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

Thursday, August 03, 2006

Update Your Blogrolls!

The new blog can be found at, so update any links to me you might have.

(Thanks for linking to me, by the way)


Okay, We're Ready!!

Alright. Are you ready for the big surprise?! Then go right here.

I'll be leaving all my old posts here on this site, so if you're looking for something old I wrote, it'll be here.

Also, everybody update their links to me (if you're linked to me, that is).


Tuesday, August 01, 2006

We're Not Ready Yet...

I said I would be ready with big news and a new look on August 1st. Well, we're here, and I'm not ready. Check back on August 3rd, and everything will be in working order.


Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Coming Soon To A Blog Near You...

I've been laying off of the blogging for quite a while, and I'll continue to do so for a few more days (big project I'm working on here at the house). I'll be back on August 1st with a new look, some new posts, and one post in particular guaranteed to get some folks ticked off, and get some folks shouting "amen." It's basically going to be an all-new "Neal 2028" with a writing style and format a bit different.

Until I'm back with a new style of political writing, I've added a poll completely unrelated to politics - concerning the Washington Nationals. Vote in it.

Keep an eye out for the "new" "Neal 2028" on August 1st!




Who do you believe is the best person to manage the Nats in 2007?

Frank Robinson (current WSH manager)
Davey Johnson (with the WSH org)
Lou Pinella (former NYY manager)
Davey Lopes (former MIL manager)
Mitchell Page (WSH hitting coach)
Terry Pendelton (ATL hitting coach)
Eric Wedge (CLE manager)
Jack McKeon (former FLA maanger)
Felipe Alou (SF manager)
Ozzie Smith (former STL SS)
Other (Specify in comments)

Monday, July 10, 2006

Would You Vote For...

I'd like to try to guage what Virginia Democrats (or any kind of Democrats) think about different 2008 presidential candidates. This is not whether you would vote for them in the general election over the Republican, but rather in the primaries. You can answer yes to as many as you want, even if you don't intend to vote for them, just if you would (follow me?). So, after I list these folks, copy-paste them to the comments section with a yes, no, or maybe beside their name (if you've never heard of them, put "say who?" or something like that), and then any amout of explaination you may want to give. I'll do a "reporting" post on it in a day or two.

I've went ahead and put my preliminary answers down.

John Kerry - Yes
Hillary Clinton - No
Mark Warner - Yes
Joe Biden - Yes
Tom Vilsack - Maybe
John Edwards -Yes
Wesley Clark - Yes
Evan Bayh - Maybe
Chris Dodd - Yes
Russ Feingold - No
Bill Richardson - Maybe
Mike Gravel - No
Ben Nelson - No
Tom Daschle - Maybe
Dennis Kucinich - Maybe


Sunday, July 09, 2006

Will Wampler Have An Opponent?

My state Senator, William Wampler, Jr., is up for re-election next year, and all signs indicate he's going to run again for what, as my count gives me, will be a sixth term in the General Assembly.

But will he even have an opponent?

I certainly hope so.

District-wide in 2003, only 24 voteswere for some one other than Wampler, and those were write-ins. In 1999, it was 39 write-in votes. So what is the problem here, folks?

A long-time incumbent Republican hasn't faced a serious opponent in years. I honestly couldn't name you one thing that William Wampler has done in the past 18 years for this district.

I am calling on the Democratic party to field a viable candidate to oppose Senator Wampler. There is no excuse to not field a challenger. Mark Warner won in 2001, Tim Kaine won in 2005. We're on a roll. We're on track to take back the General Assembly in a couple of cycles.

To take back the General Assembly, we have to start in areas not only that are high-profile, swing-districts, but in places where an incumbent GOPer is out of practice and rusty at campaigning, and doesn't have a whole lot to tout in respect to successes.

Starting Monday, I'm going to be asking around to see if anyone is going to run against William Wampler. Just because his dad was in Congress and he's been in the General Assembly a few years, that doesn't mean he should get a free pass every time he's up for re-election.

Let's take the first step to take back the General Assembly by defeating William Wampler in 2007!


Saturday, July 08, 2006

What My "Band" Plays...

Yesterday, I read on Virginia Centrist that the proprietor of that blog is now involved with a cover band, and listed the songs they'll be working on.

Well, I can't say as I've ever heard any of the songs, since they appear to all be rock, but I'm sure they'll do a great job at it.

I play a little bit of music myself. I wouldn't call what we do a "band" per se, but we do have a set list of songs we usually play, and we have played three or four little appearances (although, since we didn't get paid, I don't call it a "band").

I usually sing lead (baritone), play the rhythm guitar, with an occasional break on it. My dad plays the fiddle, sings harmony, and also some lead (and then, of course, I sing harmony). A retired bus driver plays base fiddle for us, my second cousin plays banjo, my uncle sometimes plays mandolin, and one of my dad's old band members plays lead guitar.

Here's our "setlist":
I Gotta Travel On - Bill Monroe
Kiss An Angel Good Morning - Charley Pride
Van Lear Rose - Loretta Lynn
I Saw the Light - Hank Williams
Precious Jewel - Roy Acuff
Wreck of the Old 97 - traditional
Keep On the Sunny Side - Carter Family
I'm Movin' On - Hank Snow
Still Doin' Time - George Jones
If There Ain't, There Oughta Be - Marty Stuart
Freeborn Man - Jimmy Martin
Ida Red - traditional
Boy Named Sue - George Jones
Her Name Is - George Jones
Six Pack To Go - Hank Thompson
Honky Tonk Blues - Hank Williams
Border Line - Jim & Jesse (This is an instrumental, so I don't do much on it)
I've Always Been Crazy - Waylon Jennings
The Ghost of Hank Williams - David Allan Coe
Tennessee Whiskey - George Jones
What Is Truth? - Johnny Cash
How High Did You Go? - John Conlee
And we always close with...
Will the Circle Be Unbroken? - Carter Family

So there ya go. We're available for dinners, birthdays, concerts, etc. (if you want a good laugh).


Friday, July 07, 2006

Lieberman v. Lamont, My Pick.

I watched the debate on MSNBC between Senator Joe Lieberman and Ned Lamont, in its entirety, earlier tonight.

I hadn't really formed an opinion before this debate (although I was leaning Lamont), but after seeing this, I can say one thing with certainty:

It is in the best interest of our party if Joe Lieberman wins this primary.

Granted, I don't agree with his positions on Iraq or free trade, but I do agree with his positions in a lot of other places.

1-I agree with his support of embryonic stem cell research.
2-I agree with his December, 2005 vote not to reauthorize the Patriot Act.
3-I agree with his support of a raise to the minimum wage to make it more fair.
4-I agree with his support for the repeal of the Bush tax cut on the wealthiest 2%.
5-I agree with his support for educating teenage girls about contraceptives to prevent unwanted pregnancy.

I believe Ned Lamont would make a good Senator, but I believe he'll have to face more issues in a six year term than the Iraq War, and I doubt he'll be able to make much progress on other things, since he seems fairly unwilling to work with the other side (and before you say, "Well, all Republicans are against us," look at Orrin Hatch's and Arlen Specter's work [as well as the late Strom Thurmond] in support of stem cell research).

I believe that Joe Lieberman is a great Senator, and deserves six more years.

If we are to remain the "big tent party" we talk about being, I believe we must support moderates on their merits, not drive them all out of the party on one or two divisive wedge issues.


He's a Great Guy, But...

For the love of God, please lose the sunglasses and hat.

It looks like Jim Webb is in hiding from the camera guys that George Allen has tailing him. It seems offputting to me, for one, that Webb looks like he's avoiding people seeing him, or looking people in the eye.

I don't know about you all, but when someone asks for my vote, I would like to be able to pick them out of a lineup at a later date.

So, again, if the Webb campaign is reading this, please lose the sunglasses and hat. It doesn't do anything for your candidate.


Tuesday, July 04, 2006

Jesse McReynolds And Ralph Stanley? I Lucked Up!

Here are some pictures from the Coeburn concert with Jesse McReynolds on the 1st. Not only was Jesse McReynolds there, but Ralph Stanley II did a full set, and Dr. Ralph Stanley himself even made a brief appearance. I, of course, got autographs from Jesse McReynolds, and from Ralph Stanley (not his son though, since I wasn't willing to wait in line).

Jesse McReynolds did two sets; one at 7:00 and one at 8:00. He played until about 9:00. He did songs like "Wabash Cannonball," "Maybelline," "America on Bended Knee," "You'll Find Her Name Written There," "Border Ride," and many others. He did a great job, as always.

Ralph Stanley wasn't feeling well, so he only sang one song, "O Death," by himself. He played a banjo tune clawhammer-style on a banjo he bought for his grandson, sang "The Lonesome River" with Jesse McReynolds (the first time they had ever sang any song together, Jesse said), and "Rank Stranger" with Ralph Stanley II.

Ralph Stanley II did several songs, most of which I didn't know, and a few I did, like "Mountain Dew," "Kady Hill," and "Carrying On."

I really enjoyed the concert. Below, you'll find two pictures I took. The first is Jesse McReynolds playing "Poor Boy On the Line." In the second, you'll see Jesse and Dr. Ralph Stanley singing their duet.

(I won't post tomorrow, as I'll be in Charleston, West Virginia on a little road trip. I'm going to drop by the capitol building, so expect pictures soon.)


Monday, July 03, 2006

When Young Democrats Get Together...

