Read the Bills Act Coalition

Friday, January 30, 2009

Party Canvass of the Chesterfield County Republican Committee

Below is the canvass for Chesterfield to place delgates at the Republican State Convention:

as adopted January 26, 2009

Party Canvass of the Chesterfield County Republican Committee

As Chairman of the Chesterfield County Republican Committee, and pursuant to the Plan of Organization and as recommended and directed by the Committee, I, Donald C. Williams, do hereby issue this call for a Party Canvass to be held at Manchester Middle School, 7401 Hull Street Road, Richmond, Virginia 23235 from 5:00 – 8:00 pm local time on Monday, March 9, 2009 for the following purpose:

Electing up to 2,690 Delegates and an equal number of Alternates to the Republican Party of Virginia State Convention, to be held on May 29 and 30 at the Greater Richmond Convention Center, Richmond, Virginia beginning at 2:00 p.m. on Friday, May 29 for the purposes of nominating a candidate for Governor, Lt. Governor and Attorney General. Each unit is entitled to one (1) Delegate Vote per 250 Republican votes for Governor and President at their last election, so that Chesterfield County is entitled to 538 Delegate Votes.

Qualifications for Participation

All legal and qualified voters of Chesterfield County under the laws of the Commonwealth of Virginia, regardless of race, religion, national origin or sex, who are in accord with the principles of the Republican Party and who, if requested, express in open meeting either orally or in writing as may be required, their intent to support all of its nominees for public office in the ensuing election, may participate as members of the Republican Party of Virginia in its mass meetings, party canvasses, conventions or primaries encompassing their respective election districts.

Filing Requirements

Candidates for election as a Delegate or Alternate Delegate at said canvass must file a written statement of candidacy, on an official prefiling form, with Donald C. Williams, 12107 Gordon School Road, Richmond, Virginia 23236. Prefiling forms may be obtained at or Completed forms must be received, by mail or in person, at the above address not later than 8:00 pm on Monday, March 2, 2009. Postmarks shall not govern. If not more than the number of persons to be elected shall file as a candidate for Delegate or Alternate Delegate, then such properly filed persons shall be deemed elected, and no canvass will be held.

There will be no registration fee to participate in this canvass. There is a $35 voluntary registration fee for Delegates and Alternate Delegates to the State Convention.

Rules for the conduct of the canvass shall be approved by the Chesterfield County Republican Committee and posted on the Committee's website.

Paid for and authorized by the Chesterfield County Republican Committee.

Prefilling Form Here Rules Here Copy of Call Here

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

GA Updates from Senator Watkins

John C. Watkins
Senate of Virginia
10th Senatorial District

January 28, 2009

Budget, COPN and Movies

In this third week of the General Assembly, the primary focus remains concern over the budget. I get the distinct feeling the administration, and certainly some legislators, feel the proposed federal stimulus package should be incorporated into the Virginia budget as part of the answer.

I agree it will fill some holes temporarily. It worries me, however, to assume that is part of the answer for the budget problems we face here in Virginia because the typical federal legislation has so many strings tied to it and so many prerequisites and matches that usually accompany it. I still believe we need to follow through with some tough decisions on what is nice and what is necessary. Nice may be desirable, but necessary is the only absolute. We will all watch with interest to see what Congress does, but Virginia must deal with Virginia’s problems.

My bill SB1162 deals with Certificate of Public Need, a licensing mechanism utilized by the Commonwealth of Virginia when medical care facilities desire to initiate projects/expansions. A hospital expansion would be one example.

A portion of this legislation is intended to help uninsured individuals who work for small businesses that cannot afford health insurance. Under my bill, a certificate holder can satisfy the conditions of a certificate by helping fund basic insurance coverage for indigents. More information about this proposed legislation can be found at:

I am sure many of you saw or read about the Golden Globe Awards two weeks ago. It was extremely gratifying to see that John Adams, a movie made in Virginia, did so well in that award presentation.

It was a huge success and brought much attention, not only to the history of our nation, but to the history of Virginia as well. One of the most intriguing benefits of John Adams was what it brought to Virginia today – jobs and investment.

With my SJR 394, I hope to offer congratulations, on behalf of all the citizens of the Commonwealth, to the cast and crew of that outstanding HBO mini-series.

In both geography and historical significance, our state has much to offer to the film industry. I hope SJR394 will bring more attention to the benefits of investing in the film industry as a means of economic development for Virginia.

Another resolution I introduced is SJR 335, a Constitutional Amendment that would remove the independent adjective from the classification of cities in Virginia. I think this is important because we need to remove the adversarial system that currently exists where cities may have the prerogative to eliminate counties. Counties and cities should be on an equity status with regard to governing and incentives should be utilized to promote cooperation and efficiencies in government.

So far this week I, or my legislative assistants, have welcomed to my office, among many others, students from St. Benedict’s, St. Bridget’s and Benedictine; Dr. Marshall Smith and a group from John Tyler Community College; constituents advocating for issues such as the Clean Water Act and Multiple Sclerosis funding; the Powhatan 4H club; Andrew Smith and others from the Farm Bureau; two constituents representing the Virginia Sexual and Domestic Violence Action Alliance; and many Virginia Tech students and alumni for Wednesday’s Hokie Day.

I welcome their comments, input and opinions, and we welcome yours. Don’t hesitate to contact my office on issues of importance to you.

To follow the progress of any bill, please visit the General Assembly’s web site at:

John C. Watkins

(804) 698-7510

Reasons Conservatives should be cautious of this Stimulus Package

You can't spend your way out of a bad economy or a deficit, just try it personally, I know several good bankruptcy attorneys that await your call. Only two things have historically fixed a recession (or sub par economy) in the U.S. : a world war or tax cuts. A bad economy has never been fixed by the government, ever. If you look 5 to seven years years into "new deal" it was still not righting the ship of America's economy, the war did that. Since we're actually in the worse economy since the Carter administration and know where close the the great depression (since there are sectors of the U.S. economy thriving) true tax cuts and reduced government spending should be the obvious choice (similar to the Reagan tax cuts) to get our country back on track....most of the tax cuts in this current stimulus package are to people not even paying taxes, better known as tax credits.....and a one time tax credit will not stimulate spending (as we saw with the rebates last year) as a permanent tax cut would to all income levels...

From Politico:

