Sunday, January 31, 2010

Morning Light on a Winter Sunday

New Snow and the First Light of Day

Cathedral in the Woods
Our church cancelled services but I found a place to worship the Creator.

Lone Pine Tree
The 'Lone Pine Tree' caught the morning light.

Table Snow
The snow on the table catches the light too.

Saturday, January 30, 2010

Snow Caused by 'Global Warming'

Augusta Conservative Makes a Sharp Observation

Route 11 at 262
Route 11 at 262 in the snow.

Augusta Conservative observes that Every Time President Obama Says 'Climate Change' [click to read], "we get blasted with snow."

The January Snow Continues...

Falling Steadily and Five Inches Already

Gate in Snow
A winter wonderland awaits beyond the gate.

Table with 4" or More
Four inches on the table.

Route 11
Route 11 headed into Staunton.

Good Shepherd Episcopal
Good Shepherd Episcopal Church designed by T. J. Collins.

House in Snow
A house along route 11 in the snow.

Lovely, Dark and Deep
A poem by Robert Frost comes to mind...

Stopping By Woods on a Snowy Evening

Whose woods these are I think I know.
His house is in the village though;
He will not see me stopping here
To watch his woods fill up with snow.

My little horse must think it queer
To stop without a farmhouse near
Between the woods and frozen lake
The darkest evening of the year.

He gives his harness bells a shake
To ask if there is some mistake.
The only other sound's the sweep
Of easy wind and downy flake.

The woods are lovely, dark and deep.
But I have promises to keep,
And miles to go before I sleep,
And miles to go before I sleep.

--Robert Frost

Comparing Obama to Nixon...

Obama’s Schizophrenic Politics

This Article by Michael Knox Beran [click to read] in City Journal is one of the more interesting bits of analysis I've seen of the President's speech.

"The weird calm with which Obama contemplates this electoral debacle is consonant with the apparent serenity with which he accommodates the irreconcilable political identities vying for preeminence in his mind. His closest analogue may be Richard Nixon. Nixon’s energy and drive were closely connected to his ability to draw strength from a submerged aspect of his nature which, however politically ruinous it might have been, was at the same time crucial to his political élan. Nixon struggled to keep the personal resentments that burned within him out of sight even as he fed on them; Obama has generally kept his own social-justice resentments under wraps even as they mysteriously fuel his appetite for power. No more than Nixon will Obama douse these smoldering embers; they are, it would seem, too intimately involved in his deepest political fantasies and satisfactions." -- Michael Knox Beran

More Analysis from Jewish World Review

Same Pig, Different Lipstick [click to read] by Jack Kelly

Racing Toward Destination Unknown [click to read] by Wesley Pruden

A Divided Brain in Washington [click to read] by George Will

Michelle Malkin's SOTUS Open Thread [click to read]

Capitol Dome
The Capitol. My photograph from September 12, 2009.

Friday, January 29, 2010

Thoughts from the Limbaugh Brothers

The State of the Union Address... Disgronified by Pros!

First you have Rush Limbaugh's Letter to the President [click to read] and then his brother David writes There was the President's Speech and There was Reality [click to read]. Cutting through the myths that 'it's all Bush's fault' and 'Republicans don't have any ideas to fix things,' Limbaugh [David] writes:

"Do conservatives have better ideas? Of course. Restore market forces through tort reform, strengthening health savings accounts, abolishing government coverage mandates, allowing consumers to purchase policies across state lines and eliminating the tax laws incentivizing employer-provided health care, which unnecessarily increase demand by making prices invisible to consumers."

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Bob McDonnell's Response...

Virginia's Governor Delivers Republican Response
to the State of the Union Address

The Virginia Capitol designed by Thomas Jefferson.

Text of Governor McDonnell's Response
January 28, 2010

"Good evening. I'm Bob McDonnell. Eleven days ago I was honored to be sworn in as the 71st governor of Virginia.

I'm standing in the historic House Chamber of Virginia's Capitol, a building designed by Virginia's second governor, Thomas Jefferson.

It’s not easy to follow the President of the United States. And my twin 18-year old boys have added to the pressure, by giving me exactly ten minutes to finish before they leave to go watch SportsCenter.

I'm joined by fellow Virginians to share a Republican perspective on how to best address the challenges facing our nation today.

We were encouraged to hear President Obama speak this evening about the need to create jobs. All Americans should have the opportunity to find and keep meaningful work, and the dignity that comes with it. Many of us here, and many of you watching, have family or friends who have lost their jobs. 1 in 10 American workers is unemployed. That is unacceptable.

