The Commonwealth of Virginia's Ultimate Blog

Friday, September 30, 2005

Netherlands: Three People Wed One Another


Once again, the Dutch remain on the forefront of the movement to destroy the institution of marriage. The direction we all predicted gay marriage would inevitably lead manifested itself this past week in the Nethlerlands where 3 people wed one another, one man and two woman. They are trying to parade it as something other than polygamy as if that's a dirty word or something and if they call it something different, it will be different.

Everyone knows that if gay marriage can be justified, anything can be justified...including the absence of all moral inhibitions. It's sad to see a nation that served as a haven to the Pilgrims for a time when religious liberty was not widespread in Europe, that produced the powerful legacy of William the Silent, and Abraham Kuyper become the leader in the legalization and regulation of prostitution, the legalization of drugs, the legalization of gay marriage, euthanasia, and now this.

The Belly of the Beast Awaits

Yes, I am headed up to Morgantown, WV this weekend for my first, and possibly last, visit. In what could be the final Black Diamond Trophy Matchup for some time, the emotions are sure to be running high between the Hokies and 'Eers this time around.

In 1999 the name Vick became legendary on the field in Morgantown, vaulting VT to the National Title game. In 2003, the Hokies' title dreams were smashed into a million pieces on that same field. One thing is for sure, one or the other will be repeated again this weekend.

This Thing is Getting Tight

Rasmussen has just released a poll that has Kilgore and Kaine tied at 45% with the Other candidate receiving 5%. While I still firmly believe that Jerry will ultimately win this race, this poll underscores the fact that our work is not yet done. The race will be close, and we must continue to work hard to ensure that Jerry is elected.

Like most races, this one is going to come down to turnout. Please talk to your fellow Republicans and encourage them to vote, and to vote for Kilgore, Bolling and McDonnell, on Nov. 8.

Dems Preparing for '06 Takeover

Over at RealClearPolitics, Mort Kondrake reveals that the Democrats may not be as politically inept as they have seemed over the past 10 years. In fact, they are apparently preparing their own version of the successful Contract with America that brought Republicans back to power in 1994. The GOP had better take note, or Election Day 2006 could be bloody for our Party.

Chad Dotson also jumps into the fray with his own thoughts.

Thursday, September 29, 2005

Norm challenges the GOP

Over at One Man's Trash, Norm has posted some great stuff, rightly questioning the soul and sincerity of our party leaders in dealing with expanding deficits and an explosion of spending. Norm also challenges Senator Allen to step up to the plate and join those faithful few in Congress calling for fiscal restraint and responsibility.

I am pleased to see Allen reintroducing a Constitutional Amendment to give the President a Line-Item Veto, which you'll remember was originally part of the Contract with America. While this is a positive step towards restraining runaway Congressional pork, I agree with Norm that it will take more than lip-service to win back the base on this issue.

Prayers for Rep. Jo Ann Davis

According to the Daily Press, Virginia's First District Representative has been diagnosed with breast cancer. She will continue in her duties as a Representative during her treatment. Fortunately, it appears the cancer was detected early and she is expected to make a full recovery. We will certainly keep her in our prayers through this ordeal.

George Washington: Moonshiner

The RTD reports that Mount Vernon is in the process of recreating the First President's distillery at its original location on his Virginia estate. The story goes on to say that "in 1799 -- just his third year of production -- Washington produced nearly 11,000 gallons of whiskey and turned a profit of $7,500, more than $100,000 in today's dollars."

While we can now put to rest the debate over Uncle Jesse's Presidential ancestry, there is no truth to the rumor that it was our founding father who was responsible for that first delicious batch of Franklin County Moonshine.

What the Protesters Don't Get

The Minneapolis Star-Tribune has a great article today that responds to the Cindy Sheehans out there insisting that we bail out on the Iraqi people.

The writer interviews Marine Col. Jeff Vold, a reservist who returned last March from seven months in Fallujah and Ramadi. Vold gives readers a great sense of what is really going on over in Iraq and it is vastly different from what we see on the news. Here's a sample:
Across Iraq, Americans and Iraqis are working together to reclaim the country from Baathists and terrorists. They are building or refurbishing schools, hospitals, roads and sewer systems. "The battle with the terrorists left Fallujah in rubble," says Vold. "But every day, people thanked us. 'We might have to rebuild our house,' they said, 'but you gave us back our city.' "
Granted, the article offers the opinion of just one man, but what Vold says is exactly the same thing I hear on a regular basis from fellow service members who have been in Iraq. We can only hope that, no matter how much the media attempts to ignore the positive things going on there, the strength and determination of our soldiers and the Iraqi people will prevail.

Roberts Confirmed

I know it was pretty much a foregone conclusion but I was interested to see the final vote tally of 78-22. I thought that the "yeas" might be closer to 65, but it appears that most Democrats have decided to save their salvos for whoever the President nominates next.

As I have said before, I hope that the President will not try to "appease" the Democrats with a weak pick and will keep his promise to those of us who voted for him.

Chad Dotson has the list of "nays" here.

Wednesday, September 28, 2005

Signs going up

The nearest four-way stop to my house was signed last night with a plethora of Kaine and Byrne signs.

If only there was a Republican nearby schooled in the black arts.

Allen Blasts Bonds

Senator Allen was featured prominently this evening on Sportscenter's coverage of the Congressional Steroid Hearings. Allen was heard (but not shown for some reason) saying that if "a certain ballplayer" broke Hank Aaron's home run record, those records shouldn't just have an asterisk, "they should have an Rx." Ha.

Judging from the highlights, Congress' patience with MLB in instituting a Steroid testing and enforcement program appears to be growing short. I agree with Senator Byron Dorgan's sentiment that, for all intents and purposes, Roger Maris should still be considered the single-season home run champion. Sadly, the Steroid Era has further cheapened baseball, and it will take a lot for us to trust it again.

Affleck a No-Show at the Ballot Box

According to The Smoking Gun website, despite his political activism on behalf of a variety of Democratic candidates, as of 2003 Ben Affleck had voted exactly once in the past ten years and didn't even bother to vote for Gore in 2000 after traveling the nation stumping for him. Though this fact was exposed back in early 2001, apparently Affleck didn't even bother to register until late 2002.

While there's no evidence of whether or not Affleck managed to make time in his busy schedule of stumping for John Kerry in 2004 to actually make it to the polls to vote, perhaps Dickie Cranwell should remind him that if he wants to run for office in Virginia, he'll actually have to be registered here.

Fracas in Farmville

With the Virginia Tech-West Virginia and Virginia-Maryland border wars taking place this weekend, there's a significant in-state gridiron contest being overshadowed.

Saturday at noon, the #23-ranked Bridgewater College Eagles go on the road to take on the #22-ranked Hampden-Sydney Tigers in what amounts to the ODAC Championship game. The Harrisonburg Daily News-Record has a good preview of the latest installment in this 62-year old rivalry.

The rivalry, which has been traditionally lopsided in favor of the Tigers, has heated up with the rise of Bridgewater as one of DIII's elite in recent years. Chances are that the winner of Saturday's game will earn a trip to the NCAA playoffs, while the loser may very well be staying home in December.

Check out the excellent BridgewaterFootball.com site for more previews, game stats, rosters, history, and streaming audio.

DeLay Indicted

According to Drudge, House Majority Leader Tom Delay was indicted today in Texas on charges of conspiracy in a campaign finance scheme. DeLay has indicated that he will step down temporarily from his leadership position. House Speaker Dennis Hastert has tapped Rep. David Dreier of California to fill the post.

This will certainly be a developing story.

UPDATE: Roy Blunt of Missouri will serve as interim Majority Leader and will share leadership duties with Dreier.