It was the love affair that could never be, President Barack Obama and congressional Republicans. …The two sides came together en masse Tuesday for the first time since Obama took the oath of office. Despite the niceties, both sides walked away spurned. …In many ways, Obama told the assembled Republicans everything they would want to hear, according to people in the meetings…..He promised to make tough spending choices in his first budget blueprint — “everyone will have to take a haircut,” he said. He told them he wouldn’t increase the size of government just to increase the size of government. He even teased House Minority Leader John A. Boehner about his golf swing. …Likewise, Republicans left the meeting with kind words for the president — but still resolved to oppose him on the floor Wednesday when Democrats bring his massive economic stimulus plan up for a vote. …Beneath the polite give and take between the new president and the newly disempowered Republican caucus, there was a sense that Obama’s honeymoon had already begun to ebb. For the first time, it seems, congressional Republicans, shut out of power and seemingly cowed by the harsh verdict of voters and wild popularity of the new president, are finding their voice, rallying in large numbers against the centerpiece of Obama’s agenda….Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) started the week swinging, declaring Sunday that he would oppose Obama’s stimulus package as written. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) has kept up a daily din of opposition to specifics of the package, mocking the inclusion of a mob museum and a water park. Senate Republicans also are rallying against the Democratic version of a children’s health care bill being debated this week. And most Senate Republicans opposed the confirmation of Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner Monday. …The nitpicking took its toll, and Obama on Monday privately urged House Democrats to remove a notable flash point: funds for contraception that had been defended by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) on national television just a day before. The Democrats agreed….Not all Republicans will say the honeymoon is over, but rather that it’s Nancy Pelosi and other Democratic leaders who are doing their best to turn on the cold shower. ….Loath to criticize a president who enjoys stratospheric approval ratings and the good tidings of most Americans, Republicans on the Hill are instead framing their overwhelming opposition to the stimulus bill as a vote against a congressional Democratic leadership that is far less popular than Obama. ….“It’s not so much his effort, it’s what the House has done with this bill, what Pelosi has done with this bill,” explained Rep. Kay Granger (R-Texas), a veteran member of the Appropriations Committee…..Rep. Patrick McHenry (R-N.C.), a young conservative firebrand, was more blunt when asked what happened to Obama’s honeymoon: “Ask Pelosi.” ….Sen. Kit Bond (R-Mo.), a senior appropriator, said that “several people” registered complaints to Obama that the GOP had not been consulted in the development of the bills now being marked up in the Finance and Appropriations committees. ….The committees “were run without Republican participation, the Appropriations bill had things in my subcommittee part that we never saw or had anything to say about. We have been shut out.” ….With most moderates having retired or been defeated, especially among House Republicans, there is little political danger in opposing nearly another trillion dollars in spending at a time when many conservative-leaning voters are weary of government intervention after months of bailouts….In addition, Obama’s soothing tones Tuesday couldn’t mask his disagreement with Republicans on the need for more tax cuts in the package. That was the first question he took in his meeting on the House side — and Obama brushed it away with a polite, but firm, no thanks. …“Feel free to whack me over the head because I probably will not compromise on that part,” Obama said of Republican opposition to the Democrats’ refundable tax credits, according to two sources in the room. …Finger-pointing aside, that partisan reality gets at why the relationship is fraying: irreconcilable differences….“It lasted about two days,” quipped Sen. Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.), when asked if the honeymoon was over. …Why so soon? ….Because, he said, conservatives are just “not receptive” to Obama’s agenda. ….Yet even Inhofe, a true-believing conservative who represents a state in which Obama lost every county, is unwilling to take after his former colleague. ….“He is very likable, he presented himself very well, and he seemed to want to be inclusive,” Inhofe said in a brief interview following Obama’s meeting. “But if the product is anything like we think it’s going to be, it’s not one that is going to be sellable to conservatives.” …..Administration officials are hopeful that the goodwill and political capital Obama currently enjoys will win them at least some Republican votes on the bill, expected on the House floor Wednesday, and are launching an all-out lobbying blitz to pick them off….In addition to the president’s mid-day visit, chief of staff Rahm Emanuel hosted a group of congressional Republicans at the White House Tuesday night. …Republicans were appreciative of the gesture — but noncommittal. ….“I’m glad to listen,” said Rep. Jim Gerlach (R-Pa.), a perennially targeted Philadelphia-area moderate who planned to attend Tuesday night's White House session and is on Obama’s GOP wish list. ….Further, Politico has learned that some prominent Republican lobbyists are targeting about 40 of the remaining moderate or center-right House Republicans on the vote….“If you can just get some intel on 4-5 of the members and report it back to me, I will try to aggregate the information and get it back to the [White House] and House [Democratic] leadership,” wrote Ralph Hellman in an e-mail Tuesday morning to fellow lobbyists, listing those House Republicans Obama considers in play. Hellman is lobbying in support of the stimulus package for technology companies, but Obama officials say he’s not working with the White House. ….Hellman, a former top aide to former Speaker Dennis Hastert, noted in the message that the Republican target list consisted of those who recently voted with Democrats on extending the SCHIP program.Privately, White House aides are playing less nice, warning Republicans what is at stake. …..“This is a very dangerous political vote for House Republicans, in particular those from Ohio, Pennsylvania, Michigan,” said a West Wing aide familiar with House districts. “Their constituents want them to take action to save the economy, not block progress.” …..But if the back and forth in Tuesday’s closed-door meeting is any indication, Obama and his K Street allies aren’t likely to fare well in the first vote. ….Rep. Peter J. Roskam (R-Ill.), who served in the state Senate with Obama, told his former colleague that Democrats in the House have not observed the president’s campaign pledge to rise above party labels, complaining that there is more money for new sod on the National Mall than the $41 million for small-business tax cuts….Obama responded that he’s just as concerned about the long-term budgetary impact of tax cuts as he is with increased spending, before joking — and getting laughs — that the National Mall is kind of important…..Roskam, in a jovial tone, teased Obama for “wrapping himself in the flag.” ….Rep. Kevin Brady (R-Texas) won applause from his colleagues when he asked Obama to promise not to raise taxes in order to offset all this spending. The president replied that he has inherited a huge deficit and a debt that is now twice what it was last year. He did, however, point out whose party held the Oval Office while all that debt was mounting…..Michigan Rep. Dave Camp, the ranking Republican on the tax-writing Ways and Means Committee, quizzed Obama on tax cuts in the House meeting. Obama told the group he would be open to any new ideas that haven’t been discussed before laying out the philosophical difference between the two parties on the issue of tax rebates for lower-income households that don’t already pay income taxes. ….He also acknowledged that there will be plenty of time for them to beat him up politically, according to the notes of one participant in the meeting. “I understand that,” Obama said, then joked, “and I will watch you on Fox News and feel bad about myself.” ….Obama made some time-worn appeals to the Republicans huddled in the basement of the Capitol. He told them not to play politics with this legislation and warned them from fixating on small parts of the bill. ….He also reiterated his willingness to work with them once the House and Senate start negotiations over a final package….Rep. Mike Pence (R-Ind.) closed the meeting by arguing that Republicans had been left out of the drafting process and had minimal contact with Pelosi and other House Democrats. ….But he told the president Republicans would pray for him and their door “would always be open.” ….Similarly, Rep. Eric Cantor (R-Va.) said: “The most encouraging statement I think the president made today was the fact that he had no pride of authorship in this bill. We take that to mean that tomorrow’s vote is only the first step in the process, only the beginning.” ….Rep. Shelley Moore Capito (R-W.Va.), one of the House Republicans on Obama’s target list, lavished praise on the president for coming to visit in an interview after the lunch. But she indicated she was still uncertain if she could reward his effort. …“Do we need a stimulus? I believe we do. But do we need to spend the amount that were spending? I’m not convinced of that.” …Rep. Judy Biggert (R-Ill.), asked if any of her colleagues were more inclined to support the stimulus measure after their back and forth with Obama, was more blunt: “I don’t think so.” …Of course, she didn’t want to place the blame at the president’s feet. …“It’s unfortunate that their leadership didn’t negotiate with us,” Biggert said. “The problem is that the process now is too far down the road.” …But, with a twinkle, she said, “he really cares about what he’s doing.”

Read Here:

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

BREAKING....Rusty McGuire to run for GOP nomination in the 55th HOD District

Posted by MAXIMUS

Prosecutor and Iraq War Veteran Rusty McGuire Forms Exploratory Committee to contest for the GOP nomination in 55th House of Delegates District

January 26, 2009, Rusty McGuire praised the hard work of Frank Hargrove and his 28 years of service to Hanover County and announced his formation of an exploratory committee to follow Mr. Hargrove.

On speaking on Del. Hargrove’s retirement, McGuire said “I am honored to count Frank Hargrove as a friend, and I thank him for leading the charge for the citizens of Hanover for the last 28 years.”

With Hargrove’s retirement, Hanover loses a senior statesman with significant voice in the General Assembly. On speaking on the future of the district, McGuire said “the void created by Del. Hargrove’s retirement means that Hanover will need a leader who is prepared on day one to work in the general assembly as well to address the current economic challenges facing the 55th District and the Commonwealth as a whole, and we need a leader who can do that in a fiscally responsible, commonsense conservative manner. I know I can be that leader. Over the coming weeks, I will confide in those closest to me over whether or not to make my candidacy official.”

Rusty McGuire is a fifth generation Hanover resident who served as an Assistant Attorney General under Bob McDonnell and Jerry Kilgore, a Special Assistant United States Attorney, and is currently the Chief Deputy Commonwealth’s Attorney in Louisa County. Rusty is renowned as one of the foremost experts on technology crimes and protecting children online in the Commonwealth of Virginia. His record of service as a prosecutor, VMI graduate and Army officer demonstrates that Rusty knows firsthand what it means to give back. If elected, Rusty would be the first veteran of the Iraq war elected to Virginia’s General Assembly. Ironically, he would replace the last remaining World War II veteran still serving in the General Assembly.

Louisa Commonwealth’s Attorney Tom Garrett said “I cannot envision a better delegate to represent the citizens of Hanover County or the 55th District than Rusty McGuire. He was the pioneer of the Attorney General’s initiative to prosecute technological crimes, breaking new ground not only in Virginia, but in the nation. Most people don’t know that he rises each day at 5:00 a.m. and helped his brother develop one of the most successful innovative businesses in the Richmond.”

Stories on Delegate Frank Hargrove Sr.’s Announcement:

To get involved with Rusty's Campaign, contact Adam Ward, Campaign Manager Rusty McGuire for Delegate via email at or via telephone at 804-519-6617

Monday, January 26, 2009

Bipartisan politics out the window if you disagree

To state "I won" as a way to squash an opposing opinion, is the equivalent of a parent using the tried and true method with a child of "because I said so", it neither works or addresses the issue at hand. Compromise is the key to moving an agenda forward in a democracy....From the New York Post:

President Obama warned Republicans on Capitol Hill today that they need to quit listening to radio king Rush Limbaugh if they want to get along with Democrats and the new administration....."You can't just listen to Rush Limbaugh and get things done," he told top GOP leaders, whom he had invited to the White House to discuss his nearly $1 trillion stimulus package.....One White House official confirmed the comment but said he was simply trying to make a larger point about bipartisan efforts....."There are big things that unify Republicans and Democrats," the official said. "We shouldn't let partisan politics derail what are very important things that need to get done." ....That wasn't Obama's only jab at Republicans today.....In an exchange with Rep. Eric Cantor (R-Va.) about the proposal, the president shot back: "I won," according to aides briefed on the meeting. "I will trump you on that." .... Republicans say the $825 billion price tag is too big a burden for a nation crippled by debt and that it doesn't do enough to stimulate the economy by cutting taxes. ..."You know, I'm concerned about the size of the package. And I'm concerned about some of the spending that's in there, [about] ... how you can spend hundreds of millions on contraceptives," House GOP Leader John Boehner (R-Ohio) later said. ..."How does that stimulate the economy?" ...But White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs countered: "There was a lot of agreement in that room about the notion that we're facing an economic crisis unlike we've seen in quite some time ... that we must act quickly to stimulate the economy, create jobs, put money back in people's pockets." ...Gibbs disagreed with those who called the meeting window dressing. ..."The president is certainly going to listen to any ideas," he said. ..."He will also go to Capitol Hill the beginning of next week to talk to Republican caucuses and solicit their input and their ideas."

Read Here:

Extreme Mortman says goodbye

One of my favorite Blogs, Extreme Mortman, says goodbye

Friday, January 23, 2009

A letter from Senator Watkins

January 23, 2009

Week two of the 2009 General Assembly is ending and the overwhelming issue of this session continues to be the amendments to the biennial budget. It is important to recognize we currently have a two-year budget in place, but at this time revenue projections used to construct that budget have been found to be overly optimistic.

