The Commonwealth of Virginia's Ultimate Blog

Wednesday, November 30, 2005

And Good Riddance...

The Virginian-Pilot notes the end today of the 2005 hurricane season, and it couldn't come soon enough. This year's hurricanes caused more damage and death than any other year of storms in our nation's history. Never before has the U.S. encountered four storms of category 3 or greater make landfall in the same season.

It's pretty remarkable to look at the vast destruction that has been wrought by this year's hurricanes. However, we must not forget that, although the hurricanes are over, there is still a lot of rebuilding left to do.

Cavalier Daily offers VT Merchandise for sale

As of 9:30 PM, the Cavalier Daily has ad links to "Buy Virginia Tech Tickets" and "Buy Virginia Tech Merchandise".

That's good stuff.

Encouraging Developments in Canada

I meant to post this a couple nights ago, but I was highly encouraged to see the Liberal Party fall out of power in a vote of no confidence, 171-133 a few nights ago. Paul Martin's government will remain in power until the new nationwide vote in January.

Perhaps there is someway to tie this to the rise of Andrea Merkel in Germany and the French and Dutch voting down of the EU Constitution.

Conservative leader Stephen Harper said:

"This is not just the end of a tired directionless scandal-plagued government. It's the start of a bright new future for this great country."

The Liberal Party fell largely due to corruption coming to the servic revealing graft on a massive scale.

Law Students for Alito

A friend sent this law students website for Alito to me. Good to see conservative law students around the country mobilizing for Scalito's nomination. Following this site is a good way to read all the articles relevant to the nomination.

Bloggin' 'Bout a Revolution

Over at OneMan'sTrash, Norm has a great response to the conservative hand-wringing that has emerged after our defeat in the Governor's race. Norm points out that the internet, and specifically the blogosphere, offer a unique forum for conservatives to get out their message to the masses.

We are certainly fortunate to have such a healthy and active community of bloggers here in Virginia, but there is always room for more. It is no surprise to me that the Commonwealth that has served as a cradle for liberty for nearly 400 years is on the cutting edge of this new medium. But just because this year's election is over, doesn't mean our work is done. There is a great deal yet we bloggers can do.

LMR Alums Have Success at Ballot Box

Leadership Metro Richmond is a leadership-development and community-service program founded 25 years ago at the impetus of Fmr. Congressman Tom Bliley. The RTD has an interesting look at the impact that the growing program is now having on both Richmond and statewide politics.

LMR alums include Governor-elect Tim Kaine, Delgate-elect Jennifer McClellan of Richmond, and Sheriff-elect C.T. Woody of Richmond. I'd be interested in knowing if there are any local leadership initiatives like this in other areas of the state.

Zing, Zing, Zing, Zing Valleydale

The Roanoke Times reports the sad news today that the Valleydale Foods plant in Salem will be closing come January. Valleydale is an icon in the Roanoke Valley that dates back to the 1930s. They will be missed certainly for the jobs, but also for their nostalgic link to Salem's past.

Many a child has waited with rapt anticipation to sing along with the catchy strains of the Valleydale jingle while sitting on the concrete slabs of Old Municipal Field for a Salem Buccaneers game or the folding purple seats at Salem Memorial Stadium for a Salem Avalanche game. If you don't know what I'm talking about, look here. The middle one on the top row is the best.

Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Beamer Named ACC Coach of the Year, Again.

Today, Virginia Tech Coach Frank Beamer was named as the ACC Coach of the Year for the second year in a row. Last year, of course, Beamer guided the Hokies to an ACC Championship in their first season in the conference. This year, VT will appear in the inaugural ACC Championship game to defend its title. The Hokies are also ranked #5 in the nation and sport a 10-1 record.

The selection is not surprising considering that every single coach in the ACC performed below expectations this year except for Beamer. Clemson is probably the only other team whose season could be considered successful when compared with preseason predictions. The Tigers finished 7-4 with victories over Texas A&M, Florida State, and rival South Carolina. While the loss to Wake Forest is a head scratcher, Tommy Bowden's team has to be pretty proud of what they've accomplished this year and they should end up with a nice bowl destination.

Next up, the ACC's Offensive, Defensive, Rookie, and Conference Player of the Year Awards. My picks: Calvin Johnson, Darryl Tapp, James Davis, and Darryl Tapp.

Virginia Blog Carnival

The latest edition of the VBC is brought to you by the United States Marine Corps and can be found over at Brandon 'Jarhead' Meyer's blog. Oohrah!

Rolling Out the 'Welcome' Mat

The RTD's Ray McAllister has a humorous column today regarding VDOT's internet competition to replace Virginia's 14-year old highway welcome signs. Personally, I've grown accustomed to breathing a sigh of relief once I see that cardinal and dogwood on the highway. Frankly, I don't think any of the new ideas are better than what we've got.

However, Mr. McAllister has a couple of other ideas that maybe VDOT should consider adding to the competition. Here are my favorites:
Pat Robertson: "God is coming to get you."

A cannon: "Yankee, go home."

Washington, Jefferson, Madison, et al.: "Welcome to Virginia: We Used to Be Something."

Any other ideas out there?

McSweeney Dead On

I love Patrick McSweeney's article on Bacon's Rebellion on the direction of the Republican Party of Virginia. He gets a lot of things right.

First of all, it is absolutely correct that the Republican Party both here in the state and nationally needs to return to a policy of fiscal responsibility. There is absolutely no credibility or sense in an abs
olutist position against taxes without an additional doctrine of fiscal responsibility. The national party has made a mockery of conservatism by allowing the creation of the largest budget deficit in American history.

McSweeney writes:
Instead of focusing on taxes, Republicans should emphasize the need to control spending. Higher state taxes are merely the consequence of a lack of spending restraint. Republicans have too often been seen as wanting it both ways — opposed to higher taxes, but eager to spend the new revenues.
He goes on to assert that the mobilization of the social conservatives by the Republican Party is absolutely vital to Republican success in Virginia. That's something that Kilgore simply didn't do, much like Marshal Coleman in the Republican campaigns for governor in the 1980s. Let's not return to those foolish days. The fact that Mark Earley lost to a strong opponent in Mark Warner in a bad year does not mean that social conservatism should be abandoned:
Until the party reached out to social conservatives in the 1970s, it had no prospect of winning control of the Virginia General Assembly. As the 2004 presidential election and the 2005 statewide elections in Virginia showed, Republicans aren’t likely to prevail without intense support from social conservatives

The key word there is "intense." Flaccid support from social conservatives will always result in the defeat of the Republican Party in Virginia.

RPV Advance screening

I thought of titling this post "Republicans Advance?" but even with a setback in the house, a heart breaker at the top of the ticket, and a frighteningly close race whose outcome will still be in question, I think there's always reasons to be hopeful at the Republican Advance. First, it's got the coolest name of any retreat ever (as the namesake Mr. Donald W. Huffman put it, we don't retreat, we always Advance). Second, it's the best place to make friends with GOP rising stars, and with falling stars desperately trying to rise like a phoenix from the ashes of a nearly decade old defeat (like my '05 picks for LG,Chairman Connaugton and Mr. Gilbert Davis, respectively).
Third, a good number of elder statesmen will host private "hospitality suites" for some good old-fashioned smoke filled room plotting and general jawbonin'.

What do we have to look forward to at this year's Advance?

1. The kickoff of Allen's presidential campaign, in the form of the kickoff of Allen's '06 reelection campaign. Someone will be passing out homemade bumper stickers and it will be fantastic!

2. Undercover manuevers from Tom Davis and Jim Gilmore in re: '08 or '09. Party activists from all over the state are abuzz with talk of statewide bids. My bet is they both go for an open senate seat. I don't know if either men or both are planning hospitality suites, but I wouldn't be surprised to see this tug of war start Friday night. I'm also guessing that Bill Carrico will have a suite to promote himself as the man to take down Boucher in the 9th.

3. A friend faxed me a copy of an invite to the Republican Senate Victory PAC's hospitality suite on Friday night. The PAC seems to be made up of only 5 of our 24 GOP Senators, and it talks about expanding a conservative majority in the Senate. I've always wondered if the '04 budget battle spent all of its venom in the '05 primaries. I don't for a second doubt that the 5 challenged compromisers were proxies for the Senate leadership who labored for the really big tax hike. The big loss in NoVA but the statewide success of Bolling make it hard to reach a solid consensus as to what the party's message should be, but very easy for both sides to jump to stark conclusions. Now I have no indication that the RSVP is planning on launching primary challengers- but I'd love to hear what other hay they are making around the Commonwealth.

4. Harry already mentioned that the College Republicans will be picking a new slate of officers at the Advance. I'd always heard that the Advance was moved to December to tone down college student participation (can anyone verify?).

5. Finally, it' s at the Homestead, again. Which while dreadfully far away is a captivatingly beautiful hotel in a surpassingly beautiful setting.

CRFV Race Heating Up

A friend brought this to my attention. Apparently, the College Republican Federation of Virginia will be voting on its new statewide officers this weekend at the Republican Advance at the Homestead. So those organizations that claim they made a combined 90,000 phone calls for the statewide Republican ticket this fall, as well as knocking on 16,000 doors, will be determining their direction in the future.

