Wednesday, August 30, 2006


I tend to be particulary verbose here, but why the recent lack of posts? I spent the past two nights house/pet sitting for a friend without internet access. Or at least without accessible internet access.

Oye, what an experience.

During my junior year at PC, my room happened to be at the closest possible point to the new residence hall being constructed on campus. At 7 AM each morning I was treated to the sound of jackhammers, large trucks, cranes and other assorted very loud construction noises. Not cool. Especially when a beautifully cool Rhode Island evening would prompt me to go to sleep with my window open. Defininitely not cool.

While visiting this friend in the past, I noticed an office building being constructed. I didn't pay much attention until 7 AM sharp two nights ago when, yep, I heard those noises again. Damn. Is there some law that all construction must begin at 7 AM? Even on a college campus on Friday morning (our weekends tended to start, oh, Monday)? Is this universal?

And if that wasn't bad enough. Yesterday I worked until 10PM. I had to work at 8:30 today. Yes, 8:30 AM. We call that clopening. Not much time for sleeping, seeing as how I require a while to get settled before I sleep. So, at 5:30 this morning, the people I'm sitting for decide to come home! Two days ahead of schedule. Turns out they had a creepy experience whilst camping. But, up at 5:30 after four hours of sleep. And not much sleep the night before.

So, if you came to Whole Foods today and I was your cashier, and I seemed to be a bit... distant. It's because I was practically sleeping. Sorry.

Damn I'm tired.

Saturday, August 26, 2006

Bullshit Apology

I posted just yesterday on how politically beneficial the timing of George Allen's apology to S.R. Sidarth was.

Via Kos, it appears that indeed, that apology was totally insincere.

At an appearance in Springfield, Allen says "I want to be careful about the words I use," winks and smiles at the all-white Republican audience, and then proceeds to apologize.

Some apology.

On a side note, I swear Colonel Sanders was in that audience (check out the video via WaPo)

Unlikely Ally

Way back when in 1993, during George Allen's gubernatorial campaign, there was a scandal involving Allen's affinity for a certain flag. No problem, he said, his confederate flag was just part of a "collection."

No, so, says his former neighbor. According to Bob Gibson in the Daily Progress:
Today, two former officials who visited Allen's log cabin home at different times recall only up to two flags displayed there, a Confederate flag and on an opposite wall, an American flag.

What surprises me is the identity of one of these officials... for School Board member and candidate for Supervisor, Gary Grant.

It turns out at a local campaign event, George Allen singled out Grant as a "sissy" for using a bicycle helmet. Grant, who bikes a great deal out of concern for the environment, didn't take kindly to being insulted for keeping himself safe.

During his remarks, Allen spotted me in the crowd and mentioned me as his former Earlysville neighbor... Then he made a public wisecrack about me with what he called, and I quote here, my 'sissy helmet.'

The interesting thing, not only is Allen willing to publicly insult someone he knows personally, but someone who he must know ran on the Republican ticket on last year's Board of Supervisor's election against Dave Slutzky.

But Mr. Grant picks up on the most important thing of all... Is it possible there's a trend here?

Of course there's a trend Mr. Grant. Mr. Allen has proven himself to be a racist bully.

Friday, August 25, 2006

Still a Racist Bastard

So, it turns of George Felix "Macaca" Allen Jr. (damn, it just keeps getting longer) finally got around to apologizing to S.R. Sidarth for his racist remark last week. You know, a real apology. To Sidarth himself.

But was it really a real apology? Apparently not.

Not only does an apology ten days later not change the fact that Allen uttered a racist remark. A remark that confirmed what we all already knew, that Allen is and has always been a racist. A confederate-flag waving, noose loving racist, who is not fit to lead a state with a 26% minority population. (Perhaps Mr. Allen would be more comfortable here.)

But it turns out this apology was probably politically timed, coming right as George W. Bush appeared to raise money for his campaign, as Not Harry F. Byrd Sr.'s analysis at NLS points out.

Whether or not the timing of the call was intentional, it was definitely politically beneficial. And given the track record of Allen and campaign manager Dick Wadhams, I'd guess they were waiting for the right moment all along. I'd wager Allen's recent apology holds as much water as his first.

But on a different note, when a GOP Senator in a supposedly deep red state has to hide from the President, November 7th is going to be a wonderful night.

And Then There Were Eight

It's official. The celestial body that acted very un-planet like isn't a planet.

Somehow it seems like third grade has just been invalidated.

