Sunday, January 28, 2007

No Wonder They're Freaking

According to a Newsweek poll, only 28 percent of Americans want to see a Republican elected President in 2008.

Look how many states were close in 2004... any of those could easily, very easily go Dem in 2008. States, like, say, Ohio.

If I were a Republican, I'd be depressed too.

58% of Americans want to see the Bush Presidency over... immediately. Honestly, has any President ever polled this badly?

Saturday, January 27, 2007

Office Space, the Thriller?


Thursday, January 25, 2007

At Least SOMEONE Read the Job Description

Asking questions, making tough decisions, working for Americans and actually thinking a little before sending thousands of soldiers to their deaths. I'm glad a Republican is finally standing up for good government over partisan games, but, I have to wonder... why didn't anybody speak up in 2003?

Wednesday, January 24, 2007


In the early days of our Republic, President Andrew Jackson established an important principle of American-style democracy. That we should measure the health of our society not at its apex, but at its base. Not with the numbers that come out of Wall Street, but with the living conditions that exist on Main Street. We must recapture that spirit today.
-Sen. Jim Webb

It sure is fun having this guy as my Senator.

Sunday, January 21, 2007

One of the Worst

We had one of the worst days in Iraq this past Saturday, losing 25 of our soldiers.

We'd better start getting used to this, if Bush's escalation becomes a reality.

Routine Maintenance

I've updated my links to reflect my current blog reading interests.

Gone... The Providence College Democrats blog. The organization is alive and well as ever, thanks to my string of hand-picked successors ;) But, the current leadership hasn't utilized the blog, so it is now off of this one.

Updated... My link to STLWorkingMom worked one day, and then it didn't. Now, that is fixed.
-Raising Kaine. Honestly, why did I wait so long?
-The Daily Whackjob. It's always been an interesting read, and their daily blog wrapups and Congress Watch are great for the politician on the go.
-Interesting Thing of the Day is in the same vein as Damn Interesting. Where damn interesting is about things that are usually pretty strange, ITotD has a lot of information about stuff around you that you never thought to think of, but probably should.

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Aw Shucks, Another Racist

Virginia Republicans should be ashamed of themselves. We live in an incredible state, but if George Allen, Virgil Goode and Delegate Frank Hargrove (R-55) don't stop telling the nation we're a bunch of racist, homophobic, xenophobic religious bigots, they don't deserve to be Virginians.

Commenting on a bill to apologize for Virginia's role in slavery, Del. Hargrove didn't stop at telling us there was no need for an apology or that such apologies are a detraction from other issues. On the issue of slavery, Hargrove said "I personally think that our black citizens should get over it." Apparently unsatisfied after offending one entire group of people, he went on to wonder if Jews should apologize for killing Jesus.

Del. Hargrove must think there is a statute of limitations for crimes against humanity, as he went on to say, "By golly, we're living in 2007"

He's at least partially right. It is 2007 and there are no African slaves in Virginia. He is also right to say that there is nobody alive today that was a slave in Virginia. But that is a slap in the face to anyone whose parents or grandparents were slaves, and also to the many who who are still very much alive that suffered through massive resistance and the decades of oppressive racism that preceded it. None of those people can just get over it. For them, its very much personal.

But that doesn't scratch the surface. People generally tolerate each other nowadays. Colored only signs are gone (or at least not in active use) and lynchings are rare. We even have a black man who is a legitimate contender for President of the United States. Sure, advances have been made, but racism today may be even more insidious. Racism is institutionalized. It's our economic and criminal justice system that make it blatantly obvious to anyone willing to look that black people in this country have to deal with more obstacles and generally have less of a chance to succeed than white people. This institutionalization is also obvious when you look at who the prominent racists are lately... all members of government. Is it any surprise that racism exists in our system of government when Goode and Hargrove are there making the laws? And what is racism other than the direct descendant of Jim Crow and slavery?

Hargrove is the defintion of entrenched. He had two independent opponents in 1999, and managed to take 80% of the vote. Since 1995, as far back as the SBE website goes, he has never had a credible opponent. The 55th House district is extremely Republican. Almost as Republican as Charlottesville is Democratic. Hanover County is situated in Bill Bolling's old Senate district and Hargrove represents a little over 80% of the County. It looks unlikely a Democrat could win here. Hargrove is 79, and it is controversies like these that could make one consider retirement, and we could hope whomever receives the GOP nomination is reasonable.

