especially true for us as the General Assembly starts its "short session" in just a few days. We are busy preparing for the thousands of bills that will be filed and the more-demanding-than-normal-pace of the short session (almost as many bills, two less weeks). Because of that pace, and the importance of this session, we need your help now. But we're not asking a lot, only that you take a few seconds and:

Help us reach our goal of 1,000 Facebook friends by January 12, the start of the 2011 General Assembly!

All you need to do is click on the link above, sign in or register, and click "Like" on our Facebook page.

Success at the General Assembly depends on active and engaged constituents contacting their legislators on crucial votes in committee and on the floor. As much as we lobby them, constituents have the most influence. Currently, we have more than 800 Facebook fans. Not bad. But we are only as effective as the number of informed values voters who contact their lawmakers — and in order for us to maximize our collective clout, the timely communication of information is vital. Facebook is an essential tool to accomplish this.

Additionally, follow us on Twitter. With Twitter and Facebook, not only can you receive our instant notifications on important actions, it is easy to forward that information to others.

We also will continue to make great use of our YouTube channel. There, we will post videos of key committee hearings so that all is exposed and you can see for yourself how your representatives voted on major legislation — and where they can't hide behind procedural votes.

Of course, this blog will keep the public informed on all the goings-on during session. With our team of lobbyists, as well as key contacts and sources, no one covers the General Assembly online better than we do. After another record shattering year of readers, we hope you will continue to share our posts on your social media sites and via e-mail. 

But in the meantime, please go to our Facebook page, click "Like," spread the word on your social media sites, then sit back and get ready for all the breaking news from the 2011 General Assembly.

Happy New Year From The Family Foundation!

As the clock winds down on an eventful 2010 and the first decade of a new millennium, and we head into the unknown of a new year and new decade, we can and should take pause over the next few days to reflect on what has been. But also what could be and how to bring it to fruition — personally and in the public square. It hardly seems possible that another decade has whisked by. Watching not only a couple digits change, but all four at the millennium, was quite something. It's been tumultuous — an impeached president left office and one who barely won came in; sneak terrorist attack, war, roaring economy, economic panic and Great Recession; leftist electoral wins and a conservative comeback (started here in Virginia).

While there are many highlights from 2010 on which to reflect upon, here we mention, briefly, a local one: this blog. Thank all of you for making it immensely popular. We have doubled our readership, easily, over the last year, and thousands visit this site every month. We greatly appreciate your loyalty. But 2011 only will get bigger and better. We have plans for many upgrades and features — starting with a bang as the General Assembly gets underway in a couple of weeks and we bring you unrivaled coverage with our many sources and lobbyists.

We will need you then more than ever. Stay engaged to bring positive, conservative change to restore our traditional values to the Commonwealth. Not only will we need you to stay informed here, but to stay on top of it all by joining us on Facebook and following us on Twitter. The GA moves fast and we'll pump out crucial information through those sites, as well as our highly praised e-mail alert system (sign up here). When your legislators need to be contacted to vote for or against a bill, we'll let you know through all of these systems as well as this site, which will have more detailed analysis. Our numbers on all of our social media sites are good, but as the stakes in Richmond get higher, we need every possible conservative activist engaged. So help us spread the word!

In the meantime. we will heed our own advice and take advantage of the next few days to unwind and recharge and reflect, and have some fun. We hope you do, too. From all of us at The Family Foundation of Virginia — the Board, staff, volunteers and thousands of grassroots activists across the Commonwealth — we wish everyone a joyful, safe, healthy, prosperous and happy New Year.

Join The Family Foundation Blog On Facebook And Twitter At The Tea Party Convention This Weekend!

