Never be afraid to stand with the minority when the minority is right, for the minority which is right will one day be the majority. - William Jennings Bryan

Friday, December 30, 2005

2006 Virginia Legislation (And Local Caucuses)

I just found a very handy website, here, which tracks all legislation for the upcoming Virginia General Assembly session. I'm just now starting to digest all the information on here (of which there is a whole lot), but I found several bills I'm in favor of. Allow me to run over them quickly (all summaries from the LIS website):

HB 5: Trout Fishing, Dept. of Game and Inland Fisheries to issue special permits for handicapped. Introduced by Del. Bill Carrico (R-5th)
Requires the Department of Game and Inland Fisheries to issue permits to organized groups of physically or mentally handicapped persons to fish on the second Saturday in May in designated waters stocked with trout, without members of the group having to obtain individual licenses. This is emergency legislation.

HB 28: Methamphetamine; unlawful manufacturing and distribution, penalty. Introduced by Del. Bud Phillips (D-2nd)
Raises the punishment for a second offense of manufacturing, distributing, etc., of methamphetamine to include a one-year mandatory minimum term of incarceration and for a third or subsequent offense, increases the mandatory minimum term from three to four years. The bill also raises the penalty for a violation involving 200 grams or more of a mixture or substance containing a detectable amount of methamphetamine from a 20-year mandatory minimum sentence to a 25-year mandatory minimum sentence.

HB 124: Farm produce; allows farmers to sell if they meet certain conditions, penalty. introduced by Del. Terry Kilgore (R-1st)
Allows the sale of food or food products without regulation provided sale occurs on a farm direct to the final consumer and products are marked "Not for Resale, Produced Without State Inspection." accordingly. Any person that resells such products shall be guilty of a Class 4 misdemeanor.

HJ 1: Constitutional amendment; Governor's term of office (first reference). Introduced by Del. Bob Purkey (R-82nd)
Permits the Governor to succeed himself in office. The amendment allows two four-year terms (either in succession or not in succession) but prohibits election to a third term. The amendment allows Governors elected in 2009 and thereafter to serve two successive terms. Service for more than two years of a partial term counts as service for one term.

SB 15: Criminal history records check; vendor to perform on transferee before sale of firearm, penalty. Introduced by Sen. Henry L. Marsh (D-16th)
Adds a definition of "firearms show vendor" and requires that a criminal history record information check be performed on the prospective transferee before the vendor may transfer firearms at a gun show. Under current law, only licensed dealers must obtain such a check.

SJ 15: Constitutional amendment ; restoration of civil rights for certain felons. Introduced by Sen. Yvonne Miller (D-5th)
Authorizes the General Assembly to provide by general law for the restoration of civil rights for persons convicted of felonies who have completed service of their sentence including any period or condition of probation, parole, or suspension of sentence. The present Constitution provides for restoration of rights by the Governor. The amendment retains the right of the Governor to restore civil rights and adds the alternative for restoration of rights pursuant to general law.

You may notice I've picked three by Democrats, three by Republicans, and for a simple reason; good ideas come from both sides of the aisle.

Thoughts on these?


I have several questions perhaps someone can answer for me. I'll turn 18 on January 7th, which will be a Saturday. I intend to go register to vote on January 9th, first thing in the morning. That evening at 5:30, the city Democratic Committee meets to hold its caucus, to elect members. The requirement to be a member is this: 6 from each precinct (we have 4), and at-large members may also be elected, with a minimum of 28 total. So that works out to 24 from precincts, at least 4 at-large members. I happen to fall into the same precinct as the Sheriff, Vice Mayor, a senior city council member, and a powerful school board member. But, with 25 people showing up on average at meetings, I could run as an at-large member.
My question is this: How long does it take to be registered to vote? Will I be eligible at 5:30 pm if I register at 9:00 am? Or will I have to set this one out and wait until 2007?


New Poll Up; Previous Results

I've got a new poll (this one returns to being politics-oriented) on who should run against George Allen in 2006. Hurry up and vote!

For the last poll, which wasn't much of a success (15 votes total). Perhaps I'm in the minority when I say I'm a big country music fan? Looked like it. But, anyway, here's the results:
June Carter-Cash - 33%
Bashful Brother Oswald - 13%
Jim and Jesse McReynolds - 13%
Hank Williams Jr., Jimmy Martin, George Strait, Doc Watson, Jerry Reed, and Ray Charles - 7% each.
Bobby Bare, Mel Tillis, Kenny Rogers, Dottie West, The Osborne Brothers, Gene Watson, and Garth Brooks - No votes whatsoever.

Well, I assume part of the fact June got the most votes is the Walk the Line movie, but she certainly is worthy. For the record, all but probably 3 of these people should be in the Hall of Fame, and those 3 very likely will earn it eventually (Hopefully all these people will eventually).

Thursday, December 29, 2005

Things Are Looking Good

Did everybody have a nice Christmas? I know I did. Okay, here we go..


According to this story on, Democrats have their sites set on seven seats in the U.S. Senate. DSCC Chairman Chuck Schumer says Arizona (Sen. Jon Kyl), Missouri (Sen. Jim Talent), Montana (Sen. Conrad Burns), Ohio (Sen. Mike DeWine), Pennsylvania (Sen. Rick Santorum), Rhode Island (Sen. Lincoln Chafee), and Tennessee (Open GOP) are in play and will be the main pickup goals.

Of these, we have strong candidates in several. The primary in Ohio worries me, as Paul Hackett v. Sherrod Brown could be bruising (I've already come out in favor of Brown). Harold Ford is likely the second strongest candidate we could have in Tennessee (since Ned McWherter is out of elective politics). Bob Casey just about has the Pennsylvania race wrapped up. In Rhode Island, Missouri, and Arizona, we have strong candidates in Sheldon Whitehouse, Claire McCaskill, and Jim Pederson. We'll have to wait and see what happens in the primary in Montana.

In any regard, I look for the Democrats to be standing at at least 48 (and possibly 52) when the U.S. Senate convenes for the 110th Congress in 2007.

(I am disappointed to see Virginia isn't on the DSCC's list--but give us about 3 months and we might be.)


Saturday, December 24, 2005


I won't be posting until December 26th, seeing as how it's Christmas.

Everybody have a Merry Christmas, Happy New New Year, Happy Holidays, Happy Chanukkah, etc.

Coming Up Next...

In several days, I'll have an interview up with a gentleman involved in the potential campaign for President of Governor Mark Warner.

Who could it be?

Stay tuned. It won't be until after Christmas, though.


Friday, December 23, 2005

Don't Let The Doorknob Hit You...

Senator Ted Stevens, the President Pro Tempore of the U.S. Senate, is not a happy man.

Stevens has been the main proponent of drilling in ANWR, and when the Senate took that out of the Defense Spending Bill, he got a little ticked off. He said, "This is the saddest day of my life...I say goodbye to the Senate tonight." Well, let me say, don't let the doorknob hit you on the way out.

Senator Stevens is one of the most mean-spirited, stubborn people in the government today. He gets angry easily, says biting things to others, and gives the Senate, and Alaska, a bad reputation.

But what does that comment mean? Is he about to resign? According to Alaska law, if he did, Governor Frank Murkowski would not be allowed to appoint a replacement. After appointing his daughter, Lisa, to replace himself in 2002, the voters approved a law which would make for special elections for Senators if there is a vacancy. No interim would be named until the special election, either. Leading candidates for this seat would be; Republicans: State Senator Ben Stevens or Lt. Governor Loren Leman, and for the Democrats: State Representative Ethan Berkowitz or former Governor Tony Knowles.

This would be a close race to watch, since Knowles almost won in 2004.


Thursday, December 22, 2005

Deeds Concedes; Now, On To 2006

Creigh Deeds, the Democrats' 2005 AG candidate, today called Bob McDonnell and coneded the race for the office when recounts showed he couldn't win.

I would like to say that Deeds ran a great race, and I'm sad that he didn't win.

But we can't dwell on that. We need to get a move on for 2006's Senate race.

In addition to Creigh Deeds, I've also heard the name of Chap Petersen as a possible strong challenger to George Allen. So basically, we've got five options;

1-Leslie Byrne
2-Creigh Deeds
3-Harris Miller
4-Chap Petersen
5-James Webb

Of these five, I would choose, in this order: Petersen, Byrne, Deeds, Miller, Webb.

Everybody's jumping on the Webb bandwagon, and I wouldn't be opposed to his candidacy, and, as 2006 will be my first general election voting experience, I would definitly vote for him, but I just don't think you start out in elective politics by running for the United States Senate. I also have a problem with the fact he hasn't, to my knowledge, been going around the state talking to people (correct me if I'm wrong). He acknowledged his consideration of a run in a California newspaper. You can't just waltz into Virginia in Januray or February 2006 and expect to have much of a shot.

I don't have any real problem with him being a former Republican, and I actually think the fact he was Reagan's Navy Secretary would be a plus, but again, I go back to the fact that to my knowledge, he's never held elective office. Why not start a little lower, like Congress, then, if all goes well, take a shot at John Warner's seat in 2008?

Chap Petersen is a moderate, and is in the same mold as Warner/Kaine. That could sell. I'm not saying it would be easy, but it would be possible. Leslie Byrne got 49% by saying she was a dyed in the wool liberal. Maybe she's on to something. If she could energize the base in 2006 like she did in 2005, and just get some swing voters, it's doable. Creigh Deeds is a great campaigner (anybody who has seen him in person can verify that), and would give Allen a run for his money with NRA/NASCAR voters. Harris Miller, like Ben Affleck, could self-finance. I don't have a whole lot to say about him just yet.