Friday, January 12, 2007

Looking Distinguished

Distinguished Gentleman

This shot was extraordinarily difficult to take. Literally, he held this position for about a quarter of a second. Add that to the fact that my clunky old camera takes a long time to take a shot, and you have a heck of a lot of trial and error.

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

Coolest Thing Ever

Waldo Jaquith has just created the coolest government-oriented website I think I've ever seen...

Richmond Sunlight delves into the General Assembly, looking at numerous details of every bill. It's a lot of fun. Check it out.

Wednesday, January 03, 2007

Learning from Experience

Rep-elect Keith Ellison made the coolest symbolic gesture I think I've ever seen today.

Members of Congress have quite a few Americans that they can use as role models. Washington, Franklin, Lincoln, etc. Certainly, our own Mr. Jefferson would make a fine example for any member of government. One would think that fact would be especially true for the man who has the privilege of representing Jefferson's hometown in Congress. Sadly, that is not the case.

While it is unfortunate that the Congressman who serves Jefferson's 5th District has no appreciation of his work, the Congressman who will serve the 5th District of Minnesota does. While Mr. Goode brags that he does not have a copy of the Quran in his office, ironically, Mr. Jefferson had one in his. And that will be the holy book Rep. Elect Ellison will use in his ceremonial swearing-in tomorrow... Thomas Jefferson's personal copy of the Quran.

In one move, Ellison is reminding Virgil Goode of the rich history of religious tolerance that exists right in front of his nose, showing once again that he's not a Muslim extremist, but that he's an proud American who chooses to follow Islam. He has reminded Virgil and those who think like him that religious freedom and tolerance are some of this countries most basic ideals, made so by our founding fathers. And, he has sent a message to us, that despite certain media coverage portraying all residents of the 5th District in Goode's light, he knows that people of his ilk are a minority.

Thank you, Mr. Ellison, and I look forward to your providing an education to all those in Congress who need it.

Management 101

I see why we're considered the best managed state in the country. Apparently, we get this whole transparency thing.

It's the State of the Commonwealth, 24/7, courtesy of Governor Kaine.

Virginia Performs does a great job of showing the health of Virginia, covering such topics as the economy, crime, education, public safety and more. It shows independent data on our performance in numerous categories, and gives an explanation a detailed but clear analysis. If you want to learn more about the nuts and bolts of state government (that is, the stuff that actually affects you), then start here.

Oh Yeah?

Well, God told me that in 2007, Pat Robertson will completely fade from relevance.

Tuesday, January 02, 2007

The Problem With Being Right

(Warning... this is a rant.)

God, how long ago was it? Back when war with Iraq seemed inevitable, but before the first bombs dropped, and there was still that remote chance that the most egotistical, maniacal President in our history would have a change of heart, if he had a heart. Back when we radicals were a minority... when most Americans unfortunately believed the rhetoric of the day. And those of us that opposed the war, what were we called? Un-american, friends of the enemy, terrorists, traitors and cowards? Yes, I was a yellow-bellied coward who was a friend to bin-Laden, all because I had the guts to stand up against the majority and against a bullish administration, all because I believe that if Americans are going to die in a foreign country, there better be a good reason? Or even a reason at all?

My position on the war has never changed. But, suddenly, I'm in the majority. As a student of politics, I have long realized that the American people are savvy enough to study and understand the issues, but we are so busy and distracted by work and soccer practice and church and school and all those shiny new toys our President tells us we're supposed to buy, for the good of America, that we barely have time to live, much less study the issues. So, we fall prey to our sound-bite nation. We fall victim to a well-oiled propaganda machine. We are victimized.

But the American people eventually come around. Just when those of us who do know the issues start to wonder, they always come around. And they have. So, now, this cowardly traitor is in the majority. I guess most of us Americans are cowardly traitors now, because we have realized that King George just might be fallible after all. We have realized that this war is not about spreading democracy, or 9/11, or ridding the world of an evil dictator or weapons of mass destruction. We don't know the real reasons, either. But we know, whether its to enrich Halliburton, to exploit oil reserves or just daddy issues, that its self-serving and egomaniacal. And we're sick of it. We're sick of all the money we've wasted. Money that could go to roads, schools, ending world hunger, or maybe even the real war on terror. We're sick and tired of hearing about insurgent violence and car bombs. We're sick and tired of hearing about dead Iraqis, who were guilty of nothing more than being born and raised in a neighborhood in Baghdad, or Tikrit, or wherever. We're sick and tired of hearing about our own men and women in uniform who will never come back. And also, those who will come back suffering from lifelong wounds, whether psychological or physical, but who will, inevitably as long as this man is President, not get the help they need and deserve.

