Tuesday, October 31, 2006


There is definitely a pattern emerging regarding Virginia's junior Senator. It starts with being a racist, but it goes much further. Having to cancel campaign events because of a couple of protestors, unwarranted attacks against a fellow partisan and former neighbor, hints of a criminal past and an abusive relationship with family members. This man isn't just a racist... he's completely losing it. His behavior seems to range from combative to paranoid, with the only middle ground being carefully crafted campaign ads and speeches.

Mike Stark is a local law student, citizen journalist and political activist. He has made a sort of side career out of asking politicians tough questions. He made news in August after grilling Allen on his use of the "n-word." Now, he's approached Allen to ask another tough question, and the results are pretty amazing.

Let's get this straight. By the Allen campaign's own admission, Mr. Stark is someone they knew, they knew his M.O., and they knew he was coming to George Allen's campaign stop today with Elizabeth Dole. Despite Allen's attempt to smear Stark as a crazed protestor, Stark actually waited until the event was over (just as he did in August) and then proceeded to ask Allen his question. He did not interrupt the event, and he was not abusive in any way. For a political opponent, Stark was being pretty damned nice.

So what do Allen's staffers do? Attack him... (video off of that link)

A citizen asks a tough question of his elected Senator and is attacked for it. Is this the kind of representation we deserve? This is merely the terrified outburst of a cowardly man. He has felt the heat of a tough race, he has seen his sordid past catch up with him, and he folded. He has escalated from a mere verbal attack on S.R. Sidarth earlier this year, to having his staffers carry out an attack that he could have stopped at any time. This is not a man who deserves to hold any elected office, much less a seat in the U.S. Senate.

The only things Jim Webb will attack are the tough problems facing our Commonwealth and our Country. Please send him to Washington on November 7th.

Happy Halloween

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Vote NO

You should vote NO on ballot question one. You would be in good company. Not only me. But also our Senator, Creigh Deeds.

Now, Creigh and I hold quite different opinions when it comes to marriage equality. In my opinion, whatever consenting adults want to do is their business. Not only, in an age when Madonna and Britney Spears are the types of mothers getting all the headlines and divorce rates are very high do I think we should celebrate ANY committed relationship, but this amendment is obviously motivated by hate, and I do not want hate codified in our Constitution.

But, beyond that, it's a horrificly written amendment (as Bob Marshalls bills usually are).

That's where Creigh, who has a more "traditional" view of marriage, and I, agree.

You see, this amendment would not only define marriage as between a man and a woman, but would also ban any relationship that approximated marriage. While the implications of this are far reaching, it seems that one of the most serious ramifications would be that the amendment would make it more difficult for domestic violence victims to receive help. We all know that domestic violence happens in all kinds of relationships, not just heterosexual matrimony. And this amendment would deprive law enforcement of valuable tools that keep victims of domestic violence safe.

Says Creigh,

While our courts would not be bound by the Ohio ruling, the fact that victims of domestic violence in Ohio have been subjected to an extended period of legal uncertainty causes me great concern. The experience there causes me to fear that the proposed amendment to Virginia’s constitution will invite the very judicial activism its proponents argue it will prevent.

A NO vote on November 7th will not change in any way Virginia’s 30 year old law banning gay marriage, and I would not vote NO if it did.

A NO vote on November 7th, will, however, ensure that we are not taking the unnecessary risk of exposing even one victim of domestic violence further harm because of legal confusion about the application of our 10 year old mandatory arrest law or the availability of protective orders needed to make home and work safe.

That is why I will be voting NO on election day confident that neither traditional marriage nor a single domestic violence victim will be harmed by the outcome.

If you're like me, and think that the definition of marriage should be left to churches and individual couples to decide, then you need to vote NO on this question. If you're not like me, and you support a legal definition of marriage as between a man and a woman, you still need to vote NO, because we cannot afford not to help any victim of domestic violence, and this amendment will leave many people in a state of legal limbo when they desperately need help.

And, in any case, if this amendment passes, your side of the debate will look pretty damned foolish when it's repealed in a decade.

Courage. Experience. New Ideas.

Warner Speaks

Is There Any Question?

Is there any question which party supports our troops? Is it the party that loves speechifying, fear mongering, and cheap ribbon shaped magnets? Or is it the party that votes for things like veterans benefits and body armor?

Clearly the latter.

The Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America, a non partisan group, has analyzed over 300 Congressional votes in the last five years and have ranked members according to their level of support for our troops.