When I was involved back in the day, we had our elections in the spring, so apparently it's changed.

I hear the UVA College Republican chapter chaired by Brian Gunn, an alleged native of Louisa County, claims responsible for 15,000 of those calls made by the CRFV. Not too shabby, my fellow Hoos.

Monday, November 28, 2005

Second Challenger to Jo Ann Davis

Raising Kaine has this story regarding Shawn O'Donnell's run for the Democratic nomination in the 1st District.
Last week, I mentioned that IC Smith was also planning a challenge to Davis. Smith now has statements in some 1st District newpapers (statements that I don't have in front of me). Smith sounds serious, and he's taking steps to run.

With two (or more!) Dem challengers, it should be an exciting year in the First District.

The Motor City Hits for the Cycle

Today the Detroit Lions fired their head coach Steve Mariucci after suffering an embarassing 27-7 loss to the Atlanta Vicks Falcons on Thanksgiving day. While the firing itself is not particularly surprising given Mooch's record of 15-28 over nearly three seasons, it does complete another more unusual record.

In the past calendar year, all four of Detroit's professional sports teams have replaced their head coaches. Last summer, the NBA's Pistons parted ways with the coach who led them to their third NBA Championship in 2004. Larry Brown's departure opened the door for Flip Saunders who has gotten the Pistons off to an NBA-best start of 10-2. Shortly thereafter, the NHL's RedWings said "goodbye" to Scotty Bowman's successor, Dave Lewis, and welcomed in new blood in the form of Mike Babcock. The Wings have responded by vaulting to the top of the Western Conference early in the season. This fall, the beheadings continued when the disappointing Detroit Tigers fired manager Alan Trammell and replaced him with veteran Jim Leyland.

With the firing of Steve Mariucci, Detroit-area fans are beginning to wonder if their city has become the place where coaching careers go to die. While Saunders and Babcock seem to be having success so far, the residents of Motown have to be concerned with all the turnover.

Incidentally, columnist Dan Wetzel addresses the fact that the failures of the Lions may not be entirely the fault of the coaching staff. It is a valid point that sports fans should consider before calling for any coach's head on a platter. Responsibility for a team's success or failure should start at the top of the food chain, not the bottom. While coaches should be held responsible when necessary, they shouldn't just serve as sacrifices to save the butts of their bosses.

McDonnell Certified as Victor; Recount Saga Begins

No surprises today with the State Board of Elections certification of a 323 vote victory by McDonnell. Chad Dotson covers the developments well over at Commonwealth Conservative.

Several SST contributors will be members of the McDonnell legal team that will be helping with the recount. The McDonnell campaign is extremely prepared for this fight and I'm confident that they will do everything necessary to bring home the victory. Let's hope the true victor comes to the fore in this process so we don't have to consider this an illegitimate victory for years to come either way it turns out. Obviously we hope that it's McDonnell and will be doing our darndest to make sure it's so. On the other hand, 323 votes is pretty slim. I wish the whole state had the touch screen computers.

And we're all hoping this doesn't turn into an interminable drama that leaves the whole state wondering if the real winner was elected. This won't be anywhere near as exciting as 2000, and it will be much more behind closed doors and closed to the public then the heavily scrutinized Florida recount was.

The Weekend Gridiron Recap

As we near the end of the football season at high schools and colleges around the Commonwealth and nation, the joy of victory gets much sweeter, while the anguish of defeat gets much heavier to bear through the winter.

On Friday, many of Virginia's high schools participated in playoff games in an effort to inch ever closer to that moment of eternal glory, the State Championship. Highlights from the weekend's action include the refs at Salem High School determining that it is no longer necessary for a receiver to catch the ball in bounds to be awarded a touchdown and Turner Ashby's dramatic fourth-quarter comeback to upset Handley.

In Class AA, which is the only division I care about, the Division 4 bracket is down to Sherando, Powhatan, Bassett and the oh-so-fortunate Salem Spartans. Meanwhile in Division 3 we've got Liberty-Bedford against Richlands, with TA slipping the hangman's noose to face James Monroe. Good luck to all those schools this weekend.

In college football, the Bridgewater College Eagles kept their National Championship dreams alive by defeating Thiel College on Saturday. Bridgewater is one of only 8 D-III schools left standing and will travel to Wesley College in Dover, Delaware for Saturday's South Region final. The winner of that game will take on the winner of the West Region final game between Linfield (OR) and UW-Whitewater (WI). The other four remaining teams are North Region finalists Capital (OH) and Mount Union (OH), and East Region finalists Union (NY) and Rowan (NJ). You can get the bracket and follow all the action at d3football.com

Finally, the Virginia Tech Hokies will have the chance to defend their ACC title Saturday night in Jacksonville after beating UNC to advance to the first-ever ACC Championship game (presented by Dr. Pepper). The Hokies will face a Florida State team that has lost their last three games in a row. Still, the Hokies have lost their past eleven meetings with FSU and have never beaten a Bobby Bowden coached team. If the Hokies can get the run game going, as they have to perfection the past two weeks, then they should win easily. If they struggle on the ground, Marcus Vick will need to be much more accurate in his throws than he has been recently for the Hokies to have a chance to win. Fortunately, Virginia Tech has one of the nation's best defenses and I believe FSU will find it difficult to get points on the board in this one. A win by the Hokies would put them in the Orange Bowl where they could face Big Ten Champ Penn State. A loss would drop them to the Gator Bowl against the Lousiville Cardinals.

We'll just have to see what happens this saturday at 8:00 PM on ABC.

Old Zach at the Movies

I had the opportunity over Thanksgiving to see several very good movies. Though I enjoyed them all, including the newest installment in the Harry Potter series, the best of the bunch was without a doubt the Johnny Cash biopic, Walk the Line.

Simply put, this movie was outstanding. Because of the subject matter and content, the movie has invited many comparisons to last years Ray. Even though I thought Ray was superb, I liked Walk the Line better for a couple of reasons. First of all, though I've long been a fan of Johnny Cash's music, I was fascinated to find out many things about his life that I had not previously known. My fondness for the music also kept me entertained during the slower parts of the movie.

Further, I thought the supporting cast was much better in Walk the Line than in Ray. While Jamie Foxx's Oscar-winning performance carried Ray, Walk the Line featured many solid performances. Anyone who had seen Gladiator knew that Joaquin Phoenix was a great actor. However, I was extremely impressed with the performance of Reese Witherspoon as June Carter. Reese is authentically believable as the country music legend, and she makes you understand why Johnny Cash is so hoplessly in love with her. Reese effectively sheds her image as a Hollywood "lightweight" as she more than holds her own with a very talented group of actors. I certainly expect both Witherspoon and Phoenix to garner Academy Award nominations for their performances.

Director James Mangold does a fantastic job of exposing to the audience not just the raw struggles of Cash himself, but also the fantastic surroundings in which they occur. This includes the presence of characters like Elvis Presley, Waylon Jennings, and the Carter Family. For example, my favorite scene is a brief sequence in which Ezra and Maybelle Carter, with shotguns in hand, chase Johnny's drug dealer off his property. This scene also typifies the underlying rift that was developing at that time between country music's traditional "family" and the new group of "outlaws."

I encourage everyone, even folks who aren't fans of country music, to see this movie. At this point I'd probably say that it is the best movie I've seen in 2005.

Sunday, November 27, 2005

Warner cited as "Great Male Hope" for '08

I'm still looking for the transcript of this morning's Chris Matthews Show (not Hardball; his 1/2 hour circular firing squad) but all Virginians will be happy to know that Katty Kay of BBC WorldNews America, Michael Duffy of Time Magazine, and Terry Neal of the Washington Post all cited Governor Mark Warner as the candidate most likely to beat Hillary Clinton in the Dems nominating contest. MSNBC's Nora O'Donnell when pressed picked Evan Bayh over John Edwards. Ms. Kay noted that he was really starting to impress people around the country as early as a year ago. Has she ever heard him speak? I watched most of the last State of the Commonwealth speech. I watched all of his address to the George Democratic Party's Jefferson-Jackson Dinner. I've tivo'd his New Hampshire appearance. I better go watch it now to see if there's been any substantive improvements in this guy's charisma chops!

Saturday, November 26, 2005

18-10 Canes going into the 4th

If UVA could just get a TD right now, this would be a serious ball game. We've played surprisingly well, holding the lead for most of the 1st half. It would be nice if we could score right now as the fourth quarter begins...let's go Hoos. Here I am still hoping that somehow UVA can pull out a miracle. I don't know whether to admire my undying fanaticism or pity myself.

Friday, November 25, 2005

Skyline Drive

Just got back from spending 4 hours up on the Skyline Drive. Hiked the Blackrock Summit which is simply spectacular. Showing a couple buddies from Boston down for the Thanksgiving the beauties of the Commonwealth.

Today was gorgeous up in the Park. Blue skies, amazing visibility. Frigid...in the 20s up there.

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

Governor-elects NoVA Town Hall -- 11/29

Right up front on the Governor-Elect's official website you can see that there are only two more stops in his transportation Town Hall tour. I encourage every Northern Virginian to hustle on over to Manassas Airport at 6:30 (and for all those not living in occupied territory, believe me, that's a mother of a hustle).

