Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Friendship


The sentiment expressed in this graphic caught my attention when it was posted on Facebook by a high school classmate. I had heard the expression before but had not seen this particular Charlie Brown-Snoopy illustration.

My classmate friend noted on his Facebook status, "I know something about this."

I responded, "... and the older we get, the more we understand this message...."

Another classmate gave my comment a "thumbs up."

Looks like many of us have found those friends who are special ... who have lifted us during low times ... who were lifted by us in their low times ... who remained when others abandoned.

Aristotle said, "The antidote for fifty enemies is one friend."

Amen.

U.S. House schedule for Tuesday, July 31, 2012

From Majority Leader Eric Cantor....

TUESDAY, JULY 31ST
On Tuesday, the House will meet at 12:00 p.m. for morning hour and 2:00 p.m. for legislative business.  Votes will be postponed until 6:30 p.m.

One Minute Speeches


Legislation Considered Under Suspension of the Rules:
1) H.R. 828 - Federal Employee Tax Accountability Act of 2011, as amended (Sponsored by Rep. Jason Chaffetz / Oversight and Government Reform Committee)
2) S. 679
- Presidential Appointment Efficiency and Streamlining Act of 2011 (Sponsored by Sen. Chuck Schumer / Oversight and Government Reform Committee)
3) H.R. 4365 - To amend title 5, United States Code, to make clear that accounts in the Thrift Savings Funds are subject to certain Federal tax levies, as amended
(Sponsored by Rep. Ann Marie Buerkle / Oversight and Government Reform Committee)
4) S. 300 - Government Charge Card Abuse Prevention Act of 2011, as amended  (Sponsored by Sen. Chuck Grassley / Oversight and Government Reform Committee)
5) Concur in the Senate amendment to H.R. 1627 - Honoring American Veterans Act of 2011 (Sponsored by Rep. Jeff Miller / Veterans’ Affairs Committee)
6) H.R. 4073 - To authorize the Secretary of Agriculture to accept the quitclaim, disclaimer, and relinquishment of a railroad right of way within and adjacent to Pike National Forest in El Paso County, Colorado, originally granted to the Mt. Manitou Park and Incline Railway Company pursuant to the Act of March 3, 1875 (Sponsored by Rep. Doug Lamborn / Natural Resources Committee)
7) H.R. 3641 - Pinnacles National Park Act (Sponsored by Rep. Sam Farr / Natural Resources Committee)
8) H.R. 3706 - To create the Office of Chief Financial Officer of the Government of the Virgin Islands, and for other purposes (Sponsored by Del. Donna Christensen / Natural Resources Committee)
9) S. 270 - La Pine Land Conveyance Act (Sponsored by Sen. Ron Wyden / Natural Resources Committee)
10) S. 271 - Wallowa Forest Service Compound Conveyance Act (Sponsored by Sen. Ron Wyden / Natural Resources Committee)
11) H.R. 3803 - District of Columbia Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act  (Sponsored by Rep. Trent Franks / Judiciary Committee)
12) H.R. 1950 - To enact title 54, United States Code, “National Park System,” as positive law, as amended (Sponsored by Rep. Lamar Smith / Judiciary Committee)
13) H.R. 3120 - Student Visa Reform Act (Sponsored by Rep. Zoe Lofgren / Judiciary Committee)
14) H.R. 6029 - Foreign and Economic Espionage Penalty Enhancement Act of 2012 (Sponsored by Rep. Lamar Smith / Judiciary Committee)
15) H.R. 6063 - Child Protection Act of 2012 (Sponsored by Rep. Lamar Smith / Judiciary Committee)
16) H.R. 4362 - STOP Identity Theft Act of 2012 (Sponsored by Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz / Judiciary Committee)
17) H.R. 3796 - Adam Walsh Reauthorization Act of 2012, as amended (Sponsored by Rep. Jim Sensenbrenner / Judiciary Committee)
18) H.R. 6062- Edward Byrne Memorial Justice Assistance Grant Program Reauthorization Act of 2012 (Sponsored by Rep. Tom Marino / Judiciary Committee)
19) H.R. 1550 - Federal Law Enforcement Recruitment and Retention Act of 2011, as amended (Sponsored by Del. Pedro Pierluisi / Judiciary Committee)
Special Order Speeches

COMMITTEE ACTIVITY OF THE DAY
Energy and Commerce Committee Markup of “H.R. 6213, the No More Solyndras Act” (Tuesday, July 31st, at 4:00 p.m.)

Printable PDF

Monday, July 30, 2012

Wildflowers, the Blue Moon, and other thoughts on a Monday evening


It has cooled down this evening and the wind has been brisk in the trees, an invitation to come outside on the deck to enjoy these few quiet minutes before dark. We had a little rain earlier this afternoon when the sky darkened but now it's mostly blue overhead.

We enjoyed another summer supper this evening. SWAC Husband grilled pork chops, and we added tomatoes out of the garden, boiled new Yukon Gold potatoes, and baby carrots sautéed with garlic and chives topped off with watermelon and strawberries for dessert. I'm going to miss the summer produce when it's no longer available.

I've lately become very familiar with wildflowers. Specifically wildflowers for weddings. Colors, style, longevity. I certainly appreciate Queen Anne's Lace because it's such a sturdy flower and grows abundantly throughout Virginia. Of course, the ants like it, too ... those little hitchhikers who ride into the house on the prototype bunches and march proudly across my dining room table. I think we found them all ... guess we'll find out.

It would be nice to make a trip to Nelson County to the lavender farm one of these days where they have planted a variety of tempting selections. I love lavender ... such a fragrant addition to a house. My Texas brother-in-law's sister in Colorado has a yard full of beautiful lavender that she generously gives away. Maybe I need to plant lavender somewhere on our patch of Augusta County soil. I've been searching out wildflower places in the Valley and nearby but haven't had much luck ... had heard there was a place near Raphine. Too bad the herb farm closed.