Legend of the Deep Filmed For First Time

Check out this article in the New York Times. Japanese researchers have filmed giant squid for the first time. They caught one for four hours and held it captive while filming it. It eventually broke free leaving an 18 foot tentacle behind. The creature of so much fascination is just as cool in real life as in imagination.

The Valley Responds

I have been very impressed to read about what has been going on over in the Shenandoah Valley in response to Hurricane Katrina.

If you haven't heard the story yet, The Valley Responds is a group of community leaders in the Shenandoah Valley who have adopted the town of Long Beach, MS and are focusing their giving on rebuilding the devastated community. They also hope to establish a long-term relationship between the two regions. The group's website offers a variety of ways that valley residents can contribute time, money and resources to the people of Long Beach, MS.

This unique relief effort was created by local evangelist Steve Wingfield and includes elected officials like State Sen. Mark Obenshain, R-Harrisonburg, Del. Chris Saxman, R-Staunton, Harrisonburg Mayor Larry Rogers and Rockingham County Supervisor Billy Kyger Jr. All of these men have personally visited Long Beach, MS and are working with local, state and federal agencies to provide their new "sister city" with whatever they need to rebuild.

This is a truly inspiring effort by a community to reach out to those in need and one hopes that the publicity it generates will enourage others to do the same.

UPDATE: Looks like the same thing is being considered in Charlottesville.

Whither the Republican Revolution?

Over at One Man's Trash, Norm isn't pulling any punches in expressing his exasperation with big-spending Republicans. As we look around our party today we can see very few individuals who are standing up for the principles of smaller government, balanced budgets, low taxes and fiscal restraint.

Republicans have good reason to be upset with Republicans both in Congress and in the General Assembly who abandon the core principles of our party for political expediency. It is frustrating to see legislators oppose tax increases with one hand and spend those dollars with the other. It is frustrating to see a Republican Congress, who came to power with a mandate to shrink the government, gorge itself on pork-barrel projects and a gross expansion of federal bureaucracy.

Over at NRO, Bruce Bartlett excoriates the "pork-barrel Republicans" in Congress who have engaged in what he calls "an orgy of spending." Rich Lowry wonders aloud whether the irresponsibility of Congressional Republicans might not be shifting the 2008 GOP playing field towards an unexpected savior, John McCain.

Finally, over at the Opinion Journal, Brendan Miniter looks at how the Dems might be recasting themselves as the party of fiscal discipline. Republicans had better take note if they hope to remain in power past 2006 and 2008.

The Shame of Yale Law School

Scott Johnson of Powerline Blog has an excellent article on the Solomon Amendment and the ongoing litigation surrounding it.

Simply disinenguous what Yale Law School will do for money. I think I would respect their administration more if they refused to allow JAG recruiters on campus and refused to take the $350 million in federal funding. But instead they resist as much as possible . . . except they allow the recruiters on campus while still making their stay as cold and unfriendly as they can. Pathetic.

Prayer on Capitol Hill

I had a great conversation recently with Congressman Randy Forbes in which he was telling me about the prayer meetings he started a little while ago in Room 219 on the Hill for a group he is calling the Congressional Prayer Caucus or something to that effect. The meetings are simply referred to has 219, and the turnout of congressmen to pray together has been outstanding. It continues to grow and take off as 219 groups have begun to pop up all over the country as leaders around the country focus on praying for our nation. It is comforting to know that we have at least some leaders who recognize their dependence on a higher being and come to Him humbly on their knees regularly.

There are also many people who are full-time prayer warriors, if you will, for our nation on Capitol Hill. I met several of these people recently, one of which is Ruth Coz Mizell, widow of the late Congressman Wilmer Mizell of North Carolina. She has spent almost twenty years now of praying in the corridors of power after retiring from chairing many major Republican campaigns for the Senate and the governor's mansion in Texas. She is a fascinating woman who has lived a spectacular life story and I'm glad she's still doing battle in Washington although no longer on the front lines of the grassroots political struggle.

Tuesday, September 27, 2005

Report: Illegal Immigration Increasing

A report put out today by the Pew Hispanic Center indicates that the number of immigrants entering the country illegally every year has increased since 2001 and now outpaces the number entering the nation legally.

The immigration issue is getting increasing press across the nation, and if this article is any indication, it will certainly be important in Virginia's Gubernatorial election this fall.

While Jerry Kilgore has come out with a strong stance against those that flout our nations laws and opposing the use of taxpayer money to support illegal aliens, Tim Kaine has been content to stand in favor of accomodating criminal conduct and to pass the buck to the federal government for enforcement. Melanie Scarborough of the Washington Post agrees that if Tim Kaine is elected "the problem is likely to get worse."

As illegal immigrants continue to flood into the United States taking jobs and resources from law-abiding residents, Virginia needs leadership on this rapidly worsening issue. Only Jerry Kilgore is willing to address the problem head-on rather than assigning the responsibility elsewhere.

Veterans for Kilgore

Yesterday, Jerry Kilgore stood alongside Senator John Warner to unveil his new campaign committee focusing on outreach to veterans. The committee will be headed by retired U.S. Army Colonel Jeff Gault.

The committee boasts an impressive list of Virginia's most decorated heroes, including veterans of World War II, Korea, Vietnam, Desert Storm and Operation Iraqi Freedom, as well as 7 Purple Hearts, a Silver Star, and a Medal of Honor recipient. In all, eighty-six veterans will serve on the committee, including numerous present and past Virginia elected officials.

It speaks well of Kilgore to have so many brave Americans on his team vouching for his ability as a leader.

Chad Dotson has more on John Warner's support of Jerry Kilgore here.

'08 Straw Poll

Head on over to Patrick Ruffini's website and participate in his September Presidential Straw Poll. There are some neat new features in this poll, so vote early and often. You can probably guess who I'll be voting for.

NRO Review of 'Commander in Chief'

NRO's Louis Wittig offers his impressions of the premiere of ABC's new woman-as-President drama and discovers precisely what I expected him to find:
In their dreamy Shangri-La, Democrats don’t have any messy baggage. The word “Democrat” does not appear even a single time in the pilot script. “Republican” does. The Iago-like Speaker is clearly identified as a creationism-teaching GOP member. Mackenzie Allen, on the other hand, is a plucky independent, and the audience is firmly reminded of it. Every time a character remarks how she would be the first female president, another shoots back “and the first independent.” In the glorious future, with the issues so perfectly framed, “Democrat” and “liberal” have withered away, and everyone presumably knows that their choice is between upright, sincere independents (like Allen) and icy, extremist Republicans. Ah, to dream.
The rest of the review is definitely worth a read.

The show premieres tonight at 9:00 and, as I have said before, i'll probably check it out for pure curiosity's sake. I don't expect to be impressed.

Morgantown Clears The Decks

The Virginian-Pilot informs that, with Virginia Tech headed to town fire officials have ordered residents to remove furniture and other flammable objects from their porches.

Morgantown Fire Chief Dave Fetty said:
The reason for the order is based upon statistical fire data gathered following major rival football games or other sporting events.
In other words, the WVU kids like to go a little pyro-crazy. When they win, they set couches on fire. When they lose, they set couches on fire. Thankfully, the town will now force drunken WVU students to actually carry their furniture out from inside before setting fire to it.

What a relief.

Affleck v. Allen?

The Washington Post is circulating the rumor that Virginia Democrats may be courting actor Ben Affleck in their attempt to find a challenger to Senator George Allen for the US Senate in 2006.

The article suggests that Affleck and his new wife Jennifer Garner, who is a West Virginia native, have been looking for homes in the Charlottesville area. It goes on to say that Democrats have also been making overtures to author John Grisham.

