Sunday, February 28, 2010

Thank you, Canada ... Winter Olympics conclude

Oh, Canada
Our home and native land,
True patriot love
In all thy sons command.
With glowing hearts
We see thee rise,
The true, north, strong, and free.
From far and wide
Oh Canada
We stand on guard for thee.
God keep our land
Glorious and free.
Oh, Canada we stand on guard for thee,
Oh, Canada
we stand on guard for thee.

Winter Olympics end tonight

Gold medal ice hockey game at 3:00 between Team USA & Team Canada

The 2010 Olympic Winter Games come to an end tonight. Nordic combined gold medalist Billy Demong (Vermontville, N.Y.) will lead Team USA into the stadium for the Closing Ceremony, and the flame will be passed to Sochi, host city for the 2014 Games.

The latest updates on Team USA
USA I with Steven Holcomb (Park City, Utah), Steve Mesler (Buffalo, N.Y.), Curt Tomasevicz (Shelby, Neb.) and Justin Olsen (San Antonio, Texas) captured the gold medal in four-man bobsled - the USA’s first four-man gold since the 1948 St. Moritz Games.

The U.S. added to its record medal haul when the U.S. team of Brian Hansen (Glenview, Ill.), Chad Hedrick (Spring, Texas) and Jonathan Kuck (Champaign, Ill.) won silver in the men’s team pursuit in long track speedskating.

With the medal count for Team USA standing at 36 for the 2010 Games, the team is poised to add record medal No. 37 today as the U.S. Men’s Hockey Team faces Canada in the gold medal game.

To catch up on all the action from Vancouver click here .

What’s in store today for Team USA
Amidst the final action of the 2010 Olympic Winter Games, the U.S. Men’s Olympic Hockey Team will meet Canada in the gold medal game Sunday afternoon. The match-up comes on the 50th anniversary of the gold medal win by the 1960 U.S. team.

Kris Freeman (Andover, N.H.) and James Southam (Anchorage, Alaska) will wrap up competition in Whistler with the men’s cross country 50k.

Look out today for a look back at the milestones and achievements Team USA reached during the 2010 Olympic Winter Games in Vancouver, plus a look ahead at the athletes on the 2010 U.S. Paralympic Team arriving in Vancouver in a couple weeks.

To find out about upcoming events and results click here.

Alaska's Iron Dog race features Todd Palin

The NASCAR of Alaska is the annual Iron Dog race. Fellow home school mom Tracey, who lives in Wasilla, has all the details with photos because she was there.

Sarah Palin's husband, Todd, who has won the race throughout the years, was in the lineup of participants for this rugged Alaskan sport:
Today’s Iron Dog course length 1,971 miles, starting in Big Lake to Nome and finishing in Fairbanks, making it the World’s longest snowmobile race. Participants must traverse in some of Alaska’s the most remote and rugged terrain while confronting some the harshest winter conditions. Survival skills are essential, making it the World’s toughest snowmobile race.
The race is nearing its end ... follow results here.

Blogosphere roundup in Virginia and beyond....

My fellow SWAC bloggers have been busy. Fishersville Mike has his Sunday roundup of interesting reads in the blogosphere ... thanks for the link, Mike! Yankee Phil has some smelly statistics ... LOL. Let's hope this stays in Vegas! Bob took The Journey to Elliott's Knob for a gorgeous snowy winter view of that part of the Appalachian Mountains in western Augusta County.

Michael at The Write Side of My Brain is off on a mission trip adventure ... it's good to see Carl Kilo who came out of his winter's nap to Spark It Up with a flurry of posts ... DJ Spiker at Bearing Drift discusses how the GOP can attract youthful voters, something we have stressed in the SWAC area over the years as we mentored future Party leaders and worked with TARs and CRs.

Norm Leahy at Tertium Quids testified before the Senate Finance Committee on behalf of the HB 570 that would put the burden of proof of real estate assessments on the assessor and not the citizen, and revealed that public servants used taxpayer time to testify against the very taxpayers they are supposed to represent. Someone from Augusta County was there ... hope we can find out who it was.

Pat over at her blog, ... and so it goes in Shrevesport, got a head start yesterday rounding up the blogosphere. My thanks to her for the link.

Even rain couldn't keep Donald Douglas and his American Power camera away from the anniversary tea party in Temecula Valley in California where he ran into the Tax Zombie and the Political Pistachio.

The Other McCain starts the day off mixing some light-hearted humor and spelling bees. I know ... you're thinking, "What's humorous about spelling bees?" Trust me ... the connection was made.

El Marko has a new photo essay reflecting on the tea party movement as it passes it's first birthday and enters its second year.

Congrats to my boss Jim Riley over at Virginia Virtucon for his #1 ranking on BNN/Virginia this week.

And, finally, congratulations to Team USA who entertained us for two weeks with the Winter Olympics from Vancouver, Canada, sent daily email updates, and made America proud, making the record books with the most medals in a winter Olympics. The championship gold medal ice hockey game is today between Team USA and Team Canada ... if Team USA wins, it will be the first gold since the Miracle on Ice in 1980, a game my friends and I watched in my Richmond apartment that year. Wouldn't it be something if Team USA did it again....

Sad news ... Marie Osmond's son, 18, commits suicide

He jumped to his death from the 15th floor of an apartment building in Los Angeles. I cannot even imagine the sorrow Marie Osmond and her family must be feeling right now....

Putting the screws to property owners

"The machinery of local government is working very hard (with resources you provide) to keep putting the screws to property owners."
Norm Leahy (Tertium Quids)

Toyota witch hunt?

There's precedence for what is being done by the U.S. government with Toyota. Ronnie Schreiber with Pajamas Media reported on the hype built up against Toyota:
“This is a dangerous condition, it is not fail-safe,” said [Dave] Gilbert on ABC’s World News Tonight.

Still, there was something in the back of my mind that made me a little bit skeptical. In 1992, Dateline NBC got caught rigging GM pickup trucks with model rocket engines when they couldn’t get the supposedly defective gas tanks to explode and provide them with the dramatic fiery footage they needed.

Who is Dave Gilbert, and how did he come to be an “expert” witness before Congress? All due respect to Gilbert — after all, he’s got a PhD — but he’s not an automotive engineer. I have all the regard in the world for capable mechanics, troubleshooters, and technicians, but Southern Illinois University at Carbondale’s automotive technology program is a glorified auto shop program that I’d expect at a vocational high school or a community college. Frankly, I’m a bit shocked that a four-year college offers a BS in automotive technology.
There is a witch hunt going on in America right now ... something does not add up. The article details others instances when auto makers were targeted ... be sure to read the comments section, too.

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Winter entertaining with friends

I love having friends over, and a great way to entertain them with a no-fuss winter supper is to have a baked potato bar where guests can stuff a potato with as much or as little as they want. It's pretty much hands-free for the hostess once everything is in place so no time is lost visiting with friends.

Food prep is fairly simple because I cooked homemade chili and Brunswick stew the day before.
Winter Supper Buffet

Baked potatoes
Homemade chili
Homemade Brunswick stew
Garden salad
Scoop nacho chips
Brownies & Lemon Poppyseed Muffins
Coffee, hot chocolate, iced tea
Potato condiments: Shredded cheddar cheese, chopped scallions, butter, sour cream, salsa, salt & pepper
I found jumbo baking potatoes at the market, wrapped them in Reynolds wrap, and baked in the oven. Chili and stew were warmed on the stovetop. On the bar I had the salad, potato condiments, and beverages along with desserts. Snowman plates and flatware were set out in buffet style and everyone helped themselves.

