Friday, July 31, 2009

'Pro Abortion' Healthcare Reform

It's Not 'Pro Choice' if I'm Forced to Pay for
[or Perform] Abortions

Tucked away in the massive heathcare bill that no one seems to have time to read is a provision that mandates all insurance would have to cover abortions. An attempt to add conscience exclusions for providers failed in committee.

House and Senate committees continue to work out the details of the health care reform bills and, thus far, every effort to explicitly remove the abortion coverage and include conscience protections for health care workers has been shot down.
We now expect the vote on health care to come in September.

Let's be honest, we know who's paying big money and worked hard to elect this president. Still, conscience protection has always been a fundamental part of American life. Members of the Society of Friends and Mennonites are excluded from military service because of their beliefs and that is no different from a nurse holding the view that preborn life is not to be takeen.

Forcing those who object on moral or ethical grounds to fund and perform abortions goes against everything fundamentally American.

Pro-life citizens give a lot of money and time to support alternatives to abortion. Pregnancy help centers are an amazing resource and provide pre-natal care, counselling, resources and support to those facing unexpected pregnancies. It is not only immoral, but insulting to suggest that they need to be forced to support something that is against their beliefs.

Dogwood blossoms.


Randy Alcorn Writes About The Bill [click to read] and makes a number of important points about this legislation.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Meet Your New Doctor...

200 Protest in Bristol

[click on the image to
read more...]

The President went shopping at Kroger today. He was in Bristol pushing his 'urgent' healthcare reform but if you read the AP story [state-run media, no less], some pretty savvy and articulate people were among the protesters.

'Fixing Things' Chicago Style

Thuggery Becomes Standard Operating Procedure

Michelle Malkin is To the Point [click to read]

Walter Williams on How They Get Away With It [click to read]

Thomas Sowell: Disaster in the Making [click to read].

Michelle Malkin Discusses 'Culture of Corruption' [click to read] and Matt Lauer reacts.

FDR's Folly

Jim Powell Takes on Depression Mythology

Here's another resource for understanding the truth behind why the Great Depression lasted sixteen years. Powell, a fellow at the Cato Institute makes a more detailed case for getting the government out of the business of 'fixing' the economy, etc.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Principles and Ideas

David Karaffa Brought Both to the Campaign

SWAC Girl Has This Report [click to read] on the man who clearly stood on principle and brought substantial discussion of ideas to the table. The Man Who So Clearly Explained a Trillion [click to read] represents a trend I hope continues. There are so many young people who are becoming knowledgeable and articulate about the issues that affect us.

The fact that a young [25 years old] man electrified the room with substantial discussion should hearten us.

Here's the News Virginian Report [click to read] of the candidate's forum. They note that Karaffa addresses unfunded Federal mandates. Indeed, it is imperative for candidates at the state level to be well versed in matters Federal, since there is already a complex overlay of Federal involvement in matters the Tenth Amendment would have us believe belong to the states. Bob McDonnell is right to inject discussion of such issues into the governor's race.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Eight Candidates for 20th District Seat

Strong Contenders Emerge for Saxman's Seat

Here's the Daily News Record Article [click to read] detailing who has announced that they are running for delegate for the 20th district.

I'm excited that in an important election some energetic candidates are emerging who have the ability to communicate well and represent the people of this area.


Here's an Interesting 'Endorsement' [click to read] from The Augusta Free Press. Chris Graham, an honest progressive, pretty much proves everything Rush has been trying to tell the Republican Party.

ht/SWAC Girl

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

David Karaffa Explains a 'Trillion'

This is Brilliant...

Here's What a Trillian Dollars Looks Like [click to read].

Liberty 101 is This Saturday

A Festival of Liberty for All!

Join Us this Saturday [click to read] for an informative and inspirational time.

Chesterfield County Fairgrounds,
July 25th, from 1:00pm - 7:00pm

Main Stage Schedule:

Green Giant Band

Mean Dean

Presenting of Arms-Pipes of Argyll
Introduction by Doc Thompson
National Anthem sung by Jewell Booker

Edward Cline"The Original Tea Party and Ours: Where the Parallels Stop"

Tito "The Builder" Munoz"Socialism-My Experience"

Pat Webb (Second Amendment Sisters)"What Does the Second Amendment Mean?"

John Taylor "Taking Back Our Country"

Jamie Radtke"Restoring the Founder's Vision"

Robert Stacy McCain"Don't Get Angry, Get Organized!"

Tabitha Hale "Micropolitics for the Masses"

Benjamin Marchi"How We Can Stop Nationalized Health Care"

Dr. John Lewis"The Rights of Man: The American Founding Principle"

Adnan Barqawi"Living the American Dream of Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness"

The Gentlemen

Jim O'Ferrel Band

Closing Remarks by Doc Thompson

Seminar Schedule

Philip Van Cleave-Virginia Citizens Defense League-"The power and techniques of grassroots activism - the VCDL approach"

Jeff Horgan-Fair Tax- "Fair Tax Made Simple"

Ned Ryun-American Majority-"Top Ten Ways to Be An Effective Activist"

Donna Holt-Campaign for Liberty- "Politics in the Margins"

John Taylor-Virginia Institute for Public Policy-"Battle for the Soul of America: The Philosophy of the Founding Fathers vs. Progressivism"

Roger Pogge-Family Foundation Action-"Truth Project"

Paul Saunders-w/ Dr. John Lewis "The Global Warming Crisis: A Myth for Violating Rights (Cap & Trade)"

Seminars will be held inside the exhibition building, seating will be limited.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

David Karaffa to Seek 20th District Seat

Publisher of the Augusta Conservative to Run

Good Evening, I'm David Karaffa.

