Saturday, May 31, 2008

RPV Convention: Day 2 -- Updated

Wow. Lots of news out of the Republican Party of Virginia State Convention at the Richmond Convention Centre today.

Congratulations to Jim Gilmore on his nomination to be the Republican candidate for the U.S. Senate seat. It was a narrow win ... the Marshall supporters were louder and I thought Gilmore had possibly lost ... but he eeked out a win in the end with 66 votes over Marshall.

Congratulations to Jeff Frederick on his win as RPV Chairman. I would like to thank John Hager for all he did for RPV. We are very much appreciative.

Bloggers were all over the place. Met Jim Hoeft whose Bearing Drift live-blogged from the press table. Saw Shaun Kenney often ... met Alton Foley of I'm Not Emeril ... chatted with Catherine Dickson of Powhatan Life and United Conservatives ... caught up with Jane Dudley of Conservativa ... Phil Lynch of Yankee Phil was there ... I met DJ McGuire of Right-Wing Liberal ... also met Ron from Isophorone. Talked with James Atticus Bowden (Deo Vindice) about various conservative issues. Looks like I missed other boggers who attended, from what I've read on the blogs. Spent too long in the Bolling-McDonnell "birthday hospitality suite" Friday night and missed the blogger hospitality suite.

Augusta Chairman Kurt Michael was there working the floor to pass out and count ballots. Also busy working the crowd was former Albemarle Chairman Keith Drake as well as current chairman Christian Schoenwald.

Congressman Bob Goodlatte, Delegate Steve Landes, Delegate Chris Saxman, and Delegate Ben Cline were all there as was Sen. Mark Obenshain

Jerry Kilgore and Marty were in attendance as were George Allen and Susan.

We had 32 delegates from Augusta County. Saw many familiar faces and had fun with everyone. It was a productive convention and shapes the Party in a different way than many thought it would be. Now it's time to roll up our sleeves and get to work for the Fall elections.

More to follow with lots of convention photos....

Czech president tell Al Gore to shove his "inconvenient truth"

Czech President Vaclav Klaus has seen this scenario play out before, growing up in Soviet-controlled Czechoslovakia during the Cold War.
... he personally witnessed the denial of basic freedoms and sustenance to the people, while those in key positions of government enjoyed relative plenty. In many ways, what he saw was a sorry likeness of the hypocrisy among "climate change" movement leaders, as they regularly fly around the world in their private jets while issuing calls for more meager lifestyles among lesser people.
The hypocrisy of the "global warming" crowd ... read more here.

Bloggers 4 Gilmore: Spanky defines why pro-lifers should support Gilmore

Check it out ... Chris Green's "big tent" theory about why pro-lifers should support Jim Gilmore for U.S. Senate.

RPV Convention: Day 1

Just got in from the Republican Party of Virginia's Virginia State Convention. Long day ... up at 5:30 Friday morning, meetings, convention, hospitality suites ... it's now after 1 am. The day was fun.

Signs were everywhere! Every candidate has certainly gotten his name out there for folks to see.

Candidates were mixing and mingling with delegates. Talked with Jerry Kilgore and Ken Hutchison.

The convention hall was set up with chairs and delegation signs and oversized TV screens.

Senator Steve Martin (R-Chesterfield) sang Lee Greenwood's "God Bless the USA" -- what a voice that man has -- and led the audience in singing "God Bless America" and the National Anthem.

The birthday party for the LG and AG was fun. The room was packed with hundreds of people ... barely room to walk around ... with a birthday cake in the middle of the room.

A large, oversized birthday card was displayed on an easel with Sharpies so everyone could sign. I wrote, "You guys are great! Lynn Mitchell, Augusta." People had written everything else you could think of. Figured I'd just tell them how I felt about both of them.

Many of the SWACers met up ... some had dinner together ... most went to hospitality suites that lasted late into the night.

Saturday will be another long day. Early meetings will be over by the 10 am start of the convention. First on the agenda is voting for senator followed by RPV chairman.

George Allen will address the delegates in the afternoon. When the convention ends, national delegates going to the RPV National Convention in Minneapolis have a meeting to receive hotel and travel information as well as other info.

Afterwards, national delegates are invited to a cookout at the home of Attorney General and Mrs. Bob McDonnell. That will be fun.

Busy weekend. Fun to see all the familiar faces, all the candidates, the electeds, and fellow activists. I am taking plenty of photos and will post later ... too late to upload tonight.

State Central: "Kurt Michael is Augusta Chairman"

In a unanimous vote Friday the Republican Party of Virginia's State Central Committee voted to uphold the decision of the 6th District in the case of the contested Augusta County Republican Committee mass meeting on April 10. Kurt Michael was declared the legal chairman just as he was at the 6th District level.

Larry Roller, who appealed the 6th District decision to State Central, was not happy. As reported by Bob Stuart of the Waynesboro News Virginian, who drove to Richmond for the hearing:
Roller said Friday he did not accept the finding of the state central committee, and will consider any legal avenues left to him, including court action.

“I’m very disappointed in the state central committee,’’ Roller said.

He said a number of his supporters will confer and consider what to do next. Roller said the decision of the state central committee denies “the will of the majority in Augusta County.”

“I won’t let him (Michael) steal this election no matter what,’’ he said.

Roller was also disappointed he did not get to state his case to the state central committee Friday morning.

He asked to do so, but a member of both the state central committee and the appeals committee, Kevin Gentry of Fairfax County, said the case had been thoroughly investigated and it was time to vote on the appeal.

Gentry said “both sides had plenty of time to make their case’’ to the appeals committee.

"We gave an enormous amount of time to both sides,’’ said Gentry, who estimated the appeals committee spent seven hours on the Augusta County case.
[emphasis added]

Congratulations, Kurt.

Friday, May 30, 2008

Move America Forward: Rush Limbaugh, Monica Crawley join all-star lineup

"From the Frontlines" Web-a-thon
Thursday, June 26, 2008 - 4 pm-Midnight Eastern

Move America Forward has launched a drive to send the largest single shipment of care packages to U.S. troops - in history!

Simply sponsor care packs to our troops - pick from the packages listed on the website - and they will be sent to U.S. troops serving in Iraq and Afghanistan. The items will be personally labeled, indicating who the sponsor of the package was and how you can be reached, and will include a special personalized message to our troops that you can choose to include.

Talk radio legend Rush Limbaugh, and television & radio personality Monica Crowley, have both joined the all-star lineup to support this drive and will be appearing on the June 26th eight-hour web-a-thon, "From the Frontlines."

Hosted by Melanie Morgan and Michelle Malkin, others taking part are Sean Hannity, Mark Levin, News Max's Christopher Ruddy, Human Events' Jeb Babbin, World Net Daily's Joseph Farah, Soldiers' Angels founder (and America's Mother of the Year) Patti Patton-Bader, Gathering of Eagles' Larry Bailey, and Gold Star Mom Debbie Lee.

This event will be broadcast via live streaming video online at Ustream.TV. Kithbridge, Inc. will set up a blog feed as the blogosphere is enabled to help drive this historic effort to support our military men and women.

Help our Armed Forces in Iraq and Afghanistan by sending a care package from home. Check the Move America Forward website for the list of packages.

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Off to Richmond we go....

RPV materials packed ... check.
Laptop ready to go ... check, check!
Agenda, invitations, candidate materials ... check.
Suitcase packed ... check.
Vehicle gassed and ready to go ... check.

