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

Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Just For Fun...

See how this grabs you:

January 12th, 2010; The inauguration of our 71st Governor, after four successful years under Governor Tim Kaine. Among the notables at the after-inauguration party:

Governor Leslie Byrne
Lt Governor L.F. Payne
Attorney General Onzlee Ware
Senior Senator James Webb
Junior Senator Don Beyer


Governor Creigh Deeds
Lt Governor Phillip Puckett
Attorney General Bud Phillips
Senior Senator James Webb
Junior Senator Chap Petersen

And of course, making a special appearance, President Mark Warner. :)

Or mix and match amongst the two. Thoughts?

Petition Gathering, Day One

Today after school I headed out, petitions in hand, to get James Webb on the ballot.

Unfortunately, my little part of town is a bastion of Republicans, so I soon realized I would have to venture off my turf. Shortly after I finally got started, so did the rain.

But I was undaunted. I decided to try businesses. Here are a few observations:
1-DON'T GO NEAR FOOD CITY: They don't take kindly to the democratic process.
2-Where are all the over-18 people? I went to Pizza Plus, and, of the eight people working, all were under 18.
3-For Wal-Mart, please refer to observation #1.
4-The folks at Tractor Supply were very friendly, and, surprisingly, eager to be involved in the politcal process. I also informed a couple people who weren't following the campaign about the issues and the candidates.

I'm planning on taking the petitions with me tomorrow to the (newly renovated and very snazzy) library, and I'll venture down to State Street and, hopefully, fill a couple of these petitions up.

Besides the fact that the rain messed me up, does anybody have any other suggestions about quicker ways to do this?


Sunday, March 26, 2006

Lebanon Politics

This afternoon, I was at the Russell County Medical Center in Lebanon. I was sitting in a small waiting room, watching televison, when an older man sat down about four seats down.

This man was probably 75 years old, white headed, in dirty overalls and a baseball cap. He was chewing tobacco, and had a Bible laying in the seat next to him. We'll call him Clint, for that was his name.

We had both been sitting there a few minutes, when something on television made mention of the War in Iraq. All of a sudden, Clint said "What do you figure the real reason we're in there is?" I was initially surprised he made a comment, since he didn't look much like the talking type. I said, "Personally, I don't think we should have even been there to begin with." He heartily agreed, and then we got to talking politics.

It turns out he was a lifelong Democrat "since Mr. Adlai Stevenson in 1952," and was disgusted with the current state of affairs in America today. He has voted for the Democratic presidential nominee as far back as he could remember (except 1984, when he voted for Ronald Reagan), and for Rick Boucher every time he has been on the ballot. I asked him about the 2006 Senate race.

"Well, I'll reckon I'll be voting for Mr. Allen. He's a good ole' boy." I didn't hardly know what to think. I pointed out to Clint that George Allen was born in California. He didn't know that. I also said that Allen had been in Iowa often lately, and even said he wished he had been from Iowa. He didn't like that at all. "Well, is anybody gonna run against him?" I gladly informed him that James Webb, the former Secretary of the Navy for Ronald Reagan, a Marine veteran from Vietnam, with roots in Scott County, was one of the Democrats running against Allen.

I told Clint that Secretary Webb was against the Iraq War, is for a strong military, and is a progressive on the important issues. "Well, It sounds to me like I'm gonna vote for Mr. Webb in November," he announced. I told him to vote in the primary, too, as it was the first big step. About this time, his wife came out, and he proudly announced "Sally, this boy's convinced me that Ole' Allen don't deserve to be a Senator no more. We're gonna vote for James Webb."

After the short meeting I had with his wife (in which I was prodded by Clint to again point out what Webb stood for), they were on their way, and I flipped the channel to Comedy Central.

Folks like Clint (and, presumabley Sally) will put Jim Webb into the U.S. Senate. The people who aren't aware of a second choice. The people who think of Allen as one of them. The people who don't like the way we're going, and would like to change it.

This Senate race won't be won in Richmond and Fairfax. This race will be won in Lebanon and Christiansburg, in Coeburn and South Boston, in Norton and Glasgow, and a hundred other localities in between.

This race is about the people.


Saturday, March 25, 2006


(Buck Owens, right, with Merle Haggard in 2004)

Anybody who is from the South, or anybody over 15 years old, knows what Hee Haw is. They know the "Pickin' and A-Grinnin'," the corny jokes, and what Grandpa Jones announced for supper. They also know the hosts, Roy Clark and Buck Owens.

Today, Buck Owens died. He was 76. The news release said the cause of death was not yet known.