Here in Virginia we have faced our highest unemployment rate in more than 25 years, and bringing new jobs and more opportunities to our citizens is the top priority of my administration. Good government policy should spur economic growth, and strengthen the private sector’s ability to create new jobs.

We must enact policies that promote entrepreneurship and innovation, so America can better compete with the world. What government should not do is pile on more taxation, regulation, and litigation that kill jobs and hurt the middle class.

It was Thomas Jefferson who called for "A wise and frugal Government which shall leave men free to regulate their own pursuits of industry ….and shall not take from the mouth of labor the bread it has earned…" He was right.

Today, the federal government is simply trying to do too much.

Last year, we were told that massive new federal spending would create more jobs 'immediately' and hold unemployment below 8%.

In the past year, over three million Americans have lost their jobs, yet the Democratic Congress continues deficit spending, adding to the bureaucracy, and increasing the national debt on our children and grandchildren. The amount of this debt is on pace to double in five years, and triple in ten. The federal debt is already over $100,000 per household. This is simply unsustainable.

The President's partial freeze on discretionary spending is a laudable step, but a small one. The circumstances of our time demand that we reconsider and restore the proper, limited role of government at every level. Without reform, the excessive growth of government threatens our very liberty and prosperity. In recent months, the American people have made clear that they want government leaders to listen and act on the issues most important to them. We want results, not rhetoric. We want cooperation, not partisanship. There is much common ground.

All Americans agree, we need a health care system that is affordable, accessible, and high quality. But most Americans do not want to turn over the best medical care system in the world to the federal government. Republicans in Congress have offered legislation to reform healthcare, without shifting Medicaid costs to the states, without cutting Medicare, and without raising your taxes. We will do that by implementing common sense reforms, like letting families and businesses buy health insurance policies across state lines, and ending frivolous lawsuits against doctors and hospitals that drive up the cost of your healthcare. And our solutions aren't thousand-page bills that no one has fully read, after being crafted behind closed doors with special interests. In fact, many of our proposals are available online at, and we welcome your ideas on Facebook and Twitter.

All Americans agree, this nation must become more energy independent and secure. We are blessed here in America with vast natural resources, and we must use them all. Advances in technology can unleash more natural gas, nuclear, wind, coal, and alternative energy to lower your utility bills. Here in Virginia, we have the opportunity to be the first state on the East Coast to explore for and produce oil and natural gas offshore. But this Administration’s policies are delaying offshore production, hindering nuclear energy expansion, and seeking to impose job-killing cap and trade energy taxes. Now is the time to adopt innovative energy policies that create jobs and lower energy prices.

All Americans agree, that a young person needs a world-class education to compete in the global economy. As a kid my dad told me, "Son, to get a good job, you need a good education." That’s even more true today. The President and I agree on expanding the number of high-quality charter schools, and rewarding teachers for excellent performance. More school choices for parents and students mean more accountability and greater achievement. A child's educational opportunity should be determined by her intellect and work ethic, not by her zip code.

All Americans agree, we must maintain a strong national defense. The courage and success of our Armed Forces is allowing us to draw down troop levels in Iraq as that government is increasingly able to step up. My oldest daughter, Jeanine, was an Army platoon leader in Iraq, so I'm personally grateful for the service and the sacrifice of all of our men and women in uniform, and a grateful nation thanks them. We applaud President Obama's decision to deploy 30,000 more troops to Afghanistan. We agree that victory there is a national security imperative. But we have serious concerns over recent steps the Administration has taken regarding suspected terrorists.

Americans were shocked on Christmas Day to learn of the attempted bombing of a flight to Detroit. This foreign terror suspect was given the same legal rights as a U.S. citizen, and immediately stopped providing critical intelligence. As Senator-elect Scott Brown says, we should be spending taxpayer dollars to defeat terrorists, not to protect them.

Here at home government must help foster a society in which all our people can use their G-d-given talents in liberty to pursue the American Dream. Republicans know that government cannot guarantee individual outcomes, but we strongly believe that it must guarantee equality of opportunity for all. That opportunity exists best in a democracy which promotes free enterprise, economic growth, strong families, and individual achievement. Many Americans are concerned about this Administration's efforts to exert greater control over car companies, banks, energy and health care. Over-regulating employers won’t create more employment; overtaxing investors won’t foster more investment.

