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

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"

Monday, September 26, 2005

For A Good Time...

For a good time...

No, don't call Nancy.

Well, call her if you want to...

Or, go to the Virginia Blog Carnival!!! This week's carnival is hosted at . Kenton is a great guy and he'll do a great job with the carnival. Hopefully, I'll find time to host one myself in a few weeks.

In the mean time, head over that way.


Saturday, September 24, 2005


I got some great news this morning from my dad, and later again from my friend Justin. My dad was in the kitchen this morning and said "I heard somewhere on the radio that Willie Nelson was coming around here." Justin was sitting in Government class with me later this morning and said "Willie Nelson is coming to play here in November." First thing after Government, I went to the library computers and confirmed that Willie Nelson will indeed play in Johnson City, Tennessee on November 6th. Tickets go on sale September 24th. Thirty five dollars for the cheap seats, forty five for the first 10 rows. I think I'll go for the forty five dollar ones.
Willie Nelson is one of the most recognizable faces not only in country music, but in the world of pop culture all together. People who have never heard "Nothing I Can Do About It Now," "Blame It On The Times," and "End To Understanding" instantly recognize "On The Road Again," "Always On My Mind," and "Whiskey River." And of course the duets with Waylon Jennings ("Good Hearted Woman," "Mamas, Don't Let Your Babies Be Cowboys," etc.).

Willie Nelson is 72 years old, and his career shows no signs of slowing. A new country album last year, a new reaggea album this year, a duet with Jessica Simpson, the "Dukes of Hazzard" movie, 3 more albums in the works, the 20th annual Farm Aid concert, involvement in Bio-diesel companies and embryonic stem cell research funding, and almost 100 show dates a year show that Nelson will be busy and in high demand for the forseeable future. And with all the untold furtunes he is making, he still finds time to play a 2 1/2 hour show, and stand outside his bus several hours to meet and talk with any fans who want to talk to him.

What a guy.

Needless to say, I'm looking forward to this.

NEXT TIME: I'll be talking about the 2006 Senate races, Jimmy Carter, and whatever else may cross my mind.

Goodnight Mrs. Calabash, wherever you are!


Tuesday, September 20, 2005

Cue The Frying Pan

I assume everyone has seen State Senator Russ Potts's new ad? If you haven't, go to his website at .

I'll tell you what; I've always had an offbeat sense of humor, so I nearly died laughing when I saw this ad. It's just about the best non-serious political ad I've ever seen. It's a great play on a name that is easy to use in jest.

What better way to drill a candidate's name into a voter's head than yelling it a couple dozen times (I count 28, including the baby) while banging kitchenware (and in some cases, dancing)??

I've met Russ Potts. I like him alot. When ever I have the chance to see him, he always jokes that he and I are "Mutt and Jeff" (I'm 6'4", and he's...little). He's a nice person, and he would make an excellent governor.

If this were a Kilgore/Potts race, I would support Potts faster than you could skin a rabbit. But it's not. It's a Kilgore/Potts/Kaine race, and Tim Kaine is the man to beat Jerry Kilgore. Russ Potts is a great candidate, and he adds a whole lot to this race (including a second person to take...dare I say it..."Pott"shots at Kilgore).

MUSIC REVIEW: "Hits I Missed...And One I Didn't" By George Jones

This is George Jones's newest CD, coming out in his 51st year in the country music business. It covers 11 songs that were brought to him to record, that he turned down, and that later became huge hits for other artists. It also includes a re-recording of his biggest hit (that he almost passed up).

Track listing:

1-Funny How Time Slips Away (originally a hit for Billy Walker) - Listening to the now 74 year old Jones sing this song, it sounds like he's just ran into an old flame from decades ago.

2-Detroit City (originally a hit for Bobby Bare) - George Jones has always sang about the working man and his troubles. What better than the ultimate working man's song?

3-Blues Man (originally a hit for Hank Williams, Jr.) (sang w/ Dolly Parton) - Everyone says this was written about George Jones himself, but he maintains it's about Hank WIlliams, Sr. I tend to think it's a little of both.

4-Here In The Real World (orginally a hit for Alan Jackson) - I think the "love always works in movies, but not in real life" scenario is a great one, and George Jones sure sells it.

5-If You're Gonna Do Me Wrong (originally a hit for Vern Gosdin) - I think the Possum sounds the most comfortable on this track, because it does sound like something he would have recorded in 1980. I'm glad he got it this time around.