As I sit here on the deck, I can hear the bull frogs in the neighbor's pond, their deep-throated calls breaking the silence along with the circadas in nearby trees. I haven't seen any deer even though I keep looking toward the woods but they haven't emerged yet from the shadows. Darkness is falling ... they will be out soon. In the chair beside me, a spider is busy weaving its web. Otherwise, all is quiet ... no other sounds besides the bull frogs and the circadas ... oh, and the tree frogs.

The lightning bugs have emerged ... the not-quite-full moon is up. It will be full in three days, on August 2nd, to be followed by a Blue Moon -- the second full moon of the month -- on August 31st.

Time to head inside. We don't have much of a problem with mosquitoes because of the wind coming off the mountains but one just whirred past my ear so no need tempting them now that it's almost totally dark. The night noises are getting louder ... it's evening in the Shenandoah Valley.

My photo of the Blue Ridge Mountains ... what a beautiful place to live.

Virginia wines win 24 medals in 2012 San Francisco international wine competition

 Afton Mountain Vineyards in Nelson County, one of the many Virginia vineyards.

RICHMOND – Governor McDonnell today congratulated Virginia wineries for their recognition at the 2012 San Francisco International Wine Competition. The competition is the largest international wine competition in America, with more than 4,500 wines from 26 U.S. States and 29 countries competing.

“Virginia wines continue to garner acclaim far and wide, which is just one reason why my administration is proud to promote them here in Virginia, across the country, and around the world,” said Governor Bob McDonnell.  “The latest recognition came when the awards for the prestigious San Francisco International Wine Competition, one of the most highly regarded wine competitions in the world, were announced earlier this month.  Just as last year, a number of Virginia wines scored highly against more than 4500 other wines and were awarded double gold, gold, silver, and bronze medals.  The First Lady and I congratulate all of our wineries and wine makers for their accomplishments and for helping raise the Virginia wine industry to higher levels.”

            “In particular, we want to recognize Luca Paschina and Barboursville Vineyards for winning 'Best of Show' for their 2007 Malvaxia Passito and Doug Flemer and his team at Ingleside Vineyards for winning 'Best of Varietal' for their 2007 Petite Verdot.  Luca and Doug have been outstanding ambassadors for the Virginia wine industry for years, so it is incredibly gratifying to see their efforts so highly recognized by the discerning judges at the San Francisco International Wine Competition.”

Virginia is home to more than 200 wineries statewide and is fifth in the nation for wine grape production. A recent economic impact study shows that Virginia's burgeoning wine industry contributes almost three-quarters of a billion dollars - or $747 million - annually to Virginia's economy. Virginia wineries and vineyards support 4,800 jobs that provide $156 million total in wages. 1.6 million visitors include a visit to a Virginia winery on a trip. Wine travel in Virginia has gained many recent accolades. Virginia was recently named one of the ten best wine travel destinations in the world for 2012 by Wine Enthusiast Magazine.

Barboursville Vineyards – Best of Show Dessert Wine
·         Best of Show Dessert Wine, Double Gold Medal Barboursville Vineyards 2007 Passito, Malvaxia, Virginia $30.
·         Silver Medal Barboursville Vineyards 2009 Petit Verdot, Reserve, Virginia $25.
·         Bronze Medal Barboursville Vineyards 2009 Nebbiolo, Reserve, Virginia $22.
·         Bronze Medal Barboursville Vineyards 2009 Cabernet Franc, Reserve, Virginia $23.

Ingleside Vineyards – Best Petit Verdot
·         Best Petit Verdot, Double Gold Medal Ingleside Vineyards 2007 Petit Verdot, Virginia $20.
·         Gold Medal Ingleside Vineyards 2007 Petit Verdot, Reserve, Virginia $27.
·         Silver Medal Ingleside Vineyards 2007 Red Blend, Virginia Gold, Virginia $35.

·         Gold Medal Gray Ghost Vineyards 2011 Late Harvest Vidal, Adieu, Virginia $24.
·         Silver Medal Gray Ghost Vineyards 2011 Vidal Blanc, Virginia $13.
·         Bronze Medal Gray Ghost Vineyards 2010 Chardonnay, Reserve, Virginia $25.

·         Double Gold Medal Keswick Vineyards 2009 Cabernet Sauvignon, Reserve, Monticello $40.
·         Silver Medal Keswick Vineyards 2011 Verdelho, Monticello $18.
·         Bronze Medal Keswick Vineyards 2010 Viognier, Reserve, Monticello.
·         Bronze Medal Keswick Vineyards 2010 Merlot, Monticello.

·         Bronze Medal Michael Shaps 2009 Viognier, Virginia $24.

·         Silver Medal Narmada Winery 2010 Chambourcin, Namada Vineyard, Virginia $25. [12%]
·         Silver Medal Narmada Winery 2011 Viognier, Virginia $23.
·         Bronze Medal Narmada Winery 2010 Red Bordeaux Blend, Yash-Vir, Virginia $23.
·         Bronze Medal Narmada Winery 2010 Tannat, Virginia $38.

·         Silver Medal Paradise Springs of Clifton 2011 Petit Manseng, Virginia $25.

·         Gold Medal Pollak Vineyards 2009 Cabernet Sauvignon, Estate Reserve , Smuggler Vineyard, Monticello $35.
·         Bronze Medal Pollak Vineyards 2009 Premium Bordeaux Blend, Estate, Monticello $25.

·         Bronze Medal Philip Carter Winery 2010 Meritage, Virginia $29.

·         Bronze Medal Veramar Vineyard 2011 Seyval Blanc, Virginia $19. 

