For those who think Fox News is not fair and balanced, we give you this: Tonight, on Special Report with Brett Baier, Washington Post editorial page writer Charles Lane joined the panel discussion. On the subject of Representative Paul Ryan (R-Wisc.), the House Budget Committee chairman, running for president, Mr. Lane actually said this:
He has no foreign policy experience, he has no executive experience.
Either he is admitting the Barack Obama is a failure or he truly thinks Paul Ryan is not qualified to be president. Clarifying a moment later, he admitted he meant the latter, not understanding the ironic hypocrisy. Seriously, now, why does anyone (except, of course, themselves) take liberal pundits seriously?
In 1952, President Harry Truman signed into law a declaration that every president must proclaim a National Day of Prayer on the day of his choosing. In 1988, President Ronald Reagan took President Truman’s declaration one step further and set the first Thursday of May as the official National Day of Prayer. Since then, Presidents Reagan, George H.W. Bush and George W. Bush have marked the day with a White House observance and all presidents have issued commemorative proclamations. Many years, a special prayer service is held in the East Room.
If you cannot attend an observance, please consider taking some time out of your day to specifically pray for our nation, President Obama, Governor McDonnell, Lieutenant Governor Bolling, Attorney General Cuccinelli, U.S. Senators Warner and Webb, your congressman, your state senator and delegate, as well your local elected leaders. Each of these people has a powerful effect on the lives of Virginians.
The Richmond Times-Dispatch’s very opinionated chief political reporter, Jeff Schapiro (who doubles as a columnist and online pundit), must have had a writer’s block problem recently. How else to explain his pulling out the tried-and-true “anti-gay” attack on a social conservative? But seemingly out of nowhere, Mr. Schapiro’s latest video commentary at timesdispatch.com goes after Governor Bob McDonnell for his alleged “gay problem,” reciting votes and actions thoroughly vetted by the voters themselves who have never rejected Mr. McDonnell at the polls. Mr. Schapiro even dredges up the “thesis” and a crude question once asked to the governor when he was a candidate.
In fact, although the board retains a majority appointed to it by liberal former Governor Tim Kaine, it approved standards that omitted the original same-sex couple requirement by a lopsided 7-2 vote. No matter how often certain media (ahem, WRVA* in Richmond) misreported the issue as taking away a right (they never had), it’s no problem for officeholders to defend the sanctity of the traditional family. It may be a problem for Mr. Schapiro to understand that, but a gratuitous attack over a contrived problem on Governor McDonnell is only a problem for Mr. Schapiro to resolve.
* Not only did the station misreport the issue over a 2-day period, a producer chimed in on a locally produced show to call pro-family supporters “bigots.”
Our organization’s growth in recent years has been so rapid that we are excited to say we have outgrown our limited space. This summer, The Family Foundation, the oldest and largest pro-family advocacy organization in Virginia, will leave our offices at 830 East Main Street in downtown Richmond and will move into the SunTrust building — mere blocks from Mr. Jefferson’s Capitol. Our proximity to Capitol Square is unique among other pro-family advocacy organizations and allows us to continue to fight day in and day out, at a moment’s notice, for your values.
As our moving date approaches, we anticipate several needs that we hope you, our faithful supporters, may be able to help us address. Please contact our administrative assistant, Marie Edwards, at 804-343-0010 or firstname.lastname@example.org, if you are able to help in any of the following ways:
»Volunteer Hours. We have a need for volunteers to help us transition from paper to electronic files. Can you volunteer your time and help us scan and electronically catalog our files?
» Furniture. The furniture we are currently using is a mismatched collection of hand-me-downs from other businesses. Do you or does your business have any new or gently used furniture you would be willing to donate?
»Cubicles. The new office space allows us the ability to increase our student internship opportunities in order to train a generation of young people on fire to promote values and make a difference in Virginia. Additionally, we hope to increase the size of our lobbying presence at the capitol. In order to accomplish these dreams, we need three cubicles (5 to 6 feet long on each side). Do you or does your business have any new or gently used cubicles you would be willing to donate or make available for a reasonable rate?
»Corporate Moving. In an effort to be the best stewards of the financial resources we have been blessed with, we are looking for a discounted rate from a corporate moving company. Are you connected with a corporate moving company that would be willing to give us a discounted rate?
