Thursday, March 31, 2011

Shenandoah at War ... Battle of Waynesboro this weekend

The Shenandoah Valley saw many battles during the Civil War....

Commemorate the 146th Anniversary of the "Battle of Waynesborough", April 2-3, 2011. Living history presentations begin at 9am daily and Battle Reenactments begin at 2pm daily. The event is located on the former homestead of Civil War hero Major William Patrick at 1219 Rockfish Road, Waynesboro, Virginia, 22980. Tickets are $5 and available at the Heritage Museum. All ages welcome, children under 12 free. Shuttle service provided.  Come enjoy food, fun, and learn about the last Civil War battle in the Shenandoah Valley.

For more information visit

AFP goes to Washington ... April 6th

You're invited to another

Americans for Prosperity 

Road Trip to Washington, DC!
Cut Spending Now!

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

with special guest speakers

Congresswoman Michele Bachman (R-MN)
Congressman Bob Goodlatte (R-VA)

Bus Transportation ($10 cost) ~ Free Lunch

Here is the bus info:

Depart Christiansburg - 7am - Cracker Barrel parking lot - Exit 118C
Depart Roanoke - 6:30am - Bonsack WalMart parking lot, Rt 460
Depart Staunton - 7:45am - Staunton WalMart parking lot, exit 222
Depart Harrisonburg - 8:30am - H'burg WalMart parking lot, exit 247A
Depart Strasburg - 9:15am - Food Lion lower parking lot, exit 298, Rt 11

There will be a $10 fee to help defray the bus costs but a free lunch will be provided at the site.

RSVP today by clicking on the link below here:

Rep. Goodlatte introduces legislation to balance budget

Congressman Bob Goodlatte issued the following statement upon today’s announcement that Senator Orrin Hatch (R-UT) has introduced legislation, with the full support of all 47 Republican members of the Senate, requiring the federal government to balance the budget.
"I applaud Senator Hatch and the Republican members of the Senate for introducing legislation to require the federal government to balance the budget.

"I am extremely encouraged by the growing support in both chambers for this legislation. With nearly half the Senate supporting Senator Hatch’s legislation, over 125 Members of the House supporting H.J. Res 1, companion legislation that I introduced in the opening hours of this Congress, and nearly half the House of Representatives supporting H.J. Res 2, legislation that I also introduced which has previously passed the House, we are making huge strides in our effort to hold the federal government accountable and ensuring that the money our citizens work so hard to earn is not squandered on wasteful spending and programs.

"Washington has a spending addiction and it has proven to be an addiction that Congress cannot control on its own and which is bringing dire consequences. We have gone in a few short years from a deficit of billions of dollars to a deficit of trillions of dollars. The government is borrowing money at an unprecedented pace, which presents serious risks of massive inflation. Our national debt recently surpassed an astonishing $14 trillion and continues to rapidly increase, along with the waste associated with paying the interest on that debt.

"A balanced budget amendment is a commonsense measure that is long overdue. Our federal government must be lean, efficient and responsible with the dollars that our nation’s citizens worked so hard to earn. We must work to both eliminate every cent of waste and squeeze every cent of value out of each dollar our citizens entrust to us. Families all across our nation understand what it means to make tough decisions each day about what they can and cannot afford and government officials should be required to exercise similar restraint when spending the hard-earned dollars of our nation’s citizens."
Congressman Goodlatte has long been a strong supporter of a Constitutional amendment requiring the federal government to balance the budget. He is the sponsor of H.J. Res 1, bipartisan legislation that would (1) amend the Constitution to require that total spending for any fiscal year not exceed total receipts; (2) require that bills to raise revenues pass each House of Congress by a 3/5 majority; and (3) establish an annual spending cap such that total federal spending could not exceed 1/5 of the economic output of the United States.

Additionally, he has introduced H.J. Res 2, which simply requires that total spending for any fiscal year not exceed total receipts. Both H.J. Res 1 and H.J. Res 2 have been referred to the House Judiciary Committee on which Congressmen Goodlatte serves as a senior Member.

Shenandoah National Park offers 75th anniversary specials

Big Meadows Lodge terrace.

Shenandoah National Park is celebrating its 75th anniversary throughout 2011 and they have some bed-and-breakfast spring specials for those who want to escape to the mountains. If you like Skyland Resort or Big Meadows Lodge, you'll like these mid-week specials. I wrote all about in my latest post at the Washington Examiner....

Virginia redistricting fever

Cross-posted at the Washington Examiner....

Tuesday had everyone on the edge of their seats waiting for redistricting maps to go up on the official Virginia DLS site. Time for lift-off was supposed to be 3:30 but 4:00 came and went and still no maps, then 4:30 and still no maps. Finally, a little after 5:00, the maps went up and the site was immediately jammed with the crush of political junkies trying to read the newly-drawn lines. Can you say mega log-jam?

Fluvanna Supervisor Shaun Kenny, who also happens to be a blogger, realizing the state site was crashing, grabbed the State Senate and House maps and reposted them at the political Bearing Drift blog for those who could not access the official site, and put sent an alert out out on Facebook.

Apparently the political junkies who couldn't access the official site took note and swarmed over to Bearing Drift only to also crash that site. That was quickly taken care of and the next post went up with a link to the Virginian-Pilot's interactive redistricting maps along with interesting Bearing Drift observations about the two redistricting proposals.

Meanwhile, back at the official DLS site, long waits for maps to load prompted the suggestion to one blogger that she set a timer and return to the computer when it dinged. Ouch.

The maps were interesting, to say the least. The House map had green lines and the Senate map had blue lines. Big, fat lines. They looked like a magic marker had been used to outline the new districts, and there were some very interesting districts, prompting one blogger to quip, "I haven't seen abstract art like this since Picasso died."