6-Today I Started Loving You Again (originally a hit for Merle Haggard) (backup vocals by Rhonda Vincent) - This song has been recorded over 400 times, making it one of the most recorded country songs in history. It sounds to me like something George would have sang to Tammy Wynette after one of their many firey disputes.

7-On The Other Hand (originally a hit for Randy Travis) - This song was what brought country back to it's roots. It does seem fitting that the King of Country Music would record the song that saved Country Music.

8-Pass Me By (originally a hit for Johnny Rodriguez) - What can I say? Just a great song all-around, and fairly upbeat.

9-Skip A Rope (originally a hit for Roger Miller) - Even if you don't like country, you would like this song. It delivers several important social messages, covering lying, cheating, racism, and more.

10-Too Cold At Home (orignally a hit for Mark Chestnutt) - Too hot to fish? Never. Too hot to golf? Not here. But boy, does George Jones sure make me believe it. This is another in which he sounds extremely comfortable, and made for the song.

11-Busted (originally a hit for Ray Charles, also Johnny Cash) - An upbeat, funny song talking about the real troubles that alot of folks have. Jones does it with a Cajun flare that I've never heard from him before. And I like it.

12-He Stopped Loving Her Today (the only Hit he didn't seem to miss...And we're all glad he didn't miss this one) - There is not a person on Earth who hasn't heard this song. And George Jones makes it even better with this re-make. He's done a quarter-century of hard-living since he last recorded, and it's even better now than it was then.

George Jones is one of my favorite singers of all-time, and he does great on every one of these. One song I know he would have done great on (and maybe he will on a future album) is the John Prine classic Paradise, better known as Muhlenberg County, which was made famous by bluegrass duo Jim and Jesse McReynolds.

Okay, I'm through now. My next post, which should be day after tomorrow (or possibly tomorrow), will focus on the U.S. Senate races in Ohio and Mississippi, and maybe some more pot-banging fun from the Virginia Governor race!

If the Good Lord's willin' and the creeks don't rise, I'll see y'all again.


Thursday, September 15, 2005

Profile In Courage

Let me say that I am for confirming John G. Roberts. We need to hold fire until Bush makes a nomination to Sandra Day O'Connor's seat. To do that, we need to let Roberts slide through. But don't give him a coronation. And Ted Kennedy and Joe Biden are making sure it doesn't happen. Both Kennedy and Biden have grilled Roberts every step of the way, and pinned him down on Title IX, the Voting Rights Act, and the Right to Privacy. I applaude their devotion to the law and to the principles put forth by the founders.

See that picture above this writing? That's a real note that President Bush was writing to Condoleezza Rice during the U.N. Security Council Meeting today. Glad I'm not the only one who never pays attention in class...

Next post: Music review: "Hits I Missed...And One I Didn't" by George Jones

Sunday, September 11, 2005

Liberal Populist; Carnival; God Bless America

I just took a pretty nifty quiz that didn't take very long, and I would recommend it to anybody. Go over to and go down to the 5th one listed, and take it (or take the other ones too, if you feel the urge). It covers basically all the issues and seemed to be pretty close on the money.

I'm a: Liberal Populist

Like the neat litte grid? Yeah, I did too.


Woo-hoo! There's nothing I love more than a carnival. While this one won't have any balloons or bluegrass music, it'll be fun too. Go over to on Monday to have some fun at the VBC #2.


Today, on the 4th anniversary of 9/11, I think we should all pause for a moment of silence and remember those who died in New York, Washington, and Pennsylvania.

To quote the late, great Hank Williams, "If the Good Lord's willin' and the creeks don't rise, I'll see y'all again."


About Me

First, thanks to Kenton over at 750 Volts. ( ) I found this survey over there, and thought it was kind of neat.

The Usual
:: name = Neal
:: piercings = If God had meant for me to have more holes in me that I do, he would have put them there.
:: tattoos = Not big on the pain thing.
:: height = 6'4"
:: shoe size = 15
:: hair color = brown
:: eye color = blue
:: siblings = 1

:: movie you rented = Star Wars I: The Phantom Menace
:: movie you bought = Jim and Jesse: Stars of the Grand Ole Opry
:: song you listened to = "Midnight Rider" by Willie Nelson
:: song that was stuck in your head = "Foggy Mountain Breakdown" by Flatt and Scruggs
:: cd you bought = "After All These Years" by Eddy Arnold
:: cd you listened to = "Don't Cry To Me" by Jimmy Martin
:: person u were thinking of = Hmm...I've thought about several folks.

