Friday, December 30, 2005
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?
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
According to this story on CNN.com, 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
Friday, December 23, 2005
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
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;
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
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.
That being said...
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
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
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.
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.
Thursday, December 15, 2005
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
Tuesday, December 13, 2005
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.)
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 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?
WARNER WINS SOUTH CAROLINA PRIMARY
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
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
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
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
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
(p.s. - Seems my ability to change the time on Blogger is gone. This post should be 12:57 am)