It was simple and yummy on a cold winter night, and easy to clean up allowing more time spent in conversation and laughter while outside the snow gently fell in the beautiful Shenandoah Valley of Virginia....

USA on pace to break previous gold medal record

The winter Olympics end tomorrow and all those familiar faces will be gone from our living rooms as young people return to their homes throughout the world. As in years past, it has dominated our TV the past two weeks.

From Olympic news today:
By winning two medals Friday in short track speedskating; and by virtue of qualifying for today's gold medal final in long track speedskating team pursuit; and by earning a spot in Sunday’s gold medal hockey game, Team USA is assured of no less than tying Germany’s all-time Olympic Winter Games record of 36 medals.

Prior to the Vancouver Games, the most medals the U.S. had ever won at a non-U.S. hosted Winter Games was 25 at the Torino 2006 Olympic Winter Games. The U.S. has topped the medal standings at only one other Olympic Winter Games, the 1932 Lake Placid Winter Games, when U.S. athletes brought home 12 medals.

The U.S. has led the medal count at the end of every day of competition here in Vancouver. In 20 previous Olympic Winter Games, the U.S. had led the medal count outright on just seven days: Five times at the Lake Placid 1932 Olympic Winter Games; on Day 5 of the Grenoble 1968 Olympic Winter Games; and on Day 4 of the Salt Lake 2002 Olympic Winter Games.

There has been only one instance where a nation has led the medal count outright for an entire Olympic Winter Games: The Soviet Union achieved the feat at the Innsbruck 1976 Olympic Winter Games.

The latest updates on Team USA....
The U.S. men’s ice hockey team punched a ticket to Sunday’s gold medal game by defeating Finland 6-1 in the semifinal round.

Katherine Reutter (Champaign, Ill.) won the silver medal in women’s 1000m short track speedskating, while the U.S. men’s 5000m relay won bronze.

USA I, with Steven Holcomb (Park City, Utah), Steve Mesler (Buffalo, N.Y.), Curt Tomasevicz (Shelby, Neb.) and Justin Olsen (San Antonio, Texas), is in first place at the halfway point of the four-man bobsled competition.
To catch up on all the action from Vancouver click here .

News Virginian thanks citizen watch dogs

Citizens who oversee the government ... it can work when Americans hold their employees -- the government -- accountable.

Case in point is the mess at the Waynesboro treasurer's office that was brought to the attention of the News Virginian and Waynesboro residents by citizen watch dogs, and resulted in a new treasurer being elected to that post. After Ellen and Phil Winter noticed what appeared to be shabby record keeping in the Waynesboro treasurer's office, they took action. From the NV:
Close followers of city politics knew the Winters waved the red flags and then gathered reams of information from city government that showed a Treasurer’s Office in disarray. That led to a front-page story in this newspaper Sept. 30 reporting that Treasurer Sandra “Sandee” Dixon had been thumped in four straight state audits for tardy accounting and sloppy recordkeeping and had botched the handling of hundreds of thousands of dollars in city and state taxpayer money. Within slightly more than two weeks, two write-in candidates joined the treasurer’s race, doubling the field. On Election Day, challenger Stephanie Beverage topped Dixon for the job.
It was more involved than that ... the NV editorial goes more indepth ... but the end result was that citizen watch dogs stepped in to oversee government. As a result, the Winters have been nominated for the American Society of News Editors Local Heroes Award which recognizes people who help improve access to government.

The News Virginian concluded with sage words:
This is how a representative republic, powered by the people through open government and the accountability that affords, is designed to work. Thanks to the Winters for the lesson. Let us all follow it with due and equal vigilance.
It turned out well in this case but too often it is impossible to fight city hall and government overwhelms the watch dog citizen which would never happen if everyone was a vigilent as the Winters.

Could school choice offer better education than public schools?

Maybe so. Chris Saxman worked for years on school choice, running into the stonewall known as public education and teachers unions. Charter schools have run into that same stonewall ... and Norm at Tertium Quids reports on more instances of good private educational facilities being dismissed by public school officials.

Huge quake hits Chile ... tsumani could hit Hawaii

Chili has been hit with an 8.8 magnitude earthquake causing death and destruction, and triggering a tsunami heading out across the Pacific toward the Hawaiian islands. ABC News reported:
In Hawaii, officials are warning residents about the possibility of a Tsunami, with the first waves scheduled to arrive at 11:19 a.m. local time.

For the first time in 16 years, Hawaii will sound evacuation sirens indicating the possibility of danger to those in the coastal regions.
Other Pacific islands are in danger and warnings have been extended to the coast of Alaska.

Summit: Obama loves hearing his own voice

He's known to be long-winded and a grandstander, and his appearance at the health care summit was no exception. The Washington Times reports:
President Obama pledged to "listen" at the outset of his much-ballyhooed bipartisan health care summit on Thursday. Turns out he meant he'd be listening to his own voice.

By the end of the televised event, Mr. Obama had spoken for 119 minutes - nine minutes more than the 110 minutes consumed by 17 Republicans. The 21 Democratic lawmakers used 114 minutes, giving the president and his supporters a whopping 233 minutes, according to a "talk clock" kept by GOP aides.
Let's list that out:

- Republicans: 110 minutes
- Democrat Obama: 119 minutes
- Democrats: 114 minutes
- Total: Republicans 110 ... Democrats 233

Obama apparently does not see anything wrong with his side receiving twice as much time as the Republicans in what was supposed to be a give-and-take conference. When Republicans protested the lopsided time difference, Obama said he was the president and his time didn't count.

And we have three more years of this administration....

Parts of Virginia under State of Emergency

The old family home place in Grayson County is under a state of emergency declared by Gov. Bob McDonnell as heavy snow and blizzard-like conditions cause drifting, low visibility, and low temperatures. High on the knob, the old cabin that has weathered winter storms for over a hundred years is probably creaking in the wind of this latest weather blast.

From southwest Virginia to Highland County just west of Augusta, residents have dealt with snow and wind since Thursday, and the storm is expected to continue until Sunday.

Residents have been warned that power outages are possible ... and I think of the old cabin that had no electricity ... just a fireplace ... and water was hauled from the nearby spring. The high winds would probably cause snow to sift through cracks in the outside walls ... family members would layer heavy clothing to keep warm.

The National Guard is on standby and people are being urged to stay off the roads unless it's absolutely necessary to go out. Virginians in the affected areas can check road conditions before they leave home by calling 511 or logging in to 9-1-1 should only be used in case of a life-threatening emergency.

The Governor's office sent out emergency information:
- Winter weather preparedness
- Generator & emergency heat safety tips

A hundred years ago on a knob in Grayson County, Virginia, you relied on yourself, your family, and maybe neighbors ... but mostly you relied on yourself.

Staunton's Gypsy Hill Park in the snow

There is still plenty of snow on the ground in the central Shenandoah Valley.

Snow-covered pathway leads over the creek to the duck pond.

When the hot days of summer roll around, we'll remember the pool as it looked while surrounded by snow.

Entrance to Gypsy Hill Park.

Baseball field is quiet in winter as it waits for the crack of a bat to signal the return of summer.
The hills of the park are still white.

The duck pond is popular even in winter's cold months.

Island of ducks ...

... with its duck houses for Staunton's feathered friends.

Next time we picnic at these tables, this scene will come to mind.

This volleyball court is a beehive of activity with local home school grads during the summer as they gather to play and picnic in the heat. Friday it was deserted.

Photos by SWAC Girl
Lynn Mitchell
26 February 2010

Bush-Cheney alumni breakfast shows loyalty still intact

The press does not seem to understand why those who worked in the George W. Bush administration would not want to bash their former boss to the media. Think about it ... the media did a fine job of that themselves for eight years.