:: you have a crush on someone = Sure do.
:: you wish you could live somewhere else = On occasion. Someplace like Montana...or Colorado.
:: you believe in online dating = No. A big no.
:: others find you attractive = Hey, I am a pretty cute guy...
:: you want more piercings = Thought we had been through this?
:: you like cleaning = Nope.
:: you like roller coasters = Never been on one.
:: you write in cursive or print = Always cursive.

:: long distance relationships = Whatever boils your crawfish.
:: using someone =Not nice.
:: suicide = Something I would never do.
:: killing people = If you can't play nice, just go home.
:: teenage smoking = That's illegal, isn't it?
:: driving drunk = Dangerous. Very bad idea
:: gay/lesbian relationships = Not my business.
:: soap operas = I used to like that one with the midget on it.

:: ever cried over a girl = Okay, so I'm tenderhearted.
:: ever cried over a boy = No. Thats one of those not applicable things.
:: ever lied to someone = Gotta be honest to avoid telling another one, so yes.
:: ever been in a fist fight = Just two hits; I hit them and they hit the ground.
:: ever been arrested = Nope.

:: shampoo do you use = I think it's Pert
:: shoes do you wear = New Balance, and I also have some boots I like when it snows
:: are you scared of = There's alot of things that scare me.

:: of times I have been in love? = I'm not sure.
:: of girls you’ve obsessed over who wouldn’t date you = Just two or three.
:: of times your name has appeared in the newspaper? = A good eight or ten times, counting Letters to the Editor and Obituaries.
:: of scars on my body? = Hmm...Six or eight. never counted before.
:: of things in my past that I regret? = Quite a few.

:: pretty - Just purty as can be!
:: funny - I like to think so. Sometimes other people say I'm just sarcastic.
:: friendly - To a fault.
:: amusing - I can be, when I'm upset
:: ugly - Go back and read the "pretty" response!
:: loveable - They do call me a big teddy bear.
:: caring - Again, to a fault.
:: sweet - I get called sweet quite often. Just being myself though.
:: dorky - Not really.

:: 7 letter word: Hmm...Liberal is nice
:: actor/actress: Actor...Chris Rock. Actress...Kirstie Alley.
:: Candy: Those little Werther's candies.
:: Cartoon: Ren and Stimpy was good.
:: Cereal: Count Chocula's...Since Kindergarten.
:: Chewing gum: Double Bubble. If I'm gonna chew it, it's gotta be big and sugary.
:: Color(s): Blue, green.
:: Day of week: I've always been partial to Thursdays. I was born on one.
:: Least fave day: Tuesdays. Definitly. Don't ask me why, because I just picked it out of the air.
:: Flower: I like lillies. (Yeah, I'm in touch with my "inner feelings")
:: Jello flavor: I'm not a fan of anything I can't chew.
:: Jewelry: I've got a gold eagle ring, and also one with my birthstone in it.
:: Special skills/talents: My Mommy says I'm talented at everything! Okay, but seriously, I'm a good guitar player.
:: Summer/Winter: I just love snow!
:: Trampolines or swimming pools: Well, gee, I can't swim, so it narrows my choices.

Person who last..
:: Slept in your bed: Well, I did.
:: Saw you cry: Probably like 50 people at the Veteran's Hospital.
:: Made you cry: I wear my heart on my sleeve. So what?
:: You went to the movies with: last ex-girlfriend. Back in August.
:: Yelled at you: A certain teacher. (Can't stand her. Miserbale person)
:: Sent you an email: Nobody e-mails me! Now I'm sad!