Yesterday, I went to the first-ever meeting of the new Southwest Virginia Young Democrats, a group of folks under 35 who believe in the principles of the Democratic party and are eager to change things.

I would say there was somewhere between 15-20 people there, including a couple of guests.

We elected officers (Tabitha Peace was elected President, Brian Patton was elected Vice President, Sara Sword was elected Secretary and Joseph Puckett was elected Treasurer), and decided upon a meeting date and location for next time (first Sunday in August at 6:00 pm, at McAdo's (I probably didn't spell that right) in Marion.

I'm really excited about this group. I think that, as a rule, younger Democrats are more willing to get out and evangelize to non-Democrats. And, when you get almost 20 of us together, only good things can happen.

I'm going to try to get two or three friends to come with me to the next meeting, and, if you're reading this, and you're under 35 (or over, too), and you live in the 9th congressional district, I expect to see you at the next meeting, too.


Saturday, July 01, 2006

Bluegrass in the Mountains

I'm heading off right now to Coeburn to see Jesse McReynolds play at his annual 4th of July picnic. Mr. McReynolds is a bluegrass legend, and I look forward to hearing him play. This will be my fourth trip to the event, and he gets better and better every time. I suggest you got to and buy The Jim and Jesse Story: 24 Greatest Hits to hear some of Mr. McReynolds's classic work with his brother Jim.

I'll be heading to the SWVA Young Democrats' 1st meeting tomorrow, and I'll let you know how that goes.


Sunday, June 25, 2006

I'm Back! Yay! Okay, Anyway...

I'm back from my little post-primary vacation, did you miss me?

Anyway, Jim Webb is working hard now to be elected our next senator. I have full confidence in him and his campaigning abilities, but I have serious reservations about his staff. They couldn't really combat Harris Miller's attacks, and just got over the finish line by the seats of their pants. Harris Miller ran a good campaign, and his attack ads were second to none. Except, that is, second to what we'll see from George Allen's attack machine.

Dick Wadhams is an even better dirty campaigner than Scott Howell was, and he'll do everything he can to beat Jim Webb.

Everybody is saying, "Oh, you can't swift-boat Jim Webb. He's a hero." Well, yes, but does that matter? Not really. Once it's out in the media, no amount of the Webb folks calling for retractions or apologies will get it out of the swing voters' heads. We need to take the campaign to George Allen. We need to hit him from every possible angle. Get Mark Warner back from Iowa and New Hampshire for a couple weeks around, say, late October, to barnstorm Southwest Virginia for Webb. Get Tim Kaine on the campaign trail this summer in Northern Virginia swing areas like Loudon and Prince William Counties. See if Doug Wilder will speak for Webb in the black neighborhoods. And, while all of that is going on, get Jim Webb into every big city, midsized town, and rural wide spot in the road that his schedules can.

Like Webb and Mudcat Saunders have both said, this race will be won in the 6th, 5th, and 9th districts. Well, let's get Webb out of Fairfax and Alexandria and down here. Sure, it's fun to campaign in areas where you'll get 500 people screaming for you in the streets, but they're already voting for you. Go to the places where people don't know your name, and are impressionable. Don't preach to the choir, they're already saved.

So, in closing, I hope to get to meet and talk to Jim Webb soon. I hope to see him here, in Southwest Virginia, preaching to the people who aren't in the choir just yet.


(I'll try to write something Tuesday--tomorrow I have to be up at the high school to pick up our [ridiculously late] yearbooks.)

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Webb Wins!

With 99.88% precincts reporting (including my own, which we phoned in at 7:15), Jim Webb defeats Harris Miller with 53% of the vote, to Miller's 47%.

Here in Bristol, Webb won 55%-45%. In my precinct, however, Miller received 53% of the vote (28 votes), as opposed to Webb's 47% (24 votes).

I'll have a full opinion tomorrow, but right now, I've been up since 4:15 a.m., and I'm tired.

Congratulations to Jim Webb and all the Webb folks. Good night.

Sunday, June 11, 2006

9th CD Convention & Why I'm Voting for Webb

I won't be posting part six of my "Why I'm Voting for Webb" series tonight, since I'm not feeling the best and the drive to Marion didn't help me.

Look for Part Six tomorrow and Part Seven on Monday (not only can I get some extra sleep, I think it would be nifty to end my little series the day before the election). I'll go ahead and let you know that the subject will be economic policy.

I went to the 9th District Democratic Convention today. I won't do a full rundown of it (once again, I don't feel good) until tomorrow. But I will do a quick grade of speeches (not in any real order):
Delegate Dan Bowling - Pretty good. A little short, but still good.
Senator Phillip Puckett - A lady behind me said "He's such a good speaker and a good person. I hope he runs again in 2009." I believe that said it all.
Senator Creigh Deeds - Creigh Deeds electrifies any room he talks to, and he certainly didn't diappoint. A great job.
Senator John Edwards - I really enjoyed John Edwards's speech. He hit the Bush administration hard, and I think we all apprecitated it.
Senator Roscoe Reynolds - I always like to hear Senator Reynolds. He did great.
Congressman Rick Boucher - Rick Boucher is, as was demonstrated today, a rock star among SWVA Democrats. He gave one of the best speeches I've heard him give. He also introduced his new wife, who is a very nice lady. An excellent speech.

And, last but certainly not least...
Brian Patton - Brian gave the seconding speech to nominate Rick Boucher. He had folks all around the hall talking about him. A very good job. I can see him, like Rick Boucher said, serving Dickenson County or a greater portion of the state at some point later on.

Okay, the whole rundown of the convention, and my "Why I'm Voting for Webb" will be up tomorrow.


Saturday, June 10, 2006

Why I'm Voting for Webb - Part Five of Seven

This is my fifth of seven posts explaining why I support Jim Webb. I suggest reading the first four, too.

And now,

Reason Five: Labor and Outsourcing

Down here in my part of the state, we've been hit hard by, at different times, dishonest coal companies, huge job loss, the influx of cheap labor, non-unionized labor, and jobs going out of the area.

A lof of this area's early economy focused on coal companies. The town of Dante, where my maternal grandpa was born, was created specifically as a coal company town, as were many others. At that time (1910's, 1920's), the coal companies were, at times, pretty unfair with the workers. They paid them not in money, but in credits to use at their own company stores. Nobody could get ahead in life. Until, that is, unions started forming. The UWMA, led by President John L. Lewis, fought in favor of collective barganing and of workers' rights. If not for labor unions fighting for the people in the past, I would be afraid to even guess what kind of situation mine workers would be in today.

My maternal grandpa was a sharecropper. He worked from the 1940's until the 1980's as a tobacco picker. In the beginning, he was paid $1.10 an hour. And, even at the end, he was paid $1.50 an hour. Why did he lose the job? The farmowner brought in immigrant workers from Mexico (illegaly, I might add). These workers worked for, and continue even today, to work for a ridiculously small amount of money (I understand it is now $3.50 an hour).

Our American workers can't compete with that on our own turf. Let alone on foreign soil, where the business wouldn't even have to pay $3.50 an hour.

Very recently, here in Bristol, companies like Dana, Bristol Compressors, and Snack Alliance, and others, have either discussed, or approved moving jobs out of the area, and, in some cases, to Mexico. This, my friends, is perhaps the worst thing that can happen to a working person. Their job goes out of the country because they can't work for $1.50 or $2.00 an hour.

James Webb is the candidate in this race who has been endorsed by the SMWIA, LIUNA, and other workers' rights groups because he is the only candidate in this race who will consistently protect American jobs, and will fight to keep those jobs in America. James Webb will be, as he himself has stated, the "anti-outsourcing" Senator. He will fight for a higher minimum wage, fight for better working conditions, and for more stringint safety standards. It is evident that, according to the AFL-CIO, James Webb is the only candidate who will be one of the "good guys" for labor and for the worker.

James Webb. Working for the working class.


(Coming tomorrow: Part six, plus a 9th CD convention roundup)

Friday, June 09, 2006

Why I'm Voting for Webb - Part Four of Seven

This is the fourth installment in my seven-part series. Here we go...

Reason Four: Ethics and Morals

The Republicans ran in 1994 for the House and Senate to be the solution to the corruption problem. Now, just 12 years later, they're the problem, not the solution.

Congressman Duke Cunningham (R-CA) was recently found guilty of taking bribes and sentenced to jail time. Congressman Bob Ney (R-OH), and of course, our buddy Tom DeLay are under investigation, with DeLay already facing a trial. Congressman John Doolittle (R-CA) and Senator Conrad Burns (R-MT) may soon be investigated. Dick Cheney's chief of staff, Scooter Libby, is under investigation. For a party that constantly harps on morals, the Republicans could stand to go back to Sunday school for a few weeks.

And this is not to say our party doesn't have it's share of corruption (Bill Jefferson), but at least in our case, the Democratic House leaders have called for Jefferson to step aside of his post on the Ways and Means Committee.

It is ridiculous to me that members of Congress - the peoples' house - think that they can do whatever they want to do and get away with it.

James Webb is as honest, ethical, and principled as any politician I have ever heard speak. He won't yield to unethical practices in Washington that other candidates in this race might.

We need a voice in the U.S. Senate who will honorably represent us, and not just say what sounds the best at the time. He will stand up to lobbyists and special interests and do what's best for our state.

As for the question of moral issues ("wedge issues," to be better described), James Webb will be an honest and progressive vote. He's against the Virginia Marriage Amendment, and, presumably, the Federal Amendment, too. He's for civil unions, and has an excellent reason to not support gay marriage; his personal religious belief. He's pro-choice, in keeping with his "the government ends at my front door" belief.

