Monday, June 30, 2008

Shenandoah: Del. Todd Gilbert's bill becomes law July 1st

Tough new criminal justice laws sponsored by Delegate C. Todd Gilbert (R-Woodstock) which passed the 2008 session of the Virginia General Assembly and were signed into law by Governor Timothy M. Kaine will take effect on Tuesday, July 1st. The laws include the following measures:

* No bail for illegal alien criminals: Persons illegally present in the United States who commit serious crimes in the Commonwealth of Virginia will be presumed to be ineligible for release on bail pending their trials. No longer will such criminals be routinely put back into the community to pose a further threat to public safety and to be at risk to flee from prosecution. This measure, first conceived and offered by Delegate Gilbert in the 2007 session of the General Assembly, was adopted by House and Senate leaders as part of the 2008 Republican legislative package on illegal immigration.

* Mandatory minimum sentences for methamphetamine dealers: Higher level dealers of the dangerous and highly addictive drug methamphetamine will face mandatory, minimum prison sentences, even for first-time offenders (at least three years for selling one ounce and at least five years for half a pound or more). This bill co-sponsored by Senator Mark Obenshain was the only new criminal law funded in the cash-strapped 2008-09 budget in order to provide for the fiscal impact of the potential increase in prison populations.

* Elimination of parole loophole: Misdemeanor offenders sentenced to more than twelve months in jail for multiple misdemeanors will no longer be eligible for early release. Delegate Gilbert’s bill closed this loophole which eliminates the last vestiges of Virginia ’s once liberal parole calculations which ensured that prisoners served only a fraction of their sentences before parole was abolished for felonies in 1995. Under the now closed loophole, many prisoners sentenced to serve more than twelve months in jail on multiple misdemeanors were actually serving less time than prisoners sentenced to less than twelve months.

Delegate Gilbert stated the following:
“Many members of the General Assembly quickly find those areas in the legislative arena where they can best contribute. As a career Virginia prosecutor, I found that being the ‘tough on crime’ delegate is a perfect role. I am pleased to sponsor strict measures aimed at those who break the law. I am also proud to stand in the gap against my colleagues who would routinely weaken our criminal laws and vote to shorten prison sentences. I hope these new laws will go a long way toward making not only my constituents safer, but the people of Virginia as well.”
House Speaker William J. Howell (R-Stafford) added, "Todd Gilbert is a hard-working, no-nonsense and highly effective delegate. On many important issues, Todd is out front making necessary improvements -- nowhere more so than criminal justice and public safety. Because of his active leadership for law-abiding citizens and against criminals, Virginia will be a safer place to live, work and raise a family."

-- Press release from Del. Todd Gilbert's office

What an honor! President Bush spends last 4th in office at Monticello

What an honor for Virginia! President George W. Bush will spend his last 4th of July in office at Monticello in Albemarle County. Out of anywhere he could be throughout this great nation of ours, he will be here in the Commonwealth.

However ... the moonbats have put out the word to all liberal leftists out there to disturb the festivities. They have called for blocking entrances, meeting in parking lots, blocking roadways, yelling and shouting, and anything else they can do to disrupt what should be a non-partisan event of swearing in new U.S. citizens.

The moonbats plan to ruin an important and memorable event for those who moved to this country, studied hard, and earned their right to become naturalized citizens.

Welcome to Charlottesville President Bush blog is getting the word out to any Patriots who can make their way to Charlottesville to show President Bush that we are thankful for his leadership. We need to counter the moonbats who cannot even take a day off from their hateful demonatrations to celebrate the birth of our country. That is because most of them hate America and think we are to blame for anything that goes wrong in the world.

Stop them! Go to Welcome to Charlottesville President Bush each day this week for continuous updates on where to meet, what to do, and even a sample placard to use.

Spread the link to the blog to everyone you know and let them know what is going on.

And be sure to bring LOTS of American flags! The other side doesn't know what an American flag is except to display it upside down, with the outline of a dove on it, or as a "token" to critics who call them on their lack of flags.

Come out and warmly greet President Bush on Friday.

Dominion Power ... THANK YOU!

Raising Kaine and Green Miles ... butt out!

I don't care what Raising Kaine or Green Miles say ... I am appreciative to the companies that provide electricity to my house whether it's Virginia Dominion Power or Shenandoah Valley Electric Co-op or any number of other providers. They have invested in the companies, built the power plants, installed power lines ... and made life a lot easier for the world.

Do I want to go back to the days of kerosene lamps and heating hot water on a fire to wash dishes or take a bath? Would I rather sweep the floor instead of vacuuming? Do without air conditioning? Heat with a fireplace instead of central heat?

No way!

Unless either of those bloggers actually lives in Wise County, they really have little input into the conversation.

That is the problem with liberals ... they think they are the overlords of us all telling us what to do, what to eat, which company to patron ... telling us we can't smoke, we can't drink, we must curtail our "carbon emissions" ... telling us what kind of vehicle we can drive, and where to set the thermostat, and how much water we can use....

I'm sick of it. Who died and put them in charge? We have let this nonsense go on in this country for 30 years. It is time to stand up to them and say, "No more!"

So butt out, RK and GM, from Wise County. The residents in that area want the jobs and the economic benefits the Dominion Power plant will provide.

If you want to have a say in it, move there!

The next Governor of Virginia ... Bob McDonnell fundraiser at the home of Walter Curt - Part 5

Del. Chris Saxman & Kurt Michael
Friday, June 27, 2008
Bob McDonnell Fundraiser
at the home of Martha & Walter Curt
Rockingham County, Virginia

Read more about Friday night's fundraiser at the home of Martha and Walter Curt: Bob McDonnell fundraiser - Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4, and Friday night fundraiser for Bob McDonnell.

Photo by SWAC Girl

Sunday, June 29, 2008

Welcome to Charlottesville, President Bush!

President George W. Bush will participate in the 4th of July naturalization ceremony at Thomas Jefferson's Monticello ... and the "Coalition for Peace and Justice" is making plans to disrupt it.

In Staunton and Augusta County we are very familiar with this particular group. We have gone up against them many times over the past six years as they protest the war and we SUPPORT OUR TROOPS.

Now they have put out a call to all for anti-war protesters to protest at the Monticello event.

That is unacceptable.

