Wednesday, May 31, 2006

There's An Election Next Tuesday

And it's a rather important one.

Voters in California's 50th District will choose the successor to disgraced Congressman Duke Cunningham. The race pits Democrat Francine Busby against Republican (and Alexandria, VA resident) Brian Bilbray.

The race will be a close one, but in my estimation, the Democrats can't lose. The California 50th is an overwhelmingly Republican district, where Bush received 56 percent in 2004. The fact that a Democrat is polling at or ahead of a Republican is itself remarkable.

If Busby wins, then the narrative will be how the California 50th is foreshadowing big Democratic gains in November. Beyond that, it gets the Democrats one seat closer to a majority.

The worst case scenario is a Republican win in a Republican held Republican leaning district. No loss for the Dems in the numbers game, and it can be chalked up to nothing more than demographics. Furthermore, the Republican Party will have spent over $5 million to protect their own seat... Money that can't be spent on other competitive races.

As far as worst case scenarios go, I'd say this is a pretty damned good one.

Help Francine!

Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Commencement Decorum

It makes me sad to see this.

Yes, Condoleeza Rice is a national disgrace. Yes, people like Rice and Senator McCain are asking for it when they speak at liberal colleges.

But a commencement is not a political event. All commencement speakers say the same old BS about making a difference. Maybe the inject some of their politics into it, but the main purpose of the event is to celebrate the graduates. Protest these people all you want elsewhere, but making a political demonstration when people are trying to celebrate their achievements is disgraceful.

Pittsburgh Post-Gazette Kicks Ass

The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette has called Senator Rick Santorum on his bullshit in splendid fashion!

Friday, May 26, 2006


OK, not, really, but I am glad to see that the following cast members from Evan Almighty know how damned difficult it is to find a parking space at Whole Foods.

-Steve Carell
-Lauren Graham
-John Goodman
-Molly Shannon

I guess it's to be expected. I mean, we are the coolest grocery store in town.

It's Official...

Democrats still can't drive worth a damn.

I guess we're just too busy trying to save the country.

Rhode Island ranked last, again. When you're up there, it's obvious why. And for the record, I never drove while I was in Rhode Island.

Thursday, May 25, 2006

Bill O'Reilly Makes a Funny

According to Bill O'reilly, young people don't know what's going on in the world because "they get their news from Jon Stewart."

Like, what should I watch instead, the O'Reilly factor? Yeah, right.

It turns out that Daily Show viewers are more informed about current events than newspaper readers or cable news viewers. And, naturally, they are vastly better informed than viewers of that show hosted by O'Reilly.

Also, they are better educated. Daily Show viewers are 78% more likely to have four years of college education than the general public. O'Reilly viewers are only 24% more likely to have the same education.

And I know why I watch it. It's a sad commentary on the American media that the most honest news program on television is the one that admits to being fake. And in 30 oh-so-short minutes, Mr. Stewart successfully lampoons the mainstream media and goes from telling stupid jokes to interviewing some of the country's greatest leaders... on their level. And of course, he's hilarious.

On honesty, respect, intelligence and humor, Mr. O'Reilly is sorely lacking.

Senator Creigh

Waldo Jaquith has just posted an interview with Senator R. Creigh Deeds on his blog.

On the campaign trail and while dealing with his constituents, I have always seen Creigh handle himself in an eager, honest and straight-forward way. I think he's a great Senator, so that's why I was a little disappointed with some of his votes this session. But this interview is impressive.

I particularly liked this...

I learned that my independence, which has been exhibited throughout my time in the General Assembly, while it might make me feel good about the votes I cast, does not pay off when it comes to raising money. A close examination of VPAP will reveal that virtually all of the institutional money in Virginia, that raised and distributed by lobbyists, went to my opponent last fall. Most interests that did support me supported the other candidate too. As an incumbent in the General Assembly, it is easy to become lazy and rely on the institutional money because, candidly, that is easier to raise.

Like I said, Creigh is honest and straight-forward. He always can tell you why he voted the way he did, and he always votes his conscience, and not the way anyone else tells him too. He knows it's definitely not helping him reach higher office, but he does it anyway. That shows strength of character, and that is why Creigh is one of my political role models. And while I'd much have Senator Brennan/Richards/Signer/Etc. and Attorney General Deeds, I think Senator Deeds is a great asset to the 25th.

Emily Couric and then Creigh Deeds. Whoever gets the seat next has some damned big shoes to fill.

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Pelosi is Useless

This is supposed to be the leader of our Party in the House. Yet she's going along with Hastert and Co.'s cronyism.

Honestly, Rep. Pelosi, how are we supposed to support bringing corrupt Republicans to justice when we are helping them defeat the very tactics that could end their corruption? How can you not see that all Hastert's posturing is about is saving his own party's ass in the months ahead?

