The Commonwealth of Virginia's Ultimate Blog

Wednesday, August 31, 2005

The Commonwealth Challenge

The VT-UVA rivalry has just reached the next level. With the unveiling of the Commonwealth Challenge (presented by Adelphia) the decades old war of words between fans and alumni of these two institutions will finally be expressed in a formal competition.

The winner of the Commonwealth Challenge trophy will be determined by assigning a point value to each of the athletic competitions between the two schools in 21 different sports. Where the schools don't compete head-to-head the winner will be determined by their placement in the ACC conference championships. Hokiesports.com has all the details.

Like Duke and UNC's Carlyle Cup, the Commonwealth Challenge will bring a new level of intensity to a rivalry that has already been stoked by Virginia Tech's recent move to the ACC. Watch out folks, this could get ugly.

Tuesday, August 30, 2005

Allen gets a pass, extends lease on the RV through '08

Governor Mark Warner announced today that he will not challenge incumbent George Allen in next year's U.S. Senate race. Warner did, however, pledge to find a "strong Democrat" to run against Allen. I'm sure that Virginia Democrats are breathing a sigh of relief that Warner didn't commit to running a "weak Democrat."

In any case, this is good news for Virginia's political junkies who get two more years to speculate about a potential battle royale between former Virginia Governors for the White House in '08.

More Love for the Hokies

Over at ESPN.com, college football analyst Kirk Herbstreit has released his Fifth Annual Herbie Awards celebrating all the best in college football. You'll notice that this list is chock full of Hokie players, coaches and, of course, the fans.

Here's what Herbstreit has to say about Blacksburg as one of his Top 5 Gameday locations:
Virginia Tech -- Same old, same old. The Hokies' faithful always make this list because of their loyalty, knowledge of the game and respect for the game. Virginia Tech fans are as good as it gets.

Indeed.

Monday, August 29, 2005

AP profile on Tim Kaine

There's a good profile of Tim Kaine on the AP wire today. Here's what he had to say on the death penalty:
If elected, Kaine said, the laws of the United States and Virginia and his oath to uphold them _ sworn on a Bible _ would trump the wishes of the Vatican, which opposes abortion and capital punishment.

That means he would carry out executions, as governor after governor has done with regularity for decades in Virginia. End of discussion.

But as an article of faith?

"The answer is I would like that there be no death penalty in Virginia, absolutely," he said almost wistfully. "But I see what happens every year. That bill is presented and it's presented very ably in a very articulate way, and it goes nowhere."
Six weeks ago, I posted on the tension between Mr. Kaine's view(s) on abortion.
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?
Today's coverage of the death penalty leaves me even more confused. With abortion, he wouldn't sign a law restricting abortion even if Roe v. Wade is overturned. But with the death penalty, he would sign a law ending the death penalty if it passed the GA?
  • Death penalty = contrary to moral code, but will uphold the Commonwealth's laws, but would change the law if given a chance
  • Abortion = contrary to moral code, but will uphold the Commonwealth's laws, but would NOT change the law if given a chance

Update on ATF activity at Richmond gun shows

I posted last week about some allegations regarding the ATF's activities at Richmond area gun shows. The ATF was working in coordination with the Virginia State Police and local law enforcement.

The VCDL has obtained a memorandum that outlines the scope of the police operations. It's an interesting read.

The main questions of wrongdoing involve the disclosure of a potential gun purchaser's personal information. It's not clear from the memo that this information was disclosed.

Backstroke of the West

Thanks to my sister for showing me this simply hilarious blog post.

"Backstroke of the West" is the english translation of the chinese translation of the title of Star Wars: Episode III, commonly known as "Revenge of the Sith." The site contains many more hilarious and seemingly inexplicable mistranslations from this movie.

Enjoy.

Explaining the private party sale exception to background checks

It's come to my attention that some people might not understand the private party sale exception to background checks.

Here's a summary: If I, as a private party, want to sell one of my guns to someone else, I just do it. If my buddy Tom comes over one Friday afternoon and admires a rifle, he can offer to buy it. If I agree, he pays me and I give him the gun. I don't have to call law enforcement to ensure that he's not a felon.

This private party exception applies regardless of venue. A private seller doesn't have to do a background check if he sells a gun at a hunt club, in a private home, or at a gun show.

Why do I take the time to explain this?