Any thoughts on this?

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

The Virginians

Via Forward Together, I found a link to an MSNBC story comparing and contrasting the two Virginia candidates for President, Governor Mark Warner and Senator George Allen. Go read it; I think it sheds a very positive light on our outgoing Governor and his chances in 2008.

I'll be back tonight with a fairly interesting thing to say.


Food For Thought.

I like Pat Leahy.

That being said...

Alrighty then.

I won't be posting anything big tonight, or tomorrow. Probably tomorrow night.

Until then, this:

There's the possibility I may get an interview for this site from somebody quite interesting, involved with something a lot of us VA Bloggers are quite interested in.



Monday, December 19, 2005

Winner & Losers

Seeing as how this year will be over pretty soon, here's my (Bipartisan) Top 10 Winners and Losers of 2005:
1 - Mark Warner: Governor Warner's profile skyrocketed with the election of his Lt. Governor as his successor, showing that his brand of fiscal managment with social populism sells in the Red State south. Will he try it nationally?
2 - John McCain: The Arizona Senator has stood up to his party's leaders, and won, on torture (by the way, I still can't believe we're actually debating torture in the USA) and judicial nominations, and has shown that he's not the rightwing nutjob that others in his party are.
3 - John Roberts: The new Chief Justice proved that some conservatives can be reasonable, and willing to compromise. His hearings showed he will be a thoughtful (and hopefully moderate) jurist who will be no respector of politics.
4 - Tim Kaine: The soon-to-be Governor of Virginia was open and proud of his Catholicism, and showed that one's religious beliefs won't necessarily affect the ability to govern, while at the same time showing that outgoing Governor Warner's style of politics is still 100% viable.
5 - Kinky Friedman: Ever heard of him before recently? Neither had I. The Jewish country music singer running for Texas Governor has received huge amounts of national attention in his quixotic campaign.
6 - Arlen Specter: The moderate Republican from Pennsylvania beat cancer and showed how capable he is during the Roberts confirmation.
7 - Paul Hackett: The Iraqi War veteran has become a titular leader of anti-war liberals, and even though he lost his Congressional race, he won it in the long run; a grassroots campaign for the U.S. Senate and the new member of Congress who defeated him self-destructing both bode well for the Cincinnatian.
8 - Jon Corzine: The backbench Senator who won his state's executive office by a wide margin. Does he have national ambitions? Some say so, and his appointment of NJ's first minority Senator is a sign he wants to bring people together.
9 - Robert Byrd: The Democrats' most senior member, who turned 88 in November, has watched each of his "strong challengers" drop off one by one. His newfound place as a liberal icon, speaking out against the war, has brought him back into the national spotlight. One more campaign and six more productive years are in order.
10 - John Murtha: A hawkish thirty-year Congressman (who regularly receives one vote for Speaker), he stepped out of the shadows and let his voice be heard in a big way. One of the more critical blows to the President's Congressional support.
Honorable Mentions: Harry Reid, Michael Bloomberg, George Allen, the Chicago White Sox, Jon Stewart, Bernie Sanders.

1 - Tom DeLay: Talk about a 180 degree turn. The most powerful man in the House's corruption seems to finally have caught up with him. Leadership elections are likely in January, with the Hammer shut out.
2 - Jerry Kilgore: Ran for VA Governoras a right-wing social conservative, and lost by several percentage points. Signaled a bad sign for the national GOP, and ended the Gate City native's political career for the forseeable future.
3 - Dick Cheney: The most powerful VP in history comes out in favor of torture, and his approval ratings tank. And, most Republicans don't even like him. That's a really bad sign.
4 - Robert Novak: The longtime CNN analyst is involved in the CIA leak investigation, and lost his TV gig in large part due to his on-air explosion ending with an expletive and storming off stage (although he denies that's the reason).
5 - George W. Bush: It's been strike-out after strike-out for the leader of the free world. Screwed up in letting Mike Brown coordinate the Katrinia relief efforts, his hallmark Patriot Act was shot down with help from members of his own party, one of his high court nominees had to pull out, his top strategist came under investigation; Need I go on?
6 - Karl Rove: Two words; Leak investigation.
7 - Harriet Miers: Turned out to be one of the most unqualified Supreme Court nominees in history, good for her she figured it out in time to avoid embarassment.
8 - Bill Frist: After coming out in favor of Stem Cell Research (which I really appreciate, by the way), conservatives started attacking from the right. After threatening to "push the button" on the "nuclear option," Moderates and liberals statred attacking from the left. his Presidential chances are in the toilet; best to just go back to Nashville and charge out the nose for heart surgeries again.
9 - Duke Cunningham: Like DeLay, corruption finally caught up with the California Congressman and war hero. Cried on television, facing jail time. Can't catch a break.
10 - Jeanine Pirro: One of several challengers to Hillary Clinton, her campaign seems to have been in trouble from day one.
Honorable mentions: Roy Blunt, Scooter Libby, Rick Santorum, Ray Nagin, Kathleen Blanco, Phil Bredesen.

Who did I miss?

UPDATE: (11:27 pm)
Some more Winners & Losers:
Winners: Russ Feingold, Wes Clark, Bob Casey.
Losers: Pat Robertson, Katherine Harris, Vermont Republicans.


Friday, December 16, 2005

Barry Goldwater

I don't agree with very much of anything that Senator Barry Goldwater said. He was very likely the father of the Conservative Republican movement, even moreso than Ronald Reagan.

Late in life, however, he became outspoken, and once said what every good Christian should do about Jerry Falwell.

But here's my favorite quote from Goldwater. I think alot of GOPers would do well to take his advice:

"However, on religious issues there can be little or no compromise. There is no position on which people are so immovable as their religious beliefs. There is no more powerful ally one can claim in a debate than Jesus Christ, or God, or Allah, or whatever one calls this supreme being. But like any powerful weapon, the use of God's name on one's behalf should be used sparingly. The religious factions that are growing throughout our land are not using their religious clout with wisdom. They are trying to force government leaders into following their position 100 percent. If you disagree with these religious groups on a particular moral issue, they complain, they threaten you with a loss of money or votes or both. I'm frankly sick and tired of the political preachers across this country telling me as a citizen that if I want to be a moral person, I must believe in 'A,' 'B,' 'C,' and 'D.' Just who do they think they are? And from where do they presume to claim the right to dictate their moral beliefs to me?"

Just thought I'd share that.


Try A Little Kindness

Bobby Osborne, one-half of the legendary bluegrass group, The Osborne Brothers, will release his first-ever solo album on February 21, 2006. The album is titled Try A Little Kindness, and will include bluegrass classics like "The Fields Have Turned Brown," and "Mansions For Me," but will also include covers of Johnny Cash's "Sunday Morning Coming Down," and Paul Simon's "Father And Daughter."

Bobby, who played for fifty one years with his brother Sonny, has been out on his own since November of 2004 when Sonny retired due to ill health.

For those of you not as well-versed in bluegrass, you'll remember the Osborne Brothers for their 1967 song about a mountain in Tennessee that his become not only the University of Tennessee's fight song, but an official state song, "Rocky Top." They have been members of the International Bluegrass Music Hall of Fame for eleven years.

The brothers were early proponents of "progressive bluegrass," which gained widespread popularity with college students. They are known to be influences on the Greatful Dead's late leadman, Jerry Garcia.

Check out Bobby's site: Bobby Osborne & The Rocky Top XPress.


BREAKING NEWS: Bowling The 3rd DIstrict Nominee

Go here

I'll write more on this later.

First, this...

Thursday, December 15, 2005

Let's Get Moving

We won the Governor's election. We very well may have won the Attorney General's race. We can't rest on our laurels now that we've just got going good.

We need to find a candidate that most folks can agree on, and let him or her get started running against George Allen.

Who? (In no particular order)

1 - Leslie Byrne - Made the LG race surprisingly close (51%-49%). A real fighter, who would energize the base like no other. Would do well in NoVa, as well as in coal country.
2 - Chap Petersen - Young, energetic, moderate. Made a great run in 2005 for the LG nomination. Would do very well in NoVa.
3 - James Webb - I'm not a big fan. He was Reagan's Navy Secretary, and hasn't done a whole lot since then. We know where he stands on Iraq (against the war), but where is he on social and economic issues?
4 - Bobby Scott - Would shore up the black vote, would carry the Richmond are very well. But would he give up a safe Congressional seat?
5 - Richard Cranwell - The last time we ran a state party chairman (Warner), it went very well.
6 - Claudia Kennedy - There was talk that she was considering running against Senator Warner in 2002. She's a retired General, and would do well not only in the military areas like Norfolk, Newport News, etc., but could do well with veteran votes, and there are a lot of veterans in SWVa.
7 - Ben Affleck - He could self-finance. That's about all I can say.

Of these, my top choice would be Kennedy. I think she could win this thing, or at least make it very close.


Wednesday, December 14, 2005

New Look

Okay, I've changed the look of this site.



Tuesday, December 13, 2005

Jackie Stump Leaving

I got this story first from Brian. Delegate Jackie Stump, a 15-year veteran of the House of Delegates, representing Buchanan County, and parts of Russell and Tazewell Counties,is resigning his seat for health reasons. He is suffering from colon cancer.

