The Commonwealth of Virginia's Ultimate Blog

Wednesday, June 29, 2005

The Two Tims

Today's Augusta Free Press has this article in which Tim Kaine's so-called transportation proposal, which looks oddly similar to Jerry Kilgore's, gets lambasted by both Kilgore and that Other candidate for Governor.

Not surprisingly, Other's answer to transportation is the same as his answer for everything else...wait for it...MORE TAXES! HUZZAH! What a Statesman that one!

Tim Kaine's response however, is telling. Today Tim Kaine says this:
I've said often that I will not entertain any discussion of revenues, new revenues, new revenue sources, so long as Virginians can't be guaranteed that the money that they are paying for transportation will be used for transportation.
Well, that's funny because just yesterday the AFP reported Kaine as saying the following:
But just like in '02, if a region wants to engage in self-help, and do something to advance their cause, I supported them in '02
So which is it Tim? Do you support new revenue sources or don't you? Do you support raising gas taxes or don't you? The world may never know.

Living Constitution? Dead Wrong!

NRO's Jonah Goldberg is tearin' it up and burnin' it down. Today he gives us this brilliant article outlining the reasons why the idea of a "living" constiution is so absurd. Listen to this:
Having a set of rules with a fixed meaning ensures that future generations will be protected from judges or politicians who’d like to rule arbitrarily.... We all like to believe that we have some say about what this country will be like for our children and grandchildren. A “living Constitution” denies us our voice in this regard because it basically holds that whatever decisions we make ... can be thrown out by any five dyspeptic justices on the Supreme Court. In other words, the justices who claim the Constitution is a wild card didn’t take their oath to uphold and defend the Constitution in good faith because they couldn’t know what they were swearing to.
Amen, brother.

This week's Supreme Court decisions only highlight the absurdity of this philosophy which results in Kelo and split decisions on the Ten Commandments cases. Further, this is why the potential for vacancies on the Supreme Court should be of such concern for conservatives. We must ensure that President Bush nominates Justices that view the Constitution as a dead document when making their decisions, rather than nominating activist judges who just happen to be conservatives.

Kilgore Gets More Help From His Friends

Speaking of Allen overexposure, the Senator jumped into the Virginia Governor's race again by issuing this press release urging Transportation Secretary Mineta to restore funding for the Coalfields Expressway (CFX).

While the release does not mention Jerry Kilgore, you'll recall just days ago that the Republican candidate for Governor pledged he would urge the Federal Government to renew its commitment to this project.

It sure doesn't hurt Jerry to have a heavyweight like Allen in his corner. While Kaine will try desperately to convince voters he is Mark Warner-lite, Warner is too savvy to risk spending too much political capital on Tim Kaine.

Is George Allen Peaking Too Early?

George Allen's political star seems to be shining awfully bright these days. With Bill Frist bogged down by his leadership duties, John McCain continually pissing off Dubya-lovers, and Giuliani stuck up in some big law office somewhere, the Boot-wearin' junior Senator from Virginia is line-dancing his way across the country spreading his message of common-sense Jeffersonian conservatism wherever he pleases. He is also surely basking in the large amount of press he seems to be getting for a potential Presidential run that's still years away.

For example, many news outlets have taken the opportunity of Allen's recent visit to New Hampshire to introduce him to their readers. the Portland (Maine) Phoenix has a comprehensve, and not entirely complimentary, biographical piece on Allen. On the one hand, they quote George Will as lauding Allen's Clintonian people skills, while on the other hand they call his football metaphors a "mental security blanket." They do, however, call him an early favorite in the nomination contest.

The Hampton Roads Daily Press is a bit more complementary of the home-state Senator, focusing more on the strategy of Allen's visit to New Hampshire. Still, they continue to raise questions about Allen's record on race relations. Questions, I will point out, that have been raised before, and soundly rejected by the voters.

Despite all the good feelings going around about Allen, one wonders if perhaps he shouldn't exercise caution and not risk being overexposed to soon. While it is important to get his name recognition up outside of Virginia, the press may soon get bored and start looking for the next golden boy. And believe me, there are plenty waiting in the wings.

I maintain my view that once Allen wins landslide reelection to the Senate he will be perfectly positioned for a run at the White House. I'm sure his people know what they're doing, let's just hope they're not doing it too soon.

Ralph Nader Supporter Headed to Jail

The Daily Press has this story about Ralph Nader's Virginia campaign coordinator who was sentenced to 30 days in jail and fined $2,500 after pleading guilty to election fraud.

James P. Polk was accused of illegally certifying petitions in a failed effort to get Nader's name on the Virginia ballot.

The Contenders

The prospect of an impending vacancy on the US Supreme Court has seemingly created a Washington, DC version of American Idol, with political pundits playing the role of teeny-bopper fanatics speed-dialing their personal favorites.

USA Today has a pretty good rundown of the contenders for the Supreme Court. Count me among those who would like to see either of our 4th Circuit Judges, Luttig or Wilkinson, get the call for a promotion.

If you want to keep track of all the High Court hijinks, check out NRO's Bench Memos.

Draft Day

Though I watched the NBA playoffs this year because of the Pistons, my interest in basketball typically ends with the NBA Draft, when we get to see where our favorite college players will go. The ACC did fairly well, with 5 players taken among the first 14 picks. 4 of those picks were *ahem* Tarheels, and two of those, Raymond Felton and Sean May were drafted by the Charlotte Bobcats.

Also taken in the first round, UNC's Marvin Williams (Atlanta) and Rashad Mccants (Minnesota), Wake's Chris Paul (New Orleans), and Georgia Tech's Jarrett Jack (Denver). In the second round, Duke's Daniel Ewing was taken with the second pick by the LA Clippers, while FSU's Von Wafer was drafted 7 picks later by the Lakers.

As expected, Duke's Shavlik Randolph was not drafted. What was that kid thinking?

Update: Apologies for forgetting NC State's Julius Hodge, who was drafted by the Denver Nuggets with the 20th pick

GOP=Toyota, Dems=GM?

I know, it seems counterintuitive. But the LA Times' John Micklethwait and Adrian Wooldridge draw interesting parallels between the political parties and the automakers. While they proclaim that the similarities are more than just a coincidence, that may or may not be true. But when the LA Times says that it is the GOP who is "growing their market" and the Dems who are clinging desperately to their base, that's significant.

Tuesday, June 28, 2005

Bloggin' for Freedom

There's an important discussion going on over at Redstate for those of us who enjoy participating in the blogosphere. Today the Federal Election Commission held hearings regarding proposed regulations that would impose campaign finance rules on the internet, including bloggers.

One of those bloggers who testified before the Commission was Redstate's own Mike Krempasky. You can read his testimony here. I thank Mike and the others who testified on behalf of bloggers for defending our freedoms and urging the FEC to adopt a hands-off approach.

The government needs to know that the American people do not want further restrictions on their freedom of speech. I encourage everyone who enjoys blogs like this one to lend their voice to the effort.

From the Redundancy Department...

MTV announced today that they are launching a network solely for gays. Huh? Did I miss something? Is there a more pro-gay network on television than MTV? Besides, the article seems to say that all the programming will feature gay poeple. How condescending is that? Since when did gay people only want to watch TV shows about other gay people? And believe it or not, not all gay people sit around watching Bravo and Home and Garden network all the time.

The second half of the article is interesting too as it names sponsors such as Orbitz, Subaru, Motorola and Miller Lite that will support the new network. Oh great, perfect timing MTV! The Southern Baptist Convention just ended its boycott of Disney, so we were looking for some new targets. Thanks!

For the hyper-sensitive folks out there, that last part was a joke.

Praying for Profit

MSNBC has this surprisingly positive article about the burgeoning market in christian music and literature. This is refreshing, since the mainstream media usually treats christian music like some bizarre creation from outer space. As the article tells us, however, Christian music is no longer on the fringes of American pop culture, accounting for 6% of all music sales, or around $700 million a year.

Christian music certainly has come a long way since I was a youngster. No longer are christian artists all reminiscent of that blue-haired lady in your congregation who sings "He Lives" every Easter sunday. Now many christian groups sound more like that garage band down the street, and they have branched out to cover a wide range of musical genres. Bands such as Relient K, Lifehouse, Switchfoot, and P.O.D. have enjoyed tremendous crossover success, largely by appealing to young people.

Christian music has made great strides to move out of the front pew and into the main streets. As far as I'm concerned, nothing bad can come of that.

Al Gore: Superhero

This article by the National Review's Jonah Goldberg made me laugh out loud. Check it out.

I really don't link to NRO articles nearly enough. I have been in error. They do great work over there and we conservatives should support them.

Bob Gibson - reverse karma pundit

Two weeks ago, Daily Progress writer Bob Gibson criticized polls used in the McDonnell campaign. McDonnell racked up the largest victory among statewide candidates.

This week, Gibson touted an O's-Nats World Series. Last night, the O's lost their sixth straight - to the hapless Yankees.

Is Elliot Spitzer the model?

Chris Graham, who has stellar political stories, had a good one yesterday on comparisons between Virginia's AG and crusading NY AG Eliot Spitzer.

Both Bob McDonnell and Creigh Deeds said that Spitzer went a little far sometimes in his pursuit of corporations.

McDonnell

"Frankly, if there's corporate corruption, it's something that needs to be gone after...But Spitzer has brought it to an art form, and has done some things that have done nothing but drive up the costs of goods and services for consumers across America."
Deeds

"There's certainly a role in Virginia for a more active attorney general. Is that to say that the attorney general in Virginia should be as active as the attorney general in New York?...Maybe there's a model between where we are and where the guy in New York is that we can follow. There are instances where our attorney general can stand up and make a difference by taking on a more active role."
Compare Deeds' comments yesterday to those he made at his Richmond campaign kick-off on March 29th.