Top-down one-size fits all decision making should not replace the personal choices of free people in a free market, nor undermine the proper role of state and local governments in our system of federalism. As our Founders clearly stated, and we Governors understand, government closest to the people governs best. And no government program can replace the actions of caring Americans freely choosing to help one another. The Scriptures say "To whom much is given, much will be required." As the most generous and prosperous nation on Earth, it is heartwarming to see Americans giving much time and money to the people of Haiti. Thank you for your ongoing compassion.

Some people are afraid that America is no longer the great land of promise that she has always been. They should not be. America will always blaze the trail of opportunity and prosperity. America must always be a land where liberty and property are valued and respected, and innocent human life is protected. Government should have this clear goal: Where opportunity is absent, we must create it. Where opportunity is limited, we must expand it. Where opportunity is unequal, we must make it open to everyone. Our Founders pledged their lives, their fortunes and their sacred honor to create this nation. Now, we should pledge as Democrats, Republicans and Independents--Americans all---to work together to leave this nation a better place than we found it.

G-d Bless you, and G-d Bless our great nation."

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

The Tim Tebow Advertisement

If You're Really 'Pro-choice,' Why the Controversy?

A national coalition of womens' groups has pressured CBS to pull an advertisement created for the Superbowl that features Tebow and his Mother. The fact that some Focus on the Family supporters have dug deep into their own pockets to pay for a little First Amendment protected speech at the big game's confiscatory rates has these pro-choice ladies upset.

Obviously, we must conclude that right-wing causes have no place in professional football. Rush Limbaugh's bid to buy into the Rams franchise met with similar protests. Unfortunately Limbaugh was excluded while some other team owners are quite free to express more left-leaning views. Can you spell H-Y-P-O-C-R-I-S-Y ?

Thankfully CBS is running the pro-life advertisement in spite of the protests. It is scheduled to run during the first quarter.

Doyle River Falls in Winter

After a Big Snow and Heavy Rains... Powerful!

Overlook Tree
The last remnant of December's snow under an overlook tree.

The trailhead beckons...

Upper Falls
...and the upper falls are roaring!

Lower Falls
"I've never seen the lower falls so full" exclaims another hiker who has come to see the roaring waters. He and his friend, cameras at the ready, had also timed their arrival at the falls for the early afternoon light. The falls are best photographed when the sun comes into the canyon.

Lower Falls
I couldn't resist a time delayed self portrait at the lower falls.

Bubbles in Stream
Divine design! Bubbles in one of the streams feeding the lower falls nest in a pattern.

Doyle River Trail
A fern in the cleft in the rock.

Doyle River Trail
Rocks along the trail.

Doyle River Trail
A mossy stump is a world in miniature!

Doyle River Trail
View between the rocks.

Doyle River Trail
Life in the rocks.

Doyle River Trail
View down the valley.

Doyle River Trail
Rocks along the trail...

Doyle River Trail
...between the upper and lower falls.

The Real Engine of Blue America

District by District Voting Patterns Show Two Americas
Blue Cities Surrounded by Red Suburbs and Countryside

Steven Malanga in City Journal [click to read] shows how a closer analysis of 'Blue America' finds it very much an urban phenomenom, fueled in part by public sector unions [read SEIU here].

"Is it really true that America is politically divided between conservative “Red” states in the southern and middle sections of the country and liberal “Blue” states on both coasts? Not exactly: a close look at the district-by-district voting patterns of the coastal states in the 2004 elections brings into crystal-clear focus the real nature of our political divisions. There’s really no such thing as a Blue state—only Blue metropolitan regions. Indeed, the electoral maps of some states that went for John Kerry in 2004 consist mostly of Red suburban and rural counties surrounding deep Blue cities."

Virginia's 2006 and 2008 voting patterns, which are supposed to 'prove' that Virginia is 'purple' only reflect the continuing urbanization of Northern Virginia. Virginia is still very much a place that values well articulated Conservative values. A collected survey of the campaign rhetoric of both Democrats and Republicans shows that it is important to present yourself as a champion of fiscal responsibility and an affirmer of Conservative values. Jim Webb did not run as a progressive... he ran as a Reagan Conservative who "was better at it than George Allen." His voting record, especially on the monster healthcare bill, does not square with that claim.

Mark Warner, speaking to some of the urban elite during his Senate run said: "One of the things you are going to see is a coalition that is just about completely taken over the Republican Party in this state and if they have their way it’s going to take over state government. It is made up of the Christian Coalition, but not just them. It is made up of the right-to-lifers, but not just them. It’s made up of the NRA, but not just them. It is made up of the home-schoolers, but not just them. It’s made up of a whole coalition of people that have all sorts of differing views that I think most of us in this room would find threatening to what it means to be an American." [1.]