James Webb is on the right side of the issues when it comes to ethics and morals. James Webb will be a shining example of what is good about the Democratic Party.


(Coming tomorrow: The one I'm really looking forward to; Labor and Outsourcing. Stay tuned.)

Wednesday, June 07, 2006

Why I'm Voting for Webb - Part Three of Seven

Now, continuing my ongoing series of posts on why to vote for Webb,

Reason Three: Privacy

In this part of the country, our rights are very important to us. We don't like the government to mess around in our personal affairs.

The warrantless wiretaps are, in my opinion, and apparently a lot of other folks' opinions, illegal. The administration argues, "well, if we go through the channels, we're wasting valuable time." Well, like Joe Biden explained, even if you don't go to the FISA Court first, that's fine. As long as you go to them within 72 hours of the start of the wiretap, so that the FISA Court can approve it. And there's no argument against doing it that way. At the end of 2004, there had been a grand total of 18,761 warrants granted, and only 5 turned down. So, if it is indeed needed, it won't be turned down. It's that simple.

This has done irreparable damage to our reputation, and to the Judicial branch. The Judiciary is supposed to make sure everything that goes on is Constitutional, but when the executive branch won't comply, it creates a problem. This particular problem even caused a highly respected jurist, Judge James Robertson, to resign the FISA bench in protest. And the Bush administration still refuses to go through the simple, proper channels. Why? Protecting our national security? Probably not. Arrogance? Probably so.

James Webb understands the importance of privacy, and of the government conducting itself honorably. He served with the Veterans Affairs Committee and in Ronald Reagan's administration (and resigned on principle, over a reduction of Navy forces). He knows a thing or two about good government.

James Webb said on May 11th that the wiretapping was not only illegal, but dangerous. He said, "National security is vital, but the Congress must always protect against the abuse of our individual rights."

I trust James Webb to keep the government out of my house and off my phoneline. He understands that it is vital that we retain our civil liberties during war time, or we would be no better than the very nations we have historically fought against.

James Webb. Protecting our privacy.


Why I'm Voting for Webb - Part Two of Seven

(This is part two of my seven-section post, which I began last night. I would suggest you would start by reading that, if you haven't.)

I support James Webb for the Senate. I intend to vote for Webb, not against Miller. This is my second reason, out of seven, as to why.

Reason Two: Veterans' Issues

James Webb is a veteran. So was his father, and his son is in the military right now. My dad, my grandpa, two uncles, and countless cousins, great-uncles, and other relatives have served in the military.

I believe our veterans are one of our most treasured resources. They've been in the trenches, fighting for this country. They can offer insight and leadership that no one else can.

The Department of Veterans Affairs is, in my opinion, one of the most important agencies we have. Veterans deserve the best health care, they best support services, and the best pension pay available. But they're not getting it. The reality is that many of our V.A. hospitals have their hands tied by the department, and are unable to fully treat our veterans in the best way possible. Many of our veterans wait weeks for vital treatment, and that is way beyond wrong. We need to reform the Department of Veterans Affairs to make it more efficient, and to speed up waiting times, and to prevent against any problems the veterans may encounter. We need to dramatically increase the funding. Last year, the Department of Veterans' Affairs received 60 billion dollars, as compared to 419 billion for the Department of Defense. A little lop-sided? You bet.

James Webb understands the plight of our nation's veterans. That's why he has proposed a permanent 5% tax cut for all veterans. James Webb will be a voice for not only our nation's fighting men and women, but for those who have already served. As a Senator, Webb will improve the service at the Veterans' Hospitals. He will strive to see that all our veterans are treated with the dignity they deserve. James Webb in the Senate will be a watchdog to guard against any fiascos like the recent theft of 22 million veterans' personal records.

James Webb. Serving those who have served us.


Tuesday, June 06, 2006

Why I'm Voting For Webb - Part One of Seven

Early on in this primary, I was fairly vocal about my support for Secretary of the Navy James Webb. But, as it went on, things became pretty negative. Since then, I've been a bit burned out on discussing the primary, since things weren't positive. I've been looking for a way to express why I will vote for Webb, and not against Miller.

So I said to myself, what should I do? I decided that, with seven days left until the election, I intend to write seven posts on why I support James Webb.

Reason One: Iraq War.

I have believed since Day One that the Iraq War was the wrong war at the wrong time. We had no reason to go in other than rumors and unfounded statements. Folks say, "we had bad intelligence." Well, you should never go into a war without the best intelligence possible. If it's old, vague, or from a non-reliable source, don't trust it.

I would love to pull out of Iraq tomorrow and bring every soldier home. But I'm a realist. I know we can't do that. We have to have a solid, defined time table. Say, six months. On December 6th, bring home 25% of the troops. Have them back in their hometowns in time for Christmas. Six or eight months later, bring home another 25%, and so forth. We made this mess, and we had to stay around a while. But it's time for us to quit babysitting the entire nation of Iraq.

James Webb knows this. He understands how to win a war, and he knows this isn't it. We're losing, and without the help of the entire world in the next few months, we could be stuck there for years and years. James Webb would have voted against the war in the first place, and I trust him to vote to end it when he gets the chance in the Senate.

(Look for part two tomorrow, and maybe part three tomorrow night)


Sunday, June 04, 2006

Picture of the Day

I just got in from a hard day of work a while ago, so here's what'll have to pass for an intelligent post, at least until tomorrow.



Thursday, June 01, 2006

Quick Rundown...

I've been working hard, keeping myself busy without school, out in the yard most of the day. You all will be glad to hear I got a big tree/bush kind of thing cut down, and found out there was a fence under there attached to my house. I've lived here almost 13 years, and never realized that. Who knew...

I've been running back and forth to Wal-Mart all day to get yard-stuff (I made a big hit going in there covered in woodchips and smelling like motor oil). I saw a big, older Lincoln with two Jim Webb bumper stickers, which was refreshing.

I watched the Today Show this morning, and their endless ongoing goodbye to Katie Couric, and I got to thinking; Why is everybody crying? The lady got a huge, multi-million dollar contract to be on nation television five nights a week. She's not moving to Bangladesh or anything. She'll be in-town. I think all the tearful goodbyes was a little over-the-top.

Okay, first, Harris Miller calls Southwest Virginians "people down there," and he doesn't like country music, but chooses opera? I'm trying my best to stay positive, but dear God...

On June 12th, Senator Robert C. Byrd (D-WV) will break the Senate service record recently set by Senator Strom Thurmond (D/R-SC). On the 12th, Byrd will have served 17,327 days in the upper body of Congress. All I can say is wow.

I e-mailed the 9th CD convention specifics to Ryan at the Webb campaign and Greg at the Miller campaign yesterday, and I haven't heard anything back yet. I'll let you know, though.

Okay, I have to go to Lebanon tomorrow, so good night.


Tuesday, May 30, 2006

9th CD Convention...Webb and Miller No-Shows...

Okay, so last night, I decided to call the Webb and Miller campaigns, and see if they'll be attending the 9th district convention on June 10th in Marion.

I called the Miller folks first (since I came to their number first in my cell phone directory), at about 8:50 or 9:00. The guy who answered didn't know if Miller would be coming and told me to call back, which I did at around 7:30. I called Webb's folks at around 9:10, and they, too, said to try back later. I did that at like 7:40.

First, the Miller campaign; First, understand that I've had a long day. And both campaigns have 703 area codes, and the numbers looked basically the same to me. When I called the first number back, my phone cut out, and I heard " --- --- for Senate." So I just played it safe; I refered to "the candidate" coming to our convention. Apparently, "the candidate" was is going to be in the Tidewater area that day, but will try to send a surrogate. I said, "Well, I know Phillip Puckett and Chap Petersen endorsed Webb, and Leslie Byrne did really well in the coalfields," to which he responded, "Actually, this is the Miller campaign." Crap. I apologized, said I had been trying to call both campaigns, and "Northern Virginia folks all sound similar." He said it was fine, and to e-mail him the information and he would let me know about what kind of surrogate they would try to send (I suggested Jack Kennedy, and, even though he's made no endorsement, Dan Bowling).

I then called the Webb campaign. The guy I talked to said it looked like Webb wouldn't be able to make it. So I suggested they send a surrogate, either Puckett, Petersen, or Byrne (since she's awesome). He said to send the information, and he'd let me know what he found out.

So, there we have it. So, let me pose the question to you all; Since neither candidate will be there, which will make a better showing with a surrogate speaker?

(I'll give my opinions later--I've got to go to Wal Mart)


Monday, May 29, 2006

Too Many Emotions

Yesterday, I officialy entered the real world. I graduated high school. For everybody who remembers theirs, they know how emotional it is. I had joy, fear, sadness, pride, and every other emotion you can imagine going through me.

I don't know how many times in the last 24 hours I've heard something funny and said to myself, "that's good. I'll tell them about that at Sc--" and stopped myself. It's weird. Yes, I'll be starting college, and yes, many of my friends will be there with me, but yesterday was really the last time we would all be together. That was it. Some of my class went for military assignments afterward, some left immediatley for a far-off college.

It doesn't seem real. It doesn't seem like it's been two weeks since my first day of ninth grade. I guess it's true that time waits for no one.

I'll readily admit I cried. We all did. In a school small as mine, we all knew each other. I've grown up with these people. I've shared countless laughes with them, and an awful lot of wild times. (Hey Justin, remember the chicken livers?)