The long-awaited Virginia Republican Convention is finally here ... and I'm off to Richmond for the weekend. Here's hoping to blog at some point although it will be an extremely busy time. Friday will be a long, long day but exciting as everyone arrives at the Convention Centre and registers for the day's events.

We have much business to cover both days so, while it will be fun, we will be rolling up our sleeves to work hard for our candidates.

After it all wraps up on Saturday, there is a meeting for the delegates to the National Convention where we will receive packets of information about hotel rooms, transportation, and other materials for our trip. I'm looking forward to being with the Delegation for the first time.

Tomorrow is the first meeting of the reconstituted State Central Committee when the newly elected members will gather to cover the business of the Republican Party of Virginia. These are the representatives elected by their peers from each Congressional District throughout the state, and I am looking forward to greeting those who won re-election and some who are back on after a brief hiatus.

We have a good group of SWAC-GOP folks going over including Augusta County Chairman Kurt Michael, as well as several of the SWAC bloggers. The way this weekend turns out will help determine the course of the Republican Party in Virginia....

U.S. Senate: Jim Gilmore, Jim Gilmore, Jim Gilmore

By Howie Lind

I strongly endorse Governor Jim Gilmore for the United States Senate. I urge you to support him and to vote for him at the Republican State Convention May 31 in Richmond.

The following issues are of utmost importance to us as Virginians and as patriotic Americans.

National Security and Defense
Governor Jim Gilmore served in the U. S. military as an Army Intelligence Officer, and he has served as Chairman of the Congressional Commission on Counter-Terrorism and Weapons of Mass Destruction -- pre-9/11/01. And he has been a great leader for a strong Homeland Security posture for our nation after September 11th. Our Presidential nominee, Senator John McCain, will win Virginia while gaining large support from the national security and defense communities, both military and civilian, both active and retired. With Governor Gilmore on the ballot in Virginia with Senator McCain, Gov. Gilmore will attract these same voters.

Mark Warner has no military service and no experience in the above areas.

National Energy Policy
Governor Jim Gilmore has called for a "declaration of energy independence for the United States of America." His plan for more domestic energy production includes drilling for oil and gas in Alaska, in the continental United States, and off of our shorelines. He also calls for streamlining the cost of regulatory compliance for the construction of new nuclear plants and oil refineries and treating coal as a strategic national asset. He advocates a full range of new energy policies in order to push the United States towards energy independence, and away from our reliance on foreign oil and gas, particularly from these despotic regimes around the world who are our sworn enemies.

Mark Warner is beholden to the policies of the Democrat's far left who are stopping us from becoming energy independent.

National Economic Policy
Governor Jim Gilmore understands that the key to a strong economy is lower taxation at all levels of government in order to free up businesses -- small, medium, and large -- to expand their productivity and to create more jobs. Gov. Gilmore's signature achievement during his governorship was to eliminate the personal property tax on cars and trucks. And he achieved 70% of this car tax elimination, before being blocked by the Democrats and some Republicans in the Virginia General Assembly.

Mark Warner's signature achievement during his governorship was to ram the largest tax increase down the throats of all Virginians. This massive tax increase was absolutely unnecessary since the state economy was just rebounding, that resulted in record state revenues in excess of his tax increase -- before the tax increase even kicked in. The "main stream media" refuses to acknowledge this fact.

Please join me in supporting Governor Jim Gilmore to be our next United States Senator from Virginia.

Thanks to Howie Lind for use of his email.

Cross-posted at Bloggers4JimGilmore

Jim Gilmore is the ONLY choice for U.S. Senate

National security is my #1 concern in any election ... and Jim Gilmore is the only choice in the U.S. Senate race because of his strong national security background.

I am not in favor of abortion ... but that is not the most important issue to me when it comes to a candidate. I respect those who are pro-life ... aren't we all pro-life? ... but if we have bombs dropping on our heads, it won't matter about abortion. First and foremost, we must secure our nation.

Jim Gilmore has the background and experience for that. He led Virginia through the 9/11 crisis as governor. He has military intelligence background. He was part of the Gilmore Commission prior to 9/11 and recognized the terrorism threat at that time.

Jim Gilmore is for drilling for oil in ANWR ... Marshall is not.

Gilmore wants to see us become more energy independent by drilling offshore and by streamlining the cost of regulatory compliance for new nuclear plants and oil refineries.

Gilmore is for the Virginia Dominion coal plant in southwest Virginia that is opposed by environmentalists but is wanted and needed by the people who actually live and work in the area.

Under Jim Gilmore's administration we saw tuition at Virginia's colleges reduced 20%. That rate was frozen for four years ... and since then tuition rates have spiraled upwards. With college-aged children, I am painfully aware of college costs.

Jim Gilmore says what he means and means what he says. He is the only choice for Virginia for U.S. Senate, and I will be in Richmond proudly supporting him at the RPV State Convention this weekend.

Cross-posted at Bloggers4JimGilmore

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Subway apologizes

The controversial decision by Subway sandwich shops to exclude home school students from a writing contest they were sponsoring has resulted in an apology. Today the following was issued:
Regarding your concerns about the Subway contest that excludes home schools from contest eligibility, Scholastic and Subway apologize to all individuals who have taken offense at this. Our intention was never to make independent schooled children feel discriminated against or excluded from this specific promotion.

Throughout the course of the year Scholastic runs a number of contests and sweepstakes that are open to all teachers and students. The eligibility of this contest in particular was solely put in place to award a large group of children with the grand prize of $5,000 worth of athletic equipment. We do however understand how home-schooled children could benefit from this type of prizing and will make sure eligibility is open to everyone in future promotions.

We appreciate your feedback and will make sure a similar situation does not happen in the future.
Home educated students just want to be offered the same opportunities as their peers. Subway, who provided sandwiches at one of the home school conventions held in Charlottesville a few years ago, probably was not even aware of how it would look to the home school community to exclude them from a creative writing contest. Subway rectified a wrong, and we thank them.

Augusta County ... should they have pursued the "megasite"?

It sounds as if Augusta County hired a consultant to tell them what many in the community already could have told them: perhaps they should not have let the "megasite" get away. The Toyota plant "megasite" that was exposed by loose-lipped people and shot down by environmentalists two years ago would have provided blue collar and white collar jobs for the area as well as provided the advantages of Toyota's well-known community involvement.

The consultant cited the need to recruit new businesses, hold onto the old ones, and encourage small businesses ... and cited the lack of jobs for local students who go to college and those local youth who do not go to college. The manufacturing jobs that have been in the county for over 20 years are not assured of remaining here as companies close plants and shift work forces around the country.

The future of Augusta County will depend on its ability to provide jobs in the years ahead.

Public hearings to get input from the community will be held June 9 at 7 pm at Stuarts Draft High School, June 10 at 7 pm at Riverheads High School, and June 11 at 7 pm at the Augusta County Government Center.

It all depends on your perspective....

Jerry at From On High nails it. Mediocre Mark Warner continues to be allowed to slide by, thanks to an adoring media....

RPV State Convention to feature Dick Cheney, George Allen, Rich Galen

This weekend's 2008 Virginia Republican Convention will feature Vice President Dick Cheney, former Senator George Allen, and veteran Republican Rich Galen as speakers.

Rich Galen, who has worked for Dan Quayle and Newt Gingrich, and currently serves as a political analyst for CNN and Fox News, will be the keynote speaker Friday afternoon. Vice President Dick Cheney will be the special guest speaker at the Commonwealth Gala to be held Friday night. George Allen will address the convention on Saturday.