As many of you know, our Delegate, Chris Saxman, has announced that he will no longer be seeking re-election in November, which opens up the Republican nomination. I, like many of you, was surprised that our good delegate was no longer running. I understand the reasons that Delegate Saxman has for stepping aside and I want to take this opportunity to thank him for his years of unwavering service to our community, and wish him well in his future endeavors.

Over the last couple of days, many in the community have asked me if I would submit my name for candidacy. After careful consideration of the issues confronting our great commonwealth, input from my family, and quiet prayer, I have decided to put forward my name for the 20th District seat of the Virginia House of Delegates. We reflect on the peaceful passing of public service from one person to the next that has been in practice ever since the founding of our country. Each time, it has been to a person that shares our faith in a system that puts "We the People" in charge and I share in that belief. If selected I will passionately continue our fight for fiscal responsibility, real estate assessment reform, education, healthcare, a responsible energy policy, government transparency, and job creation. As Delegate Saxman, a great public servant, goes on to travel a different path, we must have strength and courage as a community, to look to the future of our representation and take confidence in our selection.

I want to thank the Republican Committee Chairmen for opening up this nomination so that once again a person who walks among us can step forward, take on the burden of public service, and represent our interests in the Virginia legislature. I look forward to an open and fair process where the will of the people will be respected and the spirit of our democracy maintained.

I am honored by the prospect of representing our great community and I ask you to support me at the Republican Nomination Forum 7 pm July 27th at Buffalo Gap High School.

(Show your support for David Karaffa and wear a red shirt to the Forum)

HT/Rightside VA

Monday, July 20, 2009

Nehemiah Project

More Pictures of Our Ramp...




The Danger of 'Fast Fixes'

Unintended Consequences of Rushing

In the 1970's an earthquake levelled Managua, the Capital of Nicaragua. Humanitarian aid efforts were quickly initiated to help the victims. Agencies determined that they should send food to the ruined city as soon as possible. Too bad no one actually took the time to look at the situation a bit more carefully. Yes, Managua lay in ruins, but the surrounding countryside was relatively unscathed and the donated food only served to wipe out the agricultural economy.

Had the well-meaning bureaucrats simply concentrated on restoring infrastructure, Nicaragua's farmers would have happily fed the country themselves.

There is a lesson here for those who would push massive unread bills through Congress to deal with healthcare 'reform' and 'Cap and Trade.' What are the consequences of these proposals?

When President Kennedy wanted to send a man to the Moon, a ten year program was proposed. There HAD to be time to scope out the problem and desgn creative solutions. Likewise the redesign of American healthcare is complex and the components of any solution need to be sufficiently analyzed before they become the law of the land. Bad fixes are almost always more trouble to repair than a more reasoned process of getting it right the first time.

Indeed it would be a great time to open up the discussion of real solutions. Solutions that include tort reform and settlement caps that would lower the cost of care. Insurance competition and a regulatory structure that allows people to shop across state lines and form more viable groups for independent contractors should be part of this discourse.

The Carbon Tax should be openly discussed as to its true impact on the American economy. Certainly we should continue to develop better, cleaner and more local sources of power and we need to develop our energy resources at home. Energy independence is a necessary goal and should be pursued with the same determination that took us to the Moon.

If We Can Put a Man on the Moon...

...We Can Keep the Rest Areas Open!

RICHMOND- One day before Virginia begins to shutter eighteen safety rest stops and one welcome center statewide, Bob McDonnell, Republican gubernatorial nominee and former Attorney General of Virginia, announced his support for prompt, proactive and creative measures to keep the facilities open. McDonnell further pledged that if the rest stops are closed, he will open them back up within 90 days of taking office as governor in January 2010. Eighteen interstate-highway safety rest areas are set to close tomorrow, and the Interstate 66 West Welcome Center at Manassas will close on September 16th, due to budget choices made by the Kaine administration.McDonnell called for a series of steps to be taken, all of which would help keep the rest stops open to the benefit of motorists, public safety, and Virginia's tourism and hospitality industry.

Specifically McDonnell proposes the following:

· The immediate creation of an "Adopt a Safety Rest Stop" program with Virginia businesses, community and civic organizations, modeled on the successful "Adopt a Highway" initiative, to help keep the safety rest stops open in the near term, without providing commercial services. Leaders of the Virginia Business Council have already been contacted and have indicated their willingness to help fund rest stop operations in the near term to help the State.

· The General Assembly must explore creative financing structures to fund rest stop operations and maintenance during the 2010 session, and engage the private sector in new partnerships.· Governor Kaine and the Virginia Department of Transportation should promptly construct a more limited budget for rest stop operations, below the current 9 million dollar annual budget. We must work with local sheriffs, community corrections officers, as well as the state DOC to explore the feasibility of landscaping and clean-up of rest areas as an option for those currently sentenced to community service or eligible for work release programs. Many non-violent offenders are already successfully assigned to roadside clean-up work crews around the state.