A new blog has just been formed to rally patriots to counter the leftists. Check out Welcome to Charlottesville President Bush. Please spread the word and please check out the blog. It is chocked full of information including a THANK YOU PRESIDENT BUSH placard that can be printed out for use on the 4th. Check back often this week for updates.

We have dealt with the lefty socialists for seven years as they have disrupted every event the President has attended. The 4th of July is a celebration of the birth of America ... and yet they plan to disrupt what should be a non-partisan event.

Please help. Go to Welcome to Charlottesville President Bush and please spread the word.

Staunton ... America's Birthday Celebration for the 4th

Monday ... Stonewall Brigade Band kicks off 4th of July week with patriotic music

Join us in Staunton, Virginia, this week for an old-fashioned smalltown 4th of July celebration at Gypsy Hill Park. Activities will be going on all week, providing fun and entertainment for the entire family. Bring a lawn chair and sit under the trees at the gazebo as you listen to music and enjoy food provided by area churches and civic organizations.

Monday night: The Stonewall Brigade Band will kick off the festivities with their free concert that is held weekly at the Stonewall Brigade bandstand throughout the summer. They will be joined by the 29th Band of the Virginia Army National Guard as they play patriotic music including the "Armed Forces Salute" that recognzies veterans and active service members in the audience.

Bring a lawn chair and plan to be entertained in Gypsy Hill Park at 8:00 pm.

Program for Monday, June 30, 2008:

* March: Salute to the Colors. King; conducted by Bob Moody.
* Overture: For Those Who Have Gone Before. Fagan; conducted by Bob Moody.
* Sacred: Crown Him With Many Crowns. Arranged by Swearingen; conducted by Bob Moody.
* Showtune: Smokey Joe's Cafe. Lieber and Stoller; arranged by Vinson; conducted by Fred Lewis.
* Americana: American Folk Rhapsody. Arranged by Grundman; conducted by Bob Moody.
* Virginia Composer: Jefferson Davis Funeral March. Rhinehart; arranged by G. Moody, conducted by Bob Moody.
* Movie Theme: Magnificent Seven. Elmer Bernstein; arranged by Roy Phillippe, conducted by Fred Lewis.
* Patriotic: Homefront -- Musical Memories of World War II." Arranged by Christensen; conducted by Fred Lewis.
* March: The Major of St. Lo (Thomas Howie). Allen; conducted by Bob Moody.
* Patriotic: Armed Forces Salute. Arranged by Lowden; conducted by Fred Lewis.
* March: Stars and Stripes Forever. Sousa; conducted by Bob Moody.

Charlottesville may get Wi-Fi at Downtown Mall

Free wireless internet on Charlottesville's Downtown Mall? It is being considered as part of the upgrades and renovations planned for the popular downtown area, according to the Richmond Times-Dispatch. Sounds good to me ... would like to see it happen in Staunton.

Waynesboro ... Chili, Blues 'n Brews Cook-Off

Calling all chili chefs for Waynesboro's 2nd annual Chili, Blues 'n Brews Cook-Off to take place September 6 from noon-5:30 p.m. Sponsored by Waynesboro Downtown Development, this event was a hit last year.

Individuals, restaurants, churches, service organizations, and anyone who thinks they can make the best chili around thse parts are invited to register! Top prize is $1,000 with a "Hometown People's Choice" prize of $250. Check the website or call (540) 942-6705.

Tonight: Staunton's Statler Brothers join County Music Hall of Fame

Live! From Nashville! It's ... the ... STATLER BROTHERS!

Staunton's own Statler Brothers ... Harold, Don, Phil, Jimmy ... will be inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame tonight in Nashville.

On their official website is a message to those who have followed them throughout the years:
The Statler Brothers are heading for the Country Music Hall of Fame. The official ceremony of their induction is June 29th at the Hall of Fame in Nashville. This invitation-only event will highlight a 40-year career and become the crowning moment of their achievements.

To all the fans and friends who have supported them through the years, they send their sincerest appreciation.
Congratulations to the Statlers from the folks in the Staunton, Waynesboro, Augusta County, and throughout the Shenandoah Valley!

For more about the Statler Brothers:

- Check out this site at the Staunton News Leader for all things Statler.
- Waynesboro News Virginian article
- Staunton, VA, website has info about the Statlers
- NBC-29 (Charlottesville) interview
- WVIR TV-8 (Richmond) interview

To send congratulations or thanks, email the Statlers.

Heh! Jerry has a point....

From On High....

Saturday, June 28, 2008

Care package telethon raises over $1 million

World Net Daily reports on Thursday's historic effort to help U.S. troops in Iraq and Afghanistan:
A fundraiser organized to collect sponsorships for care packages for the tens of thousands of U.S. soldiers in Iraq and Afghanistan for this 4th of July has generated more than $1 million – the final total could even reach $1.2 million, according to organizers.

WND columnist Melanie Morgan and commentator Michelle Malkin of Move America Forward, the nation's largest grassroots pro-troop organization, assembled the sponsorship campaign and aired a "From the Front Lines" Web-a-thon at this week.

On her website, Morgan confirmed, "The telethon exceeded my wildest expectations. I thought that if we were really lucky, really good, caught some major breaks – we might raise $400,000 – tops.

"Instead, the final tally on the electronic tote board was $1,055,719," she wrote.

"The response was so overwhelming that our website could not keep up with the orders. When all is said and done, I am guessing that Move America Forward will have collected about $1.2 million. People are still donating because re-broadcast the stream, and radio stations across the country were broadcasting or re-broadcasting in various markets," she said.

"Sean Hannity and Laura Ingraham personally donated $15,000 each, and Rush Limbaugh pledged a personal check, Mark Levin donated, Michelle Malkin and Coulter cash flowed into our account. Mark Williams from WROR in Albany, New York, flew into California to be our 'relief pitcher' and his wife Holly ran the sound board and produced while we were on-the-air," Morgan wrote.

"Thank you America, and the good Lord above. Thank you Michelle Malkin, Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, Mark Levin, Laura Ingraham, Dr. Laura, Monica Crowley and so many more, including the awesome John Ondrasik of Five For Fighting, and the fabulous comedian and serious patriot Jackie Mason," she wrote. "Thank you to the entire blogging community and folks at, Michelle, the Media Research Center, Human Events, WorldNetDaily, NewsMax and all the others in the on-line publishing world," she said.