Enter the "word map" ... House Bill 5001 with each House district spelled out in precincts. Nice.

The senate precincts were also listed for those who had difficulty reading the maps.

VPAP (Virginia Public Access Project) quickly assembled an in-depth listing of redistricting coverage with links to numerous sources.

David Sherfinski at the Washington Examiner pointed out that Northern Virginia looked poised to pick up three House seats and one Senate seat. Indeed, Prince William County resident Jim Riley unexpectedly found himself drawn into an open 2nd District House seat. Riley, who was considering running for the Board of Supervisors, suddenly found himself being wooed for the open House seat.

As the maps become familiar and everyone finds their districts, look to hear from new candidates and challengers as November beckons those with a willingness to serve.

Staunton Stonewall Brigade prepares to deploy to Afghanistan

"For those who have fought for it,
freedom has a flavor the protected will never know."

The letter arrived in the mail last week alerting the church family that a staff member was being deployed to Afghanistan, most likely in mid-May. A member of the U.S. Army Reserves and National Guard for the past 16 years, he will be one of the group of 170 soldiers heading out with the Staunton-based Stonewall Brigade.

It made the previous day's joyous return of 1st Lt. Phillip Lacey, who had spent the prior year in Afghanistan, bittersweet as the news spread not only throughout the church but throughout the community that Staunton's 116th was preparing to ship out for the next 12-18 months in support of operations in Afghanistan. One soldier comes home ... another leaves.

The historic Stonewall Brigade -- the 116th Brigade Combat Team for the National Guard -- had previously mobilized in 2007 to Iraq. Hundreds of residents from Staunton, Waynesboro, and Augusta County as well as other areas turned out to see them off, and then hundreds again welcomed them home the following year.

As they prepare to leave their families and friends for this latest deployment, we will keep them in our prayers and thoughts. God bless all the soldiers of the Stonewall Brigade whose mobilization reminds us that freedom is not free.

Information will be posted as soon as it is available about when they plan to leave so the SWAC community can again help see them off and thank them for their service.

Coverage of 2011 deployment:
- Waynesboro News Virginian: Staunton-based Guard soldiers prepare for Afghanistan
- Staunton News Leader: 116th to mobilize for Afghanistan
- NBC-29: Staunton National Guard Heading to Afghanistan
- WHSV TV-3: 116th National Guard Brigade to deploy to Afghanistan
- Washington Post: Staunton-based National Guard members mobilized for duty in Afghanistan

Previous posts about the 116th May 2007 deployment ...
- Send-off for the 116th out of Staunton Friday
- They all came to say farewell to the 116th Stonewall Brigade
- A final farewell
- Flags, flags, flags for the 116th Stonewall Brigade
- Farewell 116th -- the Stonewall Brigade
- "We are praying for the 116th"
- Staunton Armory's 116th prepares for Iraq

... and their return in February 2008:
- They're coming home! Stonewall Brigade back from Iraq
- SWAC - join us TODAY to welcome our heroes home from Iraq
- Homecoming for 116th Stonewall Brigade ... thankful for a safe return from Iraq
- Homecoming for 116th Stonewall Brigade ... Grace Christian turns out for classmate's dad
- Homecoming for 116th Stonewall Brigade ... "Daddy's home"
- Homecoming for 116th Stonewall Brigade ... more photos
- Homecoming for 116th Stonewall Brigade ... Congressman Goodlatte welcomes home troops
- Homecoming for 116th Stonewall Brigade ... well-wishers came from other areas
- Homecoming for 116th Stonewall Brigade ... the yellow ribbons
- Homecoming for 116th Stonewall Brigade ... these colors don't run
- Homecoming for 116th Stonewall Brigade ... "Dear American Soldier"
- Homecoming for 116th Stonewall Brigade ... the signs
- Homecoming for 116th Stonewall Brigade ... Westies for the USA!
- Homecoming for 116th Stonewall Brigade ... more photos of Grace Christian students
- Homecoming for 116th Stonewall Brigade ... "you've got to have friends"
- Homecoming for 116th Stonewall Brigade ... even more photos
- Homecoming for 116th Stonewall Brigade ... a sweetheart returns
- Thanks, Gideon at Red State, for recognition of the 116th Stonewall Brigade