As a large group of former Bush administration workers gathered Friday in Washington, they were in no mood to reveal information to Jonathan Martin with the Politico, something he was having a difficult time understanding as he wrote about the party:
Just over a year after he left office, one part of President George W. Bush’s legacy is clearly intact: a code of omerta among his loyalists.

Friday morning brought about 700 Bush administration veterans to the basement ballroom of Washington’s J.W. Marriott for the first gathering of the Bush-Cheney Alumni Association.
One former Bush aide and one current Bush aide separately made a point of confronting this reporter to point out that the former president’s speech had been “off-the-record.”

Each seemed skeptical when told that this reporter hadn’t been in the room ...
Perhaps this jolly troupe did not want their words misunderstood, misconstrued, or twisted by a reporter looking for a story.

Besides, who could blame them for wanting their own private gathering after eight years of dealing with the biased mainstream media where everything the President did or said was looked at and criticized through the skewered eyes of a mostly-liberal press.

The President was his usual relaxed, low-key self as he addressed those who had been the wind beneath his wings during his years in the White House. Former Vice President Dick Cheney, recuperating from heart problems, was not able to join the party but received a visit at home from the former President.

After the terrorist attacks of 9/11, President Bush vowed to keep the American people safe ... and he kept that promise. To his critics I still ask, "What part of 'No bombs dropping on your head' do you not understand?"

Friday, February 26, 2010

Staunton's Mockingbird restaurant

Sandwich board sign announces tonight's entertainment at the Mockingbird. Check their website for upcoming live entertainment.

Tables look out over Beverley Street and beyond to the historic Trinity Episcopal Church. Cozy booths are also available and that's where a friend and I enjoyed lunch and conversation.

Mockingbird is located at 123 West Beverley Street in historic downtown Staunton.

Historic downtown Staunton was bustling this afternoon.

Photos by SWAC Girl
Lynn Mitchell
26 February 2010

Fun blogging facts

Did you know there are 133,000,000 blogs worldwide? Did you realize that 48% of all blogs can be found in the United States with the EU at 26%, Asia-Pac 10%, and all others 16%?

Did you realize that 75% of bloggers are college grads ... or that males make up two-thirds of bloggers ... or that 37% of bloggers are professional journalists? One-fourth of bloggers make $100,000 or more a year.

These and more fun blogosphere facts can be found at INTAC.

H/T to Rick Sincere

Virginia ready for offshore drilling

Energy independence is essential to the United States, and Virginia has taken the lead by moving a step closer to offshore drilling:
The Commonwealth of Virginia has signaled that it's ready for offshore energy development.

This week the state Senate passed a proposal that provides a roadmap for the allocation of offshore energy royalties and revenues, devoting 70 percent to transportation, 20 percent to alternative energy research and 10 percent to local governments.

After the Senate voted 21 to 19 to approve the plan, Gov. Robert F. McDonnell said, "There is bipartisan consensus on this issue," adding, "Offshore energy development has the support of this administration, the Democratic state Senate, the Republican House of Delegates, and U.S. Sens. Mark Warner (D) and Jim Webb (D)."
Drill here, drill now.

Health care reform summit ... was anything accomplished?

The health care reform summit held Thursday in Washington made the news ... but many are asking if anything was accomplished.

From Virginia Rep. Bob Goodlatte (R-6th CD):
“Today President Barack Obama sat down with a bipartisan group of House and Senate Members to discuss health care reform. I am encouraged by this meeting and hope that this signals a true turning point in the health care discussion. The American people have repeatedly called on Washington to scrap these massive health care bills in favor of a more modest approach. I have held town hall meetings, telephone town hall meetings, and I’ve received thousands of letters, phone calls and e-mails from folks all across the Sixth Congressional District and the message is simple: Washington must push the reset button on health care reform.

While American families want health care reform that will expand access and choices and decrease costs, the proposals before Congress include tax increases, Medicare cuts, job-killing mandates, and higher premiums. This latest health care bill is nothing more than the same government-run insurance, mandates and taxes the American people have overwhelmingly rejected.

Instead we must focus on strategies that help Americans obtain the best quality health care at the least cost, and ensure that the government fosters increased access to quality care based on individual choice, not by taking away choices from people on the grounds that government knows best.

My constituents have told me they overwhelmingly support proposals which allows for the purchase of health insurance across state lines, allows individuals and small businesses to join large pools to get more competitive rates, provides tort reform to cut down the high cost of defensive medicine, allows full tax deductibility of health insurance premiums, provides portability of health insurance and protection against pre-existing condition exclusions. I agree and in addition, I support health insurance tax credits for individuals and families who don’t have access to employer-based health insurance, a prohibition on pre-existing condition clauses, increasing the number of community health centers, and encouraging the use of health information technology to achieve greater efficiencies.

Our nation’s health care system needs reform. Now is the time for action. It is my hope that this Health Care Reform Summit will launch a true bipartisan health care debate. I look forward to working with others in Congress to advance the principles that we can all agree on and enacting legislation that makes health care more affordable and more accessible for all Americans.”

Larry Sabato downgrades Boucher

As talk grows about Virginia State House Majority Leader Morgan Griffith challenging Rep. Rick Boucher (D-9th CD), Larry Sabato downgrades Boucher's district from "Safe D" to "Likely D" and comments:
When an incumbent member of Congress who has represented the same district for 28 years draws a challenger who does not even live in the district should he be worried? If the incumbent is Virginia Democrat Rick Boucher then yes.
Boucher voted for the cap-and-trade bill in a coal industry area of the state and that's not sitting well with folks from that area. Read Mr. Sabato's complete analysis.

Strength through sorrow ... "Be tough"

"Be tough."

One young lady during Thursday night's ladies figure skating competition at the Olympics had us all admiring her strength in the face of overwhelming sorrow.

Canada's own Joannie Rochette was in Vancouver to skate when her mother, who had arrived to enjoy the Olympics and watch her daughter compete, died of a heart attack on Sunday. How does someone so young overcome something that tragic to skate the long program just four days later?

But overcome she did as she remembered her mother's words: "Be tough." And she won the bronze medal for Canada as she skated an almost flawless program, and ended her time on the ice by blowing a kiss to her dad sitting in the stands ... and then a kiss heavenward as she glided to the sidelines.

Joannie Rochette was an inspiration to those who watched her ... and she was a champion who made her country proud.

Thursday, February 25, 2010


NRA disappoints.

Sunrise over the Blue Ridge Mountains

This morning's sunrise over the Blue Ridge Mountains revealed a fresh 1" dusting of snow on top of what remained on the ground from three weeks ago. This was the view I saw from the dining room table looking out at the deck and beyond.
Last night's snow clung to tree branches and twinkled like ice crystals as the sun rose.

Photos by SWAC Girl
Lynn Mitchell
25 February 2010

Is America bullying Toyota?

The Washington Examiner today points out the obvious:
Regardless whether one loves or hates Toyota, a herd of huge elephants in the living room of this controversy have thus far been completely ignored in news reports and analysis. These include, first, a pair of related conflicts of interest underlying the government's role, and, second, the disreputable records of several key "expert" witnesses in the mounting crusade against the besieged automaker.

The conflicts of interest begin with the fact the federal government is itself the controlling owner of General Motors, having invested billions of U.S. tax dollars in one of Toyota's two main American competitors. There is no creditable way to separate federal policy decisions from their commercial effect on both Toyota and GM as long as the government is simultaneously prosecutor, judge and jury. At the very least, the government must divest its GM shares as soon as possible.