The Convention is being held at the Greater Richmond Convention Centre.

Tell Tim Kaine "no" to more taxes

Tim Kaine thinks he knows what's best for your pocketbook. Virginia Conservative Action Committee PAC (V-CAP) joins the growing list of organizations, groups, and individuals who believe Tim Kaine is wrong on his proposal to raise taxes for transportation.

VCAP reminds us of Tim Kaine's record:

In 2002, voters in Northern Virginia and Hampton Roads said no to raising regional sales taxes. June 23rd, Tim Kaine wants to hold a special session to tell those same voters that Richmond knows what's best for them and impose a tax twice the size as the one rejected.

Tim Kaine and the Democrats need to be reminded that the voters have already said no once before.

VCAP has worked hard through the years to hold our elected officials accountable for their actions. Now more than ever elected officials in Richmond need to be reminded this June 23rd that Virginia's working families have already said no to regional tax increases.

In the six years since Virginia's working families said no to regional tax increases, government spending has increased 40%. Tim Kaine and the Democrats in Richmond don't think that is enough.

When faced with a housing crisis, Tim Kaine proposes to make it harder for you to sell your home and DECREASE its value at the same time.

When faced with an economic downturn, Tim Kaine proposes to make it more expensive for you to buy the basic goods your family needs.

Tim Kaine and Democrats in Richmond have declared war on Virginia's working families and VCAP is working hard to help our Conservative leaders in Richmond fight back. But we can't do it without you.

Tim Kaine and the Democrats in Richmond already take too much hard earned money out of the pockets of Virginia's working families. Now is the time to say no more.
At a recent town hall meeting in Staunton (see photo above), citizens turned out to do just that ... say no to Kaine's tax increases.

Reagan's Republicanism

"You can't be for big government, big taxes, and big bureaucracy and still be for the little guy."

-- President Ronald Reagan

Tragedy strikes Steven Curtis Chapman's family

Five-year-old daughter struck by vehicle

I hear something like this and I count my blessings....

Christian singer/songwriter Steven Curtis Chapman's family is in mourning after his five-year-old daughter, Maria, the youngest of his six children, was accidentally struck and killed in the family's driveway by a vehicle driven by her teenage brother. The accident occurred last week on the long, rural driveway at their home west of Franklin, Tennessee.

It is a double tragedy for this family because they have lost a child ... and another child is likely grief-stricken and in deep agony over the accident. Our prayers are with this family as they deal with the heart-wrenching incident.

The funeral service for Maria is remembered by a close friend and colleague ... another news story about the tragic accident ... Steven Curtis Chapman's official website.

H/T Home Educators Association of Virginia (HEAV)

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Condolences ...

... to Mike at Write Side of My Brain whose wife lost her mother. Our prayers and thoughts are with their family at this time.

AFP's Taxpayer Action Day in Richmond

Americans For Prosperity, the grassroots organization that keeps an eye on your pocketbook, is planning Taxpayer Action Day in Richmond on June 23rd to help deliver petitions and meet with legislators to eliminate waste, fraud, and abuse ... and to deliver the message that Virginians cannot afford another tax increase.

Governor Tim Kaine is traveling the state advocating more taxes so this is a great way to let him know Virginias will not tolerate more tax increases. Americans for Prosperity. Richmond. June 23. See you at the Capitol.

Expoland ... more bylaw changes for tonight's meeting

But will they consider the buyout offer for the motocross track?


1. MEMBERS: The affairs of the Corporation shall be managed, conducted and controlled by a Board of Directors composed of not less than twelve (12) elected members, or more than sixteen (16) elected members who have been members for at least six (6) months prior to his/her election, and a Secretary and Treasurer which may be elected by the Board from within, or outside, its membership.

Change: 6 months to 1 year Approve YES_________ NO_________


1. AMENDMENTS: These by-laws may be altered, amended or repealed and new by-laws may be adopted by a majority vote of the members present or represented by ballot, at any annual membership meeting when the proposed amendment has been sent out and the notice of such meeting or at any special membership meetings.

Change: and to with Approve YES___________ NO____________

Dems in disarray over Kaine tax hike plan

From RPV...

RICHMOND, VA – What do rural Virginians, Democrat candidates for Governor, and Republicans in the General Assembly have in common? They don’t support Governor Kaine’s tax plan.

Articles such as "Opposition mounts against Kaine's transportation fix" (Daily Press, 5/18/08), “Rural residents give cold shoulder to new road taxes” (The Virginian Pilot, 5/27/08) and “Virginia Democrats divided over transportation fixes” (Richmond Times Dispatch, 5/25/08) reflect the opposition to Kaine’s tax hike proposal. Other news reports have also shed light on the disarray and verbal sniping taking place among members of the governor’s own party.

Sen. Creigh Deeds (D-Bath), who has announced that he is seeking his party’s nomination for governor, pointed to a lack of support among Democrats for Kaine’s tax increases:

"Governor Kaine wanted the Democrats in the House and the Senate to get behind one set of proposals, and that is just not going to happen." (“Governor’s Road Proposals Have Virginia Democrats Feuding,” The Washington Post, 5/15/08)

Meanwhile, Democrat Brian Moran of Alexandria, who is a likely Deeds opponent for governor, has endorsed a tax increase, however his plan differs from Kaine’s tax increase. Moran supports a statewide 1-cent sales tax increase. He also rejects calls for a gas tax increase, calling such taxes “regressive.” (“Transportation Proposals to Get Virginia Moving,” The Virginian Pilot, 5/11/08)

Moran’s stance has pitted him against fellow Northern Virginia Democrat Sen. Richard Saslaw. Saslaw chided Moran and Del. Ward Armstrong (D-Martinsville) for answering to poll numbers and being unfair to Virginians:

"I don't run the state on polls, and if Brian and Ward want to run the state on the polls, that is their problem…to me, the out-of-state people ought to be paying this bill," Saslaw said. "Ward Armstrong and Brian Moran want to lay this entire thing on the people of Virginia." (“Governor’s Road Proposal Have Virginia Democrats Feuding,” The Washington Post, 5/15/08)

The divide among Democrats has caused some in the party to lash out against taxpayers themselves. Last week WHSV in Harrisonburg reported that Gov. Kaine told opponents of his tax hike to “stay off the roads” (click here for VIDEO). The same week, the leadership of Hampton Democrat Delegate Mamie Locke was on display as she demanded that opponents of the plan “shut up.” (“Lawmaker Stress Urgent Need for Progress,” Daily Press, 5/22/08)

“While the Democrats fight over which working Virginians and struggling industries to increases taxes on, Republicans are committed to fixing the problem Governor Kaine has created,” said RPV Director of Communications Josh Noland. “Republicans have responded to Kaine’s call for a tax increase by standing up for fiscal discipline, encouraging innovative solutions, and rejecting the old liberal stand-by of a statewide tax increase.

Memorial Day in Richmond and other thoughts....

American flag at half-staff on Memorial Day -- May 26, 2008

Where were you yesterday at 3 pm for the moment of silence on Memorial Day?

I was in Richmond. My uncle's name is etched in the walls of the Virginia War Memorial on a hill overlooking the James River ... an uncle I never knew ... a young man of World War II who left rural Virginia and left behind a wife, parents, and siblings (my mother was his youngest sibling) to travel halfway around the world and die in the waning days of the war....

