The Commonwealth of Virginia's Ultimate Blog

Monday, October 31, 2005

A License Plate for a Good Cause

The Roanoke Times has this report about the Bedford American Legion's efforts to approve a specialty plate commemorating D-Day and raising money for the National D-Day Memorial in Bedford.

I've said in this space many times before that I don't really like all the specialty plates we have in Virginia. I think there are way, way too many of them and most of them are honestly pretty dumb. For gosh sakes, just buy a bumper sticker people.

However, if there are 350 bowling enthusaists in the Commonwealth who want to put that on their car, we sure as heck should be able to find 350 people willing to show support for our veterans who fought and died to protect this nation in perhaps its greatest hour of need. For all the silly things people put on their cars, couldn't we just once contribute to a cause that is actually worthwhile?

I encourage you, if you know someone who might be willing to help with this effort, please contact the American Legion, Board Canady Post 54, P.O. Box 882, Bedford, VA 24523.

BCS Madness

The turmoil of the BCS standings continues this week with USC overtaking Texas and regaining the #1 position by the narrowest of margins. Texas remains at #1 in the computer rankings, while USC is tied with unbeaten Virginia Tech for second in the six computer polls.

The Hokies still sit on the outside looking in at this point, but as I have said before, I'm not worried. If the Hokies win out, the strength of their remaining schedule will eventually vault them over a Texas team playing mediocre Big XII competition. A big win over #5 Miami this weekend would certainly help Virginia Tech among the human voters and would almost certainly boost them in the computers as well.

This game is VT's biggest since facing FSU in the '99 title game. The Hokies will be under the microscope as never before as voters and fans alike seek to determine whether they deserve a shot at the National Title Game. With ESPN's College Gameday on campus and a prime-time kickoff set, I believe the Hokie faithful will be amped as never before. The Hokies themselves feed off of the atmosphere in Lane Stadium and I expect nothing less than their "A" game on Saturday night.

Ring-a-ding ding, baby!

Han Solo weighs in on Judicial Nominees

Lending proof to the theorem that there is a relevant Star Wars quote for any situation, the Alito nomination brings to mind this one from the galaxy's most likeable rogue:
Bring ‘em on! I prefer a straight fight to all this sneaking around.

NRO's Mark Levin appears to have caught a fighting spirit himself, stating that "If [Alito] is not qualified to serve on the Supreme Court, then no conservative is qualified. "

And over at Redstate, the mood is jovial as Pejman Yousefzadeh dubs Alito "The Anti-Miers."

Incidentally, the Miers nomination was met with the classic Star Wars refrain,"I've got a bad feeling about this."

Let the Games Begin

This morning, President Bush nominated 3rd Circuit Court Judge Samuel Alito to fill the seat of retiring Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O'Connor. With this nomination, President Bush has energized his conservative base with a nominee that is not only conservative, but also highly qualified for a seat on the nation's highest court.

Dubbed "Scalito" by some for his jurisprudential philosophy, Judge Alito is certain to be strongly opposed by Democrats and may bring to a head the fight over judicial nominees in the Senate.
Have no doubt, fellow conservatives, the loony left will do everything in its power to submarine the nomination of this excellent Judge in order to further weaken the President's position. This is the one we have been waiting for, so let's get to it.

First, keep an eye on NRO's Bench Memos. They have some great stuff on Alito, including supportive statements from Senate Democrats at his 1990 hearings. Next head on over to ConfirmThem for bios and reactions.

Most importantly, call Senator John Warner's office (202-224-2023) and remind him that conservative thought is not justifiable grounds for a filibuster. We must ensure that Alito receives the fair treatment deserved by such a qualified candidate.

Let's Get it On!

Sunday, October 30, 2005

Congrats to Matt Wells

Congratulations to Bolling staffer Matt Wells, who manages to mug nearly the entire picture in the print version of this story on Bill Bolling.

It's a good read, and the story finished strong:
"The lesson I learned in'01 was you've got to start early," Bolling said. "So I decided I wasn't going to let anybody get in front of me next time."

Bolling held his first event in March 2002 and has been crisscrossing Virginia since. The party's nomination wasn't automatic. He endured a fierce fight in the June primary against Sean T. Connaughton, chairman of the Prince William County Board of Supervisors.

Bolling spent about $1.7 million to land the nomination in a low-turnout election -- fewer than 4 percent of registered voters participated. That meant he entered the summer almost broke, spending much of the past four months replenishing his treasury.

His main issues include promoting a pro-business environment in Virginia; improving transportation, especially in Northern Virginia and Hampton Roads; creating jobs in economically depressed areas, particularly Southside and Southwest; cracking down on illegal immigrants in Virginia; and fighting gangs.

Bolling holds the endorsement of the National Rifle Association, the Virginia Society for Human Life and the Virginia Farm Bureau's political-action committee, among others.

"I've always appreciated the importance of government and what government could do to help people's lives when it worked the way it was supposed to work, and conversely, what it could do to mess things up."

WaPo - "appears" versus fact

The Virginia blogosphere has been full of news this morning about the WaPo Poll. I'm a little disappointed to see the liberal heathens posting during church hours and Redskins football games, so I guess I don't have too much to add. These paragraphs jumped out at me though:
Kilgore appears to have won over some voters who don't see Kaine as a viable stand-in for Warner. "I think I'm going to go back over to [the] Republicans this time," said Richard Green, 67, a retired banker in Manassas who voted for Warner in 2001.

Kilgore's overall decline coincides with a backlash from his intensely emotional television ads about the death penalty.
Can anyone think of a principled reason why the first paragraph contains the weakening modifier "appears" while the second paragraph is stated as absolute fact?

Saturday, October 29, 2005

Virginia Tech beats Virginia in football

No, I'm not forecasting the outcome of the Nov. 19 contest in Scott Stadium. In fact, I'm just telling you what happened earlier this evening in Klockner Stadium in Charlottesville. Yep, that's right, #12 Virginia Tech's men's soccer team dealt the #5 Hoos their first home loss 2-1 in OT.

What's that you say Cavalier fans? Virginia Tech is just a football school? The Hokies can't compete in the ACC in other sports? Well, don't look now, but the Hokie soccer team has just won it's 9th straight game and will likely vault in the nation's Top 10 on the strength of this win.

No, Virginia Tech does not yet have an all-around athletic program like many of its ACC bretheren, but the success of the soccer team just shows the strides that Virginia Tech is taking towards developing such a program. Certainly that development has been aided by entry into the ACC. While football will always be the top draw for Hokie fans, I have no doubt that within a few years the Hokies will be competing for ACC titles in many other sports too.

Two Outta Three Aint Bad

Well it was a fantastic weekend of football, starting with Virginia Tech's dominating 30-10 win over Boston College. The Hokies didn't put up as many points as they could have, but they simply manhandled a very, very good BC squad. After watching Georgia lose and Texas struggle against a gawd-awful Oklahoma State team, the Hokies had better gain some ground in the BCS this week or someone needs to appoint an independent counsel. By the way, Okie State's only victories this season are against Montana State, Florida Atlantic and Arkansas State. Not exactly an impressive slate. With the sorry level of competition in the Big XII this year, I maintain that an unbeaten Virginia Tech team would eventually leapfrog an unbeaten Texas team into the BCS.

On Friday, it was a classic high school football backyard rumble in Salem as the unbeaten Cave Spring Knights faced off against the unbeaten Salem Spartans in a River Ridge conference clash. The Knights of southwest Roanoke County fought valiantly holding a high-powered Salem attack to a mere 7 points. After generating very little offense throughout the game, Cave Spring switched to a shotgun formation on the game's final series, resulting an 85 yard drive down the field for a touchdown. Instead of playing for OT, the Knights tried to seize the opportunity to defeat Salem by going for a two-point conversion. Cave Spring QB Danny Aiken appeared to knock over the pylon with the ball for the deuce, but the referees ruled that the ball had not broken the plane, giving the Evil Empire a 7-6 victory.

Finally, this afternoon offered another hard-fought conference match-up when Bridgewater College traveled 50 miles down I-81 to face the Washington & Lee Generals in Lexington. Surprisingly, the game between two of the ODAC's top offenses turned into a defensive struggle, with the Eagles coming out on top, 17-13. It was a wacky game that started with a Bridgewater turnover, resulting in a quick W&L touchdown, immediately followed by a blocked PAT returned for two points by the Eagles. In all, BC blocked three kicks and picked off four passes, but had trouble generating much offense, particularly after starting QB Jacob Lewis (a Cave Spring graduate) was knocked out of the game. In the absence of their usual offensive fireworks, Bridgewater's defense persevered and, in the process, the Eagles clinched their 5th consecutive ODAC title and 6th consecutive NCAA D-III playoff berth. It is an impressive streak for which Eagles coach Mike Clark and his staff don't get nearly enough credit.