Last night, I went with my friend Ronald and this girl he likes (Megahn went to dinner with her family), and we saw "The Da Vinci Code." It was awesome. People have to remember it's all fiction. There were a couple folks who got up in the middle of it and left (apparently they thought it was actually about Leonardo Da Vinci). But I did enjoy the story. It was like a jumbo version of "National Treasure," only there's no gold involved. I would rate "Da Vinci Code" an A- or a B+.

I'll be getting back to politics tomorrow, and I'll be offering some opinions of the Webb-Miller contest.


Friday, May 26, 2006

Graduation - See You Sunday!

I won't be posting any politics stories tonight, Friday, or Saturday. I'll be pretty busy; Friday is my last exam (English, an easy one). Saturday is my high school graduation, and after graduation, me and a couple friends will be going to see "The Da Vinci Code".

Everybody say a little prayer for me, and wish me luck! I'll see you all Sunday.


Tuesday, May 23, 2006

R.I.P. Billy Walker

On Sunday morning, Billy Walker, a country music legend and 46-year member of the historic Grand Ole Opry, was killed in a car wreck near Montgomery, Alabama. He was 77. CBS has the story here.

Also in the vehicle with him was his wife, and two band members.

His big hit songs were "Cross the Brazos at Waco," "Charlie's Shoes," "Funny How Time Slips Away," and "The Morning Paper."

Billy Walker was scheduled to be on the fateful flight in March of 1963 that took Hawkshaw Hawkins, Cowboy Copas, and Patsy Cline from the world. If not for switching tickets with Hawkshaw Hawkins (who had a private plane) so he could get home for a family emergency, he would have been killed along with the other three legends.

Mr. Walker was extremely underappreciated. He was really one of the few remaining entertainers. Not just singers or performers. Entertainers. He always put on an A-Class show.

I really liked Billy Walker. Three or so years ago, I sent him an e-mail telling him how I liked his songs, and asking if he would have any advice he could pass on to me (as I was, at that time, learning to play the guitar and sing country songs). To my surprise, he e-mailed me back, and gave me the advice to not try to learn to read music, and just to play it by ear--he called it "by heart"--which is what I did, and I'm glad I took his advice.

After that, I e-mailed him occasionaly, and he would e-mail me back, and, eventually, I was honored to call him my friend.

Mr. Walker was a very religious man, and I know that he's gone on to Heaven. The Heaven he talked about so often and was ready to see.

I just wish he didn't have to see it so soon.


Let's Play Nice

In case you hadn't heard (and, if you're a regular blogger who hasn't heard, you've been living under a rock), we've got a primary coming up in June. And, in until then, we've got to learn to get along a little better.

We've got emotions running extremely high on both sides. But, let's remember, we are all trying to accomplish the same thing: defeating George Allen in November.

Now, I'll openly admit that early on in this campaign, I was opposed to the idea of a Webb candidacy, and vocally so. But, after a good deal of reading, studying, and thinking, I changed sides and became a Webb supporter. After hearing more and more about Harris Miller, I came to dislike him, even, at one point, on one blog, vowing not to vote for him if he were the Democratic nominee.

I went too far.

Don't get me wrong; I'm still 1000% behind Webb, and I still would never vote for Miller in the primary, but that's just my personal decision. If a majority of people who vote in the primary come to a different personal decision, I'll hop on the bandwagon like all of us should.

Back in June of 2005, I'm sure you all remember it, we had a big primary for the Lt. Governor nomination. Initially, I was for Puckett. When I decided it wasn't going in his favor, I jumped ship and went to Chap Petersen. When Leslie Byrne won the primary, I was big in favor of her. It doesn't matter who carries the banner. It doesn't matter if the more charismatic guy gets the nomination. What matters is that we do what's right for the party, what's right for the state, what's right for the country. And the right thing for our party, state, and country is to support the Democratic nominee.

Keep on campaigning hard for James Webb or Harris Miller. I'll be campaigning big for Webb. But, on June 14th, we all need to unite behind the nominee. Because any Democrat is better than a Republican.

What I'm getting at here is simple; Let's play nice. We're all Democrats. We all want George Allen seeking gainful employment in January 2007. So let's stop this circular firing squad we've started, and start taking the fight to Allen.

I'll take a pledge (and it would be good if the other folks would, too) right now. For the remainder of this campaign, I won't be attacking Harris Miller. I won't be pointing out all of Haris Miller's bad points. I don't want people voting against Miller. I want people voting for Webb. I fully intend to point out James Webb's strong points, his stances on the issues, and why he would make a better Senator that George Allen.

Just my two cents.


Monday, May 22, 2006

Support Stem Cell Research Now!

Via RaisingKaine, I found this editorial, written by Delegate Brian Moran.

One of the most important issues to me today is stem cell research.

I'm a Type-I diabetic (for 10 years this June), my late aunt died in August of Type-I diabetes complications, my father, my mother, and one of my paternal uncles has Type-II diabetes. My late grandfather, God rest his soul, died in August of complications of Type-II diabetes, Alzheimer's disease, and, unbeknownst to us until he passed, lung cancer. All of these ailments could be cured if stem cell research would be allowed to continue with ample funding.

Ronald Reagan, Christopher Reeve, Pope John Paul II, Johnny Cash, Waylon Jennings, and Johnny Carson all died of diseases that could also have been cured with the discoveries that could have been.

Let's get something straight here before we go any further. An embryonic stem cell is not a human. By another name, a stem cell is a blastocyst. It's an approximatley 1-week old embryo with anywhere between 50 and 150 cells in it. They are totipotent, which means they can continue to grow, which therefore means they could conceivabley be grown into cells that could regenerate the affected parts of a person's body (i.e., repair the pancreas, repair the spinal cord, etc.).

The embryos that would be used are the left-overs from fertility clincis. Some folks argue that these are human beings, so they shouldn't be used for research. Well, I would counter that, if not used after a period of time (which escapes me at the moment), they will be destroyed. Basically, washed down a sink. Now, I ask you, which is worse--using stem cells to potentially find cures for diseases that, ten years ago, looked to have no cure in sight, or destroying the embryos for lack of anything better to do with them?

I recall a quote from Senator Arlen Specter, one of the Senate's main proponents of stem cell research, from a Sunday news show, during the period he was suffering from cancer. He said something akin to, "I'm not as worried about when life begins as I'm worried about when life ends." There is no more honest argument for stem cell research than that, when countering the rabid pro-life folks. As a matter of fact, I defy anyone who is againt embryonic stem cell research to look in the eyes of someone dying of cancer, diabetes, Alzheimer's, Parkinson's, or any number of other diseases, and tell them that their life isn't worth the time, money, or effort to find a cure for their disease.

So, in closing, I ask that everyone reading this call their Senator of Delegate and urge them to vote against HB 5002, which would ban all forms of stem cell research.


Saturday, May 20, 2006

Repeat This Over and Over Before Election Day...

(I found this on the internet, and I just thought you folks might find it interesting.)

Democratic Prayer
May we have the looks of John F. Kennedy,
the electability of Franklin Roosevelt,
the intelligence of Al Gore,
the charms of Bill Clinton,
and the morality of Jimmy Carter.

May the Republicans have the looks of George W. Bush,
the electability of Dick Cheney,
the intelligence of Dan Quayle
the Charms of Donald Rumsfeld,
and the morality of Richard Nixon.

Democratic curse
May you spend all eternity listening to Donald Rumsfeld explaining his concept of known knowns, known unknowns, unknown knowns, and unknown unknowns, and how to tell the difference between them.

Friday, May 19, 2006

2006 Endorsements

(This is just preliminary. I'll add full explanations on each of these later tonight. Right now, I've got to be somewhere.)

Here's my list of candidates I'm "endorsing" this year. I believe that these folks exemplify what is best about American politics and government today.

U.S. Senate
Senator Ted Kennedy (D-MA)
Senator Robert Byrd (D-WV)
Senator Bill Nelson (D-FL)
Senator Daniel Akaka (D-HI)
Senator Kent Conrad (D-ND)
James Webb (D-VA)
Sherrod Brown (D-OH)
Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI)
Bob Casey (D-PA)
Bernie Sanders (I-VT)
Claire McCaskill (D-MO)
Harold Ford (D-TN)
Ben Cardin (D-MD)
Jon Tester (D-MT)
Jack Carter (D-NV)
Amy Klobuchar (D-MN)

Governor Phil Bredesen (D-TN)
Governor Ed Rendell (D-PA)
Governor Bill Richardson (D-NM)
Governor Kathleen Sebelius (D-KS)
Governor Janet Napolitano (D-AZ)
Ted Strickland (D-OH)
Kinky Friedman (I-TX)
Eliot Spitzer (D-NY)
Rod Smith (D-FL)
Frank Willis (D-SC)
Martin O'Malley (D-MD)
Steve Westly (D-CA)
Deval Patrick (D-MA)
Mike Beebe (D-AR)
Chet Culver (D-IA)
Charlie Fogarty (D-RI)

House of Representatives
Congressman Rick Boucher (D-VA-9)
Congressman Dennis Kucinich (D-OH-10)
Congressman Nick Rahall (D-WV-3)
Congressman Jim Langevin (D-RI-2)
Congressman Raúl Grijalva (D-AZ-7)
Joel Goodman (D-TN-1)
Zack Space (D-OH-18)
Nick Lampson (D-TX-22)
Nikki Tinker (D-TN-9)
Phil Kellam (D-VA-2)
Patty Wetterling (D-MN-6)
Matt Matsunaga (D-HI-2)
Hank Johnson (D-GA-4)
Heath Shuler (D-NC-11)
Tammy Duckworth (D-IL-6)
Ken Lucas (D-KY-4)


Thursday, May 18, 2006

Coming Soon...

