McAuliffe Vetoes ‘Tebow Bill’ for Third Time

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Really, Governor? Vetoed again?

On Monday Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe again vetoed — for the third year in a row — Delegate Rob Bell’s “Tebow Bill” that would allow homeschooled students accessibility to public high school sports.

The governor has, it would appear, capitulated once again to the high school sports league and teachers’ union even though homeschool parents pay every tax dollar as parents with public school students.

Florida has had its own version of the Tebow Bill for over 20 years … 29 states in all allow access to their sports programs for homeschooled students.

This was the twelfth year Bell carried the bill to the General Assembly, and in 2015, 2016, and 2017, it passed both the House and the Senate only to be shot down by McAuliffe.

So Rob Bell can fold up shop for another year, and Virginia homeschoolers can only hope he is willing to carry the bill yet a thirteenth time. There’s an election before next year, and McAuliffe will no longer be sitting in the governor’s office.
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A son … ‘daring and loving and strong and kind’

??????????“I have a son, who is my heart. A wonderful young man, daring and loving and strong and kind.” — Maya Angelou

HAPPY BIRTHDAY! I have to indulge a bit today since it’s my son’s birthday. In this picture he was four yeas old holding his six-month-old sister … my little buddy who arrived three weeks early on that February day, a cheerful first born of a first born of a first born who was the first grandchild and only grandson. Thoughtful and introspective, and a source of joy since the day he arrived, this tiny six-pound baby became a little blond curly-headed boy who loved baseball and grew into a kind, industrious, hard-working young man who is now six feet tall.

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For Bob McDonnell, Life Is Sweeter After Walking Through Fire

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Congressman Bob Goodlatte (R-VA 6th) and former Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell. February 11, 2017.

bob-mcdonnell-16We gathered for a joyous party at Dan and Trixie Averill’s house with friend to all, Bob McDonnell. Everyone there had some part in his political life over the years. It was the first opportunity we all had been together at the same time since the governor, who never stopped maintaining his innocence, was vindicated when he was cleared of his legal case with the federal government.

trixie-averill-1I’ve got to admit, he had more faith and trust in the justice system than I did but he was, indeed, vindicated. On June 27, 2016, the United States Supreme Court made a rare unanimous decision to vacate Governor McDonnell’s conviction. On September 8, 2016, the U.S. Government announced it was asking the court to dismiss the case.

trixie-averill-3It was a long ordeal and extremely wearing on the entire McDonnell family, and left them $10 million in debt for legal expenses. It is unbelievable that the federal government can come in and cause American citizens to incur that kind of debt, especially for charges that are proven to be false. Bob has walked through fire, but a weight has been lifted from his shoulders and his spirits and pep in his step have returned. He is returning to the Bob McDonnell we all knew throughout the years.

trixie-averill-4So it was a night to rejoice with friends, and relax, and say thank you. He and Trixie have worked together for 30 years as he worked his way from Delegate in the House to Attorney General to Governor, and he led us the entire way. She never lost faith in him. He was our leader to rally around, and many feel that may have something to do with the federal government going after him.

trixie-averill-7We drank Dan’s Hurricanes — a throwback to the New Orleans background for he and Trixie — and enjoyed his chili and other goodies. Congressman Goodlatte had just returned to Roanoke so he and Maryellen joined us as well as Delegate Chris Head. It was a night to celebrate in Roanoke.

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Many thanks to Dan and Trixie for the hospitality, and to Bob for all his service to the citizens of Virginia and the nation from his years in the military and as a public servant. When he swept into office in 2009 with Bill Bolling and Ken Cuccinelli — an all-Republican ticket that won — Virginia Republicans were riding high. It was the last time.

Photos by Lynn R. Mitchell

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This Conservative Defends Journalists

Over the weekend we had this:

I’m not a journalist.  Journalists go to universities to learn their trade, intern with publications, sometimes spend years working their way up through the ranks, and hone their craft in whatever arm of the media they work. Their study includes ethics along with checks-and-balances and accountability. We may not agree with them all the time, but they have standards to adhere to, and must answer for unethical actions.