Although I have no voice left after three straight days of screaming "Defense" and "Let's Go, Hokies/Knights/Eagles" at the top of my lungs, I can say this much, "Boy, do I love football."

"Others Have Died for My Freedom"

Cpl. Jeffrey B. Starr's letter to his girlfriend in anticipation of his death: "Obviously if you are reading this then I have died in Iraq. I kind of predicted this, that is why I'm writing this in November. A third time just seemed like I'm pushing my chances. I don't regret going, everybody dies but few get to do it for something as important as freedom. It may seem confusing why we are in Iraq, it's not to me. I'm here helping these people, so that they can live the way we live. Not have to worry about tyrants or vicious dictators. To do what they want with their lives. To me that is why I died. Others have died for my freedom, now this is my mark."

Malkin vs. The New York Times

I simply love this story about this soldier who gave his life for his country. The letter he writes to his girlfriend in anticipation of his death brought me to tears.

I'm so glad Malkin helped to show how the Times didn't do this heroic man justice.

New Jersey Negative Ads

Corzine's attacks ads against Doug Forrester are so ridiculous they are hysterical.

Friday, October 28, 2005

Good Coverage of the Choosing of the New Nominee

Charmaine Yoest is doing an excellent job of keeping on top all the rumors concerning the President's next choice for the Supreme Court.

Apparently, Samuel Alito might be the choice, while other rumbling says that Luttig could be it.

Of course, popular opinion says it should be another woman...a qualified conserative woman of course.

Richard Viguerie's War on Bush

Richard Viguerie, one of the powerbrokers on the Right for 40 years and the founder of the direct mail empire, has been furious at Bush ever since the nomination of Miers and was instrumental in mobilizing conservative leaders to speak out against the nominee. This is another example of how the Right is clearly tired of sacrificing their principles for the Bush agenda. Read about it here. Bush can win them back though if he picks the right person for the Court. All will be forgotten.

Thursday, October 27, 2005

Time for Bush to Make the Right Decision

It happened just a few minutes ago....read the Washington Post article.

Here is another and longer version of her withdrawal.

If Bush doesn't appoint a strong conservative nominee with the right qualifications, he will the lose the Right entirely for the rest of his presidency and will have no friends but his wife and his dog. I know I personally will be up in arms if he doesn't deliver this time.

Miers Withdraws Herself from Supreme Court Consideration

This is according to the AP. This is the right thing to do as it has become clear that she did not have the support of very many conservatives and that her nomination was hurting the President.

Now the question becomes "Who's Next?" Will the President throw some red meat to his base, nominating a hard-line conservative jurist? Or will he attempt to nominate a moderate that would get confirmed quickly and painlessly? Obviously, we hope for the former, but I fear the latter may be more likely, and that in such case we may end up worse off than we would have with Miers.

We shall see.

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

Going for the Hat Trick

This weekend I'll be taking in a triumvirate of excellent football games that will have big implications on their respective conference races.

On Thursday, I'll head down to beautiful Blacksburg, VA to watch the #3 Virginia Tech Hokies take on the #14 Boston College Eagles. Should VT win, they should only need to beat Miami the following week to secure a spot in the ACC Championship game Dec. 3. Should BC somehow emerge with a win, they could be in position to earn their own trip to Jacksonville.

On Friday, I'll attend the first high school football game I've attended in quite a while when I check out the Cave Spring Knights and the Salem Spartans from Salem, Va. The Knights and Spartans are both unbeaten and tied atop the AA River Ridge District. The winner will likely secure a postseason bid and would probably host a game or two.

On Saturday, I'll be in the stands to watch the OTHER BC Eagles, Bridgewater College, take on Washington and Lee in Lexington, Va. Bridgewater is unbeaten in the ODAC conference, so a win would put them in good shape for their 6th consecutive postseason appearance. W&L, however, has been a surprise in the ODAC this year with only one conference loss. A win would put the Generals in first place and could leave Bridgewater searching for an at-large bid to the playoffs.

In all, it will be an exciting weekend of football. This, my friends, is what October is all about.

Marty Kilgore In the Spotlight

I love this Washington Post article about Marty Kilgore on the campaign trail. It's a fun little piece to read about the next first lady of the Commonwealth of Virginia.

Shallow: Tim Kaine's Inability to Keep His Promises

The Washington Post article has most of it and Chad Dotson has the rest. I've never heard of anything like it...polling to determine whether you should break a campaign pledge that you agreed to in writing. I guess we shouldn't be surprised....how many times did Mark Warner promise not to raise taxes before going on to push through the General Assembly and sign into the law the largest tax increase in the history of the state? These guys just don't believe in anything except themselves.

Not only does Tim Kaine refuse to stand up for what he believes when it comes to the death penalty or abortion, but he refuses to abide by the agreements that he has negotiated when entering a debate with Jerry Kilgore.

This is about as shallow as it gets. I can just see him sitting down with his advisors around his conference table debating whether or not to break his promise. Kind of disgusting honestly.

Will Smokeless Tobacco Snuff Out Allen's Aspirations?

Steve Minor points us to an item in The New Republic describing Senator Allen's unusual tobacco-chewing technique. This raises what I think is perhaps the greatest impediment to Allen's Presidential aspirations. I believe Allen is the GOP's best hope for retaining the White House in 2008 for many reasons, but primarily because he does not have many of the negatives possessed by his competitors.

However, one negative that may come into play is his habit for chewing tobacco. While the habit might be a positive or even neutral in many areas of the country, it is not likely to be viewed as such in other areas. I certainly have nothing against the habit and I could care less whether someone does it in private or not. Unfortunately for Allen, that is not likely to be the view in all parts of our nation. I seem to remember that during the 2000 election Allen was questioned about the image he was promoting to children (My God, think of the children!) via this habit. I have no doubt that similar questions will be raised once the '08 train gets rolling. Further, I know of at least one doctor who believes that Allen's affinity for smokeless tobacco will hurt him with health-related groups.

I have no answer to the question in the title of this post, but I'd be interested in hearing what other people think.

Rosa Parks isn't just an Outkast song

Civil Rights pioneer Rosa Parks died on Monday. Parks' place in the history of our nation is quite unique because of the enormous impact that the simple act of refusing to give up her seat on a Montgomery, Alabama bus had on the Civil Rights movement. Parks' remarkable story reminds me of this famous Margaret Mead quote:
Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it's the only thing that ever has.
The Washington Post's tribute to Ms. Parks aptly describes her symbolic act as "The Thread That Unraveled Segregation." Parks may not have known she was fueling a revolution, but the revolution came nonetheless. Though her presence will be missed, her contributions will continue to affect our nation for generations to come.

Lohr pulling ahead in the 26th

All signs in the 26th seems to be pointing more and more towards a victory for Matt Lohr. The opinion page of the Daily News-Record is chock full of Lohr supporters touting his many attributes. Most importantly, the people of the 26th District seem to realize that Matt Lohr views are more in line with those of the majority of residents in that district and that, as a result, Lohr will do a better job of representing them in Richmond. Lowell Fulk is just another Creigh Deeds, someone who talks like the Valley, but votes like Charlottesville.

Not Larry Sabato seems to agree, as he recently moved the race from a 'tossup' to 'Leans Republican.' NLS notes what others have already observed emanating from the Fulk camp, the smell of desperation.

The AFP reviews Monday's debate between Lohr and Fulk, focusing on Fulk's weak attempts to avoid the gay marriage question. Fulk says a Constitutional Amendment protecting marriage is "a waste of time," but Lohr rightly points out that it will be brought to the floor for a vote in the next session and Fulk has still failed to answer whether he would support it or not. And we all know what that means.

Fulk and his supporters have tried their darndest to keep his views out of this campaign, but in the long run, the residents of the Valley appear to be coming home to the candidate who will vote like they would in Richmond.

Beamer's Millions and The Art of War

The RTD has a couple interesting rticles about the Hokies today. First they have an in-depth look at Frank Beamer's new contract. A $200,000 bonus for winning the National Championship seems awful low to me considering the effect that such a win would have on the perception of the Virginia Tech football program. A National Title would immediately vault VT from a "pretty darn good" team to an "elite" program.

The next article focuses on Virginia Tech wide receiver David Clowney. Clowney, a junior, is the "elder stateman" of VT's young receiving corps and one of Marcus Vick's favorite targets. The article is intersting because Clowney talks about the lessons he learned from reading the book "The Art of War" by the ancient Chinese gneral Sun Tzu. That's not something you usually hear from D-I football players. It's a pretty interesting profile piece.

Everybody Jumping On the Bandwagon

Does anyone else feel like everyone is jumping on the Allen for President bandwagon right now? It's almost weird how many magazine covers he's appearing on right now and how many major conservative talkshow hosts (Limbaugh, Hannity) are practically coronating him as the nominee...over two years before the primaries begin.