The Memorial Day op-ed in the Waynesboro News Virginian was especially poignant as publisher Lee Wolverton wrote about his grandfather's service in World War II ... and the ultimate sacrifice he paid at Normandy. In "A warrior's spirit endures unbroken," he recounted Lt. Col. Robert Lee Wolverton's final hours on D-Day in 1946 as he led the elite 101st Airborne Division. Lee Wolverton's words assure his grandfather's service will not be forgotten....

I noticed many vehicles on the roadways with yellow ribbon magnets and support the troops magnets ... seemed to be more than usual but maybe I was just paying more attention....

Three things stood out to me on the drive to and from Richmond. First was the number of state police vehicles ... they were everywhere. I'm glad Virginia's finest were out there keeping the roads safe for us. I was amazed at how many we saw along I-64 going and coming ... no holiday for them. Second was the lush green of the trees alongside the interstate. We have had a wet, cool spring and everything has grown up including brush and grass. Third was the number of dead deer on the shoulders of the interstate. The deer population in Virginia has reportedly been growing ... if the number of them killed by vehicles is any indication, I would say that is true....

It was warm in Richmond ... probably around 85 degrees ... and sunny but a stiff breeze kept it from feeling too hot. SWAC Niece spent her afternoon at the pool, kicking off the unofficial start of summer although she still has two more weeks of school....

We drove back at mid-afternoon to avoid the heavy holiday traffic that would be on the roadways into the evening. As we passed Charlottesville and the vicinity of Thomas Jefferson's Monticello, I wondered, as I often do, what Mr. Jefferson would think of all the vehicles zipping along on the interstate between his mountain and C-ville. I often think of Mr. Jefferson when I am driving to Richmond, wondering what it was like back in the 1800s riding a horse or driving a buggy to Richmond for the legislature....

The Blue Ridge Mountains in the distance were hazy, earning their "blue" name....

Ongoing construction on I-64 at Milepost 107 did not slow us down. They were working on the Stockton Creek Bridge just east of the Crozet exit, and because one lane was closed it was restricted to 13' wide. I wasn't sure why they slowed traffic down to 55 mph two miles before the construction site....

As we headed up Afton Mountain a tractor-trailer was broken down on the shoulder. A highway truck had pulled in behind him with a sign urging caution to motorists ... thanks to the highway workers especially on holidays....

When we topped Afton Mountain and drove under the Skyline Drive, the Shenandoah Valley stretched out before us ... we were home. Huge thunderheads could be seen forming behind the Alleghanies and, indeed, a thunderstorm later passed through.

It was good to be back in the Valley.

"Pelosi Premium" gasoline

By Congressman Bob Goodlatte

Virginia’s families are feeling the pinch of rising gas prices and recent talk of $4 a gallon prices are of great concern to me. I believe immediate action needs to be taken to address this issue. Unfortunately, Speaker Nancy Pelosi and the Democrats in Congress have failed to show any meaningful leadership.

Two years ago Nancy Pelosi and Democratic candidates across the country promised the American people that they had a plan to reduce gas prices and it would be their top priority. Yet, since they took control of Congress, gas prices have increased nearly 60%.

On January 4, 2007, when Nancy Pelosi was elected Speaker, the national average for a gallon of gas was $2.33. Today, according to AAA, the national average is $3.831 a gallon.

Americans cannot afford the Pelosi Premium. Click here to learn more.

The only solution Nancy Pelosi and the Democrats have come up with is to raise taxes on energy, which they have done four times since coming to power.

They even voted to increase taxes on America’s energy producers while giving Venezuelan Dictator Hugo Chavez and his state run CITGO a tax exemption, even as he threatened to cut off oil supplies to the U.S.

There is a great deal at stake this fall. That’s why I need your help. For the first time in a decade the Democrats in our area are going to run a candidate against me. While I am hopeful that the people of this district will once again send me to Washington to represent them, we cannot take anything for granted. I need your help to make sure I can continue to take a stand for our values in Washington. I hope I can count on your continued support.

Cross-posted at

Tonight: Augusta Expoland meeting ... will they accept Argenbrights' buyout offer?

Augusta County's tax-exempt non-profit Expoland (foreground) overlooks I-64 and the industrial area on the north side of the interstate including Augusta Medical Center hospital.

Expoland, which has reportedly been in financial trouble for years, has had an offer from Terry and Doug Argenbright to purchase the facility intact to keep it as a recreational facility for the citizens of Augusta County and surrounding areas. (See photos here.)

So what is the status of Expoland? Are they selling off tracts of land to pay the bills? Why were the Argenbrights encouraged to follow through with their proposed motocross track ... only to be turned down after eight months of meeting the requested demands?

The annual Expoland meeting to include all shareholders and the board of directors will be held tonight, Tuesday, May 27, 2008, at 7:00 pm at Expoland in Fishesville (I-64 & Rt. 608). Proposed changes to the bylaws have purportedly been suggested with the ballot below.

Four Board of Director members will be voted on at Tuesday's meeting. The ballot has the four names of the people who are already on the board with space for write-in votes. It is open to the public, and the press will be there.

The Expo Board of Directors are recommending the following changes to Expo’s By-Laws.
Vote to approve all changes as recommended:
YES_______ NO_______
Otherwise, vote on each change below leaving above YES/NO blank.


2. Termination: Membership shall be transferred upon the death of said member to his or her remaining spouse or, in the absence of such spouse, shall be terminated. Membership shall also be terminated upon the request of said member, presented in writing to the Board of Directors.

Change: Delete Article III paragraph 2.
Approve YES___________ NO___________


1. ANNUAL MEETING: The annual meeting of this Corporation shall be held either in the month of March, April, or May each year, at a time and place designated by the Board of Directors, for the purpose of electing Directors and transacting any other business as may lawfully come before the meeting.

Change: Delete MARCH. Approve YES_________ NO________

2. SPECIAL MEETINGS: The President, acting for the Board of Directors may call Special meetings. Ten (10)
Percent of the members may file a petition with the Board of Directors, stating their specific business, and demand a special meeting at any time.

Change: from 10% to 25% Approve YES________ NO________

4. QUORUM: At any meeting of the Board of Directors, the presence of a majority of Directors shall constitute a quorum. At any membership meeting of the Corporation, ten (10) percent of the members, either present or represented by a ballot, shall constitute a quorum.

Change: from 10% to 25% Approve YES_________ NO_________

Badrose & others check out Subway story....

Update 5/28/08: Subway apologizes....

Badrose said I made her have to post because of the Subway/home schooler story. I'm glad to know I had something to do with getting her to the keyboard because we've missed her ... I'll try to do it again! Badrose read the post about Subway snubbing home schoolers and humorously concluded that, for the first time, Subway had left a bad taste in her mouth! She also included American Thinker's thoughts, also along a humorous line, which you should check out. Carl Kilo took note that Badrose was ticked off.

Whackette has a different view as she defends Subway and throws out a few well-padded punches at a couple of fellow bloggers ... along with a dose of humor. Sorry, Whackette; I see what you are saying but still feel it discriminatory because "fitness" is needed in local parks and playgrounds, too. Besides, from my (limited) experience with public schools when my son was in grades K-1 (before being removed in grade 2 to be home educated through grade 12), public school teachers withheld recess and playground time as a punishment when someone in the class acted up ... i.e., one or two misbehaving students caused the entire class to miss recess. I was a room mom and school tutor; I saw it happen over and over. Perhaps the schools just need to encourage teachers to allow students outside on the playground.