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Canvass V

Last Saturday, we completed our fifth (if I'm counting correctly) and the best canvass to date in the Jack Jouett District. While we did find more Republicans than usual, we did spend most of our time in the wealthiest part of the precinct and the support for Jim Webb and Al Weed was phenomenal.

This canvass was well planned, well organized and was executed flawlessly. I can't wait to see us get even better in our future canvasses.

Two Can Play That Game

Any links between Iraq, Saddam Hussein and the September 11th attacks were disproven years ago. Yet, George Bush and various members of his administration refuse to stop linking 9/11 with the war on terror.

So, fine. War in Iraq and September 11th are inextricably linked. Maybe not then, but they are now, through the miracle of propaganda. I'll go along with that.

The press tends to focus on American military deaths when there's a particularly costly day, when a local citizen is killed or when the number of deaths reaches a nice, round number.

Right now, we stand at 2,611 American men and women who have died as a result of the war and subsequent occupation in Iraq.

And yet, despite strong disapproval of the war from the public as well as increasing calls for withdrawal from Congress, the President is pledging to "stay the course."

So, what's the next big, round number? 3000. But there's a much more important number, just before that. 2,996.

When U.S. military casualties reach the number of deaths on 9/11, will he continue to insist on using 9/11 as a justification for the Iraq war. Will he finally be held accountable for repeatedly employing this lie, when the ends cost more than the justification?

After all, who were the victims on September 11th? Average Americans of all stripes going about their jobs. And who are the soldiers in Iraq? Maybe a little more demographically predictable, but still average Americans from all backgrounds doing their jobs.

When their deaths number 2,996, as they certainly will if Bush refuses to withdraw during his administration, will there be any accountability? Will they even change the talking points, or will it just be business as usual?

Friday, August 18, 2006


Remember January 2001, when George Bush was inaugurated President of the United States.

Remember your worst fears for this administration. The very worst ones. Did they even come close to what we're living in today?

January 20th, 2009 can't come soon enough.

Lieberman (R-CT)

Basically, Joe Lieberman (R-CT) is now the official Republican Senate nominee in Connecticut.

The NRSC has confirmed that they will not support the actual Republican nominee, Alan Schlesinger.

They figure that since Schlesinger really does have no chance, having Lieberman is better than having Lamont. I have yet to hear a condemnation of these tactics from Lieberman, so, bascially, he is assenting. He is tacitly agreeing to be the Republican nominee for Senate in Connecticut. So sad to see a man so dedicated to power that he will forsake everything he supposedly believes in.

At least the DSCC is actually loyal to their own party. Since the August 8th primary, the DSCC and a vast majority of Democratic officials have publicly endorsed their own candidate, Ned Lamont. Even those with close personal connections to Lieberman, such as Al Gore and Chris Dodd, have endorsed Lamont.

But the NRSC, actually declining to support their own candidate? Absolutely shameless.

Canvass Report

I didn't report on a few canvasses, but they all went well.

Our canvass last Saturday featured six volunteers. Myself, Adam Justus of the UDems, and our esteemed representative in the House of Delegates, David Toscano, were all there. We three paired up with three canvassers who were a little less experienced.

I dare say it was a perfect canvass.

The weather was pretty much perfect, but we were able to knock out the largest apartment complex in the Georgetown precinct.

And not one Goode or Allen supporter. We had a few people undecided, much much fewer that we should in mid-August. Everyone else was supporting our guys. And this in what should be one of the more conservative parts of the precinct.

That's been the pattern. A Republican here or there, but EVERYONE else either undecided or leaning Dem. And there have been MUCH fewer undecided voters than this time last year. Which means there isn't much of a choice. The voters recognize that they could have two representatives that will fight for good jobs, affordable healthcare, national security that actually protects us, and who will fight for all Virginians and not just Pat Robertson and Jerry Falwell.

November 7th at Albemarle High School is going to be a happening place! Can we break 80% this time? I think so. Damn, those are city numbers!

Striking Distance

Kos is reporting that Rasmussen will soon report Jim Webb being only five points behind George Felix Allen.

This is big. Last year, around this time, Tim Kaine was several points behind Jerry Kilgore in the polls. What did we do? We worked our asses off. The fact is, Jim Webb has a positive message, and George Allen, well, nothing but macaca. This same poll had Webb down ten points last month. That's huge momentum, and if we try hard enough, we can keep it going. And it's crucial that we do.

Jim Webb is our single best shot to take control of the Senate this year.

