Tuesday, May 31, 2011

This 'n that on a post-Memorial Day Tuesday....

Just some thoughts while taking a break on the day after Memorial Day....

Many observed Memorial Day by pausing to reflect on military members who gave their lives to protect the freedoms we enjoy. My mom still remembers her mother's reaction when she saw the official car on their farm driveway many decades ago, and how her mother's knees buckled from beneath her as she realized her son, Clarence Osborne, had been killed while serving in the U.S. Army in France during the final days of World War II. Her mother never completely got over the loss. My mom searched in later years until she found her big brother's lieutenant and then traveled to Texas to talk with him and hear about her brother's final hours....

Smitty at The Other McCain breaks down at an Afghanistan war casualty's memorial service ... an up-close-and-personal reason to observe Memorial Day. This is heart-breaking....

We're in the middle of a hot spell in the Shenandoah Valley, as is the rest of the Commonwealth, with temps in the 90s in recent days so stay cool out there. Today is supposed to be low 90s in my corner of the world but Richmond has the possibility of breaking records with 99 or above. Walking those downtown sidewalks in 99-degree heat can be brutal so don't stray too far from the air conditioning....

This 80-year-old lady defines "pulling yourself up by your bootstraps." I'll have to stop by her produce stand next time I'm in the vicinity....

Have you checked out the Washington Examiner? With a wide array of writers and freelancers, they cover topics of interest from breaking news to politics to regional happenings to tourism. With stellar names such as Byron York, Michael Barone, Mark Tapscott, Tim Carney, David Freddoso, David Sherfinski, and more, it's a "must read" for many.

First Fridays begin this week at the Frontier Culture Museum located in Staunton with free entrance from 6-8:00 p.m. Free First Fridays will continue in July and August. 

Speaking of the Frontier Culture Museum ... be sure to check out all the summer happenings including summer camps for the kids, Shenandoah Valley Wine and Jazz Festival, 4th of July celebration, Beach Party, Blues and Beer Festival, and much more. There's lots to do at the FCMV.

Wounded Warriors ... this story from Fox News is heart-warming as the battle-wounded heroes ride with former President GWB.

The boss is needing my attention ... back to painting the front porch. Have a good one!

Washington Examiner Tuesday headlines

Byron York - Like Obama, GOP plans pivot to jobs, economy

Throughout 2009 and much of 2010, Republican strategists were amazed by what they saw on Capitol Hill. Democrats had just won a big election and knew the public was eager for them to work on economic recovery. So what did Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid do? They pushed their party's top priority, national health care, instead of the public's top priority. Read More

Susan Ferrechio - GOP doing damage control on budget cuts

A week after losing a Republican-leaning House seat, the GOP will schedule a vote on whether to raise the nation's debt ceiling that they hope will show that Democrats are just as unwilling to increase how much the government can borrow without significantly reducing how much it spends. Read More

Palin bus tour leaves Washington _ but for where?

Sarah Palin said Monday she is "still kind of contemplating" a presidential campaign as she and her family set off from the nation's capital on a bus tour of historical sites that left observers puzzled about what the former Alaska governor planned next — both for her schedule and her career. Read More

Philip Klein - Don't assume that Palin will run

News that Sarah Palin was launching a nationwide bus tour has renewed speculation that she's going to launch a presidential bid later this year, but I'm not convinced. Read More
Timothy P. Carney - Top Obama health aide cashes out after health 'reform'

An Obama appointee who played a central role in crafting the 2010 health care bill has cashed out to a well-connected lobbying firm, where her first clients are two of the bill's beneficiaries: abortion provider Planned Parenthood and a hospital chain. Read More

Brian Hughes - Obama hopes to change views on auto industry bailout

President Obama is hoping to change voters' views of his controversial bailout of the auto industry and turn his own political liability against Republicans amid signs that U.S. automakers are rebounding. At the height of the bailout rage -- when the government pumped billions of dollars into General Motors and Chrysler despite a Republican outcry -- it would have been difficult for liberals to craft a winning political message defending big-government spending. Read More

David Freddoso  -  Congressmen don't have to read bills, so what makes you think the president has to sign them?

Politico takes on the Obama administration's insistence that the president need not actually sign bills in order to make them law: Read More

Leader's daily schedule ... May 31, 2011

Majority Leader Eric Cantor's schedule for May 31, 2011....

Today’s Floor Schedule:
The House will meet at 12 pm today to consider the following legislation. Last votes are expected around 6:30 pm.
·         H.R. 1954 - To implement the President's request to increase the statutory limit on the public debt (Sponsored by Rep. Dave Camp / Ways and Means Committee)
·         H.R. 1484 - Veterans Appeals Improvement Act, as amended (Sponsored by Rep. Bob Filner / Veterans’ Affairs Committee)
·         H.R. 802 - To direct the Secretary of Veterans Affairs to establish a VetStar Award Program (Sponsored by Rep. Bob Filner / Veterans’ Affairs Committee)
·         S. 1082 - Small Business Temporary Extension Act of 2011 (Sponsored by Sen. Mary Landrieu / Small Business Committee)
·         S.Con.Res. 16 - Authorizing the use of Emancipation Hall in the Capitol Visitor Center for an event to celebrate the birthday of King Kamehameha (Sponsored by Sen. Kahikina Akaka / House Administration Committee)
·         H.R. 1194 - To renew the authority of the Secretary of Health and Human Services to approve demonstration projects designed to test innovative strategies in State child welfare programs (Sponsored by Rep. Jim McDermott / Ways and Means Committee)

Monday, May 30, 2011

Some gave all ... Memorial Day 2011

Jason Redifer, Daniel Bubb, Daniel Morris

We have not forgotten.