Cross-posted at Bearing Drift

College costs up 14%, household income down 6%

From the Wall Street Journal:
Costs at private U.S. colleges rose 14% over 5 years, while the average household income fell 6%.

The annual cost of a four-year private nonprofit college is about $38,600. Meanwhile, the median household income was $67,500 in 2010.

Sunday, July 29, 2012

The Blue Ridge were calling

 The mountains were calling ... and I answered. It was a beautiful day as my sister and I roamed the Blue Ridge. Photos from the trail....



 .







Photos by Lynn R. Mitchell
Along the Blue Ridge Parkway
July 29, 2012

Afton Mountain Vineyards and a toast to David Mefford

Afton Mountain Vineyards is one of Virginia's pioneer farm wineries, with the oldest of the vines dating back to the 1970s, planted by a Richmond-area chemist named David Mefford who realized the soil in that part of Virginia was perfect for vineyards. He and his family planted the first vines that are still used today. Sadly, his dream was cut short when he became ill with cancer and passed away which resulted in the family selling the vineyard. Today Afton Mountain Vineyards produce Chardonnay, Cabernet Franc, and Cabernet Sauvignon as well as Gewürztraminer and Sangiovese. A toast to Mr Mefford and his dream that made him one of the pioneers of the Virginia wine industry!






A beautiful Sunday afternoon, a glass of chardonnay, and a breathtaking view of the Blue Ridge Mountains ... it doesn't get much better.

Photos by Lynn R. Mitchell
July 29, 2012

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Rocking on the porch in the sweet Virginia breeze



Ahh. Sitting on the porch rocking in the sweet Virginia breeze and taking in the good smells of earth and growing things. The high humidity of earlier today has gone ... there's a coolness in the air as the sun sets behind the western mountains, leaving behind cotton candy colors in the sky.

Last night my sister and I sat on the porch talking with a friend as we all rocked and enjoyed the evening while dusk fell, and we discussed the direction and future of education and schools. Both my sister and my friend are educators. I find it interesting that whenever I'm in the midst of teachers, the stories about teaching in today's schools are startling and, for the most part, not something the general public is aware of.

It was hot today but this evening we fired up the grill for dinner with family ... steaks, crab legs, and an assortment of peppers from the garden were cooked outdoors while other garden goodies were prepared inside. Yukon Gold potatoes from the garden cooked with Vidalia onions along with garlic broccoli, freshly sliced tomatoes, cukes-and-onions in vinegar, and Naan with melted mozzarella cheese were on the table along with fresh strawberries, blueberries, and watermelon ... yum. A summertime feast if ever there was one!

So now as dusk falls and the cool breeze blows, I'm sitting in the rocker with my feet propped up on the railing, laptop balanced on my knees, and enjoying a quiet Saturday night. Family, food, fellowship ... it doesn't get much better than that.

Photo by Lynn R. Mitchell

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Staunton ... Thursdays are for live entertainment around town

 Thursday night was hopping in Staunton with lots of live entertainment. Shakin' at the Station was going on at the Wharf downtown ...

... and it was packed.

 At the Mockingbird restaurant on Beverley Street, it was jazz night ...

... and a crowd was in Gypsy Hill Park for the weekly Jazz in the Park at the Gazebo.


Photos by Lynn R. Mitchell
July 26, 2012

Sweet Frog frozen yogurt shop now open in Waynesboro

 Sweet! There's now a Sweet Frog's frozen yogurt shop closer than Lexington! Just opened in Waynesboro, it's located in the Coyner Park strip mall across from Sonic's Drive-In and Wal-Mart.

Sweet Frog's is one of the fastest-growing franchises of its kind in the county, started by a husband-and-wife team in 2009. They are a family business: "SweetFrog was founded on the principles of Christianity and our belief in bringing happiness and a positive attitude into the lives of our consumers. At SweetFrog, F.R.O.G stands for Fully Rely On God – and we hope to be an example of that in every community!"  Kind of bummed we didn't get it over Staunton way....

Photos by Lynn R. Mitchell
July 26, 2012

Victory 2012 ... got my Romney on

George Allen and Mitt Romney. Niiiiice.
Virginia Republicans working for Victory in 2012!

Special Operations officers form PAC against Obama


How damaging has President Barack Obama's administration been to America's military? One tell-tale sign is a political action committee (PAC) formed by U.S. retired special operations officers that will face off against the President's reelection campaign.

Called Special Operations Speaks (SOS), it is dedicated to supporting our troops and stopping the leaks that put our military in harm's way. The Washington Times reported:
Retired special operations officers from the U.S. military have organized their own political action committee designed to highlight what they see as unforgivably security leaks by President Obama and his team.

Named Special Operations Speaks (SOS) PAC and led by three former officers with special operations experience, the group is leading a petition drive to try to raise the profile of recent stories blaming Mr. Obama for intelligence leaks.

"Let me lay it on the line: Barack Obama's loose lips are doing worse than sinking ships – they're putting our entire nation at risk," the PAC said in an email trying to raise money to run ads attacking Mr. Obama. [emphasis added]
Remember the U.S. Swift boat veterans from the Vietnam War who spoke out during the 2004 presidential election, the ones who knew John Kerry's war record (or lack of) and brought that information to the eyes of a public that had previously been unaware?

The Times went on to say:
This new group of veterans argues that Mr. Obama has shown reckless disregard for secrecy, first by rushing "to get in front of the cameras" after the raid that killed Osama bin Laden, and then more recently with news reports about drone assassinations and U.S. cyberattacks, which appeared to be based on classified information.
SOS has a mission. From their website:
We, as veterans, legatees, and supporters of the Special Operations communities of all the Armed Forces, have noted with dismay and deep alarm the recent stream of highly damaging leaks of information about various aspects of America’s shadow war in the overall War on Terror.  Our principles are the same as when we were in active service — Duty, Honor, Country.
A press release was sent out two days ago:
Special Operations Veterans Join Forces to Oppose Obama, Fight Continued Release of Secret Documents for “Political Reasons"

A nationwide group of decorated Special Operations veterans today announced the formation of a political action committee -- Special Operations Speaks PAC-- to oppose the reelection of Barack Obama and mount an aggressive effort to halt the continued divulging of top-secret documents for “political reasons.”