Remember these names....
Senator Casey
Senator Whitehouse
Senator Brown
Senator McCaskill
Senator Tester

These are the Dems five best pickup opportunities, but if all five win, and I think they will, that means the Senate results in a 50-50 tie. And Cheney gets the tie-breaker. If we take the Senate, it happens in Tennessee, Arizona or Virginia.

In Tennessee we have a candidate with decent fundraising ability and an open seat, but he is several points behind the Republican and this is Frist's seat. A longshot.

Jim Pederson looked like a great candidate to take on Jim Kyl, but for whatever reason, his campaign is having trouble getting off the ground.

And we have Virginia.

I'll say it plainly. If we want to take control of the Senate and start damage control until we can get a Democrat in the White House, we have to make Jim Webb our next Senator. No, I didn't say support. I didn't say elect. I said make him. Of the three races that will give us a majority, Jim Webb's is the only one that is close. But we need to get out there like we were twenty points behind and our lives depended on it. Because with a potential for three simultaneous wars and national security a joke, it just might.

We need to make sure Jim Webb is our next Senator. We're going to face an incredible fundraising disadvantage, a top-notch GOTV program and dirty, dirty campaigning. In fact, we've already seen it.

But if we get that message out there, if everyone hears the positive message of Jim Webb and the Democratic Party, there is no way that George Allen and his party of greed and negativity can win. No way.

That's why we need to help. You and I. Every voter in this Commonwealth is bombarded with mailings, advertisements, press coverage, and all sorts of confusing and misleading rhetoric. But when they go to the polls, the one real piece of information in their mind might be that one conversation with you, over the phone or at their door, over why you think it's important to get Jim Webb and Al Weed elected.

Volunteer or donate to a campaign this year. Preferably both. It's easy. Just do what you're comfortable with and talk about what you know. Both Jim Webb and Al Weed need your help, and your helping them will go a long way to fixing this country.

If you are a brand new volunteer or an experienced veteran, join us this Saturday, the 19th, in the Barrack's Road parking lot between the Kroger and the Bank of America. 9:30 AM. We'll be talking to voters in the Georgetown precinct.

There might be a reason I've skipped all the blogger gatherings so far. It's because I want you to meet me whilst canvassing.

Thursday, August 17, 2006

Blogroll Update

I've been meaning to update the blogroll for a while, especially since it's the primary way I check blogs... just clicking down the list.

-Added new category: Virginia (non-local) Blogs
-Added David Brown's One City blog... inciteful and in-depth coverage of the city I almost live in.
-Added Marijean Jaggers' STL Working Mom, a blog that particularly caught my eye when I was doing a blog carnival a while back.
-Added Vivian Paige to the new Virginia category. I gotta return the love.
-Added Al Weed's campaign blog.
-Added Not Larry Sabato, because that ego needs all the space it can get.
-Added DamnInteresting.Com. Not really a traditional blog, but damn, that stuff is interesting.

I lack the energy to do my next post on the return of the poll tax, so this post will have to suffice tonight. Adieu.

Wednesday, August 16, 2006


Right now, I have, in my refrigerator, simultaneously, the oldest American beer (1829) and the oldest beer in the world (1040).

It doesn't get much better than that.

On Felix

By now, everybody and their grandmother has commented on the George Allen "macaca" flap.

But, being a shameless politician, I have to say my piece to give this story as much traction as possible.

First of all, thank you George Allen. The young man you insulted is a Democrat at UVA. Now, being college students, the UDems are understandably sometimes difficult to organize, especially in the Albemarle Dems' canvassess, that traditionally take place on Saturday mornings. But now you've viciously attacked one of their own. Thank you for giving the UDems one of the best possible motivations for personally kicking your ass from now until November 7th. As a precinct captain who will be working closely with these guys, I appreciate it. I really do.

Thank you also, Felix, for confirming what we suspected, that you are indeed a racist.

The two possible meanings for "macaca"
1) A genus of monkeys.
2) A french racial-slir for North Africans. (which Allen would likely know given his Tunisian background)

Either way... one a racist symbol and the other an overt slur, it looks like George Allen is indeed, a racist.

The scary thing is that he welcomes the Indian guy in the audience to Virginia, as if it's somehow unbelievable that someone of Indian descent isn't just off the boat. Fact is, Mr. Sidarth, the man targeted by Allen, was born right here in the Commonwealth. Who can't claim that distinction? That's right... George Allen.

Then, today, in his so-called "apology," Allen claims that he was somehow referring to the fact that his opponent, Jim Webb, had never seen the "real" part of Virginia.

