Friday, June 30, 2006


So, apparently, Senator George Felix Allen Jr. doesn't like his middle name, Felix. I guess George Felix Allen doesn't think that Felix fits into his Southern persona, and that Felix smacks of someone, like George Felix Allen Jr., who hails from a place like... Southern California. Perhaps Felix is also the type of name someone who, if he had his druthers, would like to be an Iowan.

Felix. Felix. Felix. Felix.

You know, I've always kind of like the name Felix.


This is post #100.


Outside the Beltway

Granted, he does operate in a community whose self-selected abbreviation sounds like a third-rate oil company (MoCo), but a good friend has begun a blog focused on the politics of Maryland and Montgomery County.

Check it out. It's much better than mine.

Thursday, June 29, 2006

Silver Spring

Every Whole Foods team goes on something called a "team build" where the entire team (aka 'department') leaves the store and does some activity.

So, they have to compensate by importing employees from other stores.

So, yesterday, four of us from the CVille store trekked all the way up to Silver Spring, Maryland, to help out. In hopes that they will trek all the way down to CVille when we have our own team build in August.

The Silver Spring WFM is nice. But, Charlottesvillians, you really are lucky to have the Whole Foods that you have. Since many stores sent help, we got to see representatives from several different stores. Now, everyone was decent, much more qualified than your typical grocery store cashier. But, we were just, I don't know, better. I suspect this is for two reasons. Our STL (aka general manager) is recognized as one of the better ones in the company, and he tends to place a heavy emphasis on quality training and promoting qualified supervisors and managers. Furthermore, it can't hurt that we draw our employees from Charlottesville and Albemarle.

But the thing that struck me the most about Silver Spring was not the Whole Foods. It was the downtown area as a whole. Apparently the Whole Foods shopping center was the first development in the area. Google Maps is screwy, but it shows the block across the street from WFM as an empty lot. Today, this lot is covered in 8-9 story buildings. For several blocks around there are newish looking office and residential towers, some of which are much higher than 9 stories. And at the bottom of all this is a bunch of shops, mostly chain stores and chain-style restaurants. There are not a lot of local businesses in this area. Interspersed amongst all this are a few historic churches and older buildings. It is these that host the few local businesses and compared to the shiny new buildings, they look quite run down. Adjacent to this mess is a charming neighborhood that looked quite similar to many neighborhoods in CVille, but surrounding the outskirts, for miles, it looks like Hollymead on steroids.

I have to wonder, is this the future of Charlottesville?

Monday, June 26, 2006


The Richmond Democrat has a recap of the Unity Rally a couple of days ago in Charlottesville.

I'm glad to see Harris Miller gave a fine speech in support of Jim Webb.

But, It's disappointing that Bern Ewert was not on stage with Al.

Saturday, June 24, 2006

Grocery Store Peeves

Honestly, people...

I thought that my biggest pet peeve as a cashier were customers who talked on their cell phones while checking out. As incredibly rude, coarse and annoying as that is, there's something even worse.

People who argue over who's going to pay.

I get to stand there with two different people handing me fistfuls of money, each telling me they're going to pay.

Look, I have no idea which one of you to listen to. As far as I am concerned, each of you has just as much right to pay as the other. It's incredibly annoying to have to listen to someone else's argument while people expect me to somehow choose who to listen to. I am nowhere near qualified to take sides. So, if this happens, rest assured that I will just stand there until you can solve your own personal problems.

Now, I'm not referring to the classic two-second "I'll get it, no, I'll get it, ok, you get it I'll buy gas on the way home" exchange. There are people that literally get into it. Yelling at each other and such. I had a guy tackle and shove someone I presume was his son when he tried to swipe his credit card. Yes, he literally tackled the guy.

I wonder if they realized they provided excellent entertainment for the customers behind them.

Tuesday, June 20, 2006


I just dropped my mom's car off at Battlefield Ford's body shop this afternoon.

I was driving from Martha Jefferson to home last Monday when I was rear-ended trying to merge onto the Bypass from Locust.

When I was passing this intersection yesterday for the estimate, nearly exactly a week after my accident, I saw another accident in the exact same place.

It's a horrible, horrible intersection. Does anyone else have any experience with this area?


Most know it as a nickname for you know who.

But, I noticed a group of people who put W's to much better use.

Check out my selections for Federal elections for the next few cycles...

