Monday, July 31, 2006

VA-02 Drake Impresses

This scares me.

Norfolk politico Vivian Paige has a great report on a Thelma Drake (R-VA) campaign event in which she opened herself up to criticism from the public via a district-wide mailer, took that criticism and handled it well, much in the way that Tim Kaine did at similar events last year.

Phil Kellam should take notice.

Unfortunately, Ms. Drake also showed herself to be out of touch with middle and working class Virginians, and while she is quite different from President Bush in style, they share many of the same priorities. This is why we need to defeat her in November, because if we do not regain control of the House, then all but the richest Americans continue to get screwed.

Phil Kellam for Congress

You're Fired

(Don't I owe Donald Trump money for typing that?)

Well, MZM's Martinsville facility is gone.

Waldo Jaquith has been following this saga closely and has a good summary here, so I won't go into all the gritty details.

The MZM/Martinsville affair is, in my opinion, the single best reason to retire Virgil Goode this November. If he had really been concerned with job creation in the most economically recessed area in the District, he should have tried to lure legitimate employers to the area, or jump onto the Southside University project, or something.

Certainly, doing nothing would have been far better than being instrumental in locating a Department of Defense facility that never did create local jobs as promised. Now that it has failed, as it almost inevitable would, the City of Martinsville is on the hook for half a million dollars. Money, of course, that would be much better put to use helping the citizens of Martinsville.

If Virgil Goode had been in the private sector, he would have been fired as soon as the ink dried on this deal, a deal so bad that Goode deserves the axe even before the fact that after the fact, $90,000 in illegal donations were funneled to his campaign coffers from who else but MZM.

Robin Hood has met his match in Representative A, robbing from the poor to pay the rich.

Al Weed for Congress

Friday, July 28, 2006

Paging Mr. Gatz

It has become painfully obvious that major changes need to be made. Reinvention is necessary.

"He had come a long way to this blue lawn, and his dream must have seemed so close he could hardly fail to grasp it."

Thursday, July 27, 2006

The Wonders of the Internet

So, my father happened upon this blog. And then my half-sister, who I haven't seen or spoken to for nearly ten years, IM's me.

So, to the Illinois wing of the Kachur family... welcome.

Now It's Personal

It's bad enough that Senator Conrad Burns (R-MT) had the audacity to insult some firefighters who were helping to extinguish wild fires in his state.

Even worse, these guys had traveled all the way from Virginia to risk their lives several thousand miles from home in order to help the people of Montana. And the Senator has the gall to publicly insult their efforts.

If Senator Burns has a problem with the way these guys handled their job, he needs to tell them, privately, professionally and constructively. Not rake them over the coals in front of the press.

And these guys are apparetly good. According to the USDA, "This crew stepped into a busy fire season [2001] with outstanding performance... From July 31 to December 1... they were on a total of 27 fires. After the terrorists attack on September 11, they were in New York City assisting crews at ground zero."

If we Virginians ever need Montana's help, I know for a fact that they and their efforts would be greatly appreciated, and instead of being publically rebuked they would be rewarded with some hot home-cooked meals and some ice cold beers.

Pissed at Burns for insulting our brave firefighters? Get your revenge. Jon Tester would whole-heartedly support them.


Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Professional Driver, Closed Course, Etc.

Edgar Allen Poe and Elliot Smith is a dangerous combination. I am a trained professional... do not try this at home.


From childhood's hour I have not been
As others were; I have not seen
As others saw; I could not bring
My passions from a common spring.
From the same source I have not taken
My sorrow; I could not awaken
My heart to joy at the same tone;

And all that I loved, I loved alone.
Then- in my childhood, in the dawn
Of a most stormy life- was drawn
From every depth of good and ill
The mystery which binds me still:
From the torrent, or the fountain,
From the red cliff of the mountain,
From the sun that round me rolled
In its autumn tint of gold,
From the lightning in the sky
As it passed my flying by,
From the thunder and the storm,
And the cloud that took the form
(When the rest of Heaven was blue)
Of a demon in my view.

Wednesday, July 19, 2006


I've been a bad Braves fan.

