March 2006 Archives
Here is an article in the Jewish World Review that mocks the hypocrisy of the left when it came to defending an innocent disabled woman from forced starvation.
"As far as the Catholic Church is concerned, the principal focus of her interventions in the public arena is the protection and promotion of the dignity of the personâ€...
..."[S]he is thereby consciously drawing particular attention to principles which are not negotiable," the pope added, referring to the church's pro-life stance...
...He called on the lawmakers to reject the society that is developing that causes people to say Christians should keep their pro-life views to themselves.
What say ye now, Tim Kaine?
Columnist Mike Franc has a great article today titled â€œModerates Behaving Badlyâ€ which examines the differences between moderates who supported the conservative agenda in 1995 (which according to Franc was a year with conditions very similar to the current political landscape) and the current moderates who are constantly obstructing the conservative Republican agenda.
Here is a good taste of the article:
â€œThe moderates,â€ Congressional Quarterly noted last year, â€œare not known for fighting to the bitter end.â€ Rather, they have acquired a reputation for â€œcaving to pressure from their leaders to preserve their ability to get desired committee assignments and favors in appropriations bills.â€ Indeed, despite their misgivings, moderates ultimately cried uncle on the presidentâ€™s tax cuts, renewal of the Patriot Act, last yearâ€™s modest retrenchment of federal spending, and the addition of two conservative justices to the Supreme Court. The marriage had its rocky moments, but the warring spouses ultimately found ways to persevere.
Over the last six months, however, Republican moderates have all but filed for divorce. Most notably, they mounted an open assault on the presidentâ€™s miniscule spending cuts, adding $16 billion in social welfare spending in the Senate and then threatening to do the same in the House. Their tone, moreover, is more overtly confrontational than during previous spats. Sen. Arlen Specter, R-Penn., described the presidentâ€™s proposal to modestly reduce spending on failed welfare programs as â€œscandalous.â€ A House moderate even referred to his conservative Republican colleagues as â€œthe other side.â€ Oops.
The symptoms become clearer every day. Mexican flags, etc.
Let's assume the political implications of the national immigration, uh, "spat" will be significant in 2006 and 2008. I think if the national Republican leadership continue to straddle the fence on this issue, the Party will go the way of the Whigs. Anyone who thinks there is plenty of time for missteps and course corrections is overlooking the fact that this whole "democracy" shindig contains the seeds of its own demise: People who gain numerical majorities can vote to change the rules. Then, you can have enormous problems if you happen to not be a member of the majority group.
Like if you happen to want the American flag to fly, and you are outvoted. Or if you drive down your street and see people climbing in and out of windows and parking eight cars out front because there are eight families living inside. Then, the issue becomes a bit more immediate and the Republicans chortling about how they appreciate the illegals tending their fairways become a little less attractive on election day. (Memo to GOP leaders: Staying home on election day is easier than falling off a bike.)
But the well-documented symptoms of our national crisis are not the focus of this post. Rather, I wonder how we got to this point.
Obviously, decisions were made since the 1970s that loosened the gates. That's a key problem and a topic for another day.
Another problem is related less to policy than ideology: Why do they come here and want to fly Mexican flags?
Immigrants came to America in massive numbers from 1870 to 1920, and they learned to speak English and became ...Americans. They did not attempt to overthrow the existing culture and usurp sovereignty in favor of Ireland, Germany, Italy or Poland. They came to America because they were attracted to what it had to offer, and they wanted to be part of it.
Now, a large segment of immigrants seem to want something very different. There was a time when "reconquista" referred to the Spaniards' efforts from the 8th to the 15th centuries to repel the Islamic jihad from Spanish soil. The modern reconquista is aimed at America and it sympathizes with the jihad.
Americans thought they had it bad in the 1890s when the immigrants (my forebearers among them) talked and smelled funny, but that all worked out fine.
How did WE end up with this bunch of America-hating newcomers?
Short answer: We took our eye off the ball for about the past 20 years. We had bigger fish to fry, I guess - like the Soviet Union - than to care about our borders or immigration laws. Opportunistic people from south of the U.S. took advantage of our laxity.
Long answer: We quit caring about what "America" is. Peggy Noonan describes the essence of the problem:
It's the broad public knowledge, or intuition, in America, that we are not assimilating our immigrants patriotically. And if you don't do that, you'll lose it all.
We used to do it. We loved our country with full-throated love, we had no ambivalence. We had pride and appreciation. We were a free country. We communicated our pride and delight in this in a million ways--in our schools, our movies, our popular songs, our newspapers. It was just there, in the air. Immigrants breathed it in. That's how the last great wave of immigrants, the European wave of 1880-1920, was turned into a great wave of Americans.
Read all of it, friends. It's not all the immigrants' fault they haven't bought into the American concept. We who already live here have muddied the concept.
UPDATE: Virginia Centrist illustrates perfectly the difficulty in even discussing this issue: By pointing to a problem, you can get painted as a bigot by anyone with sufficient creativity to parrot the liberal party line. Personally, I don't care. If you just read the above post I think it should be pretty clear where I stand and that I don't have any ethnocentric ax to grind. The problem as I see it is not racial at all: It is cultural. But if you still think I'm a bigot, go ahead and knock yourself out. I definitely am an unapologetic conservative, which in most liberal circles means about the same thing.
What is a real shame is people like those who comprise the Minutemen and Help Save Herndon, who definitely are NOT bigots, are roundly painted as such by the liberal crowd and their parrot brigades in the mainstream media.
While there is sufficient sentiment in America right now to crack down on illegal immigration, because of the fact the "racism" banner is going to be unfurled in every instance by the pro-illegal propagandists, I predict it won't be until 2008 that the public begins to see through the false charge and any politician is able to successfully run on that issue.
Thanks VC, for the opportunity to clarify my argument. (My direct response to VC is below the fold)
The Washington Post has an article discussing the ability of military chaplains to pray in Jesus's name during official events. This is part of a larger debate that has been going on for quite some time within the Christian community whether it is appropriate to end a prayer in the Lord's name in settings where non-Christians are involved especially if that involvement is involuntary. Personally, I believe that a chaplain of any faith should not have to sacrifice his religious practices in order to participate in an official prayer, and the command to pray in Jesus's is clearly laid out in the Bible. This is just another example of political correctness run amock.
Fairfax County Taxpayers Alliance: Taxpayer Rally
Monday, April 3, 6:30â€”7:30 p.m. in front of the Fairfax County Government Center
Just before the Board of Supervisors 7:00 p.m. Budget Public Hearing
12000 Government Center Pkwy Fairfax VA 22035
(near Fair Oaks Mall)
Questions? Email firstname.lastname@example.org or phone 703-642-5567
More info here.
The first review of Donkey Cons, a new book co-authored by Washington Times editor Robert Stacy McCain, is up over at that whacked-out 'Alpaca something or other' site.
Apparently the media blitz begins in a week. Despite the puckish title it sounds like Donkey Cons could be a pretty significant book. Undoubtedly it will be a significant media event at least for the requisite 15 minutes.
I've spoken with McCain before and he is a real piece of work: If you get the opportunity to see him on the usual round of cable news shows during the next couple weeks be sure to tune in - you won't be disappointed.
Over at the ODBA blog Sic Semper Tyrannis, Old Zach asks "What's wrong with NOVA"? Worth a read.
This past Friday Senator Allen met with Townhall.com columnist Eliot Peace after speaking at a fundraiser for a Congressional candidate in South Carolina. The full story can be found here, it is worth a read.
Although the premise of the article is that Allen is extremely similar to George Bush, it is refreshing to see he doesnâ€™t share the Presidentâ€™s wishy-washy stance on illegal immigration:
Allen also touched on immigration. He replied, "First and foremost, we need to secure our borders. They have been neglected." He highlighted the need for more personnel, more fences (both real and virtual), and more detention centers. "I donâ€™t think we should reward illegal behavior [â€¦] you must punish illegal behavior, or youâ€™ll get more illegal behavior." He also replied, "Iâ€™m not for amnesty [â€¦] Iâ€™m for immigration, but it must be legal immigration."
Also noteworthy is the fact that Peace treated James Webb as the only challenger to Allenâ€¦ completely ignoring Harris Miller:
Unfortunate for Allenâ€™s presidential prospect tour, the senator has an opponent for re-election. James Webb, former Secretary of the Navy running as the opposing Democrat. However, with the right effort and the same message on which Allen has delivered for Virginia since being in Congress, he should emerge victorious. "Weâ€™ll keep doing what weâ€™re doing. He [Webb] is very formidable, but if we work hard and keep doing what weâ€™re doing, we should be fine."
I am looking forward to the race picking up- with Dick Wadhams as Allenâ€™s campaign manager and strategist Chris LaCivita and former Bolling Political Director Matt Wells on boardâ€¦ itâ€™s going to be a good fight and the conservative Senator will prove to be a healthy rallying point for a fractured Virginia GOP.
Via Michelle Malkin I saw this disgraceful photo. As described on Malkinâ€™s site:
Whittier area students from Pioneer, California and Whittier high schools walked out of classes to protest the proposed federal immigration bill March 27, 2006. The protestors put up the Mexican flag over the American flag flying upside down at Montebello High. (Leo Jarzomb/Staff photo)
I wonder if this behavior is comparable to the behavior of the millions of legal immigrants (such as those in my own family) who came to America over the past 200+ years looking for a better life, willing to follow our laws and assimilate into the great melting pot of American society?
Malkin has more great commentary on the impertinent behavior of illegal immigration advocates. I presume it would be expecting too much for those willing to disrespect the immigration laws of the United States to respect its symbols and ideals.
After a long evening of bare-knuckled, confrontational grassroots activism, I'm usually ready for a nice, tall Bosco with some Animal Crackers.
WHO: Virginia Governor Tim Kaine and an auditorium full of mostly Democratic supporters.
WHAT: "Town Hall meeting" to discuss the Governor's plan to raise taxes for transportation projects throughout the state.
WHEN: Tonight, about 3 hours ago.
WHERE: Sterling, Virginia.
WHY: To preach to the choir and the media about the need to impose new taxes.
If you weren't on the Democratic guest list, you probably did not know the event was taking place. Luckily for us, our local "Orange Revolution" himself - Eugene Delgaudio - and Jim Parmelee of Republicans United for Tax Relief, got word out to a bunch of us rabble and we descended with green signs a' blazin'.
Governor Kaine, to be honest, did a REALLY good job presenting his case. Emphasis on the "presenting" more than the "case." The man has a bright political future on the national scene. I see a lot of public speakers in my regular life, and Tim Kaine is right up there. Personable and erudite, he speaks without notes (in complete sentences, no less), and he employs just the right combination of "college professor" and "motivational speaker" to really shine in the town hall format.
All that being said, the content of the Governor's talk wasn't such a clearly cut "rah rah" message.
Here's the Kaine Transportation Plan [below the fold]:
According to the AP, Senator John McCain seems committed to improving his standing among religious conservatives in his bid for the Republican nomination in 2008. The article, for being so short, is very well done and reflects the skepticism that remains over whether the senator from Arizona is truly committed to the pro-life cause, but we can at least give Senator McCain credit for realizing that until Roe v. Wade is overturned, the Republican nomination will be denied to any pro-choice candidate. I wish I had a ticket to that speech.
Just received the following tragic news. Our thoughts and prayers are with his family during this difficult time.