· The CTB budget should be reprioritized to allocate the necessary money to keep the rest stops open. Speaking about his proposals McDonnell noted, "Any person, whether a candidate for statewide office or a parent who has been on a family vacation, can tell you about the importance of Virginia's rest stops. Our rest stops provide a safe place for truckers and motorists to rest, and serve as information centers for tourists looking to find out about Virginia's many attractions.

Shutting down Virginia's rest stops will negatively impact motorists, impair public safety, weaken our tourism industry, and slap a "Closed" sign on the Commonwealth. That's not what Virginia needs right now."McDonnell continued, "With the rejection of recent efforts in Congress to seek a waiver from federal regulations prohibiting the commercialization of our rest stops, it appears this administration is content to let our rest stops be shuttered tomorrow. We should not give up on this issue so quickly. We can still fix this problem. By being creative, working across party lines, making rest stop safety a priority, and involving the private sector, we can keep our rest stops open for the benefit of all motorists and the entire Commonwealth. We should initiate an "Adopt a Rest Stop" program to be funded by private sector companies, wherein they would sponsor the continuing operation of a rest stop by the Commonwealth. You can "Adopt a Highway" why not "Adopt a Rest Stop"? I will contact members of the Virginia Business Council, an organization comprised of the Commonwealth's largest corporate citizens, and ask for their immediate assistance in keeping the rest areas open in the short term. There are also ways to construct a more limited budget to keep the rest stops open that should be explored fully."McDonnell also stated, "I refuse to believe that we can't work together to make sure our highways stay safe and Virginia stays "open" to travelers, truckers and everyday motorists. And I make this pledge. If the rest stops do close tomorrow, and remain dark in the months ahead, that will end when I am elected governor. I will work with the General Assembly to find a way to fund the operation of these facilities. And within 90 days of my taking office all 19 rest stops will be open again. We have a two-year budget of nearly $80 billion. To keep the rest stops open we need $9 million, or less if we get smart about how we manage things in Richmond. We can do this. It just takes commitment and creativity."Rest stops play an important role in keeping Virginia's highways safe. They provide a secure location for weary travelers and truckers to rest, reducing the number of accidents. According to the National Highway Transportation Safety Board, driver fatigue results in 100,000 accidents and 1,500 deaths a year in the United States. Studies show that truck-driver fatigue could be a factor in up to 40 percent of truck crashes, and night-time truck crashes increase when the distance between rest areas increases. Rest stops also play an important economic role in Virginia, as they are a place where out of state travelers can pick up promotion sources for the tourism and hospitality industries. Further, according to a recent article in the Richmond Times Dispatch, the closing of the safety rest stops and welcome centers will mean 209 contract workers and 3 welcome-center employees will be laid off, and the state will lose about $800,000 in revenue from vending machines.

HT/Rightside VA

One Small Step for a Man...

...One Giant Leap for Mankind

Footprint on the Moon.

Forty Years ago man walked on the moon! Neil Armstrong and Buz Aldren became the first humans ever to set foot on a world besides our own Earth. Having been beaten by the Russians in orbeting a satellite and in getting a man into space, NASA rose to the challenge issued by John F. Kennedy to put a man on the moon in this decade and return him safely to Earth. Michael Collins remained in the command module as it orbited the Moon.

It was a different world. We understood that a free people needed to maintain supremacy in technological advances and the "space race" was a healthy competition that was not hostile on its surface but had clear defense implications. We watched with Walter Cronkite as the American Space Program worked to achieve its incredible goal. Sadly, Walter died just a few days before this historic milestone at the age of 92.

We shed tears for Astronauts Virgil I. "Gus" Grissom, Ed White and Roger B. Chaffee when their Apollo 1 preflight test became a fiery death trap. Would America go forward with this obviously risky program? Yes. Go forward they did. Jim Lovell read from Genesis orbiting the Moon in Apollo Eight. The two missions that followed tested the lunar lander and command module and then came Apollo 11.

Within two years of the Apollo 1 tragedy we were seeing the lunar module "Eagle" safely landed on the Moon. At 2:00am we were watching black and white television signals that travelled from the lunar surface to Parks Tracking Station in Australia before being beamed all over the world.

Neil Armstrong stepped onto the Moon and history was made.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Nehemiah Project

New Ramp at Comfort Care Women's Health

Ramp at Comfort Care
Here is an example of what a handfull of dedicated young people can achieve in a week.

The Nehemiah Project is finished. It was a week of furious work and fabulous team spirit. Our team built this ramp and the pergola for the entrance to Comfort Care. The vision of some of our youth ministers became a wonderful reality as 200 youth worked with adult leaders to build twelve different projects.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Healthcare, Government Style

Are You Ready for the Bureaucrats to Run Medicine?

Here in Virginia, AFP is joining with many of our Tea Party Patriot friends at Senators Warner and Webb’s district offices this Friday, July 17th to protest a government takeover of health care.