Scott's Morning Brew wrote that home schoolers need not apply to Subway ... and Shaun Kenney said this made Quizno's his choice of sandwich shop. Leslie Carbone adds her humorous post as she laughs at the grammatical/ typo error of "Untied" States.

Meanwhile, the controversy continues....

Monday, May 26, 2008

Maxfield's tribute to his grandfather....

Alex Davis is a Staunton native, born and raised. His family roots go deep into the community ... his appreciation of history is profound. Entertainment coarses through the veins of the Davis family and has been passed down from generation to generation.

His grandfather, Bob Davis, was a local well-known radio personality who first introduced the Statler Brothers on the radio.

The 48th anniversary of the death of Bob Davis is today ... and Alex republishes a touching tribute that was published in the newspaper by family and friends. A leader in the community, Mr. Davis tragically died too young at the age of 36. Alex also republished the newspaper article recalling the death of Bob Davis.

It is part of the history of the city of Staunton.

Phil and the local Moose Lodge....

Yankee Phil tells us about the philanthropic ways the local Moose Lodge has helped the community ... to the tune of $70,000 donated last year alone. He and his fellow Moose (Meese, plural? - just kidding, guys) plan to do good things in the upcoming year. Thanks for the post, Phil.

Kilo "blooms it up!!!"

While I've been busy snapping photos of flowers and trees in my yard, Kilo has done some photographing of his own in his neck of the woods. Those are some beautiful flowers, Carl! Thanks for sharing what's blooming in your yard.

Memorial Day ... 3 pm observation to honor our fallen heroes

Memorial Day ... Monday
3:00 pm

A minute of silence to honor

America's fallen heroes.

The yard work pays off....

Just the spot to relax with friends....
"Snow on the Mountain," delicate white blossoms that I bought from Milmont about six years ago, spreads around other plants. It is beautiful ... and I love the name.

Pink peony, just one of the many blooming throughout the yard.
Photos by SWAC Girl

President Bush's Memorial Day message

"This Memorial Day, I ask all Americans to honor the sacrifices of those who have served you and our country. One way to do so is by joining in a moment of remembrance that will be marked across our country at 3:00 p.m. local time. At that moment, Major League Baseball games will pause, the National Memorial Day parade will halt, Amtrak trains will blow their whistles, and buglers in military cemeteries will play Taps. You can participate by placing a flag at a veteran's grave, taking your family to the battlefields where freedom was defended, or saying a silent prayer for all the Americans who were delivered out of the agony of war to meet their Creator. Their bravery has preserved the country we love so dearly.
President George W. Bush addressed the nation on Saturday, May 24, 2008:

THE PRESIDENT: Good morning. This Memorial Day weekend, kids will be out of school, moms and dads will be firing up the grill, and families across our country will mark the unofficial beginning of summer. But as we do, we should all remember the true purpose of this holiday -- to honor the sacrifices that make our freedom possible.

On Monday, I will commemorate Memorial Day by visiting Arlington National Cemetery, where I will lay a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknowns. The tomb is the final resting place of three brave American soldiers who lost their lives in combat. The names of these veterans of World War I, World War II, and the Korean War are known only to God. But their valor is known to us all.

Throughout American history, this valor has preserved our way of life and our sacred freedoms. It was this valor that won our independence. It was this valor that removed the stain of slavery from our Nation. And it was this valor that defeated the great totalitarian threats of the last century.

Today, the men and women of our military are facing a new totalitarian threat to our freedom. In Iraq, Afghanistan, and other fronts around the world, they continue the proud legacy of those who came before them. They bear their responsibilities with quiet dignity and honor. And some have made the ultimate sacrifice in defense of their country.

One such hero was Sergeant First Class Benjamin Sebban of the Army's 82nd Airborne Division. As the senior medic in his squadron, Ben made sacrifice a way of life. When younger medics were learning how to insert IVs, he would offer his own arm for practice. And when the time came, Ben did not hesitate to offer his fellow soldiers far more.

On March 17, 2007, in Iraq's Diyala province, Ben saw a truck filled with explosives racing toward his team of paratroopers. He ran into the open to warn them, exposing himself to the blast. Ben received severe wounds, but this good medic never bothered to check his own injuries. Instead, he devoted his final moments on this earth to treating others. Earlier this week, in a ceremony at Fort Bragg, North Carolina, I had the honor of presenting Sergeant Sebban's mom with the Silver Star that he earned.

No words are adequate to console those who have lost a loved one serving our Nation. We can only offer our prayers and join in their grief. We grieve for the mother who hears the sound of her child's 21-gun salute. We grieve for the husband or wife who receives a folded flag. We grieve for a young son or daughter who only knows dad from a photograph.

One holiday is not enough to commemorate all of the sacrifices that have been made by America's men and women in uniform. No group has ever done more to defend liberty than the men and women of the United States Armed Forces. Their bravery has done more than simply win battles. It has done more than win wars. It has secured a way of life for our entire country. These heroes and their families should be in our thoughts and prayers on a daily basis, and they should receive our loving thanks at every possible opportunity.

This Memorial Day, I ask all Americans to honor the sacrifices of those who have served you and our country. One way to do so is by joining in a moment of remembrance that will be marked across our country at 3:00 p.m. local time. At that moment, Major League Baseball games will pause, the National Memorial Day parade will halt, Amtrak trains will blow their whistles, and buglers in military cemeteries will play Taps. You can participate by placing a flag at a veteran's grave, taking your family to the battlefields where freedom was defended, or saying a silent prayer for all the Americans who were delivered out of the agony of war to meet their Creator. Their bravery has preserved the country we love so dearly.

Thank you for listening.

Cross-posted at

Congressman Bob Goodlatte's Memorial Day message

Honoring Those Who Have Served and Sacrificed by Bob Goodlatte

As Americans observe the Memorial Day holiday, you may be thinking of a long weekends, traveling to visit friends and family, or a backyard barbeque. Memorial Day is also an important opportunity to commemorate our nation’s veterans, who have engaged in one of the noblest forms of public service - defending this country.

We enjoy rights and freedoms unmatched by any other nation in the world and our brave servicemen and women have served throughout history to help make that so. For their service, we in turn have a responsibility to ensure that our troops are sufficiently provided for when they return home.

One important benefit for veterans is the Montgomery G.I. Bill, which provides funding for education and training to veterans after their service. With the increasing costs of education, it is critical to update the benefits that veterans are eligible to receive.

That is why I am proud to be a cosponsor of two important pieces of legislation to do just that. I am a strong supporter of the Enhancement of Recruitment, Retention and Readjustment Through Education Act and the Veterans Education Improvement Act. Both of these bills enhance the existing G.I. Bill, which has not been updated in nearly 25 years, by improving education benefits for service members, veterans and members of the Guard and Reserve.

Additionally, I call on the Democrat Leadership in the House to bring legislation to update the G.I. Bill to the House floor for a vote. Recently, the Post-9/11 Veterans Educational Assistance Act, commonly referred to as the “Webb Bill”, was brought before the House. Unfortunately, the Democrat Leadership took a good bill which would have extended educational benefits to all members of the military who have served on active duty since September 11, 2001, including activated reservists and National Guard and strangled it with more than $50 billion in new taxes on small businesses. While I strongly support expanding the current G.I. Bill, attaching tax increases on small business owners, many of whom are veterans themselves or create jobs for veterans is the wrong way to go. This past week the United States Senate passed the “Webb Bill” without attaching the egregious tax increases. I look forward taking up that measure in the House.