My sister is a journalist with a master’s degree. I’ve seen her journey through the years. She is #NotTheEnemy.

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Glenn Davis Takes Lt. Governor Race to Shenandoah Valley

glenn-davis-11On Wednesday night, the sheer number of vehicles parked outside the meet-and-greet location was the first clue for Delegate Glenn Davis, who is vying for the Republican nomination for Lieutenant Governor of Virginia, that a huge crowd was inside.

Smiling as he walked in the front door to a packed venue, Davis found himself wading through a standing-room only crowd of nearly a hundred Valley residents (see video). Reaching out to shake hands, he listened to comments and hugged supporters who eagerly leaned in for a few words. “Thank you,” he said repeatedly, clearly grateful and maybe a little surprised at the overwhelming turnout on a cold winter night in February in this quiet corner of western Virginia.

They had turned out to meet the 42-year-old candidate who had dashed out of Richmond as soon as the day’s General Assembly session ended and boarded “Mello Yellow,” his traveling RV, arriving a few minutes later than anticipated because of a busy session that lasted longer than expected. His smile broadened as an excitement radiated from the crowd that filled the entire downstairs of Anne and Scott Seaton’s home. The living room was full. The sitting room was full. The kitchen, dining, and family rooms were crammed with a sea of faces.

Davis, a self-made businessman who thrives on the techie side of commerce, and who served in his youth as then-Delegate Bob McDonnell’s legislative aide, made his way to the window-lined alcove behind the dining table filled with appetizers. From the framed niche with children’s pictures taped to the panes, he spoke to the hushed room about his background growing up in an Italian family where he learned his strict work ethic, and his reasons for running (see video). It was not, he said, for the title, the glory, or the power. It was for what he felt he could contribute and give back to Virginia.

His remarks were vintage Glenn Davis — part businessman, part technology junkie, part entrepreneur … animated and friendly yet direct, with his thoughts pouring out in a rush of words as he described growing the economy and creating jobs, issues that encourage him to continually think outside the box. He is a problem solver, and you get the sense he actually enjoys the challenge of searching for answers to demanding issues.

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What Is Going On In D.C.?

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Today, Rep. Luis V. Gutiérrez (D-IL) issued a statement in response to being excluded from a meeting in the U.S. Capitol with Acting Director Thomas Homan of ICE.  Rep. Gutiérrez was asked to leave the meeting by staffers for Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) at the request of Judiciary Chairman Bob Goodlatte (R-VA) and Speaker Ryan.  Several other Members were excluded from the meeting with the ICE official, including Reps. Nanette Barragán (D-CA), Tony Cárdenas (D-CA), Emanuel Cleaver (D-MO), Lou Correa (D-CA), Ruben Kihuen (D-NV), Grace Napolitano (D-CA), Norma Torres (D-CA), and Juan Vargas (D-CA).

One common denominator for those excluded representatives appears to be that they are all Democrats.

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1939, and 2017

ship-2While in my 20s, I read the book, “Voyage of the Damned,” about the 1939 voyage of the MS St. Louis that carried just under 1,000 German Jews to Cuba in hopes of escaping Hitler’s murderous rampage against European Jews. When Cuba refused to accept them, they tried the U.S. but were also turned away. In the end, 600 of the 937 passengers lost their lives in Nazi concentration camps. America gave in to isolationism until we were attacked on December 7, 1941, at Pearl Harbor.

I have often wondered in the years since where I would have been in 1939, ideologically. Would I have agreed with banning the Jewish immigrants, or would I have been against the government’s decision? I wanted to believe I would have been more compassionate.

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A Valentine’s Day message to my children

Valentine 2By Lynn R. Mitchell

A Valentine for my children…

“If ever there is tomorrow when we’re not together … there is something you must always remember.

“You are braver than you believe, stronger than you seem, and smarter than you think.

“But the most important thing is, even if we’re apart … I’ll always be with you.”