Activists like you and me from all across the nation will be hitting our senators' district offices on the same day in a coordinated effort to demand that our elected officials protect the freedoms we enjoy - to choose our doctors and to keep the government out of our health decisions.
Bring your homemade signs and be sure to print a copy-- signed by you and your family-- of our Patients First petition to bring with you to Warner and Webb’s offices this Friday at 12 noon.

AFP President Tim Phillips will join local activists at the Arlington, VA district office of Senator Jim Webb to tell him in person to keep his hands off our health care.
If you are not able to make it, please take the time to call our Virginia senators so your voice is still heard. We provided contact information below for your convenience.
Thanks for all you do!

Ben Marchi
State DirectorAFP-Virginia


308 Craghead Street
Suite 102A
Danville, VA 24541
Phone: 434-792-0976
Fax: 434-972-0960

Hampton Roads
222 Central Park Ave.
Suite 120Virginia Beach, VA 23462
Phone: 757-518-1674
Fax: 757-518-1679

Northern Virginia
1501 Lee Highway
Suite 130
Arlington, VA 22209
Phone:703-807-0581 Fax:703-807-5198

756 Park Avenue, N.W.
Norton, VA 24273
Mail to: 756 Park Avenue, N.W.
P.O. Box 1300
Norton, VA 24273
Phone: 276-679-4925
Fax: 276-679-4929

507 East Franklin Street
Richmond, VA 23219
Phone: 804-771-2221
Fax: 804-771-8313

3140 Chaparral Drive
Building C, Suite 101
Roanoke, VA 24018
Phone: 540-772-4236
Fax: 540-772-6870


180 West Main Street
Abingdon, VA 24210
Phone Number: 276-628-8158
Fax Number: 276-628-1036

101 W. Main Street
Suite 4900Norfolk, VA 23510
Phone Number: 757-441-3079
Fax Number: 757-441-6250

5309 Commonwealth Centre Parkway
Suite 401
Midlothian, VA 23112
Phone Number: 804-739-0247
Fax Number: 804-739-3478

129B Salem Avenue, SW
Roanoke, VA 24011
Phone Number: 540-857-2676
Fax Number: 540-857-2800

Monday, July 13, 2009

Olive Branch Baptist Church

Client Comment:

"I wanted to tell you how much we like the rendering you did for Olive Branch. You captured the feel of the place perfectly. The owners likewise are delighted.

Thank you!" -- E. Strong, DG Group

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Nehemiah Project

200 Volunteers Take On Augusta Projects

Tomorrow 200 young people will do something radical. They'll be out in our community building porches, wheelchair ramps and a scooter shed for a disabled lady. I haven't done a Milestone Monday in a while... Blogger's Block, so here's at least a salute to area Pastors Seth Hankee and Rick Miller who have seen this vision through to fruition.

Here's the Newspaper's Write Up [click to read] of this project, which brings together eleven local churches for a week long effort to bless twelve area residents with much needed construction services.

I'll be out with a crew, so blogging may be sporatic for the next week or so.

Ketchikan, Alaska

Two Years Ago Today, I Was There

Buildings on pilings in Ketchikan.

Ketchikan Boats
Boats in Ketchikan.

Swabbing Decks
Swabbing decks on cruise ships.

Misty Fjords, Alaska

Two Years Ago Today, I Was There

Lake Landing
Landing in a float plane on a lake in the Misty Fjords.

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Sitka Alaska

Two Years Ago Today, I Was There

Bishop's House
The Russian Bishop's House.

Orthidox Cathedral Dome.

Russian Dancers
Russian Dancers. Note to Tina Fey: If you live in Sitka you really can see Russia from your house.

Mushroom Tree
The Indian River Trail outside of Sitka. My first hike in Alaska!

Indian River Trail
Trees along the Indian River Trail.

Indian River Trail
View along the Indian River Trail.

Friday, July 10, 2009


My First Visit to this Wonderful State,
Two Years Ago

Hubbard Glacier
The Hubbard Glacier is just one of the state's many wonders.

Two years ago today, my lovely wife and I were visiting this marvelous glacier. For you 'Global Warming' afficionados, this is a glacier that is growing!


Its About What's Best for Children, Right?

Here's an Article [click to read] that Chris Saxman shared aout how DC's Opportunity Scholarship Program is being dropped by the currrent administration in spite of its effectiveness. Follow the money. The National Teachers' Union does not want school choice. They are major contributers to the party in power.

Interesting though, is What the National Teachers' Union Endorses. Victoria Cobb writes:

According to its website, the Virginia Education Association (VEA) delegation to the National Education Association’s national convention earlier this month tackled issues like “reducing the dropout rates, properly managing charter schools, controlling infectious diseases in schools, providing resources for boosting teacher quality, protecting substitute teachers, and expanding opportunities for preschool education.”

What the site doesn’t talk about is another issue that the delegation voted to endorse – a resolution supporting national and state efforts to enact same-sex marriage, civil unions and domestic partner benefits.

Apparently, when the leaders of the Virginia delegation were asked to support a resolution that took no position on same-sex marriage issues, they refused, saying that teachers in Virginia know the issues the VEA is involved with and supports them.

So as of now, every public school teacher in Virginia who is a member of the Virginia Education Association is sending money to an effort to bring same-sex marriage to our nation and our Commonwealth, despite the clear decision by the voters of Virginia to protect marriage.