Well, let's say that someone is working on a political campaign and offers to work a candidate's booth at a gun show. Let's say that this person decides that the gun show would be a good place to sell a gun. That person, of course, would not have to get a background check on the eventual purchaser of the shotgun.

It would only get dicey if the seller was working for a candidate that called the private party exception a "loophole." The seller would be "exploiting" that loophole.

That would be a little embarrassing.

Kaine Resorts to Obfuscation

Those of us in the political know are well aware of the unique provision of Virginia's Constitution that prevents the Commonwealth's Governors from running for re-election. Unfortunately, many Virginians are completely unaware that such a rule exists. Don't believe me? I can't count the number of people I've encountered who thing George Allen was Governor for two terms.

Tim Kaine is counting on this fact to carry his fortunes in November. With a pair of new commercials debuting today, Kaine hopes to confuse the voters of Virginia into thinking Mark Warner might be coming back for another four years. Knowing full well that the voters of Virginia would never elect the true liberal version of Tim Kaine, the LG hopes the voters ignore his record and simply associate his name with Warner's come Election Day.

Fortunately you can count on Jerry Kilgore reminding Virginia's voters who Tim Kaine really is.

The Countdown is On

Yesterday's Roanoke Times featured its 2005 College Football Preview section with everything you need to know about the Hokies and Hoos, as well as some tidbits on other area programs.

Also yesterday, the Washington Post continued profiling its Top 25 Teams with an article on Virginia Tech, who they have ranked at #4. Their profile of UVA, who they have ranked at #23 is available here.

By the way, according to the extremely scientific PS2 predictor that I conducted last night, Virginia Tech will defeat NC State 45-0 in the season opener.

Sportsmen at the Grand Resorts

I've been checking out some of the great packages at the The Homstead, and there are some great deals for Sportsmen.

The Ultimate Sportsmen Package, for example, is just $1500 for a long weekend. It includes a day of shooting, a day of golf, and a day of fishing. A spa special after your hard day is additional.

If you just want to shoot, then you may want the Homestead Shooting Package. It's a bargain at $550.


This package includes accommodations, breakfast and dinner daily, four hours of shooting instruction, use of a Beretta Shotgun, one round of skeet and 200-300 targets of Sporting Clays.
The Greenbrier in West Virginia also has some shooting options. Prices for the shooting aren't posted, but you can get a room starting at $652/night.

Here's what I did for $652:
1) Went to a gun show and found someone selling a standard Zabela Brothers SBS 12 gauge for $200. I skipped the background check because I am a private party and the seller was a private party.
2) Took it to a gunsmith and had the left trigger rebuilt for $125.
3) Went to Wal-Mart and bought two cases of shells for $30 each.
4) Bought two cases of clay targets for $10 each.

This fall I will:
1) Buy some chest waders for $100.
2) Buy a camo jacket for $100.
3) Buy a statewide hunting license for $12.
4) Buy a waterfowl stamp for $9.75.

I haven't decided how to spend the other $25.25, but I'll let you know.

Saturday, August 27, 2005

Cranwell and Kaine off message on gun crackdown

Here's Tim Kaine at the VBA debate on July 11th:
...if there is a proposal that comes forth to close the gun show loophole, that would be enforcing the current laws of Virginia that felons should not have guns, and I would be favorable.
Richard Cranwell in the Roanoke Time today:
State Democratic Party Chairman Richard Cranwell of Vinton said he reminds voters that Kaine and Gov. Mark Warner promised that they would not seek new restrictions on guns, but enforce measures already on the books.

"That promise has been kept," said Cranwell, a member of Kaine's sportsmen committee who staunchly supported gun rights during his long career in the House of Delegates.

Cranwell said he sees no need to close the so-called "gun show loophole," which allows some unlicensed dealers to sell firearms without instant background checks. Legislation to close the loophole has failed repeatedly in the General Assembly.

"I think you have to have a clearly unidentifiable problem before you put the legislative mechanism in place," Cranwell said.

Asked about Kaine's position on the issue, Cranwell said: "He has said to me that he does not propose any new gun laws and I take him at his word on that."

Richard Cranwell in the Times Dispatch today:

In a conference call with reporters designed to buttress Kaine's gun-owner-rights credentials, the chairman of the state Democratic party, former Del. C. Richard Cranwell of Vinton, disagreed with Kaine's stance on the gun-show loophole. He said the loophole does not need to be closed because "you do not need to fix what's not broken."