RT-D
He promised to "crack down on price gouging by the drug companies who make our medicines and our well-being a profit center instead of an affordable way of life" and to fight for lower drug prices for seniors, as well as stand up "for
the ordinary people."
AP
[H]e also promised to champion consumer issues, including lower health care costs.

"The big pharmaceutical and health insurance companies don't need another attorney general serving as their advocate," Deeds said at a state Capitol news conference.

"With Creigh Deeds, we'll have a crackdown on price gouging by the drug companies who make our medicines and our well-being a profit center instead of an affordable way of life," he said. "We'll take on the insurance companies who deny coverage and put bureaucracy before quality health care."

Deeds said attorneys general in other states "have gone after pharmaceutical companies," but he did not say specifically how he would proceed.
Free Lance-Star
Deeds promised to be a consumer advocate on issues such as drug prices. "The big pharmaceutical companies and health insurance companies don't need another attorney general serving as their advocate," Deeds said. "We'll have a crackdown on price gouging by the drug companies who make our medicines and our well-being a profit center rather than an affordable way of life."

Deeds said he would lower drug prices for seniors and low-income Virginians.

He also said he'd be an advocate for the environment, making sure corporate polluters clean up messes.
The ATRA's participation in the Republican AG nomination got a little bit of coverage. Most of the attention focused on the method of ATRA's donation, rather than the reasons for said participation. I daresay that if they were concerned about Steve Baril, they are downright worried about Creigh Deeds.

Here are some questions that I would like to have answered:
Would either candidate have sued Blockbuster over their new rental policy?
Would either candidate have sued manufacturers of coal tar shampoo?
Would either candidate have sued to require manufacturers to list inert products on chemical labels?
Will either candidate pursue contingent fee relationships with trial lawyers?

Russ the Progressive

Russ Potts' webpage has a list of upcoming appearances. Tim Kaine and Jerry Kilgore would be wise to copy this. It lets people know where they can see the candidates.

For example, on June 29th, you can hear Ol' Russ speak to the "Progressive Women of Hampton – Newport News."

This group fights for:
Women’s health/rights
Peace
Healthcare reform/advocacy
Education
policy
Drug policy
Voting integrity/voter

About Progressive Women of Hampton Roads: A group of local women who want to affect change in our community, state, and country. We adhere to the democratic principles our country was founded on. We also support women's issues on the local, state, and national level.
PWHR is also described as:
The Progressive Women of Hampton Roads is an exciting new group meeting regularly in the Tidewater area. Dedicated Dean supporter and DFA activist Linda Brooks of Hampton Roads writes: "This is our second meeting and I hope any women who are out there that want to attend and are progressive and want to put an end to the onslaught of the erosion of women's rights will attend."
Now maybe it's just me, but I can't imagine that Ol' Russ is going to win too many votes away from Jerry Kilgore at this event.

Kaine Changes Direction...Again.

Tim Kaine's campaign for governor has apparantly found the strategy it believes will win in November. That strategy appears to me to be deny, criticize, and adopt. In other words, on every issue Kaine begins by denying the positions he has held throughout his entire political career. Next, he proceeds to criticize whatever Jerry Kilgore has proposed without offering a solution of his own. Finally, when pressed Mr. Kaine simply adopts the Republican's plan, tweaking it a bit to make it seem like something new.

The tactic appears once again in today's AFP article regarding Tim Kaine's latest transportation plan. I'll let Chris Graham do the talking here:
After criticizing Republican opponent Jerry Kilgore for pushing for the creation of regional transportation authorities to guide road-planning decisions, Democratic Party gubernatorial candidate Tim Kaine is proposing something that sounds at the least like a close relative to the Kilgore plan.

Hmm, curious. Kaine then goes on to criticize Kilgore's plan calling it an abdication of state leadership and saying it would pit regions against each other. Kaine says:
We don't need that. But just like in '02, if a region wants to engage in self-help, and do something to advance their cause, I supported them in '02, where Jerry would not take a position on the regional referenda.

Thanks for the advice, Dr. Phil. Unfortunately for you, the people didn't support your efforts to raise their taxes, soundly defeating that referendum.

Deny, criticize, adopt. For some reason, I don't think the people of Virginia will warm to that approach either.

Cline on Kelo

In today's AFP, Delegate Ben Cline offers his reaction to the recent Supreme Court case involving state rights to eminent domain. Cline rightly sees the ball as squarely in the General Assembly's court to protect the private property rights of Virginia's homeowners. He calls on his colleagues to pass legislation prohibiting public-use takings for private transfers.

I applaud Delegate Cline's strong stance and look forward to seeing how swiftly the GA will act on this in the next session.

Monday, June 27, 2005

Don't Forget To Wear Your Seatbelt

Courtesy of the Augusta Free Press, Congressman Bob Goodlatte informs us that June is National Internet Safety Month. Like fire, the Internet can be used for good or for ill. So remember, when using the Internet, please keep your arms and legs inside the ride at all times and observe the Captain's instructions.

In all seriousness, Congressman Goodlatte has become a leader in promoting the benefits of Internet technology while protecting citizens from those who would seek to misuse the medium. He has some good things to say about spam, spyware, and P2P. Most importantly, he supports limiting taxes on e-commerce to encourage growth and development.

As an aside, while most people are talking about '08 in terms of the Presidential race, Virginia will also have a Senate race that year. Should John Warner choose to retire, I hope the Virginia GOP will give Bob Goodlatte a good look. I feel he has the leadership, intelligence and experience to make a great Senator and I hopes he gets the chance.

Tomorrow's Stars Today

The AFP has this article today about Mark Warner's efforts to promote tourism throughout the Commonwealth. I have to agree with the Guv that no place can match the beauty of the Shenandoah Valley. It is my favorite part of the Commonwealth.

The article also mentions the Valley Baseball League. If you don't know about the VBL, you are missing out. Just like the more famous Cape Cod League, the VBL provides college ballplayers an opportunity to show their stuff for pro-scouts against the best competition. The VBL has been a stepping stone to the big leagues for many current MLB players like the Cardinals' David Eckstein, the Tigers' Brandon Inge, and the Marlins' Juan Pierre.

If you have the chance, check it out.

Miss America finds a Dance Partner

Or should I say, a line-dance partner. On the heels of my post yesterday about the Miss America pageant getting dropped by ABC recently, Country Music Television has announced that they will air the program in January.

This is a match made in the Heartland as the traditional beauty pageant seems to appeal to a similar demographic as much of CMT's other programming. Hey, maybe the network that broadcasts Dukes of Hazzard will even incorporate new talent competitions like Bartendin', Moonshinin', and Drag Racin'. Yee-haw.

The Circus Comes to Town

Over at Bacon's Rebellion, The Blue Dog's latest wades into the shallow end of the blogosphere with reckless abandon. Personally, I feel that granting publicity to those bloggers who use their platform solely to launch personal attacks and perpetuate personal grudges does a disservice to those of us who seek to foster a civilized, adult discourse.

Anonymous or not, bloggers should be evaluated on WHAT they say, not WHO says it. John Behan, Norm Leahy and Steve Minor are daily reads for me because they have something to say. Other blogs aren't, because they don't.

And that's all I'm gonna say about that.

Supreme Court Ends Term With A Flourish

The Supreme Court wrapped up this years term with a few interesting decisions, and another decision left to be made.

The Court handed down split rulings on two Ten Commandments cases, ruling one display on government property unconstitutional, while permitting another. The RTD relays Justice Souter's view that it is "important to understand the Constitution's Establishment Clause, which requires the government to stay neutral on religious belief."

Uh, actually, your honor, I don't remember the Constitution saying anything of the sort. But hey, until last week I didn't know the Constitution allowed localities to take personal property for private development either, so maybe i'm just out of the loop.

In another decision, the Supreme Court took up the issue of online file-sharing. The Washington Post led with the headline "Court Rules Against File Sharers." Though I haven't read the decision yet, that take seems to miscast the Court's view. Though the Court allowed producers of file-sharing software to be sued, the Court also seemed to uphold its ruling in the Betamax case. Today's decision held that the software companies could be liable only for encouraging copyright-infringement. That standard seems like it could be a difficult one to prove, and a relatively easy one to skirt considering the demand for such services.

Finally, despite rampant speculation of the blogosphere, there was no word today on any possible resignation from any of the Court's Justices. Word is, the White House has already compiled a short list of candidates who meet the criteria of youth, solid conservative views, and relatively light baggage to bring to the confirmation process. With that checklist, I'd suggest my buddy Addison stay close to the phone.

Hokies fill up on cupcakes

This weekend, Virginia Tech released its out-of-conference football schedules for 2006-2011. Unfortunately for fans, the schedules offer very few compelling match-ups. While the ACC schedule offers plenty of great games on its own, many Hokie fans had hoped to parlay their new conference affiliation into some bigger name OOC games.

While the Hokies will play LSU in 2007 and Wisconsin in 2008 and 2009, VT fans will also have to endure matchups with 1-AA teams Furman, Appalachian State and William & Mary. The centerpiece of the new schedule is an 8-game series with East Carolina University from 2006-2013. While VT-ECU used to be a pretty good series some years ago, the Hokies have moved up the D-1 football food chain since then, while the Pirates have declined precipitously. The irony of the agreement is that ECU's new AD is none other than former UVA AD Terry Holland.

While the new schedules certainly make it more likely that VT will continue to be a yearly Top-25 contender, which is good for business, they leave much to be desired from a fan's perspective.