Though the national exposure would be good for the Commonwealth and for Allen, these are pretty much pipe-dreams for the Virginia Democrats and shows just how desperate they are to stop Allen's momentum towards '08.

More '08 Buzz

Admittedly we are getting way ahead of ourselves here, but the guessing game is one of the fun things about politics. In any case Too Conservative has a great post assessing the contenders for Warner's seat should he decide not to run again. Truthfully, I believe Warner will run again, as do many others.

For the record, my Karl Rove comment was tounge-in-cheek. Goodlatte and Forbes are two who I would strongly support. I am very intruiged by Mr JMS' suggestion of Kate Obenshain Griffin. Though I'd prefer to see her make a run for a State office (such as LG in '09), I have no doubt that she would make a outstanding Senator and it would be appropriate to see an Obenshain take the seat for which her father ran.

As for Gilmore and Davis, I stand by my assertion that neither of them have the support necessary to win the Senate seat.

Monday, September 26, 2005

Dream Big

by Ryan Shupe and the Rubberband is a very good song.

The Candidates on Higher Education

The Roanoke Times has an good piece detailing the differences in how the three gubernatorial candidates approach higher education. It begins, apropriately, with comparing their own personal experiences with higher education.

Jerry Kilgore has a comprehensive plan on higher education that would lessen the burden on Virginia's public schools by expanding the range of opportunities available to Virginia's students. This will be done through Virginia's Community Colleges as well as increased grants for private colleges. Kilgore would also expand current programs in Southside to provide more opportunities for four-year degrees in that region. Kilgore's plan would also offer scholarships for those pursuing engineering degrees so as to keep the best and brightest in emerging fields in-state. Kilgore would also encourage coordination between Community Colleges and employers to provide meaningful internship experiences.

The impressive thing is that Kilgore has an entirely separate educational platform to address the needs of Virginia's Colleges and Universities, while Kaine lumps all education initiatives together. As any educator can tell you, there is a big difference between K-12 education and higher education. Kilgore has obviously done his homework.

Tim Kaine's solution is, of course, to dump ever more public money into the breach. Frankly Kaine's higher education plan is extremely weak, a fact the RT not surprisingly glosses over. His two initiatives are to establish a four-year public university in Southside and to give scholarships to students who do community service. That's it. Kaine doesn't say how a new public university would be funded, but given the incredible cost associated with starting up an entirely new institution, one can guess that it starts with taxpayers money. The scholarships are a nice feel-good measure, but Kaine offers nothing even close to as substantive as Kilgore on how to address the growing needs of Virginia's students and public universities.

Six Straight Days of College Football

Starting with tonight's LSU-Tennessee game (in progress), college football fans can enjoy six consecutive days of college football games on the ESPN family of networks:

Tuesday night features Toledo at Fresno State on ESPN2 at 9:00

Wednesday features Cincinnati at Miami of Ohio on ESPN2 at 7:00

Thursday features Air Force at Colorado State on ESPN at 7:30

Friday features Pittsburgh at Rutgers on ESPN2 at 8:00

Saturday's full slate of games begins at High Noon on ESPN as the #3 Virginia Tech Hokies travel to Morgantown to face the WVU Hillbillies Mountaineers.

Personally, I am a traditionalist who likes all his college football games on Saturdays, but I guess you can never have too much of a good thing.

Phillies Pitcher Stays True to his Roots

The Roanoke Times has this great article about Virginia native and Ferrum College graduate Billy Wagner, who is a closing pitcher for the Philiadelphia Phillies. Wagner maintains a home in Crozet, Virginia so that he doesn't have to live in Philly during the offseason. Given the choice of Philly and Albemarle County, I can't say that I blame him.

The Nationals or Braves really need to sign this guy.

Krempasky: FEC Trying to Regulate Political Blogs

Here is the article about Krempasky speaking at UVA Law last week. If you don't know this already, you bloggers will want to read this. This article doesn't do a good job of explaning Krempasky's actual tone during his talk. He is worried by the FEC, but their first attempt at regulating us will not succeed.

President Cup Signs in Gainesville

Did anyone notice the permanent green road signs that VDOT put up along I-66 for the President's Cup this past weekend in Gainesville, Virginia? I just found that rather odd. They were up for several weeks before the event. They will be priceslessly original for somebody's stolen sign collection.

On another note, it was great to see Jack Nicklaus go out with a win as captain of the American team, especially considering our poor track record with him as a coach in the last few President's Cups.

When is a hypothetical more than a hypothetical?

Our friend Waldo Jaquith is demanding answers from the Kilgore camp about the candidate's stance on abortion. One only need to visit Kilgore's website briefly to discover a clear answer to that question:
Jerry Kilgore is a pro-life candidate, with exceptions for when the life of the mother is in danger or when a rape or incest has occurred...
What Waldo really wants is for Kilgore to wade into the ocean of "what ifs" that were unleashed by Tim Russert at the Fairfax debate. Waldo cites a Virginian-Pilot editorial stating the following:
Given the very real possibility that a reconstituted U.S. Supreme Court might overturn Roe vs. Wade during the next four years, there’s no reason to skirt the obvious question: What would you do if the legislature sent you a bill banning abortion?
This is not just any hypothetical question. It is a hypothetical that is premised on another hypothtical. A "what if?" conditioned by a "what if?" If the candidates were to get into this type of conjecture the possibilities would be endless.

The assumptions made by Waldo and the Virginian-Pilot are off base. There is nothing "very real' about the possibility of Roe being overturned in the next four years. This is a fallacy perpetuated by the left to scare women voters. Even if a pro-life vote replaces O'Connor's there are still five votes in favor of upholding Roe. While it is possible that the court may allow increased restrictions of abortion practices, such as a partial-birth abortion ban that is widely favored by the American public, there is NO CHANCE that Kilgore will have an opportunity to sign a statewide abortion ban during his tenure in office.

To respond to such pie-in-the-sky scenarios would be pointless.

Down-ticket Races Heat Up

Yesterday's Daily Progress offers a glimpse into the contrasting worlds of Virginia's downticket races. In the LG contest, you've got the unabashed conservative Bill Bolling and unapologetic liberal Leslie Byrne hurling fireballs of rhetoric at one another with reckless abandon.

On the AG side of things, you got a much more cerebral contest between the aggressive Bob McDonnell and the invisible Creigh Deeds. These two have stuck mainly to the issues as McDonnell has set out an ambitious plan to combat everything from Gangs and Drugs to Online Sexual Predators, while Deeds has been content to lay low, talk about his legislative accomplishments and try to convince folks that his running mate is Mark Warner, not Tim Kaine.

Voters should note that these four candidates will appear on public radio station WVTF's "Evening Edition" program over the next two weeks from 7:30 to 8:30. Tomorrow will feature the LG candidates, while next week will feature the AG hopefuls.

Virginia Blogger Carnival

Be sure to check out the latest installment of the VBC over at 750 Volts. Now where can I get the funnel cake?

Sunday, September 25, 2005

Looking Ahead to '08

No I'm not talking about the Presidential election, I'm talking about the jockeying for John Warner's seat in the U.S. Senate. Of course, Warner has not announced whether or not he wil run for reelection yet, but that hasn't stopped folks from beginning to speculate who might run if he doesn't. Still, I'll remind folks that many a political career has expired waiting for John Warner to make up hs mind.

Over at One Man's Trash, Norm clues us in to whispers coming from Bob Novak that former RNC Chairman, and New Jersey native, Ed Gillespie is a possibility. Norm also names Tom Davis and Jim Gilmore as parties who might be interested in the '08 speculation.