Funny. Not only does Jim Webb have a deep family connection to Southwest Virginia, but I've seen him campaign all across the state, from big cities to little hamlets... anywhere there are Virginians. In fact, I've even seen him a few times in our little burg. If there's anyone who isn't in touch with "real" Virginians, it's George Allen, who apparently has no problem robbing the poor to pay the rich and sending our citizens to die in Iraq.

Friday, August 11, 2006

I Don't Understand...

People are still alive that suffered through the Holocaust. How could our society have such a short memory?

A new Gallup poll finds that many Americans... harbor negative feelings or prejudices against people of the Muslim faith...

Almost four in ten, 39%, advocate that Muslims here should carry special I.D.

This sounds somewhat familiar. Oh, yeah, that's right...

People are still alive that suffered through the Holocaust. How could our society have such a short memory?

But, there is one glimmer of sense in the article...

In every case, Americans who actually know any Muslims are more sympathetic.

Bush administration scare-mongering at work, ladies and gentlemen. Any hint of truth shows it to be pure bullshit.

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Plastic, Apparently

Recently, the Customer Service team at Whole Foods Market took some time on the hottest day of the year to clean up a portion of Schenk's Branch from McIntire Park to Charlottesville High School's softball field. Here we are in all our post-cleaning glory!

Plastic bags, bottles and cans were by far the most common commodity. More unusual items included various intimate types of clothing, the longest hose I've ever seen, a golf club, several plastic balls from a kids play pen (the kind you find at various fast food restaurants), a large piece of chain link fence and the type of large wooden reels used to hold coaxial cable.

I used to be a death penalty opponent, but I now believe throwing packing peanuts into a creek should be a capital offense.

Joe Lieberman: Dead to Me

People paying WAY too much attention to this blog may have noticed the "On Notice" and "Dead to Me" lists on the right. Besides being an homage to Stephen Colbert, this is a way to share who has pissed me off lately (though I won't add people lightly).

Joe Lieberman (I-CT) was simply on notice because while he has a better voting record than some loyal Democratic Senators, has been publically enabling the President, been disastrously wrong on foreign policy and during his primary versus Democratic nominee Ned Lamont, hinted that he might be a sore loser following the primary.

Indeed, it came to pass:

"I called Ned Lamont and congratulated him on his success today... We've just finished the first half and the Lamont team is ahead. In the second half, our team... is going to surge forward in November." -Joe Lieberman

Wanker. Not only does this make our former VP nominee seem about as mature as a petulant kindergartner, but it could have negative ramifications...

In a two way race, Ned Lamont becomes Senator Lamont easily. But, a three way race could create traction for a Republican candidate. In a year when we have a chance to take back the Senate, or at least get close, it would be disastrous to have to spend money in what should be a safe seat.

Furthermore, as we witnessed in the recent Harris Miller / Jim Webb race, the loser of a primary is supposed to SUPPORT HIS PARTY. Lieberman claims to still be a Democrat, but if he gave a damn about the Democrats, he would be lending his own resources to the party's nominee.

But no, Lieberman decides to invalidate the primary, hurt his party and give the GOP a chance just to protect his fragile little ego. Here's hoping Chris Dodd can talk him out of this insanity. Until that time, Joe Lieberman is dead to me.

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

He's a Wuss!

I commented previously on Senator Conrad Burns' savage attack on a group of Virginia firefighters.

Since then, the story has had some traction, and people in Virginia, Montana and everywhere in between have shown their support for the Augusta Hotshots and for others like them who are willing to go where needed and help to defend people's homes and lives.

Everyone, it seems, except for George Allen.

The Hotshots were engaged in a grueling task. They were thousands of miles away from home battling massive fires in the middle of a dangerous heat wave. The job is extremely difficult and, from what I've read, is most akin to a major military operation. This is a group of guys who travel across the country, wherever they're needed. California, Montana, Ground Zero in NYC, wherever. And they're paid $10-$12 an hour for the priviledge. Obviously they do it because they care. I'm sure they could all find much more comfortable jobs making at least that much.

Does George Allen care? Apparently not.

Did he issue a statement condemning Conrad Burns' remarks? No. Did he issue a statement supporting the Augusta Hotshots and other firefighters? Nope. Did he say a damned thing? Not a word.

The Daily Press reports on an exchange (damn they're on a roll lately) between their editorial board and Senator Burns' office...

The young man (very young, we surmise) who answered the phone responded with language that would make a sailor, maybe even Burns himself, blush. Imagine a 'South Park' tirade in full force, laced with assorted colorful obscenities, and you get the idea.