Taking a cue from everybody's favorite freshman blogger, I'll be posting a full list of the candidates I'm "endorsing" for 2006 (I know it'll sway a lot of votes). Expect a lot from Virginia, and a few from some other states.

Stay tuned. I know you'll be glued to your seat...


Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Boucher v. Carrico? This'll Be Fun!

So, earlier this week, the 9th District GOP held its convention at George Wythe High School up in Wytheville. As was expected, they nominated Delegate Bill Carrico to be the candidate to run against Rick Boucher. They did a short interview with Del. Carrico on WCYB the night of the event, and he didn't seem to have much to say. He focused more on how "Congressman Carrico" has a nice ring to it than on what he would really do to make things different.

From pictures I saw on Commonwealth Conservative, I see that Kevin Triplett was there. Patrick Muldoon lost the race to be 9th CD chair to the guy who Dan Bowling defeated for House of Delegates (Shea Cook).

I read somewhere that several candidates who lost to Boucher were up on the stage too. Let's see, I saw Triplett (2004) in the picture, Muldoon (1996) was there. Who else was there? Michael Osborne (2000)? Joe Barta (1998)? I really doubt John Brown (1988) was there. I assume Bill Wampler (1982) was there. We talked to Jay Katzen a few days ago, and he seems to be living happily in Washington, DC, so I doubt he was there. Who did I miss?

Just for the record, it would seem like a bad idea to me to have the folks Boucher beat running around everywhere. That would just seem to scream "bad luck." I mean, you'd think they would see a pattern forming?

The 9th District Democratic Convention will be June 10th at Marion High School. I'll be there (as a voting delegate from Bristol), and my dad will come with me. Justin is still unsure on whether he'll be able to go or not, but we hope so. I may even try to convince my girlfriend to come, but she's not exactly a Democrat (actually, she's a Republican...but I'm working on that).

I always get a kick out of the 9th District GOP. Every year is "the year." The year Rick Boucher will make a huge mistake and will go down in defeat. And every year the outcome is the same. I doubt Carrico will break Triplett's record (59%-41%), but he'll probably do better than Michael Osborne (70%-30%). Katzen's total (66%-34%) appears more in-line with what Carrico will get, or maybe a little better.

Anybody else have thoughts on Boucher v. Carrico? And, by the way, if you can, fill me in on the rest of Boucher's opponents (1994, 1992, 1990, 1986--1984 was the late Jeff Stafford).


Okay, thanks to the commenters on here and the folks over at RaisingKaine, here's the full list of Boucher challengers, and, for the most part, their percentages:
1982-Congressman Bill Wampler (this one was extremely close. Percentages, anybody?) (49.6%)
1984-Jeff Stafford (Again, anybody got a percentage on this one, which was close, too?) (48%)
1986-No challenger
1988-John C. Brown (37%)
1990-No challenger
1992-L. Garrett Weddle (37%)
1994-Steve Fast (41%)
1996-Patrick Muldoon (Any takers on this number?) (31%)
1998-Joe Barta (What about this one?) (39%)
2000-Michael Osborne (30%)
2002-Jay Katzen (34%)
2004-Kevin Triplett (41%)
2006-Bill Carrico (???)

UPDATE: So, if you average the vote percentages and divide by 10 (the number of opponents Boucher's faced), we can assume that Bill Carrico will get around 39%, although I think Wampler's and Stafford's totals spoiled the true total. So, therefore, if we take Wampler and Stafford out of the equation, the average vote total for a challenger to Rick Boucher is 36%, which sounds much more reasonable for Carrico.

Friday, May 12, 2006

Note To Miller: Virginia Goes Past Roanoke

I've been reading everywhere that Harris Miller is campaigning full-steam against James Webb for the Senate nomination. Folks are getting automated phone calls. The folks over at NLS say that Miller is doing campaign mailings. But have I (or my mom and dad, or any of my relatives, or anybody I personally know) received anything from Miller? Have I got a call? Did I get a piece of mail? Nope, nope, and nope.

Now, first of all, I'm fine with that. I might listen to the call, I might not. I might read the mailer, and I might not. But for folks in this area to not even get the stuff, that's just insulting. And, before anyone suggests that it has to do with the Prevail voter lists, let me dispell that. I spoke with several of our committee members (who have voted Democrat for decades, and in the Democratic primaries, so their names appear on the Prevail lists), and none of them have had any calls either.

A quick check of Harris Miller's website reveals the following cities as campaign stops: Fairfax, Winchester, Virginia Beach, Glen Allen, Williamsburg, Woodbridge, Warrenton, Vienna, and Danville. Granted, Danville isn't Northern Virginia. But most of the other eight cities are (and the ones that aren't are in the vote rich tidewater area).

Is Harris Miller conceding everything west of Roanoke? Miller likes to talk about Mark Warner and Tim Kaine an awful lot (so much so that Miller's first name could legally be changed to "MarkWarnerTimKaineAndI"), and, correct me if I'm wrong, Mark Warner won with Southwest Virginia. But, hey, Mark Warner just did a Webb fundraiser, so I guess Miller may discount his formula and may try to come up with one of his own. I hear election fraud works pretty well (ask Appalachia)...

I consider this primary to just about be all over but the shouting. The best thing Harris Miller can do for his party is attack George Allen at every turn until June 13th, then, after his loss, be a gentleman about things, endorse Webb, and work to elect him to the U.S. Senate.

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

You Didn't Hear It From Me

I just got back from the monthly Bristol Virginia Democratic Committee meeting about an hour and a half ago.

I went in intending to bring up to the Chairman that we needed to invite some Senate candidates down here. But, apparently, the Senate candidate beat me to it.

James Webb's campaign had been in contact with one of our members who volunteers for his campaign, asking about a location in Bristol where James Webb could come to in late May.

Apparently, the BVDC member, whom we shall call Terry, for that was his name, suggested out annual Memorial Day celebration on May 28th. The event is held downtown on Cumberland Street, at the Veterans' Memorial, and will include a big ceremony by the VFW. The options for Webb apparently are to speak before 11:00 am, or after 2:00 pm. The question was raised as to whether some of the VFW members would like to speak in support of James Webb, and whether they would want to incorporate him, as a former Secretary of the Navy and Vietnam veteran, into their program (I doubt they'll go that far, but it would be nice for some of the VFW members to endorse him publicly)

The appearance hasn't yet officialy been confirmed, but I look for it to be official very soon.

Anybody who is in this part of the country (that includes Dickenson County --cough cough--) should definitly make it out to this event; the Memorial Day celebration is fun enough, but it would be even better to half a hundred or so loud and proud Webb supporters in the crowd for his speech!


One other little note: I'm thinking about running to be Vice Chair for Outreach for the BVDC. Any thoughts?

Well, I guess I better be getting some sleep, as I do have that AP test tomorrow, bright and early.


Monday, May 08, 2006

Convention/Random Notes

Tonight, the BVDC holds it's May meeting. As I'm one of only 5 people who filed for the 5 delegate spots (we get 5 delegates, 2 alternates) for the June 10th 9th CD caucus, I'm good to go.

I intend to bring up inviting James Webb to our June meeting (last year, Phillip Puckett's wife and Chap Petersen's western campaign manager were there) to speak to us, or ask Sam (the chairman) how we would go about inviting Webb to the 9th district convention.

I've been re-reading The Years of Lyndon Johnson: Master of the Senate, and let me highly recommend it to anybody who's even slightly interested in the workings of the Senate in the 1940's/1950's. It really is interesting. It brings giants like Richard Russell, Wayne Morse, Walter George, and, foremost, Lyndon Johnson to life. Again, read it.


Okay, I'm Back.

You'll notice blogging has been light...extremely light...for a while. I've been feeling under the weather for a while, and I've had some huge stuff due in school (and I have an AP test tomorrow, by the way). So, hopefully, until the 23rd-28th (exam week and graduations), I'll be back to my old ways.

So, without any further suspense...

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

Bristol Election Results

Yesterday, Bristol, like a lot of other localities in Virginia, held its city election. I worked in our largest precinct, the Fourth Ward (Van Pelt). We had a grand total of 718 at our precinct, with 100 votes on the new electronic balloting machine.

You can see here what my opinion was on the election. Two out of three candidates I supported won for each office, which isn't too bad. (Keep in mind that the three highest vote getters in each race win)

The official results in my precinct were:
City Council:
James F. Rector - 497
Fred T. Bowman - 436
Frank Goodpasture, III - 408
Douglas R. Weberling - 387
Write Ins - 6

School Board:
Virginia S. Goodson - 444
Randall J. White - 415
Ted M. Castle - 394
Eric D. Clark - 377
Write Ins - 5

For the entire city, the results were:
City Council:
James F. Rector - 1,305
Frank Goodpasture, III - 1,203
Fred T. Bowman - 1,156
Douglas R. Weberling - 1,115

And, for the school board:
Virginia S. Goodson - 1,260
Randall J. White - 1,217
Eric D. Clark - 1,108
Ted M. Castle - 976

I find it interesting that Doug Weberling, Mayor Doug Weberling, was the lowest voter-getter in two out of four precincts (including the precinct he lives in). The dismal showing in the Fourth Ward was what doomed his re-election. I would point out that the other three candidates for the council spent a good chunk of the day at Van Pelt. Jim Rector was there at 6:15 and stayed until noon, and his wife stayed until 8:00, when I went outside and announced the vote totals. Fred Bowman not only hung around all day, but brought all his helpers iced tea and french fries. All four of the school board candidates spent good chunks of their day in the Fourth Ward, as it is by far the biggest precinct, and accounted for almost a half of the total voters.