»Help us finance our move. The cost of transition is significant, but necessary. Click here to help us underwrite these costs so that we can grow our organization and more effectively defend your values at the capitol. Will you partner with us to enable this exciting transition?
Thank you again for your partnership in our mission and for enabling the awareness and acceptance of our shared values in Virginia to grow and thus necessitate our move!
One of the most unsightly of all the sausage making that is the legislative process is redistricting. Every 10 years, all 140 General Assembly districts, as well as Virginia’s Congressional districts, must be redrawn to reflect population shifts as accounted for in the census. The districts can get pretty contorted, to say the least, with compactness and communities of interest giving way to snake-like shapes that slither from one end of the state to another (not that Virginia is an exception, either).
Complicating matters is that whatever the General Assembly and governor agree to must be approved by the Justice Department because Virginia falls under the Voting Rights Act. But there are several rare dynamics at play this year. For one, it’s the first time since Reconstruction that opposite parties control the two chambers during a redistricting year. As each chamber has prerogative over its districts, traditionally they don’t interfere with each other’s plan. However, with Governor Bob McDonnell as a GOP backstop to Senate Democrat mischief, Senate Dems laid down the law: Instead of two bills this year, anything coming from the House would be attached to the Senate’s bill as a way of safeguarding its new districts from the governor’s veto or amendments. If not, Senate Dems promised stalemate on the House plan. Interestingly, in this interview (read transcript) on The Kojo Nnamdi Show on WAMU-FM in March, Majority Leader Dick Saslaw (D-35, Springfield) was asked what the governor’s role was in redistricting and he replied, “sign or amend” the bill. No mention of the veto option.
Well, if I lose a few seats as a result of redistricting, and I’m in the majority, I’m not doing a very good job. … And I would simply say, well, you know, our goal is to make the Democratic districts, particularly the marginal ones, a little bit better than they are now. I’m not greedy. I’m not trying to put all the Republicans out of business by any stretch. They didn’t do that to us 10 years ago. And we’re not gonna do that to them.
More dynamics: While there is time to settle the Congressional districts because those elections are not until next year, all 140 General Assembly seats are up this year. Already, primaries have been pushed back to August to accommodate the readjusted districts. Candidates filing to run still don’t know where they are running. Even if the parties and governor come to an agreement, there’s this: This is the first redistricting since the Voting Rights Act with a Democrat president. Who knows what changes his Justice Department might demand. If all of this can’t be wrapped up by a time certain, the entire process for both chambers gets transferred to judges.
Grossed out yet by the sausage making? Then you may or may not want to take this little test based on Senator Howell’s vetoed plan. The districts’ shapes are so contorted one might think they are ink blots on a Rorschach test. Click here to take the Is It Howell Or Rorschach? test. Disclaimer: Score does not correlate to actual state of mental health, but may indicate the insecurity of some Senate Democrats.
When I was a boy I asked a question to my parents doubtless raised millions of times by the innocent young to their elders: “If Jesus was crucified, why do they call it Good Friday?” Good question.
In this era of growing cultural commercialism swallowing the meaning of holy days into secular holidays and religious feasts into commercial festivals (witness Christmas, though perhaps last year saw the slightest of pullbacks) Holy Week has maintained its meaning for the most part. Solemnity still reigns.
One of the best sermons I ever heard was a few years back at Christmas. While many expect a bright and cheery talk, the pastor starkly reminded the parishioners that “the wood of the manger is the wood of the Cross.” Christ humbly assumed a human nature and later died for our redemption. It wasn’t pretty — Roman executions were perhaps the most brutal in history — and we all share in the fault because Jesus died to redeem all sin. While today we commemorate a horrible event, we see the good in it which leads to the hope of the Resurrection on Sunday. Though victim, Christ wins the day. That is the “good.”
“Christ became obedient unto death, even death on a cross” (cf. Phil 2:8):
We have just concluded the Via Crucis which, every year, sees us gathered on the evening of Good Friday in this place, filled with intense Christian memories. We have followed the steps of the Innocent One, unjustly condemned, keeping our eyes on his adorable face: a face offended by human malice but full of the light of love and forgiveness.