I did a lot of my growing up in Northwest Georgia, specifically Roswell, Acworth and Cassville (Bartow Co). Basically, this was age 4-12. It's also when I became a baseball fan. For a few years, I followed a horrible team as much as my young mind would allow. But I became obsessed in 1991. I mean, what baseball fan living in Georgia didn't become obsessed that year? My birthday is September 14th. That year my birthday party was going to be at the stadium, but they were booked until October 5th, the second to last day of the season. Of course this was a most fortunate occurence, as that was the day the Braves beat the Houston Astros to clinch a tie for the NL West championship, and as the team, with 50,000 of their closest friends, and watched the big screen as the San Francisco Giants beat the Los Angeles Dodgers, giving the Braves the division championship. Of course, the Braves went on to barely lose the best World Series ever.

I was nine then. Now I'm 23. Since then, I moved from Georgia to New Jersey and now Virginia for nearly a decade. I've attended seven schools between now and then. There has been a staggering amount of change in the world and in my own life between 1991 and now. But one thing has never changed and will remain the same until October at least... the Atlanta Braves being the champions of their division. Even their division changed, but they've always won it.

But I've been a bad fan.

I've been involved in school and then in politics. I had a fling with another team, the Boston Red Sox, my second favorite team and whose World Series win in 2004 was even sweeter than the Braves' in 1995. It makes me feel guilty to type that, but it's true.

But I am still a Braves fan first and foremost, and recently I have finally gotten back into the swing of things after being out of touch for a couple of years. Fortunately, a lot of the old guard is still around. John Smoltz, Chipper Jones, Andruw Jones, and the immortal Bobby Cox. Even Mike Remlinger is back! But so much has changed. There are guys on the starting roster that I knew as prospects in the rookie leagues, and even some guys I've never heard of. But, I've been watching the games, and getting to know the new guys. It's nice to get some new heroes.

When I started checking in again, the Braves were down in a big way. In fourth place, blowing lead after lead, and simply not able to put things together. That seems to have changed. They've won seven straight, nine of their last ten, and currently lead in their game tonight. They're way back in the NL East and trail in the wildcard. It will be an incredible fight to make the postseason, but they have a chance. I will be cheering them on and I'm sure I'll be living and dying with the team during the last games of the season, when it's impossible to sit down past the seventh inning. And if they make it, it will be sweet. From the depths of the league through a second-half surge to the postseason. Just like 1991.

From the way they've been playing lately, they've missed me.

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Leave Lincoln Alone

According to CNN Money, Rep. Jim Kolbe (R-AZ) wants to do away with the penny, which according to him "has been a nuisance for years."

Being a Republican, I assumed the rounding would somehow benefit big business, which it doesn't seem to, at least to my non-economically trained mind. But, there had to be something, something that benefited somebody.

Then came this nugget...
Kolbe's home state of Arizona is the largest copper producing state in the nation. Copper is the main material of the nickel which would benefit by becoming the lowest denomination of currency in circulation.

Ah, I see. Actually, this is welcome. Some nice good old-fashioned helping the little corporations back home.

As much as I respect FDR, I'd like to seem them do away with the dime. I hate those damned things. In fact, if he did that we'd use a lot more nickels. I bet Rep. Kolbe is kicking himself for not thinking of it first!

Cut Throat


Some of the charities around here are vicious.

I'm in charge of finding a volunteer opportunity for the front end at Whole Foods.

So, while doing this, I hear from Non-Profit B that Non-Profit A has already signed us up. Which was nowhere near the case. It really peeved me that I find out from a second charity that another charity is trying to steal our labor. I won't identify them because they do good work, but suffice to say that Charity A will not be getting our assistance.

It's sad when an organization that is important to the community screws itself by employing unethical tactics.

Sunday, July 16, 2006

Canvass II

Jack Jouett District Dems completed their second canvass of the cycle this morning (technically yesterday, I guess). We had five today, and everything went much smoother.

I've noticed something. The anger is palpable, I suppose. With TK this time last year, EVERYONE was undecided. I'd go to a door, D+ family, 99 percent voting frequency. And they'd say they were undecided. As if.

But last week, and today, people have said they're definitely voting Democratic. Many of them already know who the candidates are, and I've run into very few undecideds. Of course this runs counter to everything I've been taught to expect from the electorate in July. Most people usually don't even know the candidates' names until September at the earliest.

But this year, they're already voting Democratic in July. Hot damn.

Albemarle voters sure are smart.