The other conflict of interest is with the government's major partner in GM ownership, the United Auto Workers union. Aside from the fact Toyota has for decades successfully resisted UAW attempts to organize the Japanese automaker's U.S. work force, the UAW is among the most powerful special interests doling out campaign contributions to congressmen sitting in judgment of the stricken car company on two key House panels.
Is America bullying Toyota?

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Bob finds the road less traveled....

Snow is still on the ground in the Shenandoah Valley and the Blue Ridge Parkway and the Skyline Drive are still closed because of deep snow drifts that probably will not be gone until spring.

Meanwhile, Bob is out for winter hiking as he enjoys The Journey.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Tonight: Bill Bolling is featured speaker at RTD's Public Square

Lieutenant Governor Bill Bolling will serve as the featured speaker for the Richmond Times-Dispatch Public Square event tonight, Tuesday, February 23rd, at 7:00 pm. Lt. Governor Bolling will discuss the McDonnell/Bolling Jobs and Opportunities Legislative Agenda and his role as the Chief Jobs Creation Officer. The community is invited and encouraged to participate.

The event will take place at 300 E. Franklin Street in Richmond.

Christian Schoenewald running for 5th CD Chairman

Albemarle County Republican Committee's current chairman, Christian Schoenewald, has announced his candidacy for Chairman of the 5th District. On his website he talks about his interest in politics:
I have been interested in politics for most of my life. I remember as a kid living in Reston, Virginia, arguing with my friends about who should be President: Carter or Reagan. I'll let you guess which side I was on. I attended high school in Minnesota and joined the Speech & Debate Team because I liked to argue about current events and the policies of our government. I ultimately finished my education at American University. In my final six months at AU, I had the great honor to work for the Executive Office of the President, Office of Management and Budget.

There was not one single event that got me to be politically active, nor a piece of legislation, a candidate or some event. All the way back to childhood I have been interested in how and why our country works. However after working at the White House I decided that the bureaucratic path was not the way to get 'less government' to happen. Thomas Jefferson has always popped up in my life, from being the kid in class who was assigned to do reports on him to turning on the TV and randomly seeing a show about him. So in 2003 when my wife, Rachel, and I moved to Charlottesville, I took it as a sign that it was time to really get involved in politics.

In 2005, I ran for the Board of Supervisors in the most liberal district in Albemarle County. Despite not winning, I took what I learned in the campaign and applied the lessons to being a part of local party leadership. I served two years as the Albemarle Committee Vice Chairman. In 2007 I was elected to serve as one of the 5th District Vice Chairmen, a position I hold still. During the last two years I have also served as the Chairman of the Albemarle County Republican Committee. During my time as chairman, Albemarle has once again become a "Red" county, taking the majority on our Board of Supervisors and voting for Bob McDonnell for Governor.
Check out Christian's website for more information.

Skyline Drive in winter

The Skyline Drive has been closed for weeks so the next best thing is to check out winter photos on the National Park Service website.

The Park service writes:
Efforts to clear Skyline Drive so that the park can be open to visitors are ongoing. However, because of the sustained low temperatures and the unusual depth and density of the snow, Shenandoah's road crews estimate that it will be weeks before the Drive is open.
H/T to Dave

New firearms law now in effect in national parks

Press release from the National Park Service....

WASHINGTON – A change in federal law effective Monday, February 22, allows firearms in many national parks. People who can legally possess firearms under federal and state law can now possess those firearms in the national parks in that state. The new law (Sec. 512 of P.L. 111-24) was passed by Congress and signed last May by the President.

Prior to February 22, firearms have generally been prohibited in national parks – except in some Alaska parks and those parks that allow hunting.

State and local firearms laws vary. Visitors who would like to bring a firearm with them to a national park need to understand and comply with the applicable laws. More than 30 national parks are located in more than one state, so visitors need to know where they are in those parks and which state’s law applies.

“For nearly 100 years, the mission of the National Park Service has been to protect and preserve the parks and to help all visitors enjoy them,” National Park Service Director Jon Jarvis said. “We will administer this law as we do all others – fairly and consistently.”

Federal law continues to prohibit the possession of firearms in designated “federal facilities” in national parks, for example, visitor centers, offices, or maintenance buildings. These places are posted with “firearms prohibited” signs at public entrances. The new law also does not change prohibitions on the use of firearms in national parks and does not change hunting regulations.

Park websites have been updated to include links to state firearms laws to help visitors understand the law and plan accordingly.

Sec. 512 of P.L. 111-24, an amendment to the Credit Card Accountability, Responsibility, and Disclosure Act of 2009, also directs the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to follow state and local firearms laws in national wildlife refuges.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Senate passes House bill for off-shore drilling revenues

Jim Riley, my boss over at Virginia Virtucon, has an excellent post up explaining today's vote in the Virginia State Senate on off-shore revenues and transportation. Check out Jim's thoughts on those who voted for and against....

Greg steps out of 6th District chairman race

With Greg Habeeb's withdrawal from the 6th District chairman race, it leaves only Trixie Averill in the running.

Trixie, who is RPV's Western Vice Chairwoman and a long-time Republican activist in the western part of Virginia, has spent years in the Party. Fresh off the Bob McDonnell for Governor campaign and historic win, she is ready to tackle another job for the Party.

Retiring chairman Fred Anderson, who has held that position for 10 years, made the announcement that he would not seek reelection. Thank you, Fred, for your work for the Party throughout the years.

Today: George Allen on Neil Cavuto & Mark Levin shows

[Update: See video of George Allen's appearance.]

Governor George Allen has two national media appearances today, February 22, 2010.

Fox News' Your World with Neil Cavuto
At 4:25 pm ET, Governor Allen will be live on “Your World w/ Neil Cavuto” on the Fox News Channel to discuss President Obama’s healthcare reform plan.

Mark Levin Show
At 8:25 pm ET, Governor Allen will be live on the nationally syndicated “Mark Levin Show” to discuss healthcare, and a range of other issues. Go to to Listen Live.

Happy Birthday, George Washington

~Virginia Founding Father first American President~

When I was a little girl attending Chesterfield County public schools, we celebrated George Washington's birthday by remembering this great American and Virginian who was our first American president, a Virginia statesman, leader of the revolution against Britain, and a farmer at Mt. Vernon.

It was traditional to have cherry pie (because George cut down a cherry tree), hear a lesson about always being truthful (because George didn't lie about cutting down the cherry tree), color pictures of a youthful George Wasington as our teacher read to us, and learn about the Founding Fathers, colonial times, and early Virginia.

His birthday is blurred these days, rolled into "Presidents Day" that was held a week ago. Will his accomplishments in the founding of this country become blurred, too, as we revise American history for future generations.

In our home school classroom, we celebrated George Washington's birthday with many of those fun activities I remembered as a child as we enjoyed both American and Virginia history. It was the theme for the day at our house.

Happy Birthday, Mr. President!

Massive Democrat losses in November?

Could there be massive Democrat losses in November 2010? Democratic political strategist Doug Schoen thinks so:
Democratic political strategist and pollster Doug Schoen predicts the Democrats will lose as many as 50 House seats and key Senate races around the country.

In an exclusive interview with Newsmax.TV, Schoen suggested President Obama’s sharp drop in popularity and Democratic efforts to push healthcare reform the public simply doesn’t want, will hurt Democratic chances this November.

Schoen, a Fox News analyst, who was an adviser to President Bill Clinton’s 1996 re-election effort, says President Obama’s popularity woes stem largely from his lack of success on bipartisanship.
Americans don't like it when their representatives do not listen to them. When else in memory have hundreds of thousands ... up to 1.2 million ... conservative Americans marched in DC as happened with the 9/12 March on Washington?

