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

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.