Cranwell said he had been assured by Kaine that he would not propose any new gun laws, and "I took him at his word." A spokeswoman for Kaine said he would sign such legislation if it crossed his desk but would not propose it.

Mr. Cranwell is firing a shot across the bow of the S.S. Kaine. Mr. Kaine is already on the record as supporting additional restrictions of private gun-owners to sell their guns to other private gun owners. He has apparently made a contrary promise to Mr. Cranwell not to support additional gun laws.

The ground is getting narrower and narrower. It sounds like Mr. Kaine is now saying that he supports restricting sales based on venue, but wouldn't actually introduce the legislation. Of course, the governor can't introduce legislation anyway.

On a more general note, what's the point of standing for or against an issue if you don't plan to do anything about it? Here's my tally sheet on Mr. Kaine:
1) Opposes abortion, but wouldn't support any legislation to make it more rare
2) Opposes capital punishment, but wouldn't support any legislation or take any executive actions to make it more rare
3) Opposes private gun sales based on venue, but wouldn't propose legislation to limit, but would sign legislation to limit those sales.

Will Oceana slip the noose?

The latest round of military base closings have left many wondering what will become of their homes, jobs and communities. One place dealing with these questions is the Oceana Naval Air Station in Virginia Beach. Originally, Oceana was slated to be closed along with about 180 other bases. However, the Base Realignment and Closure Commission recently informed Oceana that it could remain open if it met certain conditions.

The conditions imposed by BRAC would mean a substantial cost to the community, including the demolition of homes and businesses, without any assurance of how long the base would remain open. The BRAC report will be submitted to President Bush on Sept. 8. Until then those affected by Oceana's fate will be playing the old "wait-and-see" game.

Update: For more comprehensive coverage of the issues surrounding NAS Oceana, check out the discussion going on over at the Bearing Drift blog.

Football is back

If you couldn't tell, I'm pretty excited about the upcoming football season. Football is just one of the reasons why Fall is the greatest time of year. For the true fanatics, our wait ended last night as many High Schools around the Commonwealth opened their football seasons.

Like Christmas morning, today I awoke to discover a treasure trove of football scores heralding the start of another beautiful Virginia autumn. Whether it's Clintwood thrashing Grundy 44-15, Gretna stomping on Greensville County 38-0, or William Fleming defeating cross-town rival Patrick Henry 31-14, it all means one thing. Football is back, and I couldn't be happier.

Turf at the Track

For some time now there has been a lot of speculation over the possibility of scheduling a regular season football game between Virginia Tech and Tennessee. Until now, the idea has seemed more like a pipe dream as neither school wants to play such a tough opponent without the luxury of a homefield advantage.

However, it now seems that the dream may be coming closer to reality thanks to the efforts of Mr. Bruton Smith, owner of the Bristol Motor Speedway. According to NASCAR.com, smith is offering the schools $20 million apiece to play a regular season contest at the World's Fastest Half-mile. Smith would convert the racetrack's infield into a football field and add seats to bring capacity up to over 170,000. That kind of attendance would easily set a record for the largest crowd to ever witness a college football game.

As today's Daily Press points out, the money is the key to the whole deal. While in the past, these two teams have found plenty of reasons not to play one another, with the kind of coin that Smith is putting up, this will be a tough offer to refuse. Smith knows how to speak in a language that Athletic Directors understand, money. If the money is there, you can bet the teams probably will be too. And so will I.

Friday, August 26, 2005

Virginia's Other Football Powers

Seeing Virginia Tech and the University of Virginia both ranked in preseason polls is pretty exciting to lovers of Virginia sports. However, the excitement of the upcoming college football season shouldn't be confined to Blacksburg and Charlottesville. If you travel north from Hokieland or west from Hooville, you'll find yourself in another pocket of powerhouses, Rockingham County.

The James Madison University Dukes are the defending National Champions in Division I-AA, and all indications are that they're ready to make another run at the title. The Dukes are ranked #1 in the Sports Network's preseason I-AA poll. They are also #1 in I-AA.org's consolidated preseason rankings, which compiles five different polls. Not far behind are also the William and Mary Tribe who clock in at 11th in the combined I-AA poll.

