The Commonwealth of Virginia's Ultimate Blog

Sunday, July 31, 2005

Gun Shows and Politics

Both Bob McDonnell and Creigh Deeds made appearances yesterday at The Nation's Gun Show at Dulles Expo Center.

God Bless America.

Mason Dixon Questions

Can anyone direct me to a posted copy of the questions that were actually asked in the M-D poll?

I've seen the results, but not the actual questions. I'm curious to see how the candidates were characterized, and how the questions were framed.

Saturday, July 30, 2005

Gov. Holton endorses Sarge

Via Blue in Virginia, I see that Gov. Linwood Holton has posthumously endorsed J. Sargeant Reynolds for a hypothetical 1973 match-up against Mills Godwin.

That got me to wondering: who was the last Republican candidate for governor that Linwood Holton endorsed? I know that Dynamic Dominion probably has the answer, but I lent my copy to a friend.

RPV Advance

This afternoon, the mail had an invitation to the RPV Huffman Advance on December 2nd and 3rd.

I plan to be in Jacksonville watching Virginia Tech win their second straight ACC Championship, but will be at the Advance if we decide to let another school have a turn.

It's a fun time, so put it on your calendar.

Commission to design civil rights monument

The Governor has announced that a committee will study a potential monument Virginians' role in the civil rights movement.
I hereby direct the Commission to study and recommend to the Governor and General Assembly an appropriate memorial in Capitol Square to commemorate the courage and fortitude of Virginians in the Civil Rights Movement, including the students of Robert Russa Moton High School, and other leaders who contributed to the Civil Rights Movement in Virginia.
The members:
Governor Mark R. Warner
Lieutenant Governor Timothy Kaine
Speaker of the House of Delegates William J. Howell
Senator Thomas K. Norment, Jr., Chairman of the Senate Committee on Rules
Delegate L. Preston Bryant, Jr.
The Honorable Leroy Hassell, Chief Justice of Virginia
Lisa Collis, First Lady of Virginia
Judith Anderson, former Deputy Secretary of the Commonwealth
This is long overdue, and I have an idea. The students at RR Moten prayed the Lord's Prayer before walking out. A statue of Barbara Rose Johns in prayer would be terrific. It would be a chance for Virginia to treat "her Capitol grounds monuments as representing the several strands in the State’s political and legal history."

Mark Warner's popularity

The AP has this story about the continuing popularity of Mark Warner.

The thing that jumps out at me is Gov. Warner's excellent grasp of retail politics.
His popularity also derives from hundreds of civic group luncheons and town hall-style forums in remote Virginia communities where governors rarely visit, particularly in the final semester of their terms.

"In rural Virginia, people took a chance on me. They saw this high-tech guy from Alexandria and I said I wouldn't forget them and I'd work my hardest to make sure their kids got a fair shake, and I've tried to honor that," Warner said.

On one such trip this summer, Warner helicoptered to three farming communities in about six hours, working at so frenzied a pace that he drenched his long-sleeved dress shirt with sweat at the first event. At an unscheduled stop to buy a dry shirt at a South Boston clothing store, Warner met Pam Trombley, who appealed for more money for her daughter's school.

Warner scribbled her name and phone number on a scrap of paper, brought it back to Richmond and told his staff to look into it.
I can back this up with an anecdotal story relayed by a friend. This person was making casual conversation with the Governor at a festival or Chamber event. He asked a question, not really expecting to get an answer. He had a response from someone on the Governor's staff within a few weeks.

It says to me, that even in this media-saturated world, someone who gets out and presses the flesh can achieve some measure of success. Such personal contact can even help overcome policy differences with a voting constituency.

I'm back

For the weekend, at least. Part of the plan in having multiple bloggers was to keep things going when one of us got busy. We didn't anticipate all three of us being busy at the same time.

We've got a few changes in store in the next month, including a move to www.sicsemper.com and learning the ins and outs of Word Press. We also have some potential changes to our editorial board.

Thursday, July 21, 2005

On Hiatus

I'll be back in a week.

Tuesday, July 19, 2005

John Roberts

In anticipation of the president's announcement, I've been watching TradeSports, a fascinating "stock market" on political issues.

If you believe in efficient markets, then you'll believe in John Roberts. His stock has gone from "5" to "95" in the last three minutes.

UPDATE
It's on the wires now.
John Roberts to be Nominee

Good profile here.

More coding from the Kilgore campaign

Another example of code language:

Kilgore spokesman Tim Murtaugh said he hoped opponents of abortion would understand that Kilgore "has fought the good fight" on this issue.
See, that's from a Bible verse. But not just any Bible verse. It's a special one, picked out by Scott Howell. It's from the 2nd letter to Timothy.

What's Jerry Kilgore's opponent's name? Timothy M. Kaine.

If you weren't convinced before, you should be now. This is a strong, well-documented case that proves beyond a shadow of a doubt — at least to any reasonable observer — what Kilgore and top advisor Scott Howell are up to in this campaign.

Monday, July 18, 2005

Scott Howell - Giant Slayer

Over on the left side of the blogosphere, Waldo Jaquith has discovered a pretty insidious subcurrent running through the Kilgore campaign. I'm convinced, and I feel that it's my responsibility to point out yet another example of the Kilgore campaign's underhandedness.



Isn't obvious? White Sulfur Springs!

Scott Howell, who is coordinating everything on the Kilgore campaign from media buys to lapel sticker buys, has been working some of his nefarious schemes on the sign patrol. Yes, the sign patrol, once the exclusive province of over-qualified college students, is being directed by Mr. Howell.

What Howell does so well is use code words and coded concepts, crafted such that the target audience will pick up on them while they’ll be ignored by those who aren’t clued in.

You see, "White" is a code word for "Caucasian." Scott Howell must have called up the Preston and Leland on the sign brigade and told them to hang some signs on the welcome board for White Sulfur Springs.

If you weren't convinced before, you should be now. This is a strong, well-documented case that proves beyond a shadow of a doubt — at least to any reasonable observer — what Kilgore and top advisor Scott Howell are up to in this campaign.