Truly distressing are the dramatic events involving Jesus of Nazareth! In order to restore fullness of life to man, the Son of God humbled himself in the most abject way. But from his Death, freely chosen, life springs forth. Scripture says: oblatus est quia ipse voluit — he gave himself up because he so wished. His is an extraordinary testimony of love, fruit of an obedience without compare, carried to the point of the total giving of himself. …
How can we take our eyes away from Jesus as he dies on the Cross? His battered face disturbs us. The Prophet says: “He had no form or comeliness that we should look at him, and no beauty that we should desire him. He was despised and rejected by men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief; and as one from whom men hide their faces he was despised” (Is 53:2-3).
On that face are concentrated the dark shadows of every suffering, every injustice, every violence inflicted on human beings throughout the course of history. But now, before the Cross, our everyday sorrows, and even death itself, appear clothed in the majesty of Christ abandoned and dying.
The face of the bleeding and crucified Messiah, reveals that, for the sake of love, God has allowed himself to become involved in the tormented chronicles of mankind. Ours is no longer a solitary suffering, because he has paid the price for us with his blood, shed to the last drop. He has entered into our suffering and broken through the barrier of our distraught tears.
In his death, all human life acquires meaning and value, as does death itself. From the Cross, Christ appeals to the personal freedom of men and women in every period of history and calls each one to follow him on the path of complete abandonment into the hands of God. He even makes us rediscover the mysterious fruitfulness of pain.
Who can forget The Passion of The Christ and the most realistic portrayal ever of a Roman execution? Jesus absorbed our sin manifest in physical suffering, so great is His love. That’s why today is “good.”
Late this afternoon, the Virginia Board of Social Services voted 7-2 to accept new regulations for adoption agencies that do not include formerly proposed non-discrimination protections for homosexuals. This is a victory for religious liberty and means that faith-based adoption agencies can continue serving Virginia’s children and families without being forced to violate their faith principles.
The previously proposed regulations that included sexual behavior protections were replaced by Commissioner of Social Services Martin Brown after it came to light that adding sexual orientation to protected status would have been in conflict with existing federal and state law, and the Virginia Marriage Amendment. The attorney general’s office issued a letter to the board informing it of the conflict and, acting on that advice, as well as public comment, the commissioner made the appropriate changes.
At the board meeting, representatives from The Family Foundation, the Virginia Catholic Conference, Catholic Charities of Arlington, the Virginia Assembly of Independent Baptists, America World Adoption and Bethany Christian Services testified against the original proposal that would have forced faith-based adoption agencies to either ignore their faith principles regarding marriage and sexual behavior or stop serving families and children. Organizations that serve children and families provided particularly compelling testimony. Andrew Brown, of America World Adoption, said that making sexual behavior a protected class would decrease the number of loving families available to adopt wanted, parentless children by forcing faith-based adoption agencies out of business.
However, the vote did not come without debate, beginning this morning with a failed motion to postpone the vote until August and ending late today with arguments by proponents of the sexual orientation language that they had not had enough time to review the new regulations. Representatives of Equality Virginia, the Gay Community Center of Richmond, Mothers and Others, and other groups argued that faith-based organizations should not be allowed to “discriminate” by following their beliefs. But homosexuals in Virginia can adopt — they must go through state or non-faith-based private agencies.
The most vocal proponent of homosexual protections was social services board member Trudy Brisendine, who made the argument that she had not had time to review the new regulations. This despite the fact that the previous proposal had been initiated by outgoing Governor Tim Kaine in December of 2009 and that regulations had been open for public comment since January. She asked, embarrassingly, at one point how a “child placing agency” is defined, requiring the board’s legal counsel to point out that the definition was on page two of the proposal. It is certainly concerning that someone who has the power to vote on regulations that oversee “child placing agencies” doesn’t know how they are defined or had not read the proposal thoroughly to know the term was defined — and at the beginning of the proposal no less. While her lack of preparation most likely won’t make the news, imagine if that question came from a pro-family board member.
We thank the seven board members who voted correctly, the McDonnell administration and the attorney general for their attention to this matter, Commissioner Brown, and our pro-family partners who have worked tirelessly over the past several weeks on this important issue.