A lot has been said and written about the first ever Virginia Tea Party Convention this Friday and Saturday at the Greater Richmond Convention Center. National as well as state media are expected to turn up as the convention's organizers are billing it as the largest such gathering in the country. So far, 2,300 attendees have registered to hear an assortment of national figures as well as state leaders, such as Governor Bob McDonnell and Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli. But the convention will be more than speakers. It is going to have policy round tables and workshops for activists to better prepare for the upcoming and future elections. Your humble admin will be in attendance along Blogger's Row. I will post live on our Facebook page (click here to join that page) which also tweets to our Twitter page (click here). Our tweets also pop up in our Twitter box on right margin of this blog. I'm not sure how much live blogging  I will do but I will take it all in and do a wrap up early next week. But I think  convention  settings are tailor made for quicker observations which allow for more audience give and take. I hope you will join me online. 

With our Gala taking shape in the same building hours after the convention ends, it's going to be an active and hectic weekend. One thing I will look out for: the extent to which "social issues" are discussed. After all, you can't have liberty without Life, and for all the discussion about how social conservatives and libertarians don't mix well, most of those I know are firm pro-lifers.

Regardless, please, check in here during the weekend for the latest on what should be one of the most memorable two days of conservative activism in the commonwealth's history: The Tea Party Convention and The Family Foundation's 25th Anniversary Gala (which has its own gaggle of state and national media coverage, including Fox News). In fact, more than 1,00o people will gather at the gala to celebrate a quarter century of advocacy of family values in Virginia public policy, and to hear rising conservative leader Congressman Mike Pence of Indiana.

A Lot In Seven Minutes: Victoria Cobb On WAUQ/AFR Radio

As we mentioned earlier this week, it's a Cobb's web and we just live in it. Family Foundation President Victoria Cobb appeared on the Jimmy G show on WAUQ-FM, American Family Radio in Richmond, and spoke about our 25th Anniversary Gala on October 9 (order tickets here or call 804-343-0010), featuring Congressman Mike Pence (R-Ind.). But the 7-minute interview also is a good brief on what we do and why we do it. Plus, a little presidential politics and Wayburn Dean music is discussed as well. In short, it's a good take and we hope you take the time to listen to it (even if she failed to mention this blog). Click the photo to hear the interview:

Victoria Radio Interview 1 for blog

WAUQ's Jimmy G with Victoria Cobb in a recent interview that touched on The Family Foundation's 25th Anniversary, the gala, politics and music. They even discussed our online presence: Web site, Facebook, Twitter . . . BUT NOT THE BLOG!

Newly Released Family Foundation 2010 General Assembly Report Available Online

Each year, The Family Foundation compiles a General Assembly report — essentially a storybook retelling of the past session along with Family Foundation commentary and insider information, based on the hard work of our lobbyists and the insights they gained through legislative interaction and contacts. Now, fresh off the press, is our 2010 report, entitled Expect The Unexpected. We hope you take the opportunity to read this uniquely  insightful, thorough and well put together review of this year's legislative session. It is available for you to read by clicking here. In addition, this year's report has an exciting new feature: When you click on certain pictures, you will be redirected to our YouTube channel where you can view video of the corresponding committee hearings, Family Foundation television interviews, candidate campaign promises, and more. This report, in combination with related videos, will give you a insider's look at what happened this past session so that you can better understand what effect it will have on you and pro-family citizens of Virginia. Combined, the print and video provides an interactive and in-depth coverage and review of session unlike any public policy organization in Virginia.

If you like what you see, then don't forget that we compile and convey information about the General Assembly as events happen at the capitol each session, so please follow us on the social networking sites YouTube, Twitter and Facebook; and subscribe to our blog's RSS Feed as well as our e-mail alerts. Additionally, today we added to this site links to several studies and position papers we've written or commissioned in recent years, giving you full access to research and information you can use to make the case for traditional values and constitutional government in the public square. Look in the right margin for the heading Family Foundation Publications & Position Papers.

In days past, session intrigue was oblique, at best. No longer. Wait until 6:00 to see the video on the local news — or the next morning's paper? If they cover session at all, will they report on the committees and votes you care about? Even then, will it be accurate? Or fair? Will they have the level of detail and behind the scenes information we get working in the trenches, previously obscured from the public? The Internet allows us to be the media ourselves and report on the actions of our lawmakers. We now can multiply our reach and arm more people with more information, which helps advance our shared the principles that much quicker.