What's next?
A Whitesnake concert?
Burgers at WhiteCastle?
Whitewall tires?

This, my friends, is what Scott Howell does.

Sunday, July 17, 2005

Terry Kilgore and budget reform?

I've listened to some sound bits from the debate, and one in particular confused me.

Tim Kaine:
...thank God budget reform ended up passing with your twin brother's support...
What does this mean? What support did Terry Kilgore give to HB5018?

Here's the first House vote:
Yeas...Jones, S.C., Keister, Lewis, Marshall, D.W., ...
Neas...Janis, Joannou, Kilgore, Landes...
Here's the second House vote:
Yeas...Jones, S.C., Keister, Lewis, Marshall, D.W., ...
Nays:...Janis, Joannou, Kilgore, Landes...
What am I missing?

Duty Calls

Old Zach will be off defending the country, in some small way at least, for the next three weeks. I look forward to getting back just in time for the campaign's stretch run towards November. Until then, I leave SST in the capable hands of my good friend Addison.

Saturday, July 16, 2005

Kaine and Abortion

From the AP:

The issue was a hypothetical setup. If the Supreme Court overturns Roe v. Wade, that would return the decision on whether to regulate abortion to the states. If the General Assembly votes to ban abortion, would a Governor Kaine sign the bill? Answer: "No."
"I oppose abortion and I think there is common ground on this issue because Virginians want to reduce abortion. I've not met a single person in Virginia who wants to increase abortion," Kaine said.

"What we don't need to do in Virginia is criminalize the health care decisions of women and their doctors," he said.
This is an interesting response. Mr. Kaine has said that his burden is to uphold his oath of office, and that means putting aside his personal opposition to abortion and the death penalty.

In this hypothetical, though, he has a chance to pass legislation in accord with his personal beliefs, but he would choose not to do so? Remember, this would be a bill that the Supreme Court says is Constitutional, that a majority of legislators support, and that matches with Kaine's personal beliefs, and he wouldn't sign it? Why not?

Thursday, July 14, 2005

Hatch speaks on the nomination process

Senator Orrin Hatch, who as Chairman of the Judiciary Committe during the Clinton years had a key role in the confirmations of Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Stephen Breyer, has written an excellent article over at NRO regarding the fallacious arguments being made by Senate Democrats as they prepare to fight President Bush's nominee.

As Hatch says:
The Constitution has established a judicial-selection process by clearly assigning separate roles for the president and the Senate, giving authority to nominate and appoint judges to the president. Some senators and left-wing groups, apparently unwilling to accept that elections have consequences, seem to accept this arrangement only when it produces judges they like. If not, they prefer to talk about alternative arrangements that they either make up out of thin air or that the Constitutional Convention rejected.

Unfortunately, even some Republican Senators, like Arlen Specter and John Warner, have bought into the fallacy that the President is Constitutionally required to seek their advice on who he might nominate. Hatch deftly reminds his colleagues what the Constitution actually says, and wisely suggests that they heed its instructions.

Best of Virginia

As part of their "50 States in 50 days" series, ESPN.com has set up an online poll for each state to find out it's most memorable sports moments, favorite teams, and greatest athletes, among other things. The poll for Virginia is located here.

You can probably guess how Addison and I have voted.

Warner continues stellar management

To the well-covered Safarigate, we can now add the following two things to Gov. Warner's "A" rating for governance:

Cabaretgate:
The changes follow reports last month in the Daily Press that a group of commissioners spent lavishly on drinks and entertainment during a 2003 convention in Paris. The spending included a trip to a cabaret featuring topless dancers at a cover price of $150 per person. They left a $350 tip that pushed the total night's bill to $2,200.
And Pensiongate:
"If the governor wants me to resign, I will resign," said Alfonso I. Samper, who -- as a Warner-appointed chairman of the Virginia Retirement System -- crafted the $263,000 exit package for W. Forrest Matthews Jr.
...
According to JLARC, Samper, a bond specialist for Wachovia Securities who previously worked for the state Treasury Department, negotiated a separation agreement last fall with Matthews without the official sanction of the board of trustees.
I don't know if we can stand another six months of this stellar management.

McDonnell press conference

The RT-D covered Bob McDonnell's press conference yesterday:
"Look at Bob's track record and his credentials and what he accomplished in the General Assembly," Del. John M. O'Bannon III, R-Henrico, challenged reporters. Sen. Walter A. Stosch, R-Henrico, the majority leader of the state Senate, said McDonnell has both the business-management and legal acumen to head one of state's largest law firms -- the attorney general's office.

"Bob McDonnell has the background, business experience and proven record to help Virginia create and attract more jobs and promote a vibrant private sector," said Stosch, who ran an accounting firm for almost 40 years.
The article goes on to draw extensive comparisons between Del. McDonnell's and Sen. Deeds' legislative rankings. If you recall, we've made similar comparisons whenever people try to call Sen. Deeds a middle of the road Democrat.

This press conference is notable because it features Sen. Stosch, who supported Mr. Baril in the primary, and Del. O'Bannon, who I believe sat on the sidelines. It demostrates to me that the entire Republican party is united behind the ticket.

Murtaugh - 1

In this good WaPo article, Michael Shear describes the thorough debate preparation that each candidate is undergoing in preparation for Saturday's gubernatorial debate.

Kilgore press secretary Tim Murtaugh has this compliment for Mr. Kaine:
"Tim Kaine is a trial lawyer, well known as a smooth talker," Murtaugh said.
"People say he's Clintonian in his debating style. He's a master debater, so we're certainly taking it seriously."
750,000 people read that soundbite on the way to work this morning. Countless others read it on-line.

Wednesday, July 13, 2005

The Iraq-Al Qaeda Connection

Last week I was taken to task for the following statement I made while expressing my thoughts in the wake of the London bombings:
Though Saddam Hussien [sic] did not himself plan the attacks on 9/11, they are connected nonthelesss.

