Despite Atheists' Efforts, National Day Of Prayer Celebrations Go On Stronger Than EverApr. 29, 2011
Thursday, May 5, is the 60th annual National Day of Prayer observance. This year's theme comes from from Psalm 91: "A Mighty Fortress is our God." Earlier this month, in a case in which The Family Foundation filed an amicus brief, the Seventh U.S. Court of Appeals upheld the right of Americans (see Sarah Pulliam Bailey at Christianity Today) to continue this observation of God's involvement in "the affairs of men," as Benjamin Franklin so aptly put it at the Constitutional Convention more than 220 years ago. A nefarious group called the Freedom from Religion Foundation filed the suit.
In 1952, President Harry Truman signed into law a declaration that every president must proclaim a National Day of Prayer on the day of his choosing. In 1988, President Ronald Reagan took President Truman's declaration one step further and set the first Thursday of May as the official National Day of Prayer. Since then, Presidents Reagan, George H.W. Bush and George W. Bush have marked the day with a White House observance and all presidents have issued commemorative proclamations. Many years, a special prayer service is held in the East Room.
At noon on May 5, many localities around Virginia and the nation will hold observances with state and local officials, pastors and ministry leaders. Click here to find an observance in your area at the National Day of Prayer's web site. Please be careful to note the specific details and locations of each event. Also, many churches are open for prayer services at noon and throughout the day. You may also click here to learn more about the 7 x 7 Campaign to pray for the seven centers of power in our country seven days a week.
If you cannot attend an observance, please consider taking some time out of your day to specifically pray for our nation, President Obama, Governor McDonnell, Lieutenant Governor Bolling, Attorney General Cuccinelli, U.S. Senators Warner and Webb, your congressman, your state senator and delegate, as well your local elected leaders. Each of these people has a powerful effect on the lives of Virginians.
Cantor's Take On Obamacare Ruling: Go Straight To Supreme Court, Vote On RepealDec. 13, 2010
U.S. District Court Judge Henry Hudson today ruled in the Eastern District of Virginia that President Obama's signature health care law, Obamacare, was an unconstitutional mandate forcing people to purchase health insurance that they might not want, need or be able to afford.
Following the decision, Congressman Cantor called for the case to move directly to the U.S. Supreme Court so the issue could be resolved immediately.
Congressman Cantor further stated that when Republicans assume control of the House in January they would pass a clean repeal of Obamacare.
Today's ruling is a clear affirmation that President Obama’s health care law is unconstitutional. The efforts of Governor McDonnell and Attorney General Cuccinelli have raised legitimate concerns and ensured the people of the Commonwealth will have their rights protected against this unconstitutional law. Ultimately, we must ensure that no American will be forced by the federal government to purchase health insurance they may not need, want, or be able to afford.
Senator Obenshain Breaks Down The VDOT AuditSep. 24, 2010
To better understand the particulars of the private VDOT audit and its significance, I highly recommend reading the newsletter released yesterday by Senator Mark Obenshain's (R-26, Harrisonburg), one of the General Assembly government reform leaders. He breaks it down in layman's terms and draws a map as to where the dead bodies were buried:
According to a comprehensive financial and performance audit conducted by Cherry, Bekaert and Holland, LLP, VDOT is sitting on almost a billion and a half dollars in unexpended funds even as roads went unplowed and bridges unrepaired, the Department pled poverty, and Democrats called for tax increases for transportation. This is completely unacceptable. As Governor McDonnell put it, "Money has been sitting in the state's wallet while Virginians have been sitting in traffic."
How could this happen? In a word, bureaucracy. Or, in two words, fiscal mismanagement.
Every year, roughly $230 million allocated to specific projects is unspent when those projects are canceled or become inactive, but often, rather than using the freed up monies for other transportation projects, the funds just lie in dormant accounts.
Some time back, when the federal government delayed passage of a federal transportation bill, the Commonwealth set aside $524 million as a federal revenue reserve so that all projects would not grind to a halt should federal funding dry up. That may have been a prudent move at the time, but we have a transportation bill now, yet over half a billion dollars remained off limits, essentially forgotten.
Of course, it makes sense to set aside money for a rainy day, which is why Virginia has a separate reserve fund of long standing as well. But whereas most states maintain a sixty day reserve, Virginia's covers five and a half months, and hasn't been touched. That's hard to justify when essential transportation projects are being put on hold. What's a reserve fund for, if not for times like these? Virginia will now be moving into line with other states, drawing down to a sixty day reserve.
Finally, we have at least $400 million in unused toll credits, which is just money going to waste. These toll credits are not cash, but they may be the next best thing. Normally, when the federal government provides transportation funding, Virginia must make a 20% match. These accrued credits, however, can be used instead — and we haven't been doing it. For several years, Virginia has been paying the federal government when it could have been simply cashing in its toll credits.