While you are there, make sure to ask Mr. Governor-Elect to please do something about this. He can start by not appointing former Fairfax County BOS Chairman Kate Hanely to anything related to transportation planning ever again.

I think it'll be a good show (as long as Todd Rundgren isn't filling in for him).

Larry Sabato

"It's amazing, that's all you can say. The net changes are all going in one direction, toward the Democrat, which is unusual but possible."

McDonnell up by 323

Norm over at OneMansTrash brought our attention to the fact that SBE has McDonnell gaining one voted today!!!! The lead currently stands up at 323 votes for the time being.

The McDonnell campaign is rallying their lawyers for the recount during the week of December 19th, which will probably take a day or two.

McDougle to Replace Bolling?

Chad covers young up-and-coming Ryan McDougle entering the race to replace Bill Bolling in the State Senate.

I'm counting on Bob McDonnell winning the race for AG, and Deeds keeping his state senate seat. I hear rumors though that Keith Drake, Albemarle County Republican Party Chairman, might be a potential contender to replace Deeds should he move on. Let's hope it doesn't come to that, but Drake would be an excellent choice.

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

A New Contributor at SST

We are pleased to welcome a new contributor to our merry little band of bloggers here at SST. Goodwin, as you might have noticed, is our newest member, and an old friend of Lighthorse Harry, and well known to Old Zach and Addison as well. Goodwin is well-connected and established within the Republican Party of Virginia as a result of many years of grassroots politicking, and we wouldn't have it any other way.

I think you will find his writing witty and insightful, not to mention right on point. His viewpoint will provide a new diversity on SST. Although he is as good a conservative as the rest of us, his views will diverge from ours on some occasion, not to suggest that the three original bloggers here have always agreed on issues by any means. Quite the opposite, we have often had civil but very vociferous disagreements with each other over who to support, and the course and direction of our party. So please note our newest member's posts (his first one is below). I think you will find them a delightful addition.

Kaine the Crusader?

There are two major problems with this Christina Nuckols penned piece which appeared in the Virginian-Pilot on Monday. First, I don't think we should call one sentence of spin from DNC Chair Howard Dean "national attention" as much as it is "a national mention." Second, the difference between everyone praising Kaine's brilliant handling of faith and the derisive laughter that typically plagues a liberal who tries to play the "faith card," is that Kaine won. And the piece doesn't provide voice to anyone who is arguing that it made a major difference besides Mo Elleithee, who doesn't argue that Kaine was able to attract the "religious right," but only helps us understand Kaine's faith as a bulwark against the awful Kilgore negative attack.

I've heard anecdotal evidence from a few (including SST's own Lighthorse Harry) that Kaine's missionary credentials made an impact in the evangelical community, but the DNC should wait for a decent survey and maybe some number we can point at before they turn Kaine's election into some sort of heaven-sent sign.

Giving Thanks

We'll be a little light on the blogging this week as we celebrate the Thanksgiving holiday. This is the time of year when we turn our focus from the rigamarole of daily life and spend time on more important things like family, friends, and all of the Lord's many blessings.

This week, take some time away from the computer and tell someone "thank you" for something they have done for you. It will make you both feel better.

UVA Still Leads in the Commonwealth Challenge

Even though UVA's major sports teams (i.e. football and basketball) are performing pathetically right now, and I have no real hope for this year's basketball team or any team in the near future, somehow UVA is leading the Commonwealth Challenge 6-3. Thank God we have good swimming, soccer, lacrosse, etc. teams.

Monday, November 21, 2005

Syriana

While Old Zach is planning on watching Walk the Line shortly and I'm intrigued by its similarity of genre to Ray, I'm starting to get very interested in Syriana, the George Clooney movie starring Matt Damon and based roughly on the book by Robert Baer, an ex-CIA field officer in its Directorate of Operations division from 1976 to 1997. He is the author of See No Evil: The True Story of a Ground Soldier in the CIA's War on Terrorism.

To read an interview on FrontpageMag with Robert Baer, go here. Baer on Clinton: "I think Clinton was naive. He didn't have the slightest idea there was a dangerous world out there. A baby-boomer, he was more concerned about Nasdaq and the way he felt about things than he was about national security."

Here is the trailer for the movie, which looks simply fascinating. Probably a lot of propaganda, but hopefully an exciting movie.

I need to see Good Luck and Good Night as well, another film directed by Clooney.

And of course, Narnia is on the horizon as well. Looks like ther might finally be some interesting movies out.

Those Other Virginia Football Teams

This weekend, a William and Mary graduate expressed his displeasure at the fact that "The Commonwealth Cup" was reserved only for Virginia and Virginia Tech, and that none of the state's other football programs would ever get a chance to own it.

His comment reminded me of my post earlier this year regarding Virginia's Other Football Powers. I thought I'd take this opportunity as we near the end of the college football year to check in on some of those oft-overlooked teams and see how they were doing.

In August, I talked about the Division I-AA schools JMU and William and Mary, who had both made the NCAA playoffs in football last year. JMU, you'll remember, won the I-AA National Championship last year. This year, however, they won't get a chance to defend it after missing the playoffs with a record of 7-4. William and Mary fared even more poorly, finishing at 5-6 after a season ending loss to this year's surprise A-10 team, the Richmond Spiders. Those plucky arachnids have often been known to cause an upset or two in basketball, but this year they shocked a lot of people by going 7-1 in the Atlantic 10 conference and capturing a share of the league title. The Spiders were rewarded for their efforts with a bid to the NCAA playoffs, where they will face another Virginia team, the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference Champion Hampton University Pirates.

At the D-III level, this summer I told you about the mighty Bridgewater Eagles and their impressive run within the Old Dominion Athletic Conference. This year, the Eagles continued the consistent play that has made them the Commonwealth of Virginia's winningest football team since the start of the 2000 season. Bridgewater won its Fifth Consecutive ODAC Championship, has a 35 game conference winning streak, and is appearing in the NCAA Playoffs for the 6th straight year. In fact, Bridgewater football is now so popular that they have their own excelent fan-run website, BridgewaterFootball.com, which I expect is a rarity for D-III teams. On Saturday, Bridgewater advanced to the second round of the playoffs by defeating Washington and Jefferson 30-21. This weekend they will play Thiel College, a team that the Daily News-Record says bears a striking resemblance to Bridgewater itself.

Finally, I just wanted to point out this article on ESPN.com about Liberty University's football program and the shake-up that is going on there under the direction of the Rev. Jerry Falwell. Falwell says he wants Liberty to become a D-I program and he rightly believes that success on the football field will help get him there.

I believe that there is room for one more D-I football program in the Commonwealth, though I feel that JMU is probably in the best position to make the jump given their totality of circumstances. On the other hand, a D-I program in the Tidewater region would certainly have a rich recruiting area to draw from. However, none of the schools in that area appear poised to make that kind of jump.

That Giant Sucking Sound

In a story that should surprise nobody, the Washington Post today reports that the District of Columbia underestimated how much it would cost to build a new baseball stadium on the Anacostia riverfront.

Folks, this is a great example of government failure at its finest. The goverment never does the job as quickly, cheaply, and effeciently as can be done in a competitive market system. Simply put, it is a travesty that taxpayer dollars are sunk into sporting complexes that do nothing to help the taxpayers who pay for them.

Governments need to stop letting team and league owners strong-arm them into these colossal wastes of public funds. This type of development can and should be done by the private sector.

Virginia Blog Carnival

The latest edition (the 12th!?) of the VBC is up now over at ImNotEmeril. Check it out for your USDA daily recommended allowance of blog.

Wow.

Well, it has taken some remarkable restraint on my part not to gloat about Saturday's football game. Out of respect for Harry's tender psyche I won't say anything about it other than that I only wish I had been able to be there in person to see it.

However, the Hokies claiming the Commonwealth Cup for the 6 time in 7 tries wasn't the only big news on the gridiron last weekend. I'd like to personally extend my most gracious thanks to the Georgia Institute of Technology Yellow Jackets for their surprising defeat of the Miami Hurricanes. The win by Georgia Tech means that the Hokies can advance to the inaugural ACC Championship Game (presented by Dr. Pepper) in Jacksonville, FL on Dec. 3 with a win over the UNC Tarheels this Saturday.

Anyone who expects the Tarheels to just roll over and let VT waltz on down to Jax had better rethink. Last year, UNC took VT to the limit in Chapel Hill, where the Hokies escaped with a 27-24 win. This year UNC is playing for a second consecutive bowl berth, coming into Blacksburg with a 5-5 record. Since the winner of this weekend's MD-NC State game will become bowl eligible, if UNC can get a victory it would mean that 9 out of the ACC's 12 teams would be bowl-eligible.

Speaking of bowl records, another game that many Hokies may have been watching this weekend was the in-state matchup between Tennessee and Vanderbilt. Vanderbilt's upset of the Volunteers served to keep Tennessee out of a bowl game for the first time since 1988. What that means for Virginia Tech is that they now have the nation's fourth-longest current consecutive bowl streak. The Hokies will attend their 13th consecutive bowl game this year, a streak that trails only Michigan (31), Florida State (24) and Florida (15) in its duration.