Monday, June 19, 2006

Sabato Makes Sense

I've always thought Larry Sabato is vastly overrated, but today he makes some good sense.

"[Allen] has never changed and Virginia has."

Just like Jerry Kilgore, Allen has all the typical GOP slime machine operatives in his camp. It's already a foregone conclusion, George Allen is going to go negative in a big way.

But it will backfire.

I remember making calls for Tim Kaine last year. Every now and then, a voter would bring up some attack from Kilgore. Now, certainly, we had answers for every attack in case a voter really pressed the issue, but my first response was always the same.

Kilgore can say whatever he wants but Tim Kaine is focused on leading Virginia forward.

Sure, it was a backhanded attack. I was saying, in effect, all Kilgore has to stand on is personal attacks, but Tim Kaine has a record of accomplishment as mayor, as lieutenant governor, and he has a plan to lead Virginia forward (see the messaging?) as our next Governor.

Kilgore had a negative message. Kaine had a positive message.

Now, it's probably true that Tim Kaine is our Governor now because Mark Warner did such a damned fine job before him, but my focusing on the positive was really well received. And we saw later in the campaign how the most egregious attacks from Kilgore backfired in a spectacular way. Certainly, Warner helped. But GOP attacks certainly didn't help Kilgore.

We live in the most intelligent "red state." Voters in the local area and across the state tend to be fairly well informed. The ones that actually had the time to talk tended to have intelligent questions. And thankfully, these voters also saw right through Kilgore's shenanigans.

I suspect the same will happen this year. As Sabato points out, George W. Bush has an approval rating below 40 percent in Virginia, and with a voting record that supports Bush an incredible 97% of the time, George Allen is obviously a blind disciple. He might have a record to run on, but it's one that obviously, Virginians don't care for. So, he has to go negative.

And here we have Jim Webb. He's a moderate Reagan administration official. His positions are not going to scare off many moderates or independents. He has no voting record to pick apart. And he's a sensible man who does represent an incredible breath of fresh air and wealth of knowledge that we could really use in Washington. Harris Miller pretty much exhausted the only real attack angle (Webb is too Republican), so Allen will have no choice but to go personal.

And it will backfire.

Jim Webb is at 41% in the polls when nobody knows who he is. Tim Kaine overcame an even larger gap than Webb's. George Allen is nothing but a Bush administration mouth piece, but Jim Webb just, you know, seems like a natural fit for the Senate.

This is going to be a close one folks.

[Update] I just noticed the following pair of sentences in my post...
"But it will backfire...
And it will backfire..."

I didn't do that intentionally... it just happened.

Some campaign get me a communications job quick!

On Religion

On Religion, and Fundamentalism, and having spent most my life in or near the Bible Belt.

Wait, wait, I think I can explain this whole thing. Marklar, these marklars want to change your marklar. They don't want Marklar or any of these marklars to live here because it's bad for their marklar. They use Marklar to try and force marklars to believe their marklar. If you let them stay here, they will build marklars and marklars. They will take your marklars and replace them with Marklar. These marklar have no good marklar to live on Marklar, so they must come here to Marklar. Please, let these marklars stay where they can grow and prosper without any marklars, marklars or marklars.
-Kyle Broflovski

Wise and true indeed.

Charlottesville, Meet Craig's List

I've been hoping for this for a long time.

Flippin sweet.

Friday, June 16, 2006

Maybe. Just Maybe.

Something amazing may have happened today. A small salvation is close to fruition. Wish me luck that this comes true.


So, 2500 American soldiers have died in Iraq.

And the White House reponse?

"It's a number."

Yes it's a number. But that's not what matters, you pieces of shit. That's 2500 families. That's 2500 lives, many just like mine, that simply no longer exist. And it would be one thing if this was for some noble cause. But one justification after another has proved to be complete bullshit, and the only real justification I can see is that the President needed some kind of war to scare people into voting for him. And for that, 2500 people he never met had to die. Over 18,000 had to be injured. And 40,000 Iraqi civilians had to die. So far. All because George Bush has a personal problem.

Back in 2000, not in my wildest dreams did I think it could get this bad.


It's been sort of a given that Albemarle County has had a Democratic resurgence of the past few years, and it's also a given that we have a lot of absurdly talented activists.

I mean, a lot.

But I've never mentally connected the two.

I mean, duh.