Cross-posted at Bearing Drift

Photo by Lynn R. Mitchell

The Leader's daily schedule - Thursday, March 31, 2011

On Thursday, the House will meet at 10:00 a.m. for morning hour and 12:00 p.m. for legislative business. Last votes expected: 6:00 - 7:00 p.m.
One Minute Speeches (15 per side)
Begin Consideration of H.R. 658 - FAA Reauthorization and Reform Act of 2011
(Structured Rule) (Sponsored by Rep. John Mica / Transportation and Infrastructure Committee / Science and Technology Committee / Judiciary Committee)
The rule provides for one hour of general debate and makes in order the following amendments:
Rep. John Mica Amendment (10 minutes of debate)
Rep. Maxine Waters Amendment #34 (10 minutes of debate)
Del. Pedro Pierluisi Amendment #39 (10 minutes of debate)
Rep. Mazie Hirono Amendment #28 (10 minutes of debate)
Rep. Randy Neugebauer Amendment (10 minutes of debate)
Rep. Frank LoBiondo Amendment (10 minutes of debate)
Reps. Garrett / Himes / Andrews / Engel Amendment (10 minutes of debate)
Rep. Bob Filner Amendment (10 minutes of debate)
Rep. Peter DeFazio Amendment (10 minutes of debate)
Rep. Mazie Hirono Amendment #27 (10 minutes of debate)
Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee Amendment (10 minutes of debate)
Rep. Candice Miller Amendment (10 minutes of debate)
Rep. Rob Woodall Amendment (10 minutes of debate)
Del. Pedro Pierluisi Amendment #20 (10 minutes of debate)
Rep. David Schweikert Amendment (10 minutes of debate)
Rep. Laura Richardson Amendment (10 minutes of debate)
Rep. Michael Capuano Amendment (10 minutes of debate)
Reps. Gingrey / Rokita Amendment (10 minutes of debate)
Rep. Sam Graves Amendment #33 (10 minutes of debate)
Rep. Pete Sessions Amendment (10 minutes of debate)
Reps. LaTourette / Costello Amendment (10 minutes of debate)
Rep. Sam Graves Amendment #1 (10 minutes of debate)
Rep. Henry Waxman Amendment (10 minutes of debate)
Rep. Bill Shuster Amendment (10 minutes of debate)
Rep. Gwen Moore Amendment #11 (10 minutes of debate)
Rep. Sam Graves Amendment #12 (10 minutes of debate)
Rep. Steve Pearce Amendment (10 minutes of debate)
Rep. Steven Rothman Amendment (10 minutes of debate)
Reps. Schiff / Sherman / Berman Amendment (10 minutes of debate)
Reps. Matheson / Pearce Amendment (10 minutes of debate)
Rep. Maxine Waters Amendment #32 (10 minutes of debate)
Rep. Gwen Moore Amendment #36 (10 minutes of debate)
Rep. Joseph Crowley Amendment (10 minutes)
Postponed Vote on H.R. 872 - Reducing Regulatory Burdens Act of 2011 (Suspension) (Sponsored by Rep. Bob Gibbs / Transportation and Infrastructure Committee / Agriculture Committee)
Special Order Speeches

Natural Resources Committee Hearing on "Harnessing American Resources to Create Jobs and Address Rising Gasoline Prices: Impacts on Businesses and Families"
(Thursday, March 31st at 10:00 a.m.)
Printable PDF

Gov. McDonnell legislative update

Here's an update on legislative actions taken by Gov. Bob McDonnell (R-VA)....

Governor McDonnell has focused his time in office on getting Virginia’s budget back in order by reducing spending to 2006 levels and not raising taxes, and ensuring that Virginia is home to an environment conducive to private sector job creation and economic growth.

Last night the Governor sent down amendments to the 2011 budget, and we wanted you to know about two of the biggest ones. The Governor has vetoed legislation that would increase the medical malpractice cap in Virginia.

In announcing his veto, the Governor remarked, "Raising the cap for medical malpractice judgments to $3 million over the next twenty years, without further reforms in the medical malpractice litigation system, will not meaningfully protect against health care cost increases. Mandates included in the federal health care law, which is currently in litigation, will cost Virginia an estimated $2 billion over the next 10 years if implemented, and are creating great uncertainty in the health care system. Thus, adding to system costs at this time without other offsets should not occur." You can read more about this action here: Governor Vetoes Medical Malpractice Cap Increase- DC Examiner

The Governor has also amended the budget to eliminate state taxpayer funding of the Public Broadcasting System.

The Governor called for this before the General Assembly session, and he is standing firm for the principle that government should focus on its core functions, and get out of funding programs and services best left to the free market. The Governor stated, "In a world of broad and diverse options for news and entertainment, government should not be funding one specific channel as it competes against others in a free market. Television and radio broadcasts are not core functions of government. That $4.2 million can be better used elsewhere." And you can read more about the Governor's effort to save taxpayer dollars and refocus state government here: Governor Eliminates State Funding for Public Broadcasting- NBC Washington

Washington Examiner Thursday headlines

Byron York - Ron Reagan Jr.: My father is 'fetish object for the far right'

In a new interview with the BBC, Ron Reagan, Jr., son of the late president, called his father "a fetish object for the far right."  Expanding on his point, the younger Reagan calls President Ronald Reagan "sort of the rubber bustier of the far right." Read More

Timothy P. Carney - Obama's friends turn radioactive after Japan accident

President Obama's push to expand renewable domestic energy has put him in an awkward position following the explosions at a nuclear plant in Japan and the subsequent leakage of radiation. While Obama can still talk about solar, wind and biofuels, nuclear power is practically the only way to generate reliable and affordable energy without fossil fuels.

Michael Barone - Were we better off 40 years ago? Not really

Have men’s incomes fallen during the last 40 years? That’s a meme you hear often in political discourse and a conclusion that some economists have reached as well. I argued the contrary in my February 26 Examiner column. Excerpt:   “My own assumption is that economic statistics have been painting an unduly bleak picture of modest-income America. Read More

Susan Ferrechio - House GOP renews push for deeper cuts

House Republicans on Wednesday refused to yield in their pledge to uphold a campaign promise to reduce federal spending to 2008 levels despite an impasse with Democrats over the budget that threatens to shut down the government.