Governor Kaine's Statement on the Death of Delegate Harry J. Parrish
Today, Governor Timothy M. Kaine made the following statement:
"Anne and I are deeply saddened by the death of Delegate Harry Parrish of Manassas. In January 2001, I started attending a Tuesday morning Bible study that is held during the General Assembly session. Harry was a regular attendee at those Bible studies, and during that time I came to know him as a dear person and a dear friend. In his public and his private life, Harry was always courtly and civil and committed to service. His composure and dignity combined with his commitment to working in a bipartisan manner for the future of the Commonwealth made him a true Virginia gentleman. We will miss him."
Check out this story.
Obviously itâ€™ll never get this bad in the Commonwealthâ€¦ but with the General Assemblyâ€™s failure to pass true Eminent Domain legislation in a post Kelo world, this should help remind us of our newfound connection with the Chinese Communists.
Here is an excerpt:
Without an independent court system and unschooled in the ways of bureaucracy, the farmers fend for themselves against frequently corrupt local Communist Party officials with broad authority and powerful economic incentive to confiscate farmland to sell to developers.
It's pathetic that Senator Cuccinelli and Delegate Joannou were so alone when fighting to protect our property rights.
As we all recall U.S. Senator John Warner backed Governor Warnerâ€™s unprecedented 2004 tax hike that was presented under the false pretense of a budget crisis (with a huge surplus announced only days after the tax hike was passed). Now it appears, via this Washington Post article, that Senator Warner is again supporting a liberal Governorâ€™s tax hike proposal.
Warner, the state's senior Republican senator, praised Democratic Gov. Timothy M. Kaine for proposing a $1 billion tax increase and challenged members of his party in the legislature to reach a compromise that allows Virginia to receive the maximum amount in federal matching funds.
"It is really up to our distinguished speaker of the House and the majority leader in the Senate and others to sit down and show a measure of political courage to resolve it," Warner told reporters after a meeting with Kaine and other members of Virginia's congressional delegation. "The people of Virginia deserve no less."
Does â€œpolitical courageâ€ equal yet again unnecessarily raising taxes on Virginiaâ€™s families when there is already a huge pot of money in the governmentâ€™s coffers? I think not. While it is meritorious to urge Virginia to maximize federal assistance, both the tax hike plan and the fiscally conservative House plan would invest significantly more dollars into transportation to secure the federal money.
I love House Majority Leader Morgan Griffithâ€™s analogy when discussing the liberal Senateâ€™s budget strategy:
Griffith likened the Senate's strategy to that of hostage-takers. He said senators are using the state budget as leverage to get higher taxes approved in the House.
"Until the Senate recognizes that the building is surrounded," the stalemate will not be resolved, Griffith said. "Negotiations are not going to continue until the hostages are freed. Then we can talk."
Virginia traditionally passes a budget based on existing revenue streams and considers tax hikes as a separate issue. It looks like the House finally has the â€œpolitical courageâ€ to stand up for Virginiaâ€™s families.
DC metro-area residents received an interesting statistical tidbit Saturday morning upon reading this front page story in the Washington Post:
Area Soon to Be Mostly Minority
Shift in 4-8 Years Will Reshape Politics, Priorities, Experts Say
...Among residents younger than 40, minorities already outnumber whites, and experts say the trends that have driven up those numbers are certain to continue...
On the face of it, this is hardly news and not of great significance for most of us. "Minority" is a relative term. You'd have to have been living in a cave not to know the ethnic makeup has been changing for 30 years in this area and it's a great place to live.
But among the "trends" most prominent in Northern Virginia, at least, is the continuing influx of illegal immigrants. As is the case in many of our cities, I think illegal residents have managed to stay below the average citizen's radar. But that stealth-manner is changing, and this is the subject of today's dispatch from Euphoric Reality.
This past week there were numerous demonstrations across the country, as immigrants were organized to protest any federal legislation that would tighten immigration enforcement. The rallies were organized by unions, church groups, socialist activists, civil rights advocates, and immigrant organizations to demand free immigration rights as their due and protest the "unjust laws" of our nation.
Los Angeles had the nation's largest mobilization of immigrants ever, which the LA Times described as "boisterous" and "spirited" and "mostly peaceful": "The marchers included both longtime residents and the newly arrived, bound by a desire for a better life and a love for this county." ("Newly arrived" being a politically-correct euphemism for "illegal".) The estimated crowd of 500,000 proudly carried tens of thousands of Mexican flags, which belied the blissful claim that they are "bound by a love for this country".
"There has never been this kind of mobilization in the immigrant community ever," said Joshua Hoyt, executive director of the Illinois Coalition for Immigrant and Refugee Rights. "They have kicked the sleeping giant. It's the beginning of a massive immigrant civil rights struggle."
In Georgia, many Latinos protested a newly passed bill aimed at curbing illegal immigration by not working or shopping for the day. Guess what? The state's economy didn't collapse! A small American rally in Temecula, CA, focused on border security and law enforcement. We also saw peaceably demonstrating American citizens attacked by an unruly crowd of pro-illegal immigration and socialist protesters in Indiana.
This week, our Senate continues the debate on illegal immigration, with an upcoming vote on the McCain-Kennedy Amnesty bill. And, pressing for his "guest worker" program, our President repeats the tired (and untrue) refrain that our country needs these workers to do what Americans won't:
"We must remember there are hardworking individuals, doing the jobs that Americans will not do, who are contributing the economic vitality of our country," the president said in his weekend radio address.
However, the Minuteman Party has responded:
No longer content to sit on the sidelines while politicians sell out our sovereignty and turn our citizenship into a yoke of slavery in the service of foreign interests, we are fighting that government "of the people, by the people, and for the people shall not perish from the earth".
[More, below the fold]
As usual, the Times-Dispatch, like other papers, has a biased article on abortion that has the pro-life position represented by an interest group member on one side and the pro-abortion viewpoint represented by a woman who had to make an agonizing choice about having an abortion. What's more the type of abortion that the mother had is of the type that is in the vast minority of cases--to save the life of the mother.
The pro-life movement has many women who have had abortions and then realized afterwards that they had murdered their child and now fight to educate others about their mistake. A fair discussion would have excluded the irrelevant personal information or included a disclaimer stating that the abortion that the woman had would not be illegal under the South Dakota statute or before Roe v. Wade. As a child whose mother was told that she should have an abortion because of her age, I also have some personal experience with abortion but that doesn't make me more qualified to speak about it than anyone else.
Shaun Kenney is hosting this week's Virginia Blog Carnival. NOVA Town Hall is excited to make our first appearance!
For those unfamiliar, here is the description of the Carnival:
Each Monday, a Virginia blogger will host a Virginia Blog Carnival, offering just a sample of the topics Virginia bloggers have been writing about during the week. We hope everyoneâ€™s curiosity will be piqued to read more of the selected posts, thereby giving more exposure to each participating bloggerâ€™s site.
Check it out!
Jennifer Morse has a good article today on marriage and the black community. It is yet another reminder that supporting and fostering marriage is a crucial task and should be an urgent public policy priority. Morse builds on the correlation between marriage and economic success (highlighted in my previous post on the â€œmarriage gapâ€) by looking specifically at the impact of the decline of marriage in the black community. Here are some good chunks from the article:
Marriage is a protective factor against social pathologies. Marriage generates and preserves wealth, unlike other family forms which dissipate wealth. A recent publication by the Boston-based Seymour Institute, "Godâ€™s Gift: A Christian Vision of Marriage and the Black Family", spells out the case for marriage as the most important next step for the future of black America. The report cites the fact that married families in the black community have twice as much income as unmarried black familiesâ€¦
â€¦Elite opinion that celebrates diverse family forms is actively destructive of social justice. Our culture glamorizes early sexual activity, unmarried sexual activity, and unmarried childbearing. But these cultural influences have very different implications for poorly educated, low-income women of color, than for the elite opinion-makers who graduate from exclusive universities.
The Virginia Club for Growth (not always the most politically suave organization- the horrendous 2005 anti-Kilgore mailer ultimately used to help Kaine comes to mind) has filed a Freedom of Information Act request for Virginia revenue data for 2005 and 2006. This is a smart move to help the principled members of the House of Delegates further illustrate the absurdity of enacting a massive tax hike when there is a $1.4 billion surplus. Hereâ€™s a great quote from the organization's press release announcing the FOIA request:
â€œWe have learned from history that we cannot trust the statements coming from the governorâ€™s office involving revenue projections, particularly at a time of a state budget impasse,â€ said Phil Rodokanakis, the President of the Virginia Club for Growth. â€œThere is little doubt now that in 2004 Gov. Warnerâ€™s administration intentionally underreported state revenues in order to blackmail the House of Delegates into enacting the largest tax increase in the history of our state.â€
The full VCG press release is below the fold.
Reading this article over at the Times-Dispatch website, I think we get a preview of one tactic that the Dems and Senate Republicans will be using to push for a compromise (read "tax hike") that the House Republicans are costing the taxpayers money by refusing to agree to their budget. The Senate would probably defend their holding out along the lines of "You gotta spend money to make money."
Our preacher many years ago told me, "Redemption is possible for anyone, even though he be a Democrat."
To that end, since I have yet to weigh in about him at all, I am building a positive foundation for working with our new Governor.
And I must say, watching Governor Tim Kaine pose for approximately 200 photos after his speech last night, while his dinner sat cooling on the table, and then making time for one more with yours truly before he sat down, has reminded me to never write off my fellow man.
(Jeez, especially when he looks like he's about ten years younger than this old geezer. Plenty of time for him to see the light.)
We chatted for a few minutes. I was going to ask, "Governor Kaine, can you explain to me why we have a $1.4 billion surplus in Virginia and everybody is talking like there will be a humanitarian catastrophe if we don't increase taxes?" But in this situation, I just wanted to let him sit down next to his wife and eat his food.
Bill Wheaton, conservative activist and columnist for the Lynchburg Ledger has an article published today that blasts the General Assembly for a lackluster session. He particularly lays into moderate/liberal Republicans (he describes them as RINOs).
He does shed some light on one of the most ridiculous tactics of Governor Kaine and the Democrats and moderate/liberal Republicans:
They will initially propose spending an inflated amount on a budget line item, and when anyone suggests appropriating less, they call it a budget cut.
The response is predictable. Special interest groups who donâ€™t get everything they want, start hollering that their budget has been cut, when in reality, their budget had increased, but not as much as they hoped.
Wheaton concludes his article with a call for conservative Republicans to challenge GOP liberals who have been colluding with Kaine and the Democrats at the expense of the Republican agenda.
The problem lies mainly in the Virginia Senate with just a handful of RINO senators. Charles Hawkins who represents portions of Campbell County is one of them, along with Russ Potts from Winchester, John Chichester from Spotsylvania, and Frederick Quayle of Chesapeake.
Real (conservative) Republicans need to start now in raising up primary opposition for 2007.
The full story is below the fold.
While I have to say I am (pleasantly) surprised... I see that Vince over at the recently purged Too Conservative blog has a post defending Senator Cuccinelli from the typical mindless liberal attacks. Good to see!
Liberal Democrats and Liberal Republicans like to attack conservative Republicans who are willing to stand up for the unborn as if they are fringe lunatics supporting a ridiculous cause. These same folks often accuse conservative pro-life Republicans of being a liability on Election Day.
Well, Zogby has a comprehensive new poll out that examines Americansâ€™ views on the issue of abortion and it demonstrates that pro-lifers arenâ€™t some fringe extreme, rather they make up a sizable demographic and support for pro-life legislation is extremely broad.