Clearly there is a need for the progressive candidate to pitch the blue urbanites in intimate settings while presenting himelf in public as the champion of the very gun-totin' Bible thumpin' people his true supporters find 'threatening.' It's hard to have to maintain two messages but the media seems all to eager to oblidge. [2.] When a friend of mine tried to explain Warner's comment in a letter to the editor, the newspaper declined to print it.

Dennis Prager [click to read] points out that the Left and Right's visions for America are not reconcilable. An informed electorate, asking some hard questions, will be able to point that out.

Wrigley Building
Chicago's Wrigley Building.

"What makes these cities so Blue is a multifaceted liberal coalition that ranges from old-style industrial unionists and culturally liberal intellectuals, journalists, and entertainers to tort lawyers, feminists, and even politically correct financiers. But within this coalition, one group stands out as increasingly powerful and not quite in step with the old politics of the Left: those who benefit from an expanding government, including public-sector employees, workers at organizations that survive off government money, and those who receive government benefits." -- Steven Malanga

Mountain Mud Slides and Wild Winds...

US 250 East of Waynesboro Damaged by Storm

The News Virginian [click to read] has the story and a photo of the right lane that has slid away. Yesterday I went over the mountain to Crozet and took I64 East and 250 to return. I also noticed a few new rocks caught in the chain link slide-catchers on interstate 64. ht/SWAC Girl.

On the East side of Rockfish Gap Virginia route 6 begins. Here the sign shop used a US highway blank making it look like the great coast to coast highway passes by Waynesboro.

In the White Mountains of New Hampshire, a 231 mph Wind Registered on Mount Washington [click to read] was just beated by a 253 mph wind registered in Australia. Mount Washington's record had stood since April 2, 1934.

Nature remains incomprehensibly powerful. Reports of our ability to change the course of nature seem greatly exaggerated.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Russian America in Sitka, Alaska

Our 49th State was Once Russian Territory

Indian River Trail
The Indian River Trail, just outside Sitka was a beautiful hike through a rain forest.

Orthodox Cathedral
The Orthodox Cathedral...

Bishops House
...and the Bishop's House. My photos from July, 2007.

Monday, January 25, 2010

More 'Snake Oil' in European Parliament

Bloom Exposes Even More Climate Scams...

ht/Yankee Phil.

Massanutten Water Park
With schools closed due to flooding, Massanutten's water park was doing a lot of business.

THYME Magazine

Citizen Journalism with a Better Flavor

THYME Volume II, Issue IV
Volume II, Issue IV

How Can We 'Forget About the Truck?'

"If ever a time should come, when vain and aspiring men shall possess the highest seats in Government, our country will stand in need of its experienced patriots to prevent its ruin." -- Samuel Adams, 1776 ht/SWAC Girl

"The enlightened elites want to tell you to sit down and shut up. But the way forward is to stand and fight. Throw tea parties. March on Capitol Hill. Write letters to the editor. Run for local office -- you never know where it may lead. And make your voice heard on every single election day, on every single issue. That is your birthright.

Stand now. Stand together. Stand for what is right." -- Governor Sarah Palin, Going Rogue, p395.

Representative government is back. It arrived in Washington in a GM with over 200,000 miles on it.

Scott Brown goes to Washington!

Brown's Truckin', Obama Shifts into Reverse [click to read]. Mark Steyn in Jewish World Review.

"No, You Can't" [click to read]. Larry Elder

Here is the 'companion' TIME Issue [click to read]. I was told that since many Conservatives don't bother to look at the 'Professional' weekly news magazine anymore, someone might miss the full impact of my 'cover commentary.'

Friday, January 22, 2010

Socialism's Sordid Past

A Little History Shows the Ideology's Genocidal Bent

Every year Ukranians light 25,000 candles to remember the victims of genocide. During Stalin's systematic extermination of the Ukranian people by starvation that is the number who perished every day. Today's Glenn Beck show was a prime example of why we dare not ignore history. The show looked at the great leaders of Communist Socialism and their murderous legacy.

Hitler, also a Socialist, killed six million Jews. We forget that Stalin killed ten million or more. Also lost in the discussion is the murder by Mao in the 'Great March Forward' and the 'Cultural Revolution.' Che Guevera, hailed as Cuba's great revolutionary, murdered his opponents in cold blood. I never understood the fascination young people have for Che. Perhaps having a Cuban neighbor who's family had to flee the country in the sixties gives you a little more understanding.