Chad Dotson has great coverage of the rising tide for George Allen...including photos of the covers of both National Review and CQ Weekly.

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

Virginia Tech will win the ACC Championship

How am I certain? Well, through some investigative reporting I have discovered some stunning facts that lead me to believe that the Hokie's place in the ACC's inaugural Championship game in Jacksonville on Dec. 3 has been pre-ordained.

Fact #1: The ACC Championship Game is sponsored by Dr. Pepper

Fact #2: As I revealed yesterday, the Roanoke metropolitan area, a hotbed of Hokie activity, is the largest consumer of Dr. Pepper in the Atlantic Coast states.

Fact #3: Dr. Charles T. Pepper, for whom the soft drink is named, was born in Montgomery County, Virginia. Blacksburg is located in Montgomery County.

Fact #4: Dr. Pepper earned his medical degree from the University of Virginia. Nothing would get under the skin of a Wahoo more than VT winning the first ACC Championship game.

Fact #5: Dr. Pepper later settled in Rural Retreat, VA, which is located in Wythe County. Wythe County is adjacent to Carroll County, where VT Coach Frank Beamer is from.

As you can see, it is only right and appropriate that Virginia Tech represent the ACC as the winner of the inaugural Dr. Pepper ACC Championship game.

But first, let's take care of Boston College.

Bolling and McDonnell Will Walk to Victory

The poll numbers on the downticket races simply don't surprise me at all. McDonnell is a superb candidate, who is extremely articulate and personable. Bolling is also an excellent campaigner with a strong record. I am a little surprised he is not up by more, but I think he will win by a relatively wide margin irregardless of whether Jerry Kilgore wins (and he will). The Republican downticket candidates are simply better than the Democrats' candidates.

Monday, October 24, 2005

Miers Nomination In Trouble

A group of conservatives has launched the website WithdrawMiers.org in an effort to convince the White House to correct this most egregious error. I have opposed this nomination since it was first announced, and the more information that comes out, the firmer I become in my opposition.

Miers is simply unqualified for the Supreme Court. I am sure that she is a competent lawyer, but there are thousands of those all around the United States. Being good buddies with the President is simply not enough.

George Allen on Hannity

I hear that Hannity hosted George Allen this afternoon to kick off the 5 p.m. hour and apparently told the world that if the election were held today, he believed Allen would be the nominee of the Republican Party.

I like the sound of that!

ACC Preseason Basketball Poll

The ACC media released their preseason poll today and unsurprisingly Duke was a unanimous selection to finish first. After a bit of a rebuilding year for the Blue Devils, if winning the ACC Title and going to the Sweet 16 can be called rebuilding, the Blue Devils are restocked and led by outstanding seniors JJ Redick and Shelden Williams. Redick, who graduated from Roanoke's Cave Spring High School, was named preseason player of the year, beating out Williams.

The ACC media gave a lot of respect to newcomer Boston College, who came in second in the preseason poll. As for the Commonwealth's teams, VT is predicted to finish 8th, while UVA is picked to finish in last place. Sadly, we'll have to wait a few more weeks to see if the Hokie's Seth Greenberg can build on last year's success and if UVA's new coach Dave Leitao can right the ship in C'ville.

Graft

Norman's post over at www.onemanstrash.blogspot.com is highly indicting. So it seems that Nancy Murkowski, the wife of the current Republican governor and mother of Senator Lisa Murkowski, staunch defender of the Bridge to Nowhere, owns a parcel currently worth $225,000 (and shortly worth a lot more) on Gravina Island, and is one of the few private property holders on an island largely owned by the federal government.

Skins' Arrington Back in the Lineup

It's a relief to see that Arrington is finally getting playing time. I know he may not jive with Gibbs and Greg Williams' scheme, but the kid is amazing on the playing field and I miss watching him take over games and make big plays.

4-2! Go Skins!

Roanokers Work to Preserve their Landmarks

Anyone familiar with the beautiful skyline of dowtown Roanoke is no doubt aware of the two lighted signs that are a significant part of Roanoke's history. The H&C Coffee and Dr. Pepper signs have been a part of the Star City's landscape since the 1940's and now, with help from Ronaokers themselves, will be preserved atop their new homes on Campbell Ave.

The most interesting tidbit from today's Roanoke Times story about the historic signs is this:
It is no secret Roanokers love their Dr Pepper. The soda company acknowledges Roanoke as the biggest consumer of Dr Pepper east of the Mississippi River.
Any questions about Roanoke's southern-ness should now be put to rest.

Del. Rob Bell in the 58th Still Pounding the Pavement

Del. Rob Bell never rests in the 58th, running for his third term he continues to knock on all the doors in his district over and over again. Rarely has a candidate worked so hard for the trust of his constituents.

On Saturday morning, I knocked on doors with him and the UVA Law Republicans in Forest Lakes subdivision north of Charlottesville, and almost everyone had met Rob at some point and often he had done something for them to fix a problem pothole or get some other issue dealt with to their satisfaction. Take a few lessons from Rob Bell, another fine Double Hoo!

The Faith of the American Soldier

I had lunch yesterday with Stephen Mansfield, NYT bestselling author of The Faith of George W. Bush, and was very impressed with him. He is an amazing speaker and gets around on the speaking circuit. His perspective on the history of Western Civilization is fascinating. Check out his new book, The Faith of the American Soldier, which I'm sure will be hitting the bestseller lists as well.

Sunday, October 23, 2005

More of Tom Coburn, Less of Ted Stevens

If you heard the speech given by Ted Stevens in defense of the Bridge to Nowhere on the Senate floor on Thursday, you were probably ashamed as I was that he is a member of our august party. A man in all sincerity claiming that he will resign if $230 million taxpayer dollars earmarked for a bridge to an island with 50 inhabitants, who already have a serviceable ferry and could each be bought a private Lear jet with that same pricetag, were directed toward fixing the bridges over Lake Ponchartrain as suggested by Senator Tom Coburn.

These establishment Republicans who are wed more to their political interests and reelection than any sort of political philosophy or belief in justice or heaven forbid trying to use the taxpayers' money in responsible ways are tiresome to me...

Thank you Tom Coburn for standing up for something.

I am also proud of George Allen for voting for the Coburn Amendment: here is the roll call at the bottom of the editorial.

Saturday, October 22, 2005

Three Words

FIRE AL GROH!

Hasty? Perhaps...but I was on this before we beat FSU, and losing to UNC scoring 5 points confirms to my suspicions...I'm tired of the horrible play calling in the red zone and the overall lack of ability to close out on teams that we should beat. He can recruit, but he can't coach. He's got Pete Gillen syndrome. A few big victories does not make a coach.

We're looking at a season with a losing record, and no bowl game.

U.S. Attorney Paul McNulty leaves position, Steve Baril to step up?

From the WaPo:
President Bush will nominate U.S. Attorney Paul J. McNulty of Alexandria to become the next deputy attorney general, the White House announced yesterday, replacing an earlier candidate who dropped out amid growing opposition from Senate Democrats.

McNulty, 47, has presided over a dramatic expansion of the U.S. attorney's office in Alexandria, which has become the central legal front in the Bush administration's anti-terrorism strategy.
Congrats to Mr. McNulty. I'm sure he'll do a good job.

Here at SST, we are always looking for the Virginia politics angle, and here it is: Steve Baril was a finalist for the U.S. Attorney appointment for the Eastern District of Virginia in 2001. Instead, the nomination went to McNulty.

From the May 4, 2005 Daily Progress:
“I think I win hands down” in terms of who is the better lawyer, Baril said. He mentioned being one of several lawyers nominated by U.S. Sens. John Warner and George Allen for a U.S. Attorney position that went to Paul McNulty in 2001. He also served on the Virginia Criminal Justice Services Board from 1998 to 2001.
From Mr. Baril's bio page:
In 2001, Senators Warner and Allen nominated Steve as a finalist to President Bush for U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia, which speaks
volumes about his legal qualifications to serve as Attorney General.
I'll be interested to see if Mr. Baril expresses interest in this position. Perhaps his run for AG raised his profile enough to get the nod this time.

Friday, October 21, 2005

Domestic Violence Awareness Month

October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month.

If there is anyone who thinks domestic violence isn't really a big problem, I wish they could have been with me recently as I observed an assault and battery case involving a teenager being beaten by the father of her two children. There are few things more vile to me than men who beat up women. My heart goes out especially for the children, who will have little to no chance to escape the hurricane that engulfs their young lives.

I was impressed four years ago when Jerry Kilgore made combating domestic violence a key issue in his campaign for Attorney General. Now as a candidate for Governor, Kilgore is continuing his commitment to protecting women by locking up violent abusers. Kilgore has proposed mandatory jail time for domestic abusers who violate protective orders. These violent relationships are a threat to the fabric of our society, and I applaud Kilgore for his long-standing efforts to reduce its impact on our communities.