But JMU isn't the only college with championship dreams. Just 8 miles down the road sits tiny Bridgewater College, who over the past five years has become the 800-pound gorilla of the Old Dominion Athletic Conference. Bridgewater has won 29 consecutive conference games, leading them to 4 straight ODAC titles. This year Bridgewater is ranked anywhere from 12th to 18th in DIII by various publications. In 2001 Bridgewater made it all the way to the Division III National Championship game where they lost a hard-fought contest with Mount Union. Should they win yet another ODAC title this year, the Eagles will make their 6th straight playoff appearance and will be gunning for a return trip down I-81 to the Amos Alonzo Stagg Bowl in Salem, Va.

In short, college football fans throughout the Commonwealth will have no shortage of options to keep them satisfied until the new year comes.

Bliley blasts Kaine

The RTD reports today that former Congressman and Richmond mayor Tom Bliley yesterday called Tim Kaine a "mediocre mayor" whose tenure was marked by "disappointment, stagnation and corruption."

The RTD then proceeds to make an attempt at spin control by noting comments from Bliley in 2001 that Kaine had worked well with the city council. However, those statements don't contradict Bliley's broader assesment of Kaine's term as mayor. Further, the prior statements were made at a time before the full extent of the scandals that occurred under Kaine's watch had come to light.

The fact remains that Kaine's record is undistinguished at best and his attempts to run as MarkWarner version 2.0 have not caught on with the voters. Kaine may try to run and hide from his liberal record and failed leadership, but somehow it just keeps finding him.

Zach's Back

In the words of Judy Garland, "There's no place like home."

It's nice to finally be back in the blogosphere after my extended absence. I need to thank Addison for keeping things going despite his busy schedule this summer.

I am looking forward to an exciting fall as we move ever closer to Election Day and the Kaine campaign becomes ever more desperate to bail out their sinking ship.

And speaking of sinking ships, I'm sure John Behan and his buddies are getting all hyped up for another 8 win season from the Virginia Cavaliers football team. Don't mind the wake of the luxury cruise ship known as the Virginia Tech Hokies as it passes by on its way to another BCS bowl. Maybe we'll toss you a life preserver.

Thursday, August 25, 2005

Kilgore decal to make second appearance at Bristol

If politics and NASCAR are wrong, then I don't want to be right.

Wednesday, August 24, 2005

Can you spare four hours on the 13th?

I know I can't. That's exactly what Tim Kaine and Russ Potts are asking businessmen and women in Northern Virginia to do on September 13th. (WaPo for background).

You'll have 300 or so people at the McLean Hilton listen to Mr. Kilgore and Mr. Kaine debate starting at around noon. They'll eat lunch in the ballroom and have an enjoyable program. Then they'll go back to work at their offices in Tysons and Reston. Some people will have to beat it back to the District.

The remaining 23 people, most of whom will be staffers, will all shuffle over to the Greenspring Room for some sort of weird sideshow. Everything about it will scream "fake."

Monday, August 22, 2005

Heat affecting Mr. Kilgore's thought process?

From Thursday's diary:
Fall is ahead. You know it. And that means one thing: another season of UVa football! It was great to be in Charlottesville, because it reminded me of game days coming up. The team is practicing already, and kickoff is only 15 days and 22 hours away! I can thank thesabre.com for keeping me up to date on even the minutes and seconds until kickoff! I still haven't quite figured out how I think the Hoos will do this year. We should be strong in the backfield, and our Offensive Line will be hard to beat, but we have to open up the passing attack more. Hagans can get the ball downfield, it is time we utilize that arm of his. On defense, well it starts and stops with Ahmad Brooks! I'm also anxious to see how the secondary comes together. If the pieces do come together could we be heading to Jacksonville?
As a Hokie fan, this is very disturbing.

I wonder who Russ Potts' pulls for? Probably the Terps.

UPDATE
It looks like the nutcases over on The Sabre have found Mr. Kilgore's diary post. Some are still angry over Jerry's work to get the Hokies into the ACC.

They are then "called out" by Skeezit:
Granted I don't like having VT in the ACC and wish we could have stomped on their throat while we had the chance, the bottom line is the politicos did what they did because having 2 ACC schools was probably a net gain for the state -- both economically and in terms of prestige.

If having to compete against the Hokies scares so many UVa fans, then that is fairly sad. Sure, I would've preferred to snuff 'em out the easy way, but it will be much more satisfying to snuff 'em out on the gridiron.

Should Jerry Kilgore get a pat on the back from UVa fans? No. But he works for the state of Virginia and not for UVa, so I understand why he did what he did.