Of course, the real story is that hundreds of thousands of generous Americans participated in a New Media venture that has never before been done. They did it for one reason: love and support for the United States military, our troops and our heroes," she said.
The care packages are including cookies, coffee, Gatorade, beef jerky and other items in the on-going effort also supported by Nancy Reagan, Gen. Petraeus, Lt. Col. Oliver North and Dr. Laura Schlessinger.
Read the rest of the article here.

The next Governor of Virginia ... Bob McDonnell fundraiser at Walter Curt's home - Part 4

Michele & Chris Saxman
Chris is Delegate of the 20th House District.

American and Virginia flags greet guests at the gateway to the pool area.

Dean Welty (left), Janet Welty, Bob McDonnell

Michele Saxman (green blouse) and Chris Saxman (to right of Michele) listen to Bob McDonnell address the crowd.

Del. Chris Saxman & his constituent Kelly Keech

Gateway to the Curt estate.

Kelly Keech

View across pool toward Massanutten range.

Atty. Gen. Bob McDonnell speaks as wife Maureen and Sen. Mark Obenshain listen.

The back country roads of the Shenandoah Valley with Blue Ridge Mountains in background. This is the countryside the Curts see when looking out from their home.

A big thank you to GOP Rock!

Read more at Bob McDonnell fundraiser - Part 1 and Part 2, Part 3, and Friday night fundraiser for Bob McDonnell.

Photos by SWAC Girl

The next Governor of Virginia ... Bob McDonnell fundraiser at Walter Curt's home - Part 3

Looking toward the Blue Ridge Mountains.Kurt Michael talks with Dean Welty. The two of them have worked with the Family Foundation for a number of years.
Koi pond with Americana bronze artwork ... two boys fishing while their faithful dog watches. There were bronze sculptures throughout the grounds including a huge moose alongside the driveway.
Back of the pool.
A quiet spot to talk and look over the mountains and the Virginia countryside.

SWACers thank Sen. Emmett Hanger for his vote in Richmond

Last night at the Bob McDonnell fundraiser at Walter Curt's home, discussions were ongoing about the just-completed Special Session of the General Assembly and what had come out of it. The consensus among a number of those who attended, those who had been unhappy with Sen. Emmett Hanger's pro-tax votes in the past, was appreciation that he voted against the proposed gas tax.

Democrat Sen. Dick Saslaw's bill proposed hiking taxes on gasoline, raising the sales tax, and increasing the new car sales tax. No Republicans voted for the bill.

Thank you, Sen. Hanger.

The next Governor of Virginia ... Bob McDonnell fundraiser at Walter Curt's home - Part 2

Kurt Michael and Sen. Mark Obenshain (R-Harrisonburg)

Kelly Keech and Kurt Michael enjoying the evening.
Kelly is secretary of Staunton and 6th District Committees.
Beverages and food tables
Behind it all were the majestic Blue Ridge Mountains to the east and the Massanutten Mountain range to the north.

The next Governor of Virginia ... Bob McDonnell fundraiser at Walter Curt's home - Part 1

Atty. General Bob McDonnell thanks Sen. Mark Obenshain for his opening remarks as Maureen McDonnell looks on.

Dean Welty (left), head of the Valley Forum in Harrisonburg, talks with Atty. General Bob McDonnell.

Sen. Mark Obenshain (right) introduces the next Governor of Virginia.

Kurt Michael and others listen as Bob McDonnell speaks.

Maureen & Bob McDonnell, Sen. Mark Obenshain (R-Harrisonburg)

"Thank you for coming out on a beautiful Shenandoah Valley evening!"

And thus Attorney General Bob McDonnell opened his remarks to the crowd gathered Friday evening at the home of Harrisonburg businessman and entrepreneur and newly-appointed Republican Party of Virginia Financial Director Walter Curt.

The Attorney General discussed the importance of winning this fall for all our candidates ... John McCain as President, Jim Gilmore for U.S. Senator, and Congressman Bob Goodlatte in the 6th District.

He thanked Martha and Walter Curt for opening their beautiful home for the evening, and he thanked all those who financially contributed to his campaign. He also expressed appreciation for the volunteers who are on the ground doing the necessary legwork. He thanked Sen. Mark Obenshain for his work in the state senate ... and introduced Del. Chris Saxman as the co-coodinator of the Virginia John McCain campaign.

Overlooking the beautiful Blue Ridge Mountains and the Skyline Drive, the setting was perfect and the weather cooperated beautifully with sunshine and a gentle breeze. The theme of the party was Virginia ... with dozens of Virginia flags throughout on fences, on gates, take-home hand-held Virginia flags and lapel pins for guests ... and all were overlooked by a large American flag waving in the breeze atop the stone waterslide beside the pool.

Talking with my own delegate Chris Saxman and his wife Michele was a hoot. Michele is one of the most gracious people I know ... humble, down-to-earth, fun to talk with ... she is an extremely hard worker. Mom to four children ages six to 14, she looked like a model last night in her white capris, green fitted sleeveless top, nice accent jewelry, and green matching pumps. Chris was in high spirits, laughing and poking fun ... the old Chris we all know. His Special Session HB 6006 to tap all proceeds from off-shore oil and gas drilling and put them into transportation was mentioned by Newt Gingrich on Fox News Thursday night.

There is work to do ... and we are ready. More photos coming....

Photos by SWAC Girl

Friday night Bob McDonnell fundraiser at Walter Curt's home

Michele Saxman with Kurt Michael. Chris Saxman is behind Michele.

Friday was a great evening for an outdoor fundraiser overlooking the Blue Ridge Mountains and Skyline Drive. Republicans from throughout the SWAC and Harrisonburg/Rockingham area gathered around the pool at the home of Walter and Martha Curt to greet Attorney General Bob McDonnell and his wife, Maureen, and to spend time with friends.

It's late ... more photos and commentary to follow tomorrow....

Photo by SWAC Girl

Friday, June 27, 2008

Staunton: Cancer claims Billy Rule, 47

STAUNTON — Taken decades too soon, William "Billy" Allen Rule III passed away Wednesday, June 25, 2008, at the University of Virginia Medical Center from complications of CNS lymphoma.

Born July 7, 1960, in Clifton Forge, he was raised in Staunton and graduated from Robert E. Lee High School in 1978. Billy continued in his father's footsteps as president and owner of Rule Volkswagen/Honda.