In its founding documents, the group says, “Breaches in OPSEC (Operations Security) by the White House, members of the Cabinet, the press, and the movie industry have, ostensibly for political reasons, divulged to the public details of Special Operations personnel identities, methods, tactics, techniques, and procedures that result in new or improved countermeasures being developed by current and potential adversaries around the world.”

The group has sent a letter to Rep. Peter King (R-NY), chairman of the House Committee on Homeland Security, requesting that he initiate congressional hearings into the “circumstances, events, sources, and unauthorized recipients of any and all classified material associated with the Special Operations conducted to kill or capture Osama bin Laden.”

According to the group, the White House leaks, “most likely for political reasons,” provided information that led to the identification of Dr. Alfridi, whose information on the location of Osama bin Laden led to the Special Operations assault that resulted in the terrorist’s death. Alfridi is now in jail in Pakistan.

According to The Hill even "Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), chairwoman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, said Monday that someone at the White House was responsible for the recent leaks of classified information."

“We believe that the Obama Administration has compromised – and continues to compromise – our nation’s security through deliberate leaks of critical Special Operations classified information,” said SOS co-founder Colonel Richard F. (“Dick”) Brauer Jr. USAF, (Ret). “Furthermore, we believe it is being done for the most transparent of political reasons.”

According to SOS co-founder and chairman Larry Bailey, CAPT (SEAL), USN (Ret.), “Barack Obama hasn’t just spiked the football – time and again he has handed the playbook to the opposing team. In so doing, he has put our national security at desperate risk.”

Special Operations Speaks PAC’s stated goals are:

“To emphasize the pressing need for the nation and its representatives to understand the value of our Constitution and actively support a return to its application in all phases of government
“To illuminate the failed Operations Security environment of the Administration and to provide the public with accurate information about these repeated releases of highly classified information;
“To restore accountability in government and with it the trust in our government that We The People deserve and demand.”

The group’s website is http://specialoperationsspeaks.com.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Allen tracker has a front row seat to Allen's return to the U.S. Senate



Fishersville Mike picked up on my photo of Alan the Tracker who has been following George Allen for more than a year (and has now been joined by one and sometimes two others). Mike took the photo from a May 2011 luncheon for Governor Allen in Staunton and photoshopped it into this nifty graphic.

How would you like to have a camera pointed in your face every time you walked out the door? How would you like to have every word spoken publicly day in and day out recorded for dozens of liberal staffers to parse and dissect?

That's 23-year-old Alan Piracha's job for the Democratic Party of Virginia. Can you imagine? "I graduated from college and this was the only job I could get." Maybe Alan is tracking for the wrong Party.

You couldn't pay me enough money to do a job like that....

Wild ponies of Chincoteague swim channel today



Along the wind-swept sand dunes of Virginia's barrier island of Assateague in the Atlantic Ocean, the wild ponies roam as they have for hundreds of years. Today, however, they have been herded up for the annual swim across the channel to Chincoteague.

In 1925, Chincotague Volunteer Fire Department, looking for ways to raise badly needed funds for fire equipment, decided to round up the ponies and auction some to help raise money. At the same time, the roundup would help control the size of the herd and its impact on the fragile barrier island environment.

The roundup and channel swim, in conjunction with the fireman's carnival, was so successful that it became an annual event, regularly drawing 40,000 spectators to watch the 150-175 ponies plunge into the ocean waters for the five-minute swim across Assateague Channel.

Today the tradition continued sometime between 10:30 and noon when the "slack" tide made it easiest for young foals born in the spring to ford the channel. The first colt to make it to shore after the swim will be given away to a lucky winner at the carnival.

The event gained international attention in 1947 when local resident Marguerite Henry wrote the famous children's novel, "Misty of Chincoteague," a true story of a young brother and sister who grew up on Chincotague and raised money by selling clams so they could purchase "Misty," a young colt with markings on her side resembling a map of the United States. Millions of visitors have since visited the area to see the ponies and the islands. The movie, "Misty," brought even more attention to the pony swim, an event that continues to be popular with tourists, residents of the island, and receives national television coverage.

Washington Examiner by Lynn R. Mitchell

George Allen endorsed by U.S. Chamber of Commerce

McLean, VA – Today, George Allen received the official endorsement of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce for the Virginia U.S. Senate race. The announcement was made at a press conference this morning held at Fairfax County’s Pavilions of Turkey Run sponsored by J.R.’s Goodtimes, Inc, a collaboration of small hospitality businesses owned by U.S. Chamber Board of Directors Member Jim Wordsworth. Mr. Wordsworth is also Chairman of the Small Business Council of the U.S. Chamber, which is responsible for policy and legislation matters for U.S. small businesses.

“I’m honored to have earned the very meaningful endorsement of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce,” said George Allen. “As Susan and I have traveled throughout Virginia, we’ve listened to the concerns of hardworking small business owners worried about a government that taxes without listening and regulates without understanding. We stand shoulder to shoulder with Virginia job creators who need lower taxes, reasonable regulations, and more affordable energy and health care to be able to grow and hire again. I share the U.S. Chamber’s commitment to a less intrusive federal government to help American businesses have the freedom and opportunity to compete and succeed. We need to send a message to the world that ‘America is Open for Business Again.’”

The U.S. Chamber cited George Allen’s record of supporting pro-business issues as a key factor in earning this endorsement.