Beck gave an overview of the ideology's Darwinian belief that society would evolve into a Socialist/Communist nirvana but the carnage would be great. The leaders of the movement seemed more than ready to accept the 'ethnic cleansing' necessary to usher in their vision of utopia. The show is disturbing, direct to the point, well sourced history and needs to be seen by a large audience.

Neoclassical Architecture

Buildings Designed for Beauty and Timeless Service

Staunton, Virginia
Staunton, Virginia.

Wilmington, North Carolina
Wilmington, North Carolina.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Massachusetts Medley

Ted Kennedy's Leftward Drift and Scott Brown's Victory

September 12, 2009 Rally in Washington. The people demand to be heard.

Here are a couple of interesting articles about Massachusetts' political history by Daniel J. Flynn in City Journal. First a Look at Ted Kennedy's Leaning Leftward [click to read] and then Scott Brown's Victory [click to read] and what it means for the country as a whole.

One does well to remember that John Kennedy once cut taxes and knew he needed to stand strong in the face of Soviet missles being delivered to Cuba. Ted once was, believe it or not, a believer in morally conservative ideals:

"Kennedys and Catholicism became intertwined in Catholic Massachusetts. But all that changed dramatically with the emergence of new issues like abortion and gay rights. Prior to Roe v. Wade, Kennedy had believed that society had a “responsibility to its children from the very moment of conception,” which included “the right to be born, the right to love, the right to grow old.” But Kennedy’s reversal on the issue was complete, making his support of abortion rights as pronounced as his identification with the Church had been."

Though the pro-life movement has deep roots in the Church, Kennedy felt no need to acknowledge it in the wake of the Supreme Court's elevation of abortion to a 'right.'

"[He] inherited neither the America First foreign-policy views of his father nor the liberal anticommunism of JFK, but the newly dovish tendencies of brother Bobby, who, by his ill-fated 1968 presidential run, was swimming deeply in New Left currents. For the next 40 years, Ted Kennedy and much of his party remained bound to this 1960s zeitgeist."

Ted fought the Reagan reduction of tax rates too. Nationalizing healthcare was a major priority for him.

But Ted and his party were drifting steadily away from the responsibility of representing the people. The election of Barack Obama and his bold push for bigger government finally tilted the scales too far. Though he had promised to reach across the isle and create new transparency in government, the President instead pushed major changes through under cover of darkness... expensive changes that would create massive new deficits and burden an ailing economy with even more taxation. When Scott Brown came on the scene his message already had a waiting audience. The rest is history.

December 15, 2009 in Washington saw crowds protesting the tactics of the left.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

The Thrill of Victory... Scott Brown!

A Conservative Bloggers Sampler...

SWAC Girl [click to read] has collected the ruminations of a lot of Conservative bloggers in the wake of the Scott Brown 'Shot heard around the world.' Has Jim Webb discovered his 'Conservative side?' -- hint: look at his voting record. Scott is packing his gear in his well-worn pickup [1.] for a trip to Washington. He intends to waste no time getting down to business representing the people who put him in office.

Most interesting is the spin that is being put out by the people who were just weeks ago ramming healthcare down our throats under cover of darkness... that this is just an extension of the dissatisfaction that put Mr. Obama in office!

I beg to differ. Scott Brown will continue to do what he promised to do... be a voice for the regular person who understands what is happening in Washington.

As to those who promised 'transparency' and 'fiscal responsibility' and then ran up more deficit in one term than Bush did in eight years... welcome to Representative Government!

Furnace Mountain in the snow.

Photographic Ramblings

Some of My Favorites fron the 'Brown Section'

Augusta Court House
'Blind Justice' atop the Augusta County Courthouse.

Wrightsville Beach
Wrightsville Beach, North Carolina.

Middlebrook Road
Farm lane, Middlebrook, Virginia.

Middlebrook Road
Trees in mist, Middlebrook, Virginia.

Bustleburg, Virginia.

The Era of Reagan... Continues!

Virginia, New Jersey and Massachusetts Weigh In

New Jersey's Chris Christie [click to read] is discussed by Steven Malanga in City Journal.

Massachusetts' Scott Brown [click to read] now makes the message pretty clear. Add this to the clear victory in Virginia of Bob McDonnell and the reports of the death of the era of Reagan are 'greatly exaggerated' to say the least. Brown and McDonnell both presented a clear alternative to bigger government and runaway taxation and deficits. Both stayed on message even when their opponents tried to muddy the discussion. They educated when others obfuscated. Then they repeated the message again. They took nothing for granted and used every opportunity to bring the voters into the discussion. On election day their tireless efforts were rewarded.