Billy is survived by parents, Joan Rule and William Rule Jr.; brother, Jimmy Rule; sisters, Sally Rule-Gwinn and Jann Shenk; brother-in-law, Larry Shenk; nephew, Jonathan Shenk; nieces, Jill Midgett, Katie Shenk and Sara and Taylor Gwinn; great-nephews, Jacob Johnson, Logan and Parker Shenk and Gray Midgett; great-niece, Hailey Johnson; and devoted girlfriend, Tonya Brown. He was proud of his role as father to Jenni Lockhart and Missy Wittig, daughters of Kathy Rule, and grandfather to Zakk and Ali Wittig.

Fun-loving, hardworking and consummate Hokie fanatic, Billy enthusiastically supported and sponsored local sports teams and events. He volunteered on the Staunton-Augusta Fire Department for many years. He was an avid hunter and fisherman; he served on the board of directors of Bear Loop Hunt Club, as his grandfather and great-uncle had done before him.

Billy would say that there is no better place to live or better friends, customers and neighbors to have than in this valley. He considered himself very lucky, and many were privileged to have known and loved him.

A memorial service will be conducted at 3 p.m. Sunday, June 29, 2008, at Memorial Baptist Church at 224 Taylor St. in Staunton.

There will be no public viewing.

In lieu of flowers, suggested donations can be made to the Brain Tumor Foundation, Attn: Gift, 1350 Avenue of the Americas, Suite 1200, New York, NY 10019 or to Virginia Tech Foundation Inc., University Development 0336, Virginia Tech, Blacksburg, VA 24061.

Condolences may be sent to the family at

President Bush to visit Monticello for 4th of July

This is a special occasion, indeed. President George W. Bush will attend the annual naturalization ceremony at Monticello at 10 a.m. on the 4th of July.

We have GOP activities planned in Staunton that day -- the 4th of July parade and Republican booth in Gypsy Hill Park -- but I would almost be tempted to head to C-ville for the privilege of holding a sign to thank my President for his service to our country. I very much admire him for protecting Americans from further terrorism attacks after 9/11/01.

Now ... if I could figure out how to clone myself to be in two places at once....

Why Jim Gilmore will win in November....

"Mark Warner is facing one of the fiercest, most aggressive campaigners in our state's history." --Gov. Tim Kaine talking about former Gov. Jim Gilmore

Yes! That is the Jim Gilmore I saw last summer when he said he wanted to run for the U.S. Senate seat ... and that is why I think Jim Gilmore will win in November.

Cross-posted at Bloggers 4 Jim Gilmore

Sunday ... Jim Gilmore to attend Celebrate America 2008 in Lynchburg

Former Gov. Jim Gilmore, Virginia candidate for the U.S. Senate seat being vacated by Sen. John Warner, will be attending the Celebrate America 2008 event in Lynchburg this Sunday, June 29th.

Hosted by Thomas Road Baptist Church, Celebrate America is an annual event held at Liberty University’s Football Stadium.

Gov. Gilmore will arrive at 5:30 pm to tour the event and greet attendees. At 7:00 pm the “God and Country” speakers portion of the event will commence. Gov. Gilmore will be delivering remarks during that portion of the program. Also in attendance will be Lt. Gov. Bill Bolling, Atty.Gen. Bob McDonnell, Rep. Bob Goodlatte and Rep. Virgil Goode.

WHERE: Liberty University’s Williams Football Stadium, 1910 University Boulevard, Lynchburg, VA 24502

Celebrate America 2008 is an annual extravaganza hosted by Thomas Road Baptist Church in Lynchburg, VA. The actual event begins at 1:00 pm and ends at 10 pm with the largest fireworks display in Central Virginia.

Cross-posted at Bloggers 4 Jim Gilmore

Jim Gilmore to visit SWAC area July 7

Mark your calendars! Final details are still being ironed out but advance word is former Virginia Governor Jim Gilmore will be in the SWAC area on Monday, July 7. He is expected to visit area businesses as well as meet with supporters and local Republicans. More information will be available soon.

Cross-posted at Bloggers 4 Jim Gilmore

Times-Dispatch: "Exploring the Shenandoah Valley"

This morning's Richmond Times-Dispatch brought an extra treat because inside was a special 18-page insert all about the Shenandoah Valley.

Included is an events calendar of festivals and fairs in the Valley through the end of the year, a list of country clubs and golf courses, a history of the Brethren and Mennonites who populated the area, a write-up about James Madison University, and much more.

The full-color pullout is chocked full of helpful information and ads for all kinds of businesses and places that offer things to do in the Valley. It's a bargain for the 50-cent price of the Times-Dispatch. Pick up a copy of Friday's paper and hand onto "Exploring the Shenandoah Valley" for the next time you want to roam the Valley.

Goodlatte: "Striving for Energy Independence"

By Congressman Bob Goodlatte

As we approach the height of the summer travel season, families must factor in a much higher cost for gasoline. It is becoming evident that many families are being forced to either cancel their summer travel plans or at the very least limit much of their activity to an area closer to home. With every passing day, as gasoline surpasses $4 a gallon, our dangerous dependence on foreign oil grows more and more apparent.

While there is no easy fix to rising gasoline prices, we must focus our efforts on developing a comprehensive solution to increasing energy supplies and encouraging cleaner, more efficient energy use. Our reliance on imported energy did not come about overnight, and it will take time to reverse. Many Americans don't know that the U.S. is the world's largest energy producer. Over the past 25 years we have pumped 67 billion barrels of oil, and strong reserves remain. The fact is the oil is there - in Alaska, the Rockies, and offshore - but political roadblocks keep it in the ground instead of in your gas tank.

I am a strong supporter of legislation which would modernize the nation’s energy policy by tapping into more of our massive energy resources located in the deep seas on the outer-continental shelf (OCS). This important legislation gives coastal states the power to decide if they would like to pursue energy production 50 miles off the coast of their state, and gives the federal government the ability to produce energy 100 miles off coastal lands. The legislation also makes the U.S. competitive in the global development of energy sources. Currently, the U.S. is the only developed nation in the world that forbids safe energy production on its OCS, a fact that has put us at a severe disadvantage in the global marketplace.