Brian Hughes - Obama: U.S. must curb dependence on foreign oil

Obama highlighted his extensive moratorium on offshore drilling in the wake of the Gulf oil spill, which critics said stymied economic growth.
"I don't know about you, but I don't have amnesia," the president said, alluding to the seemingly endless deluge of oil in the Gulf waters. "I remember these things."
Philip Klein - White House threatens to veto FAA bill to shield unions

President Obama has threatened to veto the FAA funding bill to protect a rule his administration passed last year that makes it easier for airline and railroad workers to unionize. Read More

Philip Klein - Wisconsin unions threaten to boycott businesses that don't display their signs

Union members have extended their fight in Wisconsin, threatening to boycott businesses who won't display signs in their windows showing solidarity.  Read More

Did Secretary Chu really design the successful cap for the BP oil leak?
President Obama glowingly praised Energy Secretary Steven Chu today for, "actually deserving his Nobel prize" and curiously credited him with designing the final cap that eventually plugged the BP oil spill.   Read More

Hearing at Buffalo Gap HS about hunting fees

There's a public hearing this evening at 5:30 at Buffalo Gap High School in Augusta County to receive public input about a proposal to raise hunting fees on July 1, 2011, according to the Waynesboro News Virginian. Representatives from the Department of Game and Inland Fisheries will be on hand to discuss the proposal. Buffalo Gap High School is located west of Staunton.

Chris Christie leads 2012 presidential poll

A new poll shows New Jersey Governor Chris Christie leading by double digits among the GOP pack of presidential possibilities ... read more in my post at the Washington Examiner.

Near record snowfall this winter in Sierra Nevada Mountains

If you think we've had lots of snow, how about 61 FEET of snow over the winter of 2010-11? That's what they've had in this near-record winter in the Sierra Nevada Mountains of California, and there's still 10 feet of snow on the ground. Keep in mind this is the home of Donner Pass made famous by the Donner Party during the winter of 1846-47.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Jim Riley for House of Delegates?

Something unexpected came out of Tuesday's redistricting fever as maps were studied, lines were traced, and sudden realizations came out for some who found themselves in new districts.

Indeed, Prince William County resident Jim Riley, who had considered running for the Board of Supervisors, found himself drawn into an open 2nd House District seat and immediately began being wooed to run.

Riley, who heads up the Virginia Virtucon blog and is a Northern Virginia businessman, lives in the eastern part of Prince William along the Potomac River. When it was thought he may end up in Democratic supervisor Frank Principi's Woodbridge District, he had been courted by the Republicans to run for that position.

However, redistricting didn't draw Riley into Principi's district, as expected, but the surprise was that he was drawn into an open House District seat presenting perhaps a different path to public service.

With his experience as the at-large representative on the county's Housing Board and president of the largest Home Owners Association in the district with more than 5,100 residents, a position he has held the past seven years, Jim Riley may be the man needed to represent that area in Richmond.

Cross-posted at Virginia Virtucon

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Va. preparing to begin offshore energy development?

Governor McDonnell Applauds Congressional Legislation to Begin Offshore Energy Development in Virginia

RICHMOND – Earlier today, Congressman Doc Hastings (R-WA), Chairman of the House Natural Resources Committee, announced the introduction of legislation that would require the U.S. Department of the Interior’s Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, Regulation and Enforcement (BOEMRE) to proceed with previously scheduled, then arbitrarily cancelled, offshore energy lease sales in the Gulf of Mexico and 50 miles off the coast of Virginia by June 2012.

Speaking about the legislation, the Governor noted, “I applaud Chairman Hastings for taking this action. As we have seen firsthand over the past month in the form of rising gas prices, there is a real cost that comes with a failure to prudently and safely develop our domestic energy resources. Offshore energy exploration and development in the Commonwealth will put Virginians back to work, bring new revenues to our roads and renewable energy research, and will help our nation move a little bit closer to energy independence. It is past time that we became serious about finding solutions to our energy challenges. We will do that by utilizing all of our domestic energy sources, from offshore oil and natural gas to wind, solar, coal, nuclear and biomass. Virginia’s political leaders, employers, workers, drivers and families support safe and responsible offshore energy development. It’s time we get this done.”

On March 31, 2010 the President announced that lease sale 220 off the coast of Virginia would move forward, making Virginia the first state on the East Coast to be able to explore for and produce offshore oil and natural gas. On May 27, 2010 the President cancelled the lease sale effective immediately, announcing that no areas off the Atlantic Coast would be available for energy development in the next five-year plan (2012-2017). This means that the earliest a lease sale could even occur off Virginia would be in 2017.

Lease sale area consists of roughly 2.9 million acres offshore of the Commonwealth in the Mid-Atlantic Planning Area, at least 50 miles offshore. The bureau estimates that this area may contain 130 million barrels of oil and 1.14 trillion cubic feet of natural gas. According to a study by the Southeast Energy Alliance, offshore energy development in Virginia could create nearly 2,000 jobs in the Commonwealth and produce more than a half billion barrels of oil and 2.5 trillion cubic feet of natural gas. Virginia’s General Assembly has already passed bipartisan legislation making the official policy of the Commonwealth to strongly support offshore energy production, and directing future offshore energy revenues to transportation and renewable energy research.

Augusta Health in top 100 hospitals nationwide

The Waynesboro News Virginia has reported that Augusta Health was named one of the Top 100 hospitals in the country by Thomson Reuters.

Mary Mannix, FACHE and CEO of the hospital commented:
"I am in awe of the effort and dedication of our medical staff, employees, volunteers and board of directors. Their commitment to our patients and our community is clearly reflected in this award."
David Karaffa, a supervisor candidate in Augusta County, is a member of that awesome medical staff at Augusta Health.

Augusta County budget is squeezed

The financially challenging times continue for local governments and Augusta County is no exception. One of the more glaring aspects of that is the fact there are no raises for county employees for the third year in a row.

Monday's budget session ran from 8 am until 2 pm with an hour break for lunch as supervisors and county staff worked to iron out wrinkles before presenting the budget at the public hearing on April 20th.

Bob Stuart with the Waynesboro News Virginian has a good recap of what happened in the meeting and where the money is going.

Residents of Augusta County should be interested in the April 20th public hearing which offers the opportunity to speak directly to supervisors about budgetary concerns over the next year. The meeting will be at 7:00 pm in the supervisor meeting room at the Government Center in Verona.