It's not enough to "not defend" Jefferson. It's even worse when you support Hastert's defense of him. What you should be doing is condemning his actions and demanding his resignation... not from a committee assignment, but from the House of Representatives altogether. Let the people of New Orleans pick someone better.

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Hastert on Checks and Balances

"The Founding Fathers were very careful to establish in the Constitution a Separation of Powers to protect Americans against the tyranny of any one branch of government. They were particularly concerned about limiting the power of the Executive Branch." - Dennis Hastert

I have a very good feeling that when the founding fathers envisioned the legislative branch limiting the power of the executive branch, it looked pretty much the opposite of how Mr. Hastert's Congress has been acting.

The fact that these guys can say these things with a straight face is impressive.

Aww, Isn't it Cute?

Well, the House GOP has finally found a topic about which they are willing to work across the aisle... protecting their corrupt colleagues.

So, it looks like a Democratic Congressman has been caught taking bribes. The Speaker of the House knows he can't criticize the Democrats for having one corrupt Congressman, because, well, you know. So what does he do? He says this...

"Once I have more information about this raid made available to me, I have had an opportunity to carefully consider the long-term ramifications for the Legislative Branch of this action, and I have consulted with the appropriate bipartisan leaders of the House, I expect to seek a means to restore the delicate balance of power among the branches of government that the Founders intended."

If investigating one corrupt Congressman somehow threatens the entire legislative branch, then the GOP must have already brought the Capitol down to its foundation.

Of course the responsible thing to do would be to find and get rid of all corrupt members of Congress. But Mr. Hastert knows he wouldn't be Speaker anymore if we did that!

Projecting much, Mr. Speaker?

Dodd for President?

In 2004, I had one candidate. In 2008, it now seems that I might have my loyalties divided three ways.

One one hand, Governor Mark Warner led the way in saving my home state from the brink of financial ruin, set the state for another four years of Democratic leadership, and is currently my favorite for the 2008 nomination.

Second, there's always the possibility of Al Gore, the man who I believe would be stronger than any other on the environment.

Now, Chris Dodd, Providence College Class of 1966, is investigationg a bid for President.

Sen. Christopher J. Dodd said today he has "decided to do all the things that are necessary to prepare to seek the presidency in 2008."

The Connecticut Democrat will hire staff, raise money and travel around the country in the next few months as he tries to enlist support.

Senator Dodd is a spiritual leader for us Dems at Providence College. A President Dodd would be an incredible asset to this country, and while that is a major longshot, I hope he will enter the race and make a valuable contribution to the primary process.

Oh how great it would be to have to choose on primary day between these three incredible candidates.

Monday, May 22, 2006

Virgil Goode... Waste of Space

According to Congress.Org's Power Rankings, Congressman Goode is the most ineffective member of the majority party in the entire Virginia delegation.

The 5th District deserves a Congressman who will fight for us in Congress.

Vote Al Weed for Congress!

Sunday, May 21, 2006


You knew it was coming. This is the volunteer speech.

One of our nominees for the November elections is official. I believe Al Weed has learned some important lessons from his defeat in 2004, and this year will prove a very strong candidate against you know who. And in three short weeks, we will know who will attempt to send George Allen packing.

We had a phenomenal volunteer effort for Tim Kaine, both in the city and the county. But this year we are facing two entrenched, well-funded incumbents. We will have quality candidates in Al Weed and Jim Webb or Harris Miller. But we can count on being outspent. We can count on facing a top-notch GOTV operation. We can count on witnessing the Republicans resort to sleazy tactics. All of these things will happen.

How do we overcome this? By volunteering. The lifeblood of any campaign is their volunteer effort. Our candidates need everyone to support them. If you can write a check, that's great, and they can certainly use it. But it's volunteers who do the real work, and who allow that money to be spent effectively. It is volunteers who will make or break our races this year. As hard as it may seem, we need to do more this year than we did for Tim Kaine. It's going to be tought to top that effort, but I know we can do it.

Anyone can contribute to a campaign. Even if you're uncomfortable talking to voters, or you are unable to leave your home, there are important things that the campaigns need you to do. As a former campaign staffer, I know how important and appreciated our volunteers were. And it's great when our candidates win, but as a former, current and future volunteer, I know it's even greater when we have made a personal contribution to that win.

Campaign staffers can be ornery people. After all, they're working 100 hour weeks under a lot of stress. But they're good people, and they do truly appreciate when volunteers lend them a hand, even if they're too busy or stressed to show it.

If you want to volunteer, or have questions, leave a comment below with your precinct (or where you live) and I will refer you to the right people.