If you're a Republican, it ain't pretty. Bob Geiger has prepared this handy chart...

Certainly, some Democrats have some explaining to do... Ben Nelson has only supported our troops 81% of the time. But it certainly is telling that the party that loves to accuse their opponents of being unpatriotic and not supporting the truth is clearly just projecting their own guilt.

How did Virginia's delegation fare? You can see above that both of our Senators received a D+ rating.

Thelma Drake, in a tight race against Phil Kellam, did even worse, getting a D- score, meaning she only supports the troops a pathetic 57% of the time, at best.

Receiving a C+ are NoVa reps Frank Wolf and Tom Davis.

Bobby Scott, Jim Moran and Rick Boucher ALL scored an A-. The BEST Republican was Jo Ann Davis, who managed a B-. Clearly, Virginia Democrats know to support the troops, and clearly, Virginia Republicans do not.

Our own Virgil Goode scored a C. Certainly, Al Weed, a veteran himself with over four decades of service knows how to support our troops. Virgil clearly has no idea.

Thursday, October 19, 2006

Thank God I Work At Whole Foods

I just spent a little over an hour at Sam's Club, because I figure cheap tires is better than bald tires.

So, whilst rubber was being exchanged for rubber, I had an hour to wait around. So I walked around.

Some observations....
1) Sam's Club employees and managers seem to have a problem with someone walking around their store for an hour, without a cart, not buying anything. No one accosted me, but I got looks, as if no one had ever seen such a sight before.

2) Virginia was recently named one of the most overweight states in the Country. Now I see why. I swear, I saw numerous carts FULL of nothing but soybean oil, high fructose corn syrup and artificial flavors and colors.
3) Having twelve TVs pointed out you, with high tech sound systems included, all with the soothing voice of a woman in perfect synchronization, is downright Orwellian.

4) Being able to sell a thick, footlong hotdog AND a 32 oz. drink for $1.50 and still making a profit is downright frightening. Eating said products probably took about two weeks off of my life.

5) Conveniently located spill cleanup stations are a good thing, but does one have to be located DIRECTLY over a table in the cafe area, complete with used brush and clearly dirty dust pan? These kits are supposed to be used for everything from broken 40lb. bags of popcorn, to broken glass to hazardous materials. All two feet from my food. There goes another week.

6) The only other person I knew there that I saw looked clearly out of place, probably just as much as I did. Maybe I should get to know more people.

7) The people giving a way samples could show some enthusiasm, but, to be fair, they must have a soul-crushing job.

8) The ground beef looked less like cow and more like road kill.

9) I witnessed some new employees going through orientation, with a HUGE emphasis on eye wash stations. What exactly do they do there?

10) Despite my general disdain for the place, I'll be back on payday for a case of Sam Adams. Cranberry Lambic.... Mmmmmm!

I was looking for a citation for Virginia being among the most overweight. I think it actually IS the most overweight.

But in looking, I saw a definite correlation. Poverty and obesity. Mississippi, West Virginia and Michigan are all among the highest. These states are characterized by low standards of living and wholesale unemployment. Bottom line is, a lot of people in these states have no money.

So, there's the appeal of Sam's Club. Yes, it's cheap. You can feed your family of four, or six, or ten, for MUCH cheaper than you could at Whole Foods, Harris Teeter or even Food Lion. But there's the rub. The food is cheap. It's industrial food, made on an industrial scale with low quality ingredients and lots of chemicals. At best, its devoid of nutritional value, and has to be pumped full of supplemental nutrients, all synthetic of course. At worst, it's unhealthy. And not just in the trans fat, high calorie, heart disease and diabetes inducing way of being unhealthy. The food itself is literally unhealthy. Just look at most of our beef supply, which is pumped full of antibiotics because the cows are being forced to eat food their bodies aren't supposed to ingest. (In the human world, we usually refer to that as poison).

The scientists and institutions who study this kind of thing have found an unsurprising phenomenon. People with higher incomes, who don't HAVE to buy cheap, tend to be overweight less frequently.

We like to think we live freely. That's what our country is all about, right? But look at where we shop, especially if we're poor. Our choices tend be be beef vs. chicken for dinner, apples or oranges, Crispix or Corn Flakes. But those aren't really choices. All those foods are from the same chemically laced system. And because people are poor, they have no choice in the way they eat.

Up until recently, we thought we lived in a free country. The suspension of habeus corpus and warrantless wiretapping shattered that delusion, but it was a delusion. Even before then, we've only had as much choice as was made available to us. And for decades now, it has been a few companies, a few industries, who have been providing nothing but bad choices, all with complicity of the USDA.