All told, we're talking about $1.45 billion in money we essentially didn't know we had, in a Department with a $3.3 billion annual budget. That's great news, but the fact that it took an audit to tell VDOT that this money existed and could be redeployed is utterly unacceptable.
Thankfully, the McDonnell administration agrees, and his Secretary of Transportation, Sean Connaughton, is working to implement the fifty recommendations in the newly available audit so that we never have a repeat of this fiscal mismanagement. Full implementation of a remedial action plan is anticipated within forty-five days, and it can't come a moment too soon.
Incredibly, $877 million was left unspent during the last two years, and six months into Fiscal Year 2010, we had only obligated a mere 5% of the federal transportation dollars available to us under the stimulus package, a delay I called inexcusable at the time. And I had no idea — no one did — how far behind we truly were. Like the Governor said, Virginians are sitting in traffic while this money sits in the government's coffers, but that is about to change, and another $800-900 million will be committed to specific projects by the end of the year.
Official Family Foundation Statement Concerning Governor Bob McDonnell's Application For Abstinence Education FundingAug. 31, 2010
Who says elections don't have consequences. It's taken three long years, but what a difference it makes. From a governor who eliminated funding for a time-tested way of teaching children how to grow up to one who restores it. The ink wasn't dry on the application forms for the federal grants before Planned Parenthood lobbed a rote response into the debate. Below is our contribution:
STATEMENT BY VICTORIA COBB, PRESIDENT OF THE FAMILY FOUNDATION OF VIRGINIA, CONCERNING GOVERNOR MCDONNELL’S APPLICATION FOR ABSTINENCE EDUCATON FUNDING
We are pleased that Governor McDonnell has applied for funding that will help effective and widely supported abstinence centered programs be available to Virginia’s public schools. Despite the rhetoric from the economic loser in this decision, Planned Parenthood, recent studies have shown that abstinence education effectively helps teens postpone risky sexual behavior.
Polling has shown that parents want their children to be taught abstinence and effective abstinence programs are available. This decision by Governor McDonnell is certainly in the best interest of Virginia’s children and families.
How Virginia Can Create More Wealth And JobsJun. 02, 2010
Even with the hodge podge of economic incentives Virginia has had or created during the last session of the General Assembly (see Governor McDonnell talk about them in previous post), there is one sure way to guarantee prosperity. Get married, and stay that way. That is essentially the finding in a study released last month by Pew Charitable Trusts. Researchers found that family structure, and in particular the defragmenting of family through divorce, has a significant economic impact on children and their ability to rise into higher income brackets.
The study found that children of divorced parents are more likely to remain in lower income brackets as adults than children of continuously married parents. Also, while only 26 percent of children of divorce move from the lower income brackets to the middle or upper class, 50 percent of children from intact marriages are "upwardly mobile." The report concludes that while there are certainly a number of factors that determine a child's economic opportunities, family structure is high on the list.
This is not the first study that tells us marriage is good for children and that divorce has a negative impact. Social science is nearly unanimous in its conclusions in this area. On the other side of the equation, a study done in 2008 found that divorce and family fragmentation costs taxpayers in the United States $1 billion annually, and Virginians in particular pay $776 million annually in various social services because of family fragmentation.
My first response to this new study was "big surprise." After all, we have argued for years that family structure is a driving factor in economic success. My second response was, "where were all the news stories about this important research?"
Reports that come to these types of conclusions normally are dismissed by the mainstream media and "experts" as scientifically flawed or agenda driven. This time, however, perhaps because Pew Charitable Trusts has a positive reputation and the organizations involved in the study range from the Heritage Foundation on the political right to the Brookings Institution on the political left, no dismissals of the study can be found. In fact, outside one small Washington Times article and The Economist's Democracy In America Blog, no mention of the study can be found in our cursory Google search.
But regardless of the media's refusal to print the facts about marriage and divorce, the evidence continues to mount. Strong, stable marriages where couples stay together prove fertile ground for the economic success of children.
So, as Virginia's elected officials ponder how to create a better atmosphere for people to get good jobs and create more wealth — in addition to the labyrinth of Opportunity Fund Grants, tax credits and other complex corporate incentives — maybe they can learn to keep it simple, starting with policies that promote and encourage the most basic economic unit of all. Strong families.
Virginia News Stand: April 27, 2010Apr. 26, 2010
Annotations & Elucidations Northrop Grumman Day In The Commonwealth
At VITA, of course, every day is Northrop Grumman Day, but there is legitimate news to celebrate: A major domestic corporation, a Fortune 500 company, that does business all over the world is moving its HQ to our commonwealth. Of course, to get it to move here, we're giving away 14 million taxpayer dollars and a labyrinth of incentives, tax credits, etc., Wouldn't it be simpler to do away with — or at least greatly reduce — the state corporate income tax? A discussion for another day.