I saw Jackie Stump on December 3rd at Governor-Elect Kaine's Bristol Transportation Forum, and, now that I think about it, he did appear older and slower-moving than the last time I saw him (which had been about 10 months). He's a large man (much like myself, but I'm more stretched-out than him), and he seemed to be having a hard time, possibly because of it. I got to listen to his full interview which was recorded and aired on WCYB that night, and he gave great answers, was quick and on the ball, and was jovial as always.

I had previously touted Delegate Stump as a possible candidate for the U.S. Senate, and I hate to hear that he's leaving the House.

I'm not well-versed in all the local officeholders in the area, but I do know of at least one - Ralph Maples, who serves on the Russell County Board of Supervisors, and who is a distant cousin of mine - who would make a great member of the House. Since I just heard about this a while ago, obviously I haven't heard if he's even thinking about it, but I'll be making a phone call tomorrow to see about it. (UPDATE: 12/13/05: Ralph Maples isn't in the 3rd District. Scratch him off the list.)

A couple other folks I've heard of who would be interested in politics (but I of course haven't heard about them in relation to this race) would be J.D. Meade, who's a well-off Russell County businessman, and Denny Long, who also is from Russell County and well-off. Both are Democrats. Meade is 68, Long is 59. (UPDATE: 12/13/05: According to Dr. Tom Brewster, Third District Democratic chairman, Tazewell County Supervisor Dan Bowling is interested. Shea Cook, a Richlands attorney, will run as a Republican.)

The caucus will be Thursday at Richlands High School in Richlands, Virginia.

Another candidate I've heard about is a local guy named James Keen from Buchanan County. I know absolutely nothing about him.

According to Brian, it would be best to have a candidate from Buchanan County, since it is the bulk of the district.

The filing deadline is 5:00 pm, December 16th, 2005.


Sunday, December 11, 2005

Kaine Starts Working; Warner Wins SC Primary

Governor-Elect Tim Kaine announced his public safety team yesterday, tapping current Secretary of Public Safety John W. Marshall to stay on for four more years. Marshall is the son of the late Supreme Court Justice Thurgood Marshall.

Kaine picked Robert C. Crouch, Mark Warner's top lawyer, to be the Homeland Security Director. Kaine also announced that General Robert Newman will head up Virginia's National Guard.

John Marshall has been talked-about as a potential candidate for Lt. Governor in 2009. Anybody think he'll resign from this job by, about, 2007 or 2008?


Mark Warner spoke Wednesday to the South Carolina Democratic Party at Charleston's Francis Marion Hotel. There were four former Governors in attendance, Jim Hodges, Richard Riley (also former Secretary of Education), Bob McNair, and Fritz Hollings (who also served 38 years in the Senate).

All were very impressed with our Governor. Jim Hodges said, "You are going to be one heck of a President," in reference to Warner. Senator Hollings said, "I believe like the rest of you that we have a real winner here tonight," also referring to Governor Warner. Dick Harpootlian, the former South Carolina Democratic Party chairman, said, "I think peope in this room heard from the next President of the United States. He was inspiring."

(Hollings gives the "thumbs up")

But the most telling conclusion from the night was made by political pundit and University of Maryland profressor Tom Schaller, who said, "He just won the South Carolina primary," and, "He practically got the endorsements of almost every speaker on stage this early."

Mark Warner can be the moderate alternative to Hillary Clinton in 2008 if he keeps going over like this.

[UPDATE: C-Span will air Governor Warner's speech to SC Democrats tonight (Sunday), at 6:30 pm. Watch it.]


Today is John Kerry's 62nd birthday.


Okay, now it's Church time.


Wednesday, December 07, 2005

Rebuild America First

"Why don't we liberate these United States
We're the ones who need it the worst
Let the rest of the world help us for a change
And let's rebuild America first.

Our highways and bridges are falling apart
Who's blessed and who has been cursed
There's things to be done all over the world
But let's rebuild America first.

Yeah, the men in position are backing away
Freedom is stuck in reverse.
Let's get out of Iraq
And get back on the track
And let's Rebuild America First."

Merle Haggard's latest single, "Rebuild America First," from his newest CD Chicago Wind, is a great song. It tells it the way it is about the state of the nation today, about the way our country is falling apart from the inside, and about the anguish we're all feeling because of the Iraqi War, Hurricane Katrina, etc. Merle Haggard is known for his political songs ("Okie From Muskogee," "Fightin' Side of Me," etc.), and this is a particularly openly political one. Go here: (Merle Haggard's CMT artist page) and click on "America First" under Videos (also, check out the "That's The News" video for another political song)

Also, go to Merle Haggard's Official Website and see what else you can find out.


In Rememberance of Pearl Harbor, 12-07-1941

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

Holt For Senate

On Election Day, 2005, not only did Virginia elect a Democrat Governor, Tim Kaine, New Jersey also elected a new Governor, Democrat Jon Corzine. Corzine is a sitting U.S. Senator, and will have the right to appoint his successor (to fill out his term and possibly run in November 2006). I've heard names like Congressmen Frank Pallone, Rob Andrews, and Donald Payne, State Senator Nia Gill, even Bruce Springsteen and Alan Alda. The supposed frontrunner is Congressman Bob Menendez. But Menendez comes with plenty of baggage that we frankly don't need going into 2006 up against Tom Kean, Jr., son of the former NJ Governor and 9/11 Commission Chairman Tom Kean.

The Democratic Party needs somebody like Congressman Rush Holt.

Rush Holt is an expert on science and technology, something we're lacking in the Senate. Holt is electable in New Jersey statewide. He is highly intelligent, holding a Ph.D. in physics, for several years he was Assistant Director of the Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory. He was an arms control expert for the State Department, where he monitored nuclear development of countries such as Iran, Iraq, North Korea, and the former Soviet Union.

Rush Holt is electable statewide. He is what New Jersey needs in terms of public service and experience. He is what the Democratic Party needs in terms of his progressive views and vocal support of them. He is what America needs to help heighten the debate on Iraq, scientific development, and the like.

Rush Holt is needed in the Senate.

Today I voiced my support for Congressman Holt, and I urge everyone else to do the same.


Monday, December 05, 2005

Gate City's Comeback Kid? Je ne pense pas ainsi.

There's talk now (and on some Virginia blogs) that Jerry Kilgore may want to attempt a political suicide comeback in 2006, by running against 9th District Congressman Rick Boucher.

Boucher has been in office since 1982, when he defeated long-term incumbent Republican Bill Wampler. Boucher is regularly re-elected with around 60%. His previous opponents have been:
1982-Rep. Bill Wampler
1984-Jeff Stafford
1986-no opponent
1988-John Brown
1990-no opponent
1992-Garrett Weddle
1994-Steve Fast
1996-Patrick Muldoon
1998-Joe Barta
2000-Michael Osborne
2002-Jay Katzen
2004-Kevin Triplett

Kilgore wouldn't get a free pass in a primary. Both 2004 candidate Kevin Triplett and Delegate Bill Carrico are likely candidates. A convention battle that pits social conservatives (Kilgore) against fiscal conservatives (Triplett) and then throw in law-and-order conservatives (Carrico) is just asking for trouble. There would be no way to beat Boucher even if the 9th district GOP rallied around one candidate (case in point, 2004 and 2002).

I would love to see a Boucher/Kilgore race. Boucher needs to have a little fun every two years. And somebody like Jerry Kilgore would be killed in a debate, if both could agree to one.


Thursday, December 01, 2005

Okay, Tell Me What You Really Think

I'm thinking of changing over to WordPress -- But how? Anybody know how it works? Can one edit html (like to add the links in the side, like I have here)? Leave any feedback in the comments section, and then see how I have it srt up at


(p.s. - Seems my ability to change the time on Blogger is gone. This post should be 12:57 am)

Monday, November 28, 2005


I was reading over on Virginia Centrist, and found some interesting stories and comments on the 2009 races. So I got to thinking, who are we going to run in 2009? Anybody sitting around with nothing to do?
Here's my lists; Top 5 (In order) for each office.
L.F. Payne
Phillip Puckett
Bobby Scott
Don Beyer
Roscoe Reynolds
There are two big question marks in the 2009 Governor's race - Creigh Deeds and Mark Warner. Warner has said he would like to be Governor again, and if 2008 doesn't work out (but I think it will), then 2009 could be a comeback year. Deeds, if elected Attorney General, would shoot to number one on the list.

Lt. Governor:
Don Beyer
Chap Petersen
Brian Moran
L.F. Payne
David Englin (According to reports, Englin isn't interested. If that's so, Viola Baskerville would take his place on this list.)
John Marshall would knock Viola Baskerville right off the list - if he was running.

Attorney General:
Onzlee Ware
Creigh Deeds
Bud Phillips
John Edwards
Brian Moran
Notice that all but one - and the top four - on this list are Southwest/Western Virginia candidates, and for a simple reason; A candidate for Attorney General can't win without rural votes. And if you're from the area, especially in Southwest Virginia, you get a "good ole boy" turnout, which really, really helps.

As for the Republicans, I'd be fine if they just didn't field any candidates...but we're not that lucky. So here's who I think the GOP might turn to. These are in alphabetical order, since I don't have any top five list for them, for obvious reasons.
Bill Bolling
Jim Gilmore
John Hager
Jay Katzen
Bob McDonnell
I know Jay Katzen. Jay is a family friend of ours. I know he's a good person, and if he ran as a moderate, my party would really have to impress me to stay on my side of the aisle for this race.