Government is the people ... and it's from the people to the leaders, not the leaders to the people. President Obama and the Democrat majority became dictators. When a dictator does not listen, people rise up. The American people are rising up against Barack Obama and the Democrats.

November 2010 ... a tsunami is coming.

AFP hits the road again with the "Cut Virginia Spending" tour

Looks as if Ben Marchi, Virginia Director of Americans for Prosperity-Virginia, will be on the road again as he heads out on the "Cut Virginia Spending" tour to unveil AFP's "Commonsense Model Budget." Watching our pocketbooks, AFP believes:
We MUST hold accountable any Delegate or Senator who attempts to erase this deficit by raising taxes on hard working Virginians. After all, Virginians expect their legislators to lead with real fixes, not temporary band-aids to get through the next budget year or campaign cycle.
Over the next three days, AFP will be in Fredericksburg, Gainsville, Martinsville, Newport News, Norfolk, Charlottesville, and Culpeper.

A press release from AFP-VA explains:
AFP-VA is going after Senators who want to increase your taxes rather than cut wasteful programs!

*Please join us tomorrow, Wednesday, or Thursday as we travel across Virginia to rally against the LIBERAL Senate plan to raise your taxes*

Yesterday, we applauded the House of Delegates while blasting the Senate as legislators unveiled their plans to close a more than $4 billion budget deficit.

This week, we are traveling to a city near you to unveil AFP-Virginia’s "Commonsense Model Budget." The model budget provides an overview of where cuts SHOULD be made. Copies of the model budget will be distributed at the events listed below so you can hold your legislators accountable and give them a roadmap with specific instructions on HOW to shrink the size of government!
Join AFP at one of these stop ... and help them cut Virginia spending!

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Comfort Suites
541 Warrenton Road
Fredericksburg, VA 22406

Hampton Inn
7300 Atlas Walk Way
Gainesville, VA 20155

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Office of Senator John Miller
12284 Warwick Boulevard
Newport News, VA 23606

Azalea Inn
2344 East Little Creek Road
Norfolk, VA 23518-3225

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Office of Senator Roscoe Reynolds
46 West Main Street
Martinsville, VA 24112

Train Depot
111 S. Commerce Street
Culpeper, VA 22701

Timberwood Grill
3311 Worth Crossing
Charlottesville, VA 22911

Vietnam all over again? Betrayal on the Iraqi battlefield

~He saved American lives in Iraq but betrayal by "friends" put Operation Iraqi Freedom veteran in prison for life~

It is written all through history about betrayals of "friends." Christ and Judas, Caesar and Brutus, Benedict Arnold and America are some of the better known betrayals.

When at war, a soldier/Marine has to know he can beyond-a-shadow-of-a-doubt trust his fellow soldier/Marine to watch his back. When that soldier/Marine betrays, it is especially bitter.

And that is exactly what happened to John Hatley, an Iraqi veteran, who reportedly was betrayed by his soldier brothers. John Work, a retired Colorado law enforcement officer, wrote about this case:
Former U.S. Army Master Sergeant John Hatley is now serving a forty year sentence in Leavenworth prison. He was convicted by a 2009 Court Martial of murdering four Iraqi insurgent arrestees in Baghdad following a 2007 ambush and firefight, and dumping the bodies into a Baghdad canal. Two other Sergeants with the Alpha Company 1-18 1st Infantry were also convicted and sent to prison.
Shades of Vietnam ... but the story goes much deeper. Sgt. Hatley was a decorated member of the military:
John Hatley was a highly decorated combat veteran of nineteen years and six months military service. He was deployed in Bosnia, Kosovo, Panama, South Korea, Saudi Arabia, Operation Desert Storm and three tours of duty in Iraq. The soldiers of Alpha Company 1-18 1st Army Infantry knew him to be the first into a hot spot and the last to come out. Mrs. Hatley says that her husband was a legend in Alpha Company and treated the soldiers under his command as though they were family.
"... treated the soldiers under his command as though they were family...."

Sgt. Hatley's wife is on a crusade to clear his name and she relays the entire, sordid mess with insight into the story that exposes a soldier getting into trouble and reportedly offering Sgt. Hatley's head on a platter to save his own hide.

War wears on soldiers and Marines in a way that we, sitting in our safe, comfortable homes, can never understand. Our priorities are the latest sports game or that golf date at the country club ... while our soldiers are a world away dealing with life-and-death situations on a daily basis. And, yet, those who are not in those situations try to second-guess their actions even under the new restrictive Rules of Engagement (ROE) such as have been put into place in Afghanistan.

Sgt. Hatley's wife told of his grief at losing one of his soldiers:
...on February 27, 2007, an insurgent sniper killed Staff Sergeant Karl Soto-Pinedo, who was like a beloved son to Hatley. Mrs. Hatley told me that her husband was grief-stricken to the point of dysfunction by Soto-Pinedo’s death. On March 17, Spc. Mario Guerrero was killed by a road-side bomb explosion. All the same, the patrols went on ceaselessly, from 4:00 a.m. to 9:00 or 10:00 p.m. – every day. For months on end Hatley and his soldiers fought the war on three or four hours of sleep per night.
The article goes into detail about the events leading to Sgt. Hatley's arrest, trial, betrayal by fellow soldiers he had treated as family, and his conviction of life in prison that reportedly left press members weeping.

We should all be weeping ... and shouting ... at the outrage.

"Free speech for me but not for thee"

College campuses are a hotbed of intolerance though they would proclaim otherwise. Truth is, many are tolerant of those who share their beliefs but loudly intolerant of those with differing views. Dr. Richard Cravatts relays incidences of lack of civility and free speech in FrontPageMag:

Of the many intellectual perversions currently taking root on college campuses, perhaps none is more contradictory to what should be one of higher education’s core values than the suppression of free speech. With alarming regularity, speakers are shouted down, booed, jeered, and barrage with vitriol, all at the hands of groups who give lip service the notion of academic free speech, and who demand it when their speech is at issue, but have no interest in listening to, or letting others listen to, ideas that contradict their own world view.
These loud mouths should be escorted from the premises and, indeed, their intimidating tactics on some campuses have led to expulsion or arrest. Read Dr. Cravatts' entire article here.

Dr. Cravatts, director of Boston University’s Program in Publishing, knows his subject matter. He recently finished a book about the world-wide assault on Israel taking place on college campuses, “Genocidal Liberalism: The University’s Jihad Against Israel."

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Afghanistan: "Karzai expects zero civilian casualties – maybe Marines should just use harsh language to win"

It's criminal at a time of war what is going on in Afghanistan with our troops and the restrictive Rules of Engagement they are expected to observe to limit civilian casualties.

David Work wrote about it in David Horowitz's Newreal:
In this World War, as in the Vietnam War, the pressure on our troops from our Leftist Press Corps, and from Afghanistan’s President Hamid Karzai, to not harm anyone on the sidelines is predictably ratcheting upward. Today’s L.A. Times features a photo (above) of an Afghan man whose father was shot dead during the Battle of Marjah, where U.S. Marines are already under Rules of Engagement (ROE) that are crippling their ability to fight and win. The report immediately indicts U.S., British and Afghan forces with the deaths of twenty-four innocent civilians. And that is the major thrust of the story.