As this Life News article states, there is broad support for the pro-life cause:
The poll fund that Americans take a pro-life position on more than a dozen pro-life legislative proposals.
* Some 69 percent agree with prohibiting federal taxpayer funds from being used to pay for abortions while only 21 percent disagree.
* When asked differently, 51 percent oppose federal or state funding of abortions for poor women while 37 percent support it.
* Americans support parental notification abortion by a 69-23 percent margin for girls 16 or younger and by a 55-36 percent margin for girls 18 and younger.
* 56 percent of Americans want a 24-hour waiting period on abortion while 37 percent do not.
* Laws that charge criminals with two crimes when they assault a pregnant women and kill or injure her unborn child are favored by 64 percent of Americans and only 23 percent disagree with them.
* President Bush's Mexico City Policy prohibiting federal funding of groups that perform or promote abortions in other nations enjoys the support of 69 percent of Americans while only 21 percent oppose the law.
* 86% of those polled oppose sex-selection abortions and say they should be illegal while just 10 percent say they should be legal.
* Some 56 percent of Americans disagree with requiring health insurance plans to cover abortions other than those necessary to save the life of the mother and only 12 percent want insurance plans to be forced to pay for abortions.
* Requiring women considering an abortion to undergo pregnancy counseling beforehand is favored by 55 percent of those polled while 37 percent oppose such a requirement.
Below the fold is some good content from a recent VCAP email. Also worth noting is the fact that VCAP now has a blog on their website, albeit with only one post.
The Townhall.com editors (our loosely-affiliated parent site) have a article up on the challenges facing Congressional Republicans as they strive to achieve success on issues important to the conservative base prior to the 2006 elections. It is worth a read. Here is an excerpt:
We are now in an election year.
As such, there is a tension between GOP leadership's growing realization that the Republican conservative base demands action on conservative issues and the fact that the more moderate faction of the Party, many of whom are up for re-election, cannot stomach any action that requires tough votesâ€¦
â€¦To this observer the answer is easy. Vote. Vote on everything you can that conservatives care about. You will win some and perhaps lose more, but at least you will demonstrate a clear awareness of the desire of your base instead of what has been viewed by many as the tin ear of the recent past.
Also on Townhall.com there is an article by Patrick Hynes titled Converting the humble, the meek, and the Dems. He discusses the Democratsâ€™ recent posturing to pick up votes from evangelical Christians, continuing the commentary from Amy Sullivanâ€™s Washington Monthly article that reported that â€œa growing number of evangelicals see the Republicans as ignoring their values and find the Democrats eager to welcome them in.â€
While Hynes is basically optimistic that the Democrats will never be able to provide a serious alternative for evangelical Christians, he comments on the growing disillusionment with the GOP and its failures to deliver for conservatives (this is obviously related to the first article, discussed above). He says:
Democrats can take heart in some of the FRC [Family Research Council] data. It seems clear that evangelical Christians are deeply frustrated with the GOPâ€™s lack of follow-through on the issues of their greatest concern. 63% of evangelical Christians believe that "the Republican majority in Congress has not done enough to keep its promises to voters to act on these proposals."
In our base-against-base political environment, Republicans presently enjoy an advantage because: 1) The GOP base is larger than the Democratic base; 2) The GOP base is growing while the Democratic base is shrinking; and 3) The GOP base is dispersed throughout the states and congressional districts in a manner more advantageous to winning congressional majorities.
But if the GOPâ€™s conservative Christian base is disaffected and unhappy with Republican candidates, who will stuff the envelopes come election time? Who will pound the yard signs? Man the phone banks? Hand out literature? Register new voters? Bus people to the polls?
The neo-cons? The free-market types? The "Main Street" Republicans? I donâ€™t think so.
Maybe this gives broader context to help understand the Virginia Republican failures in 2005â€¦
As many may have already heard, a mini civil war seems to have occurred at the Too Conservative blog. It appears Vince suddenly cut off his fellow contributors and potentially claimed credit for their prior posts under his blog identity. One can speculate that this sudden move was a result of other contributors exhibiting their own viewpoints and failing to march lock-step with Vinceâ€™s tabloid style attacks on conservatives (the recent Frederick/Lingamfelter hatchet-job comes to mind). Regardless, the suddenly homeless former contributors used the original blogger website to demonstrate their displeasure at their authoritarian removal and hinted that if Vince continued to pressure them (to get them to vanish from the blogger site as well) they would (according to our limited understanding of the situation) reveal IP address information demonstrating that Vince has also been posting anonymously under various pseudonyms to further his own agenda.
One has to immediately note the irony in the fact that the apparent creator of the â€œGroup Bâ€ classification (used to label and attack undesirable conservatives who oppose the moderate/liberal GOP agenda under the auspices that they only care about power and control) has himself swiftly cut out the diverse commentators/members on the TC site and has been potentially using unethical means (posting under various anonymous pseudonyms to make it appear as if they are multiple people) to gain further influence and control.
Whatever the real reason for this split I for one am sad to see the best commentators vanish from the Too Conservative blogâ€¦ particularly Jay and Riley who always had interesting and substantive posts (I always wanted to learn more about Slugging!) and helped to unite rather than divide Republicans. However hope is not lost as the vanquished commentators have started their own blog, Virginia Virtucon. I look forward to reading it and hope they can soon become members of the ODBA.
UPDATE: It appears, via comments on TC, that Vince also purged comments from his blog. Some are arguing that this was to remove comments critical of TC's favorite politicians or his posts. Sounds like they really believe in a "Big Tent" Republican Party over there!
The current issue of the Weekly Standard has a phenomenal article by Allan Carlson titled Indentured Families: Social conservatives and the GOP: Can this marriage be saved. It provides a comprehensive overview of the "pro-family" cause from its temporary political home in the GOP under Teddy Roosevelt and then with the Democrats from 1912-1964. Carlson describes the most recent realignment when the family voters shifted back to the Republican Party:
The broad transformation continued with the rise of the "pro-family movement" during the 1970s, behind early leaders such as Phyllis Schlafly and Paul Weyrich. It ended in 1980 with the solid movement of northern Catholics and southern evangelicals into the Republican party, and the counter-movement of feminists and the new sexual revolutionaries into the Democratic fold. Ronald Reagan, a proud four-time voter for Franklin D. Roosevelt and a lifelong admirer of the New Deal, explained his 1980 victory to a group of Catholic voters this way:
"The secret is that when the left took over the Democratic party we [former Democrats] took over the Republican party. We made the Republican party into the party of the working people, the family, the neighborhood, the defense of freedom. And yes, the American Flag and the Pledge of Allegiance to One Nation Under God. So, you see, the party that so many of us grew up with still exists except that today it's called the Republican party."
Carlson believes that this marriage of pro-family forces and the pro-business GOP, consummated under Reagan's watch, is in serious trouble. Social Conservatives were the key to the GOP's success in the last 25 years but the relationship seems to be moving closer and closer to the point of declaring irreconcilable differences.
Moreover, when push comes to shove, social conservatives remain second class citizens under the Republican tent. During the 2004 Republican convention, they were virtually confined to the party's attic, kept off the main stage, treated like slightly lunatic children. Republican lobbyist Michael Scanlon's infamous candid comment--"The wackos get their information [from] the Christian right [and] Christian radio"--suggests a common opinion among the dominant "K Street" Republicans toward their coalition allies.
In Virginia members of the pro-family GOP are increasingly subject to ridicule and attack from moderates/liberals who have little interest in advancing the cause of the family. The 2005 election results may have been a warning sign that social conservatives aren't going to tolerate being ignored or insulted any longer. A winning strategy is the commonsense pro-family strategy of hope and values pioneered by Reagan, and the GOP would be ill advised to discard it from the meaningless mush often presented as an alternative. As Carlson points out:
Contemporary Republican leaders need to do better--much better--toward social conservatives. They must creatively address pressing new family issues centered on debt burden. And they must learn to say "no" sometimes to Wall Street, lest they squander the revolutionary political legacy of Ronald Reagan.
Also via the TMG I found this fantastic article on marriage, family, and society written by Kay Hymowitz and published in the City Journal. It is absolutely outstanding and while it doesn't address the issue of protecting organic/natural marriage of one man and one woman from a radical redefinition that would deny a child a mother and a father, it does make it crystal clear that this "social issue" has a profound effect on government and society. Protecting and supporting the institution of marriage should not be ridiculed as some frivolous priority. Hymowitz strengthens our understanding of why marriage is such a critical issue.
Here is a good glimpse at what you'' find in the article:
When Americans announced that marriage before childbearing was optional, low-income women didnâ€™t merely lose a steadfast partner, a second income, or a trusted babysitter, as the strength-in-numbers theory would have it. They lost a traditional arrangement that reinforced precisely the qualities that they-and their men; letâ€™s not forget the men!â€”needed for upward mobility, qualities all the more important in a tough new knowledge economy. The timing could hardly have been worse. At a time when education was becoming crucial to middle-class status, the disadvantaged lost a reliable life script, a way of organizing their early lives that would prize education and culminate in childbearing only after job training and marriage. They lost one of their few institutional supports for planning ahead and taking control of their lives.
Worst of all, when Americans made marriage optional, low-income women lost a culture that told them the truth about what was best for their children.
I have to give it to Speaker Howell for trying to outflank the Senate and the Governor by having a press conference with environmental leaders who oppose the tax hike, as reported by the AP on the Times-Dispatch website.
Howell said the Senate wants to curtail a complex program that saw farm or woodland property put off-limits to development last year in return for tax credits. Those income tax credits are worth about $130 million over several years to the owners of the land.
It's good to see the House finally get out in front of the tax increase issue with this press conference and the ad buy of the unnamed conservative group mentioned in the article. Perhaps the House learned from its media drubbing last time and will be able to frame the issue rather than allow the Governor and Senate to turn them into whipping boys again.
However, the Senate, with a couple of well-known exceptions, is a monolithic body, controlled by Senator Chichester, and will be unlikely to blink in this shoedown any time soon. The tax increase passed that body with an extremely wide margin, and the House is going to have to be prepared to sit in special session for a while if it has any chance of keeping a tax increase from passing.
Via the TMG we learn of the following anti-tax hike resolution from a GOP Committee. Would any Northern Virginia committee be interested in taking a stand on principle opposing the Kaine-Chichester plan to continue to feed the growing government behemoth? I'd hope so... UPDATED: The Lancaster committee passed a similar resolution in February, it is below the fold.
ROANOKE COUNTY REPUBLICAN PARTY RESOLUTION Passed on March 20, 2006
Whereas, the General Assembly raised our taxes during the previous session, and
Whereas, the General Assembly is considering another tax increase, in the face of a budget surplus of $1.4 billion or more, and
Whereas, some Republican members of the Virginia Senate and Virginia House of Delegates are actually supporting Gov. Kaine's call for higher taxes,
Be it therefore resolved that the Roanoke County Republican Party STRONGLY OPPOSES further tax and fee increases of any kind and asks our elected Representatives to vote NO on tax and fee increases, and this request will be communicated in writing to each of them, prior to the late March budget special session.
Roanoke County Republican Party
The Rothenberg Political Report now says that George Allen is no longer the front runner for the GOP nomination in 2008. I don't believe anyone can know what the nomination landscape will look like a year from now (as Rothenberg clearly didn't a year ago per his own argument) so this is all somewhat entertaining speculation- nothing more. First we get to see Allen chew up the winner of the VA Democrats' "Who Wants to Lose to George Allen" primary.