Tuesday, June 13, 2006


Webb and Weed is a damned fine ticket.

Monday, June 12, 2006


I'm physically and existentially exhausted. I don't know, but I just felt the need to say that.

Wednesday will bring relief... maybe.

Sunday, June 11, 2006


Tuesday's gonna be weird.

I'll be working the polls at Albemarle High School from 5:30-7:15 AM. Then, I'll be at the work that actually pays me from 7:30-3:30. Then, at the polls again from 3:45-7:00.

The thing I'm most looking forward to is voting at the polls. I was able to vote from my first election, 2000, through 2002 at actual polling places. When I went off to college, I decided Al Weed needed my vote far more than Patrick Kennedy, so I declined to change my voter registration. Thus, in the 2003 non-election (1 contested race out of 10) and in 2004 I voted by absentee ballot.

2004 was fun, as I voted for John Kerry in an actual meeting of the Providence College Democrats, with my Outreach Director and successor as President, Adam Roach, serving as my official witness. Much mention was made of a certain Congressional candidates name and a good time was had by all.

In 2005, I voted absentee in both the primary and general because any campaign staffer caught wasting time by voting on election day would be summarily shot.

This November, I'll be voting absentee again, as I plan on working the end of the gubernatorial race in Rhode Island (gotta support my fellow PC alums).

Beginning in Fall of 2007 I'll be in grad school somewhere, most likely Mississippi.

So, day after tomorrow will be my only chance to actually vote at a polling place until the Virginia statewide primaries in 2009. I'm looking forward to it.

Thursday, June 08, 2006


Presenting... Your GOP Congress...

The real tragedy of the Marriage Amendment bullshit is that this is taking time away from dealing with, you know, real problems.

According to Senator Vitter about the amendment,
"I don't believe there's any issue that's more important than this one."

I case you didn't know, Senator Vitter represents Louisiana, whose citizens probably consider their continued recovery efforts from the worst U.S. natural disaster ever to be of slightly more importance than who marries whom.

Too bad their Senator and his Republican colleagues don't agree.

Stewart Kicks Ass

It was a sight to behold, Jon Stewart totally kicking Bill Bennett's ass on the issue of gay marriage... saying many of the things I believe about the same issue.


-Every time we draw limits... starting with slavery... women's suffrage... each time there has been a battle to not allow that freedom, each time that battle was lost, and for the good of the country. Isn't this the next progression in that very same battle?

-So why not encourage gay people to join in that family arrangement if that is what provides stability to a society?

-I disagree, it's a debate about whether you think gay people are part of the human condition or just a random fetish.

-I think marriage has problems having nothing to do with gay marriage... Divorce is not caused because 50% of marriages end in gayness.

Clearly Jon Stewart is a very, very smart man.

LINK (video under 'more daily show')

Wednesday, June 07, 2006

Natural Selection In My Backyard

There's an interesting phenomenon going on on my backyard.

This is a bird's nest (presumably a sparrow like bird) that is currently situated in a tree in by back yard. There was a nest in almost this exact location last year. And last year, multiple eggs fell from that nest, only for the nest to later fall from the tree, infested by ants. This year, the nest in the picture has already lost at least one egg.

There is, however, another local bird that seems to be a little smarter when it comes to nest location and construction.

Here you can see a bird (sparrow, or something of the like) safely nestled in her nest. The nest is constructed in a wooden crate in which we keep supplies for out cars. The nest is constructed from leaves, pine needles and metal foil amidst several bottles of motor oil. Above this is an old Tim Kaine yard sign that I had randomly placed there, which is weighed down by wire and garden shears. This whole crate is placed on top of a small refrigerator on our patio, underneath an overhang. The whole thing is very secure. It is relatively safe from the elements, would take a major earthquake to topple and thus far has been untouched by predators.

Here's a close-up. The nest is comprised of one large compartment, somewhat exposed to the air, and a smaller comparment, of perfect size for bird and eggs.

And here are the eggs. I noticed them a little over a week ago, before the first nest lost its egg. So far, these eggs seem to be doing just fine.

I think it's cool to see a bird who has chosen an incredibly good nesting location successfully care for her eggs, which will, possibly, give way to three more birds with an eye for fine nesting locations.

I look forward to seeing how this plays out. I guess if we need motor oil before fall, it's off to the store for us.

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

Goodbye Mr. Burns

"Senator Tester. Senator Tester."