In Bristol, our City Council picks the Mayor from its own ranks. So, since Mayor Weberling will be leaving, I'll go ahead and take my educated guess (because everybody wants to know...) about who will be the next mayor and vice mayor.

For Mayor, the common sense choice would be Councilman Harold Leonard, who has seniority on everybody else. For Vice Mayor, Farnham Jarrard is the next most senior. Of course, Leonard is a behind-the-scense person, and may very well be retiring in the next election, and Jarrard and Rector are both former Mayors, so it could also be a Jarrard/Rector duo.

We'll see what happens.

Monday, May 01, 2006

May 2: Election Day

Okay, change of plans. I intended to talk about Webb/Miller, but, as I looked at the calendar in the kitchen, and exclaimed, "Oh crap! Tuesday's election day," I decided I'd talk about the Bristol City elections.

As you may or may not know, I'm an officer of election this year, and I've found out I'll be the guy marking numbers off as voters come in. And, as it's a city election, I'm sure it'll be a busy day. Right.

So, we have City Council elections and School Board elections. Three seats are open on the Council (Councilwoman Vicie Dotson and Vice Mayor Paul Hurley are retiring). The candidates running are incmbent Mayor Doug Weberling, former Mayor "Bulldog" Jim Rector, businessman Frank Goodpasture, and Fred Bowman. On the School Board, we have three open seats, and the candidates are incumbent members Randy White and Virginia Goodson, and businessmen Eric Clark and Ted Castle (an interesting note, Castle's dad was the preacher who baptized my dad, in Molls Creek).

I've already announced who I support, but, I'll do it again since everybody is so eager to know:

City Council:
Doug Weberling
Jim Rector
Fred Bowman

School Board:
Randy White
Ted Castle
Eric Clark

As far as I can tell, there are at least two Democrats running for the council (Weberling and Rector), one Republican (Goodpasture), and, apparently, one guy who is running because he wants to change things (Bowman). White and Castle are the only Democrats running for the School Board, but I'm voting for Clark, too, because he graduated from my high school (White teaches there right now, and Rector is a former Vice Principal there).

At the recent candidates forum, Goodpasture spoke out against and criticized basically every funding plan the city had launched. One big thing he hit was the "Red Lobster scandal," where the city paid Red Lobster something like $100,000 to build at Exit 7 (if you've been through SWVA, you know about Exit 7). They got their investment back in a couple weeks, and Red Lobster now pays around $350,000 in taxes per year (which just doesn't sound right, but that number is according to Weberling). But Goodpasture is against that. He's also againt the Birthplace of Country Music Museum, the new Science Museum they're planning, and the Rhythm and Roots Festival. He also basically said we should leave all of our traffic problems downtown to the next generation to deal with. I was not impressed.

As I am now staring down the barrel of an 8 page, typewritten Psychology paper on Sigmund Freud's theory of psychoanalysis and his main case studies (he had some seriously distrbed people, by the way), that was do Thursday, I guess I better get to work.


Sunday, April 30, 2006

While Political Blogs Keep Going...

Over the past two days, I've been having quite a bit of fun. And, since I'm just like that, I'll let you all know about it:

Friday was prom. My girlfriend and I went to Fatz Café for dinner, and got to the prom at about 8:00. We had a great time, and I wouldn't have missed it for anything (by the way; Justin had a good time, too, and, for his post-prom, went to Wal-Mart [!?!]), and prom is just a one-time thing, so, for those of you reading this who haven't went to yours yet, make the most of it.

After a long post-prom, I slept in until 12:00 or so, and when I finally got up, I ended up falling back asleep again until like 3:00. After watching King Ralph on Comedy Central, I called Megahn, who had beat me, by sleeping until 4:00.

I intend to write about Webb/Miller later today, but right now, I'm running late for church.


Thursday, April 27, 2006

Republicans I Don't Like

I'm a Democrat, but that doesn't mean I dislike all Republicans. But there are some who I really, really dislike. So, in keeping with my style of stuff, here's a list of the ten Republicans who I dislike the most (I've excluded Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld, and Rove because they're given, and would just take up space).

1-Ted Stevens (Senator, Alaska) - Stevens has one of the worst tempers of a politician I've ever seen. When he doesn't get his way, he yells, throws veiled insults at his opponents, and, when his beloved ANWR was again defeated, he basically pulled a "You won't have me to kick around anymore," speech, saying that he said goodbye to the Senate that night. And, in a Washington Post article from October of 2005, he said, concerning the "Bridge to Nowhere," "I don't kid people...If the Senate decides to discriminate against our state . . . I will resign from this body." Getting snippy, are we?

2-Pete Domenici (Senator, New Mexico) - Words can't express how I deplore his style of attacks on the Senate floor. Just a while ago on C-SPAN2, Domenici, yelling as loud as he could, attacked Ron Wyden's bill to cut off oil subsidy royalties when oil is above $55 a barrel. After he finished, he didn't even have the respect for a colleague to stay in the room to hear what Wyden had to say in response to him. That's pretty cheap.

3-George Allen (Senator, Virginia) - Our very own Senator Allen makes this list not only because he is ignoring his homestate for the most part to run for President, but he has said things that poorly represent our state on the national stage, about the Civil War, about block grants, and the famous "knock their teeth down their throats" comment. Senator Allen does not represent our values, and needs to be removed from office. That being said, Jim Webb 2006.

4-John McCain (Senator, Arizona) - Everybody talks about how McCain has broad appeal, and how he is moderate on issues enough to attract Democrat votes. Before apparently deciding to run for president in 2008, Senator McCain was a maverick, and did appeal to some Democrats and independents. But, recentley, he has sold out on his beliefs to pander to the far-right Repblicans (a la Jerry Falwell) so that he can garner Bush's base. Apparently, he is just now another standard politican selling-out to gain votes.

5-Jim Gilmore (Former Governor, Virginia) - Talk about a huge tax cut and it's 100% phase out, then don't do it. Talk about how Virginia has only a small defecit, then when your successor is inaugurated, let him find out for himself how huge the defecit really is (1.5 BILLION DOLLARS). Sit around 4 years after leaving office and think about how good a Governor you were, and could be again. Real winner.

OKay, all this being said, I like a lot of Republicans (John Warner, Lincoln Chafee, Ben Nighthorse Campbell, George Voinovich, Russ Potts, etc). But these five people add nothing to the political debate, and, in all reality, probably detract from it.


Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Webb In Gate City

Tomorrow (actually, today, since it's late), Jim Webb will make a visit to the Homeplace over in Gate City.

I hate to say it, but I can't go.

Up at my school, we have to do the pre-registering for the A.P. test, and, apparently, if I miss school I can't go to the baseball game (school policy). So I'll be in class. All day.

I want to applaude Jim Webb for being the first candidate to come to Southwest Virginia. I've been griping about having him and Miller come down here for quite a while. At least one of them is listening...

I hope Secretary Webb comes back soon, hopefully closer to home (hopefully to speak to our June BVDC meeting--Harris Miller, that means you, too).

I would suggest the new Bristol Library, which has a huge conference room that will hold a couple hundred people, or the Cumberland Park downtown, where John Edwards had a successful townhall meeting in October of 2003. If not that, John S. Battle High School seats 700 or 800 people in a very nice auditorium. As of late, the Republicans have frequented JSB for their rallies (Kilgore, Bolling, McDonnell, Allen, Warner, Earley, Katzen, etc.), so it would be a great change to see some progressives at my alma mater!

I probably won't post anything until Friday, as I have an 8 page, typewritten paper for Psychology class due Thursday (and of course, haven't started on it), and my prom is on Friday (and of course, I haven't bought Megahn's corsage yet). So, I'll see you all on the weekend!


Friday, April 21, 2006


Say What?

Apparently, George Allen's campaign wants his Democrat supporters to let everybody know it.

I hope both of them do (cough, cough...Zell Miller & Ben Nelson)...

Also, tomorrow, I'll have a write-up about what it takes to be an Officer of Election (and sitting through the 2 1/2 hour meeting).


Sunday, April 16, 2006

To Everybody...

Have a Happy Easter, or a Happy Passover!

I'll be hunting Easter eggs most of the day.

The good part is that I'll get to eat them afterwards, so it's all good.


And, Coming Out Of Retirement...

On Thursday, former U.S. Senator Mike Gravel (D-AK) announced he will be running for President of the United States.

Gravel hasn't held office since 1980, when he was defeated for a third term by Frank Murkowski. He currently lives in Northern Virginia.

Gravel, 75 (and who will be 78 in 2008), is perhaps best known for entering 4,100 pages of the "Pentagon Papers" into the Senate record in 1971. According to Wikipedia, "The Papers revealed, among other things, that the government had deliberately expanded its role in the war by conducting air strikes over Laos, raids along the coast of North Vietnam, and offensive actions taken by U.S. Marines well before the American public was told that such actions were necessary."

