Thursday, May 31, 2012

Kick-off GOTV lunch with George Allen in Mt. Jackson ... faces in the crowd

After remarks to the crowd (see George Allen kicks off "Send a Message" tour), Gov. Allen picked up his lunch plate and visited with supporters at the Mt. Jackson stop of his day in the Shenandoah Valley.

Standing ovation after Gov. Allen's remarks.

Jean Ann Bolling talking with Sue Hughes, president of the Shenandoah County Republican Women's Club.

 Jeremy McCleary, Allen Coordinator for Shenandoah County, talked with Trixie Averill, Western Field Coordinator for the Bill Bolling gubernatorial campaign.

 The Democratic tracker. I could not do what he does. He and another Democratic tracker showed up at the stop after this in Harrisonburg.

Photos by Lynn R. Mitchell
May 31, 2012

Traveling I-81 with Trixie to George Allen GOTV rally

Trixie Averill, Western Field Coordinator for Lt. Governor Bill Bolling's gubernatorial campaign.

Heading north on I-81 toward Mount Jackson surrounded by the beautiful Shenandoah Valley countryside and mountains. 

Photos by Lynn R. Mitchell
May 31, 2012

George Allen kicks off "Send a Message" tour in Shenandoah County

 George Allen smiled as he listened to Lt. Gov. Bill Bolling introduce him Thursday at Denny's Restaurant in Mount Jackson, Virginia, at the beginning of his two-week "Send a Message" tour, a two-week trip around the Commonwealth rallying Virginians to send a message to President Obama, Tim Kaine and their Washington allies by giving George Allen an important victory in the Republican Primary on June 12.

 Lt. Governor Bill Bolling joined Allen in this get-out-the-vote luncheon where enthusiastic local residents came out to support George Allen to help send a message on June 12. Bolling introduced Allen and shared how the two men have supported each other throughout the years.

“Our country is at a crossroads on freedom – the freedom to work, invest, harness our energy and chart our own lives through personal responsibility,” said Lt. Governor Bolling. “This election is too important to sit on the sidelines, and it’s time for Virginians to send a message by rallying behind George Allen’s proven leadership, positive vision and powerful ideas for an American Comeback.  He is the only candidate in this race with the record of creating jobs, reducing regulations, cutting taxes and fighting Washington waste. George Allen is the right leader for Virginia in the U.S. Senate.”

Del. Todd Gilbert joined George Allen and Bill Bolling for the kick-off of the "Send a Message" tour.

“Virginians have been hurt by the failed tax, regulate, spend, borrow and print policies of President Obama and Tim Kaine. And we’re here to send a message on June 12 that we Virginians want more freedom and opportunity and less government meddling in our lives and businesses,” said George Allen.

“I’m grateful for the support of Bill Bolling and thousands of grassroots advocates who share my vision of a better future than what we are enduring these days. I’m positive about America’s future because this election we can choose to reinvigorate the entrepreneurial spirit of our nation through responsible tax, reasonable regulatory and empowering energy policies that free job creators to invest, grow and create new jobs.”

George Allen’s priorities are for Virginia businesses, small and large, to have less government and more freedom so they can grow, invest and hire more people. Last year, George Allen unveiled his detailed economic growth plan, the Blueprint for America’s Comeback, to rein in an overspending, over-regulating federal government, create pro-growth competitive tax policies, and unleash America’s energy resources. For more information on George Allen’s Blueprint for America’s Comeback, click here.

Kudos to Denny's for the fantastically large private dining room with floor-to-ceiling windows overlooking the Shenandoah Valley countryside and mountains in the background. The service was excellent and the staff was very friendly and quick with food orders.

Cross-posted at Bearing Drift

Photos by Lynn R. Mitchell
May 31, 2012

Trixie and Gov. Allen

The old team is back together ... Trixie was George Allen's Western Field Coordinator in 1993 for Governor, 2000 for U.S. Senate, and 2006 for U.S. Senate. This was Thursday in Shenandoah County at a George Allen for U.S. Senate event along with Lt. Gov. Bill Bolling.

Photo by Lynn R. Mitchell
May 31, 2012

"Like" Bearing Drift and take us over 5,000 - UPDATE ... We did it!

Update: Bearing Drift made it! The 5,000 mark was reached right at midnight. Thanks to all who signed up ... you won't be sorry!