Pretty impressive company for a little ol' cow college from Blacksburg, Va.

Sunday, November 20, 2005

A Davis v. Smith matchup in the First?

At least one local weekly paper in the 1st District says that retired FBI Agent Ivian "I.C." Smith is testing the waters for a possible Congressional bid - presumably as a Democrat.

I.C. Smith is the former head of the Little Rock Field District. His memoirs, titled Inside : A Top G-Man Exposes Spies, Lies, and Bureaucratic Bungling in the FBI, apparently is very critical of that other Democrat from Little Rock.
I.C. Smith, agent in charge of the Little Rock office of the FBI from 1995 to 1998, is now an author. His book, “Inside: A top G-man exposes spies, lies and bureaucratic bungling inside the FBI,” relies heavily on Arkansas for lowdown. The dirt:

Bill Clinton was an unprincipled pol with a fast zipper; Ken Starr was a good man but poor prosecutor; local prosecutors such as former U.S. Attorney Paula Casey sometimes threw up obstacles to Smith’s efforts to pursue official corruption in Arkansas, including alleged foot-dragging by her staff on the ultimately fruitful investigation of state Rep. Lloyd George. Hardly anyone comes in for a good word, including former top FBI man Lee Colwell, about whom Smith intimates darkly in recounting the Criminal Justice Institute that Colwell established at the UA with the involvement of such characters as Neal Turner, the former aide to Jim Guy Tucker who turned federal witness on another matter to avoid prosecution, and Nick Wilson, the felonious former senator.
...
Smith lives in retirement in Virginia.
Update:
Sorry for the name typo. Too much going on this morning.

Saturday, November 19, 2005

Before and After

Before



Early Saturday morning a "T" was painted next to the Virginia "V" logo at Scott Stadium. It was corrected before game time.

After

Underground Church in China: Seminarians Arrested

Interesting article here coming out before President Bush's visit to that nation with a horrible record in religious freedom. Frankly, I'm tired of hearing about the oppression of the Falun Gong which is a relatively small movement that is the politically correct movement to try to defend in the international press. The much larger and more oppressed spiritual movement in China is the underground church, which combined Protestant and Catholic numbers over 85 million today and growing by leaps and bounds everyday. The Falun Gong is kind of like the Dalai Lama and the Free Tibet movement in its popularity with Far Left.

Traumatized

Yeah, I just got back from the UVA game. Don't have much to say about it...pretty much the worst UVA game I've ever been to, and I've been going to games since about 1992. It was over when we fumbled the punt and they scored to make it 17-0. Thank you Al Groh for getting the boys so mentally retarded....i mean prepared...

Alright, the funny thing is that Old Zach is doing his Army Reserve training right now and has no idea what the score is...hmmm, I think can use this against him somehow.

Thursday, November 17, 2005

Introspection

As I expected, now that the election is over bloggers around the state are engaging in some serious self-analysis. Chad Dotson, Jaded JD, Shaun Kenny, and others are leading the discussion about our esteemed Virginia blogosphere and where we go from here.

I am sure that this will be the topic of discussion for some time to come as the blogosphere continues to define its role and identity in the political process.

In the meantime, I join The Jaded JD in stating:
[Old Zach] is not, has never been, and never will be compensated by . . . any . . . politician or aspirant to public office, or any affiliated organizations, in exchange for the views expressed on this site or elsewhere.

I have no qualms about saying I am a Republican, and I support the Republican Party of Virginia and its candidates. However, I hope our readers will understand and accept that I have no financial interest in anything that is posted on this blog. The views expressed by Old Zach are purely my opinions, and should be regarded as such.

More on Hutcheson

I like Chad's comments on the Hutcheson letter debacle, and agree with his perspective on the whole thing.

Suspended UVA Players Back Against Hokies

The Daily Progress reports that UVA will not be missing the services of three of the players suspended last week, namely defensive starter Tony Franklin and Kwakou Robinson, and backup wide receiver Ottawa Anderson.

These guys will be hungry to redeem themselves for their violations and the return of the defensive starters is vital, especially with Nate Lyles out for the season with his neck injury on Saturday. Thank goodness he wasn't paralyzed though. As he lay there on the field not moving for quite some time, the sinking feeling that something horrible might have happened to him like Dennis Byrd of the New York Jets sometime ago...anyway, glad Lyles only has a serious neck injury, and is already walking and moving around. He is currently wearing a neck brace for cautionary reasons.

Bush Approval Ratings Continue to Drop

Perhaps it wasn't Ken Hutcheson's fault, or Jerry Kilgore's fault even...perhaps Bush's favorability was bad enough to suppress Republican turnout to the point of defeat for Virginia statewide tickets....it's a thought. Check out these awful poll numbers. 34% favorability rating for Bush now.

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

Someone get Al Groh a Tissue

In the few short years that he's been in Harlottesville, Head Coach AlGroh has managed to alienate just about everyone. Players, boosters, the media, bowl officials, all have felt the cold sting of Coach Groh's short fuse. Now Groh is taking on the ACC schedule makers.

Groh is apparently already preparing his excuse should his team lose to Virginia Tech by complaining about the fact that the Hokies had a bye week this past weekend while UVA played Georgia Tech at home.

Memo to Al Groh: If you can't get your team ready in 7 days, you just can't get them ready.

Deconstructing the Roanoke Times

Just for fun, here is an article in today's Roanoke Times about Virginia's financial situation:
ASHBURN -- Virginia's general fund tax collections will increase enough to meet the state's basic spending commitments over the next two years and perhaps allow for some new initiatives, legislative budget writers learned Tuesday.

By "new initiatives" they mean to say that the government has taken too much of your money, but they'll be damned if they're giving it back.

But the chairman of the House of Delegates Appropriations Committee warned colleagues to exercise restraint as they moved toward passing a spending plan for the two-year budget cycle that begins July 1.
Restraint is not in the General Assembly's vocabulary
"While Virginia's fortunes have turned around, I am mindful of the fact that Virginia's economy is like a roller coaster -- what goes up eventually comes down," said Del. Vince Callahan, R-Fairfax County, as he opened the committee's annual retreat at the national conference center near Dulles Airport.

My those were dire straights, weren't they? Dire, I tell you!
In separate presentations, the committee's staff director and an economist told lawmakers that Virginia's economy is slowing from a torrid pace that has fueled double-digit revenue growth in each of the past two years. But budget experts still expect strong enough growth -- between 5.5 percent and 6 percent -- to cover more than $2 billion in anticipated cost increases for education, health care, public safety and debt service.
What? I thought Governor Warner told us Virginia's economy was going down the tubes. What happened?

Callahan said lawmakers should emphasize those priorities and allocate any surplus funds to infrastructure needs, such as transportation, and to Chesapeake Bay cleanup efforts.
The state closed out the last fiscal year with a $544 million surplus. Early projections indicate the state will collect $1.1 billion more than forecast in the current fiscal year, said Robert Vaughn, the staff director of the Appropriations Committee.
Oh, I guess those projections were only off by a smidge then. What's a billion dollars here or there. Um, remind me why we raised taxes again?

Gov. Mark Warner will start the budget process next month by submitting a two-year spending plan to the legislature's money committees. Gov.-elect Tim Kaine will offer his own spending proposals when he takes office in January. Kaine's top campaign spending priorities included universal pre-kindergarten for 4-year-olds, though he has yet to say how much funding he will seek for the initiative.
You mean Tim Kaine actually has to make good on all those promises now? Guard your wallets and purses, folks.
Callahan said lawmakers cannot afford to repeat mistakes made during the mid- to late-1990s when the General Assembly responded to an economic recovery by making spending commitments and tax cuts that could not be sustained when growth slowed.
Glad to see someone place the responsibility for fiscal irresponsibility where it belongs, in the General Assembly.
Callahan's Senate counterpart, Sen. John Chichester, R-Stafford County, offered a similar assessment after listening to Tuesday's presentation.
"While we're living in pretty good times, and the alternatives are far worse, we've both made mistakes in good times and neither one of us wants to repeat those," said
Chichester, the chairman of the Senate Finance Committee.
Chichester said he's willing to consider using surplus dollars for one-time transportation costs. But he and other Senate leaders also are preparing a long-range
transportation plan to be released Friday.
Oh, tell us great Oracle of the Senate, what is the solution to all our problems in life? What's that you say? Higher Taxes? Fascinating.
Kaine also has vowed to make progress on transportation. He will hold a public forum on the subject today at 5:15 p.m. at the Virginia Museum of Transportation in Roanoke.
Wish I could be there. I also wish someone would explain why we should trust the General Assembly with even more of our money when they obviously can't take care of what they've got. Geez.

Fuel on the Fire

The Virginian-Pilot has a good article this morning about the new dimension to the VT-UVA rivalry that has developed as a result of the creation of fan websites like TechSideline.com and TheSabre.com. I admit that I visit TSL on a daily basis, but I am continually surprised at how many VT fans are completely unaware that it exists.

My favorite line from the article is this from TSL founder Will Stewart:
The only fan base we have trouble with is West Virginia … they have by far the most irrational fan base on the Internet.
Ahh, no oportunity can be missed to take potshots at the Mountaneers. That's a rivalry that will surely be missed.