Seal Watch

If anyone knows anything about the vigorous enforcement of Virginia's seal rights, it's SST. For those newbies, here's our story.

I just noticed that Jim Blubaugh, Democratic candidate for Alan Louderback's seat, is sporting a nice seal on his campaign webpage.

Reagan named Greatest American

Last night, the Discovery Channel revealed the results of their effort to determine America's most influential historical figure. More than three million votes were cast online and through a toll-free number.

While it is neat that America chose the Great Communicator, the result pehaps speaks more to the short memories of Americans than anything else. While Reagan is certainly a great American, the greatest of the 20th century I believe, I dare say that Washington, Jefferson, and Lincoln had a greater influence on the development of the United States. Makes me worry about Americans' knowledge of their own nation's history.

Sunday, June 26, 2005

Old Zach at the Movies

While John Behan is out of town I'm going to use this opportunity to steal away his fan club. All kidding aside, I will liberally steal his ideas and attempt to pass them off as my own. Thanks, JB!

I just got back from seeing Herbie: Fully Loaded so I thought I'd offer my thoughts on this movie. Now I know what you are thinking, "Old Zach why in the world would you see this movie?" Well, I grew up loving the Herbie films and I wanted to see if this film would hold the same appeal as those early ones did. Besides, I'll pretty much see any movie with racing scenes. Ok, I'll pretty much see any movie, period.

Anyway, this movie turned out a lot better than I expected. It doesn't really hold up to the original Love Bug, but it's pretty darn entertaining. Herbie had me smiling and rooting for him through most of the movie, just like when I was a kid. The race scenes were really cool and didn't rely too totally much on CGI, as I had feared. Cynical folks might think this movie is dumb and unbelievable. I say that when you go into a movie that is centrally about an automobile that is alive, you must put your cynicism aside and just enjoy it.

One thing that many critics said they didn't like about the film was the overwhelming amount of product placement. Clearly, none of these critics have ever actually watched a NASCAR race. There was actually LESS product placement in this movie than the typical Sunday afternoon race and the dialogue was no different from what one might hear after a race where the driver thanks seven sponsors before thanking his team. In fact I found myself thinking "Mmm, Cheetos," which I guess is the point.

One more thing, I must request that someone please find the old, good-girl Lindsay Lohan, who appears in this movie, and return her to Hollywood. This new, blond, anorexic Hilton-ized Lindsay scares me. At least give the child a cheeseburger.

Kilgore Pledges Aid to Southwest Virginia

Yesterday Jerry Kilgore joined Senator William Wampler and Delegate Terry Kilgore to announce his plan to urge the federal government to restore funding to the Coalfields Expressway(CFX) in Southwest Virginia.

The CFX, which was first conceived in 1989, is meant to stretch 51 miles from the West Virginia border in Buchanan County to Route 23 in Pound. The construction of the highway will create a pathway for economic development and vitality for this region. The plan intends to use the Public-Private Transportation Act to make construction of the road more cost-efficient for Virginia's taxpayers.

Completion of the CFX is just a part of Jerry Kilgore's plan for improving transportation in Virginia, which includes protecting the transportation trust fund and using innovative technology to imporove transportation information and infrastructure.

As a native of the region, Jerry Kilgore understands how important economic development is to address the changing needs of Southwest Virginia. I'd be surprised if Kansas native Tim Kaine could even locate Buchanan County without a map.

George Allen in the Granite State

If anyone doubts that Senator Allen intends to run for President in 2008, they need only to pick up today's copy of the Richmond Times-Dispatch. Yesterday, Allen spoke to the 61st annual Lilac Luncheon of the New Hampshire Federation of Republican Women. The trip was nominally to raise money for his Senate re-election campaign, yet as any observer of politics knows, whenever a politician visits New Hampshire it is for one reason.

There's nothing particularly earth-shattering here. Allen's explanation for the visit is interesting:
Allen said he is concentrating on out-of-state fundraising so as not to draw Virginia money away from the GOP campaigns for governor, lieutenant governor and attorney general.
I count this a deft move by Allen to give himself an opportunity to travel around the country meeting with Republican activists so that next year he can focus his efforts on re-election having already laid the foundation for a nationwide campaign the following two years.

Winchester named All-American City

Winchester, Virginia was one of ten winners of the National Civic League's annual All-American City competition. According to the Macon (GA) Telegraph, they were selected from a pool of 30 finalists and were judged on their success in community issues, including crime, education, poverty, housing and race relations.

Sounds like the "Apple Capital" is coming up roses today.

Miss Virginia crowned

Congratulations go out to Miss Kristi Glakas, who was crowned Miss Virginia 2005 last night at the Roanoke Civic Center. The Roanoke Times informs us that the 24 year-old George Mason University student, who had previously held the title of Miss Apple Blossom Festival, beat out 27 other contestants for the title.

Where Miss Virginia goes from here, however, remains a mystery. Last fall the Miss America Pageant was dropped by ABC and it is still searching for a TV home. Until the pageant is able to find a television sponsor, they'll be unable to set a date for the pageant.

Virginia's last Miss America was Nicole Johnson back in 1999

Saturday, June 25, 2005

Where I was today

JB already told you about our lunch meeting today. It's always fun to put a face with a pseudonym. JB isn't such a bad guy for a Hoo. Here's hoping you and your family have a relaxing vacation at the beach.

After lunch a friend and I drove out here. If you've never been to "The Grand Canyon of the South" I highly recommend it. The views are simply breathtaking. It's the best dollar I have ever spent. We took the Overlook Trail which provides constant views of the canyons. I used a whole roll of film and could have gone through another one. If you live in the city, it's easy to forget that splendors of creation like this still exist. Fortunately, our Commonwealth is blessed with an abundance of them. I encourage everyone to take the time to enjoy Virginia's natural beauty, you won't regret it.

Wilder's son spent missing $169K

Four months ago, we mentioned that Doug Wilder's 1989 campaign committee had not filed any reports recently and had a last-known balance of $169K.

Today, we learn that the money was taken by Wilder's son Larry.
"All of this money went to Mr. Larry Wilder," the fund's current treasurer, Paul Goldman, who serves as the mayor's senior policy adviser, reported in a letter to the board.

"He has told me so as did his lawyer, Mr. Jimmy Morris, who is providing me with a letter to that effect," Goldman wrote. "Unfortunately, the original paper copies of these old copies of these old bank records are no longer available. Mr. Wilder and Mr. Morris have looked but have not found them.. . . Bottom line: No records relative to the actual disbursement of this money have been found."

It sounds like the existing state law may not address the exact problem here.
Christopher E. Piper, the board's campaign finance administrator, said the board will consult with the Attorney General over how to handle all of the funds that missed filings. In the case of Wilder's fund, for instance, the problem is that state law says it can't file a final, closing report until all the missing reports are filed, but the fund can't file the missing reports because the records are missing.
Maybe Mayor Wilder can ask Jim Ukrop to pitch in the money?

When nursing home romance goes bad

From the AP:
Furious that their romance was ending, a 78-year-old great-grandmother shot her 85-year-old ex-beau to death as he read the newspaper in a senior citizens home, police said.

"I did it and I'd do it again!" Lena Driskell yelled to officers who arrived at the home June 10, according to testimony. Police said she was wearing a bathrobe and slippers, waving an antique handgun with her finger still on the trigger.

She is accused of plotting the shooting of Herman Winslow because she was angry that their yearlong romance was ending and he had found another companion.

Your Neighborhood presented by John Deere

Well this is great, now not only can your family farm be taken for development by nameless corporations for a nominal fee, but those fancy new developments will now be brought to you by corporate sponsors. Hey, I love corporate America as much as the next Republican, but c'mon folks, this is getting a little ridiculous. Can I not even drive home anymore without being bombarded by corporate advertising. Will the homeowners association kick me out if I choose to purchase a Stihl hedge trimmer? Where will it end?

Friday, June 24, 2005

Billy Graham's Last Crusade

Tonight, The Rev. Bill Graham begins his last crusade in the place where it all started, New York City. The 87 year-old evangelical preacher has counseled every US President since Truman and has brought thousands of people to Christ. The New York Times goes behind the scenes of the crusade, while MSNBC gives us a history of this amazing man.

Billy Graham's contributions to this nation are immeasurable. His departure from public life will leave a great void, but his legacy will never diminish.

Thursday, June 23, 2005

Revelations

And now that I've given a rationale for our anonymity, I'll reveal a bit about myself. I've recently become a member of the JAG Corps in one of our esteemed branches of the armed services, and I'm heading to Officer Training Camp on Tuesday for six weeks and will not have any internet access. So after this weekend, there will be no more posts from Lighthorse Harry for a while. I'll miss the blogosphere, but I'll miss other things a lot more.

Why We Are Anonymous

You wonder why we are anonymous? Here is your answer...not that we post things so provocative as this guy, but still.

Wednesday, June 22, 2005

Worst. Decision. Ever.

I see here that Duke's Shavlik Randolph has decided to forgo his senior season and enter the NBA draft. Yep, you read that right. Randolph has averaged 6.3 points and 4.3 rebounds per game in his career at Duke. Though highly touted coming out of high school, Randolph's college career to date has been less than stellar.

Instead of returning to a team that will be a preseason Top 5 pick and will have a legitimate shot at a National Championship, Randolph enters the NBA Draft where it isn't a stretch to think he might not be drafted at all. Either someone is giving this kid some really bad information or he's been sipping too much of Grandma's cough syrup.

I wish this kid all the success in the world, but this one makes me shake my head in disbelief. Maybe he just thought his last name was Redick.