Here is the crux of Rothenrberg's rational for lowing Allen from frontrunner status:
...the Virginia Senatorâ€™s White House prospects have been steadily eroding since my first column on this topic one year ago. The reason: President Bushâ€™s reputation has nosedived.
Allen is perfectly positioned as heir to the Ronald Reagan-George W. Bush legacy. The only problem is that the legacy doesnâ€™t look nearly as valuable now as it did as recently as a year ago â€” even within the GOP.
In a letter to Governor Kaine, Lieutenant Governor Bolling wrote:
"There is no issue more important to the Commonwealth, our citizens and our business community than developing a comprehensive statewide energy plan. We must begin the process of reducing our dependence on foreign oil, expanding the use of alternative energy sources and looking for ways to conserve energy. SB262 attempts to accomplish these important goals in a responsible manner that has been thoroughly reviewed and considered by the General Assembly."
The bill, sponsored by Senator Wagner (R-Virginia Beach), has come under fire from extreme environmental groups, like the Sierra Club, for including the potential for off-shore drilling. Bolling went on to state that the legislation "includes many other provisions that are important to the development of a comprehensive statewide energy plan that have absolutely nothing to do with off shore drilling. The Sierra Club's simplistic approach totally ignores these other important provisions of the legislation." The Sierra Club seems to be using off-shore drilling as a red herring in an attempt to sink the bill via veto.
The President declared in his most recent State of the Union that Americans must end their addiction to foreign oil, and the Virginia legislature has put forward a plan that will move our Commonwealth toward this goal. Environmental groups should be jumping at the opportunity to work with the Republican Party to find a real solution to our energy crisis, but their leaders seem to be more concerned with playing politics. Governor Kaine, who are you listening to?
On Monday, a Family Foundation email reported that a Virginia circuit court judge had ruled that civil unions performed in Vermont would not be recognized in Virginia under the Commonwealth's Marriage Affirmation Act, which bars officials from recognizing civil unions performed in other states. Lisa Miller, a former lesbian, attempted to prevent her estranged partner from gaining custody of Miller's biological child, born through artificial insemination. The partner based her claim on the fact that the two had shared parental rights under their Vermont civil union. The case, named Miller v. Jenkins, has been appealed to the Court of Appeals here in Virginia; and a simultaneous appeal is pending in Vermont.
This is a huge victory for Phil Griffin who is one of the lead attorneys on the case. You may know Phil as husband of Kate Obenshain Griffin (chair of the VA GOP) and former candidate for the seat held by Russ Potts. Let's just hope his Vermont colleagues are as on the ball as he is, but knowing courts in Vermont, it probably does not matter. If the Virginia Court of Appeals upholds the lower court ruling, our best shot is that either the Supreme Court will reject the eventual appeal, which would leave the conflicting rulings in place, or that the conservative block can talk Justice Kennedy into buying their view on the subject.
As Human Events noted in last week's issue, most of the GOP senators need a kick in the butt on the question of proposed amnesty for illegal workers.
The Human Events chart is a GREAT tool, with phone numbers and e-mail addresses. The following Guard the Borders message has the link to fax contact information.
USE THEM ALL - THIS IS A CRITICAL TIME TO HAVE AN IMPACT ON THE RESOLUTION OF THIS ISSUE.
Amnesty = increasing illegal immigration. You can take that to the bank.
On Thursday, March 16, the Senate Judiciary Committee told their staff to meet behind closed doors to construct an immigration bill that would include provisions from the Kennedy-McCain bill. Known as S. 1033, the McCain-Kennedy bill includes an amnesty for illegal aliens, a massive "guest" worker program that leads to citizenship, and an estimated one million additional permanent immigrants each year.
Millions of illegals to become citizens?
Kennedy-McCain immigration reform bill likely to pass Senate committee after recess
A bill that would give millions of illegal aliens in the United States the opportunity to earn citizenship is closer to becoming law today as members of the Senate Judiciary Committee signaled likely passage of a proposal by Sens. Edward Kenney, D-Mass., and John McCain, R-Ariz.
Though a committee vote will not be held until after a week-long congressional recess, likely March 27, committee members appeared ready to back the Kennedy-McCain bill.
"The votes are there," said Sen. Charles Grassley, R-Iowa.
Congress is working to pass a reform bill that includes enforcement, a policy on dealing with illegals already in the country and a guest-worker program pushed by President Bush.
Under the legislation, illegal aliens in the United States would obtain six-year nonimmigrant visas under which they could work in the country and travel outside the country. The aliens would have to pay a $1,000 fine and undergo background checks.
After six years, the aliens would be able to meet certain requirements and then apply for a green card, or permanent residency.
Besides voting on the bill after the recess, committee Chairman Arlen Specter, R-Pa., said the panel also would vote on a bill by Sens. John Cornyn, R-Texas, and Jon Kyl, R-Ariz., that would give illegal aliens up to five years to leave the U.S. After returning home, they could then apply to return, either as temporary workers or for permanent residency.
"Our intention is not to strand anyone outside the country," Kyl said, according to an AP report. But he asserted the McCain-Kennedy plan would give an illegal alien allowed to stay and work in the country a "huge advantage" over a person having to wait for years in his or her own country for a green card.
The McCain-Kennedy bill would start off with offering 400,000 of the new visas.
To compare the various bills please click here to view a .pdf chart created by NumbersUSA.org. You will be able to see for yourself that what the spin-meisters are telling us about the various bills clearly does NOT match the actual provisions of the bills themselves.
The conservative Tuesday Morning Group sent the following update highlighting some key points from this Washington Post article. Definitely some good stuff.
Tim Kaine is threatening to put pressure on 26 Republican Delegates if he doesnâ€™t get his way on the budget. Since Kaine has become Governor, he has done little else but threaten. His ham-handed way of relating to others is not an attribute of leadership, but does show clearly he is not the politician that Mark Warner was. This is not to say there arenâ€™t certain similarities. To get elected, they both lied about their plans to raise taxes.
Nineteen House Republicans caved and voted for the 2004 budget. Three of those are no longer in the legislature. The remaining 16 have apparently been assigned permanent patsy status having defined themselves as individuals who fall to the floor and assume the fetal position whenever the going gets tough. Kaine thinks he has identified 10 more to add to that number who have discovered that compromising is a way to keep from having to make the tough decisions that should come with governing.
Currently, the budget negotiators want to limit and concentrate transportation spending in the most congested areas of the state. This is exactly what the Virginia Institute and The Heritage Foundation recommended in our recent joint publication, 21st Century Highways: Innovative Solutions to Americaâ€™s Transportation Needs.
Sen. John Chichester believes there is â€œsome self-help need in those two areas [Northern Virginia and Hampton Roads].â€ As the two economic engines that drive the commonwealth and disproportionately contribute to state government revenue, Chichester wants to see the people of Northern Virginia and Hampton Roads levy additional taxes on themselves so that roads can be built in those parts of the commonwealth where there is no congestion. Why would we provide transportation solutions in those areas of the state that have no transportation problems? Because Chichester is trying to maximize the returns of those who invested in his, and his croniesâ€™, last election.
Which brings us to Speaker Howellâ€™s comment, â€œI think at some point, the pressure will become such that both sides will realize they need to compromise â€¦.â€ Perhaps oneâ€™s opening bid should not be to fold. I have never seen Chichester do that, and heâ€™s successful.
Kaine is correct about one thing. The battle comes down to the House. This week, please contact your Delegate and tell him or her that you are not interested in â€œinvestingâ€ in more state government by paying more in taxes â€“ particularly when the commonwealth has been running a surplus for three years, and when economists indicate that those surpluses will only grow larger each year for the foreseeable future.
Today Lieutenant Governor Bolling fired out a statement urging Governor Kaine to support SB262 (The Virginia Energy Bill) that would develop a comprehensive statewide energy plan. The Sierra club has been urging Kaine to veto this solid legislation because it would provide for a framework to begin considering offshore drilling.
Here is one of Bolling's great quotes:
â€œThe Sierra Clubâ€™s simplistic approach appears to totally ignore these other important [non-drilling related] provisions of the legislation. This is another example of the Sierra Clubâ€™s blind anti-business, anti-energy orthodoxy.â€
The full press release including the text of Bolling's letter to Kaine is below the fold. It will be interesting to see what Kaine does...
A friend of mine who goes to Mary Washington College went to the Fredericksburg St. Patrick's Day parade yesterday and said that she saw James Webb in the parade with probably about ten supporters marching with him. (He was apparently the grand marshal due to his Irish literary inclinations).
My friend also reported seeing twice that many Allen supporters walking through the crowd, holding up signs and collecting signatures, and Allen wasn't even there. From the sounds of it, Webb has a long way to go to catch up with Allen's strength at the grassroots level.
Via the New York Times I learned that Virginiaâ€™s Liberty University has the #1 debate team in the Nation. The rather long article also has a lot of information on the Liberty debate team head coach, Brett Oâ€™Donnell:
In 2004, Karl Rove brought O'Donnell in to help the Bush presidential debate team, and O'Donnell expects to be working with Republican candidates again this year. But politics is a sideline for O'Donnell. His day job is teaching nice Christian cheek-turners how to cut their opponents' throatsâ€¦
â€¦After the 2004 election, he founded his own consulting company, O'Donnell and Associates Ltd. In 2005, his first private client, the Republican Jerry Kilgore, lost the Virginia gubernatorial race.
O'Donnell doesn't intend to stay 0-1. He's already negotiating with four 2006 campaigns â€” two senatorial and two gubernatorial â€” although he won't name them. The deals aren't yet closed, and at least one of his potential clients is nervous about being publicly associated with the Falwell wing of the party.
Congressional Quarterly has an article on â€œBush Fatigue.â€ The story basically makes the case that Bush, like many other mid-late Second Term Presidents, has vastly diminished influence and is in a hopeless situation. Itâ€™s the usual political drivelâ€¦ however it does bring up this one interesting point:
At least he has a solid one-third of the country behind him in the worst of times, mired as we are in the third year of an increasingly unpopular war. He could also argue that if they did polling in Abraham Lincolnâ€™s day he, too, would have registered well below 40 percent approval in the third year of the Civil War, before the burning of Atlanta turned the war â€” and the public â€” to Lincolnâ€™s favor.
In Sundayâ€™s edition of the Bolling Report, our Lieutenant Governor comments on the successes of the 2006 Regular Session of the General Assembly. Bolling says:
â€œWith the assistance of legislators in the Senate and House of Delegates, I am proud to report that a substantial number of the bills in our 2006 Legislative Agenda received approval from both chambers of the General Assembly. When Governor Kaine signs these bills into law, we will have taken significant steps to fight gangs and drugs in our communities, increase the availability and affordability of health care, crack down on violent sex offenders, reduce taxes on families, create a comprehensive state energy plan, and protect the sanctity of marriage.â€
â€œWhile I would have liked to have done more to address the problem of illegal immigration, protect private property rights, reduce taxes on small business and family farmers, and build a transportation system for the 21st century, I am proud of what we were able to accomplish during our first legislative session.â€
He then goes on to list specific positive legislation. The full Bolling Report is below the fold.