A commenter exhorted me that what was stated above was purely my opinion, as there were no facts to support the statement. I admit that my own shortcomings as a journalist failed to adequately express the point I was trying to make, which was that the events of 9/11 awoke this nation to a war that was already being conducted against us, and that both Al-Qaeda and Hussein's regime are among our adversaries in this global war on terror.

However, it is important to point out that, despite the left's assertions to the contrary, there is indeed a great deal of evidence connecting Hussein's regime with Al-Qaeda operatives. Indeed, in today's Wall Street Journal, Claudia Rosett makes that very case quite soundly. Specifically, she relies on an article by Stephen Hayes and Thomas Joscelyn in this week's Weekly Standard that examines documents from both the U.S. and Iraqi governments to clearly establish a long-term working relationship between Saddam's regime and Al-Qaeda. As Ms. Rosett states:
Messrs. Hayes and Joscelyn raise, with good reason, the question of why Saddam gave haven to Abdul Rahman Yasin, one of the men who in 1993 helped make the bomb that ripped through the parking garage of the World Trade Center. They detail a contact between Iraqi intelligence and several of the Sept. 11 hijackers in Malaysia, the year before al Qaeda destroyed the twin towers. They recount the intersection of Iraqi and al Qaeda business interests in Sudan, via, among other things, an Oil for Food contract negotiated by Saddam's regime with the al-Shifa facility that President Clinton targeted for a missile attack following the African embassy bombings because of its apparent connection to al Qaeda. And there is plenty more.
The Weekly Standard article is a must-read, though it is quite long. It is available here.

The bottom line is that to say that there was no connection between Iraq and Al-Qaeda is a falsehood, though that has not stopped the media from perpetuating it relentlesly. Likewise, I have little doubt that the existence of these facts will do little to thwart the efforts of those on the left as they continue to engage in their great crusade against everything Bush. But we can hope.

Stop the Armchair Prosecutors

I really didn't want to post anything about the Rove story ("Then don't," you're saying right now) but I think its important for people on all sides of the blogosphere to take a deep breath on this one.

Despite what everyone THINKS they "know" about this case, the only people who arguably have all the facts right now are the grand jury and special prosecutor Peter Fitzgerald. If someone has committed a crime, that person will be prosecuted. If they haven't, they won't. It is as simple as that. Until then, all the information we have are leaks and statements by people who are ALL protecting their own interests. I'm not inclined to believe any of them at this time.

Start up the Zamboni!

We've got hockey folks. At least we should have hockey, so long as this deal between the NHL owners and players union holds up. This is good news for those of us few die-hard Americans who care about Canada's greatest export until Shania Twain.

The development is bittersweet for Red Wings fans like me, who may see a markely different team once the action starts back up. The salary cap will severely reign in the freespending ways of teams like the Wings, Rangers and Flyers. In Detroit, Curtis Joseph is certainly out the door and other big names, such as Brendan Shannahan, may follow him. The worst would be if the salary cap forces hockey legend Chris Chelios to retire, as some have speculated.

It will be good to watch real hockey again, unfortunately, I wonder how much better the product will be so long at the 30-team league remains overextended beyond its natural geographic base. I guess we'll just have to wait and see.

Tuesday, July 12, 2005

Allen tops '08 Rankings

In Tim Saler's weekly 2008 Presidential Rankings, he gives each party's Top 5 based on that week's developments. This week our own Senator George Allen takes over the top spot for the GOP. Here's what Saler has to say:
1. US Sen. George Allen (Virginia)The fact that Allen leads the pack in some betting circles is in fact important, even if some might find it to be a little strange or premature. What it means, effectively, is that people believe that he’s got what it takes to win the nomination. That perception is especially important this far out in the race, because a belief that the candidate has a legitimate shot is a necessary prerequisite to good fundraising.

Incidentally, VA Governor Mark Warner clocks in at #3 for the Dems. Saler offers irresistible bite-size horserace analysis for junkies like me. Check it out.

McCain Makes Sense

According to NRO's Bench Memos, Sen. John McCain had this to say about the President's impending Supreme Court nomination:
President Bush said he will appoint judges who will strictly interpret the constitution... thinking anything else is either amnesia or ignorance... elections have consequences... whomever he nominates deserves an up or down vote and no filibuster... and an up or down vote is what we will have'...

This is good stuff to hear from a Republican Senator after some of Arlen Specter's innane comments in the past few days, such as suggesting that the President was Constitutionally required to run his short list by members of the Senate before making a nomination. For a guy who knows so much about Scottish law, you'd think Arlen Specter might have actually read his own country's Constitution. Apparently not.

With everyone other than the President acting like they get to decide who the nominee will be, Republicans best hope for a smooth confirmation process may rest with none other that John McCain. Granted, McCain is not beloved by Conservatives right now, but as someone who the media dubs a centrist, his proclamation forces the Senate Democrats' hand. If Senators like McCain, Warner, Graham, etc. deem ANYONE the President nominates worthy of an up-or-down vote, then if the Dems filibuster they will be seen as the extremists. Not that that will necessarily prevent them from doing so, but at least it might help us in the midterm elections.

Where Do We Go From Here?

Tomorrow, NASA is expected to launch the Space Shuttle Discovery back into orbit. STS-114 has been dubbed "Return to Flight," as it is the first shuttle mission since February of 2003, when the Space Shuttle Columbia disintegrated during re-entry killing all seven astronauts aboard.

I am personally a huge supporter of space exploration and it is certainly good to see the space program up and running again (especially with Hokie astronaut Charles Camarda on board!). However, as we cheer NASA's resilience, we might also want to ask some questions about the agency's future.

The main question I have is: Why are we still using the Space Shuttle? The Mercury, Gemini, and Apollo platforms were used for a total of about 13 years. The first shuttle launch was conducted in 1981, meaning that the shuttle program is nearing the quarter-century mark. While the shuttle today is pretty much the same as it was back in 1981, the costs of the shuttle program have far exceeded its original projections. Granted, the shuttle program has brought many benefits as well, but it still begs the question why NASA has as yet failed to develop a reasonable alternative to the shuttle.