Additionally, I am a strong supporter of and have many times votes for legislation that would open the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, known as ANWR, to energy exploration. According to estimates by the U.S. Geological Survey, ANWR holds between 5.7 and 16 billion barrels of recoverable reserves, potentially producing nearly a million barrels of oil a day. Exploration and development in ANWR would open only 2,000 of the 19 million acres of the refuge, or the equivalent of an area one-fifth the size of Dulles Airport in an area the size of South Carolina.

In addition to environmentally sound oil and natural gas production, we must expand production of electricity for nuclear power. We must also increase the performance of existing renewable research and focus on those areas that offer the greatest ability to tap or expand these new sources of energy. It is only through a comprehensive energy policy based on exploration, innovation, and conservation, that we can grow our economy, create quality jobs, and make America stronger.

Cross-posted at SixtyFour81

Bob McDonnell's response to SCOTUS 2nd Amendment ruling

“I am pleased by today’s historic decision. The Court has recognized that the Second Amendment clearly protects the individual right to keep and bear arms. This basic right was so important to our Founders that they recognized it in the Bill of Rights. It is a fundamental individual right that government must respect and protect. The District of Columbia ban was an unconstitutional infringement of this right, and the Court has correctly confirmed this position. Last December we joined an amicus brief, with thirty other attorneys general, supporting the individual right to bear arms interpretation of the Second Amendment. This is a victory for the individual liberties of all Virginians, and all Americans.”

At Attorney General McDonnell’s direction, Virginia joined a multi-state amicus brief of attorneys general, written by Texas in December supporting the individual rights interpretation of the right to bear arms confirmed in the Second Amendment.

The case, District of Columbia v. Heller, arose from a challenge to the District of Columbia’s prohibition of personal ownership of handguns, and additional restrictions on personal ownership of shotguns and rifles. The United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia ruled that the gun policies of Washington D.C. violated the Second Amendment. The court found that the right to bear arms is an individual right guaranteed by the framers. The Supreme Court agreed to review the case.

The Supreme Court specifically ruled on the question of whether existing law in the District of Columbia violates the Second Amendment rights of individuals who are not affiliated with any state-regulated militia, but who wish to keep handguns and other firearms for private use in their homes.

The case provided the first major review of the original intent and interpretation of the Second Amendment in almost 70 years. It is the first time since the amendment was ratified in 1791 that the essence of the meaning of the Second Amendment has been clearly defined.

...From the Attorney General's office

Standing ovation for outgoing Augusta GOP Chairman Kurt Michael

Dr. Kurt Michael

Standing ovation by everyone in the room for Kurt's leadership the past 5+ years.

Thursday night's Augusta County Republican Committee meeting was held in a packed, standing-room-only room where every chair was occupied. The event was the election of a new chairman after former chair Dr. Kurt Michael stepped down following the contentious mass meeting and follow-up appeals that upheld his election as chairman. However, in the spirit of pulling the Party together, he stepped aside to make room for a new leader.

After hearing remarks praising Dr. Michael and thanking him for his five-plus years as chairman, the entire roomful of people broke into applause and rose to their feet in honor of the man who had led them from a skeleton committee of 12-15 members with little infrastructure to a strong committee with 74 members and an infrastructure that includes District Chairs, Precinct Captains, and other volunteers in place.

Kurt Michael (left) talks with Bill Shirley (right) at celebration afterwards at Dairy Queen.

He had been the driving force in recruiting and working to elect Republican candidates in Waynesboro, Staunton, and Augusta County. He had listened to the community and helped in issues such as WRE, the Marriage Amendment, and adult business zoning ordinances.

He had built up and led the monthly SWAC-GOP breakfasts to include statewide speakers who brought in dozens of local Republicans, providing a platform for Congressman Bob Goodlatte, Lt. Governor Bill Bolling, Attorney General Bob McDonnell, former Virginia governor and current senate candidate Jim Gilmore, former RPV chairman John Hager, former RPV communications director Shaun Kenney, conservative attorney Pat McSweeney, and many others including the SWAC area electeds.

He had worked to help recruit poll workers ... get out yard signs ... made phone calls from GOP headquarters ... taken candidate petitions around his neighborhood ... carried out literature drops ... helped to decorate GOP floats for the 4th of July, Veterans Day, and Christmas parades ... worked the fair booth at the county fair.

He had conducted numerous mass meetings over the past five years for candidates, and he prepared and carried out too many regular meetings to remember.

He had spent countless hours working the phones talking with candidates, volunteers, and other GOP chairs from the area.

And now he was being honored for all his hard work by the Augusta County Republican Committee members ... people from the community who knew the work he had done, recognized the sacrifice, and were thankful for it.

You have been very much appreciated. Thank you, Kurt.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Democrat Saslaw invites Republicans to switch sides

This is interesting....

While Saslaw's proposal for moderate Republicans to cross the aisle appears to be welcoming, it would behoove anyone to do a quick search of Democrat history. As Tim Craig wrote:
Even if a moderate Republican was considering switching parties, they probably shouldn't immediately buy into Saslaw's claim that Democrats are given more freedom by the party's base to vote their vote conscious.

Last year, former Democratic state senator Benjamin J. Lambert III was defeated in the primary after he endorsed Republican George Allen in the 2006 U.S. Senate race.
Democrats are more ruthless than Republicans when it comes to wiping out their own. Check the current website by Democrats who want to remove Joe Lieberman from his leadership positions....

Valley Politico: Eric Cantor to be McCain's VP?

Bob Stuart over at the Valley Politico wonders about John McCain's pick for VP ... and questions whether Congressman Eric Cantor (R-7th Congressional District) could be the one. Good question....

Democrat-controlled Senate okays gas tax increase

That was the headline in today's Richmond Times-Dispatch. As you likely have read in various news reports, the Democratic-led Senate of Virginia made their views on gas prices loud and clear yesterday: "You're not paying enough."

Legislation sponsored by Senate Majority Leader Dick Saslaw (D-Fairfax) proposes to:

1. Hike gas taxes 6-cents per gallon statewide;
2. A 5% increase statewide in the sales tax;
3. Increases the sales tax on new car purchases.

That's not all! Saslaw's bill also includes additional tax hikes on hardworking Northern Virginia families -- including even higher sales taxes and increasing the taxes for the privilege to sell your home (we aren't making this stuff up). It is worth noting that this NoVA sales tax hike is the very same one voters rejected in referendums in 2002 by a strong 55-45% vote.

First, you have Governor Tim Kaine traveling the Commonwealth attempting to sell the citizens of Virginia on his $1.1 billion tax increase plan, and now you have the Senate Democratic leader upping the ante.