It has a nice ring to it.

Congrats to Jon Tester on winning the Montana Dem Senate Primary, making Senator Burns' seat an almost certain pick-up.

Now, if Francine Busby can bring it home, this will be a perfect night.

Monday, June 05, 2006


It pains me to say this, and I feel like I'm stabbing someone in the back, but I think I like Steven Colbert better than Jon Stewart.

Anyway, from Mr. Colbert's commencement address at Knox College:

So, say “yes.” In fact, say “yes” as often as you can. When I was starting out in Chicago, doing improvisational theatre with Second City and other places, there was really only one rule I was taught about improv. That was, “yes-and.” In this case, “yes-and” is a verb. To “yes-and.” I yes-and, you yes-and, he, she or it yes-ands. And yes-anding means that when you go onstage to improvise a scene with no script, you have no idea what’s going to happen, maybe with someone you’ve never met before. To build a scene, you have to accept. To build anything onstage, you have to accept what the other improviser initiates on stage. They say you’re doctors—you’re doctors. And then, you add to that: We’re doctors and we’re trapped in an ice cave. That’s the “-and.” And then hopefully they “yes-and” you back. You have to keep your eyes open when you do this. You have to be aware of what the other performer is offering you, so that you can agree and add to it. And through these agreements, you can improvise a scene or a one-act play. And because, by following each other’s lead, neither of you are really in control. It’s more of a mutual discovery than a solo adventure. What happens in a scene is often as much a surprise to you as it is to the audience.

Well, you are about to start the greatest improvisation of all. With no script. No idea what’s going to happen, often with people and places you have never seen before. And you are not in control. So say “yes.” And if you’re lucky, you’ll find people who will say “yes” back.

...And That's The Word.

We Should Know Better

The stakes may not have been as high as they are in today's gay marriage debate, but we have been through this before.

Amendment 18 to the U.S. Constitution
Ratified January 16, 1919
1. After one year from the ratification of this article the manufacture, sale, or transportation of intoxicating liquors within, the importation thereof into, or the exportation thereof from the United States and all territory subject to the jurisdiction thereof for beverage purposes is hereby prohibited.

Amendment 21 to the U.S. Constitution
Ratified December 5, 1933
1. The eighteenth article of amendment to the Constitution of the United States is hereby repealed.

Despite the fact that President Bush regards the U.S. Constitution as a mere piece of paper, it is a piece of paper that has deeply affected our lives. Most people regard it is a paragon of our American ideals. I regard it as proof of a flawed but great nation striving to better itself. Every amendment has served to increase the rights of the American people, with the exception of the 18th. Prohibition was, of course, the first time the Constitution had been used to limit rights.

The Temperance Movement was not dissimilar to the marriage equality debate of today. It was one of the number one political issues of the 19th Century, and the debate was imbued with religious overtones. It was a debate over morality, as today's debate pretends to be.

But there is a key difference. The Temperance Movement was ideological, but it was also based on real concerns, primarily the welfare of women whose husbands drank their paychecks, abused them, or both. Perhaps Prohibition was "a noble experiment" that simply took a very wrong approach.

But does anyone really believe that Congressional Republicans give a damn about who marries whom? We certainly know that many of them hold no regard for the "sanctity of marriage" in their own lives. No, this debate is characterized by one side, supporting marriage equality, with noble and clear intentions and their opponents who are making transparent overtures to right wingers in an attempt to save their Congressional seats on November 7th.

Fortunately, this is all bluster, and the amendment has almost zero chance of passing. When the Constitution was first used to limit rights, the country came to its senses after a short time. Fortunately, this new amendment has little chance of passing. It would be a shame if fifteen years down the road, we had to fix yet another Constitutional error.

Sunday, June 04, 2006

Craig's List Humor

I've spent way too long reading the "best of" section on Craig's List.


My favorite line...
"To the man on the #6 bus this morning who looked like a Pekingese....
I want to do you."

Thursday, June 01, 2006


At the Public Policy and the Law Conference at UVA earlier this year, someone took a picture with me and some other random young lady with Senator Kennedy. Caplin Pavilion, I'm on Kennedy's left, holding a jacket, wearing a shirt or tie. Brown hair, glasses. Since there's are a few UVA Law bloggers out there, I thought I'd give it a shot. If you or someone you know might be in possession of such a picture, let me know!