As you can imagine, the primary reason for this is the abrupt downturn in the economy and the recession, which has been ongoing for over a year. The members of the Senate Finance Committee have already begun going through the subcommittee areas of responsibility and are trying to examine methods of reducing the size of the budget. It will probably be February before we get an additional adjustment about the downsizing of revenues.

This timeline would reflect end-of-year revenue income as well as non-withholding estimated payments and corporate revenues. It will come at the same time that we make our first adjustment in the budget.

My fear is that we will not get a very accurate revenue picture until after May 15th when the Virginia state income taxes are due. This could very well mean we will have to return in June in order to readjust the budget to reflect the worsening revenue picture. As we go through the session, I will try to keep you apprised of where this is headed.

I want to follow on with some of the legislation I introduced this year that may be of interest to you. An area of the state’s responsibility I have looked at over the last two years has convinced me to introduce two pieces of legislation. I think both are forward looking and would drive efficiency in education.

My primary focus was with putting in place a creative commons license system in statute. In the early 90s Governor George Allen, by Executive Order, established a creative commons license that was utilized within state agencies and by local governments at that time. The Executive Order has subsequently expired and there currently exists no authority wherein a creative commons license can be developed.

The legislation I am introducing in SB1173 would require the Secretary of Administration to establish a State Board for Community Colleges, in consultation with the Virginia Department of Education and the State Council of Higher Education for Virginia. Its mission would be to develop a competitive grant pilot program to provide grants to community colleges to establish open education resource centers in the Commonwealth.

To qualify for a grant, community colleges would be required to demonstrate a partnership with faculty or staff from at least one local school division and one institution of higher education in the Commonwealth. Grants would be awarded on a competitive basis with guidelines established in the bill.

The bill also establishes a fund authorizing both public and private contributions. The provisions of this bill would not become effective, however, unless either an appropriation of general funds is included in a general appropriations act passed by the 2009 or 2010 session of the General Assembly, which becomes law, or funds from other private or public sources are deposited into the Open Education Resource Grant Fund by July 1, 2010.

I think a system such as this would create the appropriate incentives to provide education systems, at both the local and state level, that could be utilized across Virginia. This would lessen our dependence on the current system which takes seven years to authorize the adoption of a textbook in Virginia. It would, particularly in the fields of science, math, and engineering, provide a much more adaptable system for teaching that can address the newest innovations in many fields. In addition to the creative commons license, I have offered legislation that will provide for open education resource centers in the Community College system.

SB1174 will require the Secretary of Administration to establish policies, subject to the approval of the Governor, regarding the use of patents and copyrights owned by the Commonwealth. Such policies shall include, at a minimum, the following:

1. A policy granting state agencies the authority over the use and release of patents and copyrights created by employees of the agency. It would authorize state agencies to release potentially copyrightable materials under the Creative Commons licensing system.

2. A provision encouraging the Commonwealth and state agencies to seek patent and copyright protection only in those instances where the patents or copyrights have potential commercial value.

3. Subject to approval by the Secretary of Administration, a process permitting state agencies to commercialize patents and copyrights with potential commercial value.

The bill also permits localities and local school boards to set policies regarding the use and ownership of patents and copyrights developed by employees.

At the request of the Virginia State Police, I also introduced SB1166, legislation that increases the fee paid to firearms dealers for criminal history record information checks from $2 to $5 for Virginians and from $5 to $8 for persons living out-of-state. The reason for the increases is the cost of the records check. This is an investigation that is only required by those who purchase weapons. It is used as a means to ensure Virginia dealers do not inadvertently sell weapons to individuals who are by law prohibited from obtaining a weapon.

The bill also provides that data and forms submitted to and maintained by the Department of State Police for such criminal history checks and purchases may not be inspected by the public. The bill goes further, though, and provides for an exemption to the Freedom of Information Act for that information that is submitted by the purchasers in the course of the transaction of purchasing a weapon.

This past week has been extremely busy with many constituents and constituent groups stopping by my office and voicing their concerns and their issues with me and my legislative assistants. Among the groups were the Gold Wing Road Riders Association; Virginia Conservation Network; Bob Smith from Central Virginia Health Services, Inc; the Virginia Credit Union; the Virginia Auto Dealers; Virginians for a Healthy Future; Maureen Eberhardt and others about resources for Independent Living; the Virginia Citizens Defense League; Family Foundation; Virginians for a Healthy Future, Crossover Ministry, and Webelos 1 Den, a part of Cub Scout Pack 1811 in Midlothian. We welcome their comments, input and opinions, and we welcome yours. Don’t hesitate to contact my office on issues of importance to you.

To follow the progress of any bill, please visit the General Assembly’s web site at:

John C. Watkins

Senate of Virginia

10th District

(804) 698-7510

BENCHING AT THE BEACH.....Sen. Ken Stolle wins fight to appoint competent Judges

Posted by MAXIMUS

State Senator Ken Stolle (R-Virginia Beach), the former street cop turned lawyer/legislator, brought his "A" game to the State Senate in deliberations over who gets appointed to judgeship's in Virginia Beach and the City of Norfolk.

Fellow Senator Yvonne Miller (D-Norfolk) and Senator Harry Marsh (D-Richmond) wanted their personal picks seated in the judicial circuit in Virginia Beach over the objections of Sen. Stolle. By tradition, Judicial selection in the General Assembly lends itself to the local delegation coalescing around a candidate and then the respective chambers vote to confirm that choice.

Sens. Marsh and Miller (Marsh replaced Stolle as Chairman of the Senate Courts of Justice Committee when Dems took over the Chamber) tried to railroad their choices down the throats of the Virginia Beach Delegation and they then attempted to use the votes of other Dems in the State Senate to codify their selections.

Not to be outfoxed, Sen. Stolle maneuvered with newly elected Sen. Ralph Northam to successfully form a coalition that secured enough votes in the State Senate to install competent candidates to serve on the Bench in Norfolk and Virginia Beach. The sweet thing? This was done over the objections of Sen. Miller and Sen. Marsh who just just happens to be the Chairman of the Senate Courts of Justice Committee. BANG.

Excellent work by Senator Stolle. Even in the minority, Republicans appoint competent jurists to the Bench while Democrats can't disassociate themselves from harming the people of Virginia by engaging in bitter recriminations on current judicial selections while defending these actions based upon the Republicans successfully removing less than stellar judges who just happened to be friends of Sen. Miller (read the removal of Judge Askew).

Thank Senator Stolle for keeping competency on the Bench at the Beach and in the Virginia Judicial System at large.

Here is the story from today's Virginian Pilot:

Ending delay, Assembly elects four to Norfolk, Beach courts - Julian Walker

RICHMOND The General Assembly elected judges to local courts across the state Thursday, including several from Norfolk and Virginia Beach whose approval had been delayed since last year.

As part of th ose moves, a vacancy on the Beach Circuit Court will be filled by City Attorney Les Lilley.

Three judges appointed to the Norfolk Circuit Court on an interim basis by Gov. Timothy M. Kaine in October also were confirmed. They are Jack Doyle, a former commonwealth's attorney, and judges Louis A. Sherman and Jerrauld C. Jones.

The deal that made those judicial elections possible was hatched last fall when state Sens. Kenneth Stolle, R-Virginia Beach, and Ralph Northam, D-Norfolk, reached a back-room accord. Stolle, who had sparred with state Sen. Yvonne Miller, D-Norfolk, over the Beach judicial candidates, pledged that fellow Republicans would confirm Kaine's interim picks in Norfolk.

In exchange, Northam promised to get enough Democrats to support Lilley - Stolle's preferred candidate for the Beach opening - over Miller's choice, General District Judge Gene Woolard. To show their disapproval of the maneuver, most Senate Democrats refrained from the deciding vote on circuit court judges. Miller and Sen. Henry Marsh, D-Richmond, who is chairman the Senate Courts of Justice committee, voted against the slate.

"I don't think a chairman of the Courts of Justice committee in the history of Virginia has ever voted against electing a judge," Stolle said.

Marsh said the unusual situation prompted his vote. "This is unique. I don't know what normal is, anymore."

Miller said that in the past she has been excluded from selecting judges and wanted a more active role.

"Republicans are still selecting judges for Norfolk," she said, but added: "People win battles; they don't always win wars." link here:
Julian Walker, (804) 697-1564,

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Gilmore Responds

Editorial Response: America's Challenges Transcend Party Politics

By James S. Gilmore III
Published: January 18, 2009
Lynchburg News Advance

On Jan. 12, The News & Advance published an editorial expressing skepticism as to whether it was such a good idea for Gov. Tim Kaine to become the chairman of the Democratic National Committee.

The editor could not help tossing a few rocks at me, since I was likewise appointed chairman of the Republican National Committee in my last year as governor. Since I care about the opinion held of me by readers of The News & Advance, I want to respond to the negative comments about me and suggest where our focus really should be.

In 2001, the year I was national chairman, I always put Virginia and the governorship first. To the extent I fought with Republicans or Democrats in that year, it was a fight on behalf of the taxpayers, to balance the budget and deliver on the promised car tax cut. But for that fight, your readers and all Virginians would be paying much higher car taxes right now. I certainly didn't ignore the recession in 2001, and I used my authority as governor to balance the budget when the State Senate adjourned without warning and without passing budget amendments. In 2001, I also handled the crisis of Sept. 11, and I left a balanced budget while delivering on the car tax cut.

But this is very old news. Since those days in the governor's office, I have run for the U.S. Senate. While I was not successful, I came away with a sense of the great crisis that faces our commonwealth and our nation.