The St. Patrick's Day edition of the Cuccinelli Compass touched on the miserable failings of Jim Rich's leadership of the 10th Congressional District committee- particularly highlighting the fact that under his leadership the committee has failed to issue basic financial reports or provide any money or support to some conservative Republican candidates in the district. Here is some of what the Senator had to say:
The current 10th District chairman does not have finance reports at committee meetings; there is no openness about when critical meetings will be held; and attempts are regularly made to control the proceedings before anyone even shows up. None of this is consistent with the kind of openness that Cong. Wolf practices in representing us.
Why are we conducting our party business in such a controlled and secretive way? We can do better.
Second, the Republican performance continues to decline in the 10th District, with no significant help from the 10th District committee...
Cuccinelli encourages everyone to support Heidi Stirrup's campaign to bring openness and operational effectiveness to the committee. He specifically urges registered voters in Prince William County and the City of Winchester (the only regions where the filing deadline has not yet passed) to file for the convention before tomorrowâ€™s deadline. Information on how to do so is in the full Cuccinelli Compass below the fold.
We learn via the Richmond Times Dispatch that the Virginia budget surplus continues to grow. How anyone can argue for higher taxes with this kind of surplus is beyond me. From the article:
The Kaine administration, meanwhile, reported yesterday that state tax collections, from July through February, have grown 10.6 percent over the same period a year earlier.
The announcement was the latest sign of continuing economic strength, which has already produced a $1.4 billion surplus and provided opponents of additional taxes with a strong argument to resist what could be the second increase in three years.
Sources inside the 10th Congressional District race for chairman have expressed concern over the organization of the Heidi Stirrup campaign who is running against longtime incumbent Jim Rich. The race was believed to be an uphill battle from the beginning as Chairman Rich has survived previous challenges from conservatives and has the strong backing of Congressman Frank Wolf, beloved by conservatives throughout the district.
Apparently, the Stirrup campaign failed to file anyone for Manassas Park City (however, the Rich campaign did not either, how do two candidates miss that?) and only won Manassas City by a slim margin. While not fatal to her campaign, there seems to also be a lack of organization among the district's conservative party activists at large.
There also seems to be a lack of coherency in the Stirrup campaign in Warren and Frederick counties, the two most conservative counties in the district. While Mike McHugh, a longtime Warren County activist, has sent out many emails supporting Mrs. Stirrup, it is unclear if this will translate into bodies in the seats come mass meeting time. These four localities do not make up a majority of the district as most of the delegate votes will come from Prince William, Loudoun, and Fairfax counties; but if Mrs. Stirrup is failing to organize in these conservative strongholds and among her neighbors, it is difficult to see the campaign outflanking a popular sitting congressman and an entrenched chairman in those more populous areas.
It is upsetting that Mrs. Stirrup has failed to catch fire so far, and we hope this serves as a catalyst for a turning point for her campaign. Chairman Rich has been obstructionist for conservative candidates and officeholders throughout his tenure, even once serving as campaign manager of a losing primary candidate in a House of Delegates campaign in an attempt to prevent a conservative from winning. His more recent track record has been watching the party disintegrate across Northern Virginia. This sort of behavior is likely to continue in the future. We wish Mrs. Stirrup luck.
Respected Liberal blogger Waldo Jaquith also comments on the story, explaining his view that â€œradicalsâ€ (I suppose heâ€™d say thatâ€™s us, huh?) are going to cost the GOP its majority. While I categorically reject his conclusion he does make a good point in recognizing the division among Republicans- it too is worth a read.
The cover of this morningâ€™s Washington Post has a story on the incredible growth in Virginiaâ€™s exurbs; particularly in Loudoun, Caroline and King George counties, which were just ranked as some of the fastest growing in the nation.
Ranked just behind Loudoun, whose 2005 growth rate ranked eighth in the country, were King George and Caroline counties, two small jurisdictions more likely in the past to draw state employees from Richmond than federal or high-tech workers from the capital region. Now, most of their new residents come from Prince William, Stafford, Spotsylvania, Charles and other counties closer to Washington.
The story brings up the hot issue of controlling â€œrunaway growthâ€ without destroying economic growth (if such a thing is possible). First discussing King George:
"I'm all for property owners' rights, but the folks here really don't want to see the county's identity turned upside down," said Dale W. Sisson Jr., vice chairman of the King George County Board of Supervisors. "The challenge that we have from today forward is to make sure that we can have some type of control over the growth."
And then Loudoun:
County supervisors tried several years ago to constrain growth in Loudoun's rural west, where open pastures, horse paddocks and 19th-century manor homes contrast sharply with the densely packed subdivisions to the east. But those regulations were tossed out on a technicality last year by the Virginia Supreme Court. This year, supervisors are considering new constraints that are nearly as restrictive.
The Post also mentions that growth has slowed in Fairfax:
The population growth rate slowed dramatically last year in Fairfax, Montgomery and Prince George's counties, the region's largest jurisdictions. Unlike outer counties, which are gaining population because of people moving in from other U.S. communities, closer-in areas are gaining because of new immigrants and births.
The story is worth a read and is sure to fire up the growth-control activists.
UPDATE: CNN also has a story on the growth statistics, it can be found here.
Caution: This story is somewhat graphic and very disturbing. Hat Tip to Dawn Eden.
I wonâ€™t provide details here, but the Real Choice blog has an absolutely tragic story of a young mother who had a chemical abortion. She later discussed it on her Live Journal blog (now inaccessible) and posted pictures of her aborted child saying she was giddy and â€œholy crap this thing is freaking awesomeâ€ before she flushed her child down the toilet.
A Catholic friend of mine recently forwarded me this fantastic National Review Online article by Fr. Thomas Williams (Dean of Theology at Romeâ€™s Regina Apostolorum). In the article Fr. Williams absolutely pummels the absurd â€œCatholic Statement of Principlesâ€ released a few weeks ago by pro-abortion Congressional Democrats. Everyone should definitely read it, here is my favorite section:
More â€œprogressiveâ€ Catholics have often had recourse to the image of â€œbig tentâ€ Catholicism, appealing for a broader acceptance of heterodox opinions within the Church. The image is apt, in that Catholicism does embrace a rich and varied array of opinions, emphases, schools of thought, theologies, spiritualities, and apostolates. At the same time, even the most enormous of tents has its boundaries, beyond which it is possible to stray. The statement makes a feeble attempt at defending the claim that the â€œbig tentâ€ of Catholicism can cover abortion.
That is a tough case to make. Just as you donâ€™t have the polytheistic wing of Islam or the seal-clubbing wing of Greenpeace, you donâ€™t have the pro-abortion wing of the Catholic Church. Certain non-negotiable moral standards define Catholicism just as surely as doctrinal beliefs do. We all advocate a big tent, but it can stretch only so far until it rips asunder.
One canâ€™t help but think of Tim Kaineâ€™s opportunistic use of his Catholicism as a shield for his years of secular anti-death penalty work while simultaneously refusing to stand up and protect the unborn as the Catholic Church demands. Itâ€™s good to see folks hold these folks accountable for their selective application of Catholic faith.
In a Family Foundation email today (it seems like all I am going to post today is commentary on emails- lots of interesting stuff coming out of groups in Richmond these days!), Executive Director Victoria Cobb lambasted the General Assembly for dropping the ball on some key issues by letting them die in conference committees. She is particularly fired up (and rightly so) by the surprising failure to address the huge issue of eminent domain. Cobb also credits two of Northern Virginia's finest representatives (assuming Front Royal can be considered part of NoVA) for their hard yet ultimately unfulfilled work to push the issue:
But perhaps the most embarrassing failure of this General Assembly, besides not passing a budget, was their inability to protect property owners from government takeover in the very place where this freedom was birthed. While other states have been able to pass legislation in response to the Supreme Court's atrocious Kelo decision, some members of this General Assembly put their own self-interest, and in particular their own business profits, ahead of one of our most fundamental freedoms - the right to own property. The fact that this happened in the Commonwealth of Virginia, where our Founding Fathers bled and died for this right, is the ultimate hypocrisy. Virginia it is clear is no longer the home of our cherished freedoms. It is, instead, the home of special interests and politicians lining their pockets. A special thank you to those Senators and Delegates, in particular Senator Ken Cuccinelli (R-37, Centreville), Delegate Johnny Joannou (D-79, Portsmouth) and Delegate Clay Athey (R-18, Front Royal), who stood up to special interests and fought for our God-given right to property.
For those interested, the full Family Foundation Information Alert is below the fold.
This morning the Virginia Conservative Action PAC (VCAP) sent out an update that was built around some very good points in yesterday's RTD editorial aptly titled Never Satisfied: Kaine, Chichester Bang on Their High Chairs and Wail for More
I donâ€™t know how I missed this great piece by Hinkle but I am glad VCAP brought it to my attention. Hinkle lays down the facts regarding the pending budget battle, saying:
Kaine and Chichester are banging on their high chairs demanding still more revenue despite:
1) THERE IS NO threat to the state's bond rating.
2) The state enjoys a honking big surplus.
3) The $61.3-billion budget that included Warner's tax hikes increased spending 19 percent.
4) The current budget, at least $75.3 billion, will increase spending by another 22.8 percent.
5) Transportation has claimed 12 cents of every new state dollar in the past decade.
6) Also in the past decade, public-school enrollment rose 10 percent while inflation-adjusted direct state aid to education rose 42 percent.
7) House Republicans, again, have agreed to raise another $500 million for transportation.
Having got much of his way during the previous two battles, Chichester evidently feels secure that continued pig-headedness will succeed again. He might be right. If so, it will be interesting to see what pretext he produces to justify more tax hikes two years hence.
After quoting Hinkle VCAP then points out that Speaker Howell isnâ€™t moving an inch in his defense of Virginiaâ€™s taxpayers. They use this great Howell quote:
Accountability, cost-effectiveness, and curtailing congestion have taken a back seat to funneling staggeringly large amounts of cash into a VDOT unequipped and ill-prepared to handle it. We would have a budget today if the Senate ended its recently-adopted practice of intertwining tax increases into its budget bill. Thatâ€™s not how the Virginia Constitution frames the legislative process. And, their actions ignore the long-standing â€˜Virginia wayâ€™ of producing a budget based on existing revenues and legislation approved by both chambers.
VCAP explains how they fit into the budget equation, mentioning their efforts to:
â€¦challenge legislators who campaign on solid principles of fiscal restraint, limited government, and a pro-family agenda and yet continually legislate and vote in direct contradiction to these principles.
And they claim (probably with some level of merit) that VCAP deserves credit for the fact that:
â€¦all the Delegates who voted for the tax increase in 2004 and that VCAP challenged in 2005 are standing strong against a tax increase this budget cycle.
It is a good VCAP update and lays out some great points through the use of the RTD editorial. However I think they should have used this last quote from Hinkleâ€™s editorial, itâ€™s priceless:
And still some persist in suggesting House Republicans are the uncompromising ideologues on tax issues. Those who hold that view would do well to review the history -- and return to planet Earth.
The full VCAP update is below the fold.
This morning Lieutenant Governor Bill Bolling sent out his latest Bolling Report which summarizes â€œthe good, the bad, and the uglyâ€ in the recently concluded but soon to be continued 2006 General Assembly session. He touches on the battle between the more liberal tax-and-spend Senate Republicans and the true fiscal conservatives in the House of Delegates when he says:
While many important pieces of legislation were approved by the General Assembly, other significant proposals failed to pass and the budget impasse reflects significant philosophical differences between Republicans in the Senate and House of Delegates.