We have next week off, but following that, we're going to have one hell of a massive canvass in Georgetown on July 29th. I might try to organize a canvass during a midweek evening sometime over the next two weeks. 5:30-7:30, 6:30-8:00, or something along those lines. Drop me a message below if you're interested in either.

If not, of course you can show up at Al Weed's HQ on West Main Street behind the Blue Bird Cafe pretty much any time (S-T 9-9, F-S 9-5), and if they're worth their salt, which they are, they'll have all sorts of stuff for you to do.

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Allstate Corrupts

Honestly, how many people sat idling for two hours unnecessarily pumping chemicals into the atmosphere and emptying their gas tanks just to get... free gas.

Nice idea, Allstate, but horrible execution.

They're Crazy!

Right wing ideologues have clearly lost their grip on reality.

First of all, they didn't realize Stephen Colbert is a satirist until the White House Press Correspondent's dinner.

Now, we have your standard rabid anti-choicer who apparently believes everything he hears and reads. Even The Onion, which, even if you've never heard of before, is clearly a satirical publication if you read pretty much any random three sentences.

But not to this guy. The guy reads an article from the Onion and reposts it as if it's real and is portraying the horrors of the pro-choice movement. So, naturally, 800 or so people kindly show him the error of his ways. So, being morally correct and superior and all, he actually backs up the original post.

Having done a lot of political organizing, I do feel for the guy. He finally posts on a topic that gets more hits to his website than he ever imagined, and they're all there because he has made himself, and his movement, look like a bunch of idiots. Sad.

But it shows what we're dealing with. People who are not as stupid as the aformentioned guy, for the most part, but who have such a simplistic world view that everything can be broken down into two categories... good/bad. Of course, the world doesn't work that way, but they still refuse to acknowledge the complexities of the issues they are dealing with.

They are so firmly rooted in this world view that they can't even recognize satire! It's truly frightening.

Although I suppose it would help if they actually had a sense of humor.

I remember meeting some people who were firmly against abortion. But, they were reasonable enough not to assume I would say the standard pro-choice lines, and they would actually listen to me. I assume it's because they were not idealogues, but thoughtful people who adopted their position out of a compassionate world view. When I would link the issue with other issues, my (and Tim Kaine's) position would make sense. That's why it's impossible to talk to the ideologues, and why it's so hard to come up with a for or against answer on the abortion issue for many people. Because it's really an education/economy/health care issue. I got at least three voters who listed abortion as their top issue to vote for Kaine.

If the vocal ones on the left and most especially the right were to behave the same way, we'd virtually end abortion in no time at all.

UPDATE: 2000 comments later, he now claims he was joking all the time. Um, yeah, right. Shame on those posters who were cruel, crude and especially those who posted his contact info. Not cool.

Monday, July 10, 2006

Ladies and Gentlemen, We Have a Race!

Zogby polls the 5th, and it looks encouraging.

Head to Head:
Weed - 35%

Generic Party:

Following Postive & Negative Descriptions of Each Candidate:

The poll was taken in late June (26th-28th). Weed still has only 60% name recognition, and everyone knows Goode. Weed is starting from a better position than he finished last year, with much higher favorables compared to Goode.

That, my friends, is an endangered incumbent.

Al Weed and fifth District Dems need to make it clear that Virgil Goode Jr. is not his father, has harmed the 5th District if he's done anything, and is a rubber stamp for George Allen and George Bush.

So let's hit the doors, the phones and the checkbooks and make it happen!

Volunteer / Donate

Sunday, July 09, 2006


I'm glad to see that Harris Miller is doing what a losing primary candidate should be doing, and that Miller supporters are being encouraged by Miller and some of his strongest supporters to support Jim Webb.

While George Felix Allen Jr. resorts to swift-boating Webb, Democrats are going to stick together, stay tough and positive, and win this thing.

It's Kaine-Kilgore redux.

Not Larry Sabato has details.

Saturday, July 08, 2006

Canvass I

We had our first canvass in the Jack Jouett District today in the Jack Jouett precinct (that's always confusing).

It was small, but still a decent size for a volunteer canvass. It was a little disorganized, but since the last time any of us knocked on a door outside of a GOTV operation was early October of last year, that was to be expected. Overall, it went smoothly, and it promises to be even better next time.