Gov. Bob McDonnell remembers Virginia's fallen heroes on Memorial Day

RICHMOND – Governor Bob McDonnell issued the following statement today as Virginia observes Memorial Day across the Commonwealth.         

“As Americans across our great nation enjoy Memorial Day, I wish to remind Virginians that this holiday, first observed in 1868, is about more than cookouts, a long weekend and the unofficial start of summer. It is about remembering those who fought and gave the ultimate sacrifice to protect our freedom and the American way of life. This year alone, 27 additional heroes were recognized as Virginians who have paid the ultimate sacrifice in the ongoing war on terror with their names added to Virginia's Wall of Honor.

These include United States Army soldiers: Private First Class Alvaro R. Regalado Sessarego – Virginia Beach, VA; Specialist Brian M. Anderson – Harrisonburg, VA; Captain Michael P. Cassidy – Arlington, VA; Private First Class Benjamin J. Park – Fairfax Station, VA; Private First Class David Taylor Miller – Amherst, VA; Specialist Morganne M. McBeth – Fredericksburg, VA; Staff Sergeant Christopher F. Cabacoy – Virginia Beach, VA; Specialist Matthew E. George – Virginia Beach, VA; Staff Sergeant Jaime C. Newman - Richmond, VA; First Lieutenant Todd W. Weaver – Hampton, VA; Private First Class Tramaine J. Billingsley – Portsmouth, VA; Corporal William Kyle Middleton – Norfolk, VA; Specialist Sean R. Cutsforth – Radford, VA; From The United States Marines, Sergeant Donald J. Lamar, II – Fredericksburg, VA; Corporal Nicholas D. Parada Rodriguez – Stafford, VA; Lance Corporal Cody S. Childers – Chesapeake, VA; Sergeant Ronald A. Rodriguez – Falls Church, VA, Sergeant Sean T. Callahan – Warrenton, VA; From The United States Air Force, Airman First Class Zachary R. Cuddeback – Stanardsville, VA; Major Charles A. Ransom – Midlothian, VA; from The United States Navy, Signalman Seaman Cherone Gunn-Newport News, VA; from the Central Intelligence Agency Elizabeth Hanson, Scott Roberson, Darren LaBonte, Dane Paresi, Jeremy Wise, Jennifer Matthews –Langley – McLean, VA.

With world events continuing to require our men and women to put themselves in harm’s way to protect our safety and ideals, the meaning of this day is especially poignant. I fervently hope that all Virginians will take the opportunity this Memorial Day to thank a service member in uniform and a veteran for their service in the defense of freedom, and to also remember all those who we have lost, as well as all those who continue to serve today.

Memorial Day is also a day to reflect upon those right here at home in our law enforcement community who place themselves in harm’s way to keep us safe. Since January 2010, seven state and local law enforcement officers have given their lives to protect and serve Virginians including: Tazewell County Deputy Sheriff Thomas A. Reid; Richmond City Deputy Sheriff Caroline Green, Spotsylvania County Deputy Sheriff Dean Ridings; Tazewell County Deputy Sheriff Shawnell Hess; Virginia State Trooper Mark D. Barrett; Buchanan County Deputy Sheriffs Cameron Neil Justus and William “Billy” Ezra Stiltner.

Seeing the sacrifices so many Virginians have made to protect us is a solemn reminder that freedom is not free and that we must remain vigilant in protecting our values and principles that make America great.

On behalf of a grateful nation and 8 million Virginians who are able to rest under the blanket of freedom our military members and law enforcement provide, I wish to personally thank the men and women who serve and their families for all of their sacrifices, and to honor the 27 Virginia military personnel and seven law enforcement officers who were honored this year for making the ultimate sacrifice in the fight for freedom this past year.”

It is the soldier not the politician who has given us the right to vote

It Is The Soldier

It is the Soldier, not the minister
Who has given us freedom of religion.

It is the Soldier, not the reporter
Who has given us freedom of the press.

It is the Soldier, not the poet
Who has given us freedom of speech.

It is the Soldier, not the campus organizer
Who has given us freedom to protest.

It is the Soldier, not the lawyer
Who has given us the right to a fair trial.

It is the Soldier, not the politician
Who has given us the right to vote.

It is the Soldier who salutes the flag,
Who serves beneath the flag,
And whose coffin is draped by the flag,
Who allows the protester to burn the flag.

--Charles Michael Province, U.S. Army

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Bearing Drift pauses to remember Memorial Day

Happy Memorial Day
Please take some time this weekend to pause and reflect upon the ultimate sacrifice paid by those men and women of our armed forces who have died protecting and preserving the freedom we so enjoy.

What king, tyrant, despot, or dictator would we be subject to if it were not for the bravery of those Americans who have been willing to defend our nation?

Of course, freedom is not only defended by those in the armed forces. In fact, it is all of us who are given the charge to understand our Republic and do the things that are necessary to preserve it.

When asked what form of government ultimately was decided upon at the Constitutional Convention in 1787, Ben Franklin quipped, "A Republic, if you can keep it!"

Thus, it is in our charge to be diligent citizens, seeking that knowledge and information that will better equip us at defending liberty.

We hope that we at Bearing Drift help you in your efforts at being Virginia's conservative voice.