But wait... what ever happened to the Governor's plan? Here's what the Washington Post had to say:
"After a day of fierce partisanship and escalating rhetoric, Senate Democrats ignored a proposal by Gov. Timothy M. Kaine (D), approving a plan that would raise the gas tax over the next six years, increase the statewide sales tax by 0.25 percent and boost the tax on vehicle purchases by 0.5 percent."
With the Governor's mansion and Senate both controlled by Democrats, one would think that they could come together and unify behind some sort of plan to address Virginia's transportation challenges. Guess not.

Democrats have little to offer other than the same tired approach of calling for more of your hard-earned money every time government faces a challenge. Raising taxes is the only solution Democrats seem to ever have.

I wonder if Virginia taxpayers can go to their bosses every time they face tight times? Probably not.

Democrats just don't get it.

At a time when Virginians all across the Commonwealth are paying record, wallet-flattening prices at the gas pump, higher food prices, and also trying to negotiate the uncertainty of an economic slowdown, Democrats in Richmond want you to cut your family budget because government refuses to better prioritize it's budget.

The good news is that your General Assembly Republicans are united in opposing these taxes. Not a single Republican Senator supported the Democrat's tax-and-spend plan.

Most people in Virginia believe that when your state budget doubles in 10 years, there are opportunities to find efficiencies and innovations that can make government serve the people’s needs without always resorting to higher taxes as a solution -- and this is exactly what Republicans in Richmond are working to do to meaningfully address transportation over the long term.

From the Republican Party of Virginia

AFP Rally in Richmond - Part 8: The House of Delegates

Del. Chris Saxman (R-20th House) in hallway outside House Chambers.

Del. Morgan Griffith and Del. Chris Saxman exit the Capitol Rotunda as they head back to the House Chamber on the first day of the General Assembly Special Session.

Americans For Prosperity supporters and GOP activists Suzanne Curran (left, Shenandoah County) and Sandy Gates (right, Botetourt County) on the stairs leading from the House Galley to the House Chamber entrance.

Outside the House Chamber door minutes before the 2008 Special Session was convened.

Photos by SWAC Girl

"Democrat-ick" raises its head in the House

A high five to Del. Steve Landes ... although I am sure he did not mean anything by it. Democrats, however, jumped on it.

The Post reports "House Republicans and Democrats Get Testy" ... relaying an exchange while debating a bill at the Rules Committee this morning. They write:
... Del. R. Steven Landes (R-Augusta) started to use the term "Democrat friends" when he was quickly interrupted.

"Excuse me, did he say Democrat?'' House Minority Leader Ward L. Armstrong (D-Henry) asked. "I believe it's Democratic." [emphasis added]

Speaker William J. Howell (R-Stafford) defended Landes. "Friends was the important word,'' he said.

"Actually grammar matters. Sorry, Mr. Speaker," Del. Kristen J. Amundson (D-Fairfax) said.

When Landes resumed talking, he stayed away from the word and used the safer term "friends from the other side" instead.

Chris Saxman's off-shore bill passes House Rules Committee

The House Rules Committee today passed Del. Chris Saxman's HB 6006 that proposed using proceeds from off-shore oil and gas drilling for transportation needs. A similar bill prosposed by Senators Wagner and Cuccinelli died in committee in the Democrat-controlled Senate earlier this week.

There have been estimates that such off-shore proceeds could amount to $200 million a year for the next 40-50 years.

Larry Elder: A black man's response to a black Democrat's question

Larry Elder is described on his website: "A 'firebrand libertarian' according to 'Daily Variety,' best-selling author and radio talk show host Larry Elder has a take-no-prisoners style, using such old-fashioned things as evidence and logic. Larry shines the bright light of reasoned analysis on many of the myths and hypocrisies apparent in our system of government, our society, and the media itself. He slays dragons and topples sacred cows using facts, common sense and a ready wit. "

His column today is a response to a black Democrat who asked how a fellow black American could support John McCain and not Barack Obama.

The letter writer said the following:
Mr. Elder,

I am shocked that you oppose Barack Obama and belong to the Republican Party. We must get over ourselves and realize there is room at the top for everyone, and we must get there by helping each other – instead of agreeing with policies and old politics that are proven not to work.

To endorse John McCain, a person who will not make it easier for the underprivileged, is just too much. How can a fellow black American feel this way?

Your Former Supporter
Larry Elder had a ready response. It began:
Dear Former Supporter,

Do you have any Republican friends, let alone black ones? If so, how many of them want to make it harder "for the underprivileged"?

You also might want to familiarize yourself with the history of the Democratic and Republican parties, and see which party has stood up longer for the rights of people of color.

Do you know that Democrats opposed the 13th, 14th and 15th amendments to the Constitution – abolishing slavery, granting citizenship rights to newly freed slaves, and guaranteeing the right to vote (at least on paper) to blacks, respectively? [emphasis added]
He ended by saying:
Compassion is about encouraging personal responsibility, and getting people to understand that life is about making choices.

Poverty does not cause crime. Crime causes poverty. Poverty does not cause a child to have a child. A child having a child causes poverty.

Finishing high school is a choice. Not joining a gang is a choice. Not having a child until you have the maturity and the means to raise that child is a choice.

You ask how can a "fellow black American feel this way"? Quite a statement. You may disagree, but it doesn't make me less caring and compassionate than you are. I'm sure you truly consider yourself open-minded and tolerant. But based on your letter, tolerance ends – especially with "fellow black Americans" – if someone has an opposing point of view. Larry
Be sure to read the entire article here.

Supreme Court upholds gun rights

Breaking ... Supreme Court rules in favor of gun owners, 5-4. Fox News is updating with all the details. The National Rifle Association had been all over this case ... check their website for updates.

HUGE Support the Troops event today ... 4 til Midnight EDT

Move America Forward ... TODAY ... historic event to help our U.S. troops in Iraq and Afghanistan ... tune in from 4 pm until Midnight eastern time.

Move America Forward is conducting a live, online telethon TODAY in an effort to raise funds for the largest shipment of care packages to U.S. troops in history. The show will be hosted by Melanie Morgan and Michelle Malkin, and feature all-star guests including Rush Limbaugh, Laura Ingraham, Sean Hannity, and many more.

Please support this great effort!