Have you ever..
:: Said "I love you" and meant it?: At the time I thought I did.
:: Gone out in public in your pajamas: Hahaha...Yes, but not very far from the house.
:: Kept a secret from everyone: I'm pretty good at that.
:: Cried during a movie: Nope.
:: Ever at anytime owned new kids on the block stuff: I didn't know til recently, but yes. I looked awesome in neon green though.
:: Been on stage: Yep, several times.
:: Been to New York: Nope.
:: Been to California: Nope.
:: Hawaii: Nope.
:: China: Nope.
:: Canada: Nope.
:: Europe: Nope.
:: Asia: Nope.
:: South America: Nope.
:: Australia: Nope. (Okay, can we see a pattern emerging???)
:: Wished you were the opposite sex: No. I'm happy with my anatomy the way it is.
:: What time is it now?: 3:40pm.
:: Apples or bananas?: Apples.
:: Blue or red?: Blue
:: Walmart or target?: Wal-Mart. I swear by it.
:: Spring or Autumn?: Autumn, although I've never called it that. Fall.
:: What are you gonna do after you finish this?: Go to McDonald's.
:: What was the last meal you ate? Some fried chicken, mashed potatoes, collard greens, and corn bread.
:: High school or college?: Senior in High School. Class of 2006!
:: Are you bored?: At the moment, extremely. (Why else would I have spent a half hour doing this?)
:: Last noise you heard?: The announcer on television just said "Nationals take the lead!"
:: Last smell you sniffed?: Hmm...I just smelled a candle in the kitchen.
:: Last time you went out of state?: I live like 3 miles from Tennessee. So basically every day or so.

:: Do you believe in love at first sight?: My pickup line: "Do you believe in love at first sight, or should I walk by you again?"
:: Do you want children one day & if so, how many?: Sure! Quite a few. Maybe I could start my own baseball team.
:: Most important thing to you in a friendship is: Hmm...Trust is always a good thing.

Other Info
:: Criminal record?: Nope.
:: Do you speak any other languages?: I'm in 2nd year French. I could probably go to France and survive a day or two on what I know.
:: Who you love: I heard a country singer once say "Love everybody". Sounds good to me.
:: Who you miss: My late grandparents.

:: Nickname(s): (Not my doing, mind you), Biggin, Neal Bear, Frankie G (don't ask), The guy with the face.
:: How old do you look?: I'm 17, but I pass for 25.
:: How old do you act?: I'm fairly mature, although I often do look up dirty words in the dictionary, just to make sure they're still there.
:: Glasses/Contacts: Glasses.
:: Braces: Nope.
:: Do you have any pets? A little miniature Collie.
:: You get embarrassed: Not much. It takes a lot.
:: What makes you happy?: Politics. Girls. Country Music. Family. Love. Etc.
:: What upsets you?: I don't get upset much anymore.

Finish the sentence:
:: I Love… "...little baby ducks, old toy trucks, slow moving trains, and rain. Little country streams, sleep without dreams, Sunday school in May, and hay..." (Tom T. Hall song...)
:: I Miss… We've been through this one.
:: I Wish… For a Democratic President, world peace, and the Nationals v. the Indians in the World Series.
:: I Hope… That I'm almost done with this survey
:: I’m Annoyed by… Ignorance.
:: I Am… An all-around nice guy.
:: I Want to Be… the Governor of Virginia, or a U.S. Senator (or both)
:: I Would Never… expect our football team to win a game.
:: I’d Rather… that our football team did win a game.
:: I’d Give… to the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation, St. Jude's, etc.:: I Am Tired of… Typing. My fingers hurt.
:: I Will Always be… Who I am.

Have you ever..
:: Thought you were going to die: I assume at some point. But I've had a couple of close-calls.
:: Wanted to Run away: I actually did once. I came back like an hour later.
:: Been Cheated On: You bet.
:: Cheated On Someone: After I got cheated on.
:: Fought with a boy over a member of the opposite sex: Not worth it.
:: Flunked a grade: Nope.
:: Skipped a grade: Never been smart enough for that stuff.
:: Slept with a member of the opposite sex and just slept for the night: What kind of question is that?

Okay, now that that's through..

Saturday, September 10, 2005

Who'll It Be?

With John G. Roberts nominated to replace William Rehnquist as Chief Justice, instead of Sandra Day O'Connor as Associate Justice, the question becomes, "Who will replace O'Connor?"

Well, since you're so eager to know (and I like to talk about it), I've got a list of several highly likely candidates for nomination.

Now, I think we can break this into three categories; minority candidates, women, and white guys. So we'll go from there.