Rural community hopes to save Middlebrook Country Store

Small country stores dot the landscape throughout America as reminders of a slower time before super grocery stores and mega shopping centers. To rural communities, they are still an essential part of life as demonstrated by the residents in southern Augusta County:
After sitting empty for eighteen months, a tiny Shenandoah Valley village is coming together to breathe new life into its historic Middlebrook General Store.

The weathered white building, which sits facing Rt. 252 in this rural farming community with acres of farm land surrounded by the Blue Ridge and Appalachian mountains, was renovated and opened by its current owners who spent more than $100,000 updating the interior and adding a patio overlooking a meandering stream. After running it for several years, they closed the store in September 2009 after purchasing a Bed and Breakfast in Yorktown, and it’s been sitting vacant since that time.
Read more about how citizens have joined together to buy the store and run it at my Washington Examiner post.

Monday, March 28, 2011

UVA student dies after falling from roof

NBC-29 is reporting that a University of Virginia student has died after falling off the roof of a campus building late Sunday night. Details are still emerging from this breaking news....

Updated 3/29/11 at 12:30 a.m.: More details have come out in the tragic death of UVA student Thomas Gilliam IV. NBC-29 has the latest....

Bob Goodlatte, maple festivals, and SWAC Girl

Congressman Bob Goodlatte (R-6th) at Shenandoah County GOP Reagan dinner.

"I've got a story to tell you," Congressman Bob Goodlatte said at Saturday's Shenandoah County Reagan dinner. I was standing in the middle of the crowded room when he approached with a big smile on his face.

He told me about an email chain he has with his sisters in Massachusetts and Florida, and how they correspond with each other. Recently the Massachusetts sisters had asked if he had any knowledge of how the maple sugaring was going in Virginia and the Congressman, busy in D.C., responded, "No."

In response, the Florida sister sent a reply that she had information about the maple sugaring in Virginia and sent a link to ... SWAC Girl! It was the posts from our Saturday at the Highland Maple Festival the second weekend in March. The Congressman laughed and said, "From that I learned that the sugar water was running great this year, it's one of the best batches they've had in years...."

He described it a little more and I laughed as he talked, remembering the eighteen posts I had written along with dozens of photos about that wonderful day in the mountains of western Virginia ... and I was amazed and delighted. Someone in Florida had read about the maple festival through my blog which was a good thing for Highland County, for Virginia, and for SWAC Girl! It was nice that the Congressman shared that story, and I thanked him for doing so.

Other posts from the Shenandoah County Republican Reagan dinner:
- Congressman Bob Goodlatte at Shenandoah Reagan dinner
- Shenandoah County Republican Women's Club
- The grassroots volunteers
- The speakers

Photo by SWAC Girl
26 March 2011

Sunday, March 27, 2011

VCU going to the Final Four

What a game ... sweeeeeet! VCU Rams heading to the Final Four....

In Richmond, Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell issued the following statement regarding Virginia Commonwealth University's victory over the Kansas University Jayhawks:
"I want to congratulate Virginia Commonwealth University on their historic win against the Kansas University Jayhawks. Virginians are celebrating their victory all across the Commonwealth.  VCU is a great University with a well deserved reputation for academic and athletic excellence.  We all look forward to cheering them on in the Final Four next weekend.  I know they’ve got two more big wins left in them.  Head Coach Shaka Smart and this group of talented student athletes are doing a tremendous job representing their school and community.  Go Rams!”
Go, Rams!

VCU vs Kansas ... and Facebook

As the game between VCU and Kansas winds down, it's been fun to follow fans' comments on Facebook as everyone sits on the edge of their seats knowing anything could happen in the final 1:40 of the game. I can hear Virginians across the Commonwealth screaming in support ... GO, RAMS!

Congressman Bob Goodlatte ... Shenandoah County GOP Reagan dinner

Other posts about the Shenandoah GOP Reagan dinner:
- Congressman Bob Goodlatte at Shenandoah Reagan dinner
- Shenandoah County Republican Women's Club
- The grassroots volunteers
- The speakers 
- Bob Goodlatte, maple festivals, and SWAC Girl

Photos by Lynn R. Mitchell
26 March 2011

Republican Women's Club ... Shenandoah County GOP Reagan dinner

 Shenandoah County Republican Women's Club president Sue Hughes (left) with an exchange student living with the Hughes this semester. The club is fund raising by offering chances on the croched afghan (pictured).

Sue's GOP elephant with the dancing ears drew attention to the table.

The grassroots volunteers ... Shenandoah County GOP Reagan dinner

 Congressman Bob Goodlatte (R-6th) with Harrisonburg Republican Committee secretary Ray Schneider.
 Jon Comer, Chairman of the Page County Republican Committee.
 Shenandoah County fireball volunteer Suzanne Curran (right) with a fellow volunteer.
 Congressman Goodlatte talks with Augusta County resident Peggy Huffman (seated) and Peggy's daughter Christy (left) and her husband Jack (right).
 Suzanne Curran and Margaret Ireson, two Shenandoah County fireball volunteers.
Barb Tillett from Augusta County listens to speakers.

The speakers ... Shenandoah County GOP Reagan dinner

Congressman Bob Goodlatte (R-6th)
State Senator Mark Obenshain (R-Harrisonburg)
Del. Todd Gilbert (R-Shenandoah)
Atty. General Ken Cuccinelli (R-VA)

Shenandoah County Republican Committee held a Reagan dinner Saturday night to commemorate the 100th anniversary of President Ronald Reagan's birth. With almost 200 people in attendance, the Big Yellow Barn at Shenandoah Caverns was packed by Republicans from Shenandoah but also from Page, Rockingham, Harrisonburg, Augusta, Roanoke area, and place in between.