For those who want to "send a message" by electing a left-wing loonie just to "show Jerry", then have at it. If you are successful, then I hope your satisfaction in doing this eases the pain of moving one step closer to living in Massachusetts when Kaine gets elected.

The old adage involving noses, faces, cutting and spite comes to mind.

Sunday, August 21, 2005

Home sale prices decline in both Arlington and Fairfax

A few months ago, I posted on my decision not to step into the overheated Northern Virginia housing market.

Two articles from this week's Sun Gazette make me more confident in that decision.

First, dealing with Arlington:
Prodded by a steep decline in sales of condominiums, sales of existing homes across Arlington skidded 18.9 percent in July compared to a year before, according to figures reported last week by the Northern Virginia Association of Realtors (NVAR).

The inventory of homes up for sale also continues to rise, but so far, the slackening market has not affected sales prices, which remain in record territory.

Is it time for home-sellers to panic? No, the experts say. July’s figures confirm that the market is leveling out to more of a balance between buyers and sellers, compared to the booming market of the past six years in which sellers had all of the leverage. A more consistently balanced market is likely to be the norm for the remainder of the year, many top local Realtors suggest.

A total of 293 existing homes changed hands in Arlington during July, according to NVAR figures, down from 360 sales in July 2004.

While both segments of the market were down, it was the condo portion that took the biggest hit:
* Sales of single-family homes dropped 5.3 percent compared to a year before, to 160.
* Sales of condominiums declined 30.4 percent over the same period, to 133 in July.
Then for Fairfax County:
A cooling sales market and a rising inventory of homes on the market helped to push the average price of a single-family home sold in Fairfax County last month below $600,000, according to figures reported by the Northern Virginia Association of Realtors.

A one-month blip (June’s average home-sale price was $19,000 higher than July’s) should be nothing to cause alarm. But, taken together, it and other statistics suggest that the Northern Virginia real estate market, which for six years has been tilted heavily toward sellers and against buyers, is moving back into a more traditional, balanced operating mode.

Home sales across Fairfax County dropped 7.7 percent in July compared to a year before, with 2,201 properties changing hands.

The downturn was relatively consistent in both segments of the market:
* Sales of single-family homes in July totaled 1,780, down 7.6 percent from a year before.
* Sales of condominiums declined 8.3 percent compared to a year before, to 421.
For the first seven months of the year, sales of single-family homes were down 5.2 percent, to 10,387, while sales of condominiums were up 5.9 percent, to 2,910.
Condos are the first to go in any housing correction. As the article states, one month does not a correction make, but I'll be sleeping well tonight. Can someone with a negative-amort, 100% financed mortgage say the same?

ATF behavior at Richmond Gun Show

I'm a subscriber to the Virginia Citizen's Defense League email list, and a recent blurb jumped out at me.
The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (BATFE), who seem to go out of their way to alienate gun owners with their heavy-handedness, behaved in a shameful manner this last weekend at the Showmasters' gun show in Richmond.

I had reports from members of police going to their houses while the member was waiting for their approval to purchase a gun at the show!

The police asked the spouse and other family members questions about the purchases and filled in a survey! "Did you know your husband was going to a gun show today?" "Did you know your husband was going to buy a gun today?" and many other such questions.

If no one was home at the gun purchaser's house, the police went to the neighbors! "Did you know that your neighbor was buying a gun today? How do you feel about him doing so?"

One member, who was carrying a personal gun to sell, was approached by BATFE and taken to a car while they checked him out. The officer said in front of Showmasters' management, "Did you know you need a business license to sell a gun at this show? I have seen you at a lot of shows - are you in the business of selling guns? I think you are." That's called a fishing expedition and intimidation. In the end they let the VCDL member go because their fish hooks came up empty.
This would have been the Showmaster's Show in Richmond on August 13-14. From a later email:
For those who question how BATFE/police could pull this off in a timely fashion: At the gun shows in Richmond, the State Police setup a NICS check room where ALL the dealers drop off their NICS forms. Later, the dealers check back to see if the NICS check has been completed and the forms ready. All BATFE has to do is to grab the forms as they are dropped off by the dealers, call in the contact info and have an officer dispatched to the house. That officer reports results of survey back to dispatcher, who in turn gives it to BATFE. The form is then approved and released to the dealer the next time he checks back. It is not unusual to have to wait an hour for approval, so the average gun owner wouldn't really be alerted to anything until he got home.
Any readers who can add some additional first hand observations or information?