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Memorial Day 2011 ... Gypsy Hill Park

Memorial Day activities in Staunton, Virginia - May 30, 2011
The public is invited

9:00 a.m. - Courthouse at corner of Johnson and Augusta Streets in downtown Staunton: laying of wreaths

10:00 a.m. - Gypsy Hill Park Gazebo: laying of the wreaths, concert by Stonewall Brigade Band. Guest speaker is Brig. General Michael Bissell from Mary Baldwin College.  Bring a lawn chair.

Sponsored by Staunton-Augusta Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 2216 and American Legion Post 13 and their Ladies Auxiliaries.

Chris Woodfin is new 3rd Congressional District chairman

Congratulations to Chris Woodfin who was elected the new 3rd Congressional District chairman at Saturday's meeting. He will work hard for the GOP.

It was with sadness that I read of Mike Wade's resignation as chairman two weeks ago. Many thanks to Mike for all he has done over the years for RPV and our candidates.

Spring blooms continue

Red Hot Pokers

 The cedar tree is loaded with more berries than we've ever seen. The limbs are almost breaking under the weight. That either means we're going to have a bad winter ... or a bumper crop of gin.

Sweet William

Mock Orange


Photos by Lynn R. Mitchell
28 May 2011

Memorial Day 2011

My Vietnam era Air Force veteran husband added a new flag to the group this year in front of the house.
POW-MIA ... you are not forgotten.

Photo by Lynn R. Mitchell
28 May 2011

Friday, May 27, 2011

George Allen: 'We thank our fallen patriots'

May 27, 2011

Dear Friends,

We are all grateful, especially this Memorial Day Weekend, for the patriotic men and women who throughout our history have lost their lives preserving our freedoms.

A free, prosperous and sovereign country must be able to defend, fuel and feed itself. Our counterproductive energy policies make our America vulnerable to other countries, many of which are hostile to our interests and values.

An estimated 35 million Americans will be on the road this Memorial Day Weekend and will be faced with gas prices that are over a dollar more than what they were at this time last year. These prices don't only affect a weekend trip - in addition to our national security, they affect our family's budgets and how we live.

But some liberals in Washington don't think we are paying enough. Just this past week the ranking Democrat on the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee said raising the gas tax should be put on the table.

With gas prices hovering around $4/gallon and continuing to strain Virginia families and businesses the last thing Washington needs to do is raise gas prices even higher.

We must start enacting common sense solutions. America is blessed with the most plentiful energy resources of any country in the world - right here under our land and water - and in the creative resources of the American people. For our national security, we need to utilize our American energy resources, which also provides us with a better quality of life and jobs. Join me by signing our energy petition to fight against Washington's dangerously counterproductive energy policies.

Susan and I wish everyone a safe and blessed Memorial Day weekend as we honor the heroes of our armed services who made the ultimate sacrifice to protect our Freedoms. We honor them and their families.

We all thank our fallen patriots who have Stood Strong for Freedom,

George Allen

Irish blessing ... farewell to a friend

Farewell to a friend and his wife who are moving to Ireland ... safe travels and an Irish blessing:

May the road rise to meet you,
May the wind be always at your back.
May the sun shine warm upon your face,
The rains fall soft upon your fields.
And until we meet again,
May God hold you in the palm of his hand.

 ~Irish Blessing

News from AG Ken Cuccinelli

News from Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli

  • My Take on Virginia in the 4th Circuit & Virginia's Tornado Victims

    From the Cuccinelli Compass:

    "Two weeks ago, we had our oral argument in Virginia's case against the federal health care legislation - specifically against the individual mandate. It was an interesting day, and I wanted to offer you a few reflections on the hearing...

    It will likely take a couple of months for the 4th Circuit to issue its order in our case. If we win, I suspect that the federal government will NOT appeal to the Supreme Court, rather, they would attempt to drag the case out by seeking what is called "en banc" review. That means a rehearing by the full 4th Circuit - all 13 active judges. Only then would whichever side loses at that hearing be able to appeal to the Supreme Court."

    Click here to read Attorney General Cuccinelli's take on his hearing, find out what is next for the healthcare lawsuit and see how you can help tornado victims in Virginia.
  • Virginians slain serving in Global War on Terrorism commemorated today in Richmond with military flyover, roll call of fallen heroes
    Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli and Governor Bob McDonnell hosted the 2011 Virginia Wall of Honor ceremony at the Virginia Capitol this morning. The event formally recognized the 233 Virginians who have died serving in the Global War on Terrorism since 2000, including 27 added to the Wall of Honor this year.

    Click here to read more.

News from Lt. Gov. Bill Bolling

News from Lieutenant Governor Bill Bolling
  • Cantor Seeks Regulation Reform to Encourage Job Growth
    Virginia Business - Cantor said he sponsored the forum, held at Virginia Commonwealth University, to discover "What things are standing in the way of job creation?" The forum included five business leaders and was moderated by Virginia Lt. Gov. Bill Bolling.
    Click here to read more.
  • Bolling Speaks at Telecom Conference in Albemarle
    NBC29 - The heads of the Virginia's telecom industry were in Albemarle County Tuesday night.  They're in the middle of a two-day conference planning the future of everything from telemedicine to broadband across the commonwealth.
    Click here to read more.
  • Orange Airport Taking Off
    Orange County Review - A dense, low fog grounded many of the plans for the opening celebration of the new Orange County Airport terminal, but hundreds of visitors still flocked to the airport to get a first glimpse of the building with soaring expectations. Virginia Lieutenant Governor Bill Bolling was the guest of honor for Saturday's celebration, speaking on the vitality of public use airports and cutting the ribbon for the terminal with District 5 Supervisor and board chairman Lee Frame.
    Click here to read more.