Harsh Words for Harriet Miers

Ann Coulter has never been known for holding back. In this column from RealClearPolitics.com, Coulter rips the Miers nomination and is less than optimistic about the effect it may have on the court.

Here's a sample:
But without a conservative theory of constitutional interpretation, Miers will lay the groundwork for a million more Roes. We're told she has terrific "common sense." Common sense is the last thing you want in a judge! The maxim "Hard cases make bad law" could be expanded to "Hard cases being decided by judges with 'common sense' make unfathomably bad law."

Thursday, October 20, 2005

Prayers

Our condolences go out to the family of Marine lance corporal Daniel Scott R. Bubb. Bubb, who was 19 years old and a native of Grottoes, was killed Monday in Iraq. We thank Bubb and his family for their sacrifice on behalf of our nation.

The Second Season Begins

Tonight Virginia Tech begins the second half of their season in College Park against teh Maryland Terrapins. Virginia Tech has looked very good in the first half going 6-0 and sporting one of the best defenses in the nation.

Tonight, however, begins an extremely tough stretch for the Hokies that will show just how serious a contender they are for the Rose Bowl. After Maryland, VT will face a solid BC team at home, followed by Miami and then on the road to Charlottesville. A lot of folks are picking VT to go to the ACC Championship game, but each of their next four games are potential landmines that could derail their dreams of an unbeaten season.

As I have said before, I believe that if VT does go unbeaten, they will go to the Rose Bowl based on the strength of their schedule. That goal will only be reached by taking it one game at a time.

Tonight, it's Maryland.

Wow, Republicans in Congress Cutting Pork?

What a rarity, and such a sublime thing to see. Of course, there is almost no chance of this actually passing. Most Republicans in Congress no longer have the will to stand up for anything. But two thumbs up for Tom Coburn!

Oh, and another exception to that broad generalization about Republicans in Congress is my own Congressman Virgil Goode, who is as principled as it gets.

Wednesday, October 19, 2005

Autumn in the Valley

I spent the afternoon driving around Rockingham County. There's just no place I'd rather be in the fall than the Shenandoah Valley. This is truly God's county.

FYI: The Lohr signs outnumbered the Fulk signs

Voters Turned off by the Death Penalty Ads

This is not a scientific survey whatsoever, but after speaking with dozens of college students and citizens around the Commonwealth of Virginia, everyone with whom I speak almost overwhelmingly believes that the ads released last week by the Kilgore campaign are over the top. I personally am starting to worry that perhaps the "nuclear" ads are damaging Kilgore's credibility in their attempt to dramatize what are horrible tragedies. Perhaps the recent polls with Kilgore down by 1 or 2 points, but still within the margin of error of course, are testament to the tastelessness of those ads.

The 800-Pound Gorilla of Virginia Politics

I'm talking about none other than Senator George F. Allen.

Mark Warner may be popular, but Tim Kaine has never been his guy. That fact becomes more and more obvious as the campaign progresses and Kaine's uber-liberalism is exposed. Jerry Kilgore, on the other hand, is most certainly Allen's guy. Now, just as the Warner folks start getting cold feet, Allen is circling the wagons, taking to the airwaves to defend his guy and give him a boost to the finish line.

Chad Dotson has more, including a link to the ad itself. Check it out.

Coming Attractions

Here are a few trailers for some upcoming movies that I'm pretty excited about:

Jarhead

Walk the Line

King Kong

Aeon Flux

V for Vendetta

Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire

and of course,

The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe

The Conservative Choice

Over at the AFP, Nathan Tabor has written a thoughtful article looking at the historical shift of Southern conservatives from the Democrat to the Republican party. Tabor looks at how the national Democrats abandoned their traditional base by embracing a liberal social agenda in the 1960s and 70s. As a result, the "solid south" disintegrated for the Dems, shifting their base to the northeast and pacific coast.

Tabor argues that Republican conservatives now face a similar crisis of conscience. The national party has embraced what he calls a "Big Tent" philosophy, ignoring conservatives in favor of so-called moderate candidates with national appeal like Schwartzenegger and Giuliani. Tabor says:

All conservatives have a choice. We could join forces with the Southern Democrats to form a new party; we could look to one of the existing third parties; or we can stand our ground and fight for that which we built. I believe we should fight for control of the party we built. The Republican Party cannot sustain itself on its moderate wing. The GOP needs conservatives to maintain its majorities and to win national office. Conservatives, not moderates, built the Republican Party.

The GOP can't afford to forsake its conservative base by running to the middle. It's time we let them know we are the party of faith, family and freedom. The time has come for us to let our voices be heard. First we must realize and accept the truth that the Republican Party is nothing without conservatives. Then we must demand that the party leadership respect this truth.

Indeed.

"A Bottomless Pit"

That's how Larry Sabato refers to the ridiculous amounts of money that are flowing into this year's Attorney General's race. Republican Bob McDonnell has raised nearly $3.5 million for this race, while his opponent has raised over $1.6 million.

As Not Ben Tribbett mentions in this RTD article, those amounts that, even a few years ago, would have been substantial for a Gubernatorial candidate, are now commonlace for downticket candidates.

Expect to be inundated by TV ads and other communications from both candidates as we enter the last few weeks of the race and both sides try to motivate their voters to the polls while also trying to reach those remaining undecideds.

Tom Petty to Receive Billboard's Top Honor

I had to throw out this note about my favorite rock artist of all time, Tom Petty. On Dec. 6 at the Billboard Music Awards, Petty will receive The Century Award, Billboard's highest honor for creative achievement. The most exciting news in the article is that Petty's new solo album, Highway Companion, is due out this Spring.

Tom Petty was the first artist I ever saw in concert and no matter how many times I listen to his albums, they never get old. Petty has recorded hit records in each of the past three decades, and it would be nice to see his work get some appreciation in the 21st century as well.

Incidentally, tomorrow will be Tom Petty's 55th birthday. I congratulate Petty for continuing to try to make music that is relevant and meaningful, rather than just resting on his past successes. I continue to hold myself and Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers up as proof that not everything that came from the 70s was bad.

White Lightning

Maybe it's just the fact that I grew up watching the Dukes of Hazzard, but I love reading stories like the one in today's RTD about Virginia's illegal liquor trade. Many folks in the more urban parts of the state probably don't even realize that moonshining is still going on here in the Commonwealth, but according to the RTD it is a $20-million a year business.

Having grown up near "The Moonshine Capital of the World," I know what a big deal it is in some places. This article is a really interesting look at the law enforcement side of the story. Trust me folks, there are no Roscoe P. Coltranes at the ABC.

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

Speaking of Interesting Delegate Races...

The Roanoke Times has this profile of the race in the 6th District between incumbent Democrat Benny Keister and Republican Anne Crockett-Stark.

Both candidates appear to be bringing in some heavy hitters from their respective parties and this one looks to go down to the wire. While toppling an incumbent is always difficult, Kiester almost lost last time around, and Annie B. is much better funded than her predecessor.

A win here would be very good news for the RPV on Election Night.

Lohr v. Fulk headlines '05 Delgate races

I've been meaning to post about the 26th District race for some time now. This race is possibly the closest and most interesting contest that is going on for the House of Delegates this year. I will certainly be doing my best to cover this race as we head to election day.

On the Republican side, candidate Matt Lohr is a lifelong resident of Rockingham County, a farmer and small-businessman, a graduate of Virginia Tech, a husband and father of two, and an active member of the community, including a stint as Chairman of the Rockingham County School Board.

For the Democrats, the candidate is Lowell Fulk. Fulk is a lifelong resident of Rockingham County, a farmer, a husband and father of three, and an active member of the community, including a stint on the Rockingham County School Board.

So what's the difference between these two candidates? Well, Fulk understands that the 26th district is heavily Republican and has been trying his best to paint himself as a Mark Warner type of Democrat. Unfortunately for Fulk, it is hard to convince the voters of Rockingham County that you are an "independent" Democrat when you are receiving the support of folks like Dickie Cranwell and Tim Kaine. Lohr, meanwhile, has been racking up support from beloved figures in the Shenandoah Valley like George Allen and Bob Goodlatte.

While we're talking endorsements, as the DNR reported yesterday, Lohr has ranked up an impressive list of endorsements from groups that speak directly to the concerns of Valley voters. These include the NRA, the Valley Farm Bureau, and the National Federation of Independent Business. Fulk, on the other hand, has been endorsed by groups such as the AFL-CIO, the League of Conservation Voters and the Virginia Education Association. As you can see, Lohr is speaking to the issues that affect his potential constituents, while Fulk is kowtowing to the liberal political establishment.