Gravel will be running on this platform:
1-Opposition to the Iraq War
2-The "Direct Democracy" Constitutional Amendment
3-23% national sales tax

Okay, I agree with him on the first point, but on the second and third, I believe he's a bit off (third one, he's way off).

In all seriousness, I doubt that Senator Gravel can win this thing, or even be very competitive. But it will be great to have a strong advocate against the Iraq War in the debates. Since Gravel has nothing to lose, he'll be free to say what he really thinks about this war.

His website can be found here, on April 17th. I look forward to a colorful campaign from Senator Gravel.


Friday, April 14, 2006

Getting Defensive Over Warner, Are We?

On April 10th, former Governor Mark Warner made a trip to Bristol, Tennessee, to campaign for Congressman Harold Ford, who is running for the U.S. Senate.

At a campaign event at the Bristol Motor Speedway, Warner said, "Being here for Harold Ford Jr. was a no-brainer. He is a choice between partisan politics and shaking things up a bit. He is the bolder choice," and that, "Five or six years ago, when I asked for the votes of the people of Southwest Virginia, I said I wouldn't forget this part of the state. I believe I honored that."

Apparently, it was fairly successful, since the Chairman of the Tennessee Republican Party, Bob Davis, made it a point of taking a potshot at Ford and Warner. He said, "People in Tennessee don't care what a former Virginia governor, who is known for raising taxes, has to say in Tennessee. Mark Warner doesn't vote here and most importantly does not share our Tennessee values. An endorsement by Mark Warner means nothing other than Harold Ford must agree with his tax-and-spend agenda."

Wow, defensive.

My first question would be if a little-known Democrat Congressman from, say, Kentucky, came across the border to campaign for Ford, would the GOP Chair go out of his way to respond to him? No. The plain and simple fact is that Mark Warner is a Democrat celebrity (who can win Tennessee in 2008), and he really rallies the party faithful. I assume he sells as well in Northeast Tennessee as he does here in Southwest Virginia. You can see the full article here.

While the Tennessee Republicans are seperating into three distinct camps, Ed Bryant for Senate (Standard Republicans), Van Hilleary for Senate (Far-right evangelicals), and Bob Corker for Senate (Moderate Republicans), Harold Ford is forging ahead with a unified Democratic Party behind him.

The GOP primary has got increasingly negative. Ed Bryant is taking potshots at Corker ("Bob Corker Fraud Watch: Day 56"), Van Hilleary says Corker is a liberal ("Top Ten Reasons Why Bob Corker Should File To Run For Senate as A Democrat"), and Corker, well, he's playing nice (and not making any ground).

It'll be a very difficult race for Harold Ford to win, but he can do it. He'll be a great addition to our (soon-to-be) Senate majority!


Thursday, April 13, 2006

Don Beyer Still Rocks

There has been a lot of talk lately about how terrible Don Beyer is. Folks all over the progressive blogosphere are all of a sudden taking potshots at him, and for what?

He's not on our side in this primary, that's all.

Granted, I don't agree with what he said, but, hey, we all have our opinions (It's my opinion that he's wrong, but that's another story). Don Beyer is still one of the best Democrats around, and, once Jim Webb has won this primary, I'm sure he'll support him.

I would like in two years to vote for Don Beyer for the U.S. Senate. Let's not keep taking cheap shots at him until he loses interest in another campaign.

And by the way, how would a Webb-Beyer Senate team sound to you? Sounds like music to my ears...

Tuesday, April 11, 2006


I got back from the BVDC and watched an Atlanta Braves game (they won..which nearly ruined my day). But about the meeting...

There was probably 15-20 folks there, and we covered the usual stuff - funds, upcoming events, who's sick, who's not, etc. - and we also heard from the new Elections Registrar, Penny Limburg.

I was amused to hear that, when she went to a city high school to speak to government students about voting and being involved in the politcal process, she told them, "There's even an 18 year old on the Democratic Committee, so you wouldn't be alone." Nifty.

I got about 10 signatures, which I guess isn't bad. They only got around to mentioning it at the end, when a few folks had left already. I did find out that the Chairman, Sam Crockett, seems to be for Webb, as is the Vice Chairman (who is very pro-Webb). I also met Brandon Bull, from Rick Boucher's office, and he struck me as a nice guy. (Several other people voiced their support for Webb, by the way)

One thing that bugged me (and I corrected him), was one gentleman who had been solicited for a signature for Harris Miller in Grayson County recently. Miller's people called him a "venture capitalist." Hmm. Sounds much better than "lobbyist", doesn't it? Anyway, the man signed the Webb petition anyway.

I'm going to the Bristol Library in a little while. I'll take my petitions with me, and hopefully finish up with them. If all goes well, they'll be ready to roll tomorrow.


Monday, April 10, 2006

BVDC Meeting

I'm really cranking out the posts today, huh?

Well, tonight is the monthly meeting of the Bristol Democratic Party (BVDC). We meet every second Monday at 7:00pm sharp (okay, not sharp...but in the vicinity).

I'm taking along some James Webb petitions with me, and I hope to fill up a page. Since this is the last meeting before the city elections (May 2nd), I anticipate more than the usual 15-20 members there. I believe Mayor Weberling will be there, I understand that Sheriff Jack Weisenburger may attend, and possibly Jim Rector (running for the Council), and Randall White (School Board incumbent), who, by the way, doesn't seem to be taking his re-election very seriously. I've seen no signs for him whatsoever, yet he is an official candidate.

I intend to try to find out where the BVDC members stand on the Webb/Miller primary. I believe Chairman Crockett was leaning toward Miller, at least a month or two ago. I do believe, however that most of the members will be pro-Webb (again, I hope he can get down to one of our meetings soon).



Okay, I don't usually brad about myself or talk about school stuff very often, but I've been meaning to let you all in on this.

I was voted "Most Likely To Succeed." Wow. I didn't see it coming, and, as a matter of fact, when they announced it over the intercom, I was at a loss for words. I was just hoping I could get some minor thing like "Most Courteous."

We have another round of superlative voting in a week or so, and, apparently, I'm nominated for "Most Likely To Be President," "Prettiest Smile," and "Most Likely To Write A Novel." (!!!) Okay, I admit that I'm really hoping to win the first one, and, yeah, I've heard it's a nice smile, but, write a novel? About what? But hey, I've got a great opening for it:
"They say writing the first line of a book is the hardest part. Thank God that's over" - Willie Nelson, The Facts of Life and Other Dirty Jokes

Just for the record, Justin was nominated for "Most Likely To Trip At Graduation," and "Most Likely To Live With Their Parents Until They're 30." I also tried to nominate my girlfriend for all the "Prettiest _____" categories, but Justin kept vetoed it every time.


Where Is Baliles?

I'm a big fan of Gerald Baliles. I think he was a great Governor (he was in office when I was born, by the way), and did alot to move our state forward.

So, I'm curious, where is Gerald Baliles in this 2006 Senate primary?

Will he go with the status quo, like (unfortunately) Don Beyer did, or will he go with the candidate who can win the race?

Some other people who I'm curious about:
Douglas Wilder
Tim Kaine
L.F. Payne
Phillip Puckett
Dick Saslaw
Linwood Holton (I'm especially curious if Gov. Holton has switched sides or it it was just a one-shot, family thing)

Anybody know about any of these folks?

Sunday, April 09, 2006

Who, Me?

I've been meaning to write this for a couple days.

On Thursday, a person at my high school called me a "left-wing liberal nut case," and that I "drink mocha lattes and probably drive some little electric wuss foreign car."


Well, to start off with, I hate mocha latte (I don't drink any kind of coffee) and my car is American (and gas guzzling) as can be. But it got me to thinking, maybe I should lay out exactly what I think about things (this could be detrimental if and when I run for something).