News from Gov. Bob McDonnell

News from Governor Bob McDonnell
  • Governor Authorizes State Contribution to Virginia Disaster Relief Fund
    Individuals Can Now Also Donate by Credit Card
    Governor Bob McDonnell yesterday announced that $600,000 in anticipated state agency savings will go toward helping Virginians who were affected by severe weather and tornadoes that struck the Commonwealth in April.
    Click here to read more.

  • Governor McDonnell Urges Citizens to Get Ready for Hurricane Season
    ~Governor Recognizes May 22-28 as Hurricane and Flooding Preparedness Week~
    Virginia’s families should take action now in order to get ready for hurricane season, which begins June 1 and can be accompanied by significant flooding.  To emphasize the importance of emergency preparation, Governor Bob McDonnell has recognized May 22-28 as Hurricane and Flooding Preparedness Week. 
    Click here to read more.
  • Governor McDonnell Ceremonially Presents $5 Million in State Funds to VCU Massey Cancer Center to Support Cancer Research Expansion
    Funding Provided Through Governor’s Successful FY’12 Budget Amendment
    Click here to read more.
  • Commonwealth Transportation Bond Sale Nets $47.7 Million Premium
    Market supports Governor’s plan to advance funding for transportation
    The Commonwealth Transportation Board (CTB) has closed the sale of the $600 million of Commonwealth of Virginia Transportation Capital Projects Revenue Bonds sold on May 11 to advance transportation projects managed by the Virginia Department of Transportation and the Virginia Department of Rail and Public Transportation.
    Click here to read more.

Gov. McDonnell acts to keep murderer behind bars ... Kaine stonewalls on release decision

~ RPV Chairman Mullins calls for Kaine to open his Soering records to the public ~

Statement of RPV Chairman Pat Mullins on Gov. McDonnell's announcement regarding Jens Soering:

"I applaud Governor McDonnell's decision not to intervene in the case of Jens Soering.  Releasing Soering into German custody could see him released in as little as two years. A jury of 12 Virginians sentenced Soering to two life terms in prison, and Governor McDonnell's action makes sure that the sentence imposed by that jury will be carried out.

"At the same time, I'm surprised that we haven't heard more from former DNC Chairman Kaine about this issue. Chairman Kaine's recently said that he has 'no regrets' regarding his decision to allow Soering return to Germany, and  a spokeswoman's said Kaine  'welcomes questions on any part of his record.'

"Just last week, Chairman Kaine was provided with a pre-written records release that, with his signature, would open up his files and let us understand his decision-making process.

"If Chairman Kaine truly has 'no regrets' about how he handled this situation, then he shouldn't be ashamed to let us see what went into the decision making process. 

Just what is Tim Kaine so afraid for Virginia voters to see?"
Letter to Kaine
Record Request 

A Democratic horror story: 'Raise the Gas Tax'

RPV Presents a Democratic Horror Movie: "Raise the Gas Tax" 

Memorial Day weekend is here, and that means it's time to hit the movies! Which is good, because a lot of working families are hard pressed to come up with enough money to take a vacation.

Filling up an average 15 gallon tank these days costs more than $56.

But that's not enough for Virginia Democrats.

To that end, RPV is proud to present a new summer blockbuster: "Rai$e the Gas Tax," a chilling tale of horror at the gas pump, sought by the Democrats in the Virginia Senate.

Starring Roscoe Reynolds, John Miller and Ralph Northam as three die-hard liberals who will stop at nothing until your trip to the gas station leaves you in tears!
  • Sen. Roscoe Reynolds went to great lengths this year to tell his colleagues just how unfair it was that North Carolina was able to tax its drivers at a higher rate than Virginia does, and exhorted them to consider raising the gas tax. See the video here.
  • Sen. John Miller went to Richmond promising to be a fiscal conservative. But once safely seated in Capitol Square, he was off to the tax hike races as fast as he could run.

    "Beginning in 2011, when the economy is stronger, the equivalent of 2 cents a gallon would be added to the gas tax, each year for five years,"

        -- Sen. Miller, writing in the Daily Press, Jan. 17, 2010
  • Sen. Ralph Northam even had a page calling for a gas tax hike on his campaign web site... until he realized how unpopular it was and took down the page. Fortunately, Google has a long memory. 
  • All three voted for Dick Saslaw's SB 6009, which would have raise the gas tax every year for six years, among other hikes.

Gov. Bob McDonnell's week in review - 5/27/11

This week in Richmond was marked by a some encouraging economic news, a solemn ceremony honoring fallen heroes at the Wall of Honor, and a brilliant example of how anyone – even young people – can make a difference if they put their mind to it. 

-          Virginia’s unemployment rate fell to 6.1% in April – far better than the national average of 9%.  While it’s generally expected that anticipation of tourist season and increased economic activity due to warmer weather leads to a slightly improved unemployment rate in late spring, that the Commonwealth’s unemployment rate is almost 3 percentage points better than the national average is further evidence that the Governor’s spending reductions, focus on job creation and pro-growth policies are indeed improving Virginia’s economy. 