While Gilmore and Davis might be interested in the seat, both of them have too much baggage to stand a chance in a nomination contest. Too many Republicans are still angry at Gilmore for ruining the Republican dominance of the '90s and handing the keys to the Governor's mansion to Mark Warner. It doesn't help that his failed leadership of the RNC remains their last public memory of him. For Davis, he simply has no cache outside of Northern Virginia, and as the Sean Connaughton Experiment proved, that's not enough. Further, Connaughton has way more charisma than Davis does and that NoVa political machine just isn't going to help outside the beltway.

Let me throw out a couple of other names that should get more consideration. Bob Goodlatte and Randy Forbes. Both of these guys are Republican congressmen who could be well positioned for a promotion if John Warner steps aside. Since being elected to Congress in '92, Goodlatte has been a leading member of the House Republicans, particularly on internet and high-tech issues. Goodlatte also serves as Chairman of the House Agriculture Committee and was mentioned as a potential nominee for Agriculture Secretary after Ann Veneman's resignation in 2004. Forbes was elected to Congress in 2001 to fill the vacancy caused by the death of Norm Sisisky. Prior to that Forbes served in the House of Delegates from 1989-1997 and the State Senate from 1997-2001. Forbes also served as chair of the Virginia Republican Party from 1996-2001, during which time Republicans swept all three statewide offices in 1997. Forbes also serves on the House Armed Services Committee, which would be valuable in replacing the Senate's current Armed Services Committee Chairman.

Of course there is always another individual with connections to both the RNC and RPV, and whom the President might be willing to support, Karl Rove.

Is Europe Moving to the Right?

Exit polls for Poland's national elections today indicate that the Polish people have rejected the incumbent left-wing party and have elected a coalition of right-leaning parties to govern the former communist nation.

The social conservative Law and Justice Party (27.6% of the vote) and the free-market Civic Platform (24.1%) have agreed to form a governing coalition and will hold nearly two-thirds of the seats in the Polish legislature's lower house. The governing Democratic Left Alliance, which favored withdrawing troops from Iraq by Dec. 31 of this year, garnered a mere 11.1 percent of the vote.

This development follows on the heels of last week's German elections which ousted the incumbent party of Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder in favor of the right-leaning Christian Democrats. Although economic factors were the driving force in this election, it cannot be ignored that a portion of the CDU's platform was repairing relations with the United States.

Another political development that did not get much press from American media were the twin rejections of the EU Charter by voters in France this past May and The Netherlands in June. French voters rejected the EU Constitution by a margin of 55% to 45%, while the Dutch rejected it by a margin of 62% to 38%.

France under the leadership of Jacques Chirac has obviously been one of the most vocal opponents of the Iraq War. With the failure of the EU Constitution, it now becomes questionable whether Chirac will seek reelection in 2007.

The American media has taken every opportunity to bash President Bush and portray his administration as one that is responsible for creating a rift between the US and Europe. What they apparently haven't considered, is that it may have been the European governments who had drifted leftward, causing the rift. It now appears that folks across the pond are becoming tired with the same old negative liberal politics and failed policies of old Europe and may be open to steering the continent back toward a closer relationship with the US.

Saturday, September 24, 2005

Hokies Make a Statement

With many of the pundits calling #4 Virginia Tech "overrated" after beating up on two straight cupcakes by identical scores of 45-0, the Hokies made a statement this afternoon by absolutely dismantling a talented #15 Georgia Tech team 51-7.

The Hokies clearly belongs in the national championship discussion right now along with USC and Texas. This could very well be the best defense Virginia Tech has ever had, which is saying a lot given the talent Virginia Tech has had on defense over the years. The Hokies have only allowed two touchdowns so far this season and have outscored their opponents 161-23.

Next week the Hokies will face a serious test travelling to Morgantown to face rival West Virginia for what could be the last meeting between these two teams for quite some time. Of course it was West Virginia that derailed VT's title hopes back in 2003, when the Hokies came in 6-0. The Black Diamond trophy match will be no cakewalk for the Hokies, but if they escape Wild, Wonderful West Virginia unbeaten, the folks in Blacksburg could be in store for a very special season.

Political Sign Watching on Gameday

So far down at Blacksburg I have seen 3 Kilgore signs (one 4'x8' and two smaller yardsigns), 1 McDonnell sign, 1 Potts sign, and ZERO Kaine signs.

Good work Hokies.

UPDATE: OK, the Kaine folks finally showed up. Must be late sleepers.

Chris Fowler on Virginia Tech football

College Gameday has the folks in Blacksburg worked into a frenzy this morning. Here's a nice line from this morning's show:

The bricks and mortar of this program are the sons of the Commonwealth of Virginia.

Nice.

Observing the Sabbath

I may be Protestant, but Saturday is still my day of rest. I'll be doing absolutely nothing today except watching college football from morning 'till night. Should be a great day on the gridiron.

Old Zach at the Movies

I just finished watching Ong-Bak, the martial arts film featuring Muay Thai fighter Tony Jaa. The amazing thing about the movie is that there are no special effects and no stunt doubles. If you like martial arts movies, you can't miss this one. Simply jaw-dropping.

Friday, September 23, 2005

Should Frist Resign as Majority Leader?

Poster Leon H over at Redstate.org seems to think so, and he's obviously not the only one. While Republicans should reserve judgement on Frist about the insider trading charges until more is known, I agree that Frist's leadership of the Senate GOP has been mediocre at best.

As the Party gears up for a tough fight over Sandra Day O'Connor's replacement to the Supreme Court and focuses in on the 2006 elections, the Senate needs a capable captain steering the ship.

So the question arises, who should replace Frist? Two popular suggestions seem to be Jon Kyl and Mitch McConnell. Another name I might suggest would be Sam Brownback. The wildcard might be John McCain. While most would say there's no chance of McCain getting the votes, I never underestimate the guy's ability to surprise us.

This will certainly be a developing story.

Leinart the Celebrity

I've never rooted for USC or particularly liked anyone in the Pac-10 in general. In fact, I've always looked down on them as something of an overrated conference both in football and basketball, although less so in basketball thanks go UCLA obviously. But Matt Leinart's decision to come back for his final year of eligibility despite having accomplished just about everything possible on the college level amazes me and he's reached a level of celebrity unknown to any college athlete in quite some time. It doesn't hurt for him to play in Hollywood.

Rita moves College Gameday to Blacksburg

The wrath of Hurricane Rita is already having an effect on the College Football landscape before the weekend even starts. As a result of the hurricane, the LSU-Tennessee football game scheduled for Saturday has been moved to Monday. That change posed a problem for the College Gameday crew of Fowler, Corso, and Herbstreit, who had planned to do their pregame show from Tiger Stadium.

As a result, the top brass at ESPN made the wise decision to have the Gameday show make its fourth-ever visit to beautiful Blacksburg, Virginia to witness Saturday's matchup pitting the two highest-ranked teams, #4 Virginia Tech and #15 Georgia Tech, against each other. The only other games this weekend between ranked teams are #21 Iowa at #8 Ohio State and #1 USC at #24 Oregon.

Virginia Tech is 2-0 all-time when Gameday is on campus, defeating Syracuse and Miami during their 1999 run to the National Championship game. The last time Gameday showed up was for the 2000 season opener scheduled between Virginia Tech and Georgia Tech. That game was forced to be cancelled after Lee Corso foolishly picked Georga Tech to win and the Almighty Hokie struck his car with lightning.

For the sake of his insurance rates, let's hope that Corso doesn't make the same mistake again this time.

Thursday, September 22, 2005

I'll Take Bogus Poll Questions for $1000, Alex

A CNN/USA Today Poll released today revealed that "fewer than half of Americans believe the United States will win the Iraq war." Well, bless my soul.