That the world becomes so tearful when twenty-four unfortunate bystanders lose their lives during war-time combat operations is just astonishing when you consider that World War II snuffed out an estimated 55 million lives. In some battles, such as at Normandy, the casualties ran into the thousands within the first day. During the Allied bombing of Dresden, Germany, an estimated thirty thousand perished in one night. Please. Spare me. I get so tired of reading this kind of stuff. It’s a war. People get killed in wars. Wars are terrible. The way to not have people killed is to not get involved in wars.
In my opinion, it is unfair to send our military forces into combat situations such as Afghanistan (far more dangerous than Iraq) and tie their hands behind their backs. They are getting killed.

The ROE should apply only after those who made the rules have practiced them on the battlefield themselves....

Fence sitters ...

In Germany they first came for the Communists,
And I didn't speak up because I wasn't a Communist.

Then they came for the Jews,
And I didn't speak up because I wasn't a Jew.

Then they came for the trade unionists,
And I didn't speak up because I wasn't a trade unionist.

Then they came for the Catholics,
And I didn't speak up because I was a Protestant.

Then they came for me —
And by that time no one was left to speak up.

--German anti-Nazi activist Pastor Martin Niemöller

I made Pat's roundup!

Every Sunday Fishersville Mike does a blogger roundup of interesting posts and it's fun to see which stories he finds interesting.

Phil does a Sunday BNN ranking update of conservative blogs around the Commonwealth.

Saturday Pat did a roundup over at her blog, And so it goes in Shreveport, and I made the list! Thanks, Pat ... you made my day. For those who are sick of winter, check out her post on spring in Shreveport ... her daffodils are about to bloom! I think Mike is envious because the ground here in the Shenandoah Valley is still covered with snow.

Lots going on in the conservative blogosphere....

Record-breaking crowd of 10,000 attends CPAC

Good article in the Washington Examiner about all the happenings at CPAC:

A record-breaking gathering of more than 10,000 exuberant conservatives from around the country are heading home this weekend after a rollicking three-day Conservative Political Action Conference in the nation's capital. Their excitement, enthusiasm and hopes for a conservative tsunami in this fall's midterm elections were palpable in panel discussions, organizing meetings and social gatherings.
"... a conservative tsunami ..." November 2010 is on everyone's horizon.

American flag on display at SWAC Conservative Breakfast

"I pledge allegiance to the flag
Of the United States of America,
And to the Republic for which it stands,
One nation, under God, indivisible,
With liberty and justice for all."

See Red Skelton's "Pledge of Allegiance"

Photo by SWAC Girl
Lynn Mitchell
SWAC Conservative Round Table Breakfast
20 February 2010

Rep. Eric Cantor at CPAC

Bill Whittle with Pajamas Media interviewed Virginia's Republican Rep. Eric Cantor (7th CD) while at CPAC. Check out Virginia's rising star.

H/T to Kat

Glenn Beck brings down the house at CPAC

"Without failure, there is no sweetness in success."
--Glenn Beck, CPAC, February 20, 2010

Fox News carried Glenn Beck's speech at CPAC live ... and what a speech it was! He had the crowd on its feet as he hammered on principles that are plain old common sense which is why his message resonates with so many everyday Americans.

Among the many excellent points he made ...

- When America is made up of 40% conservatives, 36% moderates, and 20% liberals ... how is it that the minority rules the majority?

- Liberals know how to package their message in a way that America buys it, then opens the package, and says, "I don't want that."

- He received a standing ovation when he said, "Without failure, there is no sweetness in success."

- We have the right to pursue happiness ... but no on is guaranteed happiness.

- We don't have a right to housing, health care, or handouts.

- As government grows, we give our freedoms away. We're pricing ourselves out of the American dream.

- He attended one semester -- one class -- in college. Why? Because he couldn't afford it. However, he never felt he was owed an education.

- The American people are not the bad guys. We don't need to be told to be charitable ... we some of the most giving people on earth. In 2008, Americans gave $307 billion to charities, ten times more than the giving power of the people of France.

- He said, "Don't tell me we should be more like Europe. Europe should be looking over here!" [Chants of USA, USA, USA from crowd]

- There is no cap on success in America.

- All men are created equal in America. Not all men will end up equal.

- We need less Marx and more Madison to restore America.

- Not everyone gets a trophy. Start correcting school work in red ink again.

- Our rights were given to us by God. When someone tries to take away those rights, a warning bell goes off. That's what America is feeling right now ... a big warning bell going off.

Check out the article by Mark Tapscott at the Washington Examiner.
Maybe one of these years I'll get to CPAC and catch the excitement of being in the middle of such a conservative group of Americans. Until then, there's lots of coverage from bloggers and mainstream media.

I made Pat's roundup!

Every Sunday Fishersville Mike does a blogger roundup of interesting posts and it's fun to see who which stories he finds interesting.

Saturday Pat did a roundup over at And so it goes in Shreveport and I made the list! Thanks, Pat ... you made my day. For those who are sick of winter, check out her post on spring in Shreveport ... her daffodils are about to bloom!

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Another successful SWAC Conservative Breakfast

Local conservative leader Kurt Michael led another successful SWAC Conservative Round Table Breakfast in a room packed with 55 people.

Suzanne Curran demonstrated as she talked about her experience at the Tea Party Nation Convention earlier this month.

The back dining area of Shoney's was packed to capacity Saturday as local conservatives came out to hear Suzanne Curran of Shenandoah County pass along information about her exciting experience at the Tea Party Nation Convention in Nashville earlier this month.

Many familiar faces ... some new faces ... many new to the political process ... these folks were there to hear the issues, express the conservative principles we believe in, and soak in the positive atmosphere as they laughed, cheered, and applauded throughout Suzanne's remarks.

The Shenandoah Conservative "Call to Action" breakfast was held afterwards at 10:00 in Mt. Jackson so Suzanne left Staunton and arrived to address the 35 folks who were there to hear from her and Alan Louderback. I had to miss that one but heard it was another wonderful gathering.
A number of local folks attended CPAC in Washington so we hope to hear from them when they return. More about breakfast and other photos to come....

Photos by SWAC Girl
Lynn Mitchell
20 February 2010

Winter's cold grasp

The snow-covered Appalachian Mountains.

Photo by SWAC Girl
Lynn Mitchell
19 February 2010

Wintry Appalachian Mountains

Snow is still piled high alongside the road overlooking the snow-covered Appalachians.

Photo by SWAC Girl
Lynn Mitchell
19 February 2010

Wild turkey tracks in the snow

I looked out the kitchen window to see three wild turkey hens strutting down the backyard toward the woods. "Strutting" wasn't exactly the right word ... they were kind of slowly picking their way through the snow.
Wild turkeys often go through the yard but this time they left distinct tracks.

Photos by SWAC Husband
19 February 2010

"Have a happy birthday, you must!"

Yoda says, "Have a happy birthday, you must!"

Birthday greetings and love to

Friday, February 19, 2010

Remembering MaDee

Friends and family gathered tonight at the Community Fellowship of the Nazarene Church in Waynesboro to remember the life of 22-year-old MaDee (pronounced "Madie") Boxley who passed away Tuesday of Hodgkins. This young lady packed into her short life more than many do in a lifetime.

"Strength for MaDee" wrist bands turned into "Love for MaDee" after her passing as the young people in the SWAC area gathered to honor one of their own who was a member of the Class of 2006 at Ft. Defiance High School, and who graduated from Roanoke College in December with a double major in criminal justice and psychology.

A Celebration of Life service will be conducted at 1 p.m. tomorrow, Saturday, Feb. 20, 2010, in the Community Fellowship of the Nazarene Church in Waynesboro by Pastor Jeff Griffith. Burial will be private.

Memorials may be made to Roanoke College, MaDee Boxler Cancer Assistance Fund, 221 College Lane, Salem, VA 24153. Henry Funeral Home is handling the arrangements. Condolences may be made to the family.