This comes on top of a long history of extremist liberal advocacy. Just last fall the VEA made the news because it urged teachers to participate in “Obama Blue Day” and encouraged voting age students to vote for Barack Obama for president.

It does not have to be this way. Pro-family teachers in Virginia have an alternative that provides similar resources as the VEA – some even better – without the political baggage. The Virginia Professional Educators offers even better insurance policies and other benefits without supporting liberal causes and candidates (or any cause or candidates for that matter). If you are a teacher who feels forced to be part of the VEA I urge you to check out the VPE.

State Sovreignty

This Principle May Save the Union After All!

Ellicotts' Mills Model
The Federal role in constructing the National Pike, shown here passing through Ellicott's Mills, was once the subject of intense debate.

Here's an Interesting Proclaimation [click to read] from Governor Rick Perry of Texas.

"A number of recent federal proposals are not within the scope of the federal government’s constitutionally designated powers and impede the states’ right to govern themselves. HCR 50 affirms that Texas claims sovereignty under the 10th Amendment over all powers not otherwise granted to the federal government." -- Governor Perry

State Sovreignty may conjure up visions of antebellum apartheit, but the expansion of the Federal role in the late Nineteenth and Twentieth Century was rightly feared by leaders such as Patrick Henry.


Concept for Civil Rights Museum

Visualizing Gallery Designs

Moton Gallery
A gallery display to be set into a historic school building.

See More Pictures [click to view] at Case Studies.

Our client needed visual materials for planning and fundraising purposes. It was also critical to show how the displays would fit into a historic school building.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Celebrating Brilliance and Persistance

The Dr. June McCarroll Award

Dr. June McCarroll
Dr. June McCarroll, inventor of
pavement markings for highways.

It is time for the first ever Dr. June McCarroll Award to be given. Here is My Original Piece [click to read] about this amazing woman. After she was run off the road by a truck she came up with the idea for a dividing line to be painted down the center of roads. When she took the idea to the government they politely ignored her. She made her point, however, by painting a center line on one mile of US 99 in Indio California. Her invention was then impossible to ignore and became part of highway history.

This year's award goes to a young mother who sought to make her own community better. In 1992 she ran for city council of Wasilla, AK and served there until 1996 when she became mayor. She was appointed to the Alaska Oil and Gas Conservation Commission and served as Ethics Commissioner from 2003 to 2004. She resigned and exposed corruption in the commission, fingering prominent members of her own party. Her credentials as a reformer clearly established, she ran for Governor in 2006 and defeated incumbent Republican Governor Murkowski in the primary. She went on to win the general election and became, at 42, Alaska's youngest Governor in history.

Known as a foe of wasteful spending, she is famous for her vetoes of questionable expenditures. She has another unique qualification for leadership -- she is the Mother of five children! Her youngest child, Trig, was born while she was Governor of Alaska. That has to be another historic first! Her oldest son serves in the U.S. Army in Iraq.

We know her as the Vice Presidential candidate who reenergized John McCain's flagging bid for the White House. People are unnerved by her appeal to the common man and she is now routinely villified by media and entertainment 'elites.' Here's what one Alaska citizen has to say about her:

This from SaraPac.

Letter to the Editor by Elsie M. O’Bryan,
Houston, AK
Mat-Su Valley Frontiersman

July 6, 2009

To the editor:

In case you’re wondering what this Alaskan thinks of Sarah stepping down before her term is up…

I know, from my own observation of the articles and editorials and multiple facetious ethics complaints that Sarah could make no move — regardless of how mundane — without constant harassment. Yes, I use the word “harassment” because I believe that is what it has been.

No political figure is immune, nor should they be immune, from questioning (those who know me know I’ve done my share of that on the local and state level over the years) of motives, proper procedures, etc. That’s part of the process.

However, when it comes to the point that a person who is attempting to do her best in the position she was elected to do cannot do so, and when the cost in time and money to the individual and to the state to defend against allegations, becomes the prudent thing to do to step away.

I think it was an unselfish move to have chosen to step away from the office of governor and I believe that it was a matter of analyzing the ability to continue to be effective and judging that with the onslaught of attacks of every move and concluding that it was time to step aside.

I believe it is time to impose a fee for filing ethics complaints, which can be refunded if the complaint is found to have merit. I believe those who filed multiple complaints, which were dismissed, were on a well-thought out campaign that cost them nothing. There needs to be a process whereby folks can continue to file complaints and expect a fair and unbiased review, yet those who use that process for a campaign for destruction are held accountable for a part of the expense.

Has she been a good governor? Yes she has. Has she been able to accomplish getting major goals accomplished through bringing thorny players together? Yes
Would an ugly male be treated the same way by the media? Murkowski wasn’t. Obama isn’t.

I have to agree with one commenter who stated, to the effect of “Just believe what she’s saying.” Don’t look for alligators under rose bushes.

I only hope that some of the media people and “bloggers” who pushed this to this extent can have a measure of conscience and learn that there is a line and they have crossed it.