No Kaine Tax Hike ... Special Session continues

All Virginians should be paying attention to what is going on in Richmond during this Special Session. The Democrats are trying to reach into your pockets again so keep an eye on your pocketbook. Let your representatives know you do not want any new taxes.

And while you're at it you may want to let them know you are for off-shore drilling for oil and gas to help with Virginia's transportation needs.

The devil's in the details, as DJ uncovers SB 6009

Read what the mainstream media print about bills coming out of the General Assembly and you get an overview picture of what's going on.

But dig a little deeper ... take the time to read the fine print ... and you may be surprised at what you find. That's what DJ McGuire discovered when he delved into SB 6009, the "gas tax" bill. Can you say sales tax? Because, apparently, there is a provision to raise your sales tax, too. Read his post, Under the Senate Democrats’ bill, sales taxes would also go up in SWAC, the Richmond area, and the Fredericksburg area, for all the details.

Here's unity for you ... Dems want Lieberman removed

It's called politics ... and the Democrats are practicing it on Joe Lieberman right now. A website called Lieberman Must Go is up with a petition because he, supposedly, has lined up too much with Republicans.

The petition says:
We CANNOT tolerate a leader of the Senate Democratic Caucus who supports George Bush and McCain's War in Iraq. We CANNOT tolerate a Democratic chairman of the Homeland Security and Government Affairs Committee who endorses and stumps for McCain. We call on the Senate Democratic Steering Committee to strip Joe Lieberman of his chairmanship and his leadership role.
It's called politics.

H/T Yankee Phil

It was one of those summer days in the Valley....

Wednesday was one of those summer days in the Valley that make you happy to be alive ... warm, sunny, upper 80s ... and there was a breeze that made it comfortable....

I washed clothes and hung them outside ... there is something about the fragrant smell of clothes that have dried outdoors. Three loads out ... each load dry on the line as I went out to hang up the next. Warm sunshine and stiff breezes did the trick....

On warm days such as these it is not unusual to see a black snake draped across the branches of a tree or bush trying to keep cool....

The flowers needed watering so I lingered outside a bit longer ... deadheading along the way ... filled the bird bath with water ... wandered to the garden to see if any tomatoes had ripened (they hadn't)....

I put a chicken in the crockpot to cook along with home grown onions and Yukon Gold potatoes out of the garden ... got a jump on supper since I would be gone in the afternoon and would not have time to cook before time for dinner....

In the Valley and the mountains there are "summer sounds" that I remember from camping up this way while growing up ... the birds calling back and forth to one another ... the leaves rustling in the breeze ... the drone of insects ... the heat of mid-day causing everything to pause....

The robin with the nest in the wisteria has hatched all four eggs and is taking shifts with Mr. Robin feeding the hungry little critters. They will be grown up and gone before long....

In between all the activity throughout the day, I periodically stopped at the computer to publish a blog post or read the latest coming out of the General Assembly. These are busy days in Richmond and it is exciting watching to see what our legislators are coming up with in this Special Session, and to read how the bloggers are covering it all....

We ate dinner on the deck in the cool of early evening....

It's summer in the Shenandoah Valley....

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Contact State Senators ... just say NO to gas tax increase

Immediate Action Needed: Senators are debating the gas tax hike...send an immediate email to your Senator to oppose this tax!

State Senators are debating a 35 percent increase in the gas tax right now. Such an increase at a time when we are paying nearly $4 a gallon and will likely pay more in the coming months would impact working families more than perhaps any other proposal in this special "tax session." This is a regressive tax that harms families.

Senators need to hear from you NOW! They have their computers at their desks and will see the emails coming in.

ACTION: Send a strong message to your state Senator immediately! Tell them to vote NO on an increase in the state gas tax.

Click this link to send an email ... log in and send your message.

H/T Family Foundation

Congrats Kilo and Wise County ... Dominion power plant permits approved

Good news indeed for the good folks in Southwest Virginia. Carl Kilo has all the news over at Spark It Up!!

AFP Rally in Richmond - Part 7: SWAC Delegates

Ben Cline (R-24th House)
Sen. Steve Martin (R-Chesterfield) is interviewed in background for Americans For Prosperity Rally.
Chris Saxman (R-20th House)
Steve Landes (R-25th House)

Ran into the SWAC area delegates in the Capitol and the General Assembly Building. They were all in high spirits ... laughing and talking with constituents and each other.

Delegate Steve Landes (R-25th House) covers the eastern part of Augusta County and Waynesboro.

Delegate Chris Saxman (R-20th House) covers the western part of Augusta County, Staunton, and Stuarts Draft.

Delegate Ben Cline (R-24th House) covers the southern part of Augusta County and Middlebrook.

Thanks to them for their dedication and time.

NRA Alert: Cruising Skyline Drive could make you a felon

Going Out To See The Scenery? In Virginia, You Could End Up A Felon!

It's a beautiful summer day. You decide to take your family for a drive to see the scenery of Virginia. And, as a Right-to-Carry permit holder, you also take your legal firearm with you, just in case. Problem is, you may be about to violate federal law!

Here in Virginia, even with a carry permit, you are breaking federal law if you take a ride down Skyline Drive and are carrying a loaded, operable firearm for self-defense. If you take the turn to use the George Washington Parkway in Alexandria, you are in violation. In either case, you do not even have to leave your car. Just turn down a public road!

This is the current, unfair situation that will continue to exist, if you don't take action right now!

The U.S. Department of the Interior has issued a proposed rule to eliminate, once and for all, this prohibition on Right-to-Carry in national parks and wildlife refuges. NRA is leading the effort to change this policy and we are very close to winning this important battle.

Not surprisingly, anti-gun and anti-hunting extremists are contorting the facts to try to continue this prohibition of self-defense. They are launching e-mail broadsides in an all-out push for their supporters to oppose this common sense measure. (Read a recent HSUS attack e-mail.)

These new rules cannot take effect until after a period of public comment. And make no mistake; our opponents are aggressively ramping up their efforts to try to convince the Secretary of the Interior to reverse his decision.

To combat this effort, you must take a few moments to submit comments on this issue by June 30, 2008.