Crossover week in the General Assembly

This week, the General Assembly reached its symbolic midway point of Crossover. From now on, the Senate can only consider bills which passed the House of Delegates and the House of Delegates can only vote on bills already passed by the Senate.

Republicans in both the Senate and House of Delegates are doing an outstanding job this year getting bills through their respective chambers which protect individual rights and aim to keep government control and growth at a minimum. From health care to jobs and the economy to veterans affairs to transportation, our Republican representatives have made advances in many vital areas.

For a list of Republican-led bills passed in the Senate, click here.
For a list of Republican-led bills passed in the House, click here.

CPAC surprise ... Dick Cheney

Daughter Lynn Cheney addressed those attending the event ... and then introduced a surprise guest ... her dad.

Fox Nation reported Dick Cheney's comment that brought down the house:
"I think Barack Obama is a one-term president," he said.

Mr. Cheney's appearance was greeted by a standing ovation, with some even getting on top of their chairs.
Some were even chanting, "Run, Dick, run."

Rove advises tea parties to remain independent

For those who have always accused Karl Rove of being only a GOP political hack, I think this proves otherwise. He could have said, "Corral the tea party movement." But he didn't. As he wrote, "The power of the movement is its independence from Democrats and the GOP:"
There has been a lot of talk about combining the tea party movement with the Republican Party. And on a small scale, that seemed to happen last week in South Carolina after state GOP representatives agreed to create a "Tea Party Republicans" group to coordinate activities with tea partiers in Greenville and Spartanburg.

This week, however, those arrangements fell apart as some tea party groups dissented from the decision. Other attempts to draw tea party groups into formal alliances are running into similar difficulties. That is a good thing. The tea party movement will be more effective than it otherwise would be if it refuses to allow itself to become an appendage of either major political party.
Mr. Rove pinpointed the start of the movement:
The bank bailout in the fall of 2008 may have lit the fuse, but the tea party movement began in earnest last April 15 with protests after congressional Democrats and the Obama administration unleashed a torrent of spending: the stimulus package, a swollen omnibus appropriations bill, and auto company bailouts. Democrats also raised the specter of new energy taxes when the House passed a cap-and-trade bill.

The movement's activity reached a fever pitch in August with raucous town hall meetings where senators and congressmen felt the burning-hot opposition of tea partiers to ObamaCare.
After the August townhall meetings came the highly successful 9/12 March on Washington where upwards of 1.2 million conservatives converged on the Capitol to protest government-run health care and more.

Mr. Rove went on to raise awareness of smaller groups within the tea parties:
A small fraction of the tea partiers' leadership are ambitious individuals who haven't been able to hold office in either the GOP or Democratic Party. Some are from fringe groups like the John Birch Society or the remnants of the LaRouchies. Others see the tea party movement as a recruiting pool for volunteers for Ron Paul's next presidential bid.
And then he offered this advice:
My advice to them is to keep their distance from any single party and instead influence both parties on debt, spending and an over-reaching federal government. Allowing third-party movements to co-opt the tea partiers' good name, which is happening in Nevada, will only serve to elect opponents of the tea party philosophy of low-taxes and fiscal restraint. It could also discredit the tea party movement.
Good advice if the tea parties will take it. Be sure and read the entire article. David has good analysis at Augusta Conservative.

George Will at CPAC

Enjoy this video of George Will speaking at CPAC on Thursday.

H/T to Connie

Tom White live-blogging from CPAC

Live from ... CPAC! It's Tom White and his Virginia Right! laptop on the front lines covering the events ... the conservative celebrities ... the activists! Check it out for all the latest and get your firsthand account from Tom.

An objective approach to cap spending

County Budget Index ... an objective approach to cap spending
By Keith C. Drake, Ph.D., Chairman
Albemarle Truth in Taxation Alliance

As early as 2005, I proposed the county adopt a cap to the rate of tax revenue growth it imposes on citizens. A "County Budget Index" would be based on a fair combination of population growth, school enrollment growth, and inflation.

The Index could also include costs over which the county clearly has no control, e.g., complying with State and Federal regulatory requirements. It might include an additional, modest increase - on the order of one percent - to allow for improvements in existing programs such as teacher retention.

This Index would provide an objective formula to define precisely the total county budget. After factoring out other sources of revenue, the amount of revenue from real estate assessments would then define the tax rate. Such an index would be an objective measure to help separate "wants" from "needs."

ATTA recommends using the zero-based budget being considered by the Board of Supervisors as a starting point. A validated "needs-based" budget ensures future tax increases allowed by the Index are truly justified.
Albemarle Truth in Taxation Alliance (ATTA) is a non-partisan group of citizen volunteers from all socio-economic groups and political affiliations. We are dedicated to ensuring effective and efficient use of our tax dollars by Albemarle government and to protecting the rights and interests of Albemarle taxpayers.

Fishersville Mike ... moving up in the rankings

Yesterday fellow SWAC blogger Fishersville Mike was #1399 in the Technorati rankings.

That was better than Virginia Virtucon (1515), Bearing Drift (1531), or SWAC Girl (1574). He's regularly in the Top 5 for BlogNetNews/Virginia.

So how's he doing that?

Mike has blogging friends in high places.

If you've not read his blog, it's funny, informative, a quick read ... and he communicates daily with national bloggers such as The Other McCain, No Sheeples Here!, The TrogloPundit, Pundit & Pundette, and And So it Goes in Shreveport.

So far he's kind of flying beneath the Virginia conservative blogosphere radar ... but he's out there. So congratulations to Mike for being #1399 on Technorati and beating us all. Glad to blog with you in the SWAC Corps.

Virginia Virtucon & Bearing Drift ... conservative blogging leaders

Jim Riley is has done a little research of his own into Technorati rankings which change on a daily basis, and discovered the new leader yesterday was his own Virginia Virtucon followed by Bearing Drift. Congrats for their conservative blogging leadership. My hat's off to them both and to all the conservative bloggers who are dedicated to disseminating the conservative message.

Jim Gilmore today at CPAC

Free Congress Foundation President and former Virginia Governor Jim Gilmore will participate today on a CPAC panel discussion on security versus freedom.

The debate topic is, "Does security trump freedom?" and will be televised on C-SPAN at 1:35 pm today. Gov. Gilmore will be joined by the Hon. Bob Barr, former Cognressman from Georgia; Rep. Dan Lungren (R-CA); and Viet Dinh, Georgetown University Law Center. The debate will be moderated by Dr. Jay Sekulow with the American Center for Law and Justice.

If you're at CPAC, stop in the Washington Marriott Wardman Park ballroom and watch this exciting discussion about the freedom of our country.
The Free Congress Foundation is a charitable educational organization, dedicated to offering sensible conservative problem solving, and good policy for the citizens of the United States.

The everyday heroes

“The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena;
whose face is marred by sweat and blood;
who strives valiantly;
who errs and comes short again and again because
there is no effort without error and shortcoming;
who knows the great enthusiasms, the great devotion,
spends himself in a worthy cause;
who at best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement;
and who at worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly,
so that his place shall never be with those
cold and timid souls
who have never tasted victory or defeat.”

--Theodore Roosevelt (American President, 1901-09)

Here's to those in the local arena who are willing to be bloodied while standing up for the just causes of the little guy ...

... who are not afraid to question authority ...

... who never waver from their principles ...

... who are not blinded by power, money, and influence.

My hat is off to all of them ... and the battle goes on.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Plane purposely crashed into Austin IRS building

Riley has the details.

Wolf in sheep's clothing?