As far as issues go, Lohr has maintained a focused message that plays well to Valley voters. Throughout the campaign, Lohr has touted lower taxes, protecting farms and small businesses, improvements in education, and traditional values on marriage and abortion. In a heavily Republican district, these issues are exactly what people want to hear about.

Lowell Fulk understands that, as a Democrat in this district, he is starting behind the 8-ball. As a result, Fulk has sought to turn attention away from his support for higher taxes and opposition to an Amendment protecting traditional marriage. Instead of focusing on positive issues, Fulk has attempted to make mountains out of molehills by pushing one of the most frivolous issues I have ever heard of.

Fulk argues that his opponent isn't qualified to serve in the General Assembly because he didn't attend all the school board meetings when he was a member. He then selectively focuses his criticism on a brief period when Lohr missed several meetings as a result of his motivational speaking business, which forces him to travel around the country. Finally, Fulk attacks Lohr for passing a pay raise for school board members that wouldn't take effect until Lohr was off the board. Basically, Fulk is using this silly attendance issue to distract the voters from realizing that his actual positions are out of line with the rest of the valley.

Fulk's attack on Lohr's school board attendance is absurd for a couple reasons. First of all, the sample size is so small that missing even a couple of meetings can drastically reduce the percentage of meetings attended without having any tangible effect on the actual business that gets done. For example, according to the DNR, the Rockingham County school board held 19 regularly scheduled meetings in 2004. Missing even one of those meetings would mean that a person would have missed more than 5% of the Board's meetings. While it is not necessarily acceptable to miss meetings, it is ridiculous to fault someone for trying to earn their living while also making an effort to serve their community. I don't believe that the voters in the valley will respect this attack on Lohr's livelihood.

Secondly, the idea that missing some school board meetings can be extrapolated to show what Lohr would do as a Delegate is preposterous. In fact, the very nature of Lohr's business would actually make it easier for him to plan around the legislative session so that all of his speaking engagements could be scheduled when the legislature is not meeting. Further, while it is very easy for a school board to call "special" meetings when one or two members might not be able to make it, the calling of a special legislative session does not work the same way, and is highly unusual.

In sum, I believe it would be a huge mistake for the Valley and the 26th District if they did not send Matt Lohr to Richmond next year. Lohr is a bright and motivated young man who is firm in his convictions and will be a strong, conservative voice for the Valley. Lohr will be able to work well with the other Valley Republicans in the House of Delegates and his experience as a teacher, a farmer, and a small businessman will be a valuable asset for him in representing Rockingham County.

There is no question that the values of the Democratic Party of Virginia are out of line with the people of the 26th District. Lowell Fulk helped draft the Party's platform, he supported John Kerry, and if elected, he would be too beholden to the Democratc party leaders who aided his campaign. Fulk would simply not be able to represent the best interests of his constituents in the House of Delegates.

Finally, while I haven't done a good job covering this race, I wanted to point out that our friend GOPHokie has done a superb job keeping tabs on it over at his blog, Elephant Ears. You can check out some of his coverage of the race here, here and here. It's just the type of thoughtful, well-informed, first-rate analysis I'd expect from a Hokie.

The BCS Stepchild

The Washington Times has an entertaining article today about the joke of a BCS Conference that is the Big East. No matter which way you slice it, the Big East simply is not in the same league as its BCS brethren the ACC, Big Ten, Big XII, Pac-10, and SEC. In fact, the Big East might even be worse than the non-BCS Mountain West conference.

The BCS should do everyone a favor by eliminating the Big East's automatic bid and replacing it with a third at-large bid. Then, if a Big East team is worthy, they'll get an invite, but if they aren't, then the fans won't be stuck watching a mediocre team get shellacked by a BCS heavyweight in what is supposed to be a marquee game.

Virginia Blogger Carnival, Part VII

Don't forget to check out the latest edition of the VBC over at NorthernCrown and see what all the cool kids are blogging about these days.

Bobby Bowden on Hagans

"I've never seen a quarterback beat us with a one-man show. The last time that's happened to us was Oklahoma in the Sugar Bowl -- J.C. Watts. Watts did it for about 30 minutes; this guy did it the whole game."

Pretty strong endorsement there.

Long Time Coming - 1995-2005

The title of this post refers both to the 26-21 UVA victory over Florida State and the time it took me to actually make this post. I apologize for not getting around to it until now.

I was at the game on Saturday of course. I was there in 1995 too when Adrian Burnim punched the ball out of Warrick Dunn's hands as his body broke the goal line...without the ball. I distinctly remember praying before that play and the silence of the crowd while the refs figured out if Dunn had scored. It was probably only a few tenths of a second before Poindexter and company were dancing around the endzone, but it seemed like an eternity. I'll never forget Tiki Barber's 311 all-purpose yards in that game including the 193 yards rushing...the 61 yard half back toss run he took down the left side line untouched.

Every year since, I've thought that maybe this would be the year, some more than others of course. Two years ago, my heart was broken when the ball was snapped over Schaub's head with about 3 minutes left ending the drive that would have tied or won the game. There have been many other heartbreaking moments, but finally a decade of anguish was assuaged by a victory that for some reason I felt coming (I was predicting victory all day at the tailgates...just a feeling in the air...beautiful blue sky).

UVA had nothing to lose after two straight close losses on the road, and they played with abandon. That "dadgum number 18" as Bobby Bowden referred to Marques Hagans was spectacular...simply the best player on the field with almost 300 yards passing by the end of the third quarter, although the Florida State defense shut down the UVA offense which got very conservative in the fourth quarter. On almost every single play, the UVA offensive line lost the battle for the line of scrimmage and Hagans was flushed out of the pocket, making throw after throw off his back foot or on a dead run. And Groh and his offensive coordinator continued to call pass plays in the first half, unlike last year in Tallahassee (I was present for that game too...only UVA fan in the entire FSU student section....in retrospect, perhaps not the best idea), where he refused to call anything but half back draw plays. Hagans was finally allowed to do what he does best, and he fought through a pulled hamstring in the second quarter to take UVA to the promised land.

It was awesome to rush the field at Scott Stadium once again...and the Corner was hopping afterwards. It was about time.

Monday, October 17, 2005

How Out of Step is Tim Kaine?

During the recent debate, Jerry Kilgore accurately described his opponent Tim Kaine as the most liberal candidate for Governor in Virginia's history. Kaine has, of course, gone to great lengths to hide his liberal activist past and align himself with the popular Mark Warner, who is perceived as more moderate.

Nowhere is the distinction between Warner and Kaine more evident than on the issue of the death penalty. The Republican Party of Virginia has put together a nice retrospective look at how the past eight Governors of Virginia have felt about the death penalty. The four Republicans and four Democrats who have held office since the death penalty was reinstated in 1976 ALL AGREE in supporting the death penalty.

It should be painfully obvious that Tim Kaine is simply too liberal and too out of touch with the mainstream of Virginians to be trusted to be Governor.

Creigh Deeds Discovers Gang Crime

Last week, Democrat Attorney General candidate Creigh Deeds introduced his proposal to deal with Virginia's growing gang problem. Deeds' plan includes a "three-strikes-you're-out" rule for gang related crime, and automatic deportation for illegal immigrants involved in gang crime.

Republican Bob McDonnell responded immediately to Deed's proposal, saying that Deeds has no credibility on gang issues after doing nothing to combat gangs during 14 years in the General Assembly. McDonnell accused Deeds of being a late-comer to these issues and said he was merely trying to bolster his crime-fighting credentials.

Today, McDonnell got an assist from one of Deeds' colleagues, State Sen. Mark Obenshain. Obenshain stated that he had done more to fight gangs in his two years in the State Senate than Deeds has done in 14. Ouch.

For the record, McDonnell has been endorsed by both the Fraternal Order of Police and the Virginia Police Benevolent Association.

Allen's fundraising prowess will scare off serious challenge

On Saturday, Senator George Allen released his fundraising figures for the last quarter. In the past three months, Allen raised $1.3 million to give him about $5.5 million on hand as he prepares to defend his Senate seat next year. While those figures are less than what he raised the previous two quarters, they still represent an incredible hurdle for anyone who hopes to challenge the popular incumbent.

Gov. Mark Warner has pledged to field a competitive Democratic challenger, although he has declined to run himself. Despite the buzz over Ben Affleck's potential interest in running for office, in reality, the Virginia Dems will have a tough time finding anyone willing to be a sacrificial lamb for the Allen juggernaut.

Without a serious challenge to his reelection, Allen will be riding a wave of momentum, and cash, into 2007. By that time, he will be well positioned to mount a serious run for the Presidential nomination in '08. Already considered one of the Senate's top conservatives, Allen must continue to raise name recognition and consolidate support among the party faithful to have a shot at the nomination.