While President Bush's Vision for Space Exploration, announced in 2004, is a positive first step towards a constructive agenda, it is concerning that NASA continues to appear largely as an agency that reacts to situations, rather than proactively developing solutions before problems arise. With all the brainpower and technology at their disposal, the overly bureaucratic operation of NASA is particularly unsettling.

I don't know what the solution is to NASA problems, and I suspect there is more than one, but one thing I predict we can expect is increased competition from the private sector as entrepreneurs discover that there is money to be made in spaceflight and exploration. Hopefully, this competition will encourage NASA to raise its game. After all, the sky isn't the limit, it's just the beginning.

Consider the Possibilities

Today I heard about a new movie being developed called Talladega Nights. Apparently, producers pitched the movie idea to studios as "Six words: Will Ferrell as a NASCAR driver." I'm speechless.

Monday, July 11, 2005

BCS slaps on another Band-Aid

You know, the failings of the Bowl Championship Series used to get me all riled up. I used to launch into a diatribe about how college football's championship should be determined on the field, not by some arbitrary calculus equation. But even as the BCS announced a new poll to be used this year, I realized that I've ceased to care.

First of all, I love bowl games. They give both teams and fans something to look forward to at the end of the season, even if they are out of the Championship hunt. Plus, they bring in big bucks for the conferences and colleges, rather than funnelling that money through the NCAA's grubby paws. Not to mention the joy of watching the Hoos go cold in Boise whilst I sip hand grenades on Bourbon street.

Second, the current system makes every single game a must-win. If a team wants to win the National Championship, they have to believe that they must go undefeated. Even that doesn't always work, as we saw last year, but it makes the regular season so much more compelling.

Finally, it makes for good discussion. No system is ever going to be perfect, but at least the BCS keeps people talking about college football. I still think that a playoff is the only way to determine a true national champion, but it's probably never going to happen in D-I football, so we might as well enjoy what we've got.

The only question that remains is: What sunny locale will I be enjoying this year while the Hoos are in Boise?

UPDATE: TSL's esteemed scribe Will Stewart has a great piece here skewering all those sportswriters who constantly cry and moan about the BCS, mainly so that people read their columns. He makes some excellent points, and I concur with his assessment.

Next Stop, Higher Taxes

The Washington Post's Mark Warner love train rolls on today with this article focusing on Warner's speech to a group of Arizona Democrats. Of course, the focus was primarily on Warner's 2008 ambitions, not whether he might challenge Allen for the Senate in '06 (Hint: He won't).

What really jumped out at me was this statement by Warner:
Americans want somebody who is going to be straight with them even if telling the truth may not be what they want to hear

Wow. This from a man whose sole "achievement" in four years as Governor was breaking the biggest promise of his campaign and misleading the people of Virginia about the state's economic health so that he could pass the largest tax increase in the history of the Commonwealth.

Good thing we have Mark Warner here to show us the path to honesty and integrity in government.

Supremes grant Lovitt stay

from the WaPo:
Just 4 1/2 hours before his scheduled execution, Robin Lovitt was given a legal reprieve today by the U.S. Supreme Court, which stayed his death sentence until the fall, when it will consider whether his case deserves a full hearing on its merits.
The issue involves the accidental destruction of DNA evidence and the murder weapon.

Blog article in NV Daily

Nice article in the Northern Virginia Daily today regarding the growth in Virginia oriented blogs. Virginia 2005 has the entire article. The article does a good job of capturing the current scope of the Virginia blogosphere.

Here's the pertinent part:
Sometimes we joke around [like calling Creigh Deeds a ‘Charlottesville liberal’],” added anonymous bloggers Old Zach and Addison from “Sic Semper Tyrannis.” “But for the most part we try to focus on the issues. ‘Sic Semper’ is our sounding board, and I think people will read us as long as we have something to say — be it politics, sports or entertainment.”
...
Sic Semper’s future depends on football. “The first full season of college football will be a challenge, and we might not be working on the same blog by the end of it,” the two bloggers wrote.
I wish I had explained this better. We're only joking about the Charlottesville part. :-) We look forward to a continuing discussion on where each candidate falls on the political spectrum.

Also, after further reflection, I don't think football season will be a problem. Harry will just have to recognize the inherent superiority of Virginia Tech football. After all, UVA fans are now saying that 2007 is definitely UVA's year.

Old Zach at the Movies

Instead of going to bed after getting home last night, like I should have, I instead went to check out the Fantastic Four. While the "Fairly Good Four" doesn't quite have the same ring to it as a superhero team name, it's probably a more apt description of the film itself.

FF is not even close to Batman Begins, but as superhero flicks go, it is well ahead of atrocities like Daredevil. Casting for Marvel Comics' first family was generally good. Chris Evans and Michael Chiklis were inspired choices for the Human Torch and the Thing, Ioan Gruffudd was somewhat bland, but then so is Reed Richards. And even though I'm still not sold on Jessica Alba as Sue Storm, she held her own overall. The interaction between these four characters is what made the comic book so compelling, and it is an appropriately important part of the film. As in the comic, saving the world is almost a secondary concern to the intra-familial squabbles of the team.

My complaint with the film is with Dr. Doom, who was just too cheesy to be taken seriously in my book. Dr. Doom is a larger than life bad guy in the Marvel Universe and he just didn't hold that weight in this film. Overall it was enjoyable summer movie fare, just don't expect to get any life lessons if you see it.

Saturday, July 09, 2005

Will Lane be done in time?

To turn our attention to the truly important, concerns are growing about the Lane Stadium expansion project. From yesterday's Roanoke Times:

"I don't know what they mean by delay," Gabbard said. "If they mean that the stadium isn't going to be done on [contracted date] Aug. 8, then they're probably pretty close to right, although it's too soon to tell.

"If they think for a minute that the stadium won't be done by opening day, then there is no indication at all that that's going to happen."