Elsie M. O’Bryan

Rasmussen makes it clear, a lot of conservative voters have NOT written her off:

Seventy-six percent (76%) of Republican voters have a favorable opinion of Palin, even after her decision to resign as governor of Alaska, with 45% whose view of her is very favorable. Palin trails Huckabee, who unsuccessfully sought the Republican presidential nomination in 2008. Huckabee is favored by 78%, with 41% who feel very favorably toward him.

Sarah Palin represents a rebirth of that Jeffersonian ideal where people from ordinary life go up to Washington to represent us and then come home! She's no Washington insider in a grey suit. She got involved in the first place because she cares. It is with great pleasure that I nominate her to receive the first ever Dr. June McCarroll Award, given here this day, July 9, 2009.

Governor Palin in Kuwait.


Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Futurama III

New York's Tomorrow from City Journal

Glass towers in Manhattan.

During the height of the Dinkins administration, when conventional wisdom saw a bleak future for Gotham, City Journal published a special issue discussing creative solutions for the problems. Years later Rudy Guliani would stand to address the Manhattan Institute [publishers of City Journal] and show them his well-worn copy. He credited the quarterly for providing him with the inspiration for many of his well-known reforms.

Now City Journal steps up to the plate again as financial crisis threatens to derail many of New York's gains.

New York's Tomorrow [click to read] is a collection of hopeful essays grounded in reality. It should be required reading for policy makers everywhere.

In “New York’s Tomorrow,” you’ll find no shortage of bold, visionary ideas, from rezoning New York City to tort reform in New York State to building the power plants that drive the economy to enacting a Taxpayer Bill of Rights. All could help New York stay afloat and even flourish in the wake of the financial meltdown.

Does that get your attention? States like Virginia could avoid many missteps by heeding the collected wisdom of New York's Tomorrow. VDOT [click to read] might actually find in the study of more complex transit systems the wisdom to cut expenses while providing MORE service to the customer, the motoring taxpayer.

General Motors may be bankrupt, but the Manhattan Institute has a wealth of ideas to enrich our discussion of things future.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Early American Infrastructure

The Thomas Viaduct

Just five years afte the first section of the B&O Railroad opened, Benjamin Henry Latrobe built this beautiful curved stone arch bridge to carry the tracks connecting Baltimore and Washington across the Patapsco River.

Monday, July 6, 2009

Jamaican Luge Team

Family Fun on the Fourth...

The Star-Spangled Banner still waves...

July 4, 2009
...but this looks like a Caribbean Winter Sport!

After three tours in the Middle-East and taking up a career in the financial sector after his discharge, my nephew must have thought our family get togethers needed some... er... excitement! Yes, as he drove to our gathering at Graves Mountain Lodge the idea hit him... we needed a Big Wheel!

A stop at Toys-r-us was all it took and my nephew arrived with the magic tricycle. He'd already broken the spot-welded rear wheel assembly and run to Lowes for a 24" threaded rod and some heavier tires [with bearings] by the time I arrived on the scene. "You are NOT riding on that thing" my lovely wife stated tersely, but after my son-in-law made his run I decided it was time to do a serious structural analysis on the tricycle of death.

Our course ran from the Ridgetop rooms all the way down to the grassy flats below the main lodge. You crossed through the remains of an old orchard and got air crossing two old orchard roads.

July 4, 2009
The course.

See those cars at the bottom. You shot past them. When you shot over the paved road into the grassy flat, the assembled family let up a rousing cheer! It was a lot like the old sledding hills we remember. I made two trips when I could get the thing away from the younger crowd.

Sparklers at Graves' Mountain Lodge.

Friday, July 3, 2009

Virginia Declaration of Rights

George Mason's 1776 Document
Adopted by the Virginia Constitutional Convention on June 12, 1776


That all men are by nature equally free and independent, and have certain inherent rights, of which, when they enter into a state of society, they cannot, by any compact, deprive or divest their posterity; namely, the enjoyment of life and liberty, with the means of acquiring and possessing property, and pursuing and obtaining happiness and safety.


That all power is vested in, and consequently derived from, the people; that magistrates are their trustees and servants, and at all times amenable to them.


That government is, or ought to be, instituted for the common benefit, protection, and security of the people, nation, or community; of all the various modes and forms of government that is best, which is capable of producing the greatest degree of happiness and safety and is most effectually secured against the danger of maladministration; and that, whenever any government shall be found inadequate or contrary to these purposes, a majority of the community hath an indubitable, unalienable, and indefeasible right to reform, alter, or abolish it, in such manner as shall be judged most conducive to the public weal.


That no man, or set of men, are entitled to exclusive or separate emoluments or privileges from the community, but in consideration of public services; which, not being descendible, neither ought the offices of magistrate, legislator, or judge to be hereditary.


That the legislative and executive powers of the state should be separate and distinct from the judicative; and, that the members of the two first may be restrained from oppression by feeling and participating the burthens of the people, they should, at fixed periods, be reduced to a private station, return into that body from which they were originally taken, and the vacancies be supplied by frequent, certain, and regular elections in which all, or any part of the former members, to be again eligible, or ineligible, as the laws shall direct.


That elections of members to serve as representatives of the people in assembly ought to be free; and that all men, having sufficient evidence of permanent common interest with, and attachment to, the community have the right of suffrage and cannot be taxed or deprived of their property for public uses without their own consent or that of their representatives so elected, nor bound by any law to which they have not, in like manner, assented, for the public good.