The actual question is framed like this:
Which comes closer to your view about whether the United States will win the war in Iraq? Definitely win, Probably win, Can win but don't think it will, or Do not think it can win.

Given the fact that the question was posed to 818 Americans, I'm going to go out on a limb and guess that there are probably about, um, 818 different ideas about what in the hell this vague and pointless question actually means.

Furthermore, the survey asked the following question:
Do you have a clear idea of what the Iraq war is all about?

Given that 33% of respondents answered "No" that leaves about, um, 548 different opinions about what the war in Iraq is all about. Not surprising that so many people don't think we can "win" in Iraq when they don't even know what that would entail.

This poll is just another transparent, ham-handed effort on the part of the mainstream media to drum up opposition to President Bush and his policies. Fortunately, it fails miserably.

Leslie Byrne calls Virginia Not Southern

From the St. Petersburg Times, October 30, 1989
"Southern doesn't mean what it used to," said state legislator Leslie Byrne of Fairfax County, the booming Washington, D.C., suburb that accounts for a great deal of both Virginia's population growth and the political change that accompanied it. "Southern is a climate more than it's an ideology now. (Virginia) has viewed itself as a Southern state. Demographically, it's now a mid-Atlantic state."
Am I the only one who doesn't see this quote playing well in Jarrett, Lunenburg, Gladys, Chatham, Bassett or Wise?

Update: Added a quotation mark that I accidentally deleted.

"Commander in Chief" Worth a Look?

Last night as I spent two hours in my comfy recliner watching the Season 1 recap and Season 2 Premiere of ABC's LOST (which was excellent), I was bombarded by commercials for ABC's new "critically acclaimed" (what new shows aren't?) drama Commander in Chief, starring Geena Davis as the first female President of the United States.

The premise of the show appears to be that Davis' character was nominated to the Vice-Presidency as a "stunt" and when the President dies, she ascends to the Presidency despite the objections of some other political power players. Putting aside the ridiculousness of nominating someone to the Vice-Presidency as a stunt, something smells fishy about this particular hard-sell.

Now this may sound cynical, but if you think Hollywood doesn't have an agenda with this show you are either very naive, or you just don't care. The fact is that this show desperately wants to convince the American public that a woman is capable of being President, and you can guess why. That doesn't mean, however, that a woman ISN'T capable of being President (she is), nor does it mean that the show won't be any good (we'll see).

The West Wing had an agenda too. It desperately wanted to convince the American public that a Democrat was capable of being everything we want from our Presidents. That doesn't mean it was a bad show, in fact, it was an excellent show. It simply means that we as viewers should understand that we are being sold something specific and we should keep that in mind when judging the show on its merits.

I will almost certainly watch the first episode and then we'll see if it warrants future viewings.

Leslie Byrne writes great poem

From The Washington Post, January 19, 1988
Del. Leslie L. Byrne (D-Fairfax) last week asked the people in Legislative Services, who do such things, to draft a resolution commending the Redskins for their triumph.

By yesterday, however, no resolution was ready for her to present on the floor of the House of Delegates.

Undeterred, Byrne drafted the following doggerel:

Minnesota fans may holler and bellow
Today's Viking is an unhappy fellow
For yesterday at forty-two past three
The Redskins won the NFC.
We Virginians love our team
Winning the Super Bowl, our big dream
So we offer congrats to burgundy and gold
A commending resolution my desk does hold.
For all delegates who would like to sign
Sing "Hail to the Redskins" at Seat 49.

Roberts the Inevitable

This is about what everyone was expecting. Three Democrats crossed party lines to vote for Roberts nomination.

Powerline is right that the fact that a majority of the Democrats voted against an eminently qualified nominee supported by major liberal media outlets such as the Washington Post and the Los Angeles Times sets a precedent which will be remembered for a long time. It's something we should certainly remember the next time we have a Democratic President in the White House and he nominates a qualifed but liberal judge (and we are certain he will do the latter without wavering).

Warner Doesn't Take Page Out of Groh's Playbook

This Saturday against Syracuse, when Al Groh went for it on fourth down and one from the 10 yard line with a minute left to kill the clock when he could have gone ahead and kicked a field goal to probably win the game, he took a calculated risk. After the game, he said that he made the decision while thinking about the movie Risky Business: "All we came for was to win ... You guys ever seen the movie 'Risky Business'? Sometimes, you've just gotta say, 'What the ... heck.' "

Patrick McSweeney's piece on Bacon's Rebellion is an excellent analysis of Warner's failure to do exactly what Groh did on Saturday: take a calculated risk. Despite Warner's superior ratings among Virginia voters, he is not bold enough to put his political future on the line in a campaign against Allen. If he won, his chances at being elected President would be greatly enhanced, but he is not willing to risk the ramifications of a defeat.

That's what separates George Allen and Mark Warner. When George Allen was redistricted out of a congressional seat, he decided to ante up and run for governor. Warner just doesn't have that kind of guts.

Wednesday, September 21, 2005

Mazzone Best Assistant Coach of All-Time?

Here is a excellent article on ESPN.com about Leo Mazzone's job as pitching coach for the Atlanta Braves over the last 15 years. It argues that he's the greatest assistant coach of all-time. As a long time Atlanta fan, I find that hard to argue with. It's also an exhaustive article with interviews with roughly 15 people who he worked with or coached over the last 20 years, including quite a few pitchers who benefied from his mentorship.

Krempasky and Hayward In the Same Room

We've got Mike Krempasky of www.redstate.org and Allison Hayward of www.skepticseye.com here as we speak in the room discussing the FEC and bloggers. Excellent panel put on by the Federalist Society at UVA Law.

Recruiters allowed back at Harvard Law

In a rather surprising turn of events, Harvard Law School has decided to permit military recruiters on campus this year after they joined a number of law schools in banning them last year. The schools argued that the military's "don't ask, don't tell" policy violated the schools' nondiscrimination requirements.

The disagreement became the subject of legal action because the policy implemented by the schools directly conflicts with a federal law called the Solomon Amendment. That law requires campuses to allow military recruiters on campus or risk losing federal grants. The case will go before the Supreme Court in December after the 3rd Circuit Court of Appeals sided with law schools last year.

The military needs access to law schols for recruiting purposes in order to convince good lawyers to enter the JAG corps. The JAGcorps is at a disadvantage up front because they can't offer the huge salaries that many law firms do. Face-to-face recruiting on law school campuses is much more effective than other types of advertising in finding suitable candidates for JAG. Congress has already recognized the importance of permitting this type of recruiting. One can only hope that the Court will too.

Virginia Blogger Carnival

We've been remiss here at SST in not publicizing the Virginia Bloggers Carnival that Chad has worked so hard to get going. It's really a great way to see what's going on around the Virginia blogosphere. Scoot on over to One Man's Trash to check out this week's veritable cornucopia of fresh-cut blogness. Great work Virginia bloggers!

Next week, keep an eye out for our first contribution over at 750 Volts.

What's All the Fuss About?

Tonight I am going to watch LOST. I have never seen this show but everyone I know loves it, I can't stop reading about it, and it no longer comes on at the same time as Smallville, so I guess I'll check it out. Heck, even the National Review gave it a favorable write-up.

Riner on Character at Dartmouth Convocation

I recommend you this brief but amazing speech by Dartmouth senior and Student Body President Noah Riner. The speech is his welcome to the class of '09. In his speech, he talks about how though the new class may be brilliant, intelligence doesn't matter much if you don't have character. He focuses on the nature of human beings and the need for redemption. It is encouraging to know that speeches such as this one can occur in the Ivy League or the Northeast in general....or any university for that matter.