Shenandoah GOP Chairman Jeremy McClery was all over the place greeting and welcoming folks as they arrived while grassroots volunteers greeted one another. Shenandoah Republican Women Club president Sue Hughes presided over the silent auction while caterers set up the buffet dinner and the VIP reception with the speakers took back in a private corner of the building.

It was a fun trip up with SWAC Husband and  Barb as we talked about all things political and then some. The anticipated winter weather held off until we were back in Augusta County.

Other posts about the Shenandoah GOP Reagan dinner:

- Congressman Bob Goodlatte at Shenandoah Reagan dinner
- Shenandoah County Republican Women's Club
- The grassroots volunteers
- The speakers 
- Bob Goodlatte, maple festivals, and SWAC Girl

Photos by Lynn Mitchell
26 March 2011

March snow photos #2 ... a walk around the yard

Photos by Lynn R. Mitchell
27 March 2011

March snow photos #1 ... a walk around the yard

Photos by Lynn R. Mitchell
27 March 2011

Spring snow in Shenandoah Valley

Spring flowers were snow-capped Sunday morning as the Shenandoah Valley and light snow continued to fall with temperatures in the upper 20s. The wet, heavy precipitation bowed jonquils and covered blooming forsythia bushes as the area remained under a National Weather Service-issued winter weather advisory until 4:00 p.m.

Spring snow is not uncommon in the Valley and, with warming temperatures by mid-week, won't last long. Bob has taken The Journey to D.C. so watch for photos of snow-covered cherry blossoms.

Photos by Lynn R. Mitchell
27 March 2011

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Snow headed to Shenandoah Valley

Snow is in the forecast for the Shenandoah Valley on Sunday with the National Weather Service issuing a Winter Weather Advisory from 10:00 pm Saturday until 4:00 pm Sunday. Early predictions are for 5" at the higher elevations to the west and 1-3" of snow in the Valley although some are saying there will be more.

WHSV TV-3 has the following:
VALLEY - Temperatures will only be in the mid 40s for Saturday and stay cool through the weekend with continuing chances of rain mixing with snow Saturday night and continued snow on Sunday. Accumulations are forecast at 3" to 5" to the west, and 1" to 3" in the Valley. Highs stay in the 40s for the majority of the forecast period with a slight warm up by the end of next week. says we may expect a bit more than that in the Valley. NBC-29 out of Charlottesville is here.

With spring blooms already popping and recent warmer temperatures, there have been many groans from those who do not want to face yet another round of winter weather. However, temps next week will climb into the 50s which means that, like typical spring snows, this one won't stay around for long.

Stay tuned for updated forecasts....

Update 11:08 pm: Snow began at 10:19 pm in Verona and was heavier west of Staunton. Temperature is 37 degrees ... we'll see how it goes overnight.

Geraldine Ferraro dies at 75 ... first woman vice presidential candidate

Fox News photo.

Geraldine Ferrero was ahead of her time. As the Democratic vice presidential candidate running with Walter Mondale in 1984, she made a splash on the nation and impressed young women on both sides of the aisle.

That race was lost in a landslide to President Ronald Reagan and his vice president, George H.W. Bush, but Ferraro had smashed yet another glass ceiling for women. I didn't agree with her politics but I certainly admired her willingness to stand up for what she believed in and dive into the national political scene.

Geraldine Ferraro died Saturday at the age of 75 of complications from multiple myeloma, a blood cancer that she had battled for twelve years. Her family released a statement saying, "Geraldine Anne Ferraro Zaccaro was widely known as a leader, a fighter for justice, and a tireless advocate for those without a voice. To us, she was a wife, mother, grandmother and aunt, a woman devoted to and deeply loved by her family. Her courage and generosity of spirit throughout her life waging battles big and small, public and personal, will never be forgotten and will be sorely missed."

Read more from my post at the Washington Examiner.

George Allen ... in case you missed it ... March 25, 2011

In Case You Missed It….  

Bearing Drift: On this Day in 1997, George Allen Made Pro-Life History:
“In 1994, I joined the A-Team as a Special Assistant to Kay James, Allen’s Secretary of Health and Human Resources. As such, I got to be there for some of the important battles, including welfare reform and parental notification. I’d moved on to another position by the time the legislation passed and was signed. But I remember the day. I remember the significance. I remember the victory.” Click Here to read the full article.

George Allen on American Radio News Network w/ Chris Salcedo & Lori Lundin
Listen to the interview (26:30-33:50):

Newsmax Quotes Allen on Anniversary of Obamacare “Monstrosity”: “Republican George Allen took the anniversary of healthcare reform... today to blast the Obama administration's efforts, calling the massive law a "monstrosity" that ignores the will of the American people.” Click Here to read the full article.

Allen’s Take: “Outsourcing Foreign Policy” : "With the courageous men and women of our armed forces serving in harm’s way in North Africa, Americans should support them and their families as they perform their duty. However, we should not be outsourcing our sovereign foreign policy decisions to the United Nations. The elected representatives of the people in U.S. House and Senate, not the UN Security Council, should be the governing body authorizing U.S. military action. With our current commitments in Korea, Afghanistan and Iraq, the President must present to the American people and Congress the goals and the extent of our military action in Libya." Click Here to read the full commentary.