George Allen’s economic solutions are featured in his Blueprint for America’s Comeback, a pro-jobs growth plan of action to reinvigorate the entrepreneurial spirit of our country. George Allen supports a more fair, simple and competitive tax code that reduces the tax on job-creators from 35 percent to 20 percent. His plan also includes reining in regulations by requiring an economic impact analysis of any regulation costing more than $100 Million a year. And George Allen champions unleashing our energy resources from our coalfields to our coast to power our economy with more affordable and reliable American energy.

“As a small business owner, I know what it’s like to make tough decisions, and I understand the devastating impact burdensome regulations can have on companies and their employees’ livelihoods,” said Jim Wordsworth, owner of J.R.’s Goodtimes. “As a Virginian, I’ve seen the difference in philosophy of what it takes to maintain a healthy economy – an ‘Open for Business’ mentality versus a ‘Government is the Answer’ approach. George Allen and his ‘Open for Business’ motto has it right. I’m proud to support George Allen as the candidate with a proven record of job creation as Governor and Senator.”

In the U.S. Chamber’s endorsement notification, President and CEO Tom Donohue writes, “We believe that George Allen’s election to the U.S. Senate will help produce sustained economic growth, help create more jobs, and get our country back on track.”

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce is the world’s largest business federation representing the interests of more than 3 million businesses of all sizes and sectors throughout America.

McDonnell sets date for State Senate 5 & House District 45 special elections

RICHMOND – Governor Bob McDonnell has set September 4, 2012, as the date for the special election to fill the seat of the late Senator Yvonne Miller, who passed away on July 3, 2012, and Delegate David Englin, who announced his resignation from the Virginia House of Delegates effective August 31, 2012.

Speaking about the special elections, Governor McDonnell remarked, “Senator Yvonne Miller was a tremendous public servant and fearless advocate for the interests of her constituents and all Virginians. She will be missed. Delegate Englin has served his district ably since 2006. It is critically important for all citizens of Virginia to have full representation in the Virginia General Assembly. To ensure that is the case, I believe we must hold these special elections as quickly as is possible under Virginia law. Having these special elections on September 4th will allow for the citizens of these districts to have full representation and give the new Senator and Delegate time to fully prepare for the 2013 legislative session. Additionally, having the special election in September will allow for a subsequent special election should it be necessary after the Senate election.”

The Governor will not issue the writ of election until July 30, 2012, in order to give political parties time to prepare for the nomination process. After the issuance of the writ, pursuant to § 24.2-510 of the Code of Virginia, parties will have five days to nominate a candidate. Should the parties or prospective candidates have any questions, they should contact the Virginia State Board of Elections at 1-800-552-9745 and ask for ‘Special Election Information.’

Bill Bolling adds Taylor Thornley as Director of Communications for Gubernatorial campaign

This is great news for the Bill Bolling for Governor campaign. Taylor is top-notch and has been a great help the past three years while working for Governor Bob McDonnell. Congratulations, Taylor!

The campaign released a statement Wednesday:

RICHMOND – Lieutenant Governor Bill Bolling today announced the hiring of Taylor Thornley as Director of Communications for his gubernatorial campaign. 

Thornley will join the Bolling for Governor campaign starting August 2nd.

Lieutenant Governor Bill Bolling said, “I am very pleased to have Taylor join our campaign team.  She is smart, hard-working and very talented, and she has the experience we need to take our campaign to the next level.  I have enjoyed working with her during her time in the governor’s office, and I know that her her political experience and communication skills will be a tremendous asset to our campaign as we prepare to compete and win in next year’s Republican convention.”

Governor Bob McDonnell added, “Taylor has been a valued and integral member of our team since joining us during the 2009 campaign. Over the past three years she has served as an effective and articulate advocate for our positions and policies. While we will miss her in our office, I am confident she will be a tremendous asset to the Bolling campaign, and I know she is looking forward to hitting the campaign trail again. We all wish Taylor the best of luck in this new endeavor.”

Background on Taylor Thornley:
For the past three years, Taylor Thornley has worked for Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell.  She currently serves as his deputy director of communications where she works closely with members of the media and helps to oversee the communications office's daily operations including events, interviews and messaging. During McDonnell's 2009 campaign for governor she was his deputy press secretary and press assistant, traveling with then-Attorney General McDonnell as well as writing press releases and managing media events. Thornley got her start in politics working as Cindy McCain's press assistant on Senator John McCain's presidential campaign during the 2008 election. Thornley graduated from Southern Methodist University in 2009 with a degree in corporate communications and public affairs.

Additional staff and new hires will be announced in the coming weeks.

George Allen continues to hold Kaine accountable in "Devastating" ad

Henrico, VA – In case you missed it, George Allen for U.S. Senate continues to hold Tim Kaine accountable for his support of Washington’s failed deal last summer that could lead to $500 Billion in defense cuts and potentially 200,000 lost Virginia jobs. On Tuesday, George Allen for U.S. Senate released a new TV ad titled “Devastating,” which profiles the devastating impact the defense cuts and resulting lost jobs will have on Virginia’s families and economy.

Here’s what they are saying. . .