1-Alberto Gonzales (TX); U.S. Attorney General (Hispanic) (born 1955)
2-Larry Thompson (DC); Former Deputy Attorney General (Black) (born 1946)
3-Emilio Garza (TX); 5th Circuit Court of Appeals Judge (Hispanic) (born 1947)
4-Edward Prado (TX); 5th Circuit Court of Appeals Judge (Hispanic) (born 1947)
5-Mel Martinez (FL); U.S. Senator (Hispanic) (born 1946)

1-Edith Clement (LA); 5th Circuit Court of Appeals Judge (born 1948)
2-Edith Jones (TX); 5th Circuit Court of Appeals Judge (born 1949)
3-Diane Sykes (WI); 7th Circuit Court of Appeals Judge (born 1957)
4-Sonia Sotomayer (NY); 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals Judge (born 1954)
5-Rebecca Kourlis (CO); Colorado Supreme Court Justice (born 1952)

1-J. Harvie Wilkinson (VA); 4th Circuit Court of Appeals Judge (born 1944)
2-Samuel Alito (NJ); 3rd Circuit Court of Appeals Judge (born 1950)
3-Frank Easterbrook (IL); 7th Circuit Court of Appeals Judge (born 1948)
4-Alex Kozinski (CA); 9th Circuit Court of Appeals Judge (born 1950)
5-Michael Luttig (VA); 4th Circuit Court of Appeals Judge (born 1954)

Now, allow me to say that probably only 1/3 of the people I named are on a real short-list of potential nominees. I wasn't expecting Bush to nominate John Roberts, so I might miss this one by half a mile too. But I'll go out on a limb and say it will be either Wilkinson, Gonzales, Garza, Clement, or Kozinski.

I don't care to admit I'm a fan of Wilkinson and Kozinski, not because of their beliefs, but because they both are extremely qualified choices and are both highly intelligent. I don't particularly like Alberto Gonzales, and I don't know that much about Garza or Clement (except that Clement's name was leaked to the press as Bush's choice right before he announced Roberts), but I know that Bush likes to nominate friends. Kind of like a 21st century version of the Spoils System.

I'm out like a fat kid in dodge ball.


Monday, September 05, 2005

Acres of Democrats

Yesterday my parents and sister and I went up to Wytheville for Rick Boucher's "Acres of Democrats" picnic.
When we got there (20 minutes late, but thats how we always are), the first thing I noticed was how many people were there. It was the first one I had been to, so I didn't know how many would show up, but I was impressed.
I was also impressed by No Speed Limit, the bluegrass band playing before the speeches. The lead singer was a very pretty girl, and I couldn't help myself but go down and try to talk to her at their CD stand after the speeches.
No luck getting a phone number.
Aside from that unluckiness, I enjoyed the Bar-B-Q that they served, and ended up talking to Rex McCarty next to a trash can about high school football.
I really enjoyed the speeches. Creigh Deeds fired the crowd up with a short but effective speech. I had talked to him about ten minutes before the speeches started, and he told me the same story about Congressman Pat Jennings that he told once he got on stage. Leslie Byrne gave a short speech on what she brought to the ticket, concluding with a story about a girl scout asking "Can boys be in government too?" to which she replied that boys and girls can be in government.
Phillip Puckett was kind of like a workhorse. He was up and down and introducing everybody, and doing a good job of it. One of my favorite moments was during Puckett's 2nd or 3rd time up, he says "I can see Governor Warner is coming down the sidewalk now," (or something similar to that), and asked we all welcome the Governor to Wytheville. Just about the time he said it, Mark Warner starts jogging down the row of people, high-fiving and shaking hands with a Bill Clinton persona to him. He made a bounding step up onto the stage and was ready to go. But not quite yet. Benny Keister, Eric Ferguson, Rex McCarty, John Edwards (who does look different on television...), and Rick Boucher spoke first.
I enjoyed Rick Boucher's speech. He's the dean of Virginia's democratic party, and is certainly loved by Southwest Virginia. I would like to see him be more high-profile in Washington, though. Perhaps he should try to move into the leadership if Robert Menendez is appointed to the Senate?
Mark Warner spoke after Boucher. He really fired the crowd up, and at least looked like he was getting ready for 2008 (As an aside, Phillip Puckett made mention of it from stage, as did I when I met him. He seemed to acknowledge he's running without saying it both times). He offered thanks to Southwest Virginia, citing the fact that he likely couldn't have been elected in 2001 without the area behind him.
Tim Kaine was the big finish. He talked about going to a Baptist church in Bristol (I was curious as to which church he went to. I found a lady who seemed to know what she was talking about, who said he first went to the early morning mass at Saint Anne's Catholic Church [confirmed by a person I know who goes there], and then went to Dr. W.A. Johnson's Lee Street Baptist Church in the Kingtown area of Bristol. Rev. Johnson is a close family friend of my parents, so that's kind of neat). He talked about how important voter turnout would be, and how important Southwest Virginia will be. He also made mention that both he and Russ Potts had accepted debates at UVa-Wise (Kilgore's alma mater) and in Gate City (Kilgore's hometown). Everybody got some good chuckles out of the fact that Kilgore won't even debate on home turf.