Whew. That's a relief. Because the Hokies are supposed to be pretty good this year, and, well, it'd be nice if they had a stadium to play in by Sept. 17, when they host Ohio in their first home game.

The public's questions are understandable. People drive by the stadium on a hot July day, check out that gaping hole right smack dab in the middle of the structure and immediately think, "No way they're finishing that thing in time."

Gabbard gets that. And he admits he has daily concerns that some unforeseen problem could arise that would disrupt the mad dash toward completion. But concern should be expected when you're overseeing the most costly capital undertaking in campus history, a $52.5 million project to upgrade Lane's west side, and thousands of rabid Tech fans are counting down to kickoff.
So officially, VT recognizes that the project will miss its completion date, but they're still hopeful that things will be done by the first game.

In the meantime, various VT fans are insisting on the From the Techsideline message board that at least some portion of the "gameday operations" will not be finished by the first football game.

From photos taken on Monday, it sure looks like a lot is left to be done.



Friday, July 08, 2005

Please raise your right cast



Hat tip to http://tooconservative.blogspot.com.

Thursday, July 07, 2005

Rehnquist? and Stevens?

With Bob Novak's column, and various internet accounts, I'm beginning to think there's something to the Rehnquist retiring rumors.

For the crazy option, there's this tidbit on The Corner:
In the last half hour the new rumor that is keeping political geeks awake: Rehnquist and Stevens resign tomorrow. (Up until a little ago, the buzz was Renquist, as I noted in Bench Memos.)
It seems implausible, but I assume the logic would be that with three vacancies, President Bush would face a lot of pressure to moderate his choices.

July 7, 2005

I have been working on a post that was intended to respond to President Bush's speech at Ft. Bragg last week. However, it sort of got lost under the flood of Supreme Court chatter. However, in light of today's events in London, I feel that my thoughts are even more appropriate now. So here goes.

We are at war. Just in case you have forgotten, or never really accepted it in the first place, we are at war. We are fighting a global war against terror. We have an enemy that is determined to kill us and destroy our way of life. We face an enemy that has no respect for human life, no respect for the laws of war, and no respect for international conventions. They are at war, not just with the United States, but with all nations who embrace freedom and democracy.

Like it or not, we are part of a global community of nations that seeks to eradicate this barbaric sect from the face of the earth. Thsi does not mean, however, that we ought to hand over our decision making to the corrupt bureaucrats of the United Nations or the self-serving cowards who reside in Paris. President Bush has made it clear that the United States and its allies will take action, proactively if necessary, to protect our interests and defend the acts of freedom-loving peoples around the globe.

The war in Iraq is a vital front in this global war on terror. Certainly, it is not the only front and perhaps it is not even the most pressing. However, our presence there is essential and, should we accomplish our mission there, it will have a lasting effect on an important region of the world. President Bush recognizes that war is not conducted in a vacuum. Though Saddam Hussien did not himself plan the attacks on 9/11, they are connected nonthelesss. American failure in Iraq means victory for the jihadists. There is no doubt that it will be Al-Qaida who claims victory if the US withdraws from Iraq without having established a viable democracy.

Have no doubt that those who ascribe to the ideology of terror, oppression, and unrest will not stop at Iraq. No, they will continue to undermine democratic efforts throughout the greater Middle East in order to foster hatred towards the West and create a safe-have from which to launch further operations like those conducted on September 11, 2001. An unstable, undemocratic Iraq will only serve to embolden the terrorists.

The Bush administration has continued to monitor situations in Iran, North Korea, China and Africa as well they should. However, our focus on the objectives in Iraq must not waver, lest we face a distraction that would lead to the destruction of democracy in that nation. As new challenges arise, we must adjust fire and adapt as necessary. What we must not do, is to lose faith and resolve.

I have no doubt that if we achieve our objective in Iraq, if we give the people of that nation the freedom and the opportunity to construct a government of their own choosing, then the pages of history will speak kindly of us and the bright light of freedom will grow ever brighter as it spreads across the globe.

The attacks on England today have already caused those on the left to level their own attacks against Bush for saying that we fight the enemy abroad so that we do not have to face them at home. Our President has never claimed that such attacks would not happen. Quite the opposite, he understands as we all should that they are an inevitable consequence of this war. That is what the American people must realize. This IS a war. It will be lengthy, difficult, and full of casualties. However, we cannot afford to simply sit back in fear and allow the islamofascists to attack us and our allies indescriminately. If they have not learned already, they will soon find out that sporadic attacks against our homelands will only strengthen our resolve to seek them out and destroy them.

By standing together and staying the course, England, America, and the rest of our allies will triumph over terror.

Even PTAs get the government they deserve

From the RT-D:
Henrico County authorities are looking for the former president of the Arthur Ashe Elementary School PTA in connection with the suspected theft of about $20,000 from the organization.

Police have obtained multiple felony warrants for Victoria Jewel Gregory, 38, a previously convicted felon who served as the school's PTA president in 2003-2004, according to court papers.
So what was that felony? Oh, that's right:
Gregory pleaded guilty to a similar offense in April 1997 and was sentenced to serve three years in prison.

She was initially charged with eight counts of grand larceny and two counts of check forgery in September 1996, but as part of a plea agreement all but four of the charges were withdrawn.

She pleaded guilty to one count of check forgery and three counts of grand larceny. She was sentenced to 35 years in prison but all but three years were suspended for 20 years, according to court records.

It was unclear today whether PTA officials were aware of Gregory's criminal background when she was selected as president.

Potts continues to stake out territory on left side of political spectrum

From the AP:
Independent Russ Potts voiced unequivocal support Thursday for allowing cohabiting same-sex couples to adopt children, a stance that sharply distinguishes him from his two party rivals in this year's governor's race.
This, of course on the heels of Potts' appearance before the "Progressive Women of Hampton - Newport News."