Fredericksburg Free Lance Star: “Virginia Republicans are ratcheting up the criticism of Democratic U.S. Senate candidate Tim Kaine’s support for last year’s federal debt ceiling deal that could now result in billions of dollars in budget cuts.”  (Chelyen Davis, “GOP Continues To Hammer Kaine On Sequestration,” Fredericksburg Free Lance Star, 7/23/12)

·         “In Saturday’s Senate debate, Allen used one of two opportunities to directly question Kaine to ask if he regretted supporting a “failed deal.” Kaine said he didn’t, because it helped prevent the U.S. from defaulting on its debts and warded off credit downgrades.”  (Chelyen Davis, “GOP Continues To Hammer Kaine On Sequestration,” Fredericksburg Free Lance Star, 7/23/12)

The Virginian-Pilot: “George Allen is convinced the specter of automatic defense cuts agreed to in last summer's debt ceiling deal could become a defining issue in the U.S. Senate race because of their potential impact on Virginia.”  (Julian Walker, “Allen Opposes ‘Devastating’ Military Cuts In New Ad,” The Virginian-Pilot, 7/24/12)

·         “That's why those looming defense cuts are the subject of his latest campaign ad that warns of the harm that $500 billion in defense cuts would cause, including the loss of an estimated 200,000 Virginia jobs.”  (Julian Walker, “Allen Opposes ‘Devastating’ Military Cuts In New Ad,” The Virginian-Pilot, 7/24/12)

·         “During last Saturday's debate at The Homestead, Allen went after Kaine over his statements in support of the bi-partisan package of more than $1 trillion in reductions set to start in January if Congress doesn't revisit the accord.”  (Julian Walker, “Allen Opposes ‘Devastating’ Military Cuts In New Ad,” The Virginian-Pilot, 7/24/12)

Politico: “New Allen ad says cuts would be ‘devastating.’” (James Hohman, “Morning Score,” Politico, 7/24/2012)

·         “Allen strategists say this could be a defining issue in the race” (James Hohman, “Morning Score,” Politico, 7/24/2012)

Richmond Times-Dispatch: “Republican U.S. Senate candidate George Allen is out with a new ad continuing his attack on Democratic rival Timothy M. Kaine’s support for last year’s debt deal.”  (Wesley P. Hester, “New Allen Ad Indirectly Hits Kaine On Defense Cuts,” Richmond Times-Dispatch’s Virginia Politics Blog, 7/24/12)

·         “The 30-second ad, titled “Devastating,” paints a dramatic picture of looming defense cuts brought on by the failure of a so-called super-committee created as part of the deal to identify alternative deficit reductions.”  (Wesley P. Hester, “New Allen Ad Indirectly Hits Kaine On Defense Cuts,” Richmond Times-Dispatch’s Virginia Politics Blog, 7/24/12)

·         “The issue was at the forefront of the first general election debate Saturday, in which Allen repeatedly attacked Kaine for supporting the deal. Kaine countered by saying it was ‘the right thing to do…”  (Wesley P. Hester, “New Allen Ad Indirectly Hits Kaine On Defense Cuts,” Richmond Times-Dispatch’s Virginia Politics Blog, 7/24/12)

The Weekly Standard: “Republican Senate candidate George Allen has a new TV ad telling Virginia voters that the cuts coming to the Defense Department as a result of the budget sequestration will be ‘devastating’ to the Old Dominion and its economy.”  (Michael Warren, “Allen Ad: Coming Defense Cuts Will Hurt Virginia,” The Weekly Standard, 7/24/12)

Fredericksburg Free Lance Star: “Republican U.S. Senate candidate George Allen launched a TV ad that continues the line of attack he first raised in Saturday’s debate with rival Democrat Tim Kaine.”  (Chelyen Davis, “Allen, Kaine Argue Federal Budget Cuts Via Ad, Video,” Fredericksburg Free Lance Star, 7/24/12)

·         “The ad slams a ‘super committee’ in Congress, set up last year as part of a deal to raise the debt ceiling, that has failed to reach an agreement on federal budget cuts, and hints at Kaine’s support for last year’s deal.”  (Chelyen Davis, “Allen, Kaine Argue Federal Budget Cuts Via Ad, Video,” Fredericksburg Free Lance Star, 7/24/12)

·         “Without an alternative agreement, a harsh package of cuts put in place last summer will start taking effect in January. They include billions in cuts to defense spending, which will hit Virginia’s economy hard.”  (Chelyen Davis, “Allen, Kaine Argue Federal Budget Cuts Via Ad, Video,” Fredericksburg Free Lance Star, 7/24/12)

·         “Allen opposed the deal to start with, and is now using it as a political issue, accusing Kaine of making a bad choice to support the original debt ceiling deal last year since the cuts would hurt Virginia.”  (Chelyen Davis, “Allen, Kaine Argue Federal Budget Cuts Via Ad, Video,” Fredericksburg Free Lance Star, 7/24/12)

The Hill: “Former Sen. George Allen (R-Va.) is out with a new ad blasting former Virginia Gov. Tim Kaine (D) for supporting the bipartisan debt-limit deal that included $500 billion in planned defense cuts.”  (Cameron Joseph, “New Allen Ad Attacks Kaine On Defense Sequestration,” The Hill, 7/24/12)

The Washington Post: “Allen’s campaign, meanwhile, has launched an ad called ‘Devastating.’ It refers to the massive defense cuts that will take effect if Congress is unable to strike a bipartisan agreement this year.”  (Laura Vozzella, “Virginia Senate Race: Two New TV Ads Launched,” The Washington Post’s Virginia Politics Blog, 7/24/12)

·         “‘A storm is coming. Last year Washington’s Super Committee failed,’ Allen’s ad says. ‘A failure that could force $500 billion in automatic defense cuts. Devastating job losses. Over 200,000 good-paying Virginia jobs at stake. And a 10 percent reduction in our Armed Forces. But only one candidate for Senate will fight for Virginia jobs and America’s security.’”  (Laura Vozzella, “Virginia Senate Race: Two New TV Ads Launched,” The Washington Post’s Virginia Politics Blog, 7/24/12)

Fairfax News: ““Virginia would lose 207,464 jobs and $10.63 billion in labor income by the end of fiscal 2013 if $1.2 trillion if federal budget cuts take place in January as planned. Virginia would suffer the biggest job loss next to California, according to a recent report by a George Mason University economist.”  (“Kaine, Allen Blame Each Other For Looming Budget Cuts,” Fairfax News, 7/24/12)