 At Bearing Drift, our Facebook page has surpassed 4,800 "likes" and we're aiming for 5,000. If you read commentary and opinion on local, state, and national politics, we'd love to have you "like" us. Help us reach our goal of 5,000 by going to our Facebook page:

Some of the top political writers in the Commonwealth contribute to Bearing Drift, Virginia's conservative voice. Come on by and check us out ...

About Bearing Drift:
Bearing Drift was established in 2004. The name comes from the relative motion of objects at sea. If there is no bearing drift, and the distance between you and the object is closing, there will be a collision; therefore, action must be taken.

Most navigation rules state that the best course of action with constant bearing and decreasing range is to alter one's course to starboard - the right! Therefore, most of us at Bearing Drift ascribe to this rule - if it looks like the ship-of-state is going to wreck, move right; you can't go wrong!!!

Teachers and the Republican Party

Why is education under fire in America? Why is the perception out there that Republicans are against teachers and the public school system?

Comments like this one on Facebook don't help. This extreme right-wing conservative wrote:
"I'm going to stop buying Exxon or Mobil gas as long as they run these 'let's invest in our teacher' ads."
Isn't that a bit over the top? Are Republicans throwing the baby out with the bath water in their war with teachers unions? Why is investing in teachers a bad thing? Isn't that actually investing in our kids?

When talking recently with a local teacher, I was saddened to hear her make a comment about Republicans being anti-education. I don't think that perception is good for those on my side of the political aisle.

While listening to public school teachers talk about their profession, their love of teaching and concern for their students comes through as they share classroom stories but also their frustration with out-of-touch rules, lack of respect, and the hit to their personal finances. There has to be some way to resolve the standoff between teachers and Republicans.

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

LTE: 'George Allen is right on energy, spending'

Letter from the editor in today's InsideNOVA endorsing George Allen for U.S. Senate on June 12:
To the Editor:

As we choose a Republican Senate candidate June 12, it is imperative that we select a strong conservative who will work actively on behalf of not only Virginians but also our nation. Two of the things which will determine our success as a state and nation are federal fiscal responsibility and overreach of departments such as EPA, especially in the areas of energy production.

George Allen has been working tirelessly for years to expand Virginia coal and natural gas energy production, and has been an advocate for safe offshore oil drilling for Virginia. Our country must become energy independent and it can by utilizing our abundant resources. But if the EPA restricts that use as it has already and increases restrictions, independence is impossible.

Fiscal responsibility -- spending within our means -- is much less achievable if the economy is hampered by scarce and high-priced energy, the engine of the economy.

George Allen has been a strong and effective congressman, governor and U.S. senator. As senator, I believe he will speak strongly for the domestic energy development we need and against the regulations that are constricting all forms of commerce in America.

I support Allen and hope Virginia will on June 12 and in November.

Donna Lauderdale
Please vote June 12th for George Allen for U.S. Senate

Trading political barbs with Leahy, Schapiro, Allen, Kaine

He's known by some as the poison quill and by others as a brilliant political pundit but on Tuesday Jeff Schapiro was known as the roastee who was skewered by some of the biggest names in Virginia politics including U.S. Senate candidates George Allen and Tim Kaine, and Bearing Drift's own Norm Leahy was there to witness it all:
While it lacked both Dean Martin and a host committee clad in evening wear, the Virginia Public Access Project’s roast of RTD columnist Jeff Schapiro held Tuesday afternoon in downtown Richmond was quite an event. The ballroom was packed with pols, lobbyists, their hangers-on, assorted pressies and others. The others included me, sitting in the back, close to a door, just in case.
The Times-Dispatch's bow-tied wonder showed he could give as well as take as he volleyed verbal zingers at men who have in the past been targets of Schapiro's written barbs -- and will be again in the future, I'm sure. Wouldn't it have been fun to be a fly on the wall ... or on the dessert ... or on Tim Kaine's forehead?

Tuesday's roast provided a light-hearted moment in the middle of a fiercely intense 2012 battleground state campaign for Allen and Kaine before all dispersed back to their battle stations.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Mitt Romney wins Texas primary ... secures GOP nomination

From the Romney campaign after Tuesday's Texas primary....


Tonight, we surpassed 1,144 delegates and secured the nomination. I am grateful and humbled by your support through this process. We did it!