Elsewhere, we make the news in the Old Dominion Watchdog, Governor McDonnell is asked to lift the ban on State Police Chaplains praying in Jesus' name, and how much real estate does the commonwealth own? Norman Leahy, of Tertium Quids, asks. Speaking of such, is the governor going to sell the gubernatorial retreat? Say it ain't so! As usual, our Commentary section is loaded, with Bobby Eberle returning from hiatus and Thomas Sowell as brilliant as ever.
Lots of National News to contemplate, including two GOP insiders in serious trouble in Senate primaries, more about the health care law not doing all it said it would (except for the tax increases, of course), President Obama uses divisive identity politics for partisan political gain, and a commission meets at taxpayer expense to figure out how to reduce the national debt. I'll do it for free: CUT SPENDING!
*Lawmakers restrict public funding for abortions (Old Dominion Watchdog)
Northrop Grumman picks Virginia for headquarters (Richmond Times-Dispatch)
McDonnell, Northrop confirm company has chosen Virginia for headquarters (Washington Post Virginia Politics Blog)
Va. offered Northrop Grumman up to $14 million (Richmond Times-Dispatch)
Virginia gives Northrop Grumman up to $14 million to move headquarters (Washington Post Virginia Politics Blog)
McDonnell considers sale of gubernatorial retreat (Richmond Times-Dispatch)
On role of federal lawsuits to AG's term, Cuccinelli and Democrats agree (Washington Post Virginia Politics Blog)
McDonnell asked to lift a ban on State Police troopers referring to Jesus in public prayers (Washington Post Virginia Politics Blog)
Off-track betting center proposed at Innsbrook (Richmond Times-Dispatch)
Sullivan seeks GOP nomination for Chesterfield House seat (Richmond Times-Dispatch)
Virginia's messy real estate portfolio (Norman Leahy/Tertium Quids)
Arizona pushes immigration politics to forefront (AP/GOPUSA.com)
McCain: Arizona had to crack down on immigration (AP/GOPUSA.com)
GOP prevents cloture on Democrat financial regulation bill (AP/GOPUSA.com)
Obama panel weighs politically toxic deficit fixes (AP/GOPUSA.com)
Some families will face wait to cover young adults (AP/GOPUSA.com)
Free speech versus kids and violent video games (AP/GOPUSA.com)
Obama asks specific Americans for help in 2010 (AP/GOPUSA.com)
Coats favored (barely) in crowded Indiana GOP primary (AP/GOPUSA.com)
With Obama, It's Always 'His' People vs. 'Those' People (Bobby Eberle/GOPUSA.com)
Filtering History (Thomas Sowell/GOPUSA.com)
Are Americans Going John Galt? (Doug Patton/GOPUSA.com)
Obamacare Revealing Changes to Come (David Limbaugh/GOPUSA.com)
Obama Sends in the Clowns (J. Matt Barber/GOPUSA.com)
Cut Gas Prices Now (Richard Olivastro/GOPUSA.com)
National Debt — The Real Dirty Little Secret (Thomas D. Segel/GOPUSA.com)
Budget Amendments, Part 2Apr. 19, 2010
Friday, we posted important information about one of the most significant gubernatorial pro-life budget amendments in years. We are urging the General Assembly, especially five key senators, to approve the amendment. Please read the post to see how you can help. While we are happy that Governor McDonnell has proposed this significant amendment, he unfortunately chose not to introduce budget amendments this year that would defund Planned Parenthood (Washington Post) or embryonic stem cell research. So, did we win or did we lose?
I was asked that question last week by a reporter regarding the governor's decision not to amend the state budget to forbid funding of Planned Parenthood. Such an amendment has been, and continues to be, one of The Family Foundation's highest priorities.
Wins and losses: A good start on some issues, work continues on others.
Interestingly, in the several years since The Family Foundation first exposed the issue of taxpayer funding for Planned Parenthood (see our position paper), the amount of money flowing to that radical group has decreased. It is our understanding that there is only one unfunded contract in place, and that it soon will expire.
If correct, this means that when we do our annual research regarding funds directed to Planned Parenthood and its subsidiaries — for any reason — it should read $0.00. However, without budget language, funding can begin at any time (through contracts awarded to it by state agencies). Consequently, Governor McDonnell will have to ensure that his administration continues to fulfill his campaign promise and make sure that no taxpayer dollars go to Planned Parenthood each year of his term. While he chose not to do a budget amendment at this time as we would prefer, there is more than one way to skin a cat. Ultimately, the goal has always been to protect the taxpayer.
We still believe the best safeguard for taxpayers is to have a budget amendment specifically defunding Planned Parenthood, rather than asking taxpayers to rely on a campaign promise. We will continue to hold Governor McDonnell (contact) accountable by checking each year to make sure that no state funds flow to Planned Parenthood.