An excerpt:

My purpose in mentioning the horrible things done by certain people on the Gulf Coast isn’t to condemn just them; rather it’s to condemn all of us. Supposedly, character is what you do when no one is looking, but I’m afraid to say all the things I’ve done when no one was looking. Cheating, stealing, lusting, you name it - How different are we? It’s easy to say that we’ve never gone that far: never stolen that much; never lusted so much that we’d rape; and the people we’ve cheated, they were rich anyway.

Let’s be honest, the differences are in degree. We have the same flaws as the individuals who pillaged New Orleans. Ours haven’t been given such free range, but they exist and are part of us all the same.

Noah Riner spent this summer before beginning his senior year at Dartmouth at Marine officer training at Quantico. Unfortunately, he broke his foot after about 6 weeks. It takes character to recover from that sort of blow. So he knows what he's talking about.

Military Absentee Voting in Virginia

The RTD reminds us today that Virginians who are deployed overseas can request and receive absentee ballots by e-mail. While they still have to return them by regular mail, this could certainly make the process a lot easier for those individuals.

If you know someone to whom this might apply, please let them know. The deadline to register is October 11. The Virginia State Board of Elections website is here.

NCAA picks on the Illini

By now everyone knows about the NCAA's recent ban on Native American mascots in postseason play. The ban originally affected 18 schools, until Florida State (Seminoles), Utah (Utes) and Central Michigan (Chippewas) successfully lobbied for exemptions.

Now the NCAA has extended the ban to NCAA-sanctioned bowl games for D-I college football teams. What does this mean? Well, the fact is that only one school out of the remaining 15 plays Division I-A football: The University of Illinois Fighting Illini.

The Illini's mascot, Chief Illiniwek is a 78-year old tradition that supporters say honors the contributions of native americans to the state of Illinois. Further, supporters argue that it is impossible for the Illini to get the support of a particular tribe, as do the Seminoles, since the Illiniwek no longer exist. According to the Chicagoist website, the school argues that the term "Fighting Illini" was originally developed in 1919 to refer to the school's football team, not to Native Americans, and that the mascot didn't emerge until 1926.

While the exempted schools may have good relations with their respective tribes, one has to wonder if the origins of the Native American imagery that they use differs very much from that used at Illinois. If not, it would only seem to enhance the arbitrariness and absurdity of the NCAA's ruling.

Throw Another Log On

Building on RomeoCat's comment in the post below, I couldn't agree more that there's nothing like a good old-fashioned wood fire. The sound and smell of wood burning in an open hearth always reminds me of home.

According to today's Roanoke Times, many people are beginning to rediscover the wonders of wood. With rising energy costs, it's no surprise that folks are turning back to the old reliable fuel source for relief. Not to mention the fact that today's wood stoves are much more clean, more efficient and safer than the ones your grandparents may have had.

Just another reason to be thankful for all those beautiful forests here in the Commonwealth.

The Most Wonderful Time of the Year

In honor of the first day of Autumn, here are 10 reasons why Fall is the best time of year (in no particular order). Feel free to add your own.

1. High School, College, and Pro Football, Baseball Playoffs, NASCAR Chase, NHL and basketball getting started. Fall is a sports-junkie's dream.

2. Nature's Fireworks. Nothing compares to watching the leaves turn in the Shenandoah Valley.

3. Pumpkin Pie, Candy Corn, Sweet Potatoes, Apple Butter, anything made by mom. I could go on, but I'm making myself hungry.

4. There are two types of Fall movies: Academy Award hopefuls and Horror flicks. I love them both.

5. That feeling in the air right before it snows for the first time.

6. Election Season

7. Deer Season

8. Veterans Day (November 11). This holiday, which honors our living veterans, is often overshadowed by Halloween and Thanksgiving and often confused with Memorial Day, which honors those who have given their lives in service. Don't forget to thank a Veteran.

9. Spending time with family. It always just seems like Fall is when people get together for any reason, or no reason at all.

10. Virginia Tech-UVA. Need I say more?

Tuesday, September 20, 2005

A Legitimate Question

The Opinion Journal asks a serious question that Republicans will be facing in next year's Congressional elections, not to mention 2008.

The Party of balanced budgets and smaller government that swept back into power in 1994 seems to have gone by the wayside. Today's Congressional Republicans are fat, happy and content to keep gorging themselves on the taxpayers money while they enjoy the advantages of incumbency.

Will the Party wake up before it's too late? Or might we soon be on the flip side of our own 1994?

More on Germany

There is some serious political wrangling going on over in Deutschland as Merkel's Christian Democrats, who won a very narrow victory in Sunday's elections, seek to piece together a coalition that will allow them to control the German government. Personally, I favor the "Jamaica coalition."

Read Deutschland Online for more.

Death Metal Republicans

You must read this fantastic article by Shawn Macomber at the National Review about a heavy metal musician who is also a hard-core Bush supporter. Just to give you taste, the guy fronts a band called Candy Striper Death Orgy and runs a chain of adult bookstores. Trust me, it is worth reading.

My favorite part is this:
There always has been a delicious-yet-maddening irony in anarchists and punk rockers — for who the individual is supposed to be supreme — vociferously supporting candidates that want to expand government and narrow the ability of individuals to function as they choose.

I experienced this over the summer when I went to see some of my favorite bands play at a punk-rock music festival called the Warped Tour. I can safely say that I was the only person there who wore this shirt. Sure I got a lot of funny looks, but it strikes me as even funnier to see all of the so-called non-conformists who look, think and act just like one another.

In any case, there will always be plenty of room in our tent if those kids ever decide to turn off MTV and start thinking for themselves.

Let the Battle be Joined

The WaPo reports that Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid will announce his intention to vote against John Roberts for Chief Justice in hopes of encouraging other Democrats to do the same.

First of all, Roberts is going to be confirmed so Reid pronouncement is simply an attempt to get more "me time" in the newspapers. However, this should be a signal to President Bush regarding who he chooses to replace Sandra Day O'Connor.

The Democrats are going to oppose ANYONE the President nominates for any reason, or for no reason at all. The President should choose the most reliably conservative person he can and force the Democrats to decide whether they want to filibuster. Most Americans give the President great deference, as does the Constitution, in choosing nominees to the Supreme Court. Conservatism is NOT a legitimate bar to service in the minds of most Americans, and the Democrats will lose this battle if they choose to fight it.

For once in my lifetime I'd actually like to see the national Republican Party not wimp out and give in to the Democrats. Please Mr. President, give us a nominee that will make Diane Feinstein's head explode during committee hearings.

Other Things to Watch

While watching the Cowboys-Redskins game last night I caught the new TV ad by the Other candidate for Governor. I must say that I laughed aloud at the ridiculousness of it.

The candidate would like his campaign to be viewed as a cacophony of pot-banging progressivism. Instead, what most Virginians are hearing is more like the shrill cries of an infant who has had his toys taken away.

Furthermore, the version I saw last night is a little different from the version on the website. In the ad I saw, the candidate states that he "hates taxes." It's an interesting declaration from someone whose only answer to any question in this campaign has been to raise taxes even more. But then, I guess it's just not that much of a pinch in his pocket.

Can NASCAR Recruit?

There was an interesting article this weekend in the RTD about whether the money that the military spends sponsoring cars in NASCAR's Nextel Cup and Busch Series' (about $38 million overall) is worth the return.

Critics argue that NASCAR sponsorship is not cost effective in that it doesn't necessarily generate a lot of recuits. However this argument largely misses the point of NASCAR sponsorship. NASCAR's success rests largely on the brand loyalty of it's fans.