Lane Stadium rated toughest by Rivals.com

From Rivals.com:
1. Lane Stadium (Virginia Tech)Lane Stadium in Blacksburg, Va., doesn't blow people away by the brute strength of a massive stadium, but with knowledgeable fans that always reach a frenzied pitch at the right time, the Hokies make the most of their numbers.

Every good stadium has at least one end designed for deafening noise levels, and the enclosed South End Zone at Lane Stadium fits the bill perfectly. Holding more than 11,000 screaming Virginia Tech fans, the section amplifies noise and renders audibles useless. That's not to mention the isolation factor. With the nearest major airport nearly 45 minutes away, opponents' fans are never out in force at Lane Stadium.
And while we are on the subject of Lane's intimidating atmosphere, take it from an opposing player:
"Man, I just hate losing here," Anderson said. "I don't like losing to these fans. They think they play, too. That's what's good about playing for Virginia Tech, that's great. I'm not so sure we have that in the Dome.
...
"I like Virginia Tech fans...If I had played for Virginia Tech, it's an awesome atmosphere. Because no matter what, they're for your team. If a kid makes a bad play, they're still on your side. If you lose a game, they're still on your side. It's like they're a part of you. I don't feel that sometimes here. I think when stuff is going good, yeah, they're with us. When stuff is going bad, they're definitely not with us. And then people wonder why we don't get top recruits sometimes. People dogging them for no reason."

Friday, August 19, 2005

GOP Hokie on 26th Debate

GOP Hokie's blog is pretty good, and he has a series of posts up about the recent candidate's debate in the 26th District.

Thursday, August 18, 2005

One handgun a month

Just to summarize:

Creigh Deeds originally opposed one handgun a month, but now doesn't mind it.

Bob McDonnell originally supported one handgun a month, but now wants it repealed.

Wednesday, August 17, 2005

Menhaden Catch limited

Today, the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission voted to limit the catch of Menhaden in the Chesapeake Bay.
Concerned about potential overharvesting of an important fish in the Chesapeake Bay ecology, a regional commission voted Wednesday to limit the catch of menhaden in the bay despite objections that it would curtail a vital industry on Virginia's Northern Neck.

Virginia's representatives on the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission opposed the cap and raised the possibility that the state will defy the new regulations.
This is a big issue on the Northern Neck, where Rob Wittman and Linda Crandell are running for Al Pollard's old seat.

This will become a issue for voters because, while the General Assembly MUST comply with the ASMRC caps, they apparently have some leeway on how to implement the cap.
The Virginia General Assembly must enact new laws to implement the commission's mandate. But commission chairman Jack Travelstead, who also is fisheries manager for the Virginia Marine Resources Commission and opposed the new restrictions, said he is unsure what the legislature will do.

"I don't know where Virginia will end up in compliance on this matter," Travelstead said. "We'll have to have some long discussions."
Del. Pollard was generally a defender of the menhaden industry, and it will be interesting to see if Mr. Wittman and Ms. Crandell take the same position.

NARAL non-endorsement hits wires

The news about NARAL's decision not to endorse anyone in the Governor's race has hit the wires.

I have to wonder if a base Democrat reading that article in Monterrey is likely to send a check to Tim Kaine. I wonder if the same base lifer reading the article is likely to send a check to Jerry Kilgore.

Monday, August 15, 2005

Kaine calls out Potts on vetoing trust fund amendment

From the RT-D:
Democratic gubernatorial candidate Timothy M. Kaine attacked independent candidate H. Russell Potts Jr. for the first time today before a local government group that had warmly received Potts a day earlier.

Touting his plan for a proposed constitutional amendment to lock up the transportation trust fund so it cannot be raided for non-transportation spending purposes, Kaine said a vote by Potts had held up the process.

"Again, I could have had this thing up and running for a ballot referendum if Russ had voted with me a couple of years ago," Kaine told reporters following a well-received speech to the summer meeting of the Virginia Association of Counties.
The conventional wisdom, particularly after the Mason-Dixon poll was released, was that Sen. Potts was taking votes from Jerry Kilgore. This might indicate that the opposite is true.