I loved Hee Haw. And, if you'll check my Blogger profile, you'll see Buck Owens is one of my favorite singers. "Act Naturally," "Tiger By The Tail," Under Your Spell Again," all classic songs with the unforgettable Bakerfield Sound that he created. His last big hit was "Streets of Bakersfield," recorded in 1988 with Dwight Yoakam.

He had had a stroke a couple years ago, and I understand it left him in a different shape. He had returned to weekly performances at his Crystal Palace Theatre in Bakersfield, and, a couple years ago, was planning a new album, "Buck Owens and his One Man Band," in which he would play all the instruments on all the recordings.

Rather than saying some little "he'll be missed" statement, I'll just leave it to Buck to close it out:

"I'd like to be remembered as a guy that came along and did his music, did his best and showed up on time, clean and ready to do the job, wrote a few songs and had a hell of a time." -- Buck Owens, 1992.


Wednesday, March 22, 2006

Preach On, Brother.

Occasionaly, I run up on a song that I like with lyrics that send a real message. Today, I stumbled upon a song that fits the bill.

CMT does "listening parties" - free access to an entire album by an artist who may not always receive a lot of press. One of their current listening parties is for "This Old Road," the new album by Kris Kristofferson. One of the songs, "In The News," is, in my opinion, one of the best anti-war songs I've heard in a long time. It's very powerful. Here are the lyrics:

Read about the sorry way he done somebody's daughter
Chained her to a heavy thing and threw her in the water
And she sank into the darkness with their baby son inside her
A little piece of truth and beauty died.
Burning up the atmosphere and cutting down the trees
The billion dollar bombing of a nation on it's knees
Anyone not marching to their tune they call it treason
Everyone says God is on his side.
See the lightning, hear the cries
Of the wounded in a world in Holy war
Mortal thunder from the skies
Killing everything they say they're fighting for.
Broken babies, broken homes
Broken-hearted people dying everyday
How'd this happen, what went wrong
Don't blame God, I swear to God I heard him say...
"Not in my name, not on my ground
I want nothing but the ending of the war
No more killing, or it's over
And the mystery won't matter anymore."
Broken dreamers, broken rules
Broken-hearted people just like me and you
We are children of the stars
Don't blame God, I swear to God he's crying too.

Go to Kristofferson's artist page at CMT and listen to his CD, and especially this song. You'll like it.


Tuesday, March 21, 2006

The Prodigal Son?

Okay, has anybody noticed that Justin doesn't update his blog as often as he should? I've badgered him about it, and he always says he's about to.

Maybe his computer crashed...Or not.

Everybody go over to his blog and tell him to get back to work.


Sunday, March 19, 2006

Southwest Virginia Endorsements: Webb? Miller?

I made a comment on one of my posts about "I wonder who" in Southwest Virginia would endorse whom in the U.S. Senate race. Miss Alice suggested to me that I should just call them up and ask. So, I did. I posed the question the same for every office, "Will (fill in name here) be making any endorsement in the Democratic primary race for U.S. Senate this year?"
I called Rick Boucher's office, and his staffer said that Congressman Boucher had made no mention of it, but would campaign hard for the eventual nominee. He wouldn't rule out an endorsement for one of thw two before the primary. When I called the office of State Senator Roscoe Reynolds (Martinsville), a very nice lady said that Senator Reynolds would likely make an endorsement later on, but he hadn't met both the candidates (she thought). She said one of them had been up at the General Assembly meeting Senators and Delegates (I assume this was Webb at his announcement), but she made it a point to say she had no idea what Senator Reynolds would do. I called Creigh Deeds's office (yeah, I know, he's not really Southwest Virginia, but I was curious), and I got a very short, simple, "No, Senator Deeds will not be making a public endorsement of any kind at this time." Thank you, too.
The high point of my calling had to be when I called Delegate Dan Bowling's (Tazewell) district office. The man who answered said he didn't know, but "hold on for a second, you can ask him." When Delegate Bowling came on the phone, he was a very friendly, down-to-Earth person, and said he was really undecided. He said "I've been able to meet Milelr and Webb both, and hear them talk, and I'll say this; Miller is more energetic, and Webb is more kind-of laid-back when you hear him talk. Harris is kind of like a-a short Mark Warner, cause, you know Mark and him both made their money in high technology." He went on to say that he'd "be happy to show either of them around my district if and when they make it down here." But, don't get the idea that he's going for Miller. He said shortly before the conversation ended that, "I think the kind of jobs Webb has had, all the experience, you know, Secretary of the Navy, will help him a lot in the long run." He said he hadn't heard enough about where exactly the candidates stand on the issues yet, so he didn't have a real preference. I did appreciate that he said "At the end of the day, we're all Democrats, and we're all trying to get George Allen out. I'll be happy to see either one beat him."