So, here we go:
1-Abortion: I'm not sure about abortion. I'm for the freedom to choose, but I can't decide to what extent. I've always believed that life begins at viability. When it is mature enough to survive outside the womb without amazing medical tecnhology (i.e. just plain baby stuff), then it's a baby. I think the South Dakota ban on all abortion is backward, dangerous, and un-needed, and it should be struck down. I can say, however, that I'm 100% in favor of banning partial birth abortion.
2-Death Penalty: This is an amazingly difficult question for me. To quote an old John Prine song, "Jesus don't like killing, no matter what the reason why." Should the state support killing of God's children? Who are we to judge whether one of our brothers or sisters is fit to die? Should that be left to God? I believe that in cases where there is DNA evidence (or more than two credible witnesses), then the death penalty should be an option. If there is no evidence, only circumstantial, but very convincing, I believe the sentence should be life in prison.
3-Gay Marriage: The Bible says holy matrimony is between a man and a woman. Okay. End of that conversation. But civil unions should be allowed between any two consenting adults who feel the urge (and pay the license fee). A civil union is the next best thing to marriage, and partners would receive, I believe, the same rights afforded a married couple. I'm against any federal amendment banning gay marriage, because marriage is a state issue, and a nationwide ban is just mean-spirited and of no real use. I'm undecided on how I will vote on the Virginia marriage amendment (looks like I'll vote against it).
4-Affrimative Action: I'm in the minority within my party when I say that I believe affirmative action doesn't have much place in today's society, in it's current form. If a white student with a 3.8 GPA applies to the University of Virginia, and a black student with a 3.6 GPA applies, too, the more qualified student should be let in. Not the minority student just because they're a minority. It's as simple as that.
5-School Prayer: No way. The Constitution provides for a seperation of church and state. If you're in a state-funded school, you shouldn't be required to pray. Let's use this scenario: In Flint, Michigan (I believe it is), there is a large Arab population. We'll assume most of these folks are Muslim. Should the minority of Christian students be required to pray to Allah every day? Or should the majority Muslim students be required to pray to God every day?
6-2nd Amendment: I don't care if you own a shot gun. I don't care if you've got a pistol. I don't mind for you to hunt. I will probably keep a gun when I'm married with children for protection of my family. But nobody can tell me they need assault weapons. Unless that deer has an Uzi, you don't need one. We need to renew the assault weapons ban as soon as possible.
7-Minimum Wage: Raise the minimum wage. $5.15 is the most ridiculous thing I've ever heard of. I've discussed it previously on this blog before, but $5.15 an hour will only give you a little over $10,000 a year. Is that enough to live on? Not hardly. The minimum wage should be at least $7.50 or so, give or take.
8-War: My grandmother, God rest her soul, was a beautiful country lady. All kinds of words of wisdom came from her head. But the best one that I can use right now is this: "Don't start s**t, but don't take s**t either." We should never start a pre-emptive war with somebody who's doing nothing to us. We're asking for trouble. As we've seen in Iraq, all we do with pre-emptive war is potentially stir up a hornets' nest.
9-Health Care: We need national health care. Every other developed country in the world has it. We're lagging behind. What about the millions of people who have to choose between eggs and Zetia, between butter and Mavik, between bread and Albuterol? Something is wrong in America when we have people who have to make these choices.
10-Immigration: Okay, open the firing squad on me for this one. I'm against all these big visa plans folks are talking about which would eventually lead to citizenship. We need to increase border patrols, crack down on people who hire immigrants illegaly with fines, encourage Americans to hire other Americans. These are jobs Americans would do--just ask some of the folks in my area. My grandfather worked for forty one years (1947-1988) as a sharecropper (until he was let go in favor of illegal immigrants), making way below minimum wage. He had to do odd jobs to raise a family with four children and take care of his wife. He only lived in a three-room house, lived way below the pverty line, but he was proud to have a job and go to work everyday. There are still lots of people like him who would be happy to do these jobs. It's not fair for the state to give them away to illgeal immigrants.

Now, I realize I've taken some controversial stands here, but, as the saying goes, if I'm not ticking people off, I'm not doing something right. Realize that I skipped over many other issues (agriculture, Veterans funding, transportation, fair trade, illegal drugs, repealing the Bush tax cut) which I would have talked about, but, the hour grows late, and I have to be up at 8:30 AM. Any comments, leave them for me and I'll get back to you.



Saturday, April 08, 2006

When Will Webb Visit?

Via RaisingKaine, I see that Jim Webb was in Richmond today. From his own website, I can see that Secretary Webb has another event in Richmond, one in Arlington, and one in Chesapeake.

Now, I know it's early, but when will Jim Webb make it down to Southwest Virginia?

I know Secretary Webb has relatives in Scott County (I just finished Born Fighting, by the way), and apparently knows alot about the region (it's the first time I had seen Big Moccasin Gap in print). So let's get him down here, get him out with the people, show them that he's one of them. He's a proud veteran of Vietnam, he worked for Ronald Reagan, he has a strong record, and even stronger positions.

A couple of phrases I heard very often while Justin and I were put petitioning were "I haven't met Webb yet," or "I haven't heard what Webb is for yet." People in NOVA and Richmond have heard alot from the Webb folks. Thay have big organized petition gathering events and get 300 in an afternoon. We have two guys in Bristol, a guy in Wise, and a guy in Clintwood getting signatures (maybe a few more that I haven't heard of). They've already got yard signs, hand-outs, bumper stickers. We've got...hmm...well.

What I'm trying to say here is this; Jim Webb can win Southwest Virginia. I know it, you know, Jim Webb knows it. But do Jim Webb's scheduling people know it? I talked back in mid-March with Sam Crockett, the Bristol Democratic Chairman, about having Secretary Webb come speak to us. Harris Miller had already called. And I haven't heard anything about either one of them being here.

Now, I'll add a note at this point that I've heard rumors from pretty reliable sources that Jim Webb will be at Ralph Stanley's Hills of Home Festival in May (I told that same person that Webb should also make it a point to be at the Jim and Jesse 4th of July Picnic in Coeburn, by the way). But we need Webb down here way before that.

So, in closing, let me make an open call to Jim Webb's scheduling office to bring Jim Webb to Southwest Virginia in the next two or three weeks.


Friday, April 07, 2006

It's That Time Again

Song of the day time! Since it's been a slow couple of days in the political world (except Harris Miller repeatedly peeing himself over at one of my favorite blogs), I thought it would be time for another good anti-Bush country music song.

So, here's a song by Norman Blake, a pretty well-known folk music singer and guitar player. He played on June Carter-Cash's 2003 Wildwood Flower album. His new song, "Don't Be Afraid of the Neo-Cons," is an awesome song that will be released as a single, and added to his current album, Back Home In Sulphur Springs, on all future printings. It is pretty long, but it's worth it. Read the words to this one; you'll like it. I did.

Don't Be Afraid of the Neo-Cons
By Norman Blake

And away down yonder in the Florida sand
Old Jeb Bush is a mighty man
He told little brother, don’t be blue
For I’ma gonna hand this thing to you

The churches all got on board
In the Holy name of our Lord
They took him for their favorite son
And they sent him away to Washington

Now Georgie Bush, he is the man
He landed in Afghanistan
We’ll get Osama, was his crack
And now we’re stranded in Iraq

He told ole’ Rumsfeld on the green
Now you’re the best I’ve ever seen
Just heed my words and you’ll go far
And help me win my daddy’s war

O’ Cheney lives away down town
By a cement bunker underground
No more he’ll roam Wyoming's hills
Halliburton is his thrill

Don’t send your money to Washington
To fight a war that’s never done
Don’t play their games don’t be their pawns
And don’t be afraid of the neo-cons

Katrina blew through the town
Black waters flooded all around
No money to raise the levees high
And so we watched New Orleans die

Bill Clinton was a Democrat
He saved us money in his hat
He fell from grace the story goes
Then Georgie put us in the hole

Now Casey was Cindy’s son
He marched away with his gun
For a noble cause he heard Bush say
He died in a war so far away

Now Georgie is kind and meek
He kissed the king upon his cheek
They walked the garden hand in hand
As the oil and blood dripped on the sand

And now my little song is done
'Bout the neo-cons in Washington
No more I’ll sing these words again
You can see it all on CNN

Don’t send you money to Washington
To fight a war that’s never done
Don’t play their games don’t be their pawns
And don’t be afraid of the neo-cons


Tuesday, April 04, 2006

More Petition Gathering

Last night, Justin and I went out around Bristol getting more signatures on the petition for James Webb. We got about 20 or so (which, mind you, is good for Bristol). We went to several businesses (Salsarita's, Quizno's, Courtyard Marriot, Holiday Inn, etc.), and a few houses. One interesting little side note; while we were going to a couple houses, we came one door from going to William Wampler's house. The lady next door said she doubted he would sign, and that "him and Allen are big buddies--they threw spitwads in the State Senate or something."

Some observations:
1-A lot of folks have apparently read Webb's books. I had people say "Isn't he the guy who wrote Fields of Fire/Born Fighting/Emperor's General ?
2-One older lady said, "I've never heard of him, and I usually vote Republican, but I'll sign it anyway since you all seem like you know what you're talking about."
3-Why do people working in Bristol live in Wise and Dickenson counties?
4-Justin can run up steps much better than I can.

We're heading out again in a little while. Wish us luck!


BREAKING: DeLay To Resign

According to credible sources, Rep. Tom DeLay (R-TX), who recently lost his Majortiy Leader post, will not only drop his re-election bid but will resign from Congress altogether, sometime in late spring or summer.

On one hand, this is good news for the Congress, because their reputation won't be any more tainted by a member under investigation. On the other hand, I kind of hate to see him go. He was such an easy target to take potshots at.

I can't say for sure yet what this will do to former Congressman Nick Lampson's campaign, but I believe I speak for us all when I say I hope it makes it easier for him to claim this seat for our side.


Monday, April 03, 2006

For A Little Laugh

Bill Frist is telling ghost stories about the death of his 2008 Presidential Campaign.

City Elections

It's that time again here in Bristol! City elections are coming up, and we have four candidates for City Council, and four for School Board:

City Council
Douglas Weberling (incumbent - Mayor)
Fred Bowman
Jim Rector
Frank Goodpasture

School Board
Randy White (incumbent)
Virginia Goodson (incumbent)
Ted Castle
Eric Clark

I know Doug Weberling, and I know Randy White. Weberling is an eye doctor here in town that my dad used to go to, and he's a great guy and a great Democrat. Mr. White teaches at my high school and was my 10th grade Spanish teacher. He's a great Democrat, too. My girlfriend's parents know Fred Bowman, and from all I've heard, he's a great guy with a great vision for Bristol.

For each of the offices, three can be elected. So, here are my "endorsements":
City Council:

School Board:

I've noticed that Bowman and Rector have a huge amount of signs around Bristol, Weberling has quite a few, and Goodpasture's signs all seem to be clumped together. White doesn't have up a single sign, Castle has a lot, Clark's signs (quite a few) are a miserable bright orange, and I've only seen one Goodson sign.

Just for the record: When I run for the Council (maybe 2008 or 2010), I intend to make sure I've got plenty of signs, and none will be construction orange. :)