However, we do thank the governor for amending the Planned Parenthood license plate bill to ensure that no money from the license plates will ever be used to fund an abortion (Norfolk Virginian-Pilot). Given the Senate's unwillingness to remove Planned Parenthood as the recipient of the plate funds, the governor's amendment was the second best option. But, now that it appears Virginians will be able to fund Planned Parenthood by "choice" through the purchase of a Planned Parenthood license plate, there is even more reason to ensure that they do not get budget money.
Finally, we must continue to fight for a total ban in the budget on state funding for embryonic stem cell research (see our position paper here). Although The Family Foundation has had 100 percent success ensuring that no new bio-tech funds or research tax credits are created without a ban, without a budget amendment universities still have license to destroy embryos in the name of research. Universities have refused to acknowledge that they are doing this controversial research and thus the governor determined an amendment may be premature. Expressing our disappointment with the administration, we have been assured that Governor McDonnell shares our concern on this issue, will investigate what is currently being funded and take appropriate action.
Virginia News Stand: March 29, 2010Mar. 29, 2010
Annotations & Elucidations Obsessed Thee With KC
Never before has a Virginia attorney general dominated the headlines and driven the debate (nationally as well as in state) as Ken Cuccinelli — and he's only a little more than two months into his term. He's everywhere — it's impossible to keep up with the national television interviews and articles. But, according to sources (as they say) it may not be cutting well with fellow Republicans, and Democrats seem to be salivating over his early and frequent actions. Are these the same people who have misread the growing conservative and independent grassroots pushback against ever expansive government control of our lives? Perhaps they misread at their own politcal futures.
No matter the motivations or interest, members of both parties are obsessed with the AG. Dr. Bob Hollsworth, at his Virginia Tomorrow blog, fielded comments from unnamed Republicans about the Cuccinelli phenomana and Norman Leahy at Tertium Quids follows up, both in the Analysis bin today, as the Richmond Times-Dispatch sets the table with its piece in the News section. Also in Analysis is a Style Weekly (Richmond) symposium on the AG, with cute liberal headlines, such as "Right Hook" and "Fight For The Right," as well as the ever-present hit-you-over-the-head, "Sorry Politics."
The lead in National News is more concern about doctors retiring than joining the Obama adminstration, as all health care workers will de facto be when the new law is fully in effect. After all, about the only job growth now is in the federal government (ABCNews.com). In Commentary, we feature Andrew McCarthy and Ed Morrissey of National Review's The Corner blog and HotAir.com, respectively, who reveal more devastating ills of the health care takeover only now discovered. (Nancy said it would be like this!)
Meanwhile, Governor McDonnell manages a headline. He puts his (contributors') money where his mouth is for charter schools. Plus, sad news: Former U.S. Representative Stan Paris passed away. He was 80 years old.
Cuccinelli vows no letup to restrain federal power (Richmond Times-Dispatch)
VEA opposes requiring local employees to begin paying share of pension costs (Richmond Times-Dispatch)
McDonnell inaugural fund gives $25,000 to charter school (Richmond Times-Dispatch)
Virginia diversity-contract program is faulted (Richmond Times-Dispatch)
Man charged with threatening to kill Cantor, family (Richmond Times-Dispatch)
Hugo, O'Bannon to compete for House GOP caucus chairman (Washington Post Virginia Politics Blog)
Former six-term Rep. Stanford E. Paris dies at 80 (Richmond Times-Dispatch)
The Virginia Scorecard 3-28-10 (Dr. Bob Hollsworth/Virginia Tomorrow)
Inside Republican thinking (Norman Leahy/Tertium Quids)
Fight for the Right (Peter Galuszka/Style Weekly)
Right Hook (Warren Fiske/Style Weekly)
Sorry Politics (Margaret Edds/Style Weekly)
George Allen's wrenching presence (Jeff Schapiro/Richmond Times-Dispatch)
Health overhaul likely to strain doctor shortage (AP/GOPUSA.com)
Palin to tea party rally: Don't sit down, shut up (AP/GOPUSA.com)
Obama announces 15 recess appointments, scolds GOP (AP/GOPUSA.com)
White House defends special appointments (AP/GOPUSA.com)
Crist, Rubio face off in 1st Fla. Senate debate (AP/GOPUSA.com)
Thugoracy Whips Capitalism (Andrew McCarthy/NRO's The Corner Blog)
Another ObamaCare mandate we had to discover after its passage (Ed Morrissey/Hot Air)
The Law of Unintended Consequences (Doug Patton/GOPUSA.com)
The Record Speaks For Itself (Harris Sherline/GOPUSA.com)
The Constitutional Crisis Started Long Ago (Frank Salvato/GOPUSA.com)