Who Fights over a Library?

Well, this isn't just any library, mind you. It's one of those fancy-schmancy Presidential Libraries. You'll find no worn out copies of Enders Game or matronly ladies "shush"-ing you here. No sir.

The Washington Times has the scoop on the full-fledged bidding war going on for the George W. Bush Presidential library. The lobbying behind the scenes mainly involves some of Texas' major universities. Texas A&M, Southern Methodist, and Baylor seem to be the frontrunners to be the location of the Library once it is built. A&M is already the site of George H.W. Bush's Presidential Library, so naturally the Aggies consider themselves entitled to 43's Library as well. SMU is Laura Bush's alma mater and some guy named Dick Cheney sits on the school's board. Baylor isn't far from Bush's Crawford, Texas ranch and the Times notes that it is "the world's largest Baptist university ." Those darn Baptists just have their hands in everything don't they ;)

Just in case you are wondering why UT isn't in the mix, the Austin, Texas university is the site of Lyndon Johnson's Presidential Library, replete with humorous old photos of LBJ's son-in-law Chuck Robb. Personally, my vote goes to College Station. Gig 'em Aggies!

I just know Slugworth is behind this

Speaking of rites of summer, frozen treats are right up there too, but this is just ridiculous.

Coming soon, news items about parades, fireworks, and fishing. Did I miss anything?

Ticket to Ride

Here's an interesting article in the RTD about the safety inspection process for amusement park rides. Whether its riding the Loch Ness Monster at Busch Gardens or the Tilt-o-Whirl at your County Fair, these rides are a quintessential part of summer, like corn dogs and baseball. It's good to know that Virginia has a strong inspection scheme, but it is disturbing to see some call for federal regulation in this area.

Now our Commonwealth's roller coaster junkies can rest easy that even though they might be scared, at least they'll be safe.

George Pinch Hits for Jerry

Senator George Allen released a statement today support Jerry Kilgore's recent proposals to combat gang crime in Virginia and blasting Tim Kaine for his weak record and lack of any proposals to combat crime. Here's what Allen had to say on behalf of his protege:
I read with bemusement Tim Kaine's reaction to Jerry Kilgore's positive proposal to continue battling violent street gangs in Virginia, many ofwhich are made up of young people who have moved to Virginia just recently.

Continuing on the good work he did as my Secretary of Public Safety and as Attorney General of Virginia, Jerry has proposed to ratchet up the fight against these violent predators. Unfortunately, Tim Kaine has offered nothing but criticism and even refused to take a position on Jerry's proposal to extend the death penalty to cover certain gang crimes.

While I was Governor, we increased the scrutiny and areas that were surveyed for gang activity. Naturally, when one heightens awareness of a certain type of crime, the initial figures grow rapidly. Either Tim Kaine does not understand this fact or he chooses to ignore it, preferring instead to take a cheap political shot at a life-long champion of law enforcement and victims' rights.

Jerry Kilgore has been a proven, steady leader in fighting crime in our Commonwealth and rightly stands proudly at the forefront of anti-crime initiatives.

Mr. Kaine has no discernable record of fighting gang activity in Virginia, and it is disingenuous of him to criticize one of the few people who have been leading on this front. Until Mr. Kaine has a record or any proposals to point to, I would respectfully suggest that he keep his petty partisan shots to himself. Virginians expect unified actions and leadership rather than political sniping.

Ouch. Expect Senator Allen to speak out often on behalf of his good friend Jerry Kilgore. It certainly won't hurt his re-election effort next year either.

Tuesday, June 21, 2005

Leitao making strides at UVA

The Virginian-Pilot has this article today about the steps the Hoos' new basketball coach has taken to get Virginia on the winning track. Leitao has already assembled an experienced staff and apparently has gained the trust of key players like J.R. Reynolds and Sean Singletary.

Virginia's biggest problem last year was not a lack of talent. It was a lack of discipline and motivation. Singletary was the only player that I saw giving 100% in every single game. If Leitao can get his team to give a better effort in fundamentals like rebounding and defense, they have a chance to jump over some of the ACC's heavyweights like UNC, Wake and Maryland, all of whom are losing key players to the NBA.

As a Hokie, the glimmer of hope in C'ville disturbs me.

George Allen is working hard for the '08 nomination

While the news media is busy talking about Frist's maneuvering, Hillary's moderate makeover, and guys like Biden and Romney prematurely throwing their hats in the '08 ring, Sen. Allen is busy doing the people's work. Allen's efforts may not necessarily be grabbing headlines right now, but they very well may pay off both next year and in '08.

Allen is quietly building a resume in the Senate to complement his substantial achievements as Virginia's governor. Not only will his hard work serve to keep Mark Warner out of the way next year, but it will also serve to show Republicans that while others are posturing, he's getting results. Just a few examples of Allen's efforts are his position as the lead Republican sponsor on the anti-lynching resolution and his strong support of John Bolton's nomination to the UN. Also don't ignore Allen's successful effort to protect Virginia's rights and gain an exemption from the McCain-Kennedy education bill.

Senator Allen may not be making a big splash just yet, but I am convinced that once he wins a landslide reelection to the Senate next year, he'll set about charming the heck out of Republicans in Iowa, New Hampshire, South Carolina and elsewhere. Watch out folks, he's just getting started.

New look for "America's Newspaper"

As I was perusing my favorite news sites this evening, I was shocked, shocked I tell you, to discover that the Washington Times had redesigned their website. I have to give the new look a big thumbs-up. I absolutely hated the old website format and it probably prevented me from posting many stories that I otherwise would have. Incidentally, the Richmond Times and the Virginian-Pilot are two of my favorite state newpaper websites, while the Bristol Herald-Courier and Danville Register & Bee are two of the worst. It's hard to give southside and southwest adequate coverage when you can't find anything on their websites.

By the way, here is a story I discovered while checking out the new WT site: Virginia has recently named 20 new additions to the State's Register of Historic Landmarks. Virginia is certainly blessed to have an abundance of history throughout the Commonwealth. I'd encourage folks to get off the interstate every once in a while and check out some places in Virginia that you can't identify with an exit number.

Bruce Wayne (R-Gotham)?

Our buddy, John Behan links us to an interesting question, Is Batman a Republican? JB's post reminded me of a post I saw earlier this year which surmised that Superman=liberal; Batman=conservative. It's an interesting analysis.

This leads me of course to wonder about my own favorite superhero, Captain America. To me, Cap has always represented the best things about our America: intense national pride, strength, individualism, and ingenuity. To others, however, Cap represents a WASPy, jingoist, unilateral-acting, "ugly" American caricature. But truth be told, there is much about Cap that might lead one to consider him to be a liberal. First of all, like Social Security, Cap was produced by a big expensive government program that was originally created to serve a limited purpose (defeating the Nazis) but later became responsible for much more than was ever envisioned (protecting the world). In fact, one might say that young Steve Rogers was only able to achieve his dreams as a result of government assistance. Cap has also sometimes been portrayed as a peg in a larger bureaucracy, and as a consensus-building peacenik who prefers diplomacy to shows of military force. In addition, check out this National Review piece from 2003 that looks at a Captain America story arc that implied US involvement in terrorist activity and rails against the military-industrial complex.

I have trouble believing that Captain America would have voted for John Kerry, but frankly it doesn't matter. Cap should, and does to me, represent everything that America should be. To me, Cap sees what Reagan saw, a shining city on a hill. Maybe if more folks looked for the best in our nation, rather than the worst, more people would appreciate what it means to be a real-life superhero like all those men and women serving today in our armed forces.

Monday, June 20, 2005

Tim Kaine - good one liner

One thing that I always appreciate is a good one liner. From today's Augusta Free Press, regarding the recent NRA spat:
"I think you ought to give credit where it's due. I'm not saying that I invented the Internet. I'm not saying that I'm the sole guy behind Project Exile."
That's funny. I don't care who you are.

CFIF launches ad contrasting Tim Kaine with Mark Warner

The Center for Individual Freedom, "a non-partisan, non-profit organization with the mission to protect and defend individual freedoms and individual rights guaranteed by the U.S. Constitution," launched a new TV ad today.

The ad draws contrasts between Mark Warner's relatively centrist views on the death penalty and gun rights with Mr. Kaine's record.

I think it's a pretty good ad. As far as I know, it's the first Virginia ad to feature Rosie O'Donnell.

Crazy Cranwell

Del. C. Richard Cranwell, former majority leader of the House of Delegates when the Democrats were in power in the 90s, was named the state Democratic Party chairman yesterday and promptly began to spew forth incomprehensible babble. The Richmond Times Dispatch reported that he asserted that the Republicans are saddling the next generation with $43 trillion worth of debt "that's 43 with 12 zeroes behind it." Where did he get that ridiculous number? Do you think he made it up on the spot? Can somebody help me here?

Sunday, June 19, 2005

Tim Kaine and Gay Adoption

We've been doing our best to point out differences between the candidates on a variety of issues. That is, of course, when we can figure out what the candidates think.

From Daily Kos, regarding Tim Kaine's appearance at a fundraiser for Jay Fisette.
He talked about how Jay [Fisette] and Adam [Ebbin] and so many in the room had lived through discrimination. He acknowledged that he could not fully understand, that he knew what it was like to be attacked for his political position, but not for merely being who he was. he talked about the effort in the immediately past legislative session to bar the right of gays to adopt (and I note that when he walked into the room, the very first thing he did was go over to a couple of gay men who were present with their sons and greet them). He talked about how they were able to stop that from passing, and that he is being attacked for that around the state, although obviously NOT in N Virginia.