Liberal Ignorance Abounds

This just makes me mad. Today I saw this story about New York Governor George Pataki's son Teddy, who has just been commissioned as a Second Lieutenant in the Marine Corps. Bully for Teddy to sign up to serve in the Armed Services during a time of war. He is to be commended for his actions as he certainly had other career options as a recent Yale graduate.

Unfortunately, not everyone feels this way. Upon Googling "Teddy Pataki," I ran across this inane column from Newsday.com. Columnist Sheryl McCarthy argues that Teddy should be shipped straight to Iraq rather than being allowed to complete law school and meeting his committment in the JAG Corps. She says:
It was another example of how politicians wage war but expect other people's children to fight them.
And at a time when the Marines, like all the other military branches, are struggling to fill their recruitment quotas because of the war, the idea of a politician's son getting an educational deferment makes my blood boil.
It takes me back to the Vietnam War, when thousands of sons of privilege hung out in college, graduate school, the National Guard and the various military reserve units to avoid the carnage that was playing out in Vietnam.

Either Ms. McCarthy is completely ignorant or she is purposely skewing the facts to score political points. Either way, her arguments are reprehensible. Mr. Pataki is not "skating through" getting a "pass" or a "break," as she claims. He has made his commitment to the Marines and he will serve his time. Going to law school before being comissioned in the JAG corps is not some "privilege" reserved only for the wealthy and powerful, that's how it works! Even her characterization of this career path a "deferment" is inaccurate. And going to Congressman Charles Rangel for a response does not help her cause, but only reveals his ignorance about our military as well.

Finally, Ms. McCarthy tries to connect the younger Pataki's actions with his father's support for the President. This is inappropriate and uncalled for. Teddy is not the Governor of New York, his father is. If you want to attack Governor Pataki, you are free to do so, but do not call his children's actions fair game because of what their father does or says. Teddy has bravely answered the call to service. He has done his part to meet those "recruiting quotas" by raising his own right hand and swearing an oath to defend our nation and our Constitution. And he should be praised for doing so.

George Will promotes George Allen

Today's GW Article:
Just 23 weeks after the second inauguration of the 43rd president, someone who aims to be the 44th came here for the annual luncheon of the New Hampshire Federation of Republican Women. It was a target-rich environment for George Allen.

He has the same name as his father, the late Hall of Fame head coach of the Los Angeles Rams and Washington Redskins who was, to say no more, tightly wound, as coaches tend to be. If the son is similarly driven -- and he must be to embark on this marathon -- he conceals it beneath a demeanor akin to Ronald Reagan's, which was once described as ``Aw, shucks, I just stepped on my sneaker laces.'' Except there are no laces on Allen's cowboy boots, which go with the smokeless tobacco in the circular can in his pocket.
...
The ideal Republican candidate can meld two Republican tendencies that are in tension -- social conservatism and libertarianism. Social conservatives have no complaints with Allen, and libertarians vibrate like tuning forks to his invocations of ``Mister Jefferson,'' as Virginians refer to their saint of minimal government.
It's a good article, although Will gets a fact wrong here.
Four of the first five presidents were Virginians, then one more was, John Tyler, but none since 1840. It could produce two candidates in 2008. Gov. Mark Warner, a red state Democrat, seems interested in asking Democratic primary voters, ``What red state can Hillary Clinton turn blue?''
Do William Henry Harrison, Zachary Taylor, and Woodrow Wilson ring any bells?

Wednesday, July 06, 2005

TIME to get a clue

It is clear by looking at this diagram that TIME magazine doesn't have one. In trying to pin down the ideological bent of the Supreme Court, they identify Justices Stevens, Breyer, Souter and Ginsberg as "moderate liberals," Kennedy as a "moderate conservative" and Rhenquist, Scalia and Thomas as "staunch conservatives." They identify not a single Justice as a "staunch liberal."

This is simply laughable. Whoever put this piece together clearly has spent far too much time inside the ivory tower of TIME's corporate offfices and has no idea what is going on outside of their cubicle. Only in the echo chamber of the liberal MSM could Justice Ginsberg be considered a "moderate liberal."

Please President Bush, keep your promise and give us another "staunch conservative." And quickly, before I laugh myself to death.

(Big ol' Hat Tip to RedState)

All-Star Rosters Set

Major League Baseball has set the rosters for next week's All-Star Game to be played at the CoPa, aka Comerica Park, in Detroit Rock City, MI.

In a departure from past years, only three New York Yankees will grace the AL roster, and only Alex Rodriguez will start. The best part is that Derek Jeter will not be making the trip to Motown.

I am disappointed that Tigers 3B Brandon Inge and starting pitcher Jeremy Bonderman won't get the chance to play in their well-deserved first All-Star game in front of the home fans, but them are the breaks. I just hope none of those crazy Pistons fans show up.

Old Zach at the Movies

This past weekend, I saw two good, but quite different movies.

The first was, of course, War of the Worlds. Being the target demographic that I am, I have to see movies the first weekend they come out. Simply put, Spielberg was on point. War did not suffer from the normal fate of alien invasion movies, being too cheesy, or too over the top, or relying too much on special effects. Mind you, there are plenty of special effects in this movie, as well as some cheesy parts, but overall Spielberg does an excellent job capturing the spirit of panic, terror, and helplessness that permeates H.G. Wells' story. Despite the fact that Tom Cruise is a complete wack-job, his movies are almost always good and that rings true again here. The really incredible performance, however, is that of 11-year-old Dakota Fanning. This is the next Jodie Foster. It is simply amazing to me that someone so young can be so accomplished at their craft, but she is. I just hope her career doesn't take a turn into Drew Barrymore-land.

The second movie I saw was the British crime drama Layer Cake. This was the first directing effort by Matthew Vaughn who produced the cult classics Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels and Snatch. While this movie wasn't paced quite as well as those two and the characters weren't quite as entertaining, I actually thought this was a more solid film overall. The story was better and the ending is great. Though I was skeptical at first, I can now see why Daniel Craig's name has been floated for the next James Bond. Also, Colm Meany is one of my favorite character actors and he brings his A-game here. If this movie is showing anywher near you, I recommend seeing it.