Miller Center Forum Today

Going to hear Michael Farris, a man I greatly admire, and the Republican nominee for LG in 1993, today at a Miller Center Forum on Training Christians to be Politicians.

Here's an excellent article from The New Yorker about the institution he has almost singlehandedly built in western Loudon County.

We've Got Dirty Laundry

Well, by now everyone has seen the infamous Ken Hutcheson email that is circulating around the blogosphere. I have to say that I am simply amazed at the quickness with which we Republicans seem willing to throw our own to the wolves. Ken Hutcheson and his staff have given everything they have to this campaign for the past couple of years. Having been in their shoes, I have nothing but respect for the men and women who worked on the Kilgore campaign. For fellow Republicans to attack these individuals who sacrificed so much for the good of OUR party is beneath despicable.

Granted, Ken's email was not the most tactful and probably shouldn't have been sent. However, to then turn around and forward that email out to every media outlet in the state is quite petty. I'd prefer that we keep these kind of disputes behind closed doors, but apparently some people feel the need to air our internal business in public.

Maybe some people are afraid to call out these silly actions for fear of being labeled a pro-tax sympathyzer or something. Well, I don't think there's any danger of anyone confusing me for John Chichester. I just find it interesting that many of the same people who praised Jerry and Ken back when we were cruising through a primary and leading Kaine by double digits are now acting like they knew all along we were doomed to fail in this election. That's just revisionist history, plain and simple.

I have a great deal of respect for Jerry Kilgore. I think he is a good person and he would have been a good Governor for Virginia. I also think it is simply too easy to point the finger at any one person, be it Jerry, Ken, Kate, Paul Jost or anybody else, and blame them for our failure to win the Governor's race.

What we need to be doing is not tearing each other down, but rather figuring out how we can do a better job of getting our message to the people of Virginia. I am confident that if we can accomplish that, then the voters will respond positively. This character assassination, however, only makes us look foolish, petty, and desperate. And that does not sound like the Republican Party I have spent my life fighting in the trenches for.

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

More VT-UVA stuff

Here are a few columns from around the state focusing on this weekend's rivalry game between Virginia and Virginia Tech.

Since these rivalries always bring out such great memories, the Augusta Free Press has smartly tapped the radio voices for the Hokies and Hoos, Bill Roth and Mac McDonald, for their favorites. I personally remember being at that VT-UVA game in 1998 and I'll never forget the hollow feeling in the pit of my stomach after the Hokies lost that one.

Bob Lipper from the RTD focuses on the coaching matchups and gives the edge to the Hokies on that mark. It's hard to argue with Beamer's 3-1 record against Coach Groh, with the one Hoo victory being against 2003's spectacularly imploding Hokie squad.

Meanwhile, the Washington Post focuses on the Hokies' long-term goal of reaching a BCS bowl. Anybody think Coach Beamer will ever weigh in on that debate again? Me either.

Finally, I want to point out a fantastic effort to use this rivalry for the good of others in the Second Annual Hokies vs. Hoos for the Hungry competition. Right now the Hokies are well in the lead, but there is still plenty of time to contribute. Let's just hope we don't need a recount for this one.

Blogs Come Of Age

The National Review's Andrew Leigh has this very good piece about the blogosphere and new efforts underway as we speak to organize bloggers as a more unified alternative to the mainstream media.

I applaud the effort going on at Pajamas Media to bring blogs greater legitimacy in the marketplace of ideas. They have assembled some of the finest bloggers from across the World Wide Web, so I urge you to check them out.

Lighthorse Harry and I were just talking the other day about whether blogs were simply a "fad" or if they would continue to be an innovative information source for people for whom the old media is either inconvenient or no longer caters to their interests. I think we both agree that it is more likely the latter.

357 Votes?

The SBE website currently shows a 357 vote total separating Deeds and McDonnell...not what I wanted to hear.

Not All Pro Athletes are T.O.

In an era when it seems that all professional athletes care about is themselves, this story about Milwaukee Bucks star Michael Redd is a refreshing break from the ordinary.

You see, while most athletes spend their millions on fur coats, fancy cars, and bling-bling, Michael Redd decided to do something a little bit different. After signing a six-year $91-million deal this summer, Redd bought his father, who is a pastor in Columbus, Ohio, a new church. Yep, you read that right.

Says Michael:
The Lord, he gave me life. What I did was to give it right back to Him. That's the least I could do, is buy a church. The very least I could do.

The article also says that Michael has tithed regularly since entering the NBA. I'm sure you guys can figure out what 10% of $91 million is. You can't help but be encouraged by a story like that.

VT-UVA Week

Addison already beat me to the first punch, but it's that that time of year again folks. For this one week, Lighthorse Harry and I will be on opposing sides. The Commonwealth Cup is up for grabs, and the winners will rub it in the losers faces for the next 52 weeks. Pride, Bowl Position, Bragging Rights, and so much more are on the line this weekend in Charlottesville as the Cavaliers and Hokies meet for the 87th time.

In recent years Virginia Tech has dominated the series between the two teams, winning five out of the last six meetings. However, the last time in Charlottesville, the home team Hoos won 35-21.

This year, there is a lot on the line for both teams, but particularly for the Hokies. The Hokies are currently tied for first place in the ACC's Coastal division with Miami. However, due to the Hurricanes' win over the Hokies, Virginia Tech needs to win out and have Miami lose to have a chance at getting to the ACC Championship game. Even if the Hokies can't get to Jacksonville, they still have a chance to get to a BCS game as the nation's top ranked non-conference winner.

On the other hand, the Hokies had better not look past the Cavaliers. Though they've lost 3 games, those games were all on the road. At home, the Hoos have looked very good beaating the likes of Florida State and Georgia Tech. Marques hagans has been the spark for the Hoos all year and if the VT defense can't contain him, it could be a long day for the Hokies. The return of Ahmad Brooks has also injected some life into the Cavalier defense.

In order for the Hokies to win Marcus Vick must limit his mistakes and the Hokie defense must contain Hagans. In order for the Cavaliers to win, they must win the turnover battle and not give up big plays on Defense.

All in all, it should be a hard fought contest that will still be in question entering the fourth quarter. Of course, I think the Hokies will pull it out in the end. But I guess we'll just have to wait until noon on Saturday to find out.

Monday, November 14, 2005

Getting There From Here

The Washington Post has this article about the fortunes of the anti-tax challengers in this year's HoD elections. The Post makes an interesting point that it may not be the candidates themselves who the voters rejected, but rather the way their message was delivered. I certainly agree that Virginia voters aren't running out and pleading for higher taxes. I firmly believe that if we deliver the Republican message in a way people can understand and identify with, we will win in Virginia the vast majority of the time. Perhaps a new approach is needed as we take stock of our Party.

ODBA member Shaun Kenny believes that Senator Allen can lead the charge for Republicans under a banner of Jeffersonian Conservatism. Chad Dotson offers another suggestion for a call to arms. Meanwhile another blogger I've just discovered, The Mason Conservative, weighs in with his suggestions on how Republicans can gain back some ground in NOVA.

All good suggestions, and all should be considered in the coming debate over the direction of our party. Remember, that steel is strongest which has been forged by fire.

How do you make Wahoo cookies?

Put 22 Virginia football players in a small blue bowl and beat for three hours.

This is my best Wahoo joke. They get worse from here.

Ad Nauseam

Alright, everybody, I am sick and tired of the nauseating number of posts concerning the 2009 statewide ticket. My friends, it is simply too early. We haven't even finished counting the ballots on the AG race...we don't even know whether McDonnell is going to win or lose, which will be a major factor on who we nominate in 2009. On that note, maybe we should be discussing what we need to do to get Bob McDonnell elected...perhaps we need protests, posts about the shrinking lead, complaints to the state electoral board...I don't know, but this election isn't even over!!!

And I'm not going to link to any of the ridiculous number of posts on any number of Virginia blogs that has already begun to speculate about the Republican nominees for the 2009 statewide tickets. I understand some of the fascination with 2009, and perhaps the fact we lost the gubernatorial race is the major contributing factor to our fixation with it, but this needs to stop. We have three more elections before 2009 that we need to focus on. Albeit, the Congressional elections aren't always the most exciting, but we will have some competitive elections for House seats before 2009 I guarantee you. In addition, we have the state Senate races in '07, and this thing called a presidential election in 2008 which may involve our home town boy George Allen, which will kinda be occupying our minds.

So let's forget about 2009...at least for a few years please. I know people are already going to be campaigning for it, because the desire for political recognition and power never fades, but let's be realistic. We have a lot more important things to be discussing such as our legislative agenda for the 2006 legislative session, and how we are going to govern effectively with a Democratic governor and how we are going to put up a strong resistance to his conivances. We certainly did not do a very good job against Mark Warner.

Mark Warner named one of Nation's Top 5 Governors

Time magazine has apparently included Virginia's Mark Warner in its list of Americas best Governors. Warner is joined by Democrats Kathleen Sebelius of Kansas and Janet Napolitano of Arizona, and by Republicans Kenny Guinn of Nevada and Mike Huckabee of Arkansas.