The people have entered the game and are talking intelligent policy. Will the academy recognize the strength of free markets and the weakness of government solutions. This Article in City Journal [click to read] points out how many of Europe's best free market thinkers have found a place in American Universities. Could it be that fuure leaders will be better schooled in the failure of Marxism and Keynes and embrace a more pro-market philosophy?

Sitting here in the 'Commonwealth of Opportunity' listening to results from the very blue state of Massachusetts, things in our future seem brighter than we hoped for!

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Change I Can Believe In

Scott Brown's 'Shot Heard Around the World'

Fox Just Reported This [click to read].

The green pickup. Public servants should remember who they serve! [1.]

Seat Him Now! [click to read]. The people have spoken.

What Scott Brown Has Done for Us [click to read] in American Thinker.

"I bet they can hear this cheering all the way in Washington, D.C. It's just the beginning...when there's trouble (for the Dem machine) in Massachusetts, there's trouble everywhere. Rest assured they know it." -- Scott Brown

Monday, January 18, 2010

Another 'Boston Tea Party' is Brewing

It's Not Automatically Ted Kennedy's Seat Anymore

Mark Steyn [click to read] in Jewish World Review comments on the phenomenom.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Bob McDonnell, Our 71st Governor

His Inaugural Speech: 'A Commonwealth of Opportunity'

The Virginia Capitol designed by Thomas Jefferson.

Full text of McDonnell’s Inaugural address
Jan 16, 2010

Thank you.

Mr. Speaker.

Lt. Governor Bolling.

Attorney General Cuccinelli
Members of the General Assembly.

Distinguished guests from around the world and across the country, family and friends, my fellow Virginians.

Good afternoon!

We gather today on the steps of our magnificent and newly renovated State Capitol.

From this hill the land rolls gently down to the James River, the waterway of the Settlers in 1607.

From this place, the sweep of history has moved us forward to today.

This is the cradle of democracy for Virginia and America.

Governor Thomas Jefferson designed this Capitol building.

Governor Patrick Henry came here for the laying of its cornerstone.

I am humbled today to follow in their historic footsteps.

The General Assembly first convened in this new building during the first term of America's first President, Virginia's George Washington.

Behind me, in the Rotunda, are the busts of the eight Virginians who became President.

It was here that Robert E. Lee, the son of a Virginia Governor, was commissioned as Commander of the Commonwealth's military forces as a young nation split into war.

It was here, just four years later, that President Abraham Lincoln came to begin the process of reuniting our war-torn nation, walking the streets of still smoldering Richmond.

And it was here, 125 years after Lincoln's visit that a grandson of slaves, L. Douglas Wilder, took the Oath of Office as the nation's first African-American Governor.

And it is here, today, that an average middle class kid from Fairfax County, a grandson of Irish immigrants, is given the enormous honor of becoming the 71st Governor of Virginia.

As it turns out, I succeed another descendent of Irish immigrants, Governor Timothy Kaine.

On behalf of the grateful people of Virginia, I thank Governor Kaine for his leadership and service to our Commonwealth.

Today's Virginia is a thriving and diverse home of nearly 8 million people, with one in ten born outside the United States.

A state of rich history and strong people, we do face many challenges together.
We do not face the challenges of forming a new government or securing a young nation, as did Washington, Jefferson and Henry.

We do not encounter the devastation and destruction of Civil War, as did Lincoln and Lee.

We do not struggle with the injustice of slavery and its legacy of segregation as did Governor Wilder as a young man.

We do not march into bullets and artillery shells, as did the Greatest Generation on the beaches of Normandy and the islands of the Pacific. Two members of that generation, who served in World War II, my father Jack McDonnell and my father-in-law Frank Gardner, join us here today.

On behalf of a grateful Commonwealth I thank them, and all military members and veterans, for their incredible sacrifice and service to our nation that continues today.

The actions of those patriots that came before us had a common purpose to create and expand freedom and opportunity for the generations that came behind them.

The creation of, and desire for, new opportunity has shaped Virginia from its foundation.

It was in seeking the Opportunity of a New World that Captain John Smith and 104 settlers braved the perilous Atlantic to step onto the sands of Cape Henry in April 1607.