So, here's my "Southwest Virginia Scoreboard"
Congressman Rick Boucher - Undecided
State Senator Creigh Deeds - No endorsementOfficialy Neutral
State Senator Roscoe Reynolds - Undecided
Delegate Dan Bowling - Undecided (But sounds like he's leaning toward Miller)
I also left messages with:
Delegate Bud Phillips
Delegate Joe Johnson
And on Monday I'll try to get a hold of:
State Senator Phillip Puckett
Delegate Onzlee Ware

UPDATE: 7:45pm, Sunday, March 19: If you'll check the comments, Senator Deeds has offered some clarification to what I got from his office. Here's what he said:
Cdeeds said...
Sorry my staffer was short. Not sure which office you called. I think the best candidate will emerge. A primary will give that candidate the opportunity to hone his message and to develop a grassroots and financial base. Until the nomination is decided, I will offer encouragement to both.
4:21 PM

It's very nice of Senator Deeds to leave a response, and I do appreciate it. This is an answer more befitting of someone friendly as Senator Deeds is. As you can see, I've changed his status above.

Thanks again to Senator Deeds for responding.


Political Philosophy

I took this test, that Virginia Pundette, Virginia Centrist, and (the blogger formerly known as) NOVA Democrat have recently talked about, and here are my results:

You are a

Social Liberal
(76% permissive)

and an...

Economic Liberal
(23% permissive)

You are best described as a:

Strong Democrat

I took it last night, and got a really strange result, and then realized if you put "strongly agree" or "strongly disagree" too often, you get a messed-up result. Go take it.


Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Huge Endorsement For Webb

Tonight, word came down that former Congresswoman Leslie Byrne is endorsing Jim Webb for the U.S. Senate. This is big.

I've probably mentioned this before, but at the beginning of the 2005 LG race, I was a Puckett supporter who switched to Petersen, and, after the primary, supported Byrne. The further into the race we went, the more and more I supported her. She was my favorite of the three statewide candidates in 2005, because not only was she 100% honest and believable, but she was committed to the important issues. Working people, unions, children--she was a voice for the folks who may not be heard on their own. I really, really hope she runs for Governor in 2009. I'd be first to sign up to do anything I could to help her win.

Leslie Byrne endorsing Jim Webb is important because it will (hopefully) silence concerns about Secretary Webb's party affiliation. He is a Democrat. He's the kind of Democrat who can win not only in Fairfax, but in Floyd County, not only in Arlington, but in Abingdon. Also, I hope that Miss Byrne campaigns for Secretary Webb down here in SWVA, particularly Dickenson and Buchanan Counties (where she did very well).

Jim Webb is an honest-to-God progressive populist, and he's the kind of person we need running. I know that. Hopefully, you know that. Obviously, Leslie Byrne knows that.


Sunday, March 12, 2006

All The Wedding Bells Are Ringing...

According to Brian, Congressman Rick Boucher and his long-time girlfriend are going to get married.

I offer my best to them, and congrats!


Allen 2008: Over Before It Begins?

Tonight in Memphis, the SRLC (Southern Republican Leadership Conference) held it's annual straw poll for President, and Virginia Senator George Allen...didn't win.

All he could do was tie for third with someone who has a 37% approval, and isn't running.

Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist, a native son of Tennessee, won. The big "whaaat?" of the night was the fact that Governor Mitt Romney of Massachusetts...of Massachusetts...and a Mormon, received 2nd place with the Southern Republican Leadership Tennessee.

George Allen and George W. Bush tied for third with 10% a piece (John McCain told all of his supporters to vote Bush, as a "show of support," but probably so his weakness among Conservatives wouldn't be apparent).

So, the question is, since Allen can't beat Mitt Romney in the South, is his campaign just a lot of talk that won't materialize into anything?

Or, we could help James Webb knock Allen out in 2006, which would be even better than seeing Allen 2008 flop.


Thursday, March 09, 2006

Endorsements, And Webb On Colbert Report

Today, Claudia Kennedy (whom I like very much--but not as much as I once did), the first woman to attain the rank of three-star General in the U.S. Army, endorsed Harris Miller for U.S. Senate, and launched an attack on James Webb, a fellow veteran, alledging sexism from an ascertian Webb made over 20 years ago that women shouldn't be on the front lines in combat.

First, I think that Democrats should follow Ronald Reagan's "Eleventh Amendment," (with a little word change) which, as you know, says "Thou shalt not speak ill of a fellow Democrat." At the end of the day, we're all Democrats, and we'll all be united in the goal of defeating George Allen. If we strain relationships too much, then Democrats may not be willing to support some folks in future runs (read: Miller 2009, Kennedy 2008). Remember, folks, we're all friends at the end of the day.