This has been an extraordinary journey. And yet it's only the beginning.

Now all Republicans can move forward toward our convention in Tampa. There, we will stand united as a party with a winning ticket for America. Ours will be a campaign to unite every American who knows in his or her heart that we can do better.

There's much to be done by November 6th - but with your help, we will get it done!

Thank you for standing with me.

Mitt Romney

George Allen, Bill Bolling in Shenandoah County on Thursday

You are invited to join
George Allen
Lt. Governor Bill Bolling 
Delegate Todd Gilbert
Thursday, May 31, 2012
12:00 p.m.
Denny's Restaurant in Mt. Jackson
for a dutch-treat lunch and rally
in support of
George Allen for U.S. Senate
Don't forget to vote on June 12th!

George Allen to visit Valley on Thursday

Please join 
George Allen
Lt. Governor Bill Bolling
Del. Tony Wilt
Del. Ben Cline
Clerk of Court Chaz Evans-Haywood
and others

for a
GOTV Rally

Thursday, May 31st
3:00pm - 4:30pm
Court SquareHarrisonburg, Virginia
Please bring family and friends as we rally to
get out the vote on June 12th!

Veterans overwhelmingly support Mitt Romney for President

A new poll from Gallup shows that military veterans overwhelmingly support Republican Mitt Romney over President Barack Obama by double digits:

 - Mitt Romney 58%
 - Barack Obama 34%

Gypsy Hill Park ... Memorial Day 2012 ... more photos

Col. Melissa Patrick (Ret) & U.S. Army Chaplain Ben Sprouse (left) listen during ceremony.

Keynote speaker Col. Melissa Patrick (U.S. Army Ret)

Photos by Lynn R. Mitchell
May 29, 2012

Monday, May 28, 2012

Gov. Bob McDonnell's Memorial Day 2012 message

From Governor Bob McDonnell on Memorial Day 2012....

"On this Memorial Day, let us remember the courageous men and women who have made the ultimate sacrifice in service to our country.

"Each year, at the Wall of Honor Ceremony, we honor the legacy of those who answered the call of duty to protect our freedom. Today, we recognized 40 Virginia heroes, along with their families, who lost their lives in the ongoing war on terror.

"As we pay tribute to their commitment and sacrifice to our great nation and remember all those we have lost, please take the time today to offer your thanks to a service member or veteran.

"May God Bless all of the brave men and women who have served in defense of our freedom."

George Allen's Memorial Day message: Remember America's fallen and their families

U.S. Senate candidate George Allen remembered the sacrifice of America's fallen military members on Memorial Day:
“Each Memorial Day, Susan and I are reminded of the sacrifices of heroes who have made America the beacon of Freedom for the world. As we celebrate our Freedoms this day with community ceremonies, parades and festivals, it is the memory of those who’ve lived and died defending Freedom that is etched into our hearts and minds. Our Freedom eloquently expressed in our Declaration of Independence has been preserved throughout the history of our country by brave men and women who loved Freedom more than life.

“We also honor the wives, husbands, children and parents who, as Abraham Lincoln once wrote, have ‘only the cherished memory of the loved and lost, and the solemn pride that must be [theirs] to have laid so costly a sacrifice on the altar of Freedom.’ Let us always remember that our Freedom still hangs in the balance, calling each of us to carry the torch of our fallen soldiers’ sacrifice to ensure that the American Dream lives on for future generations.”

Memorial Day 2012: Flags, flags, flags

SWAC Husband, U.S. Air Force veteran, put his Americans flags out bright and early on Memorial Day morning including the POW-MIA flag (center).

Photos by Lynn R. Mitchell
May 28, 2012

Staunton Memorial Day 2012: VFW members remember their fallen comrades

Memorial Day ceremony at Gypsy Hill Park presented with the help of many people: VFW Post 7814 & Auxiliary, American Legion Post 13, VFW Post 2216 & Auxiliary, VFW Post 10826 & Auxiliary; Rev. Ben Sprouse, U.S. Army Chaplain; Stonewall Brigade Band, Kris Neil, Teresa Whitesell, Sierra Losh, Julie Turner, and keynote speaker Army Col. Melissa Patrick.