We had our district chair, Nick Lang, of course. This is a guy who has very little political experience, but has the invaluable assets of time, energy and desire, which, while I won't sell my own experience short, is all you really need to do a world of good.

We had the honor of having one of the Albemarle Dem Vice Presidents, and former Rio District chair, Bob McAdams, join us. He might be a little shorter on time than Nick, but has lots of political experience in a lot of different venues.

Then there were the precinct captains, myself from Georgetown and Adam Justus, of UHall and the UDems. Adam was one of the top contributors from the UDems last cycle and looks to have actually increased that energy.

And we were also joined by two other volunteers, whom I won't name because they're not public figures. But, they also did a damned fine job.

Jack Jouett was my precinct (along with five others) last year, so I know it well and I have a lot of memories. We hit Georgetown Green today, which I did no fewer than four times last year, and since it's relatively easy, was an excellent place to start this cycle.

Naturally, very few people were home. The other canvassers thought we had a low contact rate, but given that I did well over 100 canvasses last year, I think we had a damned fine total. And the good news... only two Republicans. A good number of Dems. Of course no one besides obsessive political junkies like us are actually paying attention now, so we had a lot of undecideds. The landscape is very promising.

Which presents a dilemma for me. I am the Georgetown precinct captain, but Jack Jouett was by far my biggest success story (and I kicked ass in every precinct I had). I don't want us to lose any of the momentum that I and a bunch of other people helped to get there.

I don't think we will.

All in all, a pretty damned fine canvass, in my opinion. I look forward to their getting even better.

But I do really miss my Palm Pilot.



I used to post about political happenings all the time, and my response, and on and on. But it's all been said. I'm not talking about every other blog from Kos to the one on North Dakota politics that was started the day before yesterday. It's all been said by me. On this blog. On the PC Dems blog. On Xanga. In/On PC Black and White. In comments on other blogs and wherever the hell else I've been.

And it all boils down to a few simple things. It's a bad thing that the Democratic Party often finds itself disorganized and too beholden to conventional wisdom or political consultants. And worse, far far worse, the Bush administration and the GOP Congress are complicit in the worst fraud and abuse of the American people in the history of this country. That they have cheated this country and its citizens in favor of right wing interest groups and corporate interests from day one. That we are headed to a cataclysm, where the US will have to change, dramatically and quickly, or this country, at best, or the entire human society will disintegrate, at best, or cease to exist.

But I've said it over and over and over, and it's tiring. It's satisfying and cathartic, but also depressing and for the most part, self-defeating.

So I'm going to try to change my focus... posting on random inanities like usual, but also on what Al Weed, Jim Webb, and whomever is to follow can deliver that certain people currently in power have not. Sure, the blog will still go negative, or at least cynical (I hate that word, but it's true and necessary), but only to point out a contrast between what we have and what we should have.

I will do my best to place a standard on my post. Does this benefit Virginia, or is it harmless drivel? If so, fine. Is it petty or otherwise harmful, then I'll try not to post.

Not that anyone really cares anyway.

Tuesday, July 04, 2006

For Granted

I was checking out a customer today. She was buying Dry Milk Powder. I commented on it because it was a product I haven't seen very often, and she said she was buying it for her son stationed in Iraq so he could have milk with his cereal.


Here we are celebrating July 4th, and some mother is buying milk powder on July 4th to send to her son who is spending his 4th of July stuck in a desert halfway around the world, probably wondering why the heck he is there and having to consider cereal with milk a rare commodity.

And yet our President has not asked us, not even once, to make any kind of sacrifice to help these guys.

Happy 230th!

There are lots of holidays that tend to depress people. Christmas is infamous. Valentine's Day is another example. But, being the political animal that I am, I tend to get a little turned off by July 4th.

Over the past couple of days, I've watched hundreds of people stock up on beer and beef. I've witnessed my neighbors blowing shit up in their driveway. I've seen people wear flag themed clothing. I've seen American flags placed in all manner of undignified positions (where's the Constitutional amendment banning that?). In short, I've seen people mindlessly throw up flags while seeming to care about nothing but their families and getting wasted. Not that those are bad things, but I can't help but think that very, very few people actually thought about what happened 230 years ago.