He talked about the importance of this election, about the stark difference between the two tickets, about how all the positive things that the Warner administration had been opposed by Kilgore and his running mates.

It was not a canned speech. It was not the same as last night, although he covered a fair number of the same points.

My sense is that the gays who might otherwise vote Republican will be turning out in large number for Kaine this fall. We have a fair number in Arlington, and the state's gay and bi-population is concentrated in Northern Virginia. I also sense that Kaine will not back away from what he supports, whichy is equal civil rights for Gays. It will be interesting to see how this issue plays out in Virginia.
Sounds clear. However, on January 31st, 2005, Tim Kaine said the following things:
Kilgore and Kaine said they support a constitutional amendment banning gay marriages. Both said they disapprove of adoptions by gay couples.
Hmmm. Talking one way in Arlington, and another way downstate?

Also, check out this old post for Mr. Kaine's evolving stance, or appearance of evolving stance, on gay marriage.

UPDATE
There's an implication in the comment left that I have quoted selectively. I disagree with that assertion, but want it to be clear. Here's the full quote:
Kilgore and Kaine said they support a constitutional amendment banning gay marriages. Both said they disapprove of adoptions by gay couples.

But Kaine said that when he was a missionary in Honduras, he witnessed orphans who were treated "hellaciously." As a consequence, he would favor allowing individual gays or lesbians to adopt, so long as they create a loving environment, he said.
The issue and focus of the post is whether Mr. Kaine is communicating different things to different communities. At least one person at Mr. Fisette's fundraiser thinks that Tim Kaine is seeking "equal civil rights" for gays. If that's the case, fine, and we can debate the merits. If it isn't, then fine, and we can debate the merits. The issue is that we just aren't sure.

And on the merits, the Virginia Supreme Court has already given out-of-state gay couples the right to have both parents listed on a new birth certificate. If the next step is not an effort to have the same rights granted to in-state gay couples, then I don't know anything about public interest litigation.

Saturday, June 18, 2005

Deeds and McDonnell butt heads at YLC

Creigh Deeds and Bob McDonnell faced each other for the first time since McDonnell received the Republican nomination on Tuesday. They met at the Young Lawyer's Conference, a division of the Virginia State Bar.

From the RT-D:
Virginia's candidates for attorney general clashed over social issues and taxes Saturday during the first debate of the general election campaign for any of the six statewide candidates.
The clash included
embryonic stem cell research
Terry Schiavo
Gay marriage
the 2004 tax increase
each person's running mates

The last point is the one that is most interesting to me. Creigh Deeds is the most moderate of the three, which tells you a little about this year's Democratic ticket. Tim Kaine will be looking to use Mr. Deeds as a human shield on the gun issue. While I think the Senator from Charlottesville is enough of a team player to do that, he'll do his best not to be dragged down.
Deeds, who is perceived as the most moderate of the three Democrats, said he doesn't even agree with his wife all the time _ and the same is true with his running mates.

McDonnell said the Republicans are more ideologically in tune than the Democrats and suggested the differences between Deeds and his ticket mates are sharper than Deeds was acknowledging.

"He will run a good campaign, but he will also run hard from Tim Kaine and Leslie Byrne if he has good sense," McDonnell said.

Friday, June 17, 2005

None Dare Call It Bigotry

Dr. Francis Beckwith is an excellent writer and thinker on the Christian right who very capably reveals the true intentions of the left and rebuffs the cries of intolerance against the right. His ability to point the intellectual inconsistencies and dishonesty of some of those on the left is extremely effective. Here is one of his essays concerning the leftwing rants against Christian right in the aftermath of the presidential election last fall when the left decided that the only reason they lost the election was because they were dealing with irrational Christian jihadists.

Thursday, June 16, 2005

Batman Begins. And how.

Well, I was going to post this as a comment on JB's Batman review, but I found I just had too much to say. So here goes.

I just got back from seeing Batman begins and I second JB's sentiment. Wow. This is how Batman was meant to be played. Dark , tortured, walking the thin line between good and evil. Bale was on point, Batman is not your friendly neghborhood crimefighter (apologies to Spiderman, who I love) he's mean, he's frightening, he's brutal. And Bruce Wayne was perfectly self-absorbed.

Oldman, Neeson, Freeman and Caine were all fantastic as one would expect. Their presences in this film brought that honesty and gravitas that the Batman story needed after the Schumacher debacles. Katie Holmes final pre-Scientology performance was a keeper. This is how I shall remember her. All of the geek touches (Batmobile, grapple gun, bat cave, etc.) were there to make this a supremely joyful reuinion with the Dark Knight.

Personally, I 've always prefered the campiness and frenetic energy of Marvel over the bleakness and rigidity of DC comics, but you have to respect the mortality of Batman. Here's a guy who is thrust into a situation at a young age where he has lost all control of the things around him and witnesses his safe home crumble around him to reveal a world outside that is also crumbling. The only thing that Wayne can control is himself, and so he does so. He learns to control his mind, body and every aspect of his being to such an extent that he almost ceases to become human. In fact, his original persona, soon becomes the mask he hides behind and vice versa.

The movie itself is beautifully conducted (not merely directed). No longer is Batman just a guy in a suit, but every corner of his bleak and tortured soul is poured out before the audience and we are made to understand just what drives a man to these extremes. I pray that Christopher Nolan comes back for the sequel, as I can't wait to see what he'll do with the Joker. This effort was simply a triumph. A classic. In sum, I kinda liked it.

NRA asks Tim Kaine to stop running misleading ads

NRA Political Victory Fund
Fairfax, VA - In a brazen attempt to mislead Virginia voters, Democratic Gubernatorial candidate Tim Kaine deliberately misused comments made by former NRA President Charlton Heston. Kaine’s campaign advertisement implies that Mr. Heston lauded Kaine for reduced crime in Richmond. In reality, Heston was praising Project Exile, a program implemented prior to Kaine becoming Mayor of Richmond.

Chris W. Cox, chairman of the National Rifle Association Political Victory Fund (NRA-PVF) stated, “It is shameful and dishonest to manipulate comments in an attempt to mislead voters during this gubernatorial campaign. We would like to set the record straight and ask Tim Kaine to cease and desist his false advertising campaign.”

Charlton Heston’s spokesman, Bill Powers stated, "Charlton Heston knows Jerry Kilgore. They`ve campaigned together and spent time with each other. There is no doubt that if Mr. Heston were to hit the campaign trail this year, he would be in full support of Jerry Kilgore for Governor."

Project Exile, a successful anti-crime program that strictly enforces all current federal, state and local gun laws against criminals, was recognized as a vital tool in reducing Richmond’s violent crime rate. The National Rifle Association spent over $1 million to help start this program in Richmond. Tim Kaine was not mayor when Project Exile was implemented.

In fact, as Richmond mayor, Kaine used taxpayer money to send eight chartered buses to gun control rallies (Richmond Times Dispatch, 6/15/00). Also as mayor, he advocated suing lawful gun manufacturers for the actions of criminals (Richmond Times Dispatch, 3/14/99).

Referring to Kaine’s suggestion in the advertisement that he had worked with Mr. Heston and that the actor supported him, Powers replied, “To my knowledge, Mr. Heston has never even met the man. But you can`t teach honesty and class.”

“Clearly, Kaine’s record and rhetoric don’t match. This raises a legitimate and disturbing credibility issue with this candidate,” concluded Cox.
Do you think Tim Kaine is trying to get both the NRA's and the Brady Campaign's endorsement? How is he doing?

Polls, debates, and other political creatures

Just a few thoughts on some of the stories of the day. First off, the thing that strikes me about the Rasmussen poll is the 12% of undecided voters. I don't know how that compares to past polls at this time of year, but it seems low to me. Two months ago in the same poll it was 15% so I guess its not that much of a change, but the fact that 88% of people already have an opinion on this contest is interesting to me.

The poll also backs up the Kilgore folks in terms of that "Other" category. Norm hits the nail on the head noting that Mr. Other is statistically insignificant. This race is going to be between Tim Kaine and Jerry Kilgore, plain and simple. Barnie Day and the rest of Other's dreamweavers are just blowing smoke because they really have nothing to get excited over with their own candidate. Kilgore is doing the right thing by ignoring Other and it won't hurt him one iota. Why in the world should the voters of the Commonwealth be subjected to the egomaniacal rantings of some disgruntled lawmaker indulging himself on a quest of hubristic futility? Well, they shouldn't.

Finally, I was able to attend one of the Victory Tour stops today and I have to say I agree with those who think all the sparks will emerge from LG's race. It's clear that Bolling will serve as the GOP's attack dog, and frankly its a good plan. Bolling won't suffer from being on the offensive because his opponent will be also, plus he'll keep the "negative campaigning" label away from Kilgore as much as possible. Aside from that, the candidates seem upbeat, and they should be. Kaine and his liberal buddies may run from their records, but they can't hide forever. Still, those of us on the ground must continue to work like we're 10 points behind. If we do, victory will be ours for the taking.

Downticket Coffers

It looks like the McDonnell campaign crossed the finish line on fumes. They had $56,000 in their account as of June 1st. Contrast that with Creigh Deeds, who has A cool half mil.

Del. McDonnell picked up $85K in large pre-election contributions, but I'm guessing that most of that went right out the door again.

Sen. Bolling is in much better shape. As of June 1st, he had $417K on hand, and picked up another $120K in large pre-election contributions. Leslie Byrne had only $42K on hand as of 6/1/05.

I don't know how much Mr. Baril or Mr. Connaughton spent in the last two weeks, but wouldn't be a great show of solidarity for them to make a contribution to their former opponents?

Well, wouldn't it?