·         “George Allen for U.S. Senate, meanwhile, released a new television ad (below) titled ‘Devastating,’ a look at the impact the looming defense cuts will have on Virginia jobs and families.”  (“Kaine, Allen Blame Each Other For Looming Budget Cuts,” Fairfax News, 7/24/12)

·         “‘George Allen is the only candidate in this race with the leadership to fight against these defense cuts that will devastate our military, jobs and families,’ said Mike Thomas, Allen’s Campaign Manager. ‘While Tim Kaine says ‘the deal was the right thing to do,’ George Allen believes national defense and Virginia jobs should never be used as a bargaining tool to raise taxes. George Allen has a proven record of working with both parties to solve problems and achieve historic reforms, and that’s the kind leadership George Allen will bring to Washington.’”  (“Kaine, Allen Blame Each Other For Looming Budget Cuts,” Fairfax News, 7/24/12)

The Washington Free Beacon: “Virginia Republican Senate candidate George Allen highlighted the imminent sequestration defense cuts in a new campaign ad released Tuesday.”  (“Allen Highlights Threat Of Defense Cuts In New Ad,” The Washington Free Beacon, 7/24/12)

·         “A recent report by the Aerospace Industries Association projected more than 1 million lost jobs in 2013 if the sequestration takes place.”  (“Allen Highlights Threat Of Defense Cuts In New Ad,” The Washington Free Beacon, 7/24/12)

·         “Lockheed Martin predicted it may have to fire 10,000 employees earlier this month.”  (“Allen Highlights Threat Of Defense Cuts In New Ad,” The Washington Free Beacon, 7/24/12)

Bearing Drift: “Today George Allen for U.S. Senate released a new television ad titled ‘Devastating,’ a look at the devastating impact looming defense cuts will have on Virginia jobs and families.”  (Lynn R. Mitchell, “George Allen For U.S. Senate Releases ‘Devastating’ Ad,” Bearing Drift, 7/24/12)

·         “Unless Washington acts, Virginia faces $500 Billion in automatic defense cuts at the end of this year. Washington’s failed policies could eliminate over 200,000 good-paying Virginia jobs, hurting the economy and thousands of Virginia families.”  (Lynn R. Mitchell, “George Allen For U.S. Senate Releases ‘Devastating’ Ad,” Bearing Drift, 7/24/12)

Roanoke Times: “The spot asserts that Allen is the ‘only candidate’ who would fight to protect Virginia jobs that could be lost if the cuts occur.” (Mason Adams, “Debate over Defense cut continues in Virginia Senate race,” Roanoke Times, 7/24/12)

·         “Allen said he was dismayed by the prospect of automatic defense spending cuts that could occur in January if Congress fails to pass an alternative deficit-reduction plan. (Mason Adams, “Debate over Defense cut continues in Virginia Senate race,” Roanoke Times, 7/24/12)

Dusk and foggy mountain hollows

What is it about fog in the mountains that inspires and calms? While others may look on a rainy, foggy day as a wash, I welcome it and relish in the scenic beauty of wispy white clouds while fog slowly rises from the hollows. Dusk adds another dimension as darkness falls and the last rays of light disappear behind the mountain ridges.

Evening offers a peaceful time for a walk around the yard to see all the growing things....







As it got darker, I waited for deer to emerge from the woods behind the house to graze in the yard. Here are three that were not spooked by someone watching from a distance.

Photos by Lynn R. Mitchell
July 24, 2012

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Music video: 'Lazy American Dream'



Troy Cook, Jr,. singing a song by Nashville songwriter, Don Bradley, about the "Lazy American Dream" that continues to erode the foundation this country was built on. 

The video was shot in Ashland City, TN, by director, Wes Pryor for Reel Cool Films. AVAILABLE ON iTUNES.

GWB WaPost op-ed: 'Extend the success against AIDS to other devastating diseases'

Photo from The Bush Center

Former President George W. Bush has spent much of his time since leaving the White House working on humane projects around the world. During a visit in December 2011 and again this summer, he and Mrs. Bush led an international delegation of volunteers and leaders to Zambia and Botswana for the opening of a women's cancer screening clinic as they launched Project Pink Ribbon Red Ribbon.

Writing an op-ed for the Washington Post, President Bush talked about those efforts and appealed to the delegates attending the 2012 International AIDS Conference about continuing and extending that help to those who need it:
Some 25,000 delegates are gathering in Washington this week for the 2012 International AIDS Conference. This is a moment of exceptional promise. Gains in AIDS treatment are remarkable — and continuing.

One of the saddest tragedies in the world is for people to die of HIV/AIDS when lifesaving medicines are available. Just a decade ago, that tragedy was playing out across Africa. Thanks to the generosity of the American people, this is no longer the case today.

Through the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) and the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Malaria and Tuberculosis — working with committed governments, faith-based and community organizations, and the private sector — treatment and prevention have advanced at an almost unimaginable pace.
As the President noted, "... to continue the momentum in the fight against AIDS, America must continue to lead. Having seen the need and accepted the challenge, we can’t turn our backs now."

Since leaving the shark pool of Washington, DC, this compassionate man has made humanitarian work a big part of his life. His op-ed appealing to world leaders for more funding is a continuation of his good works.

'The Growth Code' ... Jim Gilmore talks with the VA Gentleman about economic recovery


Former Virginia Governor Jim Gilmore is a friend to bloggers and has embraced social media over the years. Today he took that a step further when blogger David Shephard aka The Virginia Gentleman interviewed him in this YouTube video.