Napolitano and Sebelius are both up for re-election in '06 while Guinn and Huckabee are both term limited, preventing them from running again next year. Given the success of Governors in ascending to the Presidency, you may want to keep an eye on this list for prognosticative purposes.

Redstate has more on Time's thinly veiled bias in promoting these 5 tax-hiking Governors.

Seven Months Later, Floyd County Has A Prosecutor

It looks like the unusual legal wrangling that has been going on in Floyd County over the temporarily vacant Commonwealth's Attorney position has been resolved.

If you recall, the position opened when Floyd CA Gordon Hannett's Army Reserve unit was activated. Hannett tried to name one attorney as his replacement, but Circuit Judge Ray Grubbs appointed a different attorney. Thus began the legal battle that started seven months ago. During that time, Hannett's pick has been acting prosecutor, but the Virginia Supreme Court's decision will replace him with Grubbs' pick.

It's a fascinating legal issue and I wonder if the result will force Virginia's CA's to ask the legislature to give them the power to appoint their own temporary replacements.

Virginia Blog Carnival, #11

Hop on over to Bearing Drift for this week's installment of sweet blogitude from around the Commonwealth. It's Mmm, Mmm Good!

Sunday, November 13, 2005

My Commonwealth, My Party

Now that the sting of Jerry Kilgore's surprising (to me at least) defeat has worn off a bit, It is a good time to reflect on things and ask ourselves where we go from here. I am certain that a lot of this will be done at the RPV Advance (register here, I have!), but here are my two cents, for what it's worth.

I couldn't be more excited about the future of the Republican Party here in Virginia. That might sound strange to say after suffering such a sound defeat for the top job in the state, but overall I feel we have many reasons to be optimistic. While I am disappointed that the people of Virginia chose to entrust the Governorship to someone who I feel is not representative of their interests, I have to concede that the Kilgore campaign ultimately failed to provide voters with a compelling reason to switch teams at a time when most people are relatively happy. I won't engage in placing blame for this outcome on any one person, group, or event, because I believe that doing so over-simplifies what is a complex electoral process. It was a combination of factors that led to Jerry's defeat, but the important thing is that we have an open discussion within our party of what mistakes were made so that we do not repeat them.

On the positive side, Republicans in Virginia have many reasons to be grateful. First of all, we are well represented in Washington. While many folks in the nation's capital seem desperately out of touch with America, we are blessed with two of the finest Senators in the country and we can be sure that they are listening to Virginians and responding to our concerns. Further, we have a great team of Republicans in the House of Representatives. While I'd certainly like to see some more fiscal restraint from that body, I know that several of Virginia's Representatives have the same concerns and are working to restore sanity there.

Here within the state, our Party is as strong as it has ever been. We maintain a majority in both chambers of the General Assembly, we may hold two of the three statewide elected offices, and Republican candidates are finding success at the local level from Chesapeake to Cumberland Gap. We certainly have our differences, as does any family, but our party is strengthened by a free exchange in the marketplace of ideas. I anticipate seeing our Republican legislators continue to work together to achieve the best results for the people of Virginia.

I have no doubt that, moving forward, it will continue to be the Republican Party that motivates citizens to action and generates positive ideas for Virginia's future. There is no shortage of qualified, accomplished Republicans who seek to take their place as candidates and there is no shortage of grassroots Republican activists who will continue to aid in the political process. As we look forward to the re-election of Senator Allen and our Republican members of the House, our party will be energized and organized for success.

We Republicans have a great deal to be proud of, we have a lot to be thankful for, and we have a lot left to accomplish in the coming months and years. I can assure you that I will continue to do everything in my power to support this Grand Old Party, and I hope you will too.

The BCS Bailout and a Legend Grows

Well, the BCS has seemingly escaped disaster yet again after unbeaten Alabama fell to LSU this weekend 16-13 in OT. USC and Texas remain the lone unbeaten teams and are unlikely to lose, setting them up for a big-time Rose Bowl matchup for the National Championship.

However, just because the BCS escaped the type of turmoil that has plagued the system the past two years, doesn't mean the system"works." The BCS continues to have the potential for making big mistakes and leaving worthy teams out of Championship consideration. That inevitibility should be enough to cause college football fans to demand a better solution. I believe that solution is the BCS + 1 system that I mentioned earlier. USC and Texas are certainly the most deserving teams this year, but it doesn't change the fact that the BCS remains an accident waiting to happen.

Elsewhere this weekend, the Legend of Steven Orr Spurrier logged another page in the annals of college football history. I love this man. Steve Spurrier belongs in college football. The game just wasn't the same without him and I could not be happier that he decided to return to the game for another go. Spurrier simply brings a certain flash and spark to the college football landscape that is unmatched among coaches in my lifetime. By leading the South Carolina Gamecocks to a tremendous upset victory over his former team, the Florida Gators, teh evil genius Spurrier has shown the world that he hasn't lost a step to the game's young coaching phenoms like Florida's Urban Meyer. He also showed that his tough two seasons in the NFL haven't taken away a bit of his passion for the game. Now, just think about what Spurrier will be able to do with his own recruits.

God bless you, Steve Spurrier, and welcome back.

Saturday, November 12, 2005

Wali Lundy Scores TDs 46, 47 of UVA Career

Glad to have Wali Lundy back in fine form....he's scored 6 rushing TDs in the last two games, and helped to lead UVA to a fine victory over #24 Georgia Tech. They still haven't beaten us at home since they beat us in 1990 when were ranked #1 in the country. Wish we could have that one back!

Old Zach and I were on hand at the game...was a pretty subdued game overall, but satisfying win...

Bring on the Hokies!!! I want some turkey!!!

Scott Stadium is going to be deafening and packed next week. I'm going to go ahead and make my prediction for the game: UVA over Tech 28-24. Vick will choke. The senior Hagans will come up big.

Movies and Politics

Sitting here watching the Wizard of Oz, I came across this quote by the author of the original book, L. Frank Baum:
We are all members of one great family, the family which saved the Union, the family which stands together as the emblem of prosperity among the nations--Republicanism!

Good stuff.

If you are interested in learning more about Baum's story as a political allegory for turn-of-the century (1900s) America, look here.

VA Needs to Win to Guarantee Winning Season

That about sums it up. If we had beaten UNC as we should have, we'd be 6-2 and sitting pretty with three straight wins...unfortunately, we had that typical letdown game after the victory over then undefeated #4 FSU and put ourselves in the unfortunate position of having to win one or two of a final stretch of games that no one would envy....3 top 25 teams, including 2 top ten teams. But it is not out of our reach. The first two games are at home. Time to come up big today with a victory over Georgia Tech first.

Too bad Tony Franklin, Ottawa Anderson, Kwakou Robinson, and another player will be sitting the pine because of the ingestion of some illegal substances...nice timing guys.

Friday, November 11, 2005

Northern Virginia townhomes selling $100K below July prices

I would be remiss if I didn't talk about this revealing article in the Washington Post. I've been following housing closely (here and here) and the article confirms that my gut instinct.

A person would have to be absolutely nuts to consider buying into the DC housing market right now.
Lynn Edmonds and his wife, Sebnem, could barely wait to sign on the dotted line back in May when they committed themselves to pay $796,000 for a three-floor townhouse under construction in Alexandria's Cameron Station.

But since May, the sales prices for the development have fallen -- and units like the one the Edmonds bought are now being sold for $699,900. The Edmonds are facing the prospect of a $100,000 loss in value before they even walk through the front door.

"We blithely stepped into the contract, thinking it would hold its value -- but that's not the case," said Edmonds, 46, a program analyst and Air Force veteran. "I feel so stupid putting myself into it. It's real estate -- I knew on a theoretical basis that it might go up and it might go down, but now I know it on a practical level."
But there's more. A realtor is excited that people are going to get hit with foreclosure when their interest-only mortgages adjust in two years.
His sister-in-law, Sandra Cabral, a real estate agent with Re/Max Pros in Kensington, puts it more succinctly: "He needs to get rid of it; it's an alligator eating all the money."

But she sees an upside to the situation, with good opportunities to make purchases cheaply in the future. "Within two or three years, there's going to be a whole lot of foreclosures, because with all of the interest-only loans, a whole lot of people don't realize that in two years their payments are going to go up."
If you are thinking about buying - don't. If you've already bought, then stay liquid and put yourself in a position to pay down some debt.

The ride is over.

HAHA - NPR "mischaracterizes" Tim Kaine as pro-life

Apparently, a liberal media watchdog is upset that NPR called Tim Kaine pro-life.
National Public Radio's (NPR) Morning Edition misrepresented Virginia Governor-elect Timothy M. Kaine's position on abortion. On November 10, NPR national political correspondent Mara Liasson falsely described Kaine -- who supports legal access to abortion -- as "pro-life." On November 11, NPR religion correspondent Barbara Bradley Hagerty drew a false dichotomy between Kaine's position on abortion and that of the Democratic Party. Bradley labeled Kaine "an unusual candidate," claiming that "he opposes abortion in a party that supports it."
Hat tip to Raising Kaine.

Post-election News from Around the Commonwealth

I was tied up the past couple days so here are just a few stories you should check out if you haven't done so already:

Ken Hutcheson can't believe Virginians voted for Hitler.