This country deserves more. Going to war requires a massive investment on our part. Not only on those who are going into harm's way themselves, not only on their families, who, in the best case scenario have to wonder every single day for months or years if their loved ones will come home, and if so, in what condition. The burden is on all of us. I know one person who has gone to Iraq. I know a few more who might. I care about these people, and it pains me that they could die for no good reason. Two people from my community have already died. I didn't know either of them myself, but I know people who knew them. That is a drain on my community. And this is true across the country. I imagine there is nary a community left that doesn't have at least one soldier who will feel the sting of this bullshit war the rest of their lives. We're tired. We've done enough, and at the very least, we deserve a real reason for all this madness. We deserve the truth. We will never get it.

What we will get is more bullshit from the President. It's bad enough that he is calling for more troops to go. More troops to go into a bad situation, made so bad by the adminstration's own actions. More troops that will become target practice. But what is particularly infuriating is that next week, the President will finally get around to talking about sacrifice.

How dare you, Mr. President, to talk about sacrifice now. How dare you. You wanted this war, and even though every legitimate reason you gave us turned out to be either flat out wrong or a complete fabrication, you got it. Did it take you this long to start thinking about sacrifice? This long? We knew. We knew almost four years ago. When we found out that six American soldiers would never come home, we knew about sacrifice. That was March 21, 2003. Then, we were worried about protecting our own. You were worried about re-election.

I'm glad, Mr. President, that it has finally become convenient for you to think about sacrifice. 3003 dead soldiers later, you finally are considering what the rest of us have known all along. Don't you dare get on that microphone next week and tell us we need to start sacrificing. We've been doing it the whole time. You are alien to us, Bush. Alien. You are American by pedigree, but you don't care about anything the rest of us do. We reached a big number of casualties, so you decided it was politically expedient to suddenly start caring? It would have been expedient, for us, if you had cared in 2003. It would have been even more expedient for 3,003 families, if you had acted like a President, and not the petulant little boy you are, and taken your responsibilities seriously. But you didn't, and here we are, nearly four years later, and you finally decide we should start sacrificing?

Fuck you.

I have seen and endured the sufferings of the troops, and I can no longer be a party to prolong the sufferings for ends which I belive to be evil and unjust. I am not protesting against the conduct of the war, but against the political errors and insincerities for which the fighting men are being sacrificed. On behalf of thise who are suffering now I make this protest against the deception which is being practised on them...
-Siegfried Sassoon, 1917

Monday, January 01, 2007


The media is reporting the death of our 3000'th service member in Iraq.

Which means we've crossed one pretty looking even number milestone, but also that we've crossed a much more important one... the number of victims of September 11th.

Unlucky #3000 was Sgt. Edward Shaffer, from Mont Alto, PA. Ironically, this young man made it home, at least home to his country. He died at a military hospital outside San Antonio, TX, after suffering wounds from a roadside bomb in Iraq on November 13th.

These wounds were hopeless... burns over 80% of his body. He had five surgeries, including unsuccessful skin graft surgery and amputations of one foot and both hands. He was given a ten percent chance of surviving. And, had he survived, could he have hoped for any more than a life of pain and horrible disfigurement? I hope he was so far gone that he had no awareness after the explosion, but somehow I doubt that was the case.

I'm writing about Sgt. Shaffer just because he happened to be #3000. His story is horrible, but it's no different from many, many others, and his story only comes now because of so many who came before him, and suffered the same way he did.

I didn't think we'd reach 2,996, much less 3,000 before the new year. But here we are... 3000 before 2007. My hope for this new year is that we can somehow put an end to this madness. Saddam's death will do nothing to help. If we're lucky, it won't make things worse. That we would even be considering escalation, now, in this unwinnable occupation is just stupid. Hopefully our new Congress, or someone, will get us out of this.