American veterans put the needs of their country before their very own and served for the good of fellow countrymen and women. We have made significant strides to better meet the needs of our veterans, but our work is not finished. On this Memorial Day, let us take a moment to thank the members of our armed services, those who have completed their service and those still engaged in protecting our nation’s freedoms. Protecting those freedoms is not an easy job and we are truly grateful for the sacrifices made by our fellow Americans to defend our nation and allow all of us to continue to enjoy the liberties of our great country.

Cross-posted at


From the official Frank Serpico website:
"Those in charge need to be watched and it is the job of all citizens to keep those in 'power' in check.

"Whether government agencies, law enforcement, big business, or your neighbor down the street, it is important to send the message that living in the grey-zone of morality is not acceptable.

"[Frank Serpico has] found over the years that the greatest challenge that many Lamplighters face is a feeling of isolation and loneliness. Lamplighters oftentimes feel that it is them against the world."
Buford Pusser ... former Tennessee sheriff in "Walking Tall" ... true story.

Frank Serpico ... former NYC cop ... true story.

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Michelle Malkin weighs in on Subway/home school controversy

Update 5/28/08: Subway apologizes....

Subway's snub of home schooled students for a writing contest has caught the attention of Michelle Malkin. Read her comments here and be sure to read the comments left by readers.

This has whipped up the home schooling community nationwide, the very people who have worked the past 25 years to raise studious, principled, hard-working children with a work ethic (and patriotism) that is often not seen in the public schools these days.

My comments on the Subway story and the link to the original World Net Daily article are here.

Planting, relaxing, and roaming on a holiday weekend in the Valley....

This has got to be one of the most beautiful Memorial Day weekends I can remember ... glorious blue skies, warm sunshine, low humidity, light breezes ... it has been perfect. Temps have hovered around 70 degrees which is great working-in-the-yard weather.

And work, we did ... limbing trees, trimming bushes, planting herbs, hoeing the garden, weeding flower beds, spreading mulch, watering flower boxes and potted plants.... It has been a cool, wet spring so everything has grown exceptionally well.

The back yard is an oasis of shade once again and offers a nice spot to kick your feet up after working in the sun. It's also a great spot to relax with friends around the grill.

Iris and red-hot pokers are blooming.
Buttercups cover the ground beneath sassafras trees.

The swing is ready for SWAC Niece....

Ice blue-colored iris.

Dutch iris.

Roses are in full bloom.
That blue sky shows how gorgeous it was all weekend.
Locust trees are loaded with fragrant blooms.
Apples! After last year's late killer frost did away with blossoms, this year's mild spring has provided apple trees loaded with little green apples ...

... and peach trees loaded with little green peaches.

White and pink peonies are in full bloom all over the yard ... their fragrance is one of the pleasures of spring.

It's spring in the Valley....

Photos by SWAC Girl

Driver Brothers plant nursery in Augusta County....

The American flag waved in the breeze on a beautiful Memorial Day weekend.

The selection of herbs was excellent.

Another Valley family-owned plant nursery is Driver Brothers on Rt. 42 west of Staunton as you head toward Buffalo Gap. We stopped in there Saturday for a pickup-load of mulch and a parsley plant to complete SWAC Daughter's herb garden.

Home school graduate Jill, home from college for the summer, is again working there part-time as she has done the past four years. She hugged us both and showed us around ... they have expanded the place ... and their selection of herbs was one of the best I've seen in the area. They were healthy plants at $2.99 each. The mulch was $25 a scoop which just about filled up a regular-sized pickup bed.

Of course, I could have meandered through the greenhouses looking for more to plant ... but after our Friday trip to Milmont we already had herbs and more annuals to get into pots ... so I didn't even allow myself to be tempted. The place was hopping with customers on a beautiful spring day.

Driver Brothers ... another local business that has quality goods.

Photos by SWAC Girl

Sage, rosemary, and thyme ... planting the herb garden

Italian large leaf basil, oregano, parsley ...

... pineapple sage, Italian oregano, parsley, and chives are divided between three window boxes as SWAC Daughter's herb garden on the deck....

Photos by SWAC Girl

Kilo's back roads in coal country....

Carl Kilo has photos of the back roads in his neck of the woods at Spark It Up!!! Check them out ... more of God's country. Thanks, Carl! You know how I love those back roads of Virginia....

A biker agrees with Afton's sad decline....

Received the following comment today on a post I had written on March 6, 2008, about the sad decline of Afton Mountain:

Mark R has left a new comment on your post "The sad decline of Afton Mountain....":
I biked up to Afton today- it is awful, I would have paid for a coffee and cookie- alas- no stores were open.
This is one example of what Afton Mountain misses from passers-by who would stop for lunch, dinner, or an overnight stay. Such a beautiful area is spoiled by burned-out and abandoned buildings. See photos here.

Too bad Mark R. didn't have somewhere for a bicyclist to rest, grab a bite to eat, and relax while taking in the scenery of the Rockfish and Shenandoah Valleys.

Update: Mark R. came back on and left the following comment logging his bike route at "The sad decline of Afton Mountain":
Mark R has left a new comment on your post "The sad decline of Afton Mountain....":

Bike May 25 2008

I biked out Garth Rd to White Hall.

South to Crozet then Jarman’s Gap Road (by sniper house)

People were picking strawberries at Chiles,

Into Nelson county

Ascent Afton Mtn- past Veritas Vineyards,

Past June Curry, the cookie lady- she was talking with some bike campers- I waved.

The climb is grueling- 1000 ft elevation in just over 2 miles

Parkway- went up farther.

Sadly- all the shops at top of Afton are burned out or closed

Turned around and headed home.
Thanks, Mark. Sounded like a great day for a great ride.

In honor and remembrance....

Memorial Day 2008

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Home schoolers snubbed in Subway restaurant writing contest

Update 5/28/08: Subway apologizes....

Subway sandwich shops decided to run a creative writing contest for students to win $5,000 worth of playground equipment for their schools. The only problem was ... they purposely omitted home schooled students from being eligible to participate.

Home schoolers are spreading the word throughout the nation about Subway's snub.

As reported by Jay Baggett at WorldNetDaily:
Subway, the sandwich restaurant, wants to hear your child's story – unless he or she is homeschooled.

The national chain's "Every Sandwich Tells a Story Contest" offers prizes and a chance to be published on the Subway website and in Scholastic's "Parent & Child" magazine but specifically excludes homeschoolers:
NO PURCHASE NECESSARY TO ENTER OR WIN. Contest is open only to legal residents of the Untied (sic) States who are currently over the age of 18 and have children who attend elementary, private or parochial schools that serve grades PreK-6. No home schools will be accepted.
Subway's website promotion not only misspells "United" States, but offers the grand prize winner a "Scholastic Gift Bastket (sic) for your home."

The 2007 winner of the Scripps National Spelling Bee was Evan O'Dorney, a 13-year old homeschool student from Danville, Calif.
Perhaps a home schooled student should have written the ad for Subway ... perhaps it would not have included the spelling and/or typing mistakes. (Home schoolers teach their children keyboarding so they can be proficient on the computer.)

The World Net Daily article continues:
The exclusion of homeschoolers, presumably because the grand prize includes $5,000 worth of athletic equipment for the winning child's school, has caught the attention of bloggers who educate their children.

Valerie Bonham Moon, writing for HomeEdMag, referred to the exclusion as "Subway's P.R. gaffe."