I can make a guarantee. Without your help. Yes, you. Come January 2007, Virgil Goode will start another term in Congress, and George Allen's Presidential campaign will really get started. But you have the power to change that. Please volunteer to get Democrats elected this year. Congressman Weed and Senator Webb/Miller is a good thing for you, for our community, our commonwealth and our nation. Please step up and make it a reality.


To Adam, Chris, Ericc, Ashley, Katie and the rest of the Providence College Class of 2006, congratulations on your graduation today.

Never again will sitting in cramped chairs and waiting in line for hours on end be so exciting.

Friday, May 19, 2006

Here We Go Again

As part of my job with the Dem Coordinated Campaign in 2005, I signed up (or at least my alter-ego signed up) for GOP email updates. And since I was obviously getting all the internal and public updates from the Kaine campaign, every debate between the two resulted in interestingly opposing subject lines appearing in my inbox. "Kaine shows positive vision to keep Virginia moving forward" would be contrasted with "Kilgore shows the courage to lead," or some such bullshit.

So, I could help but laugh when I saw these two subjects in my inbox today:
1) "Jim Webb overwhelms Miller in first debate."
2) "Harris Miller wins primary debate."

I didn't see the debate, but if the emails are any indication, Miller puts up a valiant but longwinded effort, and Webb wins with the anti-Iraq War money quote.

Thursday, May 18, 2006

Geographically Impaired Republicans

On one hand, we have George Allen, the incumbent Senator from Virginia, going around telling people he'd rather be an Iowan.

I guess Allen doesn't realize that Virginia is so great, politicians from other states can't seem to stay away.

We already know about Senator Santorum, who defrauded a public school system in Pennsylvania by having them spend tens of thousands to educate his kids via a cyber school while they resided in Leesburg.

Now, it turns out, the GOP nominee for Duke Cunningham's seat is up to the same trick. Eric Bilbray claims to reside in Carlsbad, CA, within California's 50th district. But the neighbors of that house (which is his mother's) rarely see him and on several occasions he and his family have claimed their primary residence is in Alexandria. The Democrats have called for an investigation.

Fortunately, recent polls and primary results suggest that both Bilbray and Santorum will soon be able to stay in Virginia full time.

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Regarding My Previous Post

Political predictions like those I just made are basically pointless and a general waste of time.

But damn, they're fun. At least to a political junkie like myself.

GOP Retains Senate Majority By a Cheney

Given recent events, I am now able to predict that following the mid-term elections, the US Senate will be tied. Which means that Cheney keeps the GOP the majority party.

My worst case scenario puts the Senate at 52-48 GOP.

Worst case scenario is three Dem pickups in Montana, Pennsylvania and Rhode Island. Hello Senators Casey, Whitehouse and Morrison/Tester.

My new scenario includes pickups in Ohio (Brown) and Missouri (McCaskill).

And I see two more hypothetical Dem pickups (though longshots) in Arizona and, naturally, Virginia. We'll know a lot more about that on June 13th.

Monday, May 15, 2006

Interesting Article on Allen

The AP presents an interesting article on George Allen's Presidential and Senatorial ambitions.

First of all, it is yet more national (and presumably nonpartisan) recognition that the VA Senate race is important.

A loyal foot solider for President Bush, the Virginia lawmaker faces a surprisingly tough re-election campaign that is keeping him pinned down in his state while other Republican presidential hopefuls traverse Iowa, New Hampshire and other important places in the 2008 nomination fight.

Just as worrisome, the Senate campaign has already dredged up a few unpleasant issues — both personal and political — that could shadow his plans for 2008.

Even better, the article outlines his past racist tendencies, including his affinity for the Confederacy before he had ever lived remotely near the South.

In his high school yearbook photo, Allen is wearing a Confederate flag pin. He said he cannot remember why, but suspects the pin was part of a nonconformist phase. He said a pal wore one, too.
"We probably did it for some sort of — I don't know what you call it — for the fun of it," Allen said, spitting tobacco juice between his cowboy boots. "It wasn't any major statement."

In the magazine article, classmates recalled Allen driving California's streets in a red Mustang with a Confederate plate. Some spoke of a graffiti-spraying incident and said it was racially tinged. Allen said he was suspended for the prank aimed at an opposing basketball team but denied writing anything racial.

Of course these were harmless pranks, right? A noncomformist phase? If so, it was a phase that lasted all the way to his tenure as Governor of Virginia, when he kept a confederate flag in his home and a noose in a tree in his law office.

Of course he tries to say it was only when he became governor that he became aware of the implications of the Confederate flag. But a damn noose? Come on.


One year ago today (almost to the minute), I graduated from Providence College.

Sunday, May 14, 2006


A filling came out, or something. In any case, the right half of my mouth hurts... a lot... and it has for days... and it will continue to hurt until Monday at least...