Successful Return from Maxwell AFB, Alabama

I know that my posts have been tellingly absent over the last month and a half, but I have finally returned from officer training for the Air Force at Maxwell Air Force Base in sunny Montgomery, Alabama. I successfully completed Field Training and I will be commissioned as a JAG officer next May when I complete my final year of law school at THE University. It was the most intense 38 days of my life without exception, and I am fiercely proud of having come through the experience and grown as much as I did in it. It was difficult to be entirely cut off from news especially when the nomination was made. The officers there, knowing of my interest in what was going on, told me that Bush had made a nomination but refused to tell me who it was, and they tantalized me by giving me clues about the identity of the nominee. I did eventually learn from a news clipping received in a letter. Anyway, I'm currently vacationing in Chicago (hitting up a White Sox game and a Cubs game as well). I spent a few days in Louisville, Kentucky with my grandfather who is still basking in the glow of winning a huge state constitutional case before the Kentucky Supreme Court this spring. So expect to slowly see me get back into the rhythm of things with the blog.

Fuel pump trouble

Had a little fuel pump trouble in my boat yesterday.

There was no fuel to pump.

Friday, August 12, 2005

David Young brings in Northern Virginia power

In the 10th District, Republican David Young is firing the heavy artillery early in his race against Ward Armstrong.
On Thursday, Young, a retired agriculture teacher and current member of the Patrick County Board of Supervisors, launched his first major volley against Armstrong. He appeared in Bassett with state Sen. Jeannemarie Devolites Davis, R-Fairfax County, who cited an incident when she was a state delegate in 1998.

On the House floor, Armstrong used his imitation of President Clinton to joke about that night's legislative basketball game, saying Devolites Davis would be his team's center and that she was coming over to his place to review the playbook. Later, at a post-game party, Armstrong again spoke about her, saying, "She's no Monica Lewinsky, but she can be taught," Devolites Davis recalled Thursday.


Armstrong later apologized.

Young also received a $10,000 donation from Rep. Tom Davis.

It's interesting to me that Rep. Davis would weigh in on a HoD race in Southside.

MORE
I know that Sen. Devolites Davis and Rep. Davis are married. Does that mean that Rep. Davis' involvement is solely personal?

Thursday, August 11, 2005

Bryne taped at UMW meeting

Bill Bolling has the audio of Leslie Byrne saying she opposes Virginia's right to work law. (Would that make her anti-choice?)

Right-to-work pitbull James Young has his take, and I don't really have anything to add.

But tell me this: What brave Republican snuck a tape recorder into a UMW meeting in Castlewood?

Walt Barbee dies

Conservative activist and Virginia Family Foundation founder Walt Barbee died today.
Walt Barbee, founder and president emeritus of The Family Foundation and one of the pro-family movement’s most extraordinary leaders, died this morning after a long illness.

Beginning in 1982, Walt dedicated his life to returning our Commonwealth to the principles of God and faith. He was tireless in his actions and unwavering in his faith, setting the standard for everyone who followed him. His faith in God during recent health battles was an inspiration to everyone who knew him.

Walt’s commitment to ensuring that the family was protected was unmatched, from the early days of working from the trunk of his car, traveling the Commonwealth to unite like-minded Virginians in the pro-family cause to after his “retirement” as leader of The Family Foundation. He lived by his own edict that “knowledge without action is useless.” He never quit in fighting for the values he cherished.

With his wife Margaret and a handful of other dedicated people, Walt grew The Family Foundation from a dream and vision to a powerful force in Virginia politics. He will long be remembered for his immeasurable contribution to Virginia.
Mr. Barbee's death came less than five months after the death of VFF's other co-founder Anne Kincaid. Our thoughts and prayers are with the Barbee family, and a void certainly exists among Virginia social conservatives.

Sports Promoter Russ Potts

With Russ Potts' latest stunt, I have to think that he is simply reverting back to his day job.

A sports promoter is always about his latest promotion, and right now, the event is Russ Potts.

To that end, we have our second branded candidate of the 2005 campaign.

Wednesday, August 10, 2005

Charlottesville School Board Referendum makes ballot

The citizens of the city of Charlottesville have collected the requisite signatures to put an elected school board question on the ballot this fall.
Councilor Rob Schilling and Jeffrey Rossman, a history professor at the University of Virginia, collected more than 3,000 signatures from members of the community. Signatures from at least 10 percent of registered voters were needed to secure the referendum.


A press release from the group adds the following:

Jeffrey Rossman, a University of Virginia professor and the initiator of the referendum petition, applauded the grassroots effort of scores of volunteers who gathered signatures over the past six weeks.

