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, July 25, 2006

Coming Soon To A Blog Near You...

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

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

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




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

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

Monday, July 10, 2006

Would You Vote For...

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

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

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


Sunday, July 09, 2006

Will Wampler Have An Opponent?

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

But will he even have an opponent?

I certainly hope so.

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

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

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

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

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

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


Saturday, July 08, 2006

What My "Band" Plays...

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

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

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

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

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

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


Friday, July 07, 2006

Lieberman v. Lamont, My Pick.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


He's a Great Guy, But...

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

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

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

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


Tuesday, July 04, 2006

Jesse McReynolds And Ralph Stanley? I Lucked Up!

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

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

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

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

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

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


Monday, July 03, 2006

When Young Democrats Get Together...

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

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

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

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

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


Saturday, July 01, 2006

Bluegrass in the Mountains

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

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