This sucks.

But on the bright side, for the first time in my life, Advil actually did something.

Close Call for Uncle Teddy

Thursday, May 11, 2006

Every Call Ever Made

Big Brother Continues his Vigil

A NSA database of every call ever made, with US corporations complicit.

I'm thinking more and more that we have reached critical mass, and America is dead.

Promotion - NOT

So, I got some bad news at work the other day. I know for a fact going into supervisor interviews that I was a favorite to get the gig. At least amongst those who really count.

So, naturally, I didn't get it.

But what really amazes me is how much bad news can teach you good lessons. In fact, how often do you really learn about yourself, or about life, when things are going well? If we never got bad news, where would we be?

Monday, May 08, 2006

GOP Concedes Defeat

GOP chairman Ken Mehlman has conceded defeat "at every level" in November's elections. The game plan for them now is damage control.

Senator Deeds said it on May 2nd.... the Democratic wave began that day with the overwhelming trouncing of GOP incumbent Rob Schilling. And he posed a question, obviously a challenge to all us celebrating Dems to keep active... The only question, he said, is how high will that wave go?

Creigh's challenge did not go out just to the people at the Ice Park on May 2nd, but to all Democrats. If we have a strong message and a strong turnout, then November 7th is going to be one hell of a night.

The March of Time

Lillian Asplund, the last American survivor of the Titanic disaster, died yesterday at age 99.

Ms. Asplund was five years old at the time of the sinking. As the other two surviving surviors were both under a year old at the time, Ms. Asplund represented the last first-hand knowledge of the disaster on Earth.

It's a rather amazing thought. My generation heard about the Titanic when we were still in elementary school, or even earlier. Sometime in middle or high school, a major motion picture came out. My entire life, this has been a major historical event. And overnight, our last real connection to it disappeared forever.


Damn, the politics at my current workplace are worse than when I worked at... a political campaign.

Saturday, May 06, 2006

On Kennedy

We Providence College Democrats are proud of those who have blazed a trail before us. People like Chris Dodd, Charlie Fogarty and, of course, Patrick Kennedy.

While I was a Rhode Island Democratic activist, I was able to meet Congressman Kennedy on several occasions. He is a genuinely good person. He could have easily been the Democratic nominee to challenge Lincoln Chafee. And he would have won that race easily. But, he declined to seek this seat in large part because of his mother's recent mental health issues. Furthermore, I have never seen any member of Congress whose constituent services are as excellent as Patrick's.

Technically, I am represented in Congress by someone who likes to broadcast his constituent services, and who is a very self-serving man. Patrick is the opposite, and until the 5th District can elect a real Congressman, I will consider myself a constituent of Congressman Kennedy, even though I no longer reside in Rhode Island's 1st.

It worries me that the media (and the GOP) is going to spin the Kennedy incident into much more than it is. Congressman Kennedy is a good man who has issues. He has controlled them with relative success most of his life, but he, obviously, has had more trouble recently. I know he is a good man and I believe his efforts at rehab are sincere.

It would be tragic if this were to detract from the real problems going on in Washington. Congressman Kennedy's own seat is not in danger, but if his story attracts media attention to the exclusion of the innumerable Republican scandals, it will be to this country's detriment.

We have innumerable GOP officials who are involved in scandals. By and large, these are not people who are struggling with personal problems. These are people who are motivated by power and greed. The press would be responsible to investigate the problems that could damage America: NSA wiretapping, the Abramoff scandals, the MZM scandals, the Plame affair, etc.

I have no doubt that the media will overplay the Kennedy story to the exclusion of what's important, and that is one of the major problems with today's political climate.

Friday, May 05, 2006

Mas Riley

It's been a regular photoshoot around here...

Thursday, May 04, 2006


According to Salary.Com, a stay at home parent's work has a value of $134,121.

They also work 91.6 hours per week.

I have some perspective on this, as an average week on the Kaine campaign happened to be 92 hours. I got seven hours of sleep. That left a scant 27 hours per week outside of working and sleeping. Factor in commute times, "overtime," and getting ready in the mornings, and my "personal time" amounted to one hour of Adult Swim each night.

Not much of a life. The stay at home parent and I shared one benefit in that we both were obsessed with what we were doing. Though, I had a benefit of the light at the end of the tunnel being six months away, not eighteen years.

I've always thought stay at home parents were underappreciated. It's nice that someone puts a dollar value on what they do.

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

Council Elections

Today is the election for Charlottesville City Council and School Board. So, Charlottesville residents, get to your local polling place by 7 PM!

And if you want to volunteer for Dave Norris and Julian Taliaferro, drop by the campaign HQ on the downtown mall!