Time it takes Tim Kaine to introduce the possibility of new taxes: one day

Bolling says: "I will enforce the rules of the Senate." Translation: "Your ass is mine, Russ."

Deeds want deceased canine votes counted.

Leftover campaign signs are messing with Winchester's Feng Shui.

The WaPo wastes no time beating the Warner for President drum. Michael Shear gushes like a teenage girl.

Chris Graham chimes in with the Valley perspective.

Useless facts, courtesy of the Virginian-Pilot. What else is new?

Hokies Hoops Tips Off

For any Hokie fans still glum from the Miami defeat last weekend, last night's season opening basketball game against Radford offered some salve for the wounds of defeat. The Hokies soundly thumped the Highlanders 80-50 in Cassell Coliseum last night to kick off what Virginia Tech hopes will be another successful season.

Last year, Virginia Tech shocked everyone by going 8-8 in the ACC, finishing in 4th place in the league and earning a trip to the NIT, their first postseason appearance since 1996. This year, Virginia Tech hopes to build on that success and possibly earn a trip to the Big Dance. Many people think that the ACC is weaker this year after the numerous graduations and defections this offseason. While Duke is still the top dog, all of the other teams have lost key components, like NC State's Julius Hodge, Wake Forest's Chris Paul, Georgia Tech's guard trio of Bynum, Elder, and Jack, and of course UNC losing its top seven (7!) scorers from last season. If Virginia Tech can avoid early-season stumbles to inferior teams, like last year's loss to VMI, they should be able to rack up enough wins to get NCAA consideration.

Virginia Tech's first real test will come on Monday, November 28 when they face Ohio State in the ACC/Big 10 Challenge on ESPN2. If they beat, or at least compete with, a good Buckeye team, the season will look very promising. If they get embarrassed, it could be bad news once they enter ACC play.

The NFL in LA

In announcement that would certainly put a smile on the face of George Allen, Sr., the NFL has reached a preliminary agreement to return to Los Angeles, former home of the St. Louis Rams and Oakland Raiders.

No word on whether such a team would be an expansion franchise or simply the result of an existing franchise being moved. It is also uncertain where such a team would play, or when.

As much as I love to hate Los Angeles teams, it is true that there is something simply wrong about not having an NFL team in the City of Angels. Let's hope it gets done sooner rather than later.

Happy Veterans Day

Today is Veterans Day, also known as Armistice Day and Rememberance Day. Today we honor all those brave men and women who have served in our military. We extend our gratitude to everyone who has put their lives on the line to secure our freedom these 230 years.

The Department of Veterans Affairs has lots of great info including the official Veterans Day poster, a history of Veterans Day, and statements from President Bush, Secretary of Veterans Affairs R. James Nicholson, and Veterans Day Spokesperson Jennifer Love Hewitt (but sadly no pictures).

I'd like to personally thank my father, a Vietnam Veteran, for his service. I hope everyone who reads this will also take the time to say "Thank You" to a veteran today.

Thursday, November 10, 2005

The Blame Game

Here's what I have so far:

1) Del. Brad. Marrs blames the media:
Marrs, meanwhile, said he would probably seek a recount if a canvass of election results by local officials showed him losing to independent Katherine Waddell in a district that includes parts of Chesterfield County and Richmond. The unofficial margin Wednesday stood at 44 votes.

Marrs complained that he was "beat by a pack of lies" spread by his opponent and the media.

"I think we did everything we could," he said. "There were a lot of things beyond our control."
Virginia Citizen's Defense League blames Mr. Kilgore's failure to answer the VCDL survey:
Kilgore's treatment of his grassroots gun-base weakened the effect of his NRA endorsement, but he didn't see it.

Like Earley, Kilgore sent a message that pro-gun grassroots had nowhere else to go. And like Earley he has learned that one takes pro-gun grassroots for granted at his own peril.

It is worthy of note that Bolling and McDonnell both filled out the VCDL candidate survey, and each of them received over 60,000 more votes than Kilgore.

The disenchantment that the Kilgore campaign generated was very tangible and led to a base that was highly unmotivated. That in turn affected many of the other races.
The Virginia Family Policy Network blames Kilgore's moderation on social issues:
There’s no doubt that most conservatives voted for a straight GOP ticket in Tuesday’s election. Most believed Jerry Kilgore to still be the conservative Republican from Gate City they had supported in 2001. However, some knew better.

Some knew better because they fought Jerry Kilgore on conservative issues while he occupied the Attorney General’s office. Others knew better because they fought his influence in primary battles against liberal incumbents. Still others knew better because Jerry Kilgore couldn’t muster the courage to sign a taxpayers pledge or promise to endorse a bill to protect the unborn.

Whatever the reason and whatever the number, there was a group of disgruntled conservatives who wouldn’t work or vote for a politician they would have to fight once they got him elected. Kilgore’s team dismissed those principled conservatives by saying instead they would win or lose with the “lazy” voters who would otherwise stay home. That move may have been the straw that broke the camel’s back for some who were planning to hold their noses and support him despite his shortcomings. That quote certainly didn’t encourage them to lend a hand.

Norm's Analysis of Barone's Thoughts

I gotta link to this post even though it's a day old...Barone's analysis of Kilgore's campaign is hardhitting but largely accurate, and I am sympathetic to Norm's feelings on the whole campaign.

Barone states what we already should have known: "Supporting tax increases does not produce political death. If voters feel—as voters in traffic-clogged Northern Virginia and perhaps the other suburbs do—that higher taxes will produce goods that you want—fewer traffic jams—they will support you." On top of this, Kilgore took no real stance on taxes, but just tried to scare the populace. The fact is...Virginians aren't taxed too badly. Other things are more important. Why else would Mark Warner have a 74% approval rating with his primary accomplishment being the largest tax increase in Virginia history.

How Scared Are the Pro-Choicers?

Fascinating piece on Salon about how the pro-choicers are realizing that pro-lifers have been making slow but steady headway against abortion over the last few decades and the overturning of Roe v. Wade is not as impossible as they had previously assumed.

Focuses primarily on Mississippi and the successes of the pro-lifers down there to shut down every abortion clinic but one in the entire state.

Stop Telling Us Why This Election Will Matter in 2006

The media is frenzied with attempts to interpret the meaning of the two gubernatorial race losses on Tuesday night, and most of them are trying to couch it in terms of a loss of faith in the Bush White House and the majority party...which is exactly what they were hoping to get to write about.

Here, at long last, is one sane Washington Post article highlighting the fact that probably the biggest factor in the gubernatorial race in Virginia was the quality of the candidates themselves and the races that they ran for the governor's mansion.

The other Washington Post article of the morning continues to explain how Tuesday means that Republicans will lose big a year from now, which if it does happen, will have nothing to do with what happened on Tuesday.

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

Two thoughts on the lingering AG's Race

1) SBE is showing different results than at least one county webpage. As of right now, 8:17, the SBE webpage has Bob McDonnell up by 1585 votes. If you look at Henrico County on SBE, the vote tally is 45,618 to 43,088, a margin of 2530. However, if you look directly at Henrico County's own tally, the numbers are 45,641 to 43,701, a margin of 1940.

If the numbers on Henrico are right, and the ones on SBE are wrong, then the margin is more like 1000 votes.

2)This summer, Project Vote worked voter registration in Norfolk, registering poor and minority people. The Norfolk registrar threw out 6000 registrations.
Norfolk had 6,064 applications this year that couldn’t be processed immediately – 55 percent of all new applications – which is significantly higher than other cities in the region.

Long has said fewer than 1,000 of the 6,064 were outright denials, which occurs when the applicant is a convicted felon, underage, judged mentally incompetent or a non citizen.

The other applications in question – the majority – were either incomplete or ambiguous.
The Advancement Project filed suit last Friday to get the applications reinstated. This last ditch lawsuit was denied on Monday.

I have no idea on whether any of these people cast provisional ballots. If they have, it's likely that a fair portion of them were Deeds' votes.

A Couple of Bright Spots

Congratulations should go out to several Republican candidates who faced tough challenges in House of Delegates races and prevailed, giving the GOP a few reasons to smile on Election night.

The big victory for the GOP was that of Anne Crockett-Stark, who defeated incumbent democrat Bennie Keister. Though the race was expected to be close, Annie B. ended up winning by nearly 10%. She will represent the 6th District, which covers the counties of Wythe, Bland, Tazewell, Pulaski and Giles.

Another big winner for the GOP was Matt Lohr, who kept the 26th district seat in Republican hands despite a strong challenge from Democrat Lowell Fulk. Lohr will replace retiring Delegate Glenn Weatherholtz as the representative for the city of Harrisonburg and most of Rockingham county. Lohr ended up winning by more than 7% of the vote in a race that Democrats had targeted for a possible pickup.

In an interesting local race, Octavia Johnson became the first Republican to win a constitutional office in the city of Roanoke in 16 years, defeating incumbent Sheriff George McMillan.

Basically, the Republican party is still strong throughout the Commonwealth (and getting stronger in some places). Even though we are all disappointed for Jerry, there are still a lot of great reasons to be a Republican in Virginia.