-          Governor McDonnell reported that the Commonwealth is expected to post a surplus when the fiscal year concludes in June.  While it goes without saying, this bit of news stands in stark contrast to the massive deficit spending and record debt we’re seeing piling up in Washington, and will be the second consecutive surplus posted since the Governor took office. 

-          VDOT’s $600 million bond sale this week netted an additional $47.7 million premium, highlighting the value of Virginia’s creditworthiness and the desire for private investors to take advantage of the Commonwealth’s stability in a world of uncertainty.  This new money will quickly be put to work on over 900 transportation projects already identified. 

-          Governor McDonnell announced that $600,000 in anticipated state agency savings will go toward helping Virginians who were affected by severe weather and tornadoes that struck the Commonwealth in April.  Additionally, he encouraged Virginia citizens and private businesses to contribute to the relief efforts by visiting http://disasterrelief.vi.virginia.gov/ and, if able, making a very welcomed donation. 

-          The Governor gave an address at Virginia’s Wall of Honor ceremony on Thursday, paying tribute to the 233 Virginians who have given the ultimate sacrifice since 2000 in the global War or Terror.  In doing so, Governor McDonnell stated that, “We do this every year because we understand that freedom is not free.”


High winds demolish Buffalo Gap HS press box

"What's that sound?" my husband asked late Thursday night. The roar of the wind could be heard outside as a thunderstorm boomed and what sounded like hail pounded the house.

That wind demolished Buffalo Gap High School's press box. The school, located about four or five miles from our house, as the crow flies, apparently took the brunt of the wind in this latest of storms to hit Augusta County in the spring of 2011.

Tax holiday for hurricane survival goods

Do you need to stock up on batteries, flashlights, or a weather radio for inclement weather? Now through Tuesday you can do so without paying the Retail Sales and Use Tax during the “Hurricane Preparedness Sales Tax Holiday.”

The list of items except from the tax includes tarpaulins, bungee cords and rope, duct tape (good for just about any emergency!), fire extinguishers, smoke detectors, fuel tanks, coolers, bottled water, and first aid kits. You can even purchase a manual can opener without tax.

For the entire list of goods and any restrictions on their purchase, check the Virginia hurricane preparedness website.

It never hurts to be prepared.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Augusta BOS approves a redistricting map

The redistricting basics.
Dr. Kurt Michael, candidate for Wayne District supervisor,
was one of the citizens who addressed the Augusta County Board of Supervisors
at Wednesday night's redistricting public hearing. Reporter Bob Stuart with the
Waynesboro News Virginian has more.

Larry Wills, candidate for Middle River District supervisor.
Steve Morris, candidate for North River District supervisor.
David Karaffa, candidate for Beverley Manor District supervisor.

Photos by Lynn R. Mitchell
25 May 2011

George Allen in Staunton

On Tuesday, U.S. Senate candidate George Allen talked with Chris Saxman
and other local businessmen at Rowe's Restaurant in Staunton.

Augusta County Supervisors Sorrells, Beyeler confer during meeting

Supervisors Nancy Sorrells (I-Riverheads) and David Beyeler (R-South River) confer during Wednesday night's Board of Supervisors meeting.

Augusta County Supervisor Larry Howdyshell calls it quits

The second of seven Augusta County supervisors announced Wednesday night that he would not seek re-election in November. Larry Howdyshell, who represents the North River District, made the announcement during the "Matters To Be Presented By the Board" portion of the supervisor meeting.

Saying he had been thinking about it the past four years, Howdyshell noted that politics in the county had changed along with attitudes, and that he wanted to spend time with his grandchildren.

He didn't elaborate on what the changes were or the attitudes but one big recent issue was the 2009 real estate tax assessments....

Emerson's meaning of success

“To laugh often and much; to win the respect of intelligent people and the affection of children; to earn the appreciation of honest critics and endure the betrayal of false friends; to appreciate beauty, to find the best in others; to leave the world a little better; whether by a healthy child, a garden patch or a redeemed social condition; to know even one life has breathed easier because you have lived. This is the meaning of success."
-- Ralph Waldo Emerson

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

NASCAR's Kyle Busch clocked doing 128 mph in 45 mph zone in NC

~ Memories of living in NASCAR Country ~

NASCAR driver Kyle Busch was clocked on an Iredell County road doing 128 mph in a 45 mph zone. Good thing he was famous because those North Carolina deputies don't usually take too kindly to folks being that reckless on their back roads.

This article caught my attention because we lived in Iredell County, which surrounds Statesville, NC, for about 12 years. Located about an hour north of Charlotte, the location of my husband's business, both my kids were born there. We left many home school friends when we moved back 15 years ago ... and the kids' friends from those days have since grown up.

Little known fact about Statesville: It's the location where Tom Dooley, made famous by the Kingston Trio song, was hanged. Hang down your head, Tom Dooley, hang down your head and cry/Hang down your head, Tom Dooley, poor boy, you're gonna die.

Iredell County is beautiful. It encompasses parts of Lake Norman and the Brushy Mountains that are the foothills to the Blue Ridge Mountains, and it's a hop-skip-and-a-jump from Blowing Rock, Boone, and the ski areas of northwestern NC.

It's also known as NASCAR country because so many drivers live in and around the area due to its close proximity to Charlotte. From our home north of Statesville, we were not far from Junior Johnson's house in nearby Wilkes County during the days when Bill Elliott was one of NASCAR's biggest stars, and the long, red race car tractor-trailers would park behind Junior's house. Those were the days when he was still married to his high school sweetheart, Flossie, and lived at Ingle Hollow. They later divorced and he built a huge new home -- we saw it as it was being built ... maybe on Rt. 421? -- remarried, had children, and then I lost track after leaving NC.