Lt. Governor:
Steve Baril
Bill Bolling
Sean Connaughton
Joe May
William Wampler
A person I know who knows what she's talking about says that Wampler is interested in running for statewide office in 2009. Since he's not a lawyer, and not high-profile enough to run for Governor, process of elimination.

Attorney General:
Ken Cuccinelli
Chad Dotson
Jerry Kilgore
Terry Kilgore
Bob McDonnell
I only listed the Kilgore brothers because, well, I couldn't come up with any others.

So there you go. I may have one or two on any given list that will actually run, and I'm getting the cart before the horse quite a bit, but heck-o, it's fun.

I'll talk about the 2006 Senate race against George Allen pretty soon.


Sunday, November 27, 2005

This Should Be Fun

According to the Hampton Roads Daily Press, incoming Lt. Governor Bill Bolling is making a bunch of great-sounding empty promises that will get us no where.

Bolling said last week that "hundreds of millions of dollars per year" will be available to build a "transportation system for the 21st century." That's just peachy. We can also fully fund all our existing programs (except for those pesky little things - like education) and not pay any new taxes.

When I met Russ Potts in Abingdon back in August, he had one thing 100% right. There are a lot of "free lunch" Republicans running around. You can't fully fund everything, provide new funding for roads, and cut taxes. Any 12 year-old could tell you that.

Most folks assume Bill Bolling will be running for Governor in 2009 (possibly with a tough primary depending on who the Attorney General turns out to be). We can't let him waltz around trying to undermine Tim Kaine for four years, then tout a record of accomplisment. We need to call Bolling on his actions and keep a close eye on him. Bolling will be on the same level of sliminess Kilgore was in 2005 (and hopefully as bumbling), so we need to fight him every step of the way.


I'll be posting about 2009's potential candidates (or lack thereof) later on.


Saturday, November 26, 2005

Warner-Rockefeller 2008

I was sitting at home today, after having eat some turkey and potato salad, and I came across a pretty good idea. Assuming (and we've got our fingers crossed) Mark Warner would run for, and win, the Democratic Presidential nomination for 2008, what would be the winning combination to defeat the Republican ticket?

I've got it.

Mark Warner for President, Jay Rockefeller for Vice President.

Think about it; For President, a young moderate, expert in fiscal and budgetary issues, relatively little experience in foreign policy, not a whole lot of elected service experience, moderate on social issues (get some swing voters), from a mid-size swing state. For Vice President, an older liberal, one of the nation's foremost intelligence experts, very progressive stances on social issues (keep the base happy), lots of experiecne in the Senate (24 years in 2008) and as a Governor, and from a small, yet crucial swing state.

The way I look at it, a Warner-Rockefeller ticket would bring swing voters into the fray (Warner), shore up the base (Rockefeller), get votes from folks who are worried about the budget (Warner), and make sure red-state union workers are 100% behind the Democrats (Rockefeller).

Think about it this way; assume a Warner-Rockefeller ticket wins all the states Kerry-Edwards won in 2004, then picks up VA, WV, OH, AR, and IA, and we've won the election. And more states could possibly be in play. With Virginia and West Virginia, the at least partial reasons for victory would be the folks on the ticket. With Ohio, the main appeal could be Rockefeller's strong support of unions. Iowa and Arkansas could be picked up on Warner's merits as a moderate.

Leave me some feedback in the comments section. What do you think about this scenario?


Thursday, November 24, 2005

Typology; Happy Thanksgiving

I found a pretty nifty quiz at which tells exactly what kind of Democrat/Republican you are. My results are below. Everybody take it and see what you are (and leave it in my guest book, because I'm curious).

Disadvantaged Democrat
Based on your answers to the questionnaire, you most closely resemble survey respondents within the Disadvantaged Democrat typology group. This does not mean that you necessarily fit every group characteristic or agree with the group on all issues.
Disadvantaged Democrats represent 10 percent of the American public, and 10 percent of registered voters.
Basic Description
Disadvantaged Democrats are the least financially secure of all the groups, and they express strongly negative feelings toward business, and strong support for government efforts to help the needy. Minorities account for a significant proportion of this group; nearly a third (32%) are black, roughly the same proportion as among Conservative Democrats. Levels of disapproval of George W. Bush job performance (91%) and candidate choice in 2004 (82% for Kerry) are comparable to those among Liberals.
Defining Values
Most likely to be skeptical of an individual’s ability to succeed without impediments and most anti-business. Strong belief that government should do more to help the poor, yet most are disenchanted with government. Strongly supportive of organized labor (71% have a favorable view of labor unions).
Who They Are
Low average incomes (32% below $20,000 in household income); most (77%) often can’t make ends meet. Six-in-ten are female. Three-in-ten (32%) are black and 14% are Hispanic. Not very well educated, 67% have at most a high-school degree. Nearly half (47%) are parents of children living at home.
Lifestyle Notes
Nearly a quarter (23%) report someone in their household is a member of a labor union, and 58% report that they or someone in the home has been unemployed in the past year– both far larger proportions than in any other group. Only 27% report having a gun in the home.
2004 Election
2% Bush, 82% Kerry
Party ID
84% Democrat; 16% Independent/No Preference, 0% Republican (99% Dem/Lean Dem)
Media Use
Largest viewership of CNN as main news source among all groups (31%). Only group in which a majority (53%) reads newspapers.

Note: All descriptions and percentages are based on the national sample of adults surveyed by telephone in December.
In the overall typology there is a ninth group called “Bystanders” who are defined as adults who are not registered, who do not follow news about government and public affairs, and who say they rarely or never vote.


Happy Thanksgiving to everybody! Now get off the internet and go eat some turkey, potato salad, stuffing, deviled eggs, rolls, and stuff like that! That's what I'll be doing!


Tuesday, November 22, 2005

Against Alito

I've been reading up on Samuel Alito and his record as a circuit court judge. President Bush and the Republicans say he's mainstream, but I needed to check for myself.

And I found out they were telling a story.

Samuel Alito is as right-wing as Antonin Scalia, and, at 50 years old, much more dangerous than Scalia. He said in a 1985 application that the Constitution didn't contain a right-to-privacy and therefore Roe v. Wade was unconstitutional. He has said a police who strip searched a mother and her ten year-old daughter was in the right while carrying a warrant to search a residence.

Most troublesome, Alito says he has "strong disagreement" with the Warren Court, led by Chief Justice Earl Warren, when it ruled on reapportionment - one man, one vote. Is Samuel Alito against equal voting rights?

He says, in the 1985 application for employment in the Reagan administration, "...I am particularly proud of my contributions in recent cases in which the government has argued in the Supreme Court that racial and ethnic quotas should not be allowed and that the Constitution does not protect a right to an abortion."

Sandra Day O'Connor is a common-sense jurist. She rules with the Constitution in mind, not with her personal political beliefs in the forefront. Sam Alito would take the court on a 90 degree turn to the right, and at this critical junction, we can't allow that.

Today, I called the White House and voice my opinions. And now, tonight, I'm calling on the United States Senate to vote down the nomination of Samuel Alito to the Supreme Court.

We can't afford to take a chance like this.


Saturday, November 19, 2005

I Keep A Close Watch On This Heart Of Mine...

I went to see the new Johnny Cash biographical movie, Walk The Line, today. Let me say, wow. Of course one hears what they're expecting ("Folsom Prison Blues," "Get Rhythm," "Ring of Fire," etc), but the movie was much more than that. It was about Johnny Cash the man and not only Johnny Cash the legend.

The movie traces his life from the time he lived in Dyess, Arkansas, and lost his older brother, Jack, who was killed in a saw mill, to his marriage to Vivian Liberto, to his days at Sun Records, through his fight with drugs, and finally to his tumultuous courtship of June Carter.

I can honestly say I think this is a better movie than Ray was last year, and I think Joaquin Phoenix and Resse Witherspoon will both be nominated for (and probably win) Oscars for it.

One scene which was particularly interesting (and indicitive of where Johnny Cash was in his life at that time) came fairly late in the movie. Johnny has June and her family (Mother Maybelle, Eck Carter, and her children) over to his new mansion, along with his parents. He has a highly emotional exchange with his father, and ends up running a tractor into the lake, and June pulling him from the water. He says "You should have left me." She responds later as to why she helped, "You're a friend, and friends help friends."

My favorite scene came very late in the movie, when Johnny, who has been repeatedly turned down in his proposals, proposes marriage on-stage during his and June's rendition of "Jackson" on night in Ontario (true story).

I would highly recommend this movie to every die-hard Johnny Cash fan, and also to any casual fan of Cash who is also interested in seeing a great performance.

I would also like to take this opportunity to say that the world hasn't been the same since Johnny Cash and June Carter-Cash died.

Friday, November 18, 2005

A Standing Ovation Is In Order

Today, 30-year incumbent Congressman Jack Murtha of Pennsylvania, a moderate Democrat and past supporter of the Iraq War, today reversed his position.

Murtha, in a speech delivered today in Washington said, in part, "I have been visiting our wounded troops at Bethesda and Walter Reed hospitals almost every week since the beginning of the War. And what demoralizes them is going to war with not enough troops and equipment to make the transition to peace; the devastation caused by IEDs; being deployed to Iraq when their homes have been ravaged by hurricanes; being on their second or third deployment and leaving their families behind without a network of support."