Retired Army Col. Melissa Patrick (MBC Class of 1978), a decorated veteran who has received many awards including Legion of Merit, Bronze Star, Defense Meritorious Service Medal, and Meritorious Service Medal, was the keynote speaker. She is second in command of Mary Baldwin College's (MBC) Virginia Women's Institute for Leadership (VWIL) program. Her remarks were a remembrance of the fallen heroes from the Staunton area. After the program, I asked if she would share her remarks and she graciously agreed. They are below.

The presentation of floral wreaths honoring fallen heroes by: Gold Star Moms, VGW Post 2216 & Auxiliary, VFW Post 7814 & Auxiliary, VFW Post 10826 & Auxiliary, Beverley Manor Chapter of NSDAR, Col. Thomas Hugart Chapter of NSDAR, Augusta Parrish Chapter of NSDAR, Shenandoah Society Children of the American Revolution, American Legion Post 13 & Auxiliary, and Sons of the American Revolution Gen. Daniel Morgan Chapter.

Staunton Councilman Bruce Elder and Col. Patrick

Bruce Elder attends the Gypsy Hill memorial every year. His family has many military members who served throughout the years.

They served and came home, and today they took part in keeping the memory alive of those who did not come home.

Memorial Day 2012 ... may we never forget.

Keynote remarks from Col. Melissa Patrick (Ret)....
"Thank you for this opportunity to speak today.  I am humbled to be asked to address you and to be in the presence of our veterans, their families, and the caring people of this great community.  Thank you for being here today to join in this celebration of remembrance for those who have given their lives in the service of this great nation of ours.  Memorial Day is a truly special day as we remember and honor the sacrifice of the 1,343,000 military members who have given their lives in service to protect our freedom and preserve it against all threats.

"Think about it: 1,343,000 war dead in the service of America; fighting and dying on our behalf; from the eight militiamen killed in Lexington on April 19, 1775 to the two latest casualties announced in our ongoing eleven-year war in Afghanistan, who represent the current sacrifice and loss.  Just a statistic, a very large number; one that is hard to fully comprehend.  Yet, it represents real flesh and blood, some of the best that this nation has to offer. 

"Consider the two young men who gave their lives in Afghanistan the end of last week.  On Thursday, 23 year old Army PFC Cale C. Miller, a native of Olathe, Kansas, assigned to 4-23 Infantry, 2d Stryker Brigade, 2d Infantry Division was killed in Kandahar. He had enlisted about a year ago because, “He wanted to do something bigger than himself,” “He wanted to feel good about what he was doing.”  He deployed to Afghanistan about six weeks ago as a driver of a Stryker armored combat vehicle.  Reportedly he was trapped under the burning vehicle and told his squadmates to save themselves rather than worry about rescuing him.  In a statement, his family said Miller’s “final act on this earth was selfless, and his sacrifice prevented the deaths of several of his battle buddies.” 