Now the only question is, will I have time to see Fantastic Four this weekend?

Good Guys Win Again

Congratulations to the Brits for winning the 2012 Olympics over those cheese-eating surrender monkeys the Hoos French. Special kudos go to Jacques Chirac for his ill-timed criticism of his neighbors across the Channel.

I am actually quite happy that New York didn't win. Despite all the flag waving that goes on over these things, they are logistical nightmares and holding the Olympics in New York City would be doubly so for security reasons.

I'd like to see the Olympics back in the U.S. in 2016 (20 years after Atlanta), but probably not in New York.

Tuesday, July 05, 2005

Vice Admiral James Bond Stockdale (1923-2005)

Stockdale, best known as Ross Perot's running mate in the 1992 election, died today at the age of 81.

Despite being lampooned for asking "Who am I? Why am I here?" in 1992's Vice-Presidential debate, Stockdale was a true American hero. As a Navy fighter pilot in Vietnam, he flew over 200 missions before being shot down and held as a prisoner of war for 7 and 1/2 years.

Though he'll be remembered mostly as a political footnote, we should all thank Admiral Stockdale for his many sacrifices for our nation. *salute*

TSL America Board

If you are looking for an all-around political message board with a Virginia tilt, then let me commend to you the www.techsideline.com (TSL) America Board.

TSL, of course, is the stellar website focusing on Virginia Tech athletics. The America Board was originally built to take political discussions off of the sports boards. It has since been "hidden", meaning that it doesn't have any links to it from the rest of TSL. You have to bookmark it, or type in the exact address to reach it.

I know that some TSL America Board regulars read and link to this blog. I thought it was time I returned the favor.

The Big Roe Lie

One of the tacts that liberal activists are already taking with respect to Sandra Day O'Connor's replacement is perpetuating the myth that Roe v. Wade is in danger of being overturned.

The fact is that the present make-up of the court supports Roe by a vote of 6-3. Even if the President added a Justice who did not find the right to an abortion embodied in the text of the Constitution, as shocking as that might sound, the decision would still stand. Where O'Connor served as a swing vote was on the gruesome practice of partial-birth abortion. Frankly, the majority of Americans oppose this brutal practice, so a change on that front would bring the court more in line with the average person, for those who care about such things.

Further, groups like NOW and NARAL are trying to scare people into thinking that abortion is on the verge of being outlawed. That is not the case. Even if Roe was overturned, the decision would be left to the states. I imagine many would enact more restrictive laws, but many others wouldn't, and some might even loosen restrictions.

Of course, none of this will prevent those groups from spreading lies and misinformation in order to paint the President's choice as an "extremist."

When good XM goes bad

I usually don't hang around the decades stations on XM (4-9), but was scrolling by and lingered just a little too long on Channel 9 - the 1990s.

It was playing Be My Lover, by "La Bouche".
La da da dee da da da da
La da da dee da da da da
La da da dee da
La da da da dee da
La da da dee da da da da da

A ha ye heyee wanna be my lover
A ha ye heyee wanna be my lover
A ha ye heyee wanna be my lover
A ha ye heyee wanna be my lover
It's now two hours later and I just want it to stop.

WaPo takes on the Blogosphere

The Virginia blogosphere is abuzz today over Washington Post columnist David Cho's article addressing the impact of blogs on Virginia's 2005 elections.

While we appreciate the Post linking our blog on the sidebar to their article, I was disappointed by the article's focus. Cho focused primarily on smaller, anonymous blogs that use their anonymity to engage in rumor-mongering and personal attacks. The emphasis on these types of blogs does a disservice, I believe, to the many bloggers, like us here at SST, who seek to foster constructive debate on the issues of the day.

Unfortunately it is the often the loud, controversial bloggers who gain attention. Delegate Brian Moran states his view that blogs "don't seem to be used constructively at this point. It just seems to be wild potshots at people." One can hardly blame him for thinking so when those folks get all the attention. I suppose the blogosphere, like NASCAR and hockey, attract some folks just for the destruction.

In any case, we hope that some people appreciate what we have to offer and keep coming back to contribute to the discussion.

Sunday, July 03, 2005

Are 'pubs supporting Kaine?

I share Norm's confusion over today's RT-D story on campaign donations.

Here are the facts from the story:

  1. Of the $10 million raised by Tim Kaine, $734,000 came from donors who also gave to John Hager in 2001.
  2. Of the $10 million raised by Tim Kaine, $633,000 came from donors who gave to "Virginians for Warner...a group formed four years ago to solicit support from Republicans and independents" for Mark Warner.
  3. Of the $8.6 million raised by Jerry Kilgore, $1.2 million came from donors who also gave to John Hager in 2001.
  4. Of the $8.6 million raised by Jerry Kilgore, $160,000 came from donors to "Virginians for Warner."
  5. About $5 million of Tim Kaine's total came from donors who also gave to Warner.
  6. About $1.7 million of Jerry Kilgore's donations came from donors who also gave to Warner.
  7. About $4.3 million of Jerry Kilgore's donations came from donors who also gave to Mark Earley.
  8. About $700,000 of Tim Kaine's total came from donors who also gave to Mark Earley.
Those are the hard facts. Then, there are the anecdotal stories:
  • Jim Ukrop gave to Mark Warner, John Hager, and Tim Kaine.
  • Gary W. Fenchuk gave to Mark Warner, John Hager, and Tim Kaine.
  • Richard L. Sharp gave to Mark Earley, John Hager, and Jerry Kilgore.
  • Bill Goodwin gave to Mark Earley, John Hager and Jerry Kilgore.
  • Mark Kington gave to Mark Warner and Jerry Kilgore.
NOTE: Ukrop and Fenchuk, the two donors identified as giving to "Virginians for Warner," both declined to identify themselves as Republicans.

Let's recap. Tim Kaine has received $1.4 million from people who donated to Republicans in 2001. Jerry Kilgore has received $1.86 million from people who donated to Democrats in 2001. What's the article title?
"GOP donors warm to Kaine"
???