To order a hard copy of Expect the Unexpected, send $3.00 (cash or check) to cover printing and shipping expenses to The Family Foundation at 830 East Main Street, Suite 1201, Richmond, VA 23219 (write "2010 GA Report" in the memo line or include a note). Alternatively, you can pay online by credit card by clicking here. (Be sure to type "2010 GA Report" in the box entitled "How did you find out about The Family Foundation?") We hope you forward this link and spread the word to people interested in staying informed on the important issues confronting Virginia and the culture at large.

Save The Date: The Family Foundation's 25th Anniversary Gala October 9!

Our Annual Gala this year will be a little more special than most years and we're excited about that. It will be extra special because it will be our 25th Anniversary Gala, and we're celebrating it on a Saturday evening instead of the typical weekday so more people can attend.

So, please save the date: October 9 at the Greater Richmond Convention Center.

Befitting a silver anniversary event, we're planning activities throughout the day in addition to the dinner, which will make the Gala a fully rounded, lively and engaging celebration. It is certain to be a memorable event as we look back on a quarter century of defending our shared values and celebrate our many victories. We’ll also look ahead to the next 25 years as we advance our critical mission.

Okay, Okay . . . people hear that all the time and the word has been out for a bit, but people keep asking me who the keynote speaker is, or even if we have one lined up yet. The answer is, yes, we do a have a speaker and, just as with last year, when former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee inspired a crowd of more than 1,250 guests, the keynoter this year will encourage, motivate and energize you for the future. In fact, we have a pretty good track record of Gala speakers: William Bennett, Tony Snow, former Senators Rick Santorum and George Allen, Gary Bauer, David Barton, Rabbi Daniel Lapin, Steve Forbes, Maggie Gallagher, Eric Metaxas and former Kansas Attorney General Phill Kline, among them.

This year's speaker — named one of the "Top 20 Most Influential Conservatives in America" and a frequent national television guest — is a national leader for conservative principles and is certain to bring a powerful, engaging and inspiring message that you won't want to miss. In fact, you will be disappointed if you do. So, please get your tickets now to see. . . .

Stay tuned for the big reveal in the weeks to come. We will have exciting announcements and updates delivered to you in exciting ways, so sign up for our e-mails, return to this blog, join us on FacebookTwitter and YouTube. Help us launch an exciting new era at The Family Foundation where we bring our traditional message to new audiences with modern techniques. 

The dinner will begin at 6:30 p.m., preceded by a private reception for sponsors with the speaker. We hope you’ll reserve this date on your calendar.

Additional information on sponsorship packages, tickets and program advertisements will be provided this summer via email and online at www.familyfoundation.org/gala.htm. To receive the information by mail, please call us at (804) 343-0010 or e-mail Gala@FamilyFoundation.org.

Campaign Special Quote Of The Day

Our Quote of the Day normally is reserved for General Assembly session (during which there are too many to post). But tonight at Richmond International Airport, at the GOP ticket's second-to-last stop on its final fly through tour, attorney general candidate Ken Cuccinelli again stole the show, earning himself yet more ink.

You know the Democrats are desperate for help when they even fly Tim Kaine into Virginia to campaign for them!

Fun aside, and there was much of it, the event was serious, with exhortations to not let up over the next 24 hours. Gubernatorial candidate Bob McDonnell and Lt. Governor Bill Bolling joined Senator Cuccinelli in asking the crowd of about 300 to do the blocking for them, to be the boots on the ground, to continue calling and e-mailing and Facebooking and Twittering friends, family, neighbors and colleagues; to man the polls tomorrow and give people rides to vote; to knock on doors and volunteer. Still lots to be done was the message. Taking nothing for granted, these men, not after eight years in the desert.

There were two surprises: Senator Jill Vogel (R-27, Winchester) emceed the event and Jeanine McDonnell, the Republican's eldest daughter and Iraq War vet (Army Lt., platoon leader), who first starred in the campaign as the his designated introducer and later in a campaign ad, sang the national anthem. What a great voice! Tomorrow night, she and the McDonnell family hope to be singing another song.  

Share It!