"That same day, USMC Corporal Keaton G. Coffey of Boring, Oregon, serving with the 1st Marine Expeditionary Force from Camp Pendleton, California, was also killed in Helmand province.  On his second tour of duty in Afghanistan, the 22 year old was due to be married in July.  He had dreamed of becoming a firefighter like his Dad.
"That 1.3 million represents mostly young men and women, with the best years of their lives ahead of them who lived and loved, who played, dreamed and laughed,...and who did their duty and faithfully served. 
"On this Memorial Day, how do we remember them?  While Memorial Day is more than just the first day of summer, which it so often seems to be reduced to, it is not a day of mourning, but rather a day for honor and respect, appreciation for the gift of freedom and the sacrifice that it takes to preserve it.  As we happily enjoy the fruits of freedom with barbecues and picnics, let us not forget those who have paid the price to secure it.  We should also take some time today to reflect on those who served and died.
"For me, as for many of you, there are personal memories.  I will always remember Captain Michael Ritz, US Army.  Mike was a fellow cadet in my platoon at ROTC Advanced Camp at Fort Bragg in the summer of 1977.  A Citadel cadet, Mike was a natural leader, who drafted our off-color platoon song which we sang lustily to the delight of the “Black and Blue” squads of instructors from the 82d Airborne Division.  A football player for the Citadel who dreamed of being drafted by the NFL, Mike went on to serve in the Rangers and the 82d Airborne Division.  In October 1983, Captain Mike Ritz was one of the 82d Airborne company commanders during the invasion of Grenada.  Leading his company from the front, Mike took the brunt of a Cuban machine gun salvo and was killed.  After all these years, who even remembers that we invaded Grenada, much less that Americans shed their blood there?  Yet a few of us do…I can still remember Mike’s square jaw, his deep voice…and the sacrifice that he made for our nation.
"All around us, in this community are local tributes to and reminders of those who gave their all for us.  The host organization of today’s ceremony, American Legion Post 13 is named to memorialize two local men from World War I: 2d LT Jay F. Clemmer, 318th Infantry, killed in August 1918 in Aisne France, and Sergeant Robert A. McGuffin, Staunton Military Academy graduate, who served in the 116th Infantry and was killed October 1918 in the Meuse-Argonne.  Our colors were presented today by the Thomas-Fields VFW Post which memorializes two local African-American service members of WWII: PVT Cyrus Glenwood Fields, QM Corps, who died on Christmas Day, 1944, and Charles R. Thomas, Officers Cook 3d Class, USN.  Just to my right is the Thomas D. Howie Armory in memory of MAJ Thomas Howie, SMA instructor and commander of 3d Battalion, 116th Infantry, killed by mortar fire as his unit advanced on St. Lo in the breakout from the Normandy beaches.  Having said, “I’ll see you in St. Lo” to his commanding general, his troops placed his body, draped in the American flag, on the hood of the lead jeep so that he was the first American to enter the city and then laid him on the rubble of the cathedral, where he was immortalized as the “Major of St. Lo.”  The Howie Rifles of Mary Baldwin’s Virginia Women’s Institute for Leadership perpetuate his memory.  I drive daily past Tullidge Drive and Tullidge Hall, named for Sergeant George Tullidge, who grew up in Staunton and joined the Army at 18 years of age after graduating from Staunton Military Academy.  Two years later, as part of the 507th Parachute Infantry Regiment, he jumped with his unit to support the Normandy invasion.  He was killed on June 8th, 1944 when severely wounded, he took over a machine-gun position overlooking the road from St. Mere Eglise and held off the German counter attack allowing his wounded troopers to be rescued. He died of his wounds and never left his post to seek medical attention.  Climb Cannon Hill and view the 31 names on the World War I monument there; or view the plaques on the Memorial Wall with the names of 100 SMA graduates who died in 4 wars.
"We all drive past the Avenue of Trees, memorializing over 300 area war dead since WWI to the present day along several of the major roads into town.  Several days ago, I stopped at the newest trees, added along the road to the Frontier Culture Museum for 3 Marines killed in Iraq in 2005 and 2006.  Three bridges in Augusta County remind us of the lives and sacrifice of Lance Corporals Jason Redifer, Daniel Bubb, and Daniel Morris.  The national cemetery on Richmond Road contains hundreds of graves, including 749 Union soldiers, most of them unknown.  One can visit the newest grave there under the tree against the east wall for Thomas E. Hodge II, who served in Iraq.  Thornrose cemetery contains the remains of over 1700 Confederate soldiers, many of them unknown and buried in a mass grave. 
"While today is one special day of remembrance, these reminders of sacrifice that surround us also serve to remind us that service and sacrifice are constant and are always with us.  We are blessed as a people that in every generation there are brave men and women who will step forward and swear to support and defend the Constitution of the United States and our way of life.

"We are ever in their debt…"
Photos by Lynn R. Mitchell
May 28, 2012

Staunton: Memorial Day 2012 ceremony at Gypsy Hill Gazebo

Photo by Lynn R. Mitchell
May 28, 2012

Memorial Day 2012 ... wreath-laying in Gypsy Hill Park

Remembering America's fallen heroes this morning, Monday, May 28, 2012, at 10:00 a.m. at Gypsy Hill Park's Gazebo.


Artist: Trace Adkins
Music by Jeremy Spillman -- Lyrics by Dave Turnbull

This song was inspired when lyricist Dave Turnbull heard the story of a young soldier killed in Iraq. Teaming up with Jerry Spillman who wrote the melody, they put the story to music to honor those who had died to protect America. A successful lyricist in Nashville, Mr. Turnbull sent a framed copy of the lyrics in 2006 to his cousin, former Augusta County Republican Committee chairman Kurt Michael, who delivered it to the mother of a local fallen Marine.

Memorial Day 2012 ... may we never forget.

Sunday, May 27, 2012