Saturday, July 02, 2005

Crude Google Horse Racing

Here are the hit tallies from Google News for prospective SC nominees. For the search, I used the more distinctive name of each possibility and "O'Connor".* Here are the results:

  • Attorney General Alberto Gonzales - 1330
  • John G. Roberts, Jr. (DC Circuit) - 1180
  • Judge J. Michael Luttig (4th Circuit) - 1120
  • Judge J. Harvie Wilkinson III (4th Circuit) - 1070
  • Judge Michael McConnell (10th Circuit)- 1070
  • Judge Samuel A. Alito, Jr. (3rd Circuit) - 1050
  • Judge Emilio M. Garza (5th Circuit) - 1030
  • Judge Edith Jones (5th Circuit) - 524
  • Gibson Dunn Partner Theodore B. Olson - 493
  • Gibson Dunn Partner Miguel Estrada - 379
  • Justice Janice Brown (DC Circuit) - 192
  • Edith Brown Clement (5th Circuit) - 169
If there's no nominee in a week, I'll run the searches again and see if anyone is gaining ground in the MSM.

* "Jones" was turning up a lot of false hits. Instead, I used "Edith Jones", "Edith H Jones", and "Edith Hollan Jones"

Friday, July 01, 2005

Tim Kaine 7/4 schedule

I was looking over Tim Kaine's Independence Day schedule. He'll be in Vienna at 3 PM and Manassas at 7 PM.

Are you thinking what I'm thinking? Mr. Kaine is in a perfect position to stop by the Leadership Institute's 4th of July Soiree in Centreville!
the Soirée will be a Patriotic celebration of all things conservative, including: Senator George Allen (VA), local officeholders and activists...Tremendous Networking Opportunities...And so much more....Conservative Books as Door Prizes to the FIRST 200 GUESTS TO REGISTER AT THE PARK...
Good Times, good times.

UPDATE
It looks like Ms. Byrne and Mr. Kaine will be campaigning together on the 4th. Perhaps Ms. Byrne is going to visit LI's 4th of July soiree? First person to submit a group picture of Tim Kaine, Leslie Byrne and Morton Blackwell will win a prize!

BoV Appointments

Governor Warner made a number of appointments to the Boards of Visitors for state colleges.

BoV appointments have, historically, been the most prestigious that a Governor can hand out.

The Majority Leader also made appointments, as did the Speaker.

Hat tip to Walter Stosch Weekly News Review.

Happy Independence Day!

I'll be out of town with the family for the next few days so I hope everyone enjoys the holiday. Let's take some time this weekend to remember the men and women who keep this nation free. Thank you all, and God bless.

Her Greatest Decision

By now we all know about the imminent departure of Justice Sandra Day O'Connor. While Justice O'Connor certainly blazed new ground for women in her appointment to the Supreme Court, she is also responsible for some of the most misguided jurisprudence of the last quarter-century. She may be missed by some, but I'm not one of them.

Now we have the opportunity we have waited for for the last 4+ years. We MUST appoint a Justice of the Supreme Court who understands and reveres the Constitution. This is NOT the time for compromise or playing political games. Sandra Day O'Connor must be replaced with a conservative jurist. There will be a fight over this nomination, no matter who it is, and we'd better be ready. The Democrats and their liberal interest groups will do everything in their power to tar and feather the President's selection as an "extremist." We must respond in kind. We cannot allow good jurists to be thwarted by Harry Reid and his liberal cronies, and we must not settle for the next Judge Souter (I'm looking at you, Alberto Gonzales).

The prospect of a Supreme Court vacancy was a huge turnout factor for Bush in '04. Now is the time for our President to fulfill his promise of adding Justices "in the mold of Thomas and Scalia."

Obviously there is a lot of discussion about this going on around the blogosphere. I will again voice my preference for either, or both, of the 4th Circuit's esteemed Judges, Mr. Luttig and Mr. Wilkinson. One or both of these men belong on the Supreme Court.

To keep track of all the goings on, tune in to Redstate, ConfirmThem, NRO's Bench Memos, Michelle Malkin, and the SCOTUS Nomination blog. Good stuff all around.

Let the Games Begin!

The true Riggins-O'Connor story

I missed most of the flurry today because I was otherwise occupied. Check out the blog of your choice (right or left) for good analysis. My personal pick right now is Edith Jones, but I have a sneaking suspicion about her nomination chances.

More importantly, and something that I haven't seen mentioned today, is the pinnacle of Justice O'Connor's career - her table mate at a 1985 White House Press Club Dinner.

John Riggins tells the story best, and even Chuck Robb plays a cameo:
JR: You have to remember, as they say, I was feeling no pain. The person who really ended up getting the full brunt of me that evening was Chuck Robb who was the governor of Virginia at that time. I sat right beside Chuck. And I was just telling him all kinds of stuff like there's gotta be a special hunting season for the Redskins because we don't get a chance to go deer hunting in the fall because we gotta play football. I'm sure Chuck was sitting there with his fingers rapping the table and rolling his eyes thinking "Why me Lord? Why me?" And then it was announced that Justice O'Connor and her husband John had to leave the banquet early. So that's when I made my comment. You know, like you would to a friend—"C'mon where you going, stick around, loosen up, have some fun here." That's the vein it was meant in. I was just having fun. She understood that. I saw her this January. We came face to face and the first thing she said was "You know, you're going to be on my tombstone." And I said "You know what Justice O'Connor? That's the same thing I tell people. You're going to be on my tombstone." So we're kinda joined at the hip for eternity I think. Which I have to say if you're gonna be joined at the hip to somebody, Sandra Day O'Connor ain't a bad one to be joined to in my opinion. I can't speak for her. I'm sure she doesn't see it that way, but it's not bad on my end.

BC, You Complete Me.

Welcome to the ACC, Boston College. The nation's #1 athletic conference is now 12 teams strong. Let the domination ensue.