One critic notes that:
NASCAR does a great job selling cell phones, laundry detergent, power tools, beer, jeans, markers and nearly every other product under the sun, but it simply falls short at selling the armed forces to young Americans.

What that individual misses is that the military is doing more than simply fishing for recruits, it is fostering loyalty and goodwill among all NASCAR fans. Those fans will support the US Military in the same way that they support Ford, Tide, and Budweiser. In other words, when little Johnny comes home saying he wants to join the Army, Mom and Dad will support his mature decision.

As any recruiter will tell you, recruiting soldiers is about much more than selling the military to a young man or woman, it is about selling their families too. NASCAR nation represents the bright-red heart of America, from whence the vast majority of military recruits hail. The Pentagon would do well to continue speaking directly to those people in a language they can understand.

Fantastic Football

Well, it's early in the season in both College and Professional football, but there are already quite a few surprises.

In college, Baylor, Indiana, and Vanderbilt, long the whipping boys of their respective power conferences, are all 3-0. Of these, Vandy has the best chance to make a bowl game with Richmond, Middle Tennessee, and Kentucky left on the schedule. Other surprising unbeatens include Penn State, Alabama, Toledo, and Kansas. Meanwhile, teams like Oklahoma, Miami and Michigan have looked positively mortal.

In the pros, my beloved Redskins have gone 7 of 8 quarters without scoring a touchdown. Unfortunately, the Redskins are saddled with two QB's that stink equally and one rookie who's not ready for prime time. Last night, I was all prepared for another disapointing loss to the Evil Empire of Jerry Jones. Fortunately for the 'Skins, the offense came at the exact right time with two touchdowns in the waning moments of last nights game against the Cowboys to give them a 14-13 victory and a 2-0 record headed into the bye week. I'm still begging Daniel Snyder to sell the team before he does any more damage to the once-proud franchise, but at least I can call the Redskins undefeated for another week.

Finally, I'll point out that Virginia Tech leads the nation in scoring defense, posting back to back shutouts and only allowing a single touchdown in 12 quarters of football. However, now begins the meat of the schedule with upstart Georgia Tech (another 3-0 team) coming to Blacksburg this weekend.

With the Hokies, Redskins and my high school team all undefeated, the good karma seems to be flowing all around right now. Perhaps I should be playing the lottery.

Monday, September 19, 2005

Staffer from Odessa, TX criticizes Wytheville

The Roanoke Times on Sunday had the story about a staffer on a campaign in Southwest Virginia making fun of Southwest Virginia. This story was over at Virginia 2005 about a week ago.

Ranking pretty high on the unintentional comedy scale is a person from Odessa, TX and a graduate of Texas Tech making fun of anywhere.

Saturday, September 17, 2005

Update on German Elections

The news out of Germany is not as hopeful as we had previously thought. I am still positive about Merkel's chances when I remember how the French voted down the European Constitution and the English have reelected Tony Blair...there is still some sanity in the Old World.

Hagans Excellent Minus the Interceptions

For those of you who watched the UVA-Syracuse game this afternoon, you will appreciate what I'm saying when I say that Hagans dominated the game with his scrambling ability. It was the first 100 yard rushing game of his career, but I believe that he could have a lot more if Groh would just give him the greenlight to run whenever. Last year, Groh often reigned Hagans in, but Hagans is an amazing talent to watch in the open field. He's far better than Marcus Vick at running the ball.

Admittedly, he did throw 3 picks in the first half, to bring his total to 5, the same number he threw all of last year. But he didn't let that stop him. And the final drive where he ran for 26 yards in a spectacular scramble on third down showed his steel. I believe he can lead the team to a lot of victories this year, although Virginia really really needs to get Ahmad Brooks AND Wali Lundy back on the playing field if we hope to have a solid year.

Friday, September 16, 2005

Election Weekend

Other than Virginia Tech's certain dismantling of Ohio University, the big story I'll be keeping a close eye on this weekend is Sunday's election in Germany.

The Germans appear poised to elect the nation's first female Chancellor in conservative Angela Merkel, who has been likened to Britain's former Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher. While the race has narrowed in recent weeks, it looks as though Merkel's Christian Democratic Union Party will likely prevail. The CDU has forged an alliance with the Free Democrat Party in an effort to reverse Germany's economic stagnation with free-market, tax-slashing reforms.

In addition to conservative economic reforms, Merkel has also pledged to repair German relations with the United States, which would be good news for both nations. In any case, there are likely to be some significant changes in store for Germany in the near future, and I hope Merkel is the one leading them.

Thursday, September 15, 2005

Farm Bureau endorses McDonnell over Deeds

I was flipping through this month's issue of the Farm Bureau News, and I noticed that AgPAC has made a number of endorsements in this year's races.

For those who don't know, Farm Bureau is a very large (146,000 members) association of Virginians. They provide insurance to members, marketing services, rural health programs, and legislative lobbying.

AgPAC is the "political action committee of Virginia Farm Bureau Federation". Farm Bureau members can add $50 or $100 to their annual dues to be used for legislative lobbying.

The shocker, at least to me, is that AgPAC has endorsed of Del. Bob McDonnell over Sen. Creigh Deeds.

Although the bulk of Sen. Deeds district is the liberal Charlottesville region, many in the media and in the blogosphere have been touting Sen. Deeds as the kind of rural Democrat who can win statewide. After all, Sen. Deeds owns a donkey and Del. McDonnell is from a suburban part of Virginia Beach.

I have no idea what issues factored into AgPAC's decision, but I've heard that Del. McDonnell did a lot of work on Virginia's eminent domain reform, an issue near the top of AgPAC's agenda.

Wednesday, September 14, 2005

Missive from NoVa

There are two free newspapers given out each morning at Metro stations in the Washington area. WaPo Express and the DC Examiner are like newspaper lite - you read them for 15 minutes and then throw them away when you get to your destination.

The debate was on page 10 of the Examiner and on page 11 of the WaPo Express. In other words, not exactly grabbing the attention of the masses.

The MSM's Kissin' Cuzzins

Here's an interesting article about the incestuous relationship between the New York Times and the Washington Post. Basically, life goes on as usual inside the echo chamber. Thank goodness for the blogosphere.

Pledge of Allegiance back in court

Says here that a Federal Judge in San Francisco has again tried to strike down the Pledge of Allegiance as unconstitutional because it contains the words "under God."

While there is sure to be outrage voiced from coast-to-coast over this decision in the coming weeks, all this decision really does is set the stage for the case to be brought before the Supreme Court. Last year, the Supreme Court took a pass on a similar Pledge case.

It might be a while before this case makes it to the Supreme Court, so it is likely that the Roberts Court, including Sandra Day O'Connor's replacement, will have taken shape by then. One can hope that the new Court might finally start moving away from the silly "neutrality" standard and findings of "ceremonial religion" that devalue religious beliefs. But I wouldn't hold my breath.

Don't Worry About Roberts

He'll be just fine. There's a lot of hand-wringing coming from some conservatives over John Roberts' answers to the Judiciary Committee this week. I believe these worries are unfounded and are simply the product of Republican uneasiness over getting punk'd yet again on a Supreme Court nomination.

Roberts is no Souter. He's not even Kennedy. I am completely confident that conservative Republicans will grow to respect, admire, and appreciate John Roberts' presence on the Supreme Court. For those worried about Roberts' statements on Roe v. Wade, I direct you to Byron York's column over at NRO. This time, I believe it is the Dems who'll be caught unaware.

Besides, anyone who loves Doctor Zhivago has something good going for them.

The War on Poverty's Failure in New Orleans

Here is a powerful article by Brendan Miniter in the Wall Street Journal on the stranding of the poor in New Orleans since the days of LBJ. For once, somebody gets it right.