“The American people will never knowingly adopt socialism. But, under the name of ‘liberalism’ they will adopt every fragment of the socialist program, until one day America will be a socialist nation, without knowing how it happened. I no longer have to run as a Presidential Candidate for the Socialist Party, the Democratic Party has adopted our platform.”
--Norman Matoon Thomas, 1944 (leading socialist, pacifist and six-time presidential candidate for the Socialist Party of America in the 1930s and ’40s)

H/T to Sue

Cancer takes away MaDee Boxler, 22

MaDee (pronounced "Madie") had Hodgkins and fought a valiant battle. Her friends in the SWAC area wore arm bracelets to raise money for her ... Barrenridge Winery had a fundraiser last fall for her benefit. She just graduated from college in December. But her young body played out and she lost her battle with cancer on Tuesday. Our prayers are with her family and friends at this difficult time.

FISHERSVILLE — MaDee Nicole Boxler, 22, of 544 St. James Road, died Tuesday, Feb. 16, 2010, in the University of North Carolina Cancer Hospital, Chapel Hill. She was born Oct. 24, 1987, in Augusta County, a daughter of Thomas R. Boxler Jr. of Waynesboro and Tamara R. Talley of Staunton.

Miss Boxler graduated Dec. 17, 2009, from Roanoke College with a double major in criminal justice and psychology. She was a 2006 graduate of Fort Defiance High School.

She was a member of St. James Lutheran Church, and she attended Community Fellowship of the Nazarene Church.

In addition to her parents, family members include a sister and brother-in-law, Abby and Jeff Arey of Staunton; paternal grandparents, Mr. and Mrs. Thomas R. Boxler Sr.; maternal grandparents, Mr. and Mrs. Carl E. Talley of Staunton; maternal great-grandmother, Eva Furr; uncles and aunts, Arthur and Susan Shaheen of Blacksburg, Tim and Renee Talley of Staunton, Charles and Sara Boxler of Vinton, William Boxler of Waynesboro and Janice Pence of Culpeper; and cousins, Brittany, Jason and Jeremy Boxler, Kate and Josh Painter, Charlee Pence, Kylie, Abigail and Lilly Shaheen and Jessica, Luke and Becky Talley; a number of great-aunts and uncles; and her special canine companion, "Mo-Man."

A Celebration of Life service will be conducted at 1 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 20, 2010, in the Community Fellowship of the Nazarene Church in Waynesboro by Pastor Jeff Griffith. Burial will be private.

The family will receive friends from 6 until 9 p.m. Friday, Feb. 19, 2010, at the church. There will be no public viewing.

Memorials may be made to Roanoke College, MaDee Boxler Cancer Assistance Fund, 221 College Lane, Salem, VA 24153. Henry Funeral Home is handling the arrangements. Condolences may be made to the family.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Jumping off the sinking "global warming" ship

From RedState comes Exodus From Climate Change Bandwagon Begins en Masse:
BP America, Conoco Phillips, and Caterpillar (among others) have announced their intentions to quit the Climate Action Partnership, a group whose mission is to “call on the federal government to enact legislation requiring significant reductions of greenhouse gas emissions.”
It's a sinking global warming ship....

Grim news for Democrats ...

... but Republicans need to show leadership.

Michael Barone at the Washington Examiner seemed incredulous as he wrote:
The political numbers tell a grim story. In five decades of closely following American politics, I have never seen the Democratic Party in worse shape. Democrats trail in polls in 11 of the 18 Democratic-held Senate seats up this fall and lead in polls in none of the 18 Republican-held seats.
But he quickly adds:
Of course opinion can change, and the balance of enthusiasm, which currently favors Republicans, could shift. But if the election were held today, the numbers tell me that Democrats would fare worse than they have in any election since 1946.
The November elections could be historic.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Snowshoe extends season ... best skiing in 36 years

Skiing at Snowshoe Ski Resort until April 5 ... wheee!
Snowshoe says base depths top four feet after a steady barrage of snow. Total snowfall for the season so far exceeds 158 inches, and includes more than 39 inches in the last week.
Almost heaven in Pocahontas County, West Virginia, for snow bunnies. Ah, the memories from my youth spent on that mountain....

Augusta County shuts down Rocket Boys ... 14: Dreams of space

Part 14: Dreams of space ... Augusta County shuts down Rocket Boys

Part 1 ... October Sky
Part 2 ... Who is VAST?
Part 3 ... What is agri-tourism?
Part 4 ... Francis Chester
Part 5 ... Launch location -- Croft Field
Part 6 ... How it began ... anonymous complaint
Part 7 ... "It's only a formality"
Part 8 ... VAST prepares for BZA meeting
Part 9 ... VAST presents case to BZA meeting
Part 10 ... VAST denied Special Use Permit
Part 11 ... Augusta County denies BZA hearing tapes
Part 12 ... The legal case begins
Part 13 ... Community reaction
Part 14 ... Dreams of space

Remember the movie October Sky that told the true story of Homer Hickam of West Virginia, a coal miner's son who was intrigued by the Soviet Sputnik satellite in the 1950s that streaked across the October sky?

That incident inspired Homer to study rocketry, win a science contest, go away to college, and eventually earn his Ph.D. and become a NASA scientist. And it all began when he and his friends put together and launched model rockets even though some of the town people tried to shut them down.

Just imagine ... in Augusta County there is a new generation of Rocket Boys who could be future NASA scientists, much like Homer.

And in western Augusta County with its large tracts of land, there appears to be the perfect place for a local rocket club to teach science in the wide open spaces, smack in the middle of 500 acres of land, isolated from surrounding properties. But you would be wrong.

This series looks into the background of a group of boys and adult volunteers who were blindsided by an anonymous complaint that brought the government into what should have been a recreational, educational activity in the middle of a 500-acre farm field void of government involvement.

It looks into Augusta County's desire to cultivate agri-tourism, and Del. Steve Landes' agri-tourism bill that passed this year's General Assembly, and questions the fairness of the decision of who can participate in agri-tourism ... and who can't.

And it looks at community reaction ... questions that have been brought up by county citizens who wonder if they will be next by what is perceived as an overbearing Big Government mentality.

I had not seen the movie October Sky for a number of years so checked it out of the Churchville Library to once again get the feel of students who dream ... and the adults who nurture those dreams. In the movie, one adult who encouraged Homer was his teacher Miss Riley who died at age 31 of Hodgkin's Disease but not before she planted the seed for him to look beyond the coal mines and pursue his dreams of space.

In Augusta County, we hope to one day see local dreams played out once again, and we hope the Rocket Boys are allowed to again fly the skies of western Virginia.

Feedback about this series is welcomed.

Related stories:
- SWAC Girl: Del. Landes' agri-tourism bill passes House
- WHSV TV-3: Agritourism Brings Boost for Augusta County
- NBC 29: Rocketry club goes to court to get permit
- Staunton News Leader: Sparring launches in rocket case
- Staunton NL: Rocket club grounded
- Staunton NL: Aerospace Team may scratch launches
- Staunton NL: Why can't we give rocket club a chance?
- Staunton NL: Zoning board denies permit for rocketry club
- Waynesboro News Virginian: Throttle up: Rocketry appeal heats up
- Waynesboro NV: Zoning board denies liftoff of Swoope rockets
Update: WVTF Public Radio news story - April 7, 2010

Other bloggers write about Rocket Boys:
- Yankee Phil: Local boys trying to be good ... denied in Augusta County
- Yankee Phil: More info on ... Local boys trying to be good ... denied in Augusta County
- The Journey: No rockets on company property
- Virginia Virtucon
- StrictlyVA
- The Journey: His neighbors didn't like rockets either