Murtha is known as a moderate Democrat, and regularly receives votes for Speaker (from Gene Taylor of Mississippi). Murtha is a decorated Vietnam veteran, and the first combat veteran from that war to be elected to Congress. The Bush White House has previously embraced Murtha. They made a complete reversal of that today.

The full text of Murtha's speech can be found at

I'll say this; Jack Murtha is a great Democrat and a great American. I'm glad one of our senior officials in the House has got the fortitude to stand up and say what needs to be said.


Wednesday, November 16, 2005

Young Voters for Warner

Me and Ben from over at Blue in Virginia have launched a blog called "Young Voters for Warner," and we'll be organizing statewide to get support for Mark Warner for President in 2008 among the 18-25 demographic. You can see the site at

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

Just Some Thoughts

I like Robert Byrd.

I know alot of people talk about him like he's a dusty old relic who Democrats should either forget, ignore, or just put up with.

I say we need to rally around Senator Byrd.

Senator Byrd stands for increased minimum wage, for affordable perscription drugs, for dramatically increasing veterans' health care funding, and for pulling out of Iraq.

I say Robert Byrd is one of America's last true giants of public service. We Democrats need to rally around one of our greatest leaders.


Mark Warner is doing everything a Presidential candidate does. He's going to New Hampshire, appearing on national television shows, and has a PAC, available at

I'd like to excerpt from a speech Governor Warner made in 2003. I believe it is quite approriate:

"...In Washington the last couple of years, we've seen lots of talk, but few results. And we're heading in the wrong direction.
The last time we had a Democratic President, America saw the first budget surpluses in a generation.
Just three years later, the Republicans' own numbers show a future filled with deficits as far as the eye can see.
The last time we had a Democratic President, unemployment fell to record lows. But today it climbs a little higher every month.
The last time we had a Democratic President, the stock market soared. Today, it just sputters.
In 2000, America was promised something called "compassionate conservatism." And you know - that sounded familiar to a lot of us in the South. We had been saying for a long time - balance the budget, but not on the backs of working people.
But they meant something else - and all we got was more of the same....
Virginia hasn't voted for a Democratic President since Lyndon Johnson in 1964. When I ran for Governor, the Republicans controlled both houses in the legislature and every statewide office - and the White House picked our Governor to run the Republican National Committee.
And despite those odds, we won because we built a new coalition of Virginians.
We did that by laying out a message that focused on meeting the needs of an information age economy - a message that stressed economic opportunity, educational opportunities, and fiscal responsibility.
We started with the most loyal Democrats. We said to African Americans and to working people - We know that you have been taken for granted in the past. Those days are over. You will help lead this team.
We said, we're going to bring people together - just like Governor Winter showed us how to do here in Mississippi.
And then we reached out to Virginians in rural communities - to people who hadn't voted for a Democrat in a long, long time. And we asked them to give us a chance.
In a 21st century economy, you can be successful anywhere - if you have a good education and job skills.
We talked about giving young people the chance to get a good job in the place they grew up. Because you shouldn't have to leave your family or your hometown to get ahead.
We said, Virginia will never prosper if all the good jobs are in one area, and other places get left behind.
And then we said something that a lot of people had never thought of - you can like NASCAR - you can like hunting - you can like bluegrass music - and you can still vote for a Democrat.
We did all this because we recognized that if you're going to offer people economic hope, you can't spend all your time talking about the same old social issues that have divided us for too long.
You can't move forward if every discussion is about abortion and guns.
Those are all important issues, and we can't ignore them. But they create passion that often distracts us from more fundamental issues.
And let me say it again - if we can do it in Virginia, we can do it for America.
We have to do it for America. Because America deserves better than failed fiscal policy. America deserves better than an economy that leaves millions of people and whole communities behind.
And Democrats offer better. We offer optimism, and we offer hope for the future.
Now as you might guess, a lot of Republicans and Independents supported us. And since then, a lot of them have asked me, Mark - Why exactly are you a Democrat?
And I just smile. Because if you have to ask, you wouldn't understand.
I am a Democrat because since Jefferson wrote the Declaration of Independence - and since Jackson spoke for the common man - our party has never been the party of the status quo.
Instead, we have been the ones to see a challenge - and do something about it. Let's be honest - it hasn't always worked perfectly. Sometimes it has gotten us in trouble. Sometimes it has split us apart. But sometimes, those are the wages of progress.
And yet, I am a Democrat because the greatest and most noble political experiments of our time had their birth in our party.
I am a Democrat because the New Deal literally saved the lives of hundreds of thousands of Americans.
I am a Democrat because a generation after a Democratic president started the Peace Corps, you can still find faded photographs of John F. Kennedy on the walls of homes from South Africa to South America.
I am a Democrat because fighting for working men and women is always the right fight.
I am a Democrat because our party led the struggle for civil rights and because we recognize that discrimination and bigotry are not dead - and that we must continue to seek equal opportunity for all.
I am a Democrat because despite our failures, our missteps, and our excesses - we know that waging a war on poverty does not mean fighting the individuals who are poor.
I am a Democrat because we know that today's battle is about the future versus the past - and it's time to put aside yesterday's battles of us versus them.
I am a Democrat because we know that criticizing success won't create a single job.
And most of all, I am a Democrat because when my three daughters go out into the world to make their lives, I want them to find a world where there's less hopelessness - less selfishness - and less violence.
I want them to find a world where there is more opportunity - more understanding - and more hope.
That is the mission of this party.
That is what we work for.
That is why we get up every morning.
That is why we're here tonight.
And our work is not done."

I think this speech is exactly what Warner needs to say out on the road. Mark Warner will be our next President if he repeats the truth like he did in this speech.

I'm gone.


Sunday, November 13, 2005

Friday, November 11, 2005

On To 2006

Now that Tim Kaine is our next Governor and Creigh Deeds very well may be our next Attorney General, we need to look forward to 2006.

My Congressman, Rick Boucher, will be running for a 13th term, and will ikely face opposition. Potential nominees include Bill Carrico, Kevin Triplett, and a Kilgore (I've heard both names). As always, Republicans will make noise like they'll defeat him, and then they'll get somewhere between 35%-41%. Period.

The battle royale will be for Senator George Allen's seat. Allen will be running for a second term, as a warm-up for 2008. We need to stop him before he can get to Iowa. Who can we do that with? According to the last poll, the choice seems to be State Senator Phillip Puckett of Russell County. Other popular choices were Delegate Jackie Stump, Chap Petersen, and James Webb. But other than Webb, not many people are really seiously thinking about running. So who should it be?

I also want to say thanks to the folks over at Raising Kaine. I think they were instrumental in motivating the base to help elect (soon-to-be) Governor Kaine. I think they should continue in the same vein and do the same for the 2006 Senate nominee as the did for Kaine.

I also think that folks who are supporters (I count myself in the group) of Mark Warner for President, should start getting out the word about his success in the state's fiscal fiasco, and his ability to win elections in red states (and get people elected in red states).

Happy Veterans' Day!


Wednesday, November 09, 2005

Ladies and Gentlemen, Your Governor

With 98% reporting, Tim Kaine has been elected Virginia's governor with 987,376 votes, or 51.58%.

Bill Bolling will win the Lt. Governor's race by a 51%-49% vote.

I'm not ready to make a call on the McDonnell/Deeds race.

This has been an alright night for the Democratic party. We also held the Governor's seat in New Jersey with Senator Jon S. Corzine's election.

Next big show; Warner 2008. On to the White House!


Breaking News

The AP is reporting Tim Kaine will be Virginia's next governor. More later.

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

Countdown to E-Day

Here we are only a few hours from election day (and by the time you read this, it will very likely be election day), and the latest SurveyUSA poll has Tim Kaine up and out of the margin of error.

The poll:

Tim Kaine - 52%
Jerry Kilgore - 43%
Russ Potts - 3%
Other - 1%
Undecided - 1%

This is great news! The last several polls have had Kaine up by 2% or 3%, but this is huge. Much better than I expected! But we still need to run this race like we're 10 points behind. We need to get out the vote, call everyone we know, convince family members, even be a walking billboard if you feel the urge.

If Tim Kaine does win really big, then Leslie Byrne and Creigh Deeds can grab on to his coattails and ride into victory.

So, here's my final predictions on what the final results will be:

Tim Kaine (D) - 52%
Jerry Kilgore (R) - 46%
Russ Potts (I) - 2%

Lt Governor
Bill Bolling (R) - 51%
Leslie Byrne (D) - 49%

Attorney General
Creigh Deeds (D) - 52%
Bob McDonnell (R) - 48%

House of Delegates - District 1
Terry Kilgore (R) - 51%
Rex McCarty (D) - 49%

House of Delegates - District 2
Bud Phillips (D) - 61%
Linda Tiller (R) - 39%

House of Delegates - District 3
Jackie Stump (D) - 98%
Write-in - 2%

House of Delgates - District 4
Joe Johnson (D) - 97%
Write-in - 3%

House of Delegates - District 5
Bill Carrico (R) - 98%
Write-in - 2%

House of Delegates - District 6
Benny Keister (D) - 51%
Anne B. Crockett Stark (R) - 49%

That's my predictions. I think we'll do mostly well. I hope my predictions on Bolling/Byrne and Kilgore/McCarty are incorrect, so we'll have to wait and see.