— Christopher Robin to Winnie the Pooh (A.A. Milne)

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Republicans Are From Mars, Democrats Are From Venus

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“I never considered a difference of opinion in politics, in religion, in philosophy, as cause for withdrawing from a friend.” – Thomas Jefferson

We are a polarized country. The 2016 presidential campaign saw the popular vote go to the Democratic candidate while the electoral vote went to the Republican. Now, two weeks after Republican Donald Trump was inaugurated as president, the two sides seem further apart than ever with neither listening to the other. They are shouting past each other on a daily basis.

The lack of understanding from both sides reminds of the very popular 1990s novel, “Men Are From Mars, Women Are From Venus,” that explored the differences between men and women.

I was talking with a friend today about the state of current politics, noting that I had never seen the country so divided. And then I stopped, thought a moment, and said, “But when George W. Bush was elected, everyone was polarized, and then it continued into Barack Obama.” And she said, “I wrote a paper in college [for her political science class] on how polarized the country was at that time.”

That was in the 1980s.

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Remembering a Cat Named Palmer

Palmer 1991-2011

[It’s  difficult to believe it was six years in January since we lost our long-time pet, a Maine Coon cat named Palmer. He was part of the family for 20 years and we still catch ourselves sometimes looking for him around the house. This is my post written in memory of him just after his death in January 2011.]

His spirit still lingers in the house.

He came into our lives in 1991, a tiny ball of fluff with attitude, and my three-year-old daughter immediately bonded with him. Even though the kitten hissed whenever anyone went near him, he was hungry, and so she fed him cat food at the end of a stick to avoid his needle-sharp teeth and claws. He was a long-haired Maine Coon with gray and white markings, and he looked to be around six or seven weeks old. He was cute although we were not looking for a pet. But what do you do when your loving and adorable three-year-old latches onto an animal? And so he stayed.

We named him Palmer after the town in Alaska where my sister lived. He was a barn kitty that was born to the old barn cat on the farm where we lived. We began to feed him and he kind of let us adopt him. He was, however, wild at heart and wild in spirit and so he lived outside on the 100 acres in North Carolina, roaming the fields and barn, and showing up to visit us at the house when he felt like it.

The glare on Palmer’s face looking in the window said, “Let me in.”

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Groundhog Day 2017

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It’s February 2 … Groundhog Day … and an annual tradition at our home is to watch the 1993 movie “Groundhog Day” with Bill Murray. It’s comical and fun. But it is also reflective as Murray plays a sullen, arrogant, sarcastic weather forecaster who has to make the annual trek to Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania, for the obligatory live television on-location weather report of the groundhog’s prediction for six more weeks of winter or spring.

It is fun to watch as the pessimist Murray gradually evolves into an optimist who moves beyond thinking of himself and realizes the good of people when he learns to care for others. It’s a comedy with a moral that we can watch with the family.

By the way, the annual event in Pennsylvania high atop Gobblers Knob this morning brought out Punxsutawney Phil who saw his shadow and, therefore, proclaimed six more weeks of winter. Wonder if Mother Nature was listening.

Goundhog Day, anyone? There’s a marathon beginning at 9:00 a.m. on AMC….

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Jenna Bush Hager Tweets Her Dad’s 2001 ‘Islam Is Peace’ Remarks

Pledging his support, President George W. Bush talks via telephone Thursday, Sept. 13, 2001, to New York Gov. George Pataki and New York City Mayor Rudolph Giuliani.  Photo by Eric Draper, Courtesy of the George W. Bush Presidential Library

In remarks that lasted a total of seven minutes, President George W. Bush calmed an uneasy nation and the world just six days after the horrific terrorist attacks of 9/11. It was September 17, 2001, and he was at the Islamic Center in Washington, D.C.

In the days following the worst attacks the U.S. had ever experienced on American soil, as the nation mourned the deaths of 3,000 innocent victims, the president knew he had to prevent wide-spread panic. Not far from the White House, he delivered his message, reaching out to the Muslim population as well as America and the global community, with a message of tolerance.