Between 1999 and 2003 I served as chairman of the Federal Commission on Terrorism, and I developed an expertise that was helpful in my response to the attack on Virginia at the Pentagon on Sept. 11. In light of the events in Gaza, Iran, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Russia and other hotspots, I believe the danger to America is greater than ever. The safety of the U.S. will require strength and possibly more sacrifice to make us safe, not naiveté and generalities.

The current financial crisis has been painful, and we are all trying to find the right answer. As we work through this difficulty, however, someone has to remember the taxpayer. All this bailout money is money taxed from ordinary citizens trying to make their way and support their families. If the bailout results in losses, the big spenders in Washington will be back asking the taxpayer to foot the bill through even higher taxes in the name of "fiscal responsibility."

The AFL-CIO and other unions are determined to radically change the course of American industrial relations by its "card check" bill to deny employees the right to a secret ballot election in union organization. With this government in place in Washington, it's time for a genuine assessment as to whether we want to maintain our right to work laws, or not.

The radical environmentalists seem determined to alter our quality of life and perhaps our liberties in the name of "global warming." A "cap and trade" system to limit carbon emissions may have the effect of nationalizing for the first time the right to conduct industrial activity. Permission may be necessary from government to engage in business, maybe even permission from authorities beyond our borders.

The biggest issue of all may be energy policy, affecting our domestic economy and our national security. We seem determined to launch into inefficient and experimental programs instead of urgently and decisively developing our domestic oil and other energy resources. While I support the development of alternative energy, high oil prices are coming back and we cannot wait to develop our oil fields offshore and in Alaska.

These, among others, are the issues of the day, not whether I, eight years ago, or Tim Kaine today should accept the chairmanship of a national political party. I am confident and optimistic that the people of Virginia and the nation will adopt good approaches that enhance liberty and our quality of life.

I intend to form a political action committee to address these crucial issues, and I hope many reading this op/ed commentary will join me.

The elections are over, and I do not seek another candidacy. But I do intend to add my voice to these debates as we all face the extraordinary challenges ahead.

Gilmore, a Republican, served as governor of the Commonwealth of Virginia from 1998 to 2002. He was his party's nominee for the U.S. Senate in 2008.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

DNC Chairman (and part time VA Governor) Tim Kaine declares Virginia Budget Deficit Over

Posted by MAXIMUS

The Chairman of the Democratic National Committee (and the part time Governor of Virginia) Tim Kaine is cutting the Virginia Budget by billions. Gov. Kaine declares that the Virginia budget situation is so bad he is forced to:

1.) lay off honest, hard working law enforcement officers;
2.) cut funding for public education;
3.) let criminals convicted of felonies out of jail early;
4.) cut funding for mentally disabled children who have nowhere else to go

If the budget situation calls for pairing of the core services of government, why is Gov. Kaine using scarce tax dollars to transport folks on buses to an inauguration ceremony? True Virginia budget priorities, like law enforcement and education, are being thrown under the bus in order to subsidize freeloaders to ride on the bus to an inauguration? Is this economic justice of the Democratic National Committee or a Virginia Governor gone punch drunk with misguided power? Kaine must have declared the Virginia Budget deficit to be resolved.

Here is the story from today's Richmond Times Dispatch:

State pays for buses to N. Va. Metro

By Peter Bacque

Published: January 19, 2009

Virginia will pick up the cost for inauguration goers to ride buses free to Northern Virginia Metro stations Tuesday.

The state will pay eight Northern Virginia public transit agencies to run 300 buses on 45 routes that serve Metro stations, pedestrian access points and park-and-ride lots, according to the Virginia Department of Rail and Public Transportation.

The free service will operate from 4 a.m. to 9 p.m., though some operators may run later depending on demand.

The one-day special bus service will cost about $975,000, said state Transportation Secretary Pierce Homer. "We are seeking full reimbursement from Congress and the administration for these expenses," he said.

The money for the service will come from state economic contingency funds.

Inaugural visitors can catch buses into Metro stations as far south as Prince William County and from as far west as Loudoun County, said Jennifer Pickett with Rail and Public Transportation.

The park-and-ride lot nearest to Richmond on Interstate 95 is near Exit 158, the Prince William County Parkway exit, she said.

Officials expect enormous crowds flocking to President-elect Barack Obama's inauguration -- and enormous traffic tie-ups. Estimates run from 2 million to 5 million people jamming into Washington on Tuesday.

"Highway congestion is going to be significant," Pickett said. "We've been clear on that."

To avert massive traffic jams, state officials have been going all out to persuade people to use public transportation rather than drive themselves.

However, public transit has its own limitations. "Can we move 2 million people to the [Capitol] Mall? Absolutely not," said Washington Metro spokeswoman Lisa Farbstein. Metro trains can handle a little more than 100,000 riders an hour in the best case, Farbstein said, and Tuesday "won't be the best-case scenario."

"This is clearly unprecedented," said Martha Mitchell Meade with the AAA Mid-Atlantic travel group. "So common sense tells us that there are going to be some people, who want to see the event, who can't get there because the numbers are just so huge."

Beginning at 3 a.m. Tuesday, personal vehicles will not be allowed to enter Washington from Virginia. Police cars and electronic signs will mark the closure of I-95, Interstate 66 and the Dulles Toll Road into Washington at the Capital Beltway.

Only authorized vehicles -- emergency vehicles, buses, taxis and for-hire limos and car services -- will be able to drive north on Interstate 395 and east on I-66 inside the Beltway, which is Interstate 495. All other traffic heading to Washington on I-95 and I-66 will be diverted to the Beltway.

"We're going to do everything we can to keep things moving smoothly," Pickett said.

State police reported light to normal traffic conditions along the Interstate 95 corridor Monday afternoon from Richmond to Washington.
link here:

Contact Peter Bacqué at (804) 649-6813 or
Staff writer Mark Bowes contributed to this report.

The Bolling Report

The 2009 session of the Virginia General Assembly was gaveled to order at noon on January 14th. During this year’s 46 day legislative session the members of the Senate and House of Delegates will be faced with a daunting task – to balance the Commonwealth’s $78B biennial budget and close a budget shortfall that is estimated at $3-3.5B or 5% of the state’s annual general fund budget.

At the outset, it is important to note why the Commonwealth is facing such a significant budget shortfall. There are two reasons:

First, due to a slowdown in national economic performance Virginia tax collections are lagging far behind budget projections. During last year’s legislative session the General Assembly adopted a budget that assumed revenue growth of 2.8% in the current fiscal year. While we felt this was a reasonable revenue projection, tax collections are currently 4.4% less than they were a year ago. This has produced a significant budget shortfall in the current fiscal year.

Second, in last year’s budget the Governor projected revenue growth of 6.6% in the second year of the biennium and funded a number of new and expanded government programs with this anticipated revenue growth. However, it is now apparent that this revenue projection was terribly optimistic and the state will not come anywhere near meeting this rosy economic forecast. As a result, we will also face a significant budget shortfall in the second year of the budget.

When the Governor proposed his budget last year I cautioned against adopting a budget based on such an overly optimistic revenue projection. I warned that if we adopted a budget based on 6.6% revenue growth and failed to meet that projection that we would face massive budget shortfalls this year. Unfortunately, that is exactly what happened and we must now scale back much of the new spending that was approved just a year ago.

For a copy of Lieutenant Governor Bolling’s op-ed – Kaine Budget: A Formula For Disaster – which was printed in the Richmond Times Dispatch on January 6, 2008, please click here.

To close this budget shortfall Governor Kaine has proposed taking $490M out of the state’s Revenue Stabilization Fund, or rainy day fund. This one time money can be used to offset budget shortfalls in the current fiscal year. While I am concerned about taking so much money out of the rainy day fund, there may be little choice given the significance of the budget shortfall we face.

In addition, the Governor has proposed significant spending reductions in most areas of the budget. Some of the budget reductions the Governor has proposed include:

· Across the board and targeted spending reductions of $1.7B, including a $367M reduction for public education and a $418M reduction for Medicaid and other health care programs

· Elimination of a proposed 2% pay raise for state employees, which will save $242M

· A 15% reduction for Virginia’s four year colleges and universities and a 10% reduction for community colleges.

· The elimination of almost 2,000 state jobs

It is never easy to make spending reductions of this nature, but it is the right approach and I commend Governor Kaine for his willingness to make these difficult recommendations.

When the economy is growing and revenues are increasing we can invest in important state programs. But when the economy is in recession and revenues are declining government must do what families and businesses must do – we must tighten our belts, prioritize spending and spend within our means.

There are many aspects of the Governor’s budget that we agree with and will work to implement.

For example, the Governor has strategically proposed targeting his spending reductions in public education toward central office and administrative positions. This will help protect educational spending in the classroom, which has a more direct impact on the quality of education our children receive.

Likewise, the Governor has proposed investing an additional $5M a year in the Governor’s Economic Opportunity Fund, which is used to encourage new businesses to locate in Virginia. This additional investment could help enhance economic development opportunities in the future.

And the Governor has exempted from spending reductions various community mental health programs that were enhanced last year in the wake of the tragic shootings at Virginia Tech.

However, there are aspects of the Governor’s budget that we disagree with and will work to change.

For example, the Governor’s budget includes tax increases totaling $146M a year. This includes a proposed 30 cent increase in the tobacco tax, as well as elimination of a servicing rebate that is currently provided to retailers who collect and remit the state sales tax. There is never a good time to raise taxes, but the worst time of all to raise taxes is in the midst of a recession, when families and businesses have less money.

