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

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. :)