"By now, the Subway sandwich shop marketing division must know how bad of a decision it was on the part of whichever wonk who decided to expressly exclude homeschoolers from their latest contest. E-mail lists may not be utterly aflame over the exclusion, but there is more than one p---ed-off homeschool mom spreading the word. I've been reading their e-mails."
If the decision to exclude home schoolers was partially based on the grand prize playground equipment for a school, it could easily have been avoided by allowing the recipient, if a home schooler, to donate to a park, playground, or local school.

Home school blogger mom "Capturing Today" was letting people hear through her blog about the Subway gaffe.
"Excuse me, but there are MILLIONS of homeschool students in this nation and this is just discrimination. A homeschool student could easily donate the athletic equipment to their homeschool athletic association, local park, athletic center, neighborhood center or the like. I realize they are doing this to have a mass-marketing effect, but they could have just as great a media response from a charitable homeschool student donating the prize.

"I believe this is a wonderful opportunity for us to make our voices heard that we as homeschool families are tired of being cast in a negative light.
B-O-Y-C-O-T-T is what some have suggested doing to Subway stores. Just when it seemed that home educators were being accepted the prejudices of society raised their ugly heads.

Memorial Day 2008 ... in honor of three local fallen heroes

Memorial Day 2008

In memory of three Augusta County Marines
who made the ultimate sacrifice
during Operation Iraqi Freedom....

Lance Cpl. Jason Redifer, 19, KIA, January 31, 2005

Lance Cpl. Daniel Bubb, 19, KIA, October 18, 2005

Lance Cpl. Daniel Morris, 19, KIA, February 14, 2007

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

Semper Fi.
Cross-posted at

"America is not at war ... America is at the mall"

"America is not at war.
The Marine Corps is at war;
America is at the mall."

Encore post....

Friday, May 23, 2008

Protesting the anti-war protesters

There is a heart-warming article in the Wall Street Journal about a man protesting the anti-war protesters as part of a pro-victory group in Pennsylvania. They meet every Saturday for an hour to publicly stand up in support of American troops.

As reported by the WSJ:
[Rich] Davis, 54, is a pro-military protester who makes a public stand each week in support of the troops and their mission.
Mr. Davis grew up during Vietnam ... same as me.
At first he hoped someone would challenge the protesters, speak up for the troops, and defend their mission. On Sept. 8, 2007 he decided that someone had to be him.
That was me six years ago when the first anti-war protesters showed up on the streets of downtown Staunton. They were going to be there everyday that week from 12-1 pm. I hoped someone else would get up a "Support the Troops" rally and, finally, did it myself because I couldn't stand the thought of no one standing up against those people.
"We're not silent anymore," Mr. Davis told me. "We refuse to let antiwar protesters have the stage to themselves."
Exactly! And that is why we must PUBLICLY stand up for our troops. Thank God for people like Rich Davis. His stand did not go unnoticed; he was joined by members of the Gathering of Eagles.

The article is definitely worth the read.

H/T to Ron at Isophorone Blog

TN to home schoolers: "We don't recognize your diplomas"

The battle between home school parents and boards of education continues with the latest muscle move by the state of Tennessee to prevent home schooled students from being employed in government jobs -- state and local. Stop the ACLU had the story that was picked up by Rush Limbaugh:
This is from by Warner Todd Huston.

"The State of Tennessee has officially declared that from this point forward it will accept only less educated student applicants for state, county and city jobs in the Volunteer State. Why would the kindly folks in Nashville make such a stupid rule? Well, it's all about control, you see. The state controls the less educated kids and they don't control the ones that show higher academic aptitude. It really is just that simple. It has come to pass that the State of Tennessee has officially invalidated the high school diplomas of thousands of homeschooled Tennessee kids, at least where it concerns their eligibility to apply for the positions of fireman, police officer, state government employee, even daycare worker -- any government job or government controlled position that the state regulates is covered."

So if you have a degree but you're home schooled, the State of Tennessee says: "Doesn't count if you want to come work for us."

"The reasoning the Board of Education used to justify this obscene act is almost a sensible sounding one. Since religious schools and homeschools each have their own curriculum that is designed by people not working for the state government (i.e., the state Board of Education), then the state has no real control or input in those curricula. Therefore, the state cannot make the assumption that kids educated in institutions or via home programs meet the standards of an officially recognized state education. Like I said, this almost seems logical until one does a tiny bit of research. Fortunately Tennessean Rob Shearer has done just that.

"Rob points out that while the State of Tennessee is claiming that homeschooled kids have a diploma that the state cannot insure what it represents, the same can be said of the state-approved diplomas. It turns out that the State of Tennessee does not require a minimum GPA for graduation from government indoctrination schools. So, did these kids get an A, a B, or a D? We don't really know just looking at a diploma. The state only requires 'credits' for passing the 20 some required courses, the final determination only being that the student be 'proficient' in the classwork."

Look, why are we so concerned? Why are we so surprised? This is exactly what the whole purpose of a government-run education system is all about: you dumb 'em down! You teach 'em certain things, you don't teach 'em other things, and then you graduate them and bring them into state government, city government, federal government, what have you.

This is why they're not going to give it up, and this is why they don't care to improve it. Mr. Warner Todd Huston here is correct in his assessment that the State of Tennessee has basically said: "We only want the lesser educated. We only want people who are not as well educated to come work for us in the state."
Home schooled students have proven beyond a shadow of doubt that they can match their public school counterparts ... indeed, even surpass them in national testing scores, excellence in higher education, and a recognition as self-starters who can work on their own.

Readers of this blog know I educated my children at home for 16 years, and they have excelled in the higher learning environment of Blue Ridge Community College and James Madison University. One graduated from JMU last year with a computer science degree; the other is working her way through Blue Ridge with her eye on continuing at JMU. She excels at her studies and stays on the President's list while working part-time.

The National Education Association (NEA) teachers union is constantly putting down home education ... perhaps they are afraid of the success of parents who do not have the education degrees that teachers possess. By consistently graduating children who excel, it proves that degrees and certificates do not necessarily get the job done.

On an annual basis since the 1980s the NEA has passed a resolution against home schooling:
The National Education Association believes that home schooling programs based on parental choice cannot provide the student with a comprehensive education experience. When home schooling occurs, students enrolled must meet all state curricular requirements, including the taking and passing of assessments to ensure adequate academic progress. ... Instruction should be by persons who are licensed by the appropriate state education licensure agency, and a curriculum approved by the state department of education should be used. The Association also believes that home-schooled students should not participate in any extracurricular activities in the public schools. The Association further believes that local public school systems should have the authority to determine grade placement and/or credits earned toward graduation for students entering or re-entering the public school setting from a home school setting.
In other words, the NEA believes parents are incompetent and incapable of teaching their own children. I did it with only a high school degree.

Parents offer a one-on-one learning situation for their children. Who cares more for the welfare and education of their own children than the parents themselves? Teachers' unions indicate they do not want to see parents succeed.

Now with Tennessee jumping on the band wagon it shows the old stereotypes and prejudices of the government-run education system. Too bad. Tennessee will miss out on principled, hard-working employees with a strong work ethic.