We are concerned by the Governor’s recommendation to grant early release to thousands of prison inmates. Current law allows the Director of the Department of Corrections to release inmates up to 30 days prior to end of the schedule sentence. The Governor has proposed increasing this automatic release provision to 90 days. This could result in thousands of prison inmates being released early and undermine the foundation of our truth in sentencing efforts.

While the Governor has proposed a 15% spending reduction for Virginia’s colleges and universities, he has done nothing to prohibit colleges and universities from passing these reductions directly on to students in the form of higher tuition. Tuition for in state students has increased by 93% since the freeze on tuition was lifted in 2002, and we must guard against runaway tuition increases, which makes a higher education less affordable for many students.

Finally, the Governor has proposed $3.6M in reductions for the Virginia Economic Development Partnership and the Virginia Tourism Council. To better position Virginia to take advantage of the economic recovery when it occurs, we should not be making reductions in important economic development and tourism promotion programs.

There is one other aspect of the Governor’s budget recommendations that concerns me greatly.

As discussed above, a significant part of the budget shortfalls we face this year are due to the overly optimistic revenue projections the Governor included in his budget last year. I am concerned that the Governor’s revised budget continues to embrace overly optimistic revenue projections.

While Virginia’s tax collections are currently lagging 4.4% behind last year’s rates, the Governor’s budget assumes that we will have 4.1% revenue growth in the fiscal year beginning July 1, 2009. Unfortunately, I see little evidence that economic growth is improving.

While it would be nice to think that we would see economic growth of 4.1% in the next fiscal year, if we base our spending patterns on such an assumption and fail to achieve those goals we will be faced with another significant budget shortfall next year.

I would give the Governor the same advice I gave him last year – base the budget on a more conservative revenue projection and adjust spending accordingly. In that way, if we exceed our revenue projections we will enjoy a budget surplus, as opposed to having another budget shortfall for the third year in a row.

Needless to say, the budget decisions that the General Assembly must make this year will not be easy. To find solutions to these budget challenges we must work together on a bipartisan basis, but the two controlling goals should be to 1) balance the budget through spending reductions and not higher taxes, and 2) make certain that we base future budget actions on realistic revenue projections.

If you would like to share your views on the state budget with me, you can contact me directly by email at or you can call my office at (804) 786-2078. I would welcome your input.

In next week’s edition of The Bolling Report, I will talk about my 2009 Legislative Agenda.

Good Luck Barack

Have you ever disagreed with someone so strongly, yet want them to do well for the greater good? That's is the way I feel this morning as we head into the inauguration of Barack Obama as our next President. Reading various the blogs, and conservative leaning articles I find it odd that so many want Obama to fail so miserably. Where is the respect for the office of President? What about the general welfare of our country?
We conservative and Republicans need to heed warning from what we learned during the last eight years of the Bush Administration...namely, if the sitting President fails we all fail, opposing views are necessarily right versus wrong but different means to an end and we can should always influence instead of condemn, if we want change we can believe in. These next four years will provide ample opportunity so show those that disagree with us, and those we disagree with, WHY conservative values and policies work in the long run.....These next four years will provide ample opportunity for the GOP (and our own RPV) to get our own house in order and to get back to our core principles that we have strayed from over the last decade...These next four years will provide ample opportunity to cultivate new and exciting candidates that will espouse new ideas and excite the rank and file....These next four years will provide ample opportunity, opportunity, opportunity, opportunity, opportunity, opportunity. Enough with the sad faces, morning protests, vile and anger....we need to see the next four years as the greatest opportunity to show why conservatism works, influence those in power to use it's principles and to make us the force we should be...we should celebrate this oppportunity not morn a past that became compromised at best, made us stray from real conservative principles to back a people that didn't hold those principles as dearly as we do.

Friday, January 16, 2009

W says goodbye

Here is the text of President Bush's prime-time "Farewell Address to the Nation" on Thursday, as prepared for delivery:

Fellow citizens: For eight years, it has been my honor to serve as your President. The first decade of this new century has been a period of consequence – a time set apart. Tonight, with a thankful heart, I have asked for a final opportunity to share some thoughts on the journey we have traveled together and the future of our Nation. …Five days from now, the world will witness the vitality of American democracy. In a tradition dating back to our founding, the presidency will pass to a successor chosen by you, the American people. Standing on the steps of the Capitol will be a man whose story reflects the enduring promise of our land. This is a moment of hope and pride for our whole Nation. And I join all Americans in offering best wishes to President-elect Obama, his wife Michelle, and their two beautiful girls. …Tonight I am filled with gratitude – to Vice President Cheney and members of the Administration; to Laura, who brought joy to this house and love to my life; to our wonderful daughters, Barbara and Jenna; to my parents, whose examples have provided strength for a lifetime. And above all, I thank the American people for the trust you have given me. I thank you for the prayers that have lifted my spirits. And I thank you for the countless acts of courage, generosity, and grace that I have witnessed these past eight years. …This evening, my thoughts return to the first night I addressed you from this house – September 11, 2001. That morning, terrorists took nearly 3,000 lives in the worst attack on America since Pearl Harbor. I remember standing in the rubble of the World Trade Center three days later, surrounded by rescuers who had been working around the clock. I remember talking to brave souls who charged through smoke-filled corridors at the Pentagon and to husbands and wives whose loved ones became heroes aboard Flight 93. I remember Arlene Howard, who gave me her fallen son’s police shield as a reminder of all that was lost. And I still carry his badge. ..As the years passed, most Americans were able to return to life much as it had been before Nine-Eleven. But I never did. Every morning, I received a briefing on the threats to our Nation. And I vowed to do everything in my power to keep us safe. ….Over the past seven years, a new Department of Homeland Security has been created. The military, the intelligence community, and the FBI have been transformed. Our Nation is equipped with new tools to monitor the terrorists’ movements, freeze their finances, and break up their plots. And with strong allies at our side, we have taken the fight to the terrorists and those who support them. Afghanistan has gone from a nation where the Taliban harbored al Qaeda and stoned women in the streets to a young democracy that is fighting terror and encouraging girls to go to school. Iraq has gone from a brutal dictatorship and a sworn enemy of America to an Arab democracy at the heart of the Middle East and a friend of the United States. ..There is legitimate debate about many of these decisions. But there can be little debate about the results. America has gone more than seven years without another terrorist attack on our soil. This is a tribute to those who toil day and night to keep us safe – law enforcement officers, intelligence analysts, homeland security and diplomatic personnel, and the men and women of the United States Armed Forces….Our Nation is blessed to have citizens who volunteer to defend us in this time of danger. I have cherished meeting these selfless patriots and their families. America owes you a debt of gratitude. And to all our men and women in uniform listening tonight: There has been no higher honor than serving as your Commander in Chief….The battles waged by our troops are part of a broader struggle between two dramatically different systems. Under one, a small band of fanatics demands total obedience to an oppressive ideology, condemns women to subservience, and marks unbelievers for murder. The other system is based on the conviction that freedom is the universal gift of Almighty God and that liberty and justice light the path to peace…..This is the belief that gave birth to our Nation. And in the long run, advancing this belief is the only practical way to protect our citizens. When people live in freedom, they do not willingly choose leaders who pursue campaigns of terror. When people have hope in the future, they will not cede their lives to violence and extremism. So around the world, America is promoting human liberty, human rights, and human dignity. We are standing with dissidents and young democracies, providing AIDS medicine to bring dying patients back to life, and sparing mothers and babies from malaria. And this great republic born alone in liberty is leading the world toward a new age when freedom belongs to all nations.