George Allen's weekly update - March 25, 2011

Dear Fellow Patriot,
This week, Susan and I have travelled throughout Virginia and are encouraged by the positive response we’re getting. Tuesday night, I met with an enthusiastic crowd of ‘Young Professionals for George’ in North Arlington. Energy and gas prices were high on the list of topics we discussed. President Obama’s willingness to assist Brazil’s efforts to explore for offshore oil and the continued instability in the Middle East and North Africa once again show why America needs a comprehensive energy plan here at home that reduces our dependence on others.

On Wednesday, Susan and I returned home to Charlottesville and Albemarle County where we enjoyed visiting with many long time and new friends. From there we headed southwest, partaking in the great chilidogs at Moore’s Country Store in Campbell County just outside of Lynchburg. And just this morning we met with a fired-up band of Tea Partiers for breakfast at Shoney’s in Bristol.

Today, while Susan attended a dutch treat lunch in Richlands, I received a briefing on CNX operations and visited a truly impressive gas production facility in Buchanan County. They are producing 240 million tcf of coal bed methane gas daily while making coal mining safer, providing thousands of jobs, and supplying Southwest Virginia gas to fuel Virginia and America. Tomorrow, we’ll stop in at Highland County’s Maple Festival in Whitetop Mountain then head on to Chilhowie for a dutch treat lunch before joining the Roanoke City GOP for their Salute to Ronald Reagan Dinner.

The more Susan and I travel across Virginia – from Tidewater, to the Richmond area, to Northern Virginia; from Winchester down the Shenandoah Valley across the Roanoke Valley to Jonesville in Lee County (which is further west that Detroit Michigan), and back over the Piedmont and across Southside Virginia – the more we continue to hear that Virginia’s voices are being ignored in Washington. This week’s Obamacare anniversary is yet another reminder of the ongoing assault on our liberty from the Liberals in Washington.
With your continued help, advice and support, we will fight for the positive solutions and ideas that matter most to the families of Virginia.  Remember, you can help our campaign by encouraging your friends and family to join our grassroots insurgency by:

Forwarding this email to five of your friends
Signing-up to volunteer
Joining us on Facebook or following us on Twitter
And signing up to be an online captain

Stay Strong for Freedom,
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George Allen
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Friday, March 25, 2011

Augusta County: $300,000 traffic circle versus better fire protection?

For many who follow Augusta County politics fairly closely, this week's disclosure of plans to build a traffic circle, referred to these days as a roundabout, at the Wilson Complex in Fishersville at the cost of almost $300,000 raised some eyebrows. After all, Augusta County has been dealing with serious fire coverage issues the past year in addition to school board cuts so the sudden appearance of so much money for an issue that had not been on the public radar was surprising.

At Wednesday night's supervisor meeting, it was obviously a done deal presented by Supervisor Wendell Coleman, who works in the Wilson Complex, as it was agreed and voted on by the board, and sent to be built during the summer 2011 before school begins.

To my knowledge, there was no previous public input on the issue, and there was certainly no public discussion Wednesday night. Supervisor Jeremy Shifflett rubber-stamped the project and took money out of his own district to support this questionable project.

Traffic circles were fairly common in Richmond at one time. However, VDOT did away with them thirty or forty years ago and replaced them with regular intersections to decrease the number of traffic accidents. There's confusion by some when they enter a roundabout ... do they slow down, speed up -- oops, missed the exit so slam on brakes? The result was banged-up cars.

Add to the mix students from the high school and vocational school plus large, bulky school buses and visitors from out of the area.

What has been needed for years is another roadway out of the complex. That area is a ticking time bomb waiting for a major emergency when everyone would need to exit at the same time out the one, narrow road leading to Rt. 250 -- students, employees of Woodrow Wilson Rehab Center and the school board offices, as well as private homes in the area. Add a roundabout to the mix and one has to wonder if traffic would move faster or bog down.

The timing just doesn't seem right for a traffic circle in light of all the other pressing financial issues on the table. The Staunton News Leader weighed in on the issue in a recent editorial, opining that a traffic circle would not solve the problem. NBC-29 has a diagram of the proposed roundabout.

Libya: 'I didn't know tanks could fly'

Cartoon and editorial are passed along for the benefit of my friend Buddy who left a phone message yesterday wondering the same thing....

Jim Bayne writes:

In a newscast the other evening several graphic photographs were shown of tanks and other heavy armor which were destroyed outside Benghazi, Libya.

Since I am positive that I would not be mislead by our government one can only surmise that these were the first flying tanks in the history of the world. The UN resolution which was so slyly crafted (to avoid the requirement for consent of the congress to declare war) stated that a “no fly” zone would be established so that the rightful government of Libya could not use its planes to put down an insurrection by people within its sovereign borders.
Read the rest at blog.

Washington Examiner's Friday headlines

Byron York - Obama fails to grasp the gravity of going to war

Veterans of the Bush White House can't quite believe what they are seeing from the supposedly communications-savvy Obama administration.

"I am completely mystified," says former top Bush aide Karl Rove, who supports the Libya intervention, "that this administration, of all administrations, makes a decision on a Tuesday night and does not bother to call anybody in Congress until Friday morning, 90 minutes before the policy is going to be executed, to tell them what is going to happen. Can you imagine what would have happened if we had tried to do that? We'd have been barbecued!"

Susan Ferrechio - Tea Party's Angle making another run in Nevada

It's been nearly five months since Angle, a former Nevada state senator, was soundly defeated by Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., crushing the hopes of Republicans who made the five-term Democrat their top target in last November's elections.

Angle's seven-point loss to Reid, blamed in part on a badly managed campaign riddled with the candidate's own gaffes, did not stop her from jumping into the race to fill Nevada's 2nd District seat, up for grabs in 2012 now that current Rep. Dean Heller has decided to run for the Senate.