VT Third in First BCS Poll

The first BCS Poll of the year was released today and the top of the poll has very few surprises with USC and Texas coming in at #1 and #2 respectively. They are followed by unbeatens Virginia Tech, Georgia and Alabama.

Those five teams are ranked pretty much the same in both the human and computer polls, but there is some disagreement after that. Traditional powers like Miami (6th in human, 13th in computers) and Notre Dame (11th and 12th in human, 25th in computers) are favored by the human voters, while Wisconsin (17th in human, 8th in computers) and West Virginia (20th in human, 12th in computers) are favored by the artificial intelligence.

While there is still a lot of football left to be played, there is already debate stirring about who might be left out of the championship game if USC and Texas continue to be unbeaten. VT fans are already worried that their beloved Hokies could be this year's Auburn in such a case. I believe that such fears are unfounded, and I am confident that if VT continues to win, they will be in the Rose Bowl come Jan. 3.

As of now, Texas and Virginia Tech have each played one ranked opponent, #13 Ohio State for the Longhorns and #20 West Virginia for the Hokies. Ohio State still has some tough games in the Big Ten while WVU is the frontrunner to win in the weak Big East. It is entirely possible that the Mountaineers could end the season ranked higher than the Buckeyes. The remaining opponents of VT and Texas have similar combined records, coming in at 21-9 and 20-10 respectively. However, Texas only plays one more ranked opponent in #8 Texas Tech, while Virginia Tech still has to face #6 Miami, #11 Boston College and #24 Virginia. As far as the Conference Championship games go, Texas would potentially face a weak Big XII North team such as Colorado, who could break back into the Top 25, but is unlikely to be ranked very high. Meanwhile, Virginia Tech would likely face either #10 Florida State or possibly a rematch with Boston College. In any case, I remain confident that if the Hokies are able to navigate their remaining schedule without a loss, they will be at least #2 in the BCS when the final bids are handed out.

Sunday, October 16, 2005

What, no gloating?

I fully expected to roll back into town this evening to find SST chock full of joyful rantings by our friend Lighthorse Harry over UVA's stunning upset win over Florida State. I guess the post-game celebrations must have got the better of him.

Believe it or not, I'm quite happy for the Hoos. I'm certainly no fan of FSU, and I believe UVA's victory confirms that the ACC is indeed the best conference in college football today. Excluding Duke, any team in the ACC can be competitive with any other team on any given saturday. Witness Boston College manhandling these very same Wahoos last week, only to struggle with Wake Forest yesterday. Top to bottom, the ACC is the most competitive league in the nation and I would not be surprised to see two ACC teams in the BCS this year.

Of course, there is still a lot of football left to be played, but UVA's victory is the type of win that can turn a season around. With their remaining schedule, the Cavaliers will have a lot to say about who emerges on top of the ACC's Coastal Division. The Wahoo's opponents, particularly Miami and VT, had better watch this game-tape and be ready for a different team than Maryland and BC saw.

Friday, October 14, 2005

Remember Me?

With all the buzz surrounding the Kilgore-Kaine death penalty debate, we don't want people to forget that there are two other statewide races going on for Lieutenant Governor and Attorney General.

In the AG race, things have reamined fairly positive as both McDonnell and Deeds have commercials out touting their crime-fighting records. While Deeds has tried to distance himself from his ultra-liberal ticketmates (his commercial gives no indication of which party he is a member of), McDonnell has begun to go on the offensive, arguing that Deeds is trying to pad his "law and order" credentials.

Last week, Senator George Allen stumped with McDonnell, praising McDonnell for his leading role in juvenile justice and parole reforms during Allen's term as Governor. Allen also criticized Deeds for coddling criminals and siding with criminal apologists. Now, McDonnell is focusing on a proposal by Deeds that would have made it easier for prisoners to file frivolous lawsuits against Virginia. Further, McDonnell is pointing out Deeds' vote in support of a moratorium on the death penalty. Meanwhile, Deeds simply continues to try to obfuscate his liberal voting record in Richmond behind an NRA endorsement and a down-home demeanor.

In the LG race, it is no surprise that a desperate Leslie Byrne is trying hard to remove the focus from her own record by launching baseless allegations against her opponent, Bill Bolling. Byrne is by far the most liberal candidate on the Democrat ticket and her only hope is to smear Bolling as much as possible and hope no one finds out anything about her before election day. Keeping with the death penalty meme, Bolling also spotlighted his opponent's record on what has become this year's signature issue. As a member of Congress, Byrne voted for legislation that would have ended the death penalty in 29 states, including Virginia.

While most of the ink is being spilled on Kaine and Kilgore, the four other candidates for statewide office are keeping things interesting. Bolling and McDonnell are looking strong heading into the home stretch, but they'll continue to need our help to be first accross the finish line.

Thursday, October 13, 2005

Miers mixed on the Federalist Society

Drudge has two articles on Harriet Miers' relationship with conservative/libertarian legal organization, The Federalist Society. Apparently, in 1989 Miers said she would not belong the the group because it was "politically charged." However, in April of this year, Miers spoke to the DC Lawyers' Chapter of the Federalist Society, praising them as "an important ally."

The Federalist Society is a fantastic organization that helps to raise the level of debate in the legal community and is well-respected by many reasonable people on all sides of the political spectrum. The idea of the Federalist Society as some covert, "cloak and dagger" type arm of the Vast Right-Wing Conspiracy is an absurd notion perpetuated by the fringe elements of the left-wing. The fact that some Democrats in the Senate accept the characterization as valid only shows how skewed their perception really is.

Here's hoping that Miers' reaction to the Federalist Society link is better than the snub extended by Chief Justice Roberts.

VT Shows Beamer the Money

Frank Beamer is Virginia Tech Football

Over the past 18 years, the term "Beamerball" has become synonymous with the hard-nosed, lunchpail style defense, ground game and special teams that have typified Virginia Tech football teams and players over that span.

Three Big East Titles, One ACC Title, 12 consecutive bowl appearances, 1999 consensus National Coach of the Year, and a 141-77-2 (and counting) record are just a few of the accolades that Beamer has collected as coach of his Alma Mater.

Today, Virginia Tech finally came to a contract agreement with the program's most successful coach. The contract will keep Beamer in Blacksburg through at least 2012 and includes an option for three more years. Beamer will earn a base salary of over $2 million per year and he is worth every penny. The contract also includes substantial raises for Beamer's assistant coaches, which had been the sticking point that had prevented an agreement being reached before now.

I believe that Beamer will eventually be remembered as one of college football's greatest coaches for taking a program that had previously known mostly mediocrity and turning it into a perennial national power. Should the Hokies manage to capture a National Championship, they will certainly join the ranks of America's "elite" college football programs.

Old Zach makes The Post

In today's Washington Post, Michael Shear recaps the week's response to Sunday's Gubernatorial debate from around the blogosphere. Our humble little blog garnered a nice mention there on page two.

Next stop, the cover of the Rolling Stone.

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

Two Term, Or Not Two Term

Believe it or not, the death penalty was not the only issue raised in this past sunday's Gubernatorial debate. Another controversial issue (at least in Virginia) is the issue of Gubernatorial term limits.

Since 1851, the Virginia Constitution has prohibited the Governor from serving consecutive terms. There are no term limits on any other statewide offices or legislative offices. Not surprisingly, both candidates for Governor support repeal of the consecutive term limitation, even though such a change would not affect them. However, the bargaining power lies with the General Assembly, which does not want to grant greater power to the Executive without taking some in return.

The AFP notes today that, with both candidates declaring their support for the change, the proposal may pick up steam in the next legislative session. So hopes Delegate Steve Landes, who authored legislation in last years session to explore the possibility of repeal.

Personally, I support maintaining the one-term limitation because it forces Governors to agressively pursue their policy initiatives and focus their administrations on specific achievements. Further, I have doubts about whether the General Assembly would truly pass legislation to extend the Gubernatorial term. Not only would it diminish the power of the Legislature, but it would mean fewer opportunities for them to ascend to the Governor's mansion.

Kaine's Campaign is on Death Row

Yesterday, I exposed the Mack truck sized hole in Tim Kaine's position on the death penalty. Today the Kaine camp is taking a beating over the issue in both the media and the blogosphere. It is clear the Kilgore has now made the death penalty the driving issue of the campaign. It is a smart and pertinent move in the wake of a number of relevant cases here in the Commonwealth, including the murder of VCU student Taylor Behl and the recent conviction of the DC sniper.

Kaine's response to the controversy has been weak at best. First of all, he is sticking to defense that his personal beliefs wouldn't affect his actions as governor, despite the flaws in his argument we have already discussed.