Bolling lists some of the Sessionâ€™s positive legislation as well as the failures to deal with issues such as Eminent Domain, Death Tax, and providing in-state tuition discounts to illegal immigrants who break our nationâ€™s laws.
In discussing the coming tax hike battle in the special session, Bolling reminds us why we can count on him to defend our familiesâ€™ wallets from the growing government behemoth in Richmond.
While I strongly support dedicating significant additional revenue for transportation constructions, I do not believe that it is necessary to increase taxes to accomplish this.
Virginiaâ€™s economy is currently growing at a very rapid rate. This economic growth will produce budget surpluses and new revenue growth sufficient to support a 19% increase in state spending in the upcoming biennium. Armed with such impressive economic growth, I do not believe it is either necessary or appropriate to increase taxes.
I am convinced that we can adequately fund the core responsibilities of state government and make a significant ongoing investment in transportation without raising taxes if we have the fiscal discipline to direct existing revenue sources to our most pressing needs and the budgetary restraint to resist the temptation to embark on a number of new and costly government programs.
The full Bolling Report is below the fold.
Some have attempted to criticize Bolling's recent praise and support for the Communication Tax Reform package that was passed by the General Assembly. It is important to keep in mind that this reform will DECREASE taxes on anyone who has cable television, a landline phone or a cell phone while instituting a very small tax on satellite services. It basically benefits almost everyone in Northern Virginia and unlike the 2004 tax-hike, this is true tax reform (it is 100% revenue neutral). Just look at who was supporting the legislation: It was sponsored by Delegate Nixon, who is one of the most anti-tax Republicans in the General Assembly and it also had the strong support of Attorney General McDonnell. This clearly is not some ill founded tax-hike legislation, rather it is much needed commonsense reform that will save the average Northern Virginian upwards of $5 a month while adding a 60 cent monthly tax to satellite radio. Hell, my wife and I have two XM receivers (I love my Delphi RoadyXT) and we will still save money with this legislation!
Additionally, some are making the argument that Bolling supported raiding the transportation trust fund. Huh? Governor Gilmoreâ€™s introduced budget removed $600M+ from the trust fund and Bolling voted for the Senate budget that restored over $300M to that very same trust fund and he continues to champion the importance of the transportation trust fund today. He has always done everything within his power to protect the trust fund in the Senate dominated by moderate tax-and spend Republicans.
There is an interesting article over at the Times-Dispatch about Virginia localities opting out of Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act through "bail outs." I, for one, called my congressman recently to ask him to oppose renewing Section 5, which forces Virginia and certain other states to clear all election changes through the Department of Justice.
Times have changed. Period. I think we can end the Reconstruction era mentality that this law currently has. If Congress was really concerned about discrimination, they would force all localities and states to clear their election changes through the DoJ.
Friday the movie V for Vendetta hits theaters across America. I thought the previews looked interestingâ€¦ and after reading some more about the filmâ€™s plot it looks to be extremely politically charged. It is based on an early 80s comic book that was written to admonish conservative Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher and her policies. Now the film seems to have taken a somewhat different political focus which has led some to accuse it of empathizing with modern day terrorists. The creator of the original comic has distanced himself from the film.
The Telegraph has this description of the new controversy:
Even before production began, there were doubts about whether the film should be made at all, because of fears that it could be viewed as an endorsement for terrorism and anarchy. Its hero is a masked terrorist who bombs London landmarks and assassinates British government officials in an attempt to overthrow a totalitarian regime. In a spectacular climax, he blows up Parliament in the name of freedom.
The main character (known as V) apparently tells Evey (Natalie Portman) that â€œBlowing up a building can change the world.â€ Whether this is less of an â€œendorsement of terrorismâ€ because of the Hitler-esque dictator and his secret police, pedophile bishop and genocidal torturers remains to be seen. I am looking forward to watching the film and seeing what kind of statement it truly makes.
You can watch the trailer here.
Is anyone else becoming a fan of the new NBC game show Deal or No Deal ? I am not one who usually watches game shows but this unique yet simple show based on managing risk is extremely addictive. A recent USA Today article succinctly describes the game's premise:
The way it works is simple: A contestant chooses a briefcase from the models posed on stage. But the inside cash amount is not revealed. As each round progresses, host Howie Mandel (who has a shaved head) offers the contestant a choice of staying with the original briefcase or making a "deal" with the bank for cash in exchange for whatever amount is in the chosen case, as other briefcases are opened, their values revealed.
I know where I'll be at 8 p.m. each Monday.
Since Sophrosyne stole my idea for my post today, I'll add a brief analysis of Potts' 2007 race.
While Senator Quayle, in his quotes in the Times-Dispatch article, seemed to think that all is forgiven from Potts' sellout of his constituents when he went liberal during the last decade and his betrayal of the state party as a whole by running as an independent, I think the residents of northwest Virginia would disagree. Potts managed to pull in enough Dems and fooled enough Republicans into believing he was pro-life to win the last primary by a couple of votes, but if he stays in the race for reelection next year, I think his days are numbered. Jill Holtzman Vogel has put up some mighty impressive fundraising numbers so far.
This morning's Richmond Times Dispatch has a story on Senator Russ Potts that begins with this statement:
Predictions that Sen. H. Russell Potts Jr., R-Winchester, would suffer dearly for deserting the Republican Party last year to run for governor as an independent underestimated his tenacity.
Huh? Or more accurately, the lack of tenacity and principle among moderate Senate Republicans!
What I found particularly entertaining was Potts' criticism of the Family Foundation, which is described in the story as:
...a group whose stances include preserving traditional marriage, promoting religious liberty, reducing abortions and rejecting taxes on families.
Potts is referring to these immensely popular and mainstream goals when he says:
"I said the Republican Party would move too far right"
Come on! Without even going into the hypocrisy in the fact that Potts embraced and supported all these positions in his heated 2003 primary battle in order to get elected; who honestly believes goals such as reducing abortions, rejecting higher taxes, promoting religious liberty, and preserving tradition marriage are "too far right"? These are the long standing values that have been at the core of the GOP for decades! The only one who has moved in any direction is Potts and his fellow moderates who continue their steady march to the left.
The following article was written by some Guard The Borders members who attended the pro-illegal immigration march in Chicago on Friday:
"Si, se puede!" was the cry of the crowd in Chicago today -- "Yes, we can!" Thousands upon thousands of illegal aliens and their supporters gathered in Union Park, then marched down Jackson Street to The Loop. Jamming the plaza, as well as the surrounding streets and sidewalks, they rallied to cheer on those who had come to speak.
They demanded legalization for all immigrants. They patted each other on the back for working hard and having dreams. They lauded politicians who devote themselves to representing "the people," which evidently, in their minds, includes "the people" who have come here illegally and don't get to vote. They demanded justice. They jeered HR4437, the House bill passed last December that would make coming here illegally a criminal offense, rather than a civil one, that calls for a fence on the border, and that would penalize anyone who hires and/or helps someone to come or stay here illegally.
Mayor Daley even got up to add his support, which made no sense:
"Don't let anyone tell you you're an immigrant," he shouted. "We're all immigrants!"
"Si, se puede!" Yes we can WHAT, one wonders?
Yes we can...make demands of the government, even though we're here illegally? Yes we can...break your laws then demand to not only not be penalized, but to be rewarded for it? Yes we can...take taxpayer-funded services like education and healthcare, and in exchange we'll drive down wages and refuse to assimilate? Yes we can...shout loud enough about our civil rights that the politicians will forget that civil rights are, by definition, for citizens? [Much more, below the fold]
I am one of those lefties you are so disparaging about and, predictably, I would probably view your opinions as just as 'wacko' as you view mine. Here's some of the things I believe: 'pro-lifers' are an embarrassment to civilized nations and creationists are too stupid and mindlessly theistic to bother engaging in serious debate. Only small-dicked idiots drive SUVs in cities and homophobes and racists are beneath derision. I decry the blind madness of US environmental policy and its torpedoing of Kyoto. I regard business as very important, but a slightly ignoble way to spend one's entire life. I think the WTO is a major force for the repression of the poor throughout the world, and that America and the UK are in many ways complicit with these bully-ish crimes against the weak.
However, I love the west, I love our democracy and freedom. I love computers and mobile phones and publishing and dish washers and cars and light bulbs and even angry conservatives, who are as free to be as angry at me as I am at them.
But other then to protect my family, freedom of expression is the only things I would take up arms for. I'm going on the Freedom of Expression march on the 25th March in London where I intend to protest against the political correctness that stymies criticism of Islam as a catalyst of violence.
I think it was Socrates who said that if there is one exception to a rule then you must revise the rule, because it is wrong. This is how truth, which is not absolute, is finessed. Well, I'm standing and fighting and I'm an exception that the navel-gazing generalizations by the so called American â€œThinkerâ€.
As regards the rights of people we disagree with, well there are millions of good Muslims watching the issues unfold at Guantanamo and Abu Grahaib, millions who instinctively appreciate the very real hypocrisy that is so glaring in extraordinary rendition. As much as I desipse the Taliban and Al Quaeda and want take a baseball bat to their knees for what they have done to us, I wouldn't actually do this, because someone has to take the high ground. Intellectual consistency is giving the rights we both revere to everyone. When you strike someone off the list of â€œhumans we consider humansâ€ simply because it's convenient for your government's pro-security policy, when a society breaks down and says â€œrights for us, but not for youâ€ at the first hint of a serious threat, it loses the high-ground and undermines any righteousness it may have had. This is how the world sees America and only a sea-change in the radical opinions of extremists (that's you and THOSE people) will help.
In response to his thoughtful message I would say this to James:
First, I think your supposed love of the West and all it's accoutrements needs to be reconciled with your views on 'business,' 'Kyoto,' and the WTO. In the interest of intellectual honesty, you probably want to think those positions through a bit further. Seriously.
That being said, you my friend are an anomaly. The liberal who takes to the streets - much less cross an ocean - to denounce Islamic fascism is quite rare, a veritable man-bites-dog story. My hat's off to you for that. Thanks for doing it, buddy - I'll forgive all your misguided, negative statements about convervatives on that basis alone.
On the general topic of Islam and the war, I'd strongly encourage you to read the new book by Oriana Fallaci (atheist, hater-of-Christian-fundamentalists, former socialist). Amazon is shipping it even as we speak.
You are an exception, as you say. I wish there were more like you. Knowing the exception, I am going to be more careful in the future making statements with reference to the 'rule.' Thank you for taking the time to write.
Congratulations to Jeff Miller who was elected Arlington County Republican Chairman on Saturday. More than 230 Republicans participated in the election. Hopefully Miller and defeated opponent Landey Patton can work together to unit the conservative loyal opposition in the People's Republic.
Also, via Bearing Drift we learn that Mike Gruss of the Virginian-Pilot mentioned our post on Webb's Colbert Report appearance in his weekly Virginia blog round-up.
On Saturday, the last scheduled day of the 2006 General Assembly session, Senator Cuccinelli sent out an update highlighting Senator Puller's attempt to distort the facts and smear all those who oppose the new tax hike plan as wanting to cut education spending, public safety, etc etc (similar to the claims Vince over at TC seemingly endorsed when praising Tim Kaine's tax hike plan a little while back). Here is a juicy segment from Cuccinelli's email:
Then every time someone suggests a reasonable increase in a particular area it is portrayed as a cut by those that want to raise our taxes. This may be good salesmanship, but it is a serious distortion of the facts and one that should not be acceptable to voters who are trying to select from competing financial plans â€“ all of which represent additional monies out of the pockets of Virginiaâ€™s taxpayers.