God Bless America.

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Three Weeks

In three weeks, six hours and three minutes, your local polling place will be open.

Have you done your part yet?

Thursday, October 12, 2006


Thanks to a link in Facebook about the demise of a local bar in Providence, I just now learned that "my" bar in Providence has a website.

Who knew?

This was a dingy, hole in the wall kind of place. But, it was also probably the closest bar to lower campus, where I lived (now with the more PC name (heh) 'east campus.') Just a short jog (though it was never a jog) down Eaton St., a left at Douglas, and you were practically there.

Very sketchy place, but very chill. Kinda grimy, but in a good way. In the kinda way that makes it no surprise that a $3 million a month gambling ring was busted there. In any case, a great place to hang out.

And they have pictures!

Why is this place called Old's? We had, locally, Club Eagle's and the Eagle Park Independent Club. So, they became, Clubbies and Olds. Naturally.

I don't know that I ever saw the place in the daytime.

The bar. Whatever I ordered, it was probably Sam Adams.

The inside. There's probably 5 feet behind whomever took this picture. When at capacity, it took 30 minutes to walk that length. Literally.

Ah, this picture perfectly captures Providence College's reputation. White and inebriated.

This is why it took 30 minutes. Typical crowd shot. I'm pretty sure that's my roommate, AJ, on the far left with a camera. The Corona is surely not his, because he's definitely not 21 in this picture.


Working for Tim Kaine's campaign for governor made it nearly impossible not to become a devotee of Mark Warner.

So, I am sad to see that he has decided not to run for President.

I have to admire a man who knows full well that he has a good chance of achieving so much, and yet turns down that chance for his family's sake, knowing that chance may never come again.

I also have to admire a potential candidate who doesn't cancel his events in Iowa just because he's no longer running for President. Just a quick glance at his schedule reveals stops in Alabama, Tennessee and Florida, not exactly states that have a great deal of pull in the nomination process. He's focused on 2006, and he's making one heck of a contribution.

There's the obvious bright side to all of this. He hasn't ruled out elected office in the future. The nomination for the Senate in 2008 or Governor in 2009 is his if he wants it. I imagine Brian Moran and a few Republicans are not pleased with this development.

Monday, October 09, 2006


If, let's say, a visitor from Jupiter landed on earth, with absolutely no knowledge of the American political system, national or Virginia issues, etc., watched tonight's Senate debate... which candidate would they think is currently part of a major legislative body?

Certainly not George Allen.

Jim Webb is the political neophyte, but he clearly knows his issues inside and out. He was able to give detailed and nuanced answers to tonight's questions in a clear manner. Not only that, Webb's answers came across as honest and genuine. What he really thought is best for Virginia.

George Allen, on the other hand, was pathetic. On only one question was he in his element, on an issue that he has made his pet project of late. Other than that, his only refuge was tired GOP talking points, which left him unable to answer questions accurately and led to a totally disingenuous performance. He was stammering, looked uncomfortable and was totally disrespectful of the debate moderator and host.

Without any question, Jim Webb won this debate. It was a slaughter.

My favorite moment came at the end... George Allen's uncomfortable silence following a questions about some islands near Taiwan. (I'll admit I know nothing about them, but, then again, I'm not an incumbent U.S. Senator). That silence was golden. As Steven Colbert would say, the "dumb as a post" Allen was NAILED by Jim Webb.

Note to Allen: If you're going to associate Jim Webb with Hillary Clinton because she hosted one fundraiser for him, let's not forget YOUR close association with one Mark Foley of Florida.

Sunday, October 08, 2006


I guess it's been quite a while since I've posted. I've been spending my days being sick (better now but not well), enjoying our sweet, sweet rain and enjoying not feeling any impetus to use this blog to try and add one more voice to the chorus engaged in the Foley Fallout because Hastert, Reynolds, Boehner et al are doing a fine job keeping their power-frenzied hubris in the news themselves...

In other news, Senator Allen seems to be doing a bit better. He's found a way to be corrupt and wholly unworthy of representing our Commonwealth that DOESN'T involve bigotry! Just good old-fashioned greed.

Sunday, October 01, 2006

Canvass X - Or, It All Comes Together

Highest number of volunteers this cycle.
Highest number of voter contact attempts this cycle.
Highest number of live contacts this cycle.
And ALL the independents are still breaking our way.

Our remaining canvasses are going to seriously rock.