Once I was standing in line in the Statesville Post Office and turned around to find Dale Earnhardt behind me, signature sunglasses and all. The guy who worked on our farm would sometimes have to deliver things to Earnhardt's farm in nearby Kannapolis.

I'm not really a NASCAR fan but, living in the midst of it all, it was easy to know who the drivers were and their numbers, and we were surrounded by fans who traveled to many of the events. That was back in the days when they still raced at North Wilkesboro so we'd watch the teams pass on the road heading to that racing venue.

After being back home in Virginia for 15 years, it was kind of fun to read something about Iredell County, the place I spent more than a decade, where my children spent their early years, and where we have fond memories of living on a working cattle farm, and then living on the side of one of the Brushy Mountain foothills ... a traipse down memory lane....

Lyme disease season

It's tick season in Virginia and, if you're not familiar with the health issues those little pests can cause, you need to educate yourself. It may be a small bite but could cause lasting after-affects. Check it out here ... Up tick: Why you should be worried about Lyme disease. And don't say I didn't warn you....

25 must-do summertime activities around Charlottesville and the mountains

Stephanie Garcia at Charlotteville's The Hook has posted 25 must-do activities for summer fun in and around Charlottesville, central Virginia, the Blue Ridge Mountains, and beyond. Check it out if you're looking to fill empty days or perhaps ready for new and exciting adventures.

Thanks to The Hook for the link in # 14 - Crabtree Falls - and the warning to hikers to heed the signs and avoid those dangerous moss-slick rocks

Photo by Lynn R. Mitchell

GOP filibuster of Obama judicial nominee ... was it voter-fueled?

Thinking about last week's successful filibuster by the GOP of Barack Obama's liberal judicial nominee, could voter pressure have helped hold Republican feet to the fire? Read my latest at the Washington Examiner....

75th anniversary offers free admission to Virginia state parks

All visitors to Virginia state parks will receive free admission the week of June 13-19 as the Commonwealth celebrates the 75h anniversary of her park system.

In addition, all active-duty military and military veterans residing in Virginia will receive free admission to Virginia state parts through the end of 2011.

In a press release, Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell commented:
“Our brave women and men of the military are called upon to sacrifice in countless ways.

Now, a grateful Commonwealth thanks them for their service with free admission to all Virginia State Parks from this weekend through the end of the year. This is a small gesture of appreciation for the women and men who have given so much to defend our liberty and freedom. There are 327,000 active-duty military personnel, and families, as well as 823,000 armed forces veterans, who make their homes here in Virginia. We hope many will take advantage of this opportunity.

We are also pleased to offer free admission to Virginia’s State Parks for all visitors from June 13th-19th, in recognition of the 75th Anniversary of the Parks. I encourage all Virginians to get out to a State Park this summer and discover first-hand our Commonwealth’s beauty and wonders.”
The Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation, which manages the award-winning Virginia State Parks, is waiving all parking fees, the only fees charged at State Parks by the Commonwealth, for all Virginia-resident armed forces veterans. Fees are also waived for all active duty members of the armed forces including activated reservists and National Guardsmen, regardless of their state of residency. The offer is also good for the immediate family of active-duty personnel even if that person is not with the family.

To participate, veterans must either have a retired military identification card or a standard discharge form known as a DD214. Active duty personnel must have their photo identification card issued by the Department of Defense, and family members must have their government-issued ID card.

“Virginia has the best state parks in the country, and Governor McDonnell and I remain committed to making Virginia the nation’s most veteran-friendly state,” said Secretary of Veterans Affairs and Homeland Security Terrie Suit. “This celebratory admission is a natural fit that continues our long-standing commitment to Virginia’s active and retired military.”

The free admission for military is not the only special in the year-long celebration in Virginia’s state parks, which opened June 15, 1936.

"We’ll offer free parking to all visitors June 13-19 as we celebrate our 75th anniversary all week long,” said DCR Director David Johnson. “With more than 8 million visitors a year, and around a $189 million impact on Virginia’s economy, Virginia State Parks play an important role in Virginia’s outstanding quality of life.”

For more information about Virginia State Parks, visit www.virginiastateparks.gov. Additional information about the free admission to state parks can be found below.

Virginia State Parks 75th Anniversary Salute to America’s Military
As part of the Virginia State Parks' 75th anniversary celebration, active-duty military personnel and their families and armed forces veterans are invited to state parks at no cost starting the Friday of Memorial Day weekend through the end of 2011.

· What are we waiving?

o The standard parking fee is the only fee involved, with the exception of the Southwest Virginia Museum where the daily admission fee is waived for only the eligible person.

· Who is eligible?

o Armed forces veterans who are Virginia residents.
o Active duty members of the armed forces, including activated reservists and National Guardsmen (including those who are active for annual duty). Active-duty personnel may have residency in any state.
o Immediate family members of active-duty personnel, even if the active-duty person is not with the family (he or she may be deployed, for instance), but an adult family member age 18 or older must be part of the party.

· What proof or documentation must be presented?

o Veterans must have either a retired military identification card or a standard form for discharged military personnel called a “DD214.”
o Active duty military personnel must have a photo identification card issued by the Department of Defense or their branch of the armed forces.
o Family members of active-duty personnel must have the official government-issued ID card

Cross-posted at Bearing Drift

Obama's brain hiccup and the media's silence

File this under, "What if George W. Bush did it?" ...