You may also mail your comments to:

Public Comments Processing
Attn: 1024-AD70
Division of Policy and Directives Management
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
4401 N. Fairfax Drive, Suite 222
Arlington, VA 22203

Your comments will have the most impact if you use your own words. To assist you in drafting your comments, keep the following points in mind:

* Rules on carrying and transporting firearms should be consistent-across the board-with the laws of the state that includes the national park or wildlife refuge;
* Law-abiding citizens should not be prohibited from protecting themselves and their families while enjoying America's national parks and wildlife refuges;
* The new rules should provide uniformity across all federal lands, eliminating the patchwork of laws that create confusion for gun owners;
* Current regulations fail to account for the significant change in state laws since 1984. 48 states now have laws that permit laws that permit carrying and 40 have strong Right-to-Carry laws. Federal regulations should recognize the change in state laws and follow their lead, and;
* The new regulations should restore the rights of law-abiding gun owners who wish to transport and carry firearms for all lawful purposes on most DOI lands, just as they do now on Forest Service and Bureau of Land Management lands

Remember, all comments must be received by June 30. Submit your comments TODAY!

Please share this information with your family, friends, and fellow firearm owners and encourage them to act on this issue RIGHT AWAY by sending comments of their own!

Move America Forward Thursday ... HUGE telethon for troops

Tomorrow, Thursday, June 26, 2008 ... tune in for Move America Forward's eight-hour telethon. The nation's largest pro-troop organization, their goal is to ship the largest single shipment of care packages in U.S. history to our troops in Iraq and Afghanistan ... half a million dollars' worth of care packages for our Armed Forces.

The grand finale to this effort will be a Jerry Lewis style 8-hour Internet Telethon ("From the Frontlines") on June 26th (from 4:00pm - Midnight - Eastern). This cutting edge production “From The Frontlines” will be broadcast live by and hosted by Melanie Morgan & Michelle Malkin. Live and taped reports will be broadcast from our troops serving in Iraq & Afghanistan during the historic 8-hour event. We are also deeply honored that Former First Lady Nancy Reagan has also signed on to support the "Candy Diplomacy" portion of this effort! CLICK HERE for complete details regarding the "From the Frontlines" 8-hour telethon that takes place on June 26th.

Many well-known conservatives have joined in the effort and are promoting it. Rush Limbaugh, Ann Coulter, Sean Hannity, Mark Levin, Laura Ingraham, Dr. Laura Schlessinger, Lt. Colonel Oliver North (Ret.), Monica Crowley, Michelle Malkin, and Melanie Morgan are all part of this historic broadcast.

- On Tuesday, Rush Limbaugh promoted the effort on his nationally syndicated radio show.
- The San Francisco Chronicle wrote about it.
- The Sacramento Union has printed two stories about the broader effort.
- Also check out Wake Up America.
- Another article is avaiable at

Contribute, tune in, help our men and women in uniform who do so much to preserve our freedoms. God bless them all!

Get well wishes for a SWAC Patriot

Jason Bibeau aka The Augusta Water Cooler blog is still under the weather but the Water Cooler is still open for business ... "Republican politics spoken here...."
I couldn't send just any old get well balloons to such a Republican Patriot so these patriotic balloons are for Jason.
Continue to recuperate ... we've got your back!

Bill Bolling: Response to Democrats' rejection of off-shore drilling


Richmond - Earlier today, Democrats in the Senate of Virginia rejected two Republican proposals to create a special fund for revenue derived from the potential off shore development of energy resources and dedicate a significant portion of these revenues to highway construction and maintenance in Virginia. In response to this action, Lieutenant Governor Bill Bolling issued the following statement:
“By rejecting this commonsense legislation, Senate Democrats have dealt a double blow to the people of Virginia,” Lieutenant Governor Bolling said. “First, they have shown that they are unwilling to move forward with the development of significant domestic energy sources to help reduce our dependency on foreign sources of energy. Second, they have shown that they are unwilling to address Virginia’s transportation needs through the use of existing revenue sources or future revenue sources, insisting instead that the only way to address Virginia’s transportation needs is through new and higher taxes. They are wrong on both counts.”

SB6011, as introduced by Senator Frank Wagner (R-Virginia Beach), would have created the Virginia Offshore Energy Revenue Fund and directed that any royalties and other moneys paid by the federal government as a result of the development of offshore energy resources be deposited in the Fund. Forty percent of all money transferred to the Fund would have been allocated to the Transportation Trust Fund and used to address highway maintenance and construction needs in Virginia. An additional 40% would have been used to clean up the Chesapeake Bay and other impaired waters.

Similar legislation, introduced by Senator Ken Cuccinelli (R-Fairfax) would have transferred 100% of all royalty payments related to offshore energy development to the Transportation Trust Fund. Under the terms of SB 6005, which was also rejected by Senate Democrats, the Commonwealth would have petitioned the federal government for authorization to conduct natural gas exploration and drilling activities in the coastal zones of the.

“One of the most important issues facing our country today is the development of additional domestic energy sources. Likewise, one of the most important issues facing our state is the need to secure additional resources for highway construction and maintenance. By rejecting this legislation, Senate Democrats have turned a deaf ear to each of these issues and shown once again how out of touch they are with the people of Virginia,” Lieutenant Governor Bolling said.

Democrat Sen. Creigh Deeds voted against off-shore bill

Democrat Sen. Creigh Deeds wants to run for governor of Virginia ... and yet he voted against a proposal to allow off-shore drilling with the profits to go into transportation, a number that has been estimated at $200 million per year for 40 to 50 years. That would certainly take care of the transportation issues we are facing.

All the Democrats voted against the proposed off-shore bill, and all the Republicans voted for it.

Republicans want to lower energy costs. Republicans want to repair roadways and maintain bridges. Republicans are finding solutions ... and Democrats are shooting them down.

Remember the names of these Democrat senators who voted against the energy and transportation funding bill....
Patricia S. Ticer - (D - Alexandria)
Mary Margaret Whipple - (D - Arlington)
W. Roscoe Reynolds - (D - Henry)
Phillip P. Puckett - (D - Russell)
R. Creigh Deeds - (D - Bath)
Donald McEachin - (D - Henrico)
J. Chapman Petersen - (D - Fairfax)
Ralph S. Northam - (D - Norfolk)
Ask those senators how they propose to pay for transportation needs in Virginia, how they propose to lower the price at the pump and the price when your winter heating bills roll around, and ask them what kind of "environmental" damage they expect from drilling off-shore.

Drill here. Drill now. Pay less.

Special Session continues today ... No Kaine Tax Hike