Night all, and remember to vote.


Sunday, November 06, 2005

Baked Beans, Potato Salad, And Great Public Servants

Earlier today, I went to the Rally and Potluck dinner at Abingdon High School. We got there about ten minutes to five, and it ended up not starting until 5:20 or so, but it was worth it. Some highlights (in order of appearance):
Creigh Deeds: State Senator Deeds gave a high-energy speech that would fire up anybody. About midway through the speech, Tim Kaine arrived, and of course received a standing ovation. One highlight of the speech was a line akin to "I live in Bath County with my wife, my kids, 6 horses, 5 ponies, and a donkey named Harry S Truman." (Sure, we've all heard it before, but I still like it).
Leslie Byrne: Miss Byrne gave a pretty good speec and told the story about the girl scouts who visited her Congressional office. The punchline was, "Miss Byrne, can boys be in Congress too?" Governor Warner arrived midway through her speech, and, like Kaine, received a warm welcome. The big finale concerned electing "Tim, Leslie, and Creigh, and giving Virginia some T-L-C."
Rick Boucher: Congressman Boucher is always good to hear. He said he knew he would have an opponent next year ("We just don't know which state he'll come from this time."). He also introduced his mother, Dorothy, to the crowd, who appeared to be at least 85 or 90.
Linwood Holton: Former Governor Holton was extremely entertaining. One thing I liked to hear was, "Seeing all these folks out, I almost feel bad to be a Republican." (Or something very similar). Governor Holton said he had recruited 21 people to go to the polls and vote for Kaine, and we should all get at least 10 people to go vote.
Mark Warner: Governor Warner touted the success of the last four years of the Warner-Kaine administration, and said that by electing Tim Kaine, we could carry on that success. He pointed out that Tim Kaine "married above himself, in terms of marrying Linwood's daughter." He implored us to leave our cell phones turned on, "You hear the rings and hear an annoying sound. I hear cha-ching cha-ching." He also said that without Southwest Virginia, he couldn't have been elected.
Tim Kaine: Tim Kaine was the star of the show. He got up, talked about his three heroes (Jim O'Leary, Linwood Holton, and his own father, who was in attendance), and said that the momentum was in the ticket's favor. He said on November 9th we could wake up knowing we had won the closest, and most important election in our state's history.

I talked briefly with Senator Deeds, who told me how his polls were doing ("I was behind by 8, now I'm behind by 3, the momentum is picking up. People are catching on to the disgusting ads McDonnell is running, and funding with money from God knows where."), and seemed ready to win on Tuesday. I talked to Leslie Byrne, who gave me a sticker and declared me an "Official Ambassador for Byrne." Yeah, I thought that was nifty. I talked to Governor Holton, who remembered meeting me in Big Stone Gap in February ("You look like you go two foot taller, boy. I bet everybody looks up to you"). I talked to Tim Kaine, who said he had heard of Neal2028 (awesome!). My most interesting was Governor Warner, who I again asked if he would run for President. His reply: "I'll let everybody know soon. It'll be interesting. Stay tuned."
(Also there was: Senator Phillip Puckett, Delegate Joe Johnson, Rex McCarty, and numerous local officials)

Finally! We got to the food. More food that I had seen in one place in a long time. I had plenty of it, too. Fried chicken, spaghetti and meatballs, meatloaf, macaroni salad, potato salad, baked beans, deviled eggs, some white-ish stuff that was really good, ham salad sandwich, and macaroni and cheese. And then I went back for seconds!

Well, on election day; Me and a friend of mine will be working the polls for 7 hours. What will you be doing to elect Tim, Leslie, and Creigh???


Daily (Evolving) Predicition
Tim Kaine (D) 52%
Jerry Kilgore (R) 47%
Russ Potts (I) 1%

Lt. Governor
Leslie Byrne (D) 51%
Bill Bolling (R) 49%

Attorney General
Creigh Deeds (D) 50%
Bob McDonnell (R) 50%


In Memory

Today would mark the 105th anniversary of Emmett, my late grandfather's (on my dad's side) birthday. He died in 1990, and, although my memories are dim of him, I miss him, and we'll all always miss him.


Thursday, November 03, 2005

Newspapers Say...

Just a quick post tonight.

Let's see how many papers we can name off that have endorsed Tim Kaine for Governor of Virginia. Ready? Here we go!

The Washington Post
The Daily Press
The Broadside (George Mason University campus paper)
The Cavalier Daily (University of Virginia campus paper)
The Gloucester-Matthews Gazette
The Times Community Papers
The Roanoke Times
Bristol Herald Courier
Bluefield Daily Telegraph
Virginian Pilot
Suffolk News Herald
Richland News Press

Tim Kaine has received endorsements from almost every major newspaper in Southwest Virginia. Tim Kaine has the momentum rolling in his favor.

Tonight I'm going to start a semi daily feature until election day; a prediction that will evolve as we go. Tonight, it goes like this:

Tim Kaine 52%, Jerry Kilgore 47%, Russ Potts 1%
Leslie Byrne 50%, Bill Bolling 50%
Creigh Deeds 52%, Bob McDonnell 48%

Also, a late congrats to the Lady Trojans Volleyball team, who went 14-0 this year to win their district championship, and tonight won their semi-finals game. Our football team is 0-9, and going for our tenth loss Friday. Our football team has had 3 winning seasons since...I believe 1963. Why should 2005 have been any different?


Tuesday, November 01, 2005


This morning around 7:30, I awoke to reports that the President would appoint Circuit Court Judge Samuel Alito to the Supreme Court. Reports were correct. George W. Bush nominated a far-right conservative in Samuel Alito to the Supreme Court, to replace a mainstream moderate, Sandra Day O'Connor.

Harriet Miers is looking better and better.

I can't say for 100% sure that I'll oppose the Alito nomination. But some things worry me.

1-His record on womens' rights (Planned Parenthood of Southeastern Pennsylvania v. Casey, 1991)
2-His record on race-based/disability-based discrimination (Bray v. Marriott Hotels, 1997; Chittister v. Department of Community and Economic Development, 2000)
3-If his nickname is Scalito, indicating "Scalia Jr." some red lights should go off somewhere.
4-The one that really bothers me--His record on unauthorized strip searches (Doe v. Groody, 2004) (Read up on this one, folks)

I'm interested in how potential 2008 Presidential candidates (i.e. Joe Biden, Hillary Clinton, Evan Bayh) will handle this one. I know how George Allen and friends will handle it; they'll hail it as Scalia's second coming (he resembles Scalia a tad bit).

Unless the hearing prove that he is a mainstream jurist like John G. Roberts is, then I will have no other choice than to oppose Samuel Alito. But I will wait until the hearings to see what he has to say.


Sunday, October 30, 2005

Dark Yesterdays And Bright Tomorrows

Rosa Parks lived with dark yesterdays and fought for bright tomorrows. That's how Senate Chaplain Barry Black memorialized the late civil rights activist Rosa Parks, who died this week at 92.

Rosa Parks was a quiet, unassuming lady. She didn't get up that morning in Montgomery planning to go down in history. All she planned on was to go to and from work. To live her life in the way she had done before. But when she refused to move from that seat in the front of that city bus, she created a firestorm and changed the world. And we're all greatful.

As I watch the memorial and her casket lay in honor in the U.S. Capitol in Washington on CNN, I can't help but think how different the world would be if it hadn't been for Miss Parks. I'm white, and I've never been around much racism toward blacks, so I never fully understood the gravity of her story. I guess it's the same story; We never know what we have until it's gone. Tonight, I want to thank Miss Parks for what she done not just for blacks, but for all Americans; help realize the dream that all men are indeed created equal.

With Scooter Libby and Harriet Miers both thrown out of the game (why not keep using Patrick Fitzgerald's baseball talk?), who does Bush bring in, here in what seems like his 7th inning stretch? People have said Bush needs to mix things up some. And I think it's simple. Fire Andy Card, get rid of Karl Rove, accept all the mistakes made and be open about it, and nominate a moderate legal mind to the Supreme Court.

But will George Bush do that? Short answer: No.

Tim Kaine is picking up steam in his quest to become Virginia's next governor. Today Kaine was endorsed by the Bristol Herald Courier (My hometown paper). The Courier endorsed Bush in 2004, and just recently endorsed Terry Kilgore in his Delegate race. Anyone who hasn't read the editorial yet, I would highly recommend it.

Well, I'm done with this for the night. I'm going to try to start being more regular in my postings. Hopefully I won't have any more huge projects for school for a couple weeks.


Tuesday, October 25, 2005

Let's Get This Mule Train Moving

A new Mason-Dixon Poll show that:

Jerry Kilgore holds a 2 point lead over Tim Kaine, with 5 for Potts and 9 undecided (44-42-5-9). This is within the margin of error, and two other recent polls have showed Kaine actually leading. This race will go down to the wire, and voter turnout will be the key to the victory. I'll be working the polls election day, where will you be?

Bill Bolling holds a 4 point lead over Leslie Byrne, with a huge undecided factor (41-37-22). Ill be honest when I admit that I thought Leslie Byrne had no chance whatsoever. She is rather abrasive, pretty far to the left, and not running a statewide race. Don't get me wrong, I support her. I like her style. It's fun to listen to. She has great ideas. She's strongly pro-union. But I worked for Chap Petersen because I thought he had the most statewide electability and was running an energetic campaign. But, be that as it may, Leslie Byrne has to win this. We can't have Tim Kaine fighting tooth and nail against his Lt. Governor for four years. This is a race where we need to show Leslie Byrne as mainstream, show her strong, strong support of unions, and show the women she supports them. Then we can win this race.