Animal rights terrorist may be in Blacksburg

Search leads to Blacksburg
Virginia Tech police have stepped up security on campus after reports that an animal-rights activist wanted by the FBI in connection with the bombings of two California companies may be in the Blacksburg area.

Daniel Andreas San Diego, 27, of Berkeley, Calif., was featured June 4 on an episode of "America's Most Wanted," and a viewer's tip led the FBI to the area, said Virginia Tech Police Chief Debra Duncan.
I know a few Animal Science majors who would be happy to detain Mr. San Diego.

Complaint in Miller v. Brown - the open primary lawsuit

By popular demand, I have posted a copy of the Miller v. Brown complaint. This is the lawsuit filed last week regarding Virginia's policy of open primaries.

There were four exhibits filed as well:
Exhibit 1: Sen. Martin chooses primary in 2007
Exhibit 2: RPV Party Plan
Exhibit 3: Letter from Larry Miller to SBE
Exhibit 4: Reply from Jean Jensen to Larry Miller

UPDATE 6/16/05
The SBE filed a response on Tuesday.
Motion to Dismiss

The Motion to Dismiss is a scan, so the file is a lot larger. Let me know if you have trouble getting it, and I'll set up a mirror site. Also, if you think you might be reading it more than once, please right-click and "save as". It will cut my downloads.

Rasmussen Has Kilgore Ahead by 6

Rasmussen released a poll this morning with Kilgore up by 6 points. It's a good sign...it's to be expected. Honestly, I'm feeling a sweep in the making, despite Potts and his charade.

What's disappointing is that Mark Warner has a 63% favorability rating after....oh yeah, the biggest tax increase in state history.

Wednesday, June 15, 2005

Ms. Byrne and Festivals

After failing to appear at the Shad Planking, word is that Leslie Byrne stood upwas not at the Chicken Festival in Crewe.

I thought we in the blogosphere should help Ms. Byrne out. I know that she might not understand the role that festivals play in civic, cultural and political life in Virginia. Here are my recommended festivals for state-wide candidates. Please feel free to add any more in the comments.

Shad Planking
Winchester Apple Blossom Festival
Crewe Chicken Festival
South Boston Cantaloupe Festival
Galax Fiddler's Convention
Buena Vista Labor Day Parade
Urbanna Oyster Festival
Virginia Beach Neptune Festival Parade

UPDATE
One in the comments, and one by email:
Virginia Pork Festival
Virginia Food Festival

The Christian Right in the Lead on Humanitarian Issues

USA Today has an excellent article about the Christian right and its successes in working toward humanitarian goals, often in alliance with many organizations that it butts heads with on abortion and gay marriage. It's a fascinating article about the cooperation that occurs between many ideologically opposite organizations where they find common ground. Surprisingly, it's very positive about the Christian right's motives and intentions. Susan Page of USA Today writes:

Evangelicals' engagement on a wider range of issues and their willingness to forge surprising coalitions reflect the growing maturity and sophistication of the most powerful emerging force in American politics today. And while the alliances formed on, say, the Sudan aren't likely to change anyone's mind when the topic turns to abortion or same-sex marriage, they could help moderate the bitter tone of the nation's politics.

Congrats to the Winners...

Now get to work!

We can all breathe a sigh of relief now that the primaries are over. No longer do we have to endure Republicans verbally beating up on each other. Now we can concentrate on verbally beating up on those who deserve it, Democrats.

Kilgore-Bolling-McDonnell is a great ticket that is representative of the whole of Virginia, from Lee County all the way to Virginia Beach. This ticket truly represents the vision and values of the people of this great Commonwealth and I have supreme confidence that we will sweep the statewide offices this fall.

Yet, we must take nothing for granted. The other side will fight tooth and nail to tear down these fine men. Like their national leaders they will employ rage, hate, and obstructionist tactics to suppress the electorate to their own benefit. Don't be surprised to hear them break out the tired old canard that "this is the most extreme ticket in Virginia history" just as they have in previous elections. Don't buy into it. Talk to your friends and neighbors, introduce them to the real Jerry Kilgore, and expose to them the real Tim Kaine. We must fight for every inch in this election. Cede no ground and victory will follow.

On to Nov. 8th!

Tuesday, June 14, 2005

Victory Tour: Lap 1

On Thursday, the GOP ticket of Kilgore-Bolling-McDonnell will be touring the state for the first time introducing themselves to the good voters of our Commonwealth. If you are going to one of these events, take a friend with you, preferably one who is an undecided voter. Here are the stops:

Wednesday, June 15, 2005

RICHMOND
9:15 a.m. - 10:00 a.m.
Republican Party of Virginia (RPV) Headquarters
115 East Grace Street Richmond, Virginia

HAMPTON ROADS
11:15 a.m. - 12:00 p.m.
Hilton Norfolk Airport
1500 North Military Highway Norfolk, Virginia

NORTHERN VIRGINIA
1:00 p.m. - 1:45 p.m.
Piedmont Hawthorne Aviation
23411 Autopilot Drive Sterling, Virginia

SOUTHSIDE VIRGINIA
Virginia Chicken Festival
3:30 p.m. - 5:00 p.m.
Hooper Park Crewe, Virginia

Thursday, June 16, 2005

SOUTHWEST VIRGINIA
9:45 a.m. - 10:30 a.m.
Virginia Highlands Airport
18521 Lee Highway Abingdon, Virginia

ROANOKE
11:15 p.m. - 12:00
Wachovia Tower Plaza
10 S. Jefferson Street Roanoke, Virginia

SHENANDOAH VALLEY
1:00 p.m. - 1:45 p.m.
Shenandoah Valley Regional Airport
77 Aviation Circle Weyers Cave, Virginia

Statewide Tickets Are Set

It appears that we now know what our two statewide tickets will look this fall:

Jerry Kilgore will be joined by LG candidate Bill Bolling and AG candidate Bob McDonnell

Tim Kaine will be joined by LG candidate Leslie Byrne and AG candidate Creigh Deeds

Should be interesting.

An Important Day

Believe it or not, there are other things going on in the world today other than Virginia's primaries.

First off, today is Flag Day. On June 14, 1777 the Continental Congress adopted the Stars and Stripes as our national flag. Flag Day was established as a national holiday in 1916 by President Woodrow Wilson. A full history of the holiday can be found here.

Secondly, today is the United States Army's 230th birthday. Full multimedia coverage of ceremonies from around the world marking the Army's birthday can be found at the official Army birthday site here. And while NASCAR driver Joe Nemechek didn't get to park his special edition U.S. Army Chevy in victory lane lane this weekend like he wanted, he did score his best finish of the season and got to show off the Army's new paint scheme in the process.

Also on this patriotic day, in 1954, President Eisenhower added the words "under God" to the Pledge of Allegiance.

So as we wait to find out the results of today's voting, lets remember those who secure those democratic freedoms and honor the flag for which they fight.

FSU QB Claims He's God and Is Hospitalized

The FSU starting QB Wyatt Sexton clearly has some issues. Check out the report released by ESPN about his antics yesterday. Sexton is going to catch some serious flack for this story this fall when he plays. But then we already know that FSU players think they are deities.

Phil Jackson Reunited with Kobe

That should be a precious moment. The Lakers are reporting that they have rehired the one and only Phil Jackson. Don't expect any championships any time soon from the suddenly hapless Lakers.

NYT on Heritage Interns

Great article on the Heritage Foundation's excellent class of 64 interns this summer. Be afraid . . . very afraid.

Voter number 1

I walked through the door at 6:01. The system looks like it is going to work pretty well.

I was first asked if I wanted to vote in the Republican or Democratic primary. Both the Republican and Democratic "list-keeper" flipped to my name and crossed it off. The Republican list-keeper then gave me voter card #1 and circled #1 on a tally sheet.

I then walked over to the voting machine where another poll worker again asked me my voting preference. She then flipped a switch so only the Republican choicees were lit up. I voted and got my sticker.

No poll watchers were there, and no party or candidate representatives were outside. They must be sleeping in.

Monday, June 13, 2005

One Final Plea

Well, by this time tomorrow, we'll know who our candidates are. I encourage everyone who reads this to go and vote, no matter who you are voting for. I am distressed, as I know many of you are, that these primaries have devolved into little more than schoolyard taunts and attacks against our brethren. However, I have faith that come Wednesday morning, Republicans across Virginia will rally around the victors and turn our attentions to the true goal, winning in November.

There is a great deal at stake in this election. Just as they attempted to do last year, the Democrats will use any lie, distortion and dirty trick to tear down our Party. They know that we are the majority, that we are the mainstream, and that we are a party of forward-looking ideas. They are simply the party of anger, hate, and obstruction. We have an opportunity tomorrow and another in November to send them a message, a message of unity, strength, and conviction of our positive conservative values.

The real fight starts tomorrow, so let's give Jerry Kilgore a big victory and give him a great team that we can send on to a statewide sweep in November!

Sen. Allen, Gov. Warner celebrate SOLs

The Virginia-Pilot reports on a rare meeting of Virginia's two most popular politicians. Celebrating the 10th anniversary of the implementation of the SOLs under then-Governor Allen, the two potential Presidential candidates were cordial and even complimentary of one another. As always, Larry Sabato seizes on any opportunity to diminish the junior Senator declaring that Allen is "fearful" of a potential challenge from Warner in next year's Senate race.

Puh-leaze.

Sign of the Apocalypse #435,673

Bodo's on the Corner opens this week. What's next? Dogs and cats living together in peace and harmony?