You may have noticed a new little gadget to the bottom and left of each post, right above the tags. It's a share program we installed the other day as part of our ongoing upgrades which, most noticeably, include our new design (or, "theme" in blogspeak). The share plug-in is another way we hope to make this site more functional for you, so as to better enjoy our site. While we may not have all the technological wizardry of the big boys, we hold our own and continue to improve that part of it. But our content never lacks for anything or to anyone. So help us — all of us: By using the share program to more easily circulate our posts  throughout the Internet — to social networking sites such as Facebook or Twitter, to  bookmarking or search sites or other blogs, or to e-mail them (or by using the 150 other tools it has) — we reach more people. The more we reach the more impact we have in advancing issues which reflect traditional values and limited government. (Sign up for our RSS feed as well, in the top right corner, so you won't miss a post.) As ever, thank you for already making us one of Virginia's most read political blogs. (Our numbers have been huge the last few months!)

Now, what are you waiting for? Forward a post. Maybe the last one. Remember, it's nice to share.

TFF Action Releases Report Card Tomorrow

Tomorrow, at a  1:30 p.m. Capitol Square news conference, TFF Action will release its 2008-09 General Assembly Report Card (click here for  information on obtaining it). The TFF Action Report Card is released every two years and rates all 140 members of the General Assembly on their voting record on five principles: Life, Traditional Marriage, Religious Liberty, Parental Authority and Constitutional Government.  Who will rate high? Who will rate low? Will there be any surprises? Do you want to know if your delegate and senator tell you one thing, but vote another way? Or, is their rhetoric consistent with their voting record (either liberal or conservative)? Logon here tomorrow (as well as Twitter) for coverage, and later here and on our YouTube channel for video.

Who Says Bloggers Can't Fill The Gap?

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

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

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

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

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

Virtual Lobby Day This Thursday And Live Blog Interview With AG Bob McDonnell!

As you know by visiting our blog, The Family Foundation has taken seriously our pledge to not only use the "New Media" to communicate our traditional values message, but to lead the way in it (click here to read what we've done with YouTube, Facebook and Twitter). As an example, we now take our own video and place it on YouTube and on our blog. More exciting is the power of the Internet to involve grassroots activists directly and increase our effectiveness at influencing policy, especially during the incredibly fast pace of the General Assembly — where legislators read their constituents' concerns over specific bills on their laptops at their desks on the House and Senate floor! 

With that in mind, we are going full force with our annual Virtual Lobby Day on February 5. If you have ever been to Richmond for our "in-person lobby day" you know face-to-face contact with your legislator is important. But you can leverage that by staying in touch with him or her throughout session. So on February 5 we are modeling our Virtual Lobby Day as we would a conventional one.

First, instead of meeting with your delegate and senator on a given topic, we will provide a topic for you to e-mail them about. Hint: February 5 is Planned Parenthood's lobby day here, so that gives you an idea of what our topic will be. Imagine the power of several thousand e-mails arriving in legislators' e-mail boxes as Planned Parenthood activists meet with them! Although in-person meetings such as our lobby day and Pastors Day (also on February 5) always will be important, new technology creates a whopping impact as well; one that can't be ignored.

Also, instead of hearing speakers, you will be able to follow two interviews on our blog with two very interesting lawmakers, one from each party. Names forthcoming. Additionally, you can watch or listen to both the House and Senate proceedings from the Internet every day. (See link on the blogroll.)

But we are especially excited to have Attorney General Bob McDonnell participate for the second straight year in a live blog interview. All you have to do is leave a question on this thread or our original thread (click here and see who's already asked what). He will then answer the questions posted on that thread live at 2:00 on February 5. You can read his answers as he posts them or read them later at your convenience. 

While we thank everyone who attended our Lobby Day in January, we look forward to your just-as-important participation in Virtual Lobby Day on February 5! Look for our e-mail alerts with more specifics and check back here as well throughout this important week at the General Assembly.

We also encourage you to forward this link to friends and family who you think are interested in issues affecting traditional family values and encourage them to sign up for alerts at the link at the upper left corner.