'And you can tell Sen. George Allen of Virginia to [vulgarity deleted],' said Burns' spokesman.

This Allen guy is quite a character. We already know he's a greedy hypocrite and is probably a racist. Now it turns out he's also spineless (as if the 97% agreement with George Bush wasn't enough of a hint).

How can a Senator have one of his colleagues publically and unfairly berate his constituents and keep his mouth shut? How can that same Senator have his colleague's representative shout insults at him and just sit back?

This guy is supposed to be one of our leaders. When someone attacks his constituents, he's supposed to defend them. He's supposed to congratulate these firefighters, say to the world that they did a damned fine job and that anyone who says otherwise is full of it. And if having vulgarities publically directed at him isn't enough motivation to say something, then all hope is lost.

Pro-Life Inc.

The News Virginian has this little nugget about our esteemed Senator, Mr. George Felix Allen Jr.

We are troubled, however, that Allen is profiting off a drug that many of his evangelical supporters consider a form of abortion. Allen is staunchly pro-life yet owns stock in Barr Laboratories, makers of Plan B, or the morning-after contraceptive pill, according to his financial disclosure report.

So, Felix? You make no pretention of representing me. No, your office has made that abundantly clear. Your lot is with the evangelicals, and whatever poor moderate souls you can find whose are too busy to see through your smarmy act. You're one of the types that can't stand destroying a fetus, but has no problem blowing up babies on another continent.

But you have a mistress! Oh my! All the while you are professing your undying devotion to clumps of cells, you were profiting from the other side! Oh, I know you will try to justify it by saying you were profiting off of the drug industry, which you know will do just fine after you and your colleagues voted to enrich them even though they weren't in jeopardy...

Maybe even you supported abstinence only sex education, fully knowing that teen sex rates would skyrocket, and sales of Plan B would increase exponentially.

But I forget. That's not it. That can't be it. You're not that smart. You're just a hypocrite!

Perhaps More Aware Than You Thought?

Well, yes, the 28% with no opinion needs to change, but apparently those of us in the 18-24 bracket are pretty bright after all, giving George Bush only a 20 percent approval rating, according to a Bloomberg poll.

While this administration doesn't speak for anyone really, it is particularly frustrating when you're young and chances are you and your peers have very little power. All our lives adults have "known better." But now we're fledgling adults and we see our country being turned to hell by a bunch of people who should know better. Every aspect of the world we knew growing up has been deconstructed.

And it pisses us off, because we have the most vested interest in the future. All through school, we studied and we experienced progress. Brown v. Board, Roe v. Wade, the Clinton Economy. And soon, it was supposed to be our turn to keep that progress going. And now that we are becoming aware, savvy and are finally gaining the power to change things, all we're going to have left is a big mess to clean up. We may be lacking in experience and the wisdom that entails, but we do know what's right and where we should be going.

How much do I know
To talk out of turn?
You might say that I'm young.
You might say I'm unlearned.
But there's one thing I know
Though I'm younger than you,
Even Jesus would never
Forgive what you do.
-Bob Dylan

I probably live in a bubble, but I think that bubble alone has enough incredibly talented people to save the world.

Thursday, August 03, 2006

It's Still Here

Lately, I've heard conservatives bold enough to claim that racism is a thing of the past. But as the case of Robert Lee Cooke shows, it's still a problem, it's here and it's institutionalized.

Mr. Cooke was tried and convicted of burglary and fatally shooting Ingo, a police dog. His sentence: ten years. Which, as Mr. Cooke has pointed out in a recent interview with C-Ville weekly, is absurd when compared to another recent high-profile crime.

The news has been abuzz lately about Andrew Alston, a former UVA student convicted of fatally stabbing a local firefighter who has just been released from his three year sentence.

Now, how does this make any sense?

Perpetrator 1: A family man who is poor, comes from tough neighborhood and is black.

Perpetrator 2: A white student from a wealthy family.

Perpetrator 1: Someone who, while pointing out that social pressures existed which may have led him to commit a crime, has publically taken full responsibility for his burglary.

Perpetrator 2: Someone who had the audacity to claim that his victim somehow stabbed himself 22 times.

Perpetrator 1: Someone whose crime (aside from the burglary) is surrounded by a lot of doubt, and who was actually paralyzed from the waist down after being shot by the police.

Perpetrator 2: Somone whose crime was committed in a public arena, and whose guilt did not seem to be surrounded by much doubt.