Hannity's Top 10 items for GOP victory

Hannity's Top 10 Items for GOP Victory

1) To be the Candidate of National security:
a) Victory in Iraq
b) Fully support NSA, Patriot act, tough interrogations, keeping Gitmo open
c) A Candidate that pledges to NOT demean our military while they are fighting for their Country. eg Harry Reid: "the surge has failed", "the war is lost"
d) Candidate that promises to ensure that our veterans can live out their lives in dignity.
2) The Candidate who pledges to oppose Appeasement:
a) The Candidate will oppose any and all efforts to negotiate with dictators of the world in places like Iran, Syria, N.Korea, Cuba, and Venezuela without "pre-conditions"
3) The Candidate Pledges to support Tax CUTS, and fiscal responsibility:
a) The American people are NOT under taxed, Government Spends too much
b) The Candidate who Pledges to ELIMINATE and VOTE AGAINST ALL Earmarks
c) The Candidate pledges to BALANCE the budget
4) The Candidate Pledges to be a supporter of "Energy Independence"
a) supports Immediate drilling in Anwar and the 48 states
b) Building new refineries
c) Begin building and using Nuclear Facilities
d) expand coal mining
e) realistic steward of the environment

While simultaneously working with private industry to develop the new energy technologies for the future, with the goal being that America becomes completely energy independent within the next 15 years.
5) The Candidate pledges to secure our borders completely within 12 months:
a) build all necessary fences
b) use all available technology to help and support agents at the border
c) train and hire agents as needed
6) Healthcare:
The Candidate will look for Free-Market solutions to the problems facing the Healthcare industry, and will vigorously oppose any efforts to "nationalize healthcare".

a) The Candidate will fight for Individual health savings accounts, that includes "catastrophic insurance" for every American, so people can control their own healthcare choices.
7) Education:
a) The Candidate pledges to "save" American children from the failing educational system
b) The Candidate will fight to break the unholy alliance of the Democratic party and teachers unions, which at best has institutionalized mediocrity, and has failed children across the country
c) fight for "CHOICE" in education and let parents decide
d) fight for vouchers for parents
8) Social Security and Medicare:
a) The Candidate will "save" social security and medicare from bankruptcy.
b) Options will include "private retirement" funds so people can "control" their own destiny.
9) Judges
a) The Candidate vows to support ONLY judges who recognize that their job is to interpret the Constitution, and NOT legislate from the bench.
10) American Dream:
The Candidate accepts as their duty and responsibility to educate, inform, and remind people that with the blessings of Freedom comes a Great responsibility. That Government's primary goal is to preserve, protect and defend our God given gift of freedom.

That Governments do not have the ability to solve all of our problems, and to take away all of our fears and concerns. We need their pledge that we will be the candidate that promotes Individual liberty, Capitalism, a strong national defense and will support policies that encourage such...

It is our fundamental belief that limited Government, and Greater individual responsibility will insure the continued prosperity and success for future generations.
We the people who believe in the words of Ronald Reagan, that we are "the best last hope for man on this earth," "a shining city on a hill," and that our best days are before us if our Government will simply trust the American people.

Transportation taxes but no gas tax increase from Kaine

One point Tim Kaine made at his Thursday Staunton Transportation Town Hall meeting was that he had not proposed an increase in gas taxes for two reasons:

1. Current gas prices;

2. Dialogue with the General Assembly left him with the realization they would not agree with an increase on gas taxes in any way, shape, or form.

That made me think back to the gas tax increase proposed by state Sen. Emmett Hanger during the 2008 session....

Driving home before sunset in the Valley....

The sun was low in the sky as I drove home from the Kaine Transportation Town Hall meeting Thursday evening.

I popped into this new development of townhomes being marketed by Lacey Real Estate on the western edge of Staunton. As I drove down the street there was Kevin Lacey himself showing the propery to someone ... we waved at one another and, as I passed his Lacey bug parked out front, took a photo.
A new subdivision in Staunton at the Augusta line ... many of the homes overlook the Alleghany Mountains west of Staunton.
Photos by SWAC Girl

Memorial Day Monday ... moment of silence nationwide at 3 pm

A nationwide moment of silence to honor and remember America's fallen heroes will be observed Memorial Day, Monday, May 26, at 3:00 pm local time. The freedoms we take for granted each day are reminders of their ultimate sacrifice and our ongoing debt to them.

As reported by the White House:
"The agony of a fallen soldier's mother is as old as war. One such mother is Sallie Stubenhofer. Her son, Mark, was killed by a sniper in Iraq. He left three young children, including a daughter who was born four months after his return to active duty. Mark and his wife named their baby Hope, which signified what he wanted to offer his children and all children.

"The Moment of Remembrance and our year-long, life-long determination to 'live honoring America's fallen' are in memory of Army Capt. Mark Stubenhofer and all those brave members of our military who have died in the service of our nation. We invite all Americans to pause in their Memorial Day activities at 3:00 local time to honor those who live in our history, reside in our hearts, and rest forever in the arms of God."
Memorial Day ... honoring those who sacrifice and remembering those who serve.

Honor America's fallen heroes ... fly your American flag

American flags should be flown today in honor and remembrance of American Armed Forces members who have given the ultimate sacrifice for their country. Flags on Memorial Day should be flown at half-staff until noon.

Memorial Day salute to WW II veterans

[Reprint of 10-22-05 San Diego Union-Tribute salute to World War II veterans ... in memory of my WWII Navy dad and in honor of my WWII Navy step-dad.]

Band's song 'Before You Go' thanks and honors veterans of Second World War

The elderly parking lot attendant wasn't in a good mood.

Neither was Sam Bierstock. It was around 1 a.m., and Bierstock, a Delray Beach, Fla., eye doctor, business consultant, corporate speaker and musician, was bone tired after appearing at an event.

He pulled up in his car, and the parking attendant began to speak. "I took two bullets for this country and look what I'm doing," he said bitterly.

At first, Bierstock didn't know what to say to the World War II veteran. But he rolled down his window and told the man, "Really, from the bottom of my heart, I want to thank you."

Then the old soldier began to cry.

"That really got to me," Bierstock says.

Cut to today.

Bierstock, 58, and John Melnick, 54, of Pompano Beach – a member of Bierstock's band, Dr. Sam and the Managed Care Band – have written a song inspired by that old soldier in the airport parking lot. The mournful "Before You Go" does more than salute those who fought in WWII. It encourages people to go out of their way to thank the aging warriors before they die.

"If we had lost that particular war, our whole way of life would have been shot," says Bierstock, who plays harmonica. "Every ethnic minority would be dead. And the soldiers are now dying at the rate of about 2,000 every day. I thought we needed to thank them."

The song is striking a chord. Within four days of Bierstock placing it on the Web (, the song and accompanying photo essay have bounced around nine countries, producing tears and heartfelt thanks from veterans, their sons and daughters and grandchildren.

"It made me cry," wrote one veteran's son. Another sent an e-mail saying that only after his father consumed several glasses of wine would he discuss "the unspeakable horrors" he and other soldiers had witnessed in places such as Anzio, Iwo Jima, Bataan and Omaha Beach. "I can never thank them enough," the son wrote. "Thank you for thinking about them."

Bierstock and Melnick thought about shipping it off to a professional singer, maybe a Lee Greenwood type, but because time was running out for so many veterans, they decided it was best to release it quickly, for free, on the Web. They've sent the song to Sen. John McCain and others in Washington. Already they have been invited to perform it in Houston for a Veterans Day tribute – this after just a few days on the Web. They hope every veteran in America gets a chance to hear it.

"I think it's funny that the music-buying population is 13-and 14-year-old girls, but we're shooting for 80-year-old guys," Melnick says.

H/T to my mom