After everyone spoke, I decided it was picture time. With my dad at my side, with a five dollar disposable camera from Wal-Mart, we headed toward the stage. I had already met and had my picture taken with Leslie Byrne and Creigh Deeds, so I decided to see who else would pose for a quick picture.

We walked up to Tim Kaine first. He remembered my name (I lost my name tag somewhere), and called my high school by name, too. Well, that was neat. He was happy to get a picture, and I wished him luck in November, and made my way toward Rick Boucher.

I never realized how nice a guy Rick Boucher is. He was happy to get a picture with me, and we talked about stem cell research (I'm a diabetic) and agriculture (from a long line of farmers) for a few minutes. My dad called him Rick and and acted like he had known him for years. Just an all around nice guy.

The last person I was hoping to get a picture with, Mark Warner, was standing about ten feet from me, down in the grass. We went down there, and waited about five or so minutes. Similar to how I never realized how nice Boucher was, I never knew how tall Mark Warner is. I'm 6'4", and he is at least as tall as I am, but looked taller, since he's fairly skinny (whereas I'm...not). He was extremely friendly, posed for a picture, then talked a minute or two about how George Bush had screwed America up ("It's a pretty big mess.").

My Dad and I then made our way toward the exit, where we found my Mom and sister talking to Phillip Puckett (a family friend from back when he was in elementary school with my late aunt). He had found them a big sign for my uncle's yard, which is positioned in a nice, high visibility area between Hansonville and Castlewood.

Overall, I had a really great time. So did my family. I'm looking forward to the 2006 picnic.

We got a whole bunch of pictures, of which I'll post a few (along with the pictures from the Highlands Festival with Russ Potts from August) when I get them developed.

Okay, no big Chief Justice coverage from me. Bush has nominated John Roberts to be Chief Justice, rather than just Associate Justice.

But never fear, I'll be covering later tonight potential nominees to replace Sandra Day O'Connor!


Sunday, September 04, 2005

R.I.P. William Rehnquist

According to, Chief Justice William H. Rehnquist, aged 80, passed on just after 11:00 pm tonight in his Virginia home.

My deepest condolences go to Justice Rehnquist's family.

But in this time of sorrow, we must wonder, who will President Bush replace him with? And will John Roberts be totally forgotten and approved 94-6 or so, or will Democrats be emboldened and vote 55-45, or form a coalition with 5 or 6 liberal Republicans, and vote him down?

My thoughts:
For Chief Justice:
1-Justice Antonin Scalia
2-Justice Clarence Thomas
3-Attorney General Alberto Gonzales
4-Fmr. Attorney General John Ashcroft

I expect either Thomas or Gonzales, but I just put Ashcroft in there as pure speculation, just to see how nervy George Bush is.

Oh boy! I'll get to do that whole Supreme Court coverage spiel again!

Until tomorrow.


Friday, September 02, 2005

Pray For Dixie and The Fat Man

I'm sorry I haven't been posting lately, and I will make a full-blown politics post Saturday. But right now, I turn away from politics a few moments.
Now, we all know about the tragedy in Mississippi and Louisiana (particularly the 9th Ward), and I've been keeping the people in my thoughts and prayers, as I hope you have too.

But I came home from school today only to hear that one of my favorite rock singers, the legendary Fats Domino ( is missing. According to MSNBC, he and his wife, Rosemary, and their children and grandchildren, decided to stay in their 9th Ward home in New Orleans and ride out the storm. Their neighborhood was one of the hardest hit, and he hasn't been heard from since August 28th. Fats is 77 years old, and, to my understanding, not in the best health. We need to keep this legendary Rocker in our prayers and pray for his safe recovery.

I would write more, but I'm having ridiculous amounts of homework, and it's keeping me weighted down. I will write, however, on Saturday.

Until then, I'm out like a fat kid in dodge ball (oh the terrible memories),