Bob McDonnell has a whopping 8 point lead over Creigh Deeds (42-34-24). This is panic mode time. Creigh Deeds is the best person for this job, he's energetic, fun to listen to, has great mainstream ideas. He introduced the Right to Hunt and Fish Act, and we need to blast that out of a megaphone. Deeds can't win without rural support. And he can't get rural support without showing his strong pro-gun record.

So I say it's time to get this mule train going. Let's get the show on the road. We've come too far to give up and fizzle out on Election Day night.


Also, has anybody noticed I haven't been writing much? No? Okay, fine then. No, seriously, I haven't been able to write because (like Kenton), school is pretty time-consuming. Especially English. And you folks from my high school reading this, you understand what I mean.

Until later.


Friday, October 21, 2005

And Now For Something Completely Different

Merle Haggard, 68 years old and still going strong, is releasing his 51st album, Chicago Wind, on October 25th.

1. Chicago Wind
2. Mexico
3. Honky Tonk Man
4. I Still Can't Say Goodbye
5. It Always Will Be
6. Leaving's Not The Only Way To Go
7. What I've Been Meaning To Say
8. Rebuild America First
9. Where's All The Freedom
10. White Man Singing The Blues
11. Some Of Us Fly (with Toby Keith)

Merle Haggard defies labels. Is he a Republican? Is he a Democrat? In the 1970's, George Wallace begged for him to campaign for him, and allow him to use "Fightin' Side of Me" as a theme song, but he refused. He said he owed a debt of gratitude to Ronald Reagan for pardoning him in 1960 (while serving in San Quentin prison). He defended the Dixie Chicks when they said they were ashamed Presidnt Bush was from Texas. On his last country CD, That's the News, he had two songs speaking out against the war and the Patriot Act, and one song in support of the troops.

On this CD, which of course I haven't heard yet, he tackles the war again, this time head-on at 90 miles an hour.

Here, in part, is the lyrics to "Rebuild America First":
Yea, men in position but backing away
Freedom is stuck in reverse
Let's get out of Iraq and get back on the track
And let's rebuild America first.

Then, in "Where's All The Freedom?" the Hag discusses the Ten Commandments, gasoline prices, and civil liberties:
Are we a nation under God anymore
How long do we cower down
Is this really still our ground
Our country is like a prisoner of war
Where's all the freedom that we're fightin' for?

I tend to believe Merle Haggard is a classic patriotic Democrat. He's against the war, for God and the Bible, for the troops, and for helping people in need.

Sounds like a pretty good campaign platform in the making to me.

Monday, October 10, 2005

I Know It's Early, But...

One of my favorite passtimes is hypothesizing on future races, future candidates, etc. I got to thinking; After Tim Kaine has served 4 years and is forced into retirement, who should my party run? For that matter, who should we run for all the 2009 races?

Well, let me throw you three slates of candidates and see which you like the best.

SCENARIO ONE-Represent, Y'all! (Candidates from the central/western/southwest part of the state)
Governor: Creigh Deeds (Charlottesville)
Lt. Governor: Phillip Puckett (Lebanon)
Attorney General: Onzlee Ware (Roanoke)

SCENARIO TWO-The North Will Rise Again (Candidates from Northern Virginia only)
Governor: Leslie Byrne (Fairfax)
Lt. Governor: Chap Petersen (Fairfax)
Attorney General: Brian Moran (Alexandria)

SCENARIOS THREE AND FOUR-Where Did He Come Up With That? (Candidates who have little in common, but might make a good ticket)
Governor: Don Beyer (Alexandria)
Lt. Governor: Paul Fraim (Norfolk)
Attorney General: John Edwards (Roanoke)

Governor: Bobby Scott (Richmond)
Lt. Governor: L.F. Payne (Amherst)
Attorney General: Bud Phillips (Castlewood)

How does that grab you? Any other possiblities you like the sound of? Any of these sound good?

Sunday, October 09, 2005

Thanks To A Legend

I recently won a trivia contest on Jesse McReynolds's website ( ), and, as the prize, I won a free CD. Jesse McReynolds is a 41-year member of the historic Grand Ole Opry, and a legendary bluegrass musician. I chose the 2001 CD Jesse recorded with his late brother Jim as the historic group "Jim and Jesse" called "Our Kind of Country." Jim and Jesse traditionally played only bluegrass (with occasional Chuck Berry and The Doors songs tossed in), but this CD covered 12 1960's honky tonk country songs with the feel and sound of the vintage country era. He and his wonderful wife, Joy, also sent me a book, "Blue Moon of kentucky" a photo collection by photographer Les Leverett, autographed by both Leverett and Mr. McReynolds.

Since Jim's death in 2002, Jesse, now 76, has soldiered on, releasing 3 CD's ("New Horizons," "Bending The Rules," and "A Tribute to Brother Duets") and still performs several dozen shows a year.

It was at a show in 2004 in Coeburn, Virginia when I first met him. But my family and his had been connected since long before that; He and his brother were childhood friends of my maternal grandmother in their hometown of Coeburn. In 1950, when my aunt was just born, Jim and Jesse's sister sewed her first baby blanket and baby outfit.

And, on an extremely personal note, and one I seldom speak of, when I was on my deathbed in 1992 from kidney failure (I was closer to death than I care to admit for 18 days), my father was waiting in the Emergency Room waiting area at the old Bristol Hospital. Jim and Jesse happened to be there because of their sister (who sewed my aunt's blanket) who was in extremely ill health at the time. He began talking to them, and the three talked for about twenty minutes before Jesse led them in prayer for me.

I've kind of got off on a tangent here, but I've always wanted to get this "thank you" out in the open. Not just for the CD and book (which I do appreciate), but for the kindness shown to a worried family over a decade ago.

Friday, October 07, 2005

I Think Not

I supported John Roberts. I know Chief Justice Roberts is a Conservative. But he is no Scalia/Thomas. He will hopefully be a unifier on the court. But Harriet Miers is a different story.

Harriet Miers has no record. Is she a Democrat pretending to be a Republican (she gave money to Al Gore's 88 campaign)? Is she a kneejerk conservative being paraded as mainstream? We can't take that risk. She is up for Sandra Day O'Connor's seat. We're talking crucial swing vote here. If this were Antonin Scalia's seat, I'd say sure, why the heck not? We couldn't do much worse.

But Harriet Miers is no mainstream thinker like Sandra Day O'Connor is. President Bush nominated a great legal mind in John Roberts. I can deal with the fact that he's a Conservative, because I know he know's his law and how to conduct a court. He replaces a Conservative, so the numbers didn't change. With any luck, over the years he may moderate his views, but keep the friendly but tough personality on the bench (similar to Renhquist) that he has.

But, again, Miss Miers is different. She has no record. She has no judicial experience. She's a blank slate. She cannot avoid the questions like previous nominees have, and here's why: They all had a record that would speak for itself. Senators know Roberts was conservative. Senators in 1993 knew Ruth Bader Ginsburg was liberal. But what do Senators know about Miers?

Joe Biden (who, if Mark Warner wasn't in the 2008 Presidential race, I would definitly support) will grill Miers to no end. And I'm glad.

Ted Kennedy will pin Miers down with tough questions that will make her think, form opinions, and, we're all praying, voice those opinions. And, once again, I'm glad.

I remember Joe Biden saying during Roberts' confirmation something close to "You're getting a lifetime appointment. You never have to answer to anyone again." For Harriet Miers, who has never been qualified to serve on the Supreme Court answered to anyone before anyway will be almost expected to say something. But will she? I doubt it.

That's why I'm calling on the Senate to reject Harriet Miers' nomination and demand President Bush send up a mainstream thinker with a track record to prove it.

Thursday, October 06, 2005


There has been some noise on blogs today about Ohio. Major Paul Hackett, the Cincinnati attorney-turned-war hero who almost cause a huge upset in an August special Congressional election, recently announced he would run for the U.S. Senate against Senator Mike DeWine. This was after seemingly every other state Democrat disclaimed interest in running. Well, hold on a minute.

Congressman Sherrod Brown from Akron has announced he will run. He had previously discounted himself from running, and at the time was the Democrats' best shot.

Well, I'm going to go out on a limb and say he still is.

I know I'm in the minority among Democratic bloggers when I say this, but, while Paul Hackett seems to be a likable fellow and he did do a good job in the special election, I just don't see how it qualifies him to run for the U.S. Senate against a two-term incumbent.

We're not talking about a Congressional race running against a woman with a way of putting her foot in her mouth; We're talking big show. We're talking statewide, targeted battleground, Bush coming in, Democrats coming in, Rove's attack machine. We need somebody who's ready for a big fight.

Don't get me wrong here. Paul Hackett is a hero in every sense of the word. But that doesn't qualify him to be a U.S. Senator. I think he needs to set his sights a tad bit lower, then aim up eventually.

If he takes down Congresswoman Jean Schmidt in 2006, then he has the credit to run for Senate in 2010. If he runs for Lt. Governor or Attorney General in 2006, then by all means, bring on Voinovich! But not now. This isn't his time.

I hope Major Hackett will see that a bloody primary isn't in the party's best interest, and I hope he pulls out of the race. By the way, I think he would be great as Ted Strickland's Lt. Governor running mate.