The French Love Irony

Here's a great post on a blog entitled Unclaimed Territory that compiles a list of criticisms launched by the French media at the American government's response to Hurricane Katrina.

There's nothing funny about what's happening in France, but there's some old saying about glass houses and stones.

I Hate To Be The One To Say It

But let's make sure the Republican Party puts forward our best and our brightest for our gubernatorial nominees in the future.

There is definitely a reason that Bolling received 66,000 more votes then Kilgore, and McDonnell received 60,000 more. I hate to say it, but Kilgore lacked two major qualities:

1) he did not energize the base - and when I say base, I mean the Christian Right

2) his campaign was afraid to put him in front of a camera (and i love the guy...he's great in person, but he was not an articulate candidate) and terrified of putting him in a debate

Ultimately, we have to realize that we cannot run campaigns that are entirely based around instilling fear into the citizens of the Commonwealth that the Democratic candidate is going to raise taxes. We tried it in 2001 and it failed miserably. Warner raised taxes despite promising not to, and no one really cared. There has to be some greater uniting principle of our campaign than scaring our opponents. Once again, an anti-tax campaign against Kaine failed. He's raised taxes in the past, and will do so again in the future. Apparently a Republican candidate needs to offer more if he wants to get elected. Then again, I'm trying to figure out what Kaine stood for myself.

Let's Look At Some Numbers

Okay, I'm going to try to rise above how I feel right now and look at things rationally. So here is the breakdown by congressional district in the Gubernatorial race. Compare those to the numbers by congressional district for Bush/Cheney last year. You can see the problem.

For the lazy ones, here's the rub. In the Republican strongholds of the 6th and 9th congressional districts, Bush pulled 63% and 59.5% respectively. In those same two districts, Jerry Kilgore pulled 53% and 55% respectively. Kilgore lost 10 points in the Shenandoah Valley and couldn't outpoll the President in his home district. Let's also look at the fairly conservative 5th congressional district, where Bush garnered 56% of the vote. Kilgore LOST that district with 48.5% of the vote to Kaine's 49.5%.

These numbers are pretty damning. Obviously the voter turnout this year was much lower than in '04. However, it looks as if it was mainly those who voted Republican in '04 who either stayed home or switched over.

If you are interested in the voting results by locality, those are available here. Not surprisingly, Scott County was Kilgore's strongest locality giving him 73.5%, while Kaine's highest percentage came from the City of Petersburg with 82%. Incidentally, Russ Potts biggest percentage was in the City of Winchester with nearly 13%.

Really, Really, Really Bad

As I just told Old Zach, "This isn't a horrible defeat. It's just a really, really, really bad defeat."

Congratulations Virginia

You have just elected Michael Dukakis as the next Governor of our fair Commonwealth. I hope you idiots get exactly what you asked for.

More election reaction later, I just need some time.

Update:
Just to be clear, Tim Kaine and his campaign deserve a lot of credit for this victory. They won fair and square. The campaign did a magnificent job of keeping the focus on Virgina's progress under Warner and off of Tim Kaine's record.

I am disappointed that my Commonwealth would choose someone like Tim Kaine to be their Governor. Iam even more disappointed that people did not see what a great person Jerry Kilgore is and what a great Governor he would have made.

Yeah, I'm pretty angry and bitter right now I admit. But then, y'all dont read this blog for objective reporting anyway.

2 of 3 - Better than 2001?

We got 2 of 3 statewide races, assuming McDonnell holds on.

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

What is at Stake

Today, ladies and gents, we choose our next Governor of Virginia. Today, we decide the course of our Commonwealth for the next four years. Folks, the act of voting may seem insignificant to you. Today, you will step in the voting booth for a matter of seconds. You will make your choices, and very soon after, you will go back to your normal lives. Those choices, however, will have consequences that reach far beyond tonight.

First of all, this election has absolutely nothing to do with Mark Warner, Jim Gilmore, George Bush, or anybody other than Jerry Kilgore and Tim Kaine. In these two candidates, voters could not have a clearer choice. We have gone to great lengths here to examine the experience, the goals and the governing philosophies of these candidates. Today, we must choose which is the better to lead us forward.

In Tim Kaine, the Democrats have nominated the most liberal candidate for Governor in the history of our Commonwealth. Tim Kaine has spent a lifetime fighting against the death penalty, in favor of gun control, in favor of abortion rights, and a for wide range of other liberal causes. Tim Kaine has said before that he is proud of being a liberal. Unfortunately, in this campaign, Tim Kaine has run away from his true record and sought to deceive the voters of Virginia. Tim Kaine has taken every conceivable position on every conceivable issue in this campaign. He has said one thing in Abingdon and something else entirely in Arlington. In short, the only position that Tim Kaine has stood firmly on this year is that he should be elected. That, folks, just doesn't cut it.

In Jerry Kilgore we know what we are getting. Unlike his opponent, Jerry Kilgore was born, bred and educated in the Commonwealth. Jerry Kilgore has spent his entire life fighting for and protecting the people of Virginia. More importantly, he has stayed true and consistent in his deep-rooted Virginia values. Jerry Kilgore knows the people of Virginia, he understands their character and he trusts them. If elected, Jerry Kilgore will get to work from Day 1 to create the proactive solutions to Virginia's problems in transportation, education, taxes, and a host of other issues that affect us day to day. We have already seen the strength of Jerry's convictions and the firmness of his dedication to our state during his term as Attorney General. As Governor, Jerry Kilgore would be a true representative of the people and a tireless fighter for progress, principle, and personal responsibility.

Over the course of the next four years, there will undoubtedly be a vast array of decisions that the Governor will have to make on our behalf. While some of these decisions will be on big issues like those discussed in this campaign, the vast majority of them will not be. However, it is those small decisions that will end up having the greatest impact on our lives.

What you must ask yourself is this, "Who do I want making those daily decisions of governance?" Do you want a candidate who stands for more government, higher taxes, eliminating the death penalty, coddling illegal aliens, expanding the rights of abortion and gay marriage, and reducing the rights of gun owners? If so, please vote for Tim Kaine. Or do you want the candidate who stands firm for smaller, more efficient government, lowering the tax burden for average Virginians, giving criminals the just punishments they have earned, fighting illegal immigration, defending our traditional family values and upholding our Constitutional rights? If so, please vote for Jerry Kilgore.

Quite frankly, the Harvard-educated liberal Tim Kaine does not represent the vast majority of Virginians. He is well out of the mainstream and to elect him as Governor would to be to entrust the fate of our Commonwealth for the next four years to his radical liberal ideology. Doing so would be a great step backwards for our Commonwealth. Jerry Kilgore is one of our own. His views are smack-dab in the mainstream of most Virginians. He cares about this state and its people. Most importantly, we will not have to worry about each and every decision Jerry Kilgore would make as Governor, because we would know that his heart and mind are ruled by those ideals and values that make Virginia the greatest state in our nation.

In closing, I encourage you to go out and vote today. I encourage you, for the good of this fair state, to cast your votes for Jerry Kilgore for Governor, Bill Bolling for Lieutenant Governor, Bob McDonnell for Attorney General, and your Republican candidate for the House of Delegates. Let's go win this thing.

Monday, November 07, 2005

SurveyUSA Recants and Says Kilgore Much Closer!!!

Everything is breaking Kilgore's way tonight. Chad Dotson just broke this story!

Here is the SurveyUSA apology and explanation. Polling today showed the race tied, and the polling from the last three days puts the race at clearly closer than even 5 points.

Let's get it on!!!

We Will Do 5 Points Better Than We Are Polling

For all those naysayers out there, let me remind you that Republicans, especially in Virginia, ALWAYS, without fail, without exception turn out better than the Democrats and even more so in gubernatorial elections.

2001 - Earley was down by 10 points in the Washington Post poll going into the final weekend...he only lost by 5 points, and the that poll itself may have caused even more voters not to turn out.

1997 - Gilmore won by far more than the polls predicted.

1993 - Allen's election resulted in the same way.

1989 - Marshall Coleman wasn't even close to Wilder in the polls, but lost by only about 5,000 votes. Of course, there were other issues involved there too, but the trend remains nonetheless.

So have no fear...when you hear about Rasmussen Polls having us a couple points down perhap, realize that our ground campaign will put us over the top...so go out and vote and do everything you ethically can to make sure our turnout is superior to theirs tomorrow.

The Waning Hours

Things are getting a little wacky now as the campaign rushes full-bore towards the finish. Polling groups are issuing bogus polls, the MSM is engaging in heavy election eve spin, and the campaign faithful are out in full force executing the last-minute push.

Any polls that have Kaine leading or tied in the 9th or 6th Congressional districts are flat-out wrong. This race is still a dead heat and the battle is going to be won on the ground tomorrow. The weather is going to be nice across the state tomorrow so that will have no effect. Remember Republicans, the election is not over until 7:00 PM tomorrow night. There is still a lot we can do between now and then.

The GOP is in the process of putting together a remarkable GOTV effort that I believe will ultimately deliver the election for Kilgore. This evening's appearance by President George Bush in Richmond energized the party leadership for the stretch run and that energy will be felt tomorrow from one end of the Commonwealth to the other. It is up to each one of us to get our Republican candidates across the finish line.

GIT-R-DONE!