The voters deserve better than shell games where a â€œcutâ€ is really a smaller increase in spending, and the solution to every problem is more taxes.
The full March 11th Cuccinelli Compass is below the fold.
"On March 10, 2006, the Global Islamic Media Front (GIMF) posted, on the Islamic websites, a final warning to the American people, on behalf of Rakan Ben Williams who defines himself as Al-Qaeda under cover soldier, USA [sic]."
"On November 8, 2005, the London daily Al-Sharq Al-Awsat reported: The Global Islamic Media Front has threatened [the West] on the Internet by means of its new soldier, whom it calls Rakan Ben Williams, and whom it claims is a white Englishman who converted to Islam."
I discern your wonder about this warning in which you do not quite recognize what to make of it. You are probably asking: Why would Al-Qaeda Organization announce its upcoming operations inside the mainland? Why the repeated warnings? Originally by the commander in Chief of Al-Qaeda (the victorious, by the grace of Allah), followed by the same warning through his trusted deputy, and now by Rakan Williams (Al-Qaedaâ€™s under cover soldier in the west).
...Let me also inform you that we are talking about two operations, not one. The scale of one of them is larger than the other but both are large and significant. However, we will start with the smaller, and temporarily put the larger on hold to see how serious the Americans are about their lives. Should you value your own life and security, accept Muslimsâ€™ demands, but if you shall prefer death (over giving in to Muslimsâ€™ demands). Then, we, by the grace of Allah, are the best in bringing it (death) to your door steps.
...I will not give any more clues; this is enough as a wake up call. Perhaps the American people will start thinking about the magnitude of the danger that is coming their way.
...O you helpless Americans, especially those living in States far away from Washington, D.C.! Your country is comprised of many States that should not have anything to do with Muslims. Take the State of Arizona for example; what does this State have to do with killing Muslims in Palestine, Afghanistan, and Iraq? What interest of theirs serving, helping, and siding with the Jews and Israel?
...This is the last warning you will receive from us. Consequently, if you ignore it, we regret to inform you that we will carry out devastating operations against the States of America and we will not show mercy whatsoever, you would have brought destruction to yourselves. Do not ever forget, you have rejected the truce which was offered to you by Muslims; you have supported the thieves of the white house and blessed their adventures. Therefore, you get nothing from us short of similar treatment; for only blood for blood.
May Allah facilitate a way for us to spill the blood of the occupiers and cut off the heads of the aggressors. Allah has full power and control over all of His affairs, but most mankind knows not.
Rakan Ben Williams
Al-Qaeda under cover soldier
You can go a little nuts if you follow these things too closely. When someone says. "I will not give any more clues" I am instantly reminded of The Riddler and other Super Bad Guys, who invariably gave TOO MANY clues.
Even more questions arise in this case, when the threat is from a supposed soldier of Allah here in the U.S.
Rakan Ben Wilyamz is not only the 'new secret weapon' of global Jihad, but also a model of 'super-hero' for Islamic youth. The fact that the name might have been taken from a comic series, colors it with the heroism of an imaginary figure. Rakan is the Jihadi answer to Superman, Batman, and their colleagues.
The GIMF has evoked vigorous dialogue, to say the least.
One thing to bear in mind regarding the Islamic groups is: They make a LOT of threats, and for good reasons, they have not carried out very many of them.
The banner headline spread across the front page of Il Giornale, the respected Milan daily reads:
Al Qaeda: We will destroy New York within 35 days. Threat on the Internet. Countdown begins.
The threat was contained in a video clip featured on a web site associated with the fundamentalist terror group. It announced al Qaeda plans to destroy New York in a nuclear blast on February 2. Il Giornale claims the FBI blocked and removed the web site.
The video clip showed three possible scenarios: 1. A bomb or giant fireball from the skies that will cover the metropolis with a radioactive cloud. 2. A storm of radioactive clouds that will topple skyscrapers one by one, along with the Statue of Liberty and Brooklyn Bridge. 3. An explosion on board a charter aircraft that will cause a radioactive cloud to spread over the city.
The video clip was accompanied by large, red-lettered Arabic captions saying: 'If God wills it, the end of America is near.'
Luckily for us, God, and the Department of Homeland Security, did not will it that time. We must hope they do not will it this time.
Yesterday Senator Cuccinelli sent out his email update which discusses the failure of the General Assembly to decisively protect property rights in a post-Kelo world. Cuccinelli points out how surprised he has been of the lack of consensus:
Frankly, I came to Richmond this year anticipating broad agreement on how to â€œfixâ€ the eminent domain problem thrust on us by the federal courts. Unfortunately, I was wrong about the level of consensus that would exist and instead have found myself and others in the midst of a fairly protracted battle on this issue.
He also briefly mentions the upcoming registration deadline for the 10th Congressional District Republican Committee convention and encourages folks to support the conservative candidate running for Chairman:
We need as many filings for Heidi Stirrup for Chairman of the 10th District GOP as possible! Please help out!
The full Cuccinelli Compass is below the fold.
UPDATE: According to Not Larry Sabato Senator Cuccinelli and his wife Teiro are expecting their 6th child- Congratulations Senator!
The election of County Republican Chairman in the "People's Republic of Arlington" is this Saturday from 10-2 at Lyons Community Center. For those unaware the current vice-chairman Jeff Miller is running for Chairman effectively as an incumbent who will carry forward the current Committee activities in Arlington while Landey Patton is running as a conservative outsider who intends to open decision making and policy direction to all in the Committee (the current leadership rarely requests or accepts regular input from Committee members and shuns taking any kind of policy position as a party organization.)
Today Jeff Miller sent out an update, it's below the fold. It'll be interesting to see what happens and if the new Chairman will be able to shake things up deep in "enemy territory."
We have been receiving some input and information regarding what appears to be this cycleâ€™s only major district committee battle between a solid conservative and moderate in Northern Virginia: Heidi Stirrup vs. Jim Rich.
Soon weâ€™ll have a detailed Action Report up discussing the May 20th Tenth Congressional District Republican Convention, but for now you can get some great commentary here.
Today a Washington Times editorial takes a conservative stance in defending fundamental property rights by urging the General Assembly to reject the pseudo reform in HB 94 and embrace the real eminent domain protection that would be provided in SB 394.
With all the uproar over transportation, LeBlanc, etc the Times seems to think (rightly I believe) that personal property protection has been largely ignored. Sure transportation is important, but as the editorial states:
One issue that is at least as important -- yet is being virtually ignored -- is the matter of eminent domain, which pits local governments and powerful business interests led by the state Chamber of Commerce against small property owners and small businesses. The next 48 hours will determine whether Virginians are protected against efforts by big business and big government to take their property for the benefit of private interests who assert they can use it "more productively."
This seems like a slam dunk issue for the GOP and I can't imagine why anyone would support faux reform that would leave the government with extensive powers to take personal property and turn it over to large businesses. At least Northern Virginia has one champion on this commonsense issue in Senator Cuccinelli. The Times rightly gives him credit:
Whatever the final outcome, Virginians owe a debt of gratitude to two lawmakers in particular: Delegate Johnny Jouannou, a Portsmouth Democrat, whose amendment, now attached to the Senate bill, provides the exact property-rights protections that Virginians need, and Sen. Ken Cuccinelli, Fairfax County Republican, who has labored tirelessly to drive home the importance of the issue.
The liberal faction in the GOP loves to vilify Cuccinelli as some out-of-touch idealogue yet he continues to stand on principle and fight for the interests of his constituents.
While it isn't directly related to Virginia politics (although one could infer the RINO problems in Ohio are growing in the Commonwealth) this Cincinatti Inquirer story is worth a read.
Appearing tonight on Comedy Central's Colbert Report, James Webb got off easy, in my opinion, but I'm sure that was part of the deal. Webb came off as a poor public speaker, and if he makes it past the primary, I think Senator Allen is going to take him to school, but that's just me.
For those who have a knack for brain teasers, this story may contain important news:
Gov. Janet Napolitano is deploying more National Guard troops along the border today even as she vetoes a bill to force her to do it.
The article is a tortuous read, not because poorly written, but because of the byzantine workings of Arizona politics. What it appears to say is: The Democratic governor of Arizona is being dragged kicking and screaming by the Republican-led legislature to take a somewhat stronger stand on border security.
Critics say the Guard troops are not trained for missions such as securing the border, and might resort to racial profiling. Clearly, such conduct would be unacceptable as it would allow legions of Swedes and Irishmen unfettered access to the American heartland.
We, here at Novatownhall.com, would like to thank the Republicans in the House of Delegates for standing up for both the right-to-work law and their constituents by rejecting Governor Kaine's pick of former AFL-CIO president Daniel G. LeBlanc to be Secretary of the Commonwealth. Let's just pray this kind of unity hangs around for the vote on tax increases this time around.
You can read the article on the Times-Dispatch website.
The latest VCAP update that takes aim at Kaine and the Senate's pro-tax Republicans is below the fold, enjoy.
All too often liberal-leaning moderate Republicans savagely accuse principled conservative Republicans of not being supportive of more liberal Republican nominees and elected officials. In doing so it is naturally assumed that these moderates donâ€™t practice this heinous behavior of placing values and principles before party and that they of course support all solid conservative Republican nominees and elected officials. After all it is only those â€œfar rightâ€ pro-life anti-tax crazies that are â€œall or nothingâ€ people, right?
Well there was a story in the American Spectator a few days ago that went right to the heart of this question- it seems the hypocrisy of the moderates runs quite deep. The story discusses how the self-proclaimed moderate Republican Majority for Choice (RMC) is launching a nasty attack on incumbent Republican U.S. Senator Rick Santorum.
The RMC launched its â€œNational Campaign to Challenge Far Right-Wing over Direction of Partyâ€ by taking out huge ads in every major daily newspaper in Pennsylvania calling for â€œReal Republican Candidates for Senateâ€ and ironically invoking Reaganâ€™s Big Tent philosophy at the same time. Given that there is not enough time to collect the petition signatures needed by the March 7th deadline this is nothing more than the first salvo in a public attack on the conservative Republican incumbent.
Jennifer Blei Stockman, national co-chair of the RMC goes deeper into their attack on conservative Republicans, saying that:
"The ad is meant to be somewhat tongue-in-cheek, that we cannot continue electing candidates like Rick Santorum because he's not helping the party's image."
Stockman goes on to argue (much as the BlackOut â€œRepublicansâ€ did in attacking Delegate Dick Black in helping Poisson achieve victory this past November) that:
"We think there's a line that needs to be drawn between more extremist Republicans like Rick Santorum, who are there for more social issues, and the more important economic issues. He distracts from that agenda by bringing up these controversial issues. It confuses people as to where the Republican Party stands today."
Make no mistake about it- despite the typical spin coming from the GOPâ€™s more moderate forces there is a war going on for the heart and soul of the Republican party and (some) conservative members of the Republican party aren't the only â€œall or nothingâ€ people.
The one thing Stockman said that I think has any value is her sentence that this battle over principles "confuses people as to where the Republican Party stands today" (although I am sure that isn't precisely what she meant). We're going to continue to have difficulty winning elections if we collectively stand for less and less.
