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, 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.