President Barack Obama, obviously a Democrat because the media have been quiet as mice about the incident, visited Westminister Abby on Tuesday while on an official trip to England. When signing the guest book, he wrote, "24 May 2008."


It's a slip of the pen/memory and anyone could do it. But what if President Bush had made that slip-up? It would have been headline news by a gotcha-if-you're-Republican media.

The hypocrisy continues....

Monday, May 23, 2011

The Governor in Staunton on Monday ... more photos

Gov. Bob McDonnell presents a $150,000 check to Cadence, Inc. See previous post with info.

Staunton City Council members.

Some of the overflow crowd in the tent.

Photos by Lynn R. Mitchell
23 May 2011

Governor Bob McDonnell in Staunton to announce 65 new jobs

Gov. Bob McDonnell speaks before a crowd at Cadence, Inc. Staunton's Green Hills Industrial Park on Monday afternoon. First Lady Maureen McDonnell and city Councilwoman Andrea Oakes are in the front row.

Update: More in-depth post at the Washington Examiner....

There was an air of excitement Monday afternoon as Governor Bob McDonnell announced that Staunton company Cadence, Inc., would be investing $15.9 million and create 65 new jobs for the city.

Cadence, in business since 1985 and formerly known as Precision Blades, manufactures specialty blades for industry and medical/surgical purposes. Costa Rica had been in competition with Virginia for this project.

The Governor's news was accompanied with a check for $150,000, a grant from the Governor's Opportunity Fund, that was secured by Staunton and the Virginia Economic Development Partnership. A platform during McDonnell's gubernatorial campaign was bringing jobs to Virginia, something he has successfully achieved since taking office in 2010.

In a released statement, the Governor noted, "Cadence, formerly known as Specialty Blades, has thrived in Staunton for 25 years. We are pleased that Cadence decided to continue their long relationship with Virginia and the City of Staunton in choosing to expand their facility, rather than move to a new location.  The path of success continues with this significant investment, which will allow for a larger facility and increased manufacturing production to accommodate the company's rapid growth. The addition of 65 new jobs is also tremendous news for the region."         

Employees of Cadence, Inc., as well as Staunton City Council members, state elected officials, and local businessmen were among the guests in the crowd.

Photo by Lynn R. Mitchell
23 May 2011

Governor McDonnell in Staunton

Press and the public as well as area elected officials are showing op at the Green Hills Industrial Park off Rt. 11 for an appearance by Governor Bob McDonnell who will make an economic development announcement about Staunton.

Cantor says he will not be 2012 presidential candidate

During a mid-day press conference, Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-VA) restressed to reporters in the Capitol that the role of the GOP is to take leadership as the times demand and what the people want to see by making the tough decisions about deficit reductions, debt management, and lay out a growth agenda.

He apparently sounded presidential as he spoke because one reporter called out, "Are you going to run?" [as a candidate for 2012 presidential election].

Without missing a beat, Rep. Cantor laughed and responded, "Absolutely not! I have no intentions on running," to laughter from the press pool.

Maybe not in 2012 but who knows what may come down the road....

Photo by Lynn R. Mitchell

A beautiful bride

I knew her as a little girl ... and as a young lady ... and Saturday
she married the young man of her dreams.

Photo by Lynn R. Mitchell
21 May 2011

Deadly tornado outbreak in Midwest

A fierce storm passed through Augusta County Sunday night with some wicked lightning that struck close by, high winds, and downpours but no permanent damage.

We awoke this morning to hear of deadly tornadoes overnight in the midwest with dozens of people killed. Joplin, MO, was hard-hit with tornadoes' destructive paths measuring a mile wide and four miles long through the city, destroying buildings and killing at least 89 with the possibility of that total rising as they search for those missing and buried under debris. Prayers to the people of Joplin and all the other areas hit by tornadoes....

Washington Examiner Monday headlines

Byron York - Daniels fallout: How will Mitch decision affect GOP race?

I spoke to a number of political types in Washington on Saturday night, and there was a near consensus that Mitch Daniels would run for president.  (I thought that, too.)  The major question was how candidate Daniels would present and explain the episode in the 1990s in which his wife Cheri, mother of their four young daughters, left him, married another man, and later returned to Daniels. Read More

Michael Barone  - Some observations as Daniels bows out

So Mitch Daniels is not running for president. That’s what I expected—on Tuesdays and Thursday and alternate weekends; on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays I was convinced he would run, and on the leftover weekends I was uncertain. Let’s review the bidding. Read More

Timothy P. Carney - Excited by power, Obama ignores legal restraints

President Obama launched a U.S. war in Libya two months ago with no congressional approval. Under the Constitution and under the War Powers Act, which allows the president to wage defensive wars for up to 60 days without prior approval, Obama probably broke the law. Read More

Brian Hughes - Obama defends border demands on Israel to AIPAC

President Obama on Sunday sought to ease simmering tensions with supporters of Israel, many of whom were exasperated by the president's call for Israel to jump-start long-stalled peace talks by agreeing to retract its borders as Palestinians have demanded. Read More

Susan Ferrechio - Parties still miles apart as budget talks resume

Bipartisan talks on the federal budget are set to kick off again after a weeklong pause, with Republicans and Democrats still far from agreement over the nation's deficit and borrowing limit. Read More

Shorter Obama at AIPAC: Israel must negotiate with Hamas even though they can't be expected to