Hayley Peterson - White House silent on costs in Libya

The Obama administration has not yet calculated the cost of military action in Libya, according to White House spokesman Jay Carney. Carney said he believes there are "some contingency funds built into the Defense Department budget for this kind of thing." "I don't want to get into numbers because I'm not an economist," Carney quipped. He said the administration is working on an official estimate. Read More

David Freddoso - Paul, Bachmann, Cain court Iowa's homeschool vote

Today's Wall Street Journal examines the "Iowa homeschoolers vote" noting that Michele Bachmann, Ron Paul and Herman Cain attended the annual lobby day for the Network of Iowa Christian Home Educators yesterday. Read More

Michael Barone - Alice in Wonderland Libya policy?

I thought I was critical of the Obama administration’s Libya policy (policies?) in  my Wednesday Examiner column headlined “The damning contradictions of Obama’s attack on Libya.” But my criticisms were muted and pallid next to those of the normally sober Adam Garfinkle, editor of The Read More

Hayley Peterson - NATO to take over Libya operation, U.S. to scale back

NATO will take over military operations in Libya and allow for the U.S. to scale back its presence, according to news reports. NATO members reached the tentative agreement on Thursday following a conference call between Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and the foreign ministers of France, Britain and Turkey.  No details were provided on the nature or timeline of the transfer of leadership over the international mission. Read More

David Freddoso - Harry Reid jumps on the Koch-spiracy bandwagon

Senate Majority Leader just sent out a fundraising pitch for the DSCC that includes this gem: Senate Democrats are fighting back each and every day. But with only a slim four-seat majority, we have no margin for error. If Republicans can knock just a few bricks free from our firewall, they’ll force through their extreme agenda faster than you can say “Koch brothers.” Read More

Augusta County Board of Zoning Appeals meeting date

Augusta County Board of Zoning Appeals Meeting
Date: April 7, 2011 -- 1:30 p.m.
Location: Augusta County Government Center
18 Government Center Lane
Verona, Virginia 24482
For more information, contact Community Development at (540)245-5700.

The complete meeting agenda is available at April 2011 BZA Agenda.

'S' word sneaks back into Shenandoah Valley forecast

The forsythia bushes and jonquils are in full bloom, their bright yellow blossoms cheerfully looking up to the sky. That is often a signal to Mother Nature for yet one more snow storm here in the Shenandoah Valley and, sure enough, the "s" word is back as we look at the weekend forecast.

WHSV TV-3 has the latest on cold weather moving into the area Saturday and Sunday with precipitation beginning Saturday night and continuing on Sunday. Snow? We'll see....

Photos by Lynn R. Mitchell

RGA vice chairman McDonnell to deliver weekly Republican address on Saturday

 Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell

Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell and the Republican Governors Association announced today that Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell will deliver the Weekly Republican Address this Saturday, March 26, just days after the one-year anniversary of Obamacare.

“The health spending law has burdened states with billions of dollars in unfunded mandates, so we thought it would be instructive this week to hear from Gov. Bob McDonnell, who can give us a first-hand look at the impact the law is having on the Commonwealth of Virginia and the country,” said Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell.

“Throughout the debate and implementation stages of Obamacare, the impact of the law on state governments has too often been ignored or cast aside by the current Administration,” said RGA Vice Chairman Bob McDonnell. “It’s time to end the habit of Washington passing the law and then expecting the states to balance the books. We must make healthcare more affordable and accessible. Republican Governors are leading this effort, with common-sense policies and proposals that don’t weaken our economy or overburden employers and state governments.”

Photo by Lynn R. Mitchell
16 February 2011

Trump: 'Our country is going to hell in a hand basket'

“I hate what’s happening to this country. It’s never been at a point like this, ever. We’re not respected. We’re scoffed at. We’re laughed at by other places. People from China and other places cannot believe they’re getting away with what they’re getting away with. We’re rebuilding China. We’re rebuilding other countries, and our country is going to hell in a hand basket."

--Donald Trump (NewsMax, 3/24/11)

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Gov. McDonnell vetoes physical education bill

In his first veto of the  year, Gov. Bob McDonnell vetoed the physical education bill, an unfunded mandate that was passed during the 2011 General Assembly. Read about it in my latest post at the Washington Examiner....

Another blogger throws his hat in the political ring

First they were volunteer activists. Then they were bloggers. Now they are becoming political candidates.

Fluvanna County Supervisor Shaun Kenney was a blogger long before many had heard of the venue. In 2009 he successfully ran for and won a seat on the Fluvanna Board of Supervisors where he serves as vice chairman. He continues his political blogging at Bearing Drift.

Now another Bearing Drift blogger has filed to run for the House of Delegates. Brian Schoeneman will take on Democratic Del. Mark Keam of Fairfax in November. A former official in the Labor Department under President George W. Bush, he is currently working for a maritime labor union but has spent years in the conservative trenches. He gives a reminder that we need to get through the 2011 elections -- including his -- before we move on to 2012.

Look around to see who the candidates are in your area and offer to help. It will help Republicans regain the Virginia State Senate, and gain a wider margin in the House of Delegates. It's Election 2011 ... we've got work to do!

Body found along Blue Ridge Parkway

The Waynesboro News Virginian has reported that a body was found along the Blue Ridge Parkway last Saturday:
District Park Ranger Kurt Spears on Thursday said a Richmond medical examiner declared that a man found Saturday on the Blue Ridge Parkway at Rockfish Valley overlook died from a self-inflicted gunshot wound.
It is a trend that not uncommon to the National Parks, as I have written about previously. There have been a number of suicides over the years along the Blue Ridge Parkway, most notably around the Afton Mountain area.

Photo by Lynn R. Mitchell