Frankly, I don't see how perp 1 deserved any more jail time than perp 2. While Cooke is probably (or was before his paralysis) more likely to commit crime again, as a simple consequence of his sociological background, is it better for society to keep him locked up than a man who so lacked restrained that he solved a petty dispute in full view of the public with a knife? What happens the next time a bar patron accidentally gives him the wrong kind of look?

While I can't see how Alston deserved any less jail time than Cooke, it's fairly obvious why it turned out that way.

Black vs. White.
Poor vs. Rich.

Did Cooke's attorney, no doubt court appointed, have the time to adequately prepare his case? Certainly his lawyer didn't have the time to come up with a fanciful defense as in the Alston case (the dog shot himself?). I think it's clear that money, and race to the extent that it is tied to economic status and circumstances, had huge ramifications for both Cooke and Alston.

The Cooke story reads like a broken record. From the CVille story:
Cooke was first incarcerated when he was 18, on robbery and drug charges. After serving nine years, he was released in 2000. Then, he says, 'I was working, doing what I was supposed to be doing.'

The decision to return to crime in 2004 wasn't entirely his own, Cooke insinuates, 'On the streets, somebody asks you for something... you be a friend,' he says.

This is not Cooke rationalizing his past. There is a reason that numerous young black men in poor neighborhoods, men like Cooke, are involved in lives of crime. There are reasons that if you're a black male, you have a 30% chance of being incarcerated in your lifetime. And those reasons are economic. It's all about money and power, or your society's lack thereof. It's the same reason that despite their odds, of all the black men I have known to this day, I can't think of a single one who has been incarcerated. That's because they're like me... middle class. They come from stable familes. Many of them have a college education.

But, in the 'hood' there is no money. There is very frequently a lack of family support. There is almost always an expectation of violence and being a general loser from society at large. While I'm too far removed from my sociology and criminology courses to recall the exact theories, there are numerous forces exerted on people growing up and living in Cooke's situation, and not one of them is positive.

Imagine it. You're born. Chances are, your father is already gone. You live in a very small house or apartment. You're dirt poor. There's no air conditioning in the sweltering summer and the house is drafty in the winter. Your neughborhood is violent. Sounds of police sirens and gunshots are routine. You might see people killed violently at a very young age. When you do get older, the best employment opportunity for someone from your neighborhood is Wal-Mart or McDonald's, especially since you probably didn't finish high school. But there are also pressures from the neighborhood. When you have free time, you can't go to the mall, or the movies. You can't go to a restaurant. Not only can you not afford it in the first place, but "your kind" is unwelcome there. So, you hang out. You drink with your friends. You get in trouble. When you want something, you might steal it, even if you don't really want to. Then, quite young, there are the pressures to take or deal drugs, to join a gang, to take part in the only industry the neighborhood can call its own.

It's a dangerous and self-destructive existence. And while Mr. Cooke may or may not have had this existence, it is not that rare, especially in other parts of the country, and I'm sure elements of this existence were present in his life. The robbery and drug charges at the ripe old age of 18 are a definite indicator that Mr. Cooke is under some of those pressures.

And that's the thing. Unless you are willing to completely sever ties with your background, and somehow have money to support such a move, that life tends to suck you back in. Mr. Cooke was doing what he was supposed to, but he was asked to "do a favor." For Cooke to risk his job, his family, his stability to return to crime, the ramifications of declining to do that favor must have been dire.

And then, he enters the court system. A system removed from that lifestyle, but it still mired in low expectations for anyone from it. So, Mr. Cooke must be a threat to society, even though he seems to have twice the brains than the educated, articulate Mr. Alston.

Of course this is a vicious cycle, with no answer that can come from the people within it, and with the people outside of it seemingly unwilling to do anything about it. Are we oblivious? Are we willing to put up with crime in this community in order to create an underclass or stifle competition? Major changes are needed on a societal level, not simply the eradication of racism, though that would certainly help. Changes with how we think of and deal with those who are vulnerable in our society. Not just give them a handout and shut them up. But to actually enable them to succeed. It's a tall order, but it can be done.

I Still Heart Tom Delay!

Over a year ago, I wrote a little piece for an independent political publication at Providence College about my love, as a Democrat, for a certain Republican from Texas.

As it turns out, the Hammer is the gift that keeps on giving.

The GOP is forced to have a disgraced, indicted ex-Congressman who is inextricably attached to numerous scandals on their ballot. Happy early Christmas, Nick Lampson!