For eight years, we have also strived to expand opportunity and hope here at home. Across our country, students are rising to meet higher standards in public schools. A new Medicare prescription drug benefit is bringing peace of mind to seniors and the disabled. Every taxpayer pays lower income taxes. The addicted and suffering are finding new hope through faith-based programs. Vulnerable human life is better protected. Funding for our veterans has nearly doubled. America’s air, water, and lands are measurably cleaner. And the Federal bench includes wise new members like Justice Sam Alito and Chief Justice John Roberts….When challenges to our prosperity emerged, we rose to meet them. Facing the prospect of a financial collapse, we took decisive measures to safeguard our economy. These are very tough times for hardworking families, but the toll would be far worse if we had not acted. All Americans are in this together. And together, with determination and hard work, we will restore our economy to the path of growth. We will show the world once again the resilience of America’s free enterprise system….Like all who have held this office before me, I have experienced setbacks. There are things I would do differently if given the chance. Yet I have always acted with the best interests of our country in mind. I have followed my conscience and done what I thought was right. You may not agree with some tough decisions I have made. But I hope you can agree that I was willing to make the tough decisions….The decades ahead will bring more hard choices for our country, and there are some guiding principles that should shape our course…..While our Nation is safer than it was seven years ago, the gravest threat to our people remains another terrorist attack. Our enemies are patient and determined to strike again. America did nothing to seek or deserve this conflict. But we have been given solemn responsibilities, and we must meet them. We must resist complacency. We must keep our resolve. And we must never let down our guard….At the same time, we must continue to engage the world with confidence and clear purpose. In the face of threats from abroad, it can be tempting to seek comfort by turning inward. But we must reject isolationism and its companion, protectionism. Retreating behind our borders would only invite danger. In the 21st century, security and prosperity at home depend on the expansion of liberty abroad. If America does not lead the cause of freedom, that cause will not be led…..As we address these challenges – and others we cannot foresee tonight – America must maintain our moral clarity. I have often spoken to you about good and evil. This has made some uncomfortable. But good and evil are present in this world, and between the two there can be no compromise. Murdering the innocent to advance an ideology is wrong every time, everywhere. Freeing people from oppression and despair is eternally right. This Nation must continue to speak out for justice and truth. We must always be willing to act in their defense and to advance the cause of peace….President Thomas Jefferson once wrote, “I like the dreams of the future better than the history of the past.” As I leave the house he occupied two centuries ago, I share that optimism. America is a young country, full of vitality, constantly growing and renewing itself. And even in the toughest times, we lift our eyes to the broad horizon ahead….I have confidence in the promise of America because I know the character of our people. This is a Nation that inspires immigrants to risk everything for the dream of freedom. This is a Nation where citizens show calm in times of danger and compassion in the face of suffering. We see examples of America’s character all around us. And Laura and I have invited some of them to join us in the White House this evening……We see America’s character in Dr. Tony Recasner, a principal who opened a new charter school from the ruins of Hurricane Katrina. We see it in Julio Medina, a former inmate who leads a faith-based program to help prisoners returning to society. We see it in Staff Sergeant Aubrey McDade, who charged into an ambush in Iraq and rescued three of his fellow Marines…..We see America’s character in Bill Krissoff, a surgeon from California. His son Nathan, a Marine, gave his life in Iraq. When I met Dr. Krissoff and his family, he delivered some surprising news: He told me he wanted to join the Navy Medical Corps in honor of his son. This good man was 60 years old – 18 years above the age limit. But his petition for a waiver was granted, and for the past year he has trained in battlefield medicine. Lieutenant Commander Krissoff could not be here tonight, because he will soon deploy to Iraq, where he will help save America’s wounded warriors and uphold the legacy of his fallen son….In citizens like these, we see the best of our country – resilient and hopeful, caring and strong. These virtues give me an unshakable faith in America. We have faced danger and trial, and there is more ahead. But with the courage of our people and confidence in our ideals, this great Nation will never tire … never falter … and never fail….It has been the privilege of a lifetime to serve as your President. There have been good days and tough days. But every day I have been inspired by the greatness of our country and uplifted by the goodness of our people. I have been blessed to represent this Nation we love. And I will always be honored to carry a title that means more to me than any other: citizen of the United States of America….And so, my fellow Americans, for the final time: Good night. May God bless this house and our next President. And may God bless you and our wonderful country.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

A Bill Worth fighting for - HB 1588

HB 1588 - Sponsored by Delegate Robert Marshall (R-13) and Delegate David Poisson (D-32)

Requires private health insurance companies to provide coverage for the diagnosis and treatment of autism spectrum disorder

Coverage will be provided to individuals under the age of 21

Coverage under this bill is subject to an inflation adjusted maximum benefit of $36,000 annually

Coverage of treatments will be provided when prescribed, provided, or ordered for an individual diagnosed with autism by a licensed physician or a licensed psychologist who determines the care to be medically necessary

The bill includes coverage of the following treatments:
Habilitative or rehabilitative care
Pharmacy care
Psychiatric care
Psychological care
Therapeutic care
Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA)

The bill applies only to fully-funded health plans governed by state

For more information:

Attend a Rally TODAY at the capital (info below)
January 15, 2009!
Join us on January 15, 2009 at 11 am in Capitol Square in Downtown Richmond for the largest gathering of autism advocates in state history!

Send the message that we care, we vote, and our children can’t afford to wait for insurance coverage of autism services. Carpool, charter bus, take a day of vacation... do everything you can to be there. Invite your church groups, friends, neighbors, anyone and everyone you know to come and stand shoulder to shoulder on behalf of those we love with autism. This will be a day to remember. We need you to be there!

For more information, please visit

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

You can tell Mickey Rourke been out of the Hollywood machine for a long time

....he actually makes sense.. From the Daily Express:

Actor MICKEY ROURKE sympathises with U.S. President GEORGE W. BUSH - insisting he doesn't know how any politician could have successfully navigated America after the 9/11 attacks on New York....The Hollywood tough-guy spoke out about his political views in a candid interview with Britain's GQ magazine, and admits he doesn't understand why so many people blame Bush for a string of world issues - including Islamic fundamentalism and terrorism in the West.....And the actor, who claims he didn't follow last year's (08) historic U.S. election battle between Barack Obama and John McCain, urges the public to consider the tremendous pressure the controversial president was under following the terror attacks on the World Trade Center in 2001......He tells the publication, "President Bush was in the wrong place at the wrong time, I don't know how anyone could have handled this situation. ..."I don't give a f**k who's in office, Bush or whoever, there is no simple solution to this problem... I'm not one of those who blames Bush for everything. This s**t between Christians and Muslims goes back to the Crusades, doesn't it. ...."It's too easy to blame everything on one guy. These are unpredictable, dangerous times, and I don't think that anyone really knows quite what to do." ...Rourke also confesses he was so angry after 9/11, he wanted to fight the war on terror himself.....He adds, "I'm not politically educated. But I do know that after 9/11 I wanted to go over there, you know what I'm saying?" ....And the star is baffled by the U.K.'s approach to fundamentalists - insisting he was taken aback by the freedom of speech allowed in the U.K...He explains, "I was in London recently and I couldn't believe all these hate-talking fanatics you have over here who are allowed to carry on doing their thing even when a bus full of women and children gets blown to pieces. ..."I know you've deported one or two of them, but it seems crazy. I think there is worse to come, something terrible will happen to either America or the U.K., or France even. I don't think these fundamentalists should be allowed to talk all this crap, and brainwashing these young kids."

Read Here:

Monday, January 12, 2009

Bush did get somethings right

From The Weekly Standard:

The postmortems on the presidency of George W. Bush are all wrong. The liberal line is that Bush dangerously weakened America's position in the world and rushed to the aid of the rich and powerful as income inequality worsened. That is twaddle. Conservatives--okay, not all of them--have only been a little bit kinder. They give Bush credit for the surge that saved Iraq, but not for much else.

He deserves better. His presidency was far more successful than not. And there's an aspect of his decision-making that merits special recognition: his courage. Time and time again, Bush did what other presidents, even Ronald Reagan, would not have done and for which he was vilified and abused. That--defiantly doing the right thing--is what distinguished his presidency.

Bush had ten great achievements (and maybe more) in his eight years in the White House, starting with his decision in 2001 to jettison the Kyoto global warming treaty so loved by Al Gore, the environmental lobby, elite opinion, and Europeans. The treaty was a disaster, with India and China exempted and economic decline the certain result. Everyone knew it. But only Bush said so and acted accordingly.

He stood athwart mounting global warming hysteria and yelled, "Stop!" He slowed the movement toward a policy blunder of worldwide impact, providing time for facts to catch up with the dubious claims of alarmists. Thanks in part to Bush, the supposed consensus of scientists on global warming has now collapsed. The skeptics, who point to global cooling over the
past decade, are now heard loud and clear. And a rational approach to the theory of manmade global warming is possible.

Second, enhanced interrogation of terrorists. Along with use of secret prisons and wireless eavesdropping, this saved American lives. How many thousands of lives? We'll never know. But, as Charles Krauthammer said recently, "Those are precisely the elements which kept us safe and which have prevented a second attack."

Crucial intelligence was obtained from captured al Qaeda leaders, including 9/11 mastermind Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, with the help of waterboarding. Whether this tactic--it creates a drowning sensation--is torture is a matter of debate. John McCain and many Democrats say it is. Bush and Vice President Cheney insist it isn't. In any case, it was necessary. Lincoln once made a similar point in defending his suspension of habeas corpus in direct defiance of Chief Justice Roger Taney. "Are all the laws but one to go unexecuted, and the government itself go to pieces, lest that one be violated?" Lincoln asked. Bush understood the answer in wartime had to be no.

Bush's third achievement was the rebuilding of presidential authority, badly degraded in the era of Vietnam, Watergate, and Bill Clinton. He didn't hesitate to conduct wireless surveillance of terrorists without getting a federal judge's okay. He decided on his own how to treat terrorists and where they should be imprisoned. Those were legitimate decisions for which the president, as commander in chief, should feel no need to apologize.

Defending, all the way to the Supreme Court, Cheney's refusal to disclose to Congress the names of people he'd consulted on energy policy was also enormously important. Democratic congressman Henry Waxman demanded the names, but the Court upheld Cheney, 7-2. Last week, Cheney defended his refusal, waspishly noting that Waxman "doesn't call me up and tell me who he's meeting with."

Achievement number four was Bush's unswerving support for Israel. Reagan was once deemed Israel's best friend in the White House. Now Bush can claim the title. He ostracized Yasser Arafat as an impediment to peace in the Middle East. This infuriated the anti-Israel forces in Europe, the Third World, and the United Nations, and was criticized by champions of the "peace process" here at home. Bush was right.

He was clever in his support. Bush announced that Ariel Sharon should withdraw the tanks he'd sent into the West Bank in 2002, then exerted zero pressure on Sharon to do so. And he backed the wall along Israel's eastern border without endorsing it as an official boundary, while knowing full well that it might eventually become exactly that. He was a loyal friend.

His fifth success was No Child Left Behind (NCLB), the education reform bill cosponsored by America's most prominent liberal Democratic senator Edward Kennedy. The teachers' unions, school boards, the education establishment, conservatives adamant about local control of schools--they all loathed the measure and still do. It requires two things they ardently oppose, mandatory testing and accountability.

Kennedy later turned against NCLB, saying Bush is shortchanging the program. In truth, federal education spending is at record levels. Another complaint is that it forces teachers to "teach to the test." The tests are on math and reading. They are tests worth teaching to.