“The face of terror is not the true faith of Islam,” he told those in attendance. “That’s not what Islam is all about. Islam is peace. These terrorists don’t represent peace. They represent evil and war.”

He continued, “America counts millions of Muslims amongst our citizens, and Muslims make an incredibly valuable contribution to our country.  Muslims are doctors, lawyers, law professors, members of the military, entrepreneurs, shopkeepers, moms and dads.  And they need to be treated with respect. In our anger and emotion, our fellow Americans must treat each other with respect.”
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Letter to Donald Trump From Courageous Dr. Russell Moore

russell-moore-1Not only is there a split in the country during these polarizing days but there is a split within the evangelical community. We all know the Franklin Grahams and others very publicly supported Donald Trump and delivered their flocks for him. Less known are the men who stood up to their religious peers — Dr. Russell Moore who is president of the Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention, pastor and author Max Lucado, Matt BarberDr. Michael Brown, and others.

As a Southern Baptist, I was grateful when Dr. Moore held onto his faith and sound ethics as reasons for not getting behind Donald Trump. You can bet he is now in a battle to save his position because, in the religious world just as in the political world, sharks are waiting. Because he didn’t climb on the band wagon but instead stood by his faith, he has a target on his back.

Which makes me even more grateful for the letter he wrote today to The Donald concerning the botched immigration ban that was enacted Friday by executive order and has caused mass confusion and chaos since.

Dr. Moore begins his letter with a reminder that Southern Baptists are on the front line caring for refugees:

In June 2016, the Southern Baptist Convention reaffirmed its decades-long commitment to care for and minister to refugees. The resolution states, “Scripture calls for and expects God’s people to minister to the sojourner.” Southern Baptist churches throughout the United States lead the way in carrying out this calling.

When Vietnam fell in the 1970s, my church in Richmond took in Vietnamese families who lived in church housing and had help finding jobs, becoming acclimated to their new lives, and learning English.  It is what we are called to do:

” ‘For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, I was naked and you gave me clothing, I was sick and you took care of me, I was in prison and you visited me.’ Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when was it that we saw you hungry and gave you food, or thirsty and gave you something to drink? And when was it that we saw you a stranger and welcomed you, or naked and gave you clothing? And when was it that we saw you sick or in prison and visited you?’ And the king will answer them, ‘Truly I tell you, just as you did it to one of the least of these who are members of my family, you did it to me.’ ” –Matthew 25:35-40

And so with that in mind, Dr. Moore continued:

The church’s commitment to welcoming the stranger has long been reflected in our country’s policies toward those fleeing persecution in their home countries. A commitment given voice through the inscription on our Statue of Liberty, “Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free.” Indeed, as our country recalled on Friday, one of our nation’s darkest chapters was our refusal to allow European Jews fleeing the Third Reich to find safe harbor on American soil.

Ah, yes, the Voyage of the Damned — the MS St. Louis — with 900 Jews who were turned back from America’s shores in 1939 and then rejected by every other county it applied to, leaving it no choice but to return to the beginning of its journey. Two-thirds of the passengers perished in concentration  camps. The last ship allowed in, just before the St. Louis, had a young boy on board now known to the world as Dr. Henry Kissinger. I read the book Voyage of the Damned in my 20s and was impacted by the tragic events of that World War II event.

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Obama 9, Trump 7, Executive Orders In First 10 Days

executive-orderOne reason the tea party rose up in 2009 was their alarm when Barack Obama signed numerous executive orders — nine in his first 10 days in office, 16 in January and February alone (see list here).

By March of 2009 tea party demonstrations were beginning to pop up nationwide, and in September of that year hundreds of thousands of anti-Obamacare protesters converged on the Capitol in what turned out to be the beginning of a movement that would lead to a Trump presidency.

As Donald Trump’s administration goes down that same path and the left rises up against the series of executive orders  streaming out of the White House — seven EOs in the first 10 days — there appears to be GOP amnesia about what happened eight years earlier. Déjà vu. The 2018 mid-terms are right around the corner.

Here is the list of Obama’s executive orders for 2009 from the National Archives.

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