That all power of suspending laws, or the execution of laws, by any authority without consent of the representatives of the people is injurious to their rights and ought not to be exercised.


That in all capital or criminal prosecutions a man hath a right to demand the cause and nature of his accusation to be confronted with the accusers and witnesses, to call for evidence in his favor, and to a speedy trial by an impartial jury of his vicinage, without whose unanimous consent he cannot be found guilty, nor can he be compelled to give evidence against himself; that no man be deprived of his liberty except by the law of the land or the judgment of his peers.


That excessive bail ought not to be required, nor excessive fines imposed; nor cruel and unusual punishments inflicted.


That general warrants, whereby any officer or messenger may be commanded to search suspected places without evidence of a fact committed, or to seize any person or persons not named, or whose offense is not particularly described and supported by evidence, are grievous and oppressive and ought not be granted.


That in controversies respecting property and in suits between man and man, the ancient trial by jury is preferable to any other and ought to be held sacred.


That the freedom of the press is one of the greatest bulwarks of liberty and can never be restrained but by despotic governments.


That a well regulated militia, composed of the body of the people, trained to arms, is the proper, natural, and safe defense of a free state; that standing armies, in time of peace, should be avoided as dangerous to liberty; and that, in all cases, the military should be under strict subordination to, and governed by, the civil power.


That the people have a right to uniform government; and therefore, that no government separate from, or independent of, the government of Virginia, ought to be erected or established within the limits thereof.


That no free government, or the blessings of liberty, can be preserved to any people but by a firm adherence to justice, moderation, temperance, frugality, and virtue and by frequent recurrence to fundamental principles.


That religion, or the duty which we owe to our Creator and the manner of discharging it, can be directed only by reason and conviction, not by force or violence; and therefore, all men are equally entitled to the free exercise of religion, according to the dictates of conscience; and that it is the mutual duty of all to practice Christian forbearance, love, and charity towards each other.

Source: Ben Perley Poore, ed., The Federal and State Constitutions, Colonial Charters, and Other Organic Laws of the United States, vol. 2 (1878), pp. 1908-1909.

Reconstructed Original Meeting House
Reconstruction of Tinkling Springs original meeting house. Religious liberty was a necessary development in Virginia's Western frontier.

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Give Me Liberty...

Saint John's Church

Saint John's Church
The steeple as seen through the trees.

Saint John's Church
Historical marker.

Saint John's Church
Steeple against the sky.

Saint John's Church
Front view of Saint John's Church.

Just imagine... it is March 23, 1775 and you are here for the meeting of the Virginia Revolutionary Convention. Such noteables as George Washington, Thomas Jefferson and Richard Henry Lee surround you. Patrick Henry is about to address the meeting...

No man thinks more highly than I do of the patriotism, as well as abilities, of the very worthy gentlemen who have just addressed the House. But different men often see the same subject in different lights; and, therefore, I hope that it will not be thought disrespectful to those gentlemen, if, entertaining as I do opinions of a character very opposite to theirs, I shall speak forth my sentiments freely and without reserve.

This is no time for ceremony. The question before the House is one of awful moment to this country. For my own part I consider it as nothing less than a question of freedom or slavery; and in proportion to the magnitude of the subject ought to be the freedom of the debate. It is only in this way that we can hope to arrive at truth, and fulfill the great responsibility which we hold to God and our country. Should I keep back my opinions at such a time, through fear of giving offense, I should consider myself as guilty of treason towards my country, and of an act of disloyalty towards the majesty of heaven, which I revere above all earthly kings.

Mr. President, it is natural to man to indulge in the illusions of hope. We are apt to shut our eyes against a painful truth, and listen to the song of that siren, till she transforms us into beasts. Is this the part of wise men, engaged in a great and arduous struggle for liberty? Are we disposed to be of the number of those who, having eyes, see not, and having ears, hear not, the things which so nearly concern their temporal salvation?

For my part, whatever anguish of spirit it may cost, I am willing to know the whole truth -- to know the worst and to provide for it. I have but one lamp by which my feet are guided; and that is the lamp of experience. I know of no way of judging of the future but by the past. And judging by the past, I wish to know what there has been in the conduct of the British ministry for the last ten years, to justify those hopes with which gentlemen have been pleased to solace themselves and the House?

Is it that insidious smile with which our petition has been lately received? Trust it not, sir; it will prove a snare to your feet. Suffer not yourselves to be betrayed with a kiss. Ask yourselves how this gracious reception of our petition comports with these warlike preparations which cover our waters and darken our land. Are fleets and armies necessary to a work of love and reconciliation? Have we shown ourselves so unwilling to be reconciled that force must be called in to win back our love? Let us not deceive ourselves, sir. These are the implements of war and subjugation -- the last arguments to which kings resort. I ask gentlemen, sir, what means this martial array, if its purpose be not to force us to submission? Can gentlemen assign any other possible motives for it? Has Great Britain any enemy, in this quarter of the world, to call for all this accumulation of navies and armies?