Sixth, Bush declared in his second inaugural address in 2005 that American foreign policy (at least his) would henceforth focus on promoting democracy
around the world. This put him squarely in the Reagan camp, but he was lambasted as unrealistic, impractical, and a tool of wily neoconservatives. The new policy gave Bush credibility in pressing for democracy in the former Soviet republics and Middle East and in zinging various dictators and kleptocrats. It will do the same for President Obama, if he's wise enough to hang onto it.

The seventh achievement is the Medicare prescription drug benefit, enacted in 2003. It's not only wildly popular; it has cost less than expected by triggering competition among drug companies. Conservatives have deep reservations about the program. But they shouldn't have been surprised. Bush advocated the drug benefit in the 2000 campaign. And if he hadn't acted, Democrats would have, with a much less attractive result.

Then there were John Roberts and Sam Alito. In putting them on the Supreme Court and naming Roberts chief justice, Bush achieved what had eluded Richard Nixon, Reagan, and his own father. Roberts and Alito made the Court indisputably more conservative. And the good news is Roberts, 53, and Alito, 58, should be justices for decades to come.

Bush's ninth achievement has been widely ignored. He strengthened relations with east Asian democracies (Japan, South Korea, Australia) without causing a rift with China. On top of that, he forged strong ties with India. An important factor was their common enemy, Islamic jihadists. After 9/11, Bush made the most of this, and Indian leaders were receptive. His state dinner for Indian prime minister Manmohan Singh in 2006 was a lovefest.

Finally, a no-brainer: the surge. Bush prompted nearly unanimous disapproval in January 2007 when he announced he was sending more troops to Iraq and adopting a new counterinsurgency strategy. His opponents initially included the State Department, the Pentagon, most of Congress, the media, the foreign policy establishment, indeed the whole world. This makes his decision a profile in courage. Best of all, the surge worked. Iraq is now a fragile but functioning democracy.

How does Bush rank as a president? We won't know until he's judged from the perspective of two or three decades. Hindsight forced a sharp upgrading of the presidencies of Harry Truman and Dwight Eisenhower. Given his achievements, it may have the same effect for Bush.

Read Here:

Friday, January 9, 2009

Rep. Conyers what Michael Moore's Qualification...for anything

From the Hill:

Citing a lack of experience, Rep. John Conyers Jr. (D-Mich.) is leading an effort to thwart Barack Obama’s expected nomination of CNN’s Sanjay Gupta to become surgeon general....But there are also indications that Conyers’s opposition is linked to a 2007 public clash between Gupta and the liberal filmmaker Michael Moore. ...The House Judiciary Committee chairman doesn’t have a vote, or a formal role, in the anticipated Gupta nomination. Yet, he is lobbying the Senate and the incoming president to reject Gupta....In a “Dear Colleague” letter on Wednesday, Conyers — a major proponent of universal healthcare — denounced Gupta and asked members to sign a letter to Obama urging the president-elect not to nominate the TV personality....Conyers planned to call Obama directly Thursday afternoon to voice his concern and has raised the issue with Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.)....In his letter, Conyers wrote, “It is not in the best interests of the nation to have someone like this who lacks the requisite experience needed to oversee the federal agency that provides crucial healthcare assistance to some of the poorest and most underserved communities in America.”...Conyers also cited a Jan. 6 blog item by Paul Krugman in The New York Times. Unlike Conyers, however, Krugman does not have a problem with Gupta’s qualifications.....Krugman pointed out that Gupta engaged in a televised argument with Moore in 2007 over his movie, “SiCKO.”....Conyers is friends with Moore, a Michigan native who is an ardent backer of the legislator’s universal healthcare bill. Moore’s film made the case for the U.S. to adopt a “single-payer” healthcare system like Canada’s....On Thursday, Moore’s website prominently highlighted Krugman’s blog on Gupta....The Moore-Gupta showdown occurred on CNN’s “Larry King Live” in the wake of Gupta’s televised report on “SiCKO.” The Moore-Gupta video has been viewed over 239,000 times on YouTube........The Krugman blog stated, “I don’t have a problem with Gupta’s qualifications. But I do remember his mugging of Michael Moore over SiCKO. You don’t have to like Moore or his film; but Gupta specifically claimed that Moore ‘fudged his facts,’ when the truth was that on every one of the allegedly fudged facts, Moore was actually right and CNN was wrong.”...Krugman added that “appointing Gupta now, although it’s a small thing, is just another example of the lack of accountability that always seems to be the rule when you get things wrong in a socially acceptable way.”...Conyers contends that Gupta is against universal healthcare coverage.....Even though the surgeon general is not in control of implementing healthcare coverage policy, Conyers said that Gupta would represent the face of healthcare.....“He becomes the spokesperson on public health for the United States,” Conyers told the Hill.....Obama has not yet formally appointed Gupta. The Washington Post reported this week that the job has been offered to Gupta and he wants it.....Gupta did not deny the Post’s report but declined to comment.

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Thursday, January 8, 2009

House Republican Caucus Chair Nixon asks Senate Democrats to Adopt Legislative Cost-Cutting Measure

Delegate Sam Nixon’s News Release is below (and attached for reference.) Delegate Nixon has asks Senate Democrats to Join in Adopting Legislative Cost-Cutting Measures to help save money for Virginia taxpayers....

Commonwealth of Virginia
Virginia House of Delegates

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Wednesday, January 7, 2009
Contact: Cynthia Haake (804) 745-4335

-- Letter to Saslaw & Whipple Requests Senate to Adopt House’s Lower Salaries and Per Diems --
-- House Republicans Already Have Enacted Reforms Resulting in $1.1 Million in Savings This Year --

RICHMOND, VA – In a letter to Senate Majority Leader Richard L. Saslaw (D-Fairfax) and Senate Democratic Caucus and Senate Rules Committee Chairman Mary Margaret Whipple (D-Arlington), House Republican Caucus Chairman Samuel A. “Sam” Nixon, Jr. (R-Chesterfield) today asked Senate Democrats to match the salary and daily expense allowance of the House of Delegates. If the Senate were to enact these cost-cutting measures for the 2009 session beginning January 14, the savings to taxpayers would exceed $100,000 this year alone.

In a December 15, 2008 statement by Speaker of the House William J. Howell (R-Stafford), the House of Delegates announced reforms and cost-cutting measures for the upcoming session and year. Those savings total more than $1.1 million, representing 15 percent of the chamber’s operational budget.

The House has enacted spending reductions on multiple occasions and has aggressively held the line on spending increases.

In 2002, for example, the House reduced the size of its staff, and instituted cost savings and reforms resulting in a savings of $1.2 million.

In 2007, the House returned $2 million to the general fund, roughly 10 percent of its appropriated balance. This amount was in addition to the $4.7 million that other legislative agencies put toward balancing the budget.

In 2008, the legislative branch reduced discretionary spending to return another $4.7 million, representing 13 percent of the total legislative branch budget.

The text of Chairman Nixon’s letter to Senators Saslaw and Whipple, and a full list of the House spending reduction strategies announced December 15, 2008 by Speaker Howell follow:

January 7, 2009

The Honorable Richard L. Saslaw The Honorable Mary Margaret Whipple
Senate Majority Leader Chair, Senate Rules Committee
Post Office Box 1856 3556 North Valley Street
Springfield, Virginia 22151 Arlington, Virginia 22207

Dear Mary Margaret and Dick:

On December 15, 2008, the House Republican Majority unveiled its legislative spending reduction strategy for 2009. Fully enacted, the package of House spending reductions provides a total savings of over $1.1 million to Virginia’s taxpayers.

I suspect that the Senate also is examining its spending options and is looking for potential legislative savings ideas. In the spirit of bi-partisan and bi-cameral cooperation, there are two measures already part of the House’s savings strategy that, if the Senate Democratic Majority adopted immediately, would save Virginia taxpayers well over $100,000 this year alone. These savings strategies are:

· Matching the House members’ 2% salary reduction, in effect since 1991: As best we can determine, senators and delegates were paid the same salary until May 1, 1991. Although the House reduced the salaries of members through the Appropriations Act by 2% in 1991, the Senate chose not to adjust their annual salaries through the state budget and it is my understanding that individual senators had the option of voluntarily reducing their salaries by 2% for one year. The House has retained this lower salary level of $17, 640 for nearly 18 years (at a cumulative savings to taxpayers of $630,000). With the Commonwealth facing its second ten-figure budgetary shortfall this decade, now appears to us an ideal time to standardize the salaries for state legislators.

· Matching the House session daily expense (per diem) rate of $135: Foreseeing leaner times last year, the House set its per diem rate at $135, which is far lower than the maximum allowed by the U.S. Internal Revenue Service. By lowering the Senate per diem rate by $34 (from its 2008 level of $169 to $135), the Commonwealth would save over $100,000 this year alone. Obviously, expenses incurred during session are no different for House personnel than for our friends in the Senate. Both senators and delegates encounter the same hotel rates, the same food costs, and the same incidental expenses. Therefore, a differentiation between these rates based on legislative body makes little sense, especially during this recession in which those we serve and represent are struggling to pay their household expenses.

These changes can be enacted quickly. Doing so would send an important signal to the citizens of the Commonwealth. It would demonstrate that legislators in both chambers of the Virginia General Assembly not only are willing to come together but also are prepared to lead by example during this time of serious economic difficulty when many Virginia families, businesses and taxpayers are tightening their belts to make ends meet.

I appreciate you considering these practical, cost-savings ideas. I also hope that you will soon join the House as partners in making these shared sacrifices and working with us in a bipartisan manner for the benefit of all Virginians.