Governor Gilmore talked about his role as President of the Free Congress Foundation and the five-part Growth Code, an economic reform program designed to jump start the nation's economy by increasing growth. It's an interesting interview. Great job, David ... and thank you, Governor Gilmore

Americans are hurting ... fire Barack Obama

From Erika Johnsen at Hot Air ... "Obama campaign: Does Romney 'even understand how our economy works?' "

Watch the video and then read Erika's commentary. I agree with her sentiment ... "oh, where to begin?" I certainly hope America wakes up in time for November's election.

Colorado massacre: 'Greater love hath no man than this, that he lay down his life for his friends'

It's a Bible verse we learned in Sunday school as children ... "Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends" (John 15:13, King James version).

In the violence that came out of last week's massacre in a movie theater in suburban Denver when a disturbed individual opened fire on a packed theater of movie goers watching the latest "Batman" movie, we saw that verse acted out.

We never know until put to the test how we will react in the reality of life's journey especially when violence is part of it. Three young men are dead but the young women they protected are alive to spread the story of their bravery.

Wes Pruden, editor emeritus of the Washington Times, wants to be sure those acts of sacrifice will not be forgotten in the cynical world where we live:
Three young women, who survived the movie-palace massacre in Colorado because three men gave their lives to save them, beg to differ.

The names of the three – Jon Blunk, Matt McQuinn and Alex Teves – are inscribed permanently in their hearts, vivid reminders of the words of Christ as recorded in the 15th chapter of the Gospel of John: “Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.” This is the passage where Christ teaches that authentic love is not mere emotion, treacly sentiment celebrated in the syrupy lyrics of Tin Pan Alley, but the act of sacrificial giving. “This is my commandment,” Christ told his disciples, “that ye love one another as I have loved you.”

Three sacrificial acts in a darkened charnel reveal the spark of humanity that can survive in the human heart.
A sad but encouraging reminder that there is still good in the world....

McDonnell announces Morooka America, LLC, to bring up to 50 new jobs to Hanover County

RICHMOND – Governor Bob McDonnell today announced that Morooka America, under a license agreement with Japan-based Morooka Co., Ltd, a manufacturer of rubber track carriers, will establish a manufacturing operation in Hanover County. The first Morooka Track Carrier plant in the U.S., along with its sister company Virginia Steel Specialties LLC, will establish two product assembly operations. The facilities will encompass 50,000 square feet and an output of 100 machines annually valued at more than $15 million. The project will create up to 50 new jobs over the next three years.

Speaking about today’s announcement, Governor McDonnell said, “The new Morooka America production facility is an important strategic move for the Morooka product line in the Western Hemisphere, and we are thrilled that the company chose Virginia for its first U.S. location. The new plant will build two of the most popular models in the company’s line, and is a welcome addition to the corporate base in Hanover County.”

“We warmly welcome Morooka America’s first Morooka Track Carrier operation in the U.S. to Hanover County and the Commonwealth,” said Jim Cheng, Virginia Secretary of Commerce and Trade. “The proximity to major interstates, available infrastructure and central location all were factors that helped Virginia come out ahead of competing locations across the Southeast.”

Morooka America is a subsidiary of the Richmond Group LLC, a holding company for construction-related firms geared around the Morooka product and located in Ashland, Virginia. Morooka USA - East is the U.S. headquarters for Japan-based Morooka Co. and sells their rubber track carriers through a network of dealers in the U.S., Canada, Mexico, Central and South America. Morooka offers six different models of equipment that have a range of uses from clearing land for pipeline installation to agricultural applications.

“We are proud to bring manufacturing jobs to America and to Virginia,” says company founder Ronnie Byrd. “I have worked with Japanese companies for more than 25 years and Morooka and its products are well recognized and respected in our industry.”

“The United States has become Morooka Japan’s leading export destination,” said company President Masami Morooka. “I am proud to have the Morooka carrier built here in America.”

The Virginia Economic Development Partnership worked with Hanover County and the Greater Richmond Partnership to secure the project for Virginia. Through its Virginia Jobs Investment Program, the Virginia Department of Business Assistance will provide funding and services to support the company’s recruitment, training and retraining activities.

“It’s great to see a home grown company in Hanover County continue to innovate and prosper,” said Rhu Harris, Hanover County Administrator. “Their ability to expand into manufacturing the Morooka product confirms the spirit of Hanover entrepreneurs.”

Cross-posted at Bearing Drift

George Allen for U.S. Senate releases "Devastating" ad


Henrico, VA – Today George Allen for U.S. Senate released a new television ad titled “Devastating,” a look at the devastating impact looming defense cuts will have on Virginia jobs and families. 
 
Unless Washington acts, Virginia faces $500 Billion in automatic defense cuts at the end of this year. Washington’s failed policies could eliminate over 200,000 good-paying Virginia jobs, hurting the economy and thousands of Virginia families. 
“George Allen is the only candidate in this race with the leadership to fight against these defense cuts that will devastate our military, jobs and families,” said Mike Thomas, Campaign Manager for George Allen for U.S. Senate. 

“While Tim Kaine says ‘the deal was the right thing to do,’ George Allen believes national defense and Virginia jobs should never be used as a bargaining tool to raise taxes.  George Allen has a proven record of working with both parties to solve problems and achieve historic reforms, and that’s the kind leadership George Allen will bring to Washington.” 
To view the spot, click here. The script is posted below. 

Description: Description: defensecutsad

 
Script:

ANNCR: We work hard in Virginia, pulling our weight, making our way back.
But the storm is coming.
Last year Washington’s Super Committee failed.
A failure that could force $500 Billion in automatic defense cuts.
Devastating job losses. Over 200,000 good-paying Virginia jobs at stake.
And a 10 percent reduction in our Armed Forces.
But only one candidate for Senate will fight for Virginia jobs and America’s security.
GEORGE ALLEN: I’m George Allen and I approve this message.