Virginia Tech cracks down on students exercising their Constitutional rights

Once again, a Virginia university is trying to ignore the Second Amendment by implementing policies preventing students from having guns on campus. This ridiculous policy, which treats college students like convicted felons, is sure to be challenged yet again by gun-rights groups. Given that more students kill people with their cars than with guns, one wonders why Virginia Tech isn't doing something about the scourge of automobiles on campus.

Old Zach's take on the Governor's Race (seriously)

My previous post on this subject was only partially in jest. Kilgore is the clear choice in this Governor's race but there are some good reasons why that is.

Personally I like George Fitch. He's a fascinating guy who has had an amazing life and has done an amazing job as mayor of Warrenton. Fitch is a great spokesman for our Party on the importance of keeping taxes low to encourage growth and how efficiency of government can prevent cuts in necessary services. I can understand Fitch's frustration about the nomination process, but his assertions of a coronation are misplaced.

Fitch's argument assumes that Kilgore hasn't earned his place as the party's presumptive nominee. The idea that the mantle of the party has been somehow granted to Kilgore on a silver platter for no particular reason is completely off base. Kilgore was a crucial part of the Allen Revolution as the Commonwealth's Secretary of Public Safety. He has served as a state and federal prosecutor. He has served honorably as our Attorney General and been a strong voice for our Party's principles over the past four years as the only statewide elected Republican in Richmond. Kilgore has earned his spot at the top of the GOP ticket and he is our best chance to win back the Governor's mansion this November.

As Tim Kaine tries to recast himself yet again on every issue in this campaign, Jerry Kilgore is leading the way with common-sense conservative priniples of governance. It is vital that Republicans give Jerry Kilgore a ringing endorsement tomorrow and prevent the MSM and liberal spin-doctors from perpetuating this myth of a Republican rift. Our party is strong and united, now let's get out there and prove it!

Again, i say, Kilgore for Governor!

Katie Holmes Jumps the Shark

I've refrained from commenting on the recent rediculousness surrounding one of my formerly favorite young actresses. Unfortunately, it now appears that the wacked-out cult of Scientology has claimed yet another young impressionable victim. Scientology is not a religion, it is a dangerous, brain-washing con job that was created to make its founder lots of money, and succeeded. It's a sad epilogue to a once promising career. Let's just pray they don't procreate.

A Message from our Chairman

Over at VAGOP.com, RPV Chair Kate Obenshain Griffin has a primary eve message for us. Go check it out and take heed dear voters.

Sunday, June 12, 2005

More GOTV Tours

Del. McDonnell's tour was posted a few days ago.

I haven't seen anything from either Lt. Governor's campaign.

Tomorrow (Monday), Steve Baril will hold press conferences in the following places:

-- Roanoke, 9:30 a.m., Link Museum (GE Transportation Theater)

-- Danville, 11:30 a.m., Danville Regional Airport

-- Newport News, 2 p.m., Point Plaza hotel

-- Richmond, 4 p.m., Two James Center, 1021 East Cary Street,
Williams Mullen capitol room on the 17th Floor

Saturday, June 11, 2005

Tim Kaine on NRA Radio

Tim Kaine was on NRA radio yesterday, and host Cam Edwards has his impressions up on his blog. The comments are also worth a read.
Just had an interesting interview with Tim Kaine, the Democratic candidate for governor here in Virginia. I asked him the question "Whose support would you rather have, the NRA or the Brady Campaign?"

His response was "Both", which I suspect doesn't play well with either constituency.

So here's my question: if a candidate running for an office that you were voting on answered that same question with that same response... what would your reaction be?
The fence-straddling by Mr. Kaine was the culmination of a conversation regarding his endorsement by the Brady campaign in 2001.

I recorded the whole thing, except for a few blips on my internet service. I'll post a few soundbites once I get time to edit.

Thursday, June 09, 2005

Old Zach's take on the LG race

Well, we've less than a week to go, so I suppose it's time to choose who to vote for in the LG race. Once again, I want to start off by saying how pleased I am that we have such good candidates to choose from. I know that in the heat of a primary, some emotions get a little raw, but these truly are two top-notch candidates. Contrary to what Dr. Dean might say, as I look around the state, it is apparent that ours is a broad, healthy, diverse and active party with many fantastic elected officials, party leaders, activists, and volunteers. It is vital to remember that once these primaries are behind us, we are all on the same team and winning in November is our #1 goal.

I am feeling Waldo's pain on this one, as I have been tortured over who to vote for in this race and have changed my mind several times. Deciding who to support in this race is difficult primarily because I personally like both men. I truly wish I could combine the best attributes of each into a single candidate, but I am confident that we will win in November no matter who the nominee is. You can be sure that I will support them 100% and I hope y'all will too.

First in the alphabet is Bill Bolling. Senator Bolling has spent most of his adult life in public service. During his 10 years in the State Senate he has been a staunch advocate for conservative principles in our state government. He has stood firm and consistent on all of the issues that conservatives care about, from taxes, to law enforcement, to upholding the sanctity of marriage. Bolling also has the overwhelming support of his conservative colleagues in the legislature and party activists across the state. Further, Bill Bolling is simply a good guy who has worked hard to put himself in the position to be a solid choice for Lieutenant Governor. If he wins, he'll continue to be a strong voice for conservative values and his experience in the Senate would serve him well as its President. Furthermore, his campaign website is way better than his opponent's.

Now Sean Connaughton. In his short political career, Sean Connaughton has shown his adeptness at bringing warring factions together and enacting sound conservative policies to address local problems. Connaughton may not have the extensive legislative record of his opponent on which to run, but his accomplishments have been noteworthy. Connaughton provided leadership to a Board of Supervisors that had previously been more interested in bickering than finding real solutions. Connaughton simply stepped up and got things done in an a region of our state where delays and red-tape more often than not win the day. Furthermore, Connaughton has served honorably in our nation's military, which is further evidence of his leadership capabilities. If he wins, he would bring a fresh perspective to Richmond and be responsive to the needs of localities.

In the end, I have decided to support Sean Connaughton for Lieutenant Governor for several reasons. First, while I believe Bolling better represents my conservative views, I don't feel that this matters much when choosing an LG. The Governor and Attorney General have much more control over policy matters than does the LG. If we end up getting tie votes on important legislation despite controlling both chambers of the General Assembly, then we have bigger problems than who the LG is. More importantly, Connaughton lends balance to the ticket in several ways. Not only is he from Northern Virginia which makes up a quarter of the electorate, he has also never been in the State legislature which provides what I think is a good balance to Kilgore and McDonnell. If Connaughton is truly the wolf in sheep's clothing that Bolling claims he is, and I don't think that he is, then he'll be challenged and likely defeated before he can take the next step.

Finally, to be completely honest, I think Bolling will win the nomination. As I said, if he does I will support him. I'm with John Behan though, I just can't wait for this primary to be over with.

Wednesday, June 08, 2005

Going the Extra Mile

Speaking of small Virginia colleges, here's another great article in today's RTD about Emory & Henry President Tom Morris. Morris has just completed a three-week hike along teh Appalachian Trail from Wintergreen to Damascus in order to raise money for Emory's Outdoor Leadership Program. The 60 year-old Morris raised over $100,000 through his efforts.

It is admirable to see a college president go to such lengths to promote and support his school. Emory is lucky to have such a leader at its helm.

Stop Stealing Signs

We've gotten a few emails in the last few days regarding sign stealing. This is not cool. In six days, we'll need to forget about these primaries and get focused on the fall.

So knock it off.

College Sports Roundup

The RTD's Bob Lipper has a pretty good article about the state of Virginia college athletics, and it looks pretty good. Everyone knows about UVA, VT and JMU, but a lot of Virginia's smaller schools are getting in on the act too. Lipper notes Virginia Union's D-II Basketball Championship, Bridgewater's 4 straight ODAC titles, and Hampden-Sydney's run to the D-III Baseball Championship game.

Speaking of Virginia Union, Senator George Allen's website has a nice picture from their visit to the White House. It's good to know that its not just millionaire pro athletes and D-I champs that get to meet the President when they win a national title. I enjoy seeing our Commonwealth's smaller schools getting some recognition.

Get out the Vote Rally Tours

I post them as I get them.

Bob McDonnell
Saturday, June 11th:
8:00 am: Hampton Roads Get out the Vote Rally
with Special Guest Governor Jim Gilmore
Duck In, 3324 Shore Drive, Virginia Beach
Dutch Treat Breakfast

12:00 pm: Richmond Get out the Vote Rally
with Special Guest Governor Jim Gilmore
Huguenot Park, Shelter #2, 10901 Robious Road, Chesterfield

5:00 pm: Northern Virginia Get out the Vote Rally
At the home of Robert and Jennifer McDowell
9129 Old Courthouse Road, Vienna, VA

Sunday, June 12th
12:30 pm: Lynchburg Area Get out the Vote Rally
Ryan's Steakhouse
2600 Wards Road, across from River Ridge Mall
Dutch Treat Lunch

3:00 pm: Roanoke Area Get out the Vote Rally
with Special Guest, Congressman Bob Goodlatte
Fralin-Waldron Office Complex
3130 Chapparal Drive, Courtyard between Bldgs B and C

5:00 pm: Southwest Virginia Get out the Vote Rally
Virginia Highlands Airport,
18521 Lee Highway, Abingdon

Monday, June 13th:
7:30 am: Shenandoah Valley Get Out the Vote Rally
Shenandoah Valley Water Company
4 Industry Way, Staunton
Coffee and Donuts provided by Delegate Chris Saxman

12:00 pm: Charlottesville/Albemarle Get Out the Vote Rally
Steps of the Albemarle County Office and Courts Complex
401 McIntire Road,
Rain Location: Lobby of the Albemarle County Office Building

7:00 pm: Welcome Home Rally in Virginia Beach
Virginia Beach Library
4100 Virginia Beach Boulevard

Tuesday, June 07, 2005

I LOVE This Man

Howard Dean is at it again. I have said before that that Dean taking over the DNC was the best thing that could possibly happen to the GOP, and the Dean-iac hasn't let me down. Now Dean is caught on tape saying Republicans aren't friendly to different kinds of people and are pretty much a "white, christian party." He also stands by his previous comments, saying that Republicans don't have any concept of what it means to go out and try to make ends meet.