President Obama in a Sunday speech to the American Israel Public Affairs Committee tried to clear up what he said was a “controversy” stemming from his recent speech on the Middle East, but the result was an address that was shrouded in contradictions, especially on the issue of negotiating with the terrorist group Hamas. Read More

Conn Carroll - Ryan turns the other cheek

NBC’s David Gregory tried at least five times, today, to get House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan to criticize Newt Gingrich for his comments on last week’s Meet the Press. And five times Ryan politely declined to attack Newt. His prepared answer, given in response to Gregory’s first two attempts: “The quote was deeply inaccurate and Newt has retracted it.” Read More

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Poppet and Tom

It was great to see Poppet and Tom Nelson back in the Shenandoah Valley for Saturday's wedding. Their Middlebrook General Store was where the love story began for the two young people joined in marriage in a Shenandoah Valley mountain meadow....

Photo by Lynn R. Mitchell
21 May 2011

God's sanctuary

What a beautiful location for a wedding! Home schoolers and others gathered Saturday for the wedding of one of our own in a mountain meadow overlooking Jump Mountain in Rockbridge County. We were in God's sanctuary on a gorgeous Shenandoah Valley spring day.

Photo by Lynn R. Mitchell
21 May 2011

Mitch Daniels says no thanks to presidential bid

Back to the drawing board....

Canada backs Israel

Canada's Prime Minister Stephen Harper doesn't back Barack Obama's call for Israel to withdraw to its 1967 borders. As Weasel Zippers wrote:
Never thought I'd see the day when Canada was more pro-Israel than the U.S.

Staunton 2011 Shakin' at the Station Concert Series

Shakin' at the Station has been a Staunton tradition for years, pulling in hundreds for the once-a-week concerts in the Wharf parking area off Johnson Street with bands, brews, and food. This year's Shakin' will again be held Thursday evenings from 6:30-8:30 pm. Held through August 25, the concerts go on, rain or shine, for a mere $2 donation that goes toward area non-profit organizations.

Here is this year's line-up for entertainment:

May 19: Hacken Boys
May 26: Manic Farm
June 2: Southern Company
June 9: SP511
June 16: Maybe Tomorrow
June 23: Goodson Band
June 30: Time Machine
July 7: Free Spirit
July 14: Level
July 21: Everyday People
July 28: Seven Mile Ford
Aug. 4: Mirage
Aug. 11: Valley Son
Aug. 18: Maybe Tomorrow
Aug. 25: The Workx

Friday, May 20, 2011

Washington Examiner writers opine on this week's news

Posts of note this week from The Washington Examiner's Opinion Zone bloggers

Ivan G. Osorio - AFL-CIO's Trumka complains. Will Democrats listen?
AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka is warning Democrats that they should push organized labor's agenda more aggressively, lest they lose union support.  And then what? 
Read More

Ben Domenech - The Right ignores Gingrich's advice
It’s a shame to see so many people stumble over each other to reveal themselves as unserious observers of politics.  All the more since what Gingrich actually had to say was exactly the kind of message many on the right desperately need to hear at this juncture.  Read More

Comment from Examiner Opinion Zone bloggers on Virginia's Campaign 2012

Virginia’s Senate candidates are squabbling. That should not come as a surprise, as that’s what candidates do. However, the most recent tiff is over something quite serious: the federal debt ceiling. Read More
Senate candidate David McCormick isn’t making much of an impression in the polls (yet) and his political resume doesn’t match the leading GOP candidate, fmr. Sen. George Allen.  But he does have one thing Allen and the rest of the Republican field lacks: a theme. Read More

Posts of note this week from The Washington Examiner's Local Opinion Zone: News & Views Washington, D.C. Area Bloggers

For a city that has adopted “no taxation without representation” as its official motto, it is ironic that the D.C. City Council has no problem imposing a plethora of taxes on visitors to the District who have little say in local politics.  Read More
Over the last two days tornadoes reportedly hit Maryland’s Eastern Shore, yet not a word of caution or concern from Governor Martin O’Malley (D).  Read More
Have you seen purple plastic boxes hanging by a metal hook on tree limbs and wondered what they were?  Read More

More posts of note this week from The Washington Examiner's Opinion Zone: Commentary from Across the Country

Rand Simberg
- Activists rally for effective space policy
A couple days ago, two space activist organizations put out action alerts urging Americans interested in progress in space to support two critical budget items for NASA's next fiscal year. Read More

Christopher Taylor - On the wrong track with commercial rail
I love trains.  If I have to go long distance, that's my favorite way to travel, and I've ridden Amtrak's Coast Starlight line many times in the past.  Although the newer passenger cars are less comfortable and roomy than the old ones, I still prefer them over airplane travel.  The problem is, we just can't afford Amtrak any longer as a nation. Read More

Amanda Muscavage - YouTube’s 'Town Hall' lets opposing politicians speak their piece
YouTube launched an innovative forum Wednesday where Congress members debate the issues that are most important to Americans.  On YouTube’s new Town Hall channel, videos from Congress members with opposing viewpoints are placed next to each other and viewers can click a button to indicate which perspective they support. Read More

Neil Hrab - Obama’s Arab speech: meanwhile, back in the real world - 
If only we could see in advance the talking points and question-and-answer documents that Obama’s communications staffers have been working on. Maybe the plan is to brand all critics as "isolationists" and "nativists" - two slurs one often hears when someone speaks out critically on foriegn policy. Read More