Joe Biden in 1993

Chairman Joe Biden: "[Y]ou not only have a right to choose what you will answer and not answer, but in my view you should not answer a question of what your view will be on an issue that clearly is going to come before the court in 50 different forms, probably, over the next - over your tenure on the court." (Committee On The Judiciary, U.S. Senate, Hearing, 7/22/93)

Kilgore Won This Race in 2001

Despite the fact that pundits such as Larry Sabato are claiming Kilgore looked nervous and argued his positions poorly, the Fairfax Chamber of Commerce debate yesterday will make little to no difference on how people view Jerry Kilgore and how far ahead he is in the polls. First of all, no average Virginians watched the debate, partly because it it was early in the afternoon, and partially because no one really cares...at least not yet.

To be perfectly honest, Jerry Kilgore won this race in his 2001 campaign for Attorney General when Ken Hutcheson did an excellent job of defining Kilgore for the voters against an extremely poor opponent. While Kilgore was garnering 60% of the vote, Tim Kaine was struggling to defeat a poorly run and poorly funded Jay Katzen campaign by less than a percentage point. Kilgore appeals to Virginians despite or perhaps because of his accent. The worries that he might not resonate in more "sophisticated" areas of Virginia is proving to be a fleeting thought.

Jeff Sessions: I Don't Know What Roberts Will Do on Roe

It's a bad sign for conservatives when one of the prominent Republican senators on the Senate Judiciary Committee has no faith in Roberts to actually accomplish what most Republican voters were motivated by when they voted for Bush. Now, this may all be just the brilliance of Roberts to obfuscate and get approved by the Senate, and I hope it is, but you have to admit that the uncertainty of Roberts' stance on abortion makes one a little queasy when remembering past occurrences (i.e. David Souter).

Tuesday, September 13, 2005

News Flash: Chicago Still Corrupt

Sometimes we begin to think we have reached some civilized age where the old prejudices and corruptions that once controlled the inner cities are things of the past. But then we are quickly put in our place.

Matt Rosenberg breaks down the continued corruption of the Daley machine and their inability to conduct themselves in a manner respectful of the rule of law or the democratic process.

Three cheers for Gary Skoien, Chairman of the Cook County Republican Party, and his crusade to take down Daley. We can all hope he will eventually take Daley down.

New Ukraine Administration Reeling

President Yushchenko fired his prime minister, Tymoshenko, along many other members of his cabinet in the wake of scandals involving his son and others. Tymoshenko says that she will be running for the post of prime minister in the parliamentary elections of 2006. It is sad to see these former allies in the battle to free Ukraine now pitted against each other politically...somewhat reminiscent of the early 1790s and Jefferson and Hamilton's clashes.

Reports from Ukraine say that many of the citizens are very disappointed with the direction that Yushchenko has taken the country and are ready to go out into the streets yet again.

Sunday, September 11, 2005

A good sports weekend

Yesterday, I was in Durham and watched Virginia Tech take care of business against the Dookies.

Today, I was at FedEx Field to see the Redskins defeat the Chicago Bears.

And best of all, Jeff Gordon is out of the Chase.

Saturday, September 10, 2005

Emissions test

Two gallons of ethanol mixed in a half-tank of gasoline goes a long way to lowering an old car's carbon monoxide and HC output.

Thursday, September 08, 2005

Michael Luttig for Justice

I know it's just a shot in the dark, but he is still on all the short lists. Having sat down with Judge Luttig for several hours and heard his judicial philosophy and where he stands on the issue of abortion among other things, there is no one I would rather see sitting on the Supreme Court bench than Michael Luttig. I realize that the President will probably appoint a woman or a minority to the court, which would clearly exclude Luttig, but one can still hold out hope. Bush has never been one to just do what people want him to do. He feeds off of people disagreeing with his decisions in the most vociferous of ways.

Luttig is a 1981 graduate of the University of Virginia School of Law, and has an excellent record of his clerks becoming Supreme Court clerks with Scalia and Thomas primarily. I believe the count is now 41 of his past 43 clerks have gone on to be clerks at the Supreme Court. This is a result of his intense and demanding training routine...the equivalent of Navy SEALs training for clerks.

Wednesday, September 07, 2005

Benefit Blues Concert for Red Cross Hurricane Efforts

For readers in the Northern Virginia/DC area, there's a benefit concert tomorrow night at the Grog and Tankard in DC.
Singin' the Blues for the Delta

featuring
lower case blues
Jeff Johnson and more...

THURSDAY, SEPTEMBER 8th, 2005
The Grog & Tankard
2408 Wisconsin Ave , NW
Washington, DC 20007

Doors 6:00 PM Show 8:00 PM

$20 minimum donation
Checks made out to American Red Cross will be accepted

Tuesday, September 06, 2005

C'ville Rapist Caught?

If you are familiar with Charlottesville then you probably know about the serial rapist that has been on the loose there since 1997. According to this report, Police are investigating whether a young man accused of committing a rape this weekend is liked to those other rapes.

ACC Resplendent

This week's AP and USA Today Coaches polls were released today and the ACC fared rather well, placing 6 teams in the latter and 7 in the former. Clemson, who defeated Texas A&M on a last second Field Goal, came in at 25th in the AP poll but was not ranked in the Top 25 of the Coaches poll.

The Commonwealth's teams both moved up slightly after their respective wins. The Virginia Tech Hokies moved from 8th to 7th in the AP and from 7th to 6th in the Coaches, while their rivals the Virginia Cavaliers moved from 25th to 23rd in the AP and 23rd to 2oth in the Coaches.

Virginia Tech will face Duke this saturday in Durham while UVA has an off week before traveling to Syracuse.

Monday, September 05, 2005

Defending the Crown

Virginia Tech's defense of the ACC Championship, and the beginning of the Marcus Vick Era, started tonight with a big 20-16 win over NC State, who last year had the #1 ranked Defense in the NCAA.

Virginia Tech won by minimizing mistakes and controlling the clock once they had the lead late in the 2nd half. The Hokies committed no turnovers and only racked up 40 penalty yards to the Wolfpack's 105.

Now with games against Duke and Ohio University on deck, the Hokies will likely be 3-0 before facing Georgia Tech in Blacksburg on September 24. Virginia Tech should be careful not to look past the Yellow Jackets though, as they are coming off an impressive win on the road against Auburn, a team that beat VT 16-13 in last year's Sugar Bowl.

Saturday, September 03, 2005

The Rehnquist Era Ends

Drudge is reporting that Chief Justice William Rehnquist passed away this evening at his home in suburban Virginia. Rehnquist's 33 years on the court will likely be remembered in the media for its more historic moments, such as the impeachent trial of President Clinton. However, Rehnquist should also be lauded for his steady, reasoned leadership of the Court in the wake of seismic social, political and cultural changes.

This development will certainly throw a giant-sized monkey wrench into the Supreme Court struggle as President Bush may now have to nominate a new Chief Justice before Judge Roberts' confirmation hearings are over. You can be sure that the lefties can smell blood and are already gearing up for a big battle over this one.

Our prayers certanly go out to the Rehnquist family. Right now is the time to reflect on the accomplishments and achievements of an outstanding American. Very soon, however, it'll be time to roll up the sleeves once again.

Friday, September 02, 2005

Hurricane Relief

Obviously all other news simply pales in comparison to what is going on down on the Gulf Coast right now. Our most heartfelt prayers go out to the people who are suffering there and trying to get any sense of normalcy back in their lives.

Please, please, please find some way to help those in need. The American Red Cross is leading the effort nationwide along with help from groups like Habitat for Humanity and the Salvation Army.