It was in securing the Opportunity of a New Nation that Virginia patriots joined together with their fellow colonists in the first fight for freedom and independence, and thus was born a country of ordered liberty that, 234 years later, is the beacon of hope for the world.

It was in seizing the Opportunity of equality and education that a courageous 16 year-old girl named Barbara Johns, memorialized behind this majestic Capitol at the Virginia Civil Rights Memorial, stood up and walked out of Moton High School in Farmville 59 years ago this spring.

New opportunity helped them meet the challenges of their time.

Greater opportunity will help us meet the challenges of ours.

Together we must create jobs and economic opportunities.

Provide new educational opportunities for all Virginians.

And enhance family and community opportunities by easing government burdens on free people.

As Virginians, we believe that government must help foster a society in which all our people can use their G-d-given talents in liberty to pursue the American Dream.

Where opportunity is absent, we must create it. Where opportunity is limited, we must expand it. Where opportunity is unequal, we must make it open to everyone.

Our Administration will be dedicated to building "A Commonwealth of Opportunity" for all Virginians.

It starts with restoring economic opportunity to Virginians in every corner of our Commonwealth.

Tens of thousands of our family members, friends and neighbors have lost their jobs.

Thousands more worry they could be next.

As we confront the worst economy in generations, the creation of new job opportunities for all our citizens is the obligation of our time, so all Virginians who seek a good job can find meaningful work and the dignity that comes with it.

Virginia has received high rankings over the years for being a business-friendly state.
Those rankings speak well of our past. They do not determine our future.

Competition for jobs is intense among the states, and between nations. States are aggressively positioning themselves to best appeal to job creators and entrepreneurs.

We must make this the best state in which to start and grow a small business.

It is why we will reduce burdensome taxation and regulation that impede job-creation.

And, it is why, even in these tough times, we will have the foresight to invest today in ideas and policies that increase economic prosperity tomorrow.

This economic crisis has touched every Virginian.

Declining home values and diminished retirement accounts have wiped away in just a few months the accumulated savings of many years.

As jobs are lost and consumer confidence remains low, state revenues have declined, and an historic budget shortfall has stretched into the billions. Thus, like so many households and businesses across the Commonwealth, state government needs to devise new ways to operate and find savings.

This austerity won't be easy, but it is necessary. The circumstances of our time demand that we reconsider and restore the proper role of government. Without reform the continued growth of government threatens our very prosperity.

We must properly fund the core priorities of government, but — equally important — we must utilize innovation, privatization, and consolidations to deliver government services more effectively.

And as we enact these reforms we must remember this: that government cannot guarantee individual outcomes, but equality of opportunity must be guaranteed for all.

All Virginians must have the same fundamental opportunities to work hard, live free and succeed.

Access to a quality education is the foundation of future opportunity. My Dad stressed to me as a child that to get a good job, you need a good education. It was true then and even more true today.

Virginians are blessed with many great schools with dedicated, professional teachers like my sister Nancy in Amherst, who work tirelessly to mold the minds and character of the next generation.

To compete in this global economy every young Virginian must have the opportunity of a world-class education from pre-school to college.

A child's future prospects should be as unlimited as his intelligence, integrity and work ethic can take him. No child in Virginia should have her future determined by her place of birth or zip code.

We will work with President Obama to expand high-quality charter schools and institute performance pay to our great teachers.

More money must go to the classroom and less into administration, and new opportunities in science, technology, engineering, math and healthcare must be created through our schools and colleges.

And let us recognize that a high school degree is no longer the finish line in a global economy. We must create affordable new pathways to earning a college degree and make a commitment to confer 100,000 additional degrees over the next 15 years. We must make our community colleges national leaders in workforce development and career training.

These are investments that will pay individual and societal dividends for many years to come.
Barbara Johns was willing to risk everything for the simple opportunity of a good education.

Surely, sixty years later, we can work together to provide that opportunity to all Virginia children.

Our Administration will demand excellence, reward performance, provide choices and celebrate achievement.

G-d has bestowed upon our Commonwealth an amazing wealth of natural resources. Virginians have the intellectual capital to use these resources to create new jobs, reduce our energy bills, and make our nation more energy independent.

We will make Virginia the "Energy Capital of the East Coast." By growing the natural gas and coal industries, expanding the use of nuclear power, and promoting new energy technologies like wind, solar and biomass.

And we will champion environmentally-safe offshore energy exploration and production, bringing with it thousands of new jobs, hundreds of millions in new state revenue and billions in new investment.