It seems to me that it is Dean that doesn't have any concept of what is going on in this country. According to Howie, there are apparently over 62 million racist, super-rich WASPs out there in America. Who knew?

Shrek beats Drek

Here's an interesting story regarding a study of the profitibility of G-rated movies vs. that of R-rated movies. Apparently, despite Hollywood making 12 times as many R-rated than G-rated movies, on a per-movie basis, the kiddie films are 11 times as profitable. Despite the mass appeal and box office success of films like Shrek and The Incredibles, movie studios keep churning out one Gigli after another. The truth is G-movies today aren't just for kids anymore. PIXAR, Dreamworks and others aren't just catering to youngsters, they're putting out good movies that just might happen to be animated.

RTD Breaks Down the Numbers

McDonnell headlines the article with the lead in fundraising in the downticket races. That's no surprise considering how well he's been running and the momentum he's been able to maintain for quite some time now.

Fralin v. Payne for Vice Rector

Bob Gibson has an excellent article in the Daily Progress about the Friday election in private session of the next vice rector of the University of Virginia. This is so important because the next vice rector will probably be elected Rector in two years time. Both former Congressman L.F. Payne and Fralin seem to be excellent guys. I only know one of them personally, and my experiences with him were very positive. I think either would make an excellent rector.

Monday, June 06, 2005

Defending Champs return to the Finals

OK, so I said the Pistons would beat Miami in 6 games. What can I say, I was wrong. But boy I'm glad I was because Game 7 lived up to its billing. The Miami apologists will say that Wade and Shaq weren't completely healthy, but the fact is that Miami had a chance to take control and couldn't, while the New Bad Boys stepped up when they needed to.

If you like high scoring basketball games, I suggest you ignore the NBA Finals as the league's top two defensive teams will be facing off in San Antonio and Detroit. I, for one, am looking forward to see two fundamentally sound, well coached clubs grit it out for the big gold sno-cone.

Honestly, I think Miami is a tougher matchup for Detroit than San Antonio will be. Still, I have nothing but respect for Tim Duncan, so I'll again say Pistons will prevail in six games.

JUNE 6, 1944

Today is the 61st anniversary of D-Day. This day did more for the cause of freedom and democracy around the globe than perhaps any other single day in history.

As you might know, the town of Bedford, Virginia lost more of its sons per capita in teh invasion of Normandy that any other town in America. That's why Bedford is the site of the National D-Day Memorial, where a small ceremony was held this morning. If you haven't yet visited this impressive monument, I highly recommend it.

On a related note, the Roanoke Times reports today that Alex Kershaw, the author of the bestselling book The Bedford Boys, is considering filing suit against a Virginia film company that is planning a documentary that he says is based largely on his book, but for which he has not been compensated.

Hopefully, that situation gets resolved without legal action. It's important that we remember what really matters about this story, and that's the soldiers who fought and died for our freedoms. Take a moment today just to say thanks to those Bedford boys and all the rest who selflessly sacrificed themselves to keep the rest of us free.

A week on the precipice

No, I’m not talking about the upcoming primary, although that would probably be an apt title. The reason my posting has been so infrequent this past week was that I’ve been looking at homes in Northern Virginia, one of the “hottest” real estate markets in the country. What I saw was enough to scare me back onto the sidelines for the time being.

Realtors and mortgage lenders told me repeatedly that the run-up in prices was due to the growth in the DC area combined with low interest rates. To be sure, those things have played a factor. DC is growing, and interest rates are low. However, in my opinion and experience, there are two factors that have heated housing to the level of a glowing lava dome.

1) “Creative” financing
Long gone are the days of a 20% down payment. These days, you simply borrow the down payment as well. The second mortgage (HELOC, deed of trust, whatever) almost always floats with some index rate. I could have gotten a second mortgage tied to Fed rates, LIBOR (a British index), or COSI (a private mortgage index). I’m sure I could have gotten a second mortgage tied to the prime lending rate of the Central Bank of Indonesia if I had wanted one.

When I expressed concern to a lender that a down payment would take all of my cash reserve, the response was that no one really puts any money down anymore, and an 80%-20% mortgage would be a good way for me to hold onto my savings.

When I pointed out that a second mortgage would float, and that any change in interest rates would immediately affect my monthly payment, I was told that I could simply refinance once the house had appreciated enough.

Even scarier are the interest only loans and negative amort loans. Interest only loans speak for themselves – you pay only the interest. I don’t even know if your neighborhood furniture store offers such an option. If the home doesn’t appreciate, you have NO equity. Negative amort loans are the minimum payment credit card version of mortgages. You pay some minimum payment, which doesn’t even cover the interest charge, and the interest accrues with the principal.

Fully 1/3 of the mortgages issued in the Washington area this year have been interest only loans. That means that 50% of all homeowners buying into the market are betting on appreciation to increase their equity stake. Some will pay down the principal with additional payments, but the reality is that most won’t.

2) The transient nature of the area
Creative financing, in and of itself, is not a bad thing. When used responsibly, it can be a good way for people to meet their personal financial goals. The problem is that creative financing depends on a certain percentage of people who are playing by the rules. In the housing market, that has traditionally meant a 20% down, 30 year fixed mortgage.

When 90% of the buyers in a given market are using traditional mortgages, then that market is grounded in the fundamentals. There’s some room at the fringes for people willing to use riskier financing instruments. But when 30-40% of the market starts using creative financing, then the entire market has broken free from its moorings.

The DC area is so transient that people make their housing decisions on 3-5 year timeframes. People are taking a short-term view of their financing and interest costs. Individually, not a problem. But when 10s of thousands of people make the same decision in concert, the result is a flow of cash into the market. It’s a seller’s bonanza.

Conclusion
The underlying value of a home is in its ability to provide shelter. I can rent the same size place, in the same neighborhood, for 50% of what my mortgage, taxes, and HOA would have been! It’s true that tax deductions would have offset some of that, but maintenance expenses usually eat up the tax benefits.

Two years has always been considered the break-even point on the rent/buy decision. Using that rubric, I would need to see 12% appreciation in each of the next two years in order to justify a decision to buy. Will the DC area see that? Possibly. But it won’t be because I put any money into the market.

Solzhenitsyn Bashes Russia, U.S. Policies

Solzhenitsyn thinks the idea that Russia is a democracy is laughable. He also criticizes what he sees as America's imposition of democracy top down on countries. He's at least worth listening to, although not necessarily correct about American policy being an "absurd project."

Gitmo Should Be Shut Down

I know it's surprising to hear from a hard-nosed conservative who was an avid supporter of the war since the beginning and still defends its purposes and its results, regardless of many of the questionable intelligence practices that propelled our nation to war, but Gitmo is a public relations disaster of epic proportions. To be absolutely fair, Amnesty International calling Gitmo the new Gulag is ridiculous if anyone has any understanding of the dimensions and degrees of the Soviet Gulag Archipelago. As someone who read Alexander Solzhenitsyn's spectacular chronicling of the gulag when I was twelve years old, the torture practices and size of the Soviet empire's gulag are indelibly imprinted in my memory. The fact is, millions of people died in the Soviet gulag, perhaps several tens of millions . . . . no one will ever know for sure. Only 540 people are currently held at Gitmo, and although others have passed through it or several similar institutions around the world, it is not even comparable to the gulag in size or horror.

Likewise, the Alberto Gonzalez was wrong when he wrote that 2002 memo justifying the use of hoods, pressure points, and sleep deprivation. Perhaps in a perfect world, if we knew that we held prisoner a person who had knowledge of an imminent nuclear attack, then perhaps . . . probably . . . torture to save the lives of millions would be justifiable, for self-defense reasons. Unfortunately, intelligence gathered through means of torture or practices tending toward torture is notoriously unreliable, and has proven to be so ever since the French practices during the Battle of Algiers in 1956 and 1957. The hardcore zealots will resist the torture or will provide false information. It is in their nature to take it to the limit.

And when we first begin to justify limited use of force such as pressure points and hoods, the line is blurred, and we slowly become that which we hate most. We become what we set out to put an end to in the beginning. No matter what official policy is, the result is Abu Ghraib and a collection of secret detention centers that leftwing critics around the world are calling the American gulag. Fallible human beings cannot draw the line at what is torture and what is acceptable when once we begin to sink into that moral gray area.

The ends do not justify the means. It is our calling and duty as that city on a hill that Ronald Reagan spoke about that we, as much as is possible, remain above reproach when it comes to human rights most importantly when it is in relation to our treatment of prisoners. Because so many people hate us and because we have raised the bar for ourselves internationally by our willingness to attack regimes that violate human rights (i.e. Iraq), our enemies look for every opportunity to point to apparent hypocrisy and various other chinks in our moral armor. I am not advocating merely giving into every criticism that emanates from people who do not have the stomach to stand up and fight for justice and human rights. Many of them have never seen a war that looked justifed to them. I am saying that we need to intelligently realize that when we remain above reproach when it comes to human rights, we speak with greater authority and the world respects us more. That is a consideration we must make.