Second, as we can read in this morning's Roanoke Times, the Kaine camp is attacking Kilgore's ads as misrepresenting his actual beliefs. In the RT article, a Kaine spokesperson rebutts the assertion that Kaine doesn't believe Hitler qualifies for the death penalty by saying that "he makes exceptions for killings committed in self-defense or acts of war. Dictators such as Hitler, Stalin and Amin would meet the latter exception."

However, if you read the transcript of the interview, you find it is the Kaine campaign that is twisting their candidate's words. Over at OMT, Norm has the text of the RTD interview. In response to the Hitler question, Kaine says this:

God grants life, God should take it away. That's my religious belief. And -- except in the, you know, kind of rare instances. Self-defense. I mean, a person who -- you know, who kills somebody in self defense, or -- or a nation that -- that wages a just war, that is essentially to defend itself or -- or others, that would be an exception.

What Kaine is saying here is that nations have the right to defend themselves if attacked and that the resulting deaths are not murder. He IS NOT saying that he supports the death penalty for war criminals. In fact the RTD goes on to clarify by asking:
Your conviction is so deep that you cannot name one person in history, who because of his malefactions and criminal behavior, deserved the death penalty?

To which Kaine responds, "No."

Finally, the Kaine campaign trots out Democratic Commonwealth's Attorney Paul Ebert to defend Kaine's stance on the death penalty by saying:
I have a number of people on death row and [Kaine] has assured me that he will not interfere with the existing law

Ebert's comment, while it may be technically true, misses the entire point of the debate over the death penalty. As Governor, Kaine would not have to interfere with the existing law in order to overturn death sentences. It would be perfectly within his powers as Governor to commute the sentence of every person sent to death row, for ANY reason. Kaine would have the power to right what he considers a moral wrong, yet claims he would do nothing. The position is untenable. In fact, I would respect Kaine a great deal more if he simply stood behind his beliefs and indicated that he would not execute criminals if he were Governor.

This point brings us right back to the question posed in yesterday's post. Is Kaine being dishonest with the people of Virginia when he says he will enforce the death penalty just like any other Governor? Or, is it the case that Kaine simply cares more about getting elected than he does about doing what he believes is right?

Homage to Birdwood

It's such a pleasure to live in Charlottesville and be a part of the University community and play the Birdwood Golf Course. I never fail to see deer running across the fairway every time I play. The views, especially as the sun starts to set, are just amazing, especially when up near the clubhouse on the plateau when you're coming in on 18. The plateau that the clubhouse sits on provides a great view of the surrounding hills that comprise the Ragged Mountains, the mountains featured in A Tale of the Ragged Mountains by Edgar Allan Poe, a short essay that he penned in 1850.

Poe writes about the Ragged Mountains:
The solitude seemed absolutely virgin. I could not help believing that the green sods and the gray rocks upon which I trod had been trodden never before by the foot of a human being.


I feel similar feelings sometimes when coming in on 18 at dusk as the sun sets over the Blue Ridge. It seems as if all the world is still and you are marvelously alone in the desolation of the twilight.

Tuesday, October 11, 2005

Tim Kaine's Moral Obligation and Why He Is No Mahatma Ghandi

When a person with certain moral convictions attains a position of power in which he has the ability to change laws that he believes are unjust, he has a moral obligation to do everything legally in his power to see that they are changed.

Tim Kaine's stance on the death penalty and abortion directly refute this. I'd hate to see a man elected to office who would never even do what is perfectly legal to make right the wrongs of our government. We're not asking the man to bomb abortion clinics or even participate in legitimate nonviolent resistance, a direct contravention of stated law, but morally justified when a law contravenes a greater wrong. Even if he believes something I do not, I respect a man who is willing to go to lengths to pursue justice as he sees it. Tim Kaine simply isn't that man.

For Tim Kaine to take the position that it would be wrong for him to do just that is evidence of the fact that he is willing to say anything and do anything because his lust for a position of power is greater than his willingness to act upon his beliefs. I find that pathetic. I would respect the man far more if he simply said he would work to end the death penalty because he finds it morally reprehensible. I pity Tim Kaine. He has to look himself in the mirror everyday and convince himself somehow that being true to himself is less valuable than being governor.

What Tim Kaine is essentially saying is that he believes because of the convictions given to him by his Maker that it is immoral for a state to sentence to death men and women convicted of murder, but that he believes it is somehow wrong or weird to act upon those heartfelt convictions in the position of power he aspires to and seek to change a law that he believes is simply wrong.

From whence has this idea sprung? Great political heroes and reformers throughout time have thought that the best way to change the laws was to attempt to get elected to office and advocate the elimination of those unjust laws. I find it utterly disinenguous and absurd that people should get elected but not allow their convictions to influence their decisions. What then should determine their decisions for them? Is he saying that he will always do what 50% +1 of the constitutency wants on an issue? Is he saying that the public arena is no place for conviction?

Heaven forbid that people actually act upon their beliefs. In Tim Kaine's world, everyone does only what is politically popular. No one should fight to change the law. All laws should be sustained unless somehow they express a religious position and then they should be immediately written out of the lawbooks. He acts almost as if it's impossible to change the laws through legal means. What would the point of his governship be anyway? Maintaining the status quo? How inspiring.

It's this type of cowardice that turns people off from politics. People are sick of the intellectual gyrations and lengths that politicians go to in order to say nothing and stand for nothing so that they can feel good about themselves.

Capitol Hill Trying to Steal Our Thunder

I'm sure a lot of you have read this. I meant to post it earlier, but it's a cute article by the Washington Post about politicians on the Hill getting into blogging.

Kaine's Inconsistency on the Death Penalty

Tim Kaine is getting beat up around the blogosphere today for his views about the death penalty. While Tim Kaine wants to limit the debate to his "personal opposition" to the death penalty, the fact is that Kaine has spent his entire adult life opposing the death penalty and trying to get it eliminated in Virginia.

As a candidate for Governor, Kaine admits that he would prefer that Virginia not have the death penalty, and has stated his personal belief that not even heinous criminals like Adolf Hitler should be executed. However, he also says that his personal views would not affect how he acts as Governor with respect to the death penalty. This position can lead the voters to only two logical conclusions: Tim Kaine is either a liar or a coward.

During the debate, WSLS' Jay Warren asked Kaine whether he was "walking away from his convictions" in order to get elected. Kaine protested the characterization, but the question was right on. Kaine either believes that the death penalty is morally wrong or he doesn't. If he does, how can he justify signing off on those death sentences or say his judgement won't be affected. If he doesn't then he is lying to make himself appear more religious. If Kaine believes what he says, as I think he does, then he is doing precisely what Warren has suggested. Either way, it makes sense for voters not to trust Kaine on this issue and it makes sense for Kilgore to point out this logical inconsistency.

Today, the Kilgore campaign has released two new ads to highlight the candidates' differences on this issue. They can be found here. I will admit that the Stanley ad makes me uncomfortable because it implies that murderers are not enitled to be defended. I do not believe that is the case here (I think that Kaine represented the defendant only for the purpose of overturning his death sentence, but not on the initial finding of guilt) but the ad walks a thin line nonetheless. The Kelly ad, however, is extremely effective and makes a legitimate point.

In addition, Chad Dotson has done a good job rounding up reaction on this issue.

The New Bond?

Is THIS the face of the next James Bond? It is according to sources close to the new Bond movie, Casino Royale.

Daniel Craig, who grew up in Liverpool, England, would be the first blond actor to play Ian Fleming's famous spy. Though I was skeptical when I first heard Craig's name mentioned for the Bond role, my fears were allayed after seeing the movie Layer Cake. Though I would still prefer to see Clive Owen put on the cufflinks, I'm now fine with Craig and would be interested to see his take on the role.

Dems Targeting the 5th

The Daily Progress has this article looking at potential Democratic challengers to 5th District Congressman Virgil Goode. The article claims that Goode "no longer appears quite as invincible as in previous years" due to the low approval ratings of President Bush and his relationship with Tom DeLay.

I admit I don't know anything about Bern Ewart, but in the past the Democrats have made the mistake of nominating candidates, like Al Weed, who play well in the Charlottesville area, but don't fly anywhere else in the district. If they can avoid that mistake this time, the race could be interesting. Still there is a lot of time between now and then, and the results of this year's election could play a role as well.

Encouraging

The RTD reports this morning that the Gubernatorial debate drew surprisingly strong ratings sunday night, pulling in about 84,000 viewers.

This is good news for the GOP as those who tuned in saw Kilgore hold his own and heard question after question focusing on issues, like the death penalty, taxes and illegal immigration, that favor Kilgore. As I have said, Kilgore's performance was by no means flawless. He looked extremely uncomfortable in front of the camera, but he was not blown away by Kaine like some Democrats predicted. Further, Kaine's advantage in debate skills may be minimized as a result of this quirk.