We must also seize the opportunity to improve our transportation system by getting long overdue projects under way, and utilizing innovative ideas to build the roads, bridges, rail and ports we need.

A better transportation system will create new opportunities for Virginians across the state.

These are policies focused on addressing the real problems our people face, and delivering results.

I've had people tell me they fear that America may no longer be the land of opportunity it has always been, and that Virginia's history in playing a leading role in the life of our nation may be just thathistory. I say: They are wrong.

Working together — Republicans, Democrats and Independents alike — Virginia will continue to blaze the trail of opportunity and prosperity.

And like the mechanic looking to the owner's manual to troubleshoot the automobile, we should look to the Founders and their writings for wisdom.

The Founders capstone on the Constitution is the Bill of Rights. No federal mandate nor program crafted by either political party should undermine the central principle of federalism, enshrined in the birth certificate of America by those who pledged their lives, fortunes and sacred honor.
The Founders recognized that the government closest to the people governs best. More often than not, Richmond knows better about the hopes and dreams of the people than Washington. And Galax and Fairfax and Virginia Beach know far better than Richmond.

As we enthusiastically pursue the vision of "A Commonwealth of Opportunity", I ask all Virginians to continue to seek your own opportunities to get involved in the life of our Commonwealth.

Half a century ago President Kennedy challenged the American people to "ask not what your country can do for you - ask what you can do for your country." Today, I ask all Virginians to rise up to meet this timeless challenge.

We live in the most generous nation on Earth. So many Virginians give sacrificially of their time, talents and treasure, and rightly so. The Scriptures say, "To whom much is given, much will be required."

Right now, much is required in the nation of Haiti. And I urge all Virginians to donate to the relief efforts under way.

Here in our Commonwealth, I urge business owners to look for opportunities to sponsor a little league team, help a charity, and promote corporate responsibility in the communities in which you live and work.

I urge all the leaders of our faith communities to expand your selfless work of helping the homeless, feeding the poor, and comforting the broken hearted.

I urge the young people of Virginia to use your talents and energy to fully engage in the future of this Commonwealth.

I urge Virginians who came here from other lands to contribute your culture, your history and your traditions to our rich tapestry of life.

I urge every Virginian to take every opportunity to thank a man or woman in a law enforcement or military uniform for the preservation of our freedoms.

There is so much each one of us can do to leave this Commonwealth a better place than we found it.

No government program can substitute for the incredible good done through voluntary actions performed freely by caring individuals every day.

And while government can help provide opportunities, it is every person's responsibility to take advantage of them.

In recent weeks I've seen people exercising that responsibility, and changing lives at:

The Healing Place in Richmond.
The Carpenter's Shelter in Alexandria.
Food Banks in Abingdon, Norfolk and Richmond.
The Boys and Girls Club in Virginia Beach.
The USO in Norfolk.

As a Commonwealth, we must do the same ... and we will.

Standing here today, on the steps of our State Capitol, in the inspiring shadows of the shared history behind us, we embrace the limitless future opportunities stretching out far before us.
And now it is here, in this place, that we pledge to work together to create "A Commonwealth of Opportunity" ... for all Virginians, and to add our steps to Virginia's journey.

It was George Washington who noted, in his first Inaugural Address, "The propitious smiles of Heaven can never be expected to remain on a nation that disregards the eternal rules of order and right which Heaven itself has ordained."

It is right to help one another.

It is right to work together to get results and solve problems.

It is right to provide opportunities for all.

Let us heed the words of the Father of our Country, employ these eternal rules of order and right, and get to work for the good of the people of Virginia.

Thank you and G-d Bless the Commonwealth of Virginia.

Here is the Official Site [click to read]. ht/Lynn

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Reconstructing Ellicott's Mill

Virginia Offered Two Fine Examples of Period Mills

Chapman's Mill
Chapman's Mill on Broad Run was similar in size...

Mcormick's Mill
...while McCormick's Mill still contained the machinery.

The model we constructed for the 'Roads to Rails' exhibition at the B&O Museum in Ellicott City...

...showed the National Pike and the railroad...

Ellicott's Mill
...and a mill very similar to Chapman's.

Valley Railroad Bridge
The Valley Railroad was once a branch of the B&O that ran all the way to Rockbridge County.

Reconstructing Ellicott's Mills

While preparing the miniature version of Ellicott's Mills for Roads to Rails [click to read], it was great to find such fine examples of the architecture we were recreating so close to home. The two Virginia mills and the remains of the Valley Railroad provided ready references for the work as it progressed.