Samuel A. Nixon, Jr.
Chairman, House Majority Caucus

Virginia House of Delegates
Spending Reduction Strategies for 2009

Ø Member Salary: Maintain current salary level at $17,640 annually. Prior to 1991, delegates and senators were paid $18,000 annually. In May 1991, delegates agreed to reduce House members’ salary by 2% to its current level. That reduction has saved the Commonwealth a total of $630,000 over the past 17 years.

Ø Member and Legislative Assistant Session Expenses: Forego without session expense (per diems) increase allowed by federal IRS guidelines. The current rate of $135 will remain in effect.

Ø Member and Legislative Assistant Orientation: Cancel legislative assistant orientation program for 2009 session. Postpone Committee Chair Training for members until after 2009 elections.

Ø State Plane: Suspend use of the State Plane for weekend travel home by members who live in Southwest Virginia.

Ø Conference Travel: Dramatically reduce the number of members and staff who are reimbursed for attending regional and national legislative conferences.

Ø Study Committees: Eliminate the use of study committees during the interim to study certain legislation.

Ø Carry Over Legislation: Cancel meetings for the express purpose of considering carryover legislation.

Ø Session Support Staff: Eliminate more than a half dozen support positions and reduce hours for additional four positions. Reduce hours for secretarial support staff. Postpone any wage rate increase for session support staff. Reduce training for various support staff.

Ø Clerk’s Full-time Staff: Freeze hiring for any and all vacancies. Eliminate any discretionary personnel costs. Create job sharing opportunities for full-time staff to cover eliminated session staff job duties.

Ø Printing of Stationery & Publications: Reduce costs by 15% by modifying internal procurement practices for printing. Review publications for necessity and print as many in-house as possible.

Ø Discretionary Projects: Postpone all discretionary projects, to include the legislative assistant e-mail initiative and renovation of office space to committee room space in the General Assembly Building.

Ø Office Supplies: Reduce office supply costs by 15% through the use of stringent purchasing policies.

Ø Office Equipment & Furniture: Freeze purchases of office equipment, furniture and food service equipment.

# # #

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Rule #1 of being President, Don't tick off your base

If there is one thing Obama can learn from "W" in terms of being President...don't tick off your base since they'll turn on you like a Lion on a Lion tamer..From the San Fran Chronicle:

Sen. Dianne Feinstein's chilly response Tuesday to outreach from President-elect Barack Obama - after stomping on his choice of fellow Californian Leon Panetta as head of the CIA - dealt the incoming administration what is being described as the first "brush-back pitch" from powerful Democrats in Washington......Feinstein - the new chairwoman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, who will oversee Panetta's confirmation hearings - raised eyebrows when she expressed surprisingly sharp disapproval of Panetta as nominee for CIA chief on Monday. She said that "the agency is best served by having an intelligence professional in charge." Panetta has no intelligence agency experience....Feinstein, the outgoing chair of the Senate Rules Committee, followed that shocker Tuesday by breaking with Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and Obama when she said Roland Burris should be seated as the newest U.S. senator after he was appointed to Obama's seat by Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich, who is under investigation for trying to sell the seat vacated by the president-elect. ....Vice President-elect Joe Biden said Tuesday it was a mistake not to give Feinstein a courtesy heads-up about the coming nominations of Panetta and retired Adm. Dennis Blair as national intelligence director. But even after Biden and Obama contacted her personally Tuesday, the California senator didn't soften her opposition to Panetta, saying only that now she is "looking forward" to talking to the former Clinton White House chief of staff "about the critical issues facing the intelligence community." .....Those who know Feinstein well and have worked intimately with her insist that her public critique of Panetta was not personal in nature. Though the two have competed on the political stage - a movement in 1998 to get Panetta to run for governor was derailed largely by rumors that Feinstein would throw her hat in the ring - insiders say that this week's dustup was more a message to the incoming Obama administration about Beltway politics. ...."Leon certainly has management and organizational experience up the wazoo, and clearly he knows how to run an organization," said Barbara O'Connor, professor of political communication at Cal State Sacramento. But Feinstein is "chair of the committee ... the rules are the rules. You have to get along with the senior elected officials of your own party, and she's one. And they require face time. Had they briefed her adequately ... she wouldn't have been surprised," she said. ....One high-level Democrat with strong ties to Feinstein, who spoke on condition of anonymity, characterized the senator's statements on Panetta this week as "a show of strength, a brush-back pitch, from a powerful chair who can be helpful or hurtful" to Obama...."She feels strongly about protocol," Feinstein's friend said. "As chair of the Intelligence Committee, she expected a courtesy call, especially if it was going to be outside the norm."..."If she did not respond with a show of strength, she'd be seen as weak," the insider said. "This is not the time for weak leaders. And she is not the kind of wallflower that would simply turn the other cheek with this kind of offense."....Feinstein's public irritation was not echoed by the junior senator from California, Democrat Barbara Boxer, who expressed enthusiastic support of Panetta in an interview with The Chronicle on Tuesday....."He's a wonderful leader, manager, reformer ... with a lot of skills," Boxer said. "And I guess there're two things you could look for - an outsider like Leon who could come in and reform the agency and build up the trust ... and make it more amenable to working with the other agencies. The other is to just take an expert in intelligence and put them in charge - and that's more a hands-on person, an 'into the weeds' person." ...Obama, she said, "took the right approach ... you pick someone like Leon," with insider experts like Blair working alongside him and others with experience assisting him.....With just 14 days until the president-elect's inauguration, the unexpected umbrage from a powerful California senator over the naming of a well-known and highly respected California nominee underscores what one Democratic insider describes as a political "reality check for Obama...."The lesson is that, despite the Democratic euphoria over winning the White House back and expanding our margins in the House and the Senate, you still have very powerful committee chairs ... who will be very protective of their turf," said Democratic strategist Garry South. ..."Jimmy Carter came into office and ran afoul almost immediately of the Democratic Congress - and never recovered because of that," he said. "It is a warning sign to the Obama administration that despite his significant electoral victory and popular victory, he still has to contend with powers that be in the Senate."

Reality Check? More like ego it seems we are moving to a "politician" or "Washington" class of leadership (lets call them Demoblicans since Republicrats is over used) in the united states and that bipartisanship or working together for the common good of our country(I hate the work bipartisanship personally since it has become a hollow word meaning "you scratch my back, I'll scratch yours" pork producing dealing and wheeling that benefits the scratchers but leaves us citizens out of the picture)doesn't seem to exist anymore. Governing philosophies in recent years is based more and more on what the individual politician's motives are and the status they seek and not on an overall philosophy or party affiliation philosophy as we, the public, can look be further and further removed from having a voice i the process, leading to corruption and separation from their constituents....we are at a very scary time in American political history here and we must do what we can to shrink the federal government, take back our political system so that it represents the masses, not those we vote into office, the most. It doesn't take a rocket scientist to be a politician and a leader, it takes a strong moral compass of doing what is right for all those you represent and following through to accomplish policies that benefits us all...So the political elite need to stop telling us how smart they are and start showing us that they are leaders.

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The Egos in the DEM party will doom their grand plan

It happened with the Reps, it is already happening with the DEMS..... From

The new Congress sweeps into town Tuesday with many members comparing themselves to the 1933 Congress that enacted much of President Franklin Roosevelt's New Deal and changed the government's relationship to its citizenry.....These times are very different from 1933, when the 73rd Congress enacted 16 major laws during Mr. Roosevelt's First 100 Days. Today's economy, for all its struggles, doesn't remotely resemble the turmoil of the Great Depression, with its 25% unemployment. Also, the public's appetite for broad change isn't yet clear....None of this is deterring the Democrats. Like the Congress of 76 years ago, they are converging on Washington with a popular new president, significant congressional majorities and, perhaps most important, a shaken public eager for government to try something new..."We are at a unique moment in history -- we have an opportunity that maybe comes only once in a generation," Rep. Henry Waxman said recently. "We may well turn out to be as historical as the Congress was in 1933."...Democrats see the best chance in decades to expand health coverage, move toward energy independence, tackle climate change and re-regulate the financial-services industry......Republicans, meanwhile, have made it clear they won't simply accept whatever Democrats propose, unlike in Mr. Roosevelt's day. Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell, joined by House Minority Leader John Boehner, recently issued a statement demanding "the consideration of alternative ideas, public congressional hearings and transparency -- not a rushed, partisan take-it-or-leave-it approach."...Some of what Congress wants to do may be obstructed by what it has to do. It must finish up the 2009 budget and debate the 2010 budget. When the Treasury Department seeks to release the second half of the $700 billion pool created to calm financial markets, Congress must debate whether to block the move or substantially revamp the program....House Financial Services Chairman Barney Frank said Congress would likely block the expenditure if brought up now. But Rep. Frank is studying "ways to make it more palatable," such as legislation to ensure the money is used to help with consumer needs such as student loans, auto purchases and mortgage relief....The most important factor in the Democrats' success will likely be whether the party's actions reflect the "change" voters had in mind when they voted Republicans out of power....Today, the public appears hungry for government action, but also wary. Nearly two-thirds of Americans support new spending to stimulate the economy, a Washington Post-ABC News poll found. At the same time, in a Wall Street Journal-NBC News poll, 56% worried the government would spend too much....But even if Democrats get virtually everything they want in the new Congress, it wouldn't amount to a "new New Deal." Instead, historians say the Democrats are really looking to revive and extend the fundamental approach behind Mr. Roosevelt's program, much as President Lyndon Johnson did in 1965 with programs like Medicare and Head Start.

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