“Thanks to the hard work of our dedicated volunteers, voters will have an opportunity to decide in November if Charlottesville should transition gradually from an appointed to an elected school board,” Rossman said. “Judging from the response to the petition, a majority of Democrats, Independents and Republicans believe that the city should do what 78 percent of other Virginia localities do, and elect its school board.”

City Councilor Rob Schilling, who worked alongside Rossman to coordinate the referendum effort, was pleased with the broad-based community support for an elected school board.

“This is a nonpartisan issue with multipartisan support,” Schilling said. “From Primary Day forward, Democrats, Independents, Libertarians and Republicans have worked side-by-side, knocking on doors and canvassing public gatherings. It’s been our collective experience that over 80 percent of those approached to sign the petition, favored an elected school board for Charlottesville.”

Shear on Potts

Just in case you were wondering about the media's coverage of the Potts jugger-not, here's this bit from a WaPo chat:

Michael D. Shear: I'm going to take any opportunity I can to write about Russ Potts, who always provides good copy.

On day laborer sites

I've read a lot of coverage on Jerry Kilgore's comments regarding the proposed day laborer sites in Northern Virginia, I agree with his sentiments.

Judging from a survey cited by Judicial Watch in this letter, I can extrapolate that better than two-thirds of the day laborers at this location are illegal. That alone is enough to give me pause.

Here are some additional questions, and I admit that I am coming lately to this debate.

  • What in the world is the government doing building a center for these workers?
  • Why not just arrest the loiterers?
  • Why not get Project Harmony and Hope to raise the money from businessmen or other charities?
  • And if the government absolutely must get involved in finding a solution, then why not a park or empty parking lot?
  • The mayor of Herndon claims it would be unconstitutional to close the current 7-11 site. By what reasoning?
As an aside, the Herndon Planning Commission has rejected the government funded site. Further, Judicial Watch is planning to sue if the proposed site is approved.

Tuesday, August 09, 2005

Fifth Debate Scheduled

Jerry Kilgore has tentatively accepted a October 9th debate invitation by the UVA Center for Politics.

Even better, the the guidelines set by the CoP a very clear bar for Sen. Potts. If he can poll above 15% in two separate public opinion polls, he will be allowed to participate.

Monday, August 08, 2005

The Redneck special

Via SWVALaw, I see that Slate Magazine has an article on the popularity of ranch dressing.

An urbane friend of mine spent a summer waiting tables at Outback Steakhouse.

He informed me that the following meal was known among the waitstaff as the "Redneck Special."
12-ounce center cut Sirloin
Baked Potato
House salad with ranch dressing
Sweet Tea to drink
I, of course, now order it any chance I get.

Candidate getting ready in the 25th

Via Waldo, I see that former UVA Law student Michael Signer is taking steps to run for Creigh Deeds' seat when Sen. Deeds steps down.

Without getting into the outcome of the AG's race (on which Mr. Signer's ambitions are predicated), someone who moves to a district solely to run is stuck in somewhat of a netherworld if the required events don't transpire.

Witness the wild speculation surrounding Lacey Putney's intentions regarding his House seat. People who moved to that district hoping to run are now iced for two years, maybe more. Do they hang around? Do they run for a local race?

T(w)erps

I was in Maryland over the weekend, and talked to several UMD fans.

I was struck by their humility, graciousness, and subdued manner of supporting Terrapin athletics.

Rail to Dulles

The WaPo is expressing misgivings about the $5 billion rail to Dulles plan in Northern Virginia.
Dulles rail is starting to look like a vanity project, kept alive by its powerful friends despite the growing realization that most similarly rated projects around the country would never see the light of day.
The WaPo editorial board agreeing with Ken Cuccinelli? What's next? Cats and Dogs sleeping together?

Monday, August 01, 2005

Bolton Appointed UN Ambassador

President Bush, having apparently read Art. II, Section 2 of the US Constitution, has appointed John Bolton to serve as US ambassador to the United Nations.

Ambassador Bolton should start with the renovation that Donald Trump has offered to do for 50% of the UN's estimate.

Atkins Nutritional files for bankruptcy

From the AP:
The company started by the late nutrition guru Dr. Robert C. Atkins to promote a low-carb lifestyle has filed for bankruptcy court protection, a further sign of the waning popularity of the diet.
I would have read more, but my pancakes needed to be flipped.