I'll let this article speak for itself. This sort of thinking seems to be becoming more typical in our neighbor to the north. (found via www.drudgereport.com)
Following last weekâ€™s update from our Lieutenant Governor, many (mostly Connaughton supporters) seemed quick to criticize Bolling- asserting that by explaining some of the forces involved in the recent budget growth he had apparently begun to turn his back on his steadfast record of fiscal conservatism and become another moderate pro-tax apologist. While anyone who knows Bolling reasonably well knows this is extremely unlikely, in this weekâ€™s edition of the Bolling Report he closed by responding to this interesting criticism. Iâ€™ve posted this response below and placed the full Bolling Report below the fold, enjoy!
The primary purpose of last weekâ€™s column was to suggest three things:
1) While state government spending has increased significantly in the past decade, there are justifiable reasons for many of these spending increases, such as inflation and population growth. In addition, many of the spending commitments state government has each year are non-discretionary in nature, i.e., commitments imposed by constitutional or statutory requirements, either at the federal or state level.
2) Given the significance of these non-discretionary spending commitments, it is all the more important we do everything we can to control spending in other areas. As we look to the future we must make certain that government operates as efficiently as possible; we must direct our resources toward the core responsibilities of state government and make certain that all other programs are both necessary and appropriate; and we must resist the temptation to embark on new and costly government programs.
3) The problem is Richmond is not that we donâ€™t have enough money. As I pointed out in last weekâ€™s column, budget surpluses and revenue growth will produce $5.5B in new revenue in the upcoming biennium, revenue sufficient to support a 19% increase in state spending. The problem is that we have not exercised the fiscal discipline and budgetary restraint to direct these resources to the core responsibilities of state government and stand in opposition to new and costly government programs.
Hereâ€™s the bottom line as I see it. We have plenty of money in Richmond to do the things we need to do if we have the fiscal discipline to direct this money to the things that matter most, i.e., education, public safety, transportation, health care, etc. Thatâ€™s why I am opposed to any increase in taxes in 2006.
If you want to understand one of the key reasons current U.S. immigration laws are not being enforced, please take a few minutes to read this article on the EOIR by Juan Mann:
There is a dangerous misconception lurking in Americaâ€™s growing public consciousness about immigration law enforcement. From the man on the street to the halls of Congress, the fatal error persists in the belief that if only current immigration laws were just enforced, the illegal alien invasion of these United States would be over for good.
All would be well if we put the legal mechanisms in place into effect . . . right?
Few Americans even recognize that thereâ€™s any problem at all with HOW the federal government goes about deporting illegal aliens and criminal alien residents. Securing the Arizona desert was a piece of cake in comparisonâ€”remember that the volunteer Minuteman Project showed the world that they could do it in a month!
So whatâ€™s the problem?
[MUCH more, below the fold]
I'd like to thank Joe Budzinski and Sophrosyne for bringing me aboard. It will be my quest to point out to our readers how insane Virginia's liberals are. However, I won't hesitate to include anyone else who fails to uphold the sound conservative philosophy upon which Virginia was built.
For my first post, our state senate proves once again how out of touch they are by censoring a rabbi, who they invited, for condemning the terrorist organization Hamas. I'll let you read the rest in the Times-Dispatch.
It's good to see that the state senate is concerned about Hamas's feelings and that they won't stop short of editing prayers in the name of political correctness. Thankfully, Senator Wagner (R-Virginia Beach) was able to figure out whom the rabbi was talking about anyway.
Specter says a bill to grant citizenship to illegal aliens probably won't pass. That's the good news. The bad news is he's a Republican and he utters the statement ruefully.
Not to put too fine a point on it, but when I see the words 'McCain-Kennedy bill' I reach for my gun:
Sen. Lindsey Graham, South Carolina Republican and a supporter of the McCain-Kennedy bill, said those calling for illegal aliens to go home need to grow up.
"America needs to mature on this issue, and they need to understand we've got a lot of people here for the right reason," he said.
Mr. Graham said illegal aliens contribute to the economy and take difficult jobs such as landscaping, and he noted that as a golfer he probably benefits from their labor.
That infuriated one observer, Peter Gadiel, a co-founder of 9/11 Families for a Secure America, whose son died in the attack on the World Trade Center.
"I would have thought that a senator of the United States would consider the lives of the 3,000 people lost on 9/11 and the lives lost every day to crimes committed by illegal aliens would be worth more than his ... cheaper greens fees," he said. "I think Senator Graham is a disgrace, an absolute disgrace, to make that kind of statement."
Mr. Gadiel promised to campaign against anyone who votes for legalization if someone from that program commits a crime or terrorist attack in the future.
'Comprehensive' immigration reform is the buzzword of the day. It means, 'Instead of simply securing the border, let's also let them in and make them citizens, just to be sure all our bases are covered.' You have to wonder what it will take to wake them up:
One of the articles I read said THREE of the Senate Judiciary Committee Republicans believe the border security problem needs to be solved as the first priority. The tells me, in the upcoming 2006 elections, the border security issue will not be a winning one yet for our GOP representatives, since so few of them believe in it. Maybe it won't be until 2008 that enough of the voters believe in it.
The Border Patrol has intercepted more than 400,000 people trying to cross the border illegally in the first two months of this year, about double last year's pace, U.S. officials told a Senate panel on Wednesday. About 10 percent of those caught had criminal records, they said.
A TMG Update below, hot off the presses. We should all send a thank you to Delegate Joannou (he can be reached at 804-698-1079) and Senator Cuccinelli (he can be reached at 804-698-7537) for standing up for the rights of property owners across Virginia. There can and should be no compromise on this fundamental issue of individual liberty.
Last night a meeting was held in Richmond to see if a compromise could be reached between the two sides in the property rights debate. In attendance were Del. Johnny Joannou, Sen. Ken Cuccinelli, Joe Waldo (a nationally recognized attorney with the Norfolk law firm of Waldo & Lyle), Atty. Gen. Bob McDonnell, Chip Dicks (an attorney with substantial experience in representing developers on land use applications as well as representation of Colonial Pipeline, a condemner), Bill Throw (the Solicitor General of Virginia), and Del. Terrie Suit.
Actually, this is not quite accurate as Del. Suit, after arriving at the meeting, refused to participate if Joe Waldo did. Showing considerable grace and maturity, and not wanting to see if Del. Suit would really hold her breath until she passed out, Waldo excused himself.
At 1:00 a.m., the meeting adjourned. No compromise was reached as Del. Joannou and Sen. Cuccinelli could not understand, or be persuaded, that it was their prerogative as members of the General Assembly to give away the inalienable rights of the sovereign citizens.
Talk about sticking out like a couple of sore thumbs, talk about a couple of skunks at the garden party, whatâ€™s the matter with those two? Looks like a bad case of principles.
Tuesday Morning Group Coalition
...Folks will import stinkin' ducks, of all things:
The Canadian Food Inspection Agency has quarantined eight Quebec poultry farms that recently imported live ducks and eggs from France, one of the latest countries hit by a deadly avian influenza virus.
Swab samples have been sent to Winnipeg for testing for the H5N1 avian influenza virus and results are expected within the next few days...
This sort of nullifies whatever advantages those two oceans might have given us.
Question: Don't we have all the ducks we need on this continent? You can go to just about any pond in the suburbs and find a gaggle or whatever, ripe for the taking, and they all seem like perfectly decent ducks. With the specter of pandemic looming, why tempt fate?
Silly QuÃ©bÃ©cois! You wanna buy a duck? Just bring a net and you can HAVE a bunch of ours. They're cute and the little kids love 'em.
Here's one that should get your blood pumping. If you are drinking a beverage, please stop doing so now. If you take heart medication, go ahead and pop an extra dose.
To cut through the baloney and find out what really is happening in the area of U.S. border security, all you have to do is read what Jerry Seper says is happening:
The U.S. government has sent more than $376 million to Mexico in the past decade for that country's military and police to help stop alien and drug smugglers, guard against terrorists and protect America's southern border, including $50 million due this year.
The money, quietly authorized through State and Defense department programs, has been used to train and equip the Mexican military and police, drawing disagreement on whether those institutions are part of the solution for U.S. border security, or are part of the problem...
Mr. Renzi said that although it is "likely" some of the money forwarded to the Mexican government has been "misspent," oversight of those units receiving U.S. cash has been improved.
"To ensure that the money is being properly used, there have been more vettings and more polygraph tests, and Mexico has been cooperating in the vetting process," he said.
See, Mexico is cooperating! Doesn't that just warm the cockles of yur heart?
And if that is not enough to make you want to grab our federal government by the neck, Homer Simpson-style, and just throttle it for 10 or 15 minutes, go ahead and read Jerry's report from this morning, below the fold:
On a lighter bi-partisan note, today Lieutenant Governor Bill Bolling is supporting â€œReading Across America Dayâ€ and stressing the importance of reading to children in Virginia with a PSA for Comcast that will play on over 40 cable channels.
Now we all know Bollingâ€™s favorite childrenâ€™s book is The Cat in The Hat. Press release is below the fold.
Yesterday I received an email from the Director of RNC Catholic Outreach regarding a â€œCatholic Statement of Principlesâ€ which was released by a group of Catholic Democrats. Intrigued, I found more information at Life News, here are some key points:
A group of Catholic Democrats in Congress have released a "Statement of Principles" claming to respect the sanctity of human life even though they support abortion. The move appears to be an attempt to respond to the nation's Catholic bishops, who have called on churches and colleges not to give a platform to pro-abortion politiciansâ€¦
â€¦However, the lawmakers call abortion a "religious issue" and claim supporting legislation banning or even limiting abortions would be a violation of the religious freedom of those who back itâ€¦
â€¦Pope John Paul II's document Christifideles Laici says, "Above all, the common outcry, which is justly made on behalf of human rights -- for example, the right to health, to home, to work, to family, to culture -- is false and illusory if the right to life, the most basic and fundamental right and the condition for all other personal rights, is not defended with maximum determination."
The RNC email highlights the fact that over 60% of the Democrats signing this new statement voted against the Partial Birth Abortion Ban. Refusal to sign onto such a commonsense ban of what amounts to barbaric infanticide by no means meets the standard set forth in Christifideles Laici where the right to life must be defended with â€œmaximum determination.â€
One has to wonder if this new spin from pro-abortion Catholics is inspired by Tim Kaineâ€™s perceived success in talking about his Catholic faith while refusing to support the core teachings of the Catholic Church and actively work to protect the most innocent among us. However heâ€™s been more than happy to actively work to advance his opposition to the death penaltyâ€¦ under the guise of motivation from his Catholic faith.
This is just a disturbing political stunt and should insult practicing Catholics who believe in the sanctity of human life, born and unborn. The RNC email with a full list of the â€œCatholic Democratsâ€ who voted to support the right to partial birth infanticide is below the fold.
I became sick to my stomach when I read this story in today's RTD.:
A Suffolk woman who lost her unborn baby after suffering a bullet wound to the abdomen was arrested yesterday and charged with shooting herself to "illegally induce an abortion."
If deliberately shooting an innocent 7-9 month old unborn baby that is fully able to survive outside of his or her mother isn't murder, I don't know what is. Absolutely tragic that a mother would do this to her own child... although it is no different than paying some doctor to partially deliver the live baby before sticking scissors in his or her head and suctioning the brains out to collapse the skull.
Authorities studied several possible charges against Skinner but decided not to charge her with murder because the fetus had not been born...