No, sir, she has none. They are meant for us; they can be meant for no other. They are sent over to bind and rivet upon us those chains which the British ministry have been so long forging. And what have we to oppose to them? Shall we try argument? Sir, we have been trying that for the last ten years. Have we anything new to offer on the subject? Nothing.

We have held the subject up in every light of which it is capable; but it has been all in vain. Shall we resort to entreaty and humble supplication? What terms shall we find which have not been already exhausted? Let us not, I beseech you, sir, deceive ourselves longer.

Sir, we have done everything that could be done to avert the storm which is now coming on. We have petitioned; we have remonstrated; we have supplicated; we have prostrated ourselves before the throne, and have implored its interposition to arrest the tyrannical hands of the ministry and Parliament.

Our petitions have been slighted; our remonstrances have produced additional violence and insult; our supplications have been disregarded; and we have been spurned, with contempt, from the foot of the throne. In vain, after these things, may we indulge the fond hope of peace and reconciliation. There is no longer any room for hope.

If we wish to be free -- if we mean to preserve inviolate those inestimable privileges for which we have been so long contending -- if we mean not basely to abandon the noble struggle in which we have been so long engaged, and which we have pledged ourselves never to abandon until the glorious object of our contest shall be obtained, we must fight! I repeat it, sir, we must fight! An appeal to arms and to the God of Hosts is all that is left us!

They tell us, sir, that we are weak -- unable to cope with so formidable an adversary. But when shall we be stronger? Will it be the next week, or the next year? Will it be when we are totally disarmed, and when a British guard shall be stationed in every house? Shall we gather strength by irresolution and inaction? Shall we acquire the means of effectual resistance, by lying supinely on our backs, and hugging the delusive phantom of hope, until our enemies shall have bound us hand and foot?

Sir, we are not weak, if we make a proper use of the means which the God of nature hath placed in our power. Three millions of people, armed in the holy cause of liberty, and in such a country as that which we possess, are invincible by any force which our enemy can send against us. Besides, sir, we shall not fight our battles alone. There is a just God who presides over the destinies of nations, and who will raise up friends to fight our battles for us.

The battle, sir, is not to the strong alone; it is to the vigilant, the active, the brave. Besides, sir, we have no election. If we were base enough to desire it, it is now too late to retire from the contest. There is no retreat but in submission and slavery! Our chains are forged! Their clanking may be heard on the plains of Boston! The war is inevitable -- and let it come! I repeat it, sir, let it come!

It is in vain, sir, to extenuate the matter. Gentlemen may cry, "Peace! Peace!" -- but there is no peace. The war is actually begun! The next gale that sweeps from the north will bring to our ears the clash of resounding arms! Our brethren are already in the field! Why stand we here idle? What is it that gentlemen wish? What would they have? Is life so dear, or peace so sweet, as to be purchased at the price of chains and slavery? Forbid it, Almighty God! I know not what course others may take; but as for me, give me liberty, or give me death!

-- Patrick Henry - March 23, 1775

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Understanding the Times

We Need Men Like These Today

And of the children of Issachar, which were men that had understanding of the times, to know what Israel ought to do; the heads of them were two hundred; and all their brethren were at their commandment. -- 1 Chronicles 12:32

Black Bear in Lee Football Stadium

Trapped Bear Runs Defensive Drills

I asked biologist Al Bourgeois what's going on last time I saw him. He said he'd caught a bear that morning. It's June, when a young boar's fancy... so I was expecting another story involving bird feeders or grills. I wasn't prepared for what he shared next... he'd spent part of his morning darting a yearling who'd wandered into Staunton and had been trapped inside the Lee High School Football Stadium. The bear ran himself ragged evading Staunton law enforcement officers. Al said he darted the bear and it dropped off pretty fast. Usually the right dose takes up to ten minutes to put the bear in dreamland. Black bears have amazing endurance and can run up to 30 mph so the whole thing must have been quite a [forgive me] zoo!

The young bear was then released in the national forest, it was reported. Had this bear been taken to Virginia Tech for further studies, as is sometimes done, Frank Beamer might have had a scholarship waiting!

Lynn Has More [click to read] on the Lee High Bear.

Ursus Americanus
A black bear I photographed in Richmond's Maymont Park.

Rattlesnake Report

I read this morning that a man was bitten multiple times by a rattler near Dripping Rock overlook on the Blue Ridge Parkway. He was in pretty serious condition when someone found him. One should always remember that good wilderness has some hard edges and keep a sharp eye [and ear] for potential danger.

Black Ribbon Protest Against Cap & Trade bill


Tie a black ribbon made of any material available (strip of fabric, black garbage bag or other material) on trees, streetlight poles, antennas and anything else that you choose to decorate.The black ribbon represents the certain death of the American economy that this bill will bring.

Senator Warner (official website)
Richmond Area Office: 804-739-0247
Washington DC: 202-224-2023
Fax: 202-224-6295

Senator Webb (official website)
Richmond Area Office: 804-771-2221
Washington DC: 202-224-4024
Fax: 202-228-6363

thanks to the Richmond Tea Party for this update.

A Big Fat Embarrassment

Low-Life Comedian Takes a Senate Seat

Here's More from SWAC Girl [click to read]. Are you feeling underrepresented yet? When does it become clear to people that this is a mockery of our representative system of government?