Second, it's pretty petty for Harris Miller to have someone else attack Webb for him. If Miller wants to take his campaign in a negative direction, he should at least have the testicular fortitude to do it himself. It looks to me that Miller is trying to solidy the female vote in his corner with this thinly veiled attack on Webb from the prospective of "He doesn't want women in the Army."

George Allen is scared of James Webb. So is Harris Miller, apparently. This race should be not about who can make the other look the worst. It should be about showing the people of Virginia that George Allen isn't acting in their best interests, and that the Democrats can do better. These two candidates should show what they want to do, as opposed to what Allen is doing. At the end of the day, the voters in the Democratic primary will decide who is the better prepared candidate to take George Allen out.

So, here's a question. Here in Southwest Virginia, we have several high-profile Democrats, and I'm anxious to know where they'll fall on the primary. Rick Boucher, Joe Johnson, Bud Phillips, Dan Bowling, and Phillip Puckett (and former Delegate Jackie Stump) are all, as far as I know, undeclared, however, one of Boucher's polling people is working high in the Webb campaign.

Any thoughts on who'll be endorsing Webb in the coming days and weeks?

[UPDATE: I just finished watching James Webb on the Colbert Report, and he did great on the Iraq War questions and national security questions (Colbert even said "I don't think I won that round. I think I'll skip it."). He was pretty candid, and presented himself well. Colbert mentioned "Whiskey Riverr," the movie Webb wrote, that is in production right now. My favorite quote from Colbert had to be "I understand George Allen is dumb as a post," (or something very close to that) and my favorite quote from Webb, which I can't word-for-word recall, was the statement that got him the biggest applause line. After watching this, I feel really good about this race, and I think we can do it.]


Tuesday, March 07, 2006

Webb Is Off And Running

Today, former Navy Secretary James Webb announced his candidacy for the U.S. Senate from a room in the General Assembly building in Richmond. Webb also announced his senior campaign staff.

Here's a few quotes from the event (more can be found at Raising Kaine):
On Iraq:
“We should never have been there” [in the first place]. We need to “get out of Iraq”…” in a responsible way.” The first thing we must do is to “bring the other countries in the region to the table.” “We will have to do this eventually, anyway.” But first this administration must “acknowledge there are no long term aspirations in Iraq.” “They have yet to do that.” “Do we want to spend 50 years in Iraq?"
On Courageous Leadership:
“We need leadership with backbone.”“I’m willing to make the tough calls on issues.”“We need leaders who know when to say enough is enough.”
On why he is a Democrat:
The Democratic Party has always been the party of the “average person.” It was “born of the populist politics of Andrew Jackson.” I am defined by “the ideals of Jacksonian Democracy.” [It was and should be the party that answers the question] “Who speaks for those without a voice?” “Andrew Jackson is the paradigm” [for what the Democratic Party should be].

I'll have more about this either tonight or tomorrow, as I'll be out of school.


Saturday, March 04, 2006

How Long Will He Stick Around?

It seems like Michael Chertoff has been tripping up at his job as Homeland Security Secretary from day one. And, after Hurricane Katrina, it seems to me he is constantly under fire for what happened (rightfully so), and I believe he should bare as much of the blame as Governor Kathleen Blanco, Michael Brown, President Bush, and Mayor Ray Nagin.

Michael Brown testified before a House Committee and said, "It appears to me that, you know, when Chertoff does things like tells me that I've got to go to Baton Rouge and plop my butt down on a seat in Baton Rouge and run a disaster from there, I think that shows naivete about how disasters are run," and that souynds right to me. Like it or not, the Department of Homeland Security is not only responsible for keeping terrorists out, but also for protecting our homeland, and national disasters fall into that category.

To be the Secretary of Homeland Security, you need to be well-versed in not only anti-terrorism, but in disaster management, too. A former federal Judge from Pennsylvania (who had only been on the bench 10 months, by the way) just doesn't strike me as big on disaster management.

I think Michael Chertoff needs to resign. He needs to be replaced with someone who is really well-versed in anti-terrorism and disaster management. And, since George W. Bush is a Republican, and would only want to nominate a Republican, what about Mitt Romney, Peter King, Rudy Giuliani, Susan Collins, or Joe Albaugh? And, if Bush wanted to be bi-partisan (and, get some really good people in the mix), what about the person to originally come up with the DHS, Joe Lieberman? Or what about James Lee Witt?

I think for the Department of Homeland Security, and in turn, the Bush administration, to be taken seriously on disaster preparedness, there needs to be a real Director, someone who really knows what they're doing.

Michael Chertoff is not that man.