Back then, a group of ridiculously brave people publicly renounced their government, one of the most powerful in the world, for a set of ideals, fully knowing they would probably pay dearly for it. And many of them did. Now on the anniversary, 230 years later, their sacrifice has been reduced to beer and firecrackers.

People don't seem to understand that patriotism is much more than "rah, rah, we're the best" bullshit. That's not patriotism. That is nationalism. What people don't understand is that patriotism is not something exercised on July 4th and every time there's an international sporting event. It's a way of life. Are you thinking about our history once a month and doing whatever you want the rest of the time? Our government certainly is. But we should be living and governing according to our country's original ideals. We should each do something from time to time, big or small, to make this country better. At the very least, show up at the damn polls once a year.

We might be the most powerful country in the world, but we'll never be the greatest country in the world until we citizens start acting like it.

Fortunately, Charlottesville is host to an incredible display of our country's ideals every July 4th at Monticello. Rick Sincere was able to attend today. To all you brand new citizens, be sure to use your experiences to let us know what we should be doing and what we shouldn't be doing. Welcome.

Monday, July 03, 2006

Poll Workers

I was just reading how some are complaining that sone Mexican polling places opened late.

And it reminded me of our local poll workers.

I've often been one of those annoying people outside the polls throwing fliers at you, asking you to volunteer, or to vote for some candidate or another. But as tough a job being a campaign staffer can be, thank god there are people who are willing, at least on that day, to have it at least as tough. Poll workers.

These are people who get up at the crack of dawn, are at their local polling place at 5:30 in the morning setting up for the doors to open at 6 AM sharp. They might be busy, as in a general election, or it might be painfully slow. But they are there, stuck in what can be a very small room from 5:30 am to 7:30 or 8:00 PM making sure that if 1000 people or 10 people show up, they each have their chance to cast a vote. And all this for what amounts to be not much pay for the work they do. Obviously, they are there for the love of democracy. And I think its great.

I think it's a very cool thing to be standing outside a polling place at 6 AM and seeing a poll worker coming outside to announce to nobody in particular, "The polls are open!"

Sunday, July 02, 2006

Charlottesville Blog Carnival

Welcome to this week's Charlottesville Blog Carnival. For your edification, here are a dozen of the finest blog entries from the past week or so....

In what is proving to be an amazing odyssey, Kerry Neubrander is attempting to find the perfect shave.

Cash Pink, of the new blog Cashing In on Summer, found a new way of getting rid of nasty, nasty slugs. Unfortunately, this method involves wasting beer and therefore must not be tolerated.

Thanks to the Book of Joe, never again will I have to go without lamb kebabs while driving on the interstate.

If Waldo Jaquith saved Al Gore, and then Al Gore ends global warming, will Waldo have saved all of human civilization?

In a frightening sign that felines are close to their goal of total domination of the human race, two cates named Virgil and Kasey have apparently learned how to blog.

In yet another terrifying development, MommKatt from ScamperDude has discovered that cats now have their own version of the Real World.

In his UVA Admissions Blog, Dean J. lets aspiring Wahoos in on all kinds of free money.

David Swanson of Let's Try Democracy, landed an interview with a real live member of Congress!

Bored by his job, Rob Douglas of The Malaise has been inspired by the amazing story of Sealand and is now planning his own micro-nation.

That out-of-touch dude that is NOT a former mayor waxes nostalgic on the thirtieth birthday of our beloved downtown mall.

While many of us are rejoicing the arrival of Craig's List, Dave Donohue actually worked to make it happen!

And finally, Duane Gran had one of the best days of his life.

That's all, folks! Sorry to everyone who was left out. Be sure to host the blog carnival in the future so you can snub me in return!

UPDATE: I don't know why, but in three different places in this post, the link to Marijean Jaggers' blog kinda merged with other entries. So, here's lucky number 13 (hopefully)... Marijean wondered what it would be like to have a party with some of Charlottesville's local characters. Might I suggest inviting the waving man from 29?

Saturday, July 01, 2006


So, suppose I had access to 35-40 people to do volunteer work for a local service organization for 4 hours on August 2nd in Charlottesville.

Would there be any takers?

Charlottesville Blog Carnival

I'm hosting the CVille blog carnival this week. In case I miss anything, if you have or know of a post that is particularly worthy of attention, please leave a link in the comments. I'll be focusing on June 24 until late tonight most likely.