But, tonight let me make my endorsement (for what it's worth...which could be up to 79 cents) official. Sherrod Brown for Senate. Take Down The Corruption.


I'll be talking about my opinion on whether Harriet Miers should be confirmed, I'll be talking about Jerry Kilgore's (crumbling) campaign, and also, very likely responding to a response I recently got in a comments area. I do love really good, mean, bloody fights controversy, you know

Monday, October 03, 2005

It's Miers

This morning, President Bush nominated White House Counsel Harriet Miers, 60, to serve on the Supreme Court, replacing Sandra Day O'Connor.

My first reaction was, "Gee, I missed the mark on guessing who it would be," although I did mention her as one of seven. (My actual first reaction was "Gee, she has scarey eyes.")

Miers has no judicial experience whatsoever, but is an experienced lawyer.

As I did with John Roberts, I'll hold off on judgement until I know more about her. She could be a Scalia in sheep's clothing, or maybe another Souter. We'll have to wait and find out.

Woo-hoo! Another carnival! This time, naviagte your mouse to the web address bar and put in (or click on the link), and enjoy guessing who everybody really is! (As a forewarning, you'll see names like "Not Russ Potts," "Not Jim Moran," "Not Robert Byrd," and your truly, "Not William Wampler." (Okay, so I gave mine away. Sue me.)


Sunday, October 02, 2005

To Clear Up Some Things

I had a pretty thoughtful discussion with one of my friends tonight. He had talked to his Preacher and now had some serious questions about whether or not you could be a Liberal and a Christian. He decided, after speaking with the preacher that being a Democrat depended on your views on Gays and abortion. I got to thinking, and I'd like to share my Democratic Creedo with you..

I'm a Liberal because we need affordable health care for all Americans.
I'm a Liberal because no hunter, regardless of the game you hunt, needs a machine gun.
I'm a Liberal because, as our Declaration of Independence says, "...[A]ll men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of happiness."
I'm a Liberal because unions are an essential in securing safety and equality for the American worker.
I'm a Liberal because our environment is being harmed by industries, and needs protection.
I'm a Liberal because Social Security is one of this nation's foundations, and should be protected.
I'm a Liberal because the American farmer has been crippled by industrial farms and is in dire need of government support.
I'm a Liberal because if we want to combat murders, we don't need to increase the number of people sentenced to death--we need to combat gang violence and crack down on illegal drug trafficking.
I'm a Liberal because I don't believe the government should be able to pry into your personal life (this includes library records and random phone tapping).
I'm a Liberal because every American--poor or rich, black or white, Northerner or Southerner, Liberal or Conservative--deserves the right to believe what they want.
Okay, now that I've got that off my chest.


As far as sports are concerned, this has been a pretty daggone terrible week for me.

My Washington Nationals have been shut out of post-season play.

My 2nd choice, the Cleveland Indians, are getting dangerously close to being eliminated, too.

My High School football team LOST HOMECOMING...46-28. (But hey, what else is new there?, and I got to sit with a really pretty girl thru half-time, so that made it worth it)

Okay, now some quick stuff...
VA: Creigh Deeds gets the NRA's endorsement. Well, Bob McDonnell can just go home now and give it up. Congratulations (in advance) Attorney General Deeds.

ND: Governor John Hoeven (R) announced he won't run for the US Senate against incumbent Kent Conrad (D) in 2006. Especially great news, and a glaring example of Elizabeth Dole's failure at the NRSC in recruiting.

IL: Former Governor Jim Edgar (R) announced he won't challenge incumbent Governor Rod Blagojevich (D) in 2006. First George Ryan's scandals, then the 2004 Senate race...can it get any worse for Illinois Republicans? (very likely)

WV: I was in Charleston Thursday. I'm seeing a few Byrd 2006 signs and stickers (extremely early, by the way) and very little activity at Shelley Moore Capito's campaign office. Like a guy from up there I know says, Robert Byrd will serve another 150 years.

HOMECOMING: Two women were outside our football game Friday handing out Kilgore for Governor literature and "Sportsmen for Kilgore" stickers. A teacher (a Republican for Kaine, by the way) was holding out a Food City bag as you came through the gate, where most of the Kilgore literature was deposited. He said "They just showed up. Somebody is going out in a minute to tell them to leave."

2008: Has Governor Mark Warner filmed his first 2008 Presidential ad? Maybe. His new ad for Tim Kaine seems just like a practice round. Warner 2008 all the way!

SUPREME COURT: John Roberts was confirmed 78-22 (very close to my prediction, by the way) on Thursday, and sworn in by John Paul Stevens later that day at the White House. When will Bush announce his choice? Probably Monday. I've been hearing three new names; Karen Williams, Deanell Tacha, and Viet Dinh. Who do you think it will be? Leave it in the comments section.

Okay, I'm out.

Wednesday, September 28, 2005

"Congratulations, Chief Justice Roberts...Next!"

John G. Roberts will likely be confirmed Thursday to be the 17th Chief Justice of the United States (I would predict, by the way, that the vote will be 76-24). But the battle royale will begin on Friday when President Bush will likely nominate a replacement for Justice Sandra Day O'Connor, who is retiring.

A very reputable source has dropped seven names:

1-Judge Edith Brown Clement, age 57, New Orleans, LA.
2-Judge Emilio Garza, age 59, San Antonio, TX.
3-Attorney General Alberto Gonzales, age 50, Washington, DC/Texas.
4-Judge Edith Hollan Jones, age 56, Houston, TX.
5-Fmr. Asst. Attorney General Larry Thompson, age 59, Purchase, NY.
6-Judge J. Harvie Wilkinson, III, age 60, Charlottesville, VA.
7-White House Counsel Harriet Miers, approx. aged 55-60, Dallas, TX.

The first thing that jumps out at me is that there is just one white guy. Good job, Georgie!! But, being serious, it breaks down like this: Women-3, Men-4, Hispanics-2, Blacks-1, Whites-4.

There have been other names floating in addition to these (Diane Sykes, Ed Prado, Priscilla Owen, Janice Rodgers Brown, William Pryor, Sonia Sotomayer, Theodore Olson, etc.), but I think that it'll be one of the seven I've mentioned. I'll even go out on a limb and predict this: Larry Thompson (1st choice), Edith Clement (2nd choice), Emilio Garza (3rd choice).

There's a part of me that hopes President Bush will appoint some little-known right-wing idealogue that will cause a firestorm in the Senate. I love a good fight.


Hey, wanna hear a joke? Okay, here goes; Jerry Kilgore's office called me one day...

Okay, not a joke. I'm being serious. Here's a pretty close facsimile of what was said:

*ring, ring*
Me: Hello?
Staffer: Hey, is this Neal?
Me: Yes it is.
Staffer: Hey, Neal. This is Nathaniel with Jerry Kilgore's campaign. How are you today?
Me: I'm good, thanks.
Staffer: Neal, you know as I do that Jerry's campaign is doing great all across the state, and it's important that we continue to lead this race and win in November.
Me: Really? He's leading? I had heard he had been fumbling quite a bit, on the abortion issue and attacking Governor Warner. He wouldn't do something like that, would he?
Staffer: Well, we'll be talking about issues later on. The reason I'm calling today is that Jerry will be holding a rally on Tuesday, October 6th at 12:45 pm, at the Virginia Highlands Airport in Abingdon. He'll be bringing along the NRA's Executive VP, Wayne LaPierre. Jerry would be honored if you would attend.
Me: Is that so?
Staffer: Yes sir, Would you be interested in attending?
Me: Sounds interesting...Can I hand out stuff for a couple of candidates I'm supporting?
Staffer: Which candidates, Neal?
Me: Tim Kaine, Leslie Byrne, and Creigh Deeds. Also maybe some literature on re-instating the Assault Weapons Ban. Will that be alright?
Staffer: I don't believe so sir. Have a good day.
Me: Okay, bye bye.

Question: Would "Jerry and Wayne" still be honored for me to attend?


Tuesday, September 27, 2005

Who For Senate??

According to this story at the Washington Post (, who else is supposedly considering a run for office in Virginia, but Ben Affleck? (Also, interestingly, John Grisham is also mentioned)

The Bristish tabloids are reporting that Affleck and his new wife, Jennifer Garner, have been looking for houses in the Charlottesville area, and that Affleck has decided he wants to seek office in Virginia in 2006. While the tabloids can't be confirmed, it has been confirmed they've been house-shopping in the Old Dominion state. And Ken Sunshine, Affleck's manager, didn't do much to quell the rumors. "[H]h would be a superb candidate for public office in the future. Right now, he's very busy directing his first feature movie for Disney, 'Gone, Baby, Gone.' "

Let me say, it worries me a tad bit when we have to start looking for celebrities to run against George Allen. There has been talk of Richard Cranwell, the VDP chairman, running. I would be open to that idea, and would likely support and campaign for him (after a primary). I can't say Ben Affleck couldn't be a Senator, but I think if he is going to run, he needs to immediatley begin with travelling the state (not just Richmond and NOVA--St. Paul and Rocky Mount, too) and talking to people about social issues (i.e. not abortion and gay marriage--Social Security and farm subsidies) and showing he is passionate about the issues important to them.

Maybe on January 3rd, 2007, we'll be saying "Senator Cranwell, Senator Affleck, or the ever-popular Senator AnybodyButGeorgeAllen"