In any case, the best result of the debate is that the Republican base throughout the Commonwealth has been energized and is now ready to take it to the streets for the final four weeks. We must continue to work hard to turn out our voters to the polls on November 8. A "clean sweep" is entirely possible, but it will take effort by folks at every level of the party. I know that our leaders will step up to the challenge, the rest is up to us.

Hockey Returns to the Star City

The Roanoke Times has this article today about the effort to resurrect what was once an extremely popular spectator sport in the region. The UHL's Roanoke Valley Vipers drop the puck on Oct. 21 replacing the ECHL's Roanoke Express team that folded after the 2003-2004 season.

I hope and believe that hockey can be successful again in Roanoke with the right strategy. However, I still believe that this team has started off on the wrong foot by adopting a generic mascot that has no natural tie to the region.

Ding, Dong the Witch is Dead...Again

Last night the Anaheim Angels did baseball fans everywhere a favor by sending the New York DamnYankees packing back to the Bronx. This marks the fifth straight year that the Yankees have failed to win a World Series after winning four out of five from 1996-2000. Thankfully FOX can put away all that Yankee footage and we won't have to suffer through yet another year of Yankee greatness propoganda.

As ESPN's Page 2 puts it, "$203 million was never wasted in such a beautiful way."

Now the AL storyline can be about two teams that play really good baseball, with players you've never heard of. Baseball watchers, get ready to be introduced to the likes of Scott Posednik, Fransisco Rodriguez, Chone Figgins, Tadahito Iguchi, and Bobby Jenks.

My Blackberry

I just now figured out that companies have wireless versions of webpages that look good on my Blackberry browser. I had been wading through the regular, graphic heavy versions of webpages, thinking that surfing was just about worthless.

My three favorites:

WAP Yahoo
WAP eBay
WAP ESPN

Also, thanks to the bright folks over at Blackberry Forums, I figured out how to turn Tech Triumph into a Blackberry compatible ringtone. It turns out that the new Blackberries use an old telephony format called OKI ADPCM.

All is good.

Monday, October 10, 2005

They're Looking Good For Someone Their Age

A very happy birthday should be extended to the National Review, which is celebrating its 50th anniversary this week. There's a lot of great material over there including these remarks from President Bush.

The National Review was founded at a time when conservativism was considered a "fringe" ideology and it was widely believed that the US was on the wrong side of the Cold War. Thanks to the visionary efforts of William F. Buckley and others like him, conservatism was brought to the masses and now occupies a solid place of leadership in America's mainstream.

The National Review is an absolutely indispensible daily resource for me and many others who believe strongly in the conservative cause. Thanks to all the folks over there for everything that they do. Here's to at least 50 more.

Merkel to be Germany's new Chancellor

Though her ability to govern may be greatly weakened by the deal that was struck in order to ensure her leadership position, the conservative leader is now poised to become the first female Chancellor of Germany.

This development is a great step forward for Germany and will undoubtedly improve German-American relations. Hopefully, Merkel's ascendancy will put Germany on a path of growth and prosperity that will set the stage for future success for conservatives in that nation.

Fanboys Rejoice!

Movie freaks and video-game geeks can unite today in celebration of the news that director Peter Jackson, of Lord of the Rings fame, has agreed to produce the silver screen adaptation of the bestselling XBox game, Halo.

This doesn't mean that Jackson will be directing the film, but is pretty significant to have such a heavy hitter in Hollywood associated with a movie based on a video game. I have a feeling this one might make some money.

Virginia Blog Carnival VI

Check out this week's VBC over at Too Conservative. There's some good stuff over there.

While you're at it, check out my report from this weekend's Marshall-VT game in Blacksburg. It was a great weekend that got overshadowed by Sunday's debate hysteria.

Kaine's Management Failures

In last night's debate Tim Kaine made it a point to state time and again that Virginia has been named the "best managed state in America." He credited himself and Mark Warner with this accomplishment and told people that if Kilgore were elected, that would all go by the wayside.

However, if one looks closer at Tim Kaine's record one can see that Kaine has absolutely nothing to do with the management success of the Warner administration. First of all, it should be noted that Warner was a successful businessman prior to becoming Governor, so his management skills were expected to be a strength.

On the other hand, Kaine's record of management as mayor of Richmond is one of dismal failure. During his term as mayor, Tim Kaine's city council was wracked with corruption. Kaine has made it a point to say he was never involved with these activities. But ask yourself, what kind of manager allows the people around him to repeatedly violate the law while doing nothing to stop it?

Further, as Kilgore mentioned last night, Richmond had the second worst performing school district in the entire Commonwealth. Kaine says the schools got better, but better is a pretty relative term when you are stuck at the bottom of the pile. What kind of manager does that show Kaine to be?

Next Kaine claimed that he had cut taxes. But as Jerry Kilgore pointed out, it is dishonest to claim credit for cutting a tax here and there when the overall tax burden of your constituents has increased every time you get elected. What kind of manager distorts the facts like this?

Finally, as it pertains to Hurricane Katrina, Kaine claimed that he had experience dealing with disasters and that Virginia would be better off under his guidance in such cases. Over at the website The Withering Look, there is a scathing look at Tim Kaine's record in dealing with Hurricane Floyd in 1999. As Kilgore pointed out last night, the Richmond Times-Dispatch roundly criticized the city's response to Floyd, particularly with respect to the poor and homeless. Is that the kind of managment that Kaine hopes to provide our Commonwealth?

Tim Kaine can wish he was Mark Warner until the cows come home. At the end of the day he's still just a mediocre mayor who wants to be Governor.

Monday Morning Debate Reactions

Here are some headlines from around the Commonwealth this morning:

Roanoke Times: Candidates reinforce messages
Richmond Times Dispatch: Kilgore, Kaine square off in final planned match
Harrisonburg Daily News-Record: Kaine, Kilgore clash on death penalty, taxes in TV debate
Charlottesville Daily Progress: Kilgore, Kaine take the stage
Washington Post: In last face-off, candidates drive home familiar points
Virginian-Pilot: Kaine and Kilgore spar in final debate
Hampton Roads Daily Press: Kaine, Kilgore fight ire with ire
Washington Times: Kilgore, Kaine spar over illegals, taxes
Cavalier Daily: A welcome debate

Bacon's Rebellion has the wrap-up of reaction from throughout the blogosphere.

Sunday, October 09, 2005

Debate Thoughts

Even though only a very few people actually saw this debate, the one-hour affair between Tim Kaine and Jerry Kilgore covered a lot of territory tonight, and should signal the beginning of the end of this year's Gubernatorial election.

Tonight went a long way toward illustrating the differences between Democrat Tim Kaine and Republican Jerry Kilgore. Tim Kaine's record is atrocious. As a result, Mark Warner's record is the only leg he has to stand on. If Kaine cannot convince the voters that he is Mark Warner Jr., he will lose. I do not think that he did an effective job of doing so tonight, aided of course, by Jerry Kilgore. When confronted by his record of higher taxes, gun rationing, opposing the death penalty, dismal school performance, government scandal, and a complete lack of leadership, Kaine had no answer. Worse, he confirmed that, as Governor, he would encourage illegal immigration, support discriminatory hiring and college admissions practices, seek additional revenue through further tax increases, and permit a radical expansion of homosexual rights in Virginia. I admit that Tim Kaine much more polished and fluid in his responses than Kilgore was. However, Kaine was flustered when confronted by difficult questions about his record. Further, Kaine could not keep his left eyebrow from arching on virtually every response. Do not underestimate the effect this creepy mannerism will have on the average Virginian.

As far as Kilgore goes, I admit I was disappointed with his performance from a stylistic perspective. Kilgore fumbeled over his words much too often and sometimes couldn't get out what he was trying to say, resulting in awkward statements. On content, however, Kilgore clearly held the advantage. The questioners were particularly harsh on Kaine and offered Kilgore numerous chances to differentiate his record from the extreme liberal record of his opponent. Kilgore was able to point out his consistent record on taxes, law enforcement, public safety, and social issues. Meanwhile, he was able to point out both the inconsistency in Kaine's positions and explain to the voters why Kaine is no Mark Warner (to say nothing of JFK).

Debates are all about managing expectations. Kilgore did a better job of that, and as a result will earn the confidence of the voters of Virginia. I feel that Kilgore will get a bit of a boost out of this debate which will remain until election day. The media will likely be at least neutral towards Kilgore, which is a win in the GOP camp.

There remains work to be done in this race, but we have some momentum headed into the stretch run. Let's close this thing out, folks!

Liveblogging the Debate

6:58 Roger Clemens is up to bat. Oops, wrong channel, now where the heck is C-SPAN?

6:59 Dateline is covering the Taylor Behl case, more VA-based competition for the debate.

7:00 Sabato gets his time in the sun. Where is NLS? Sabato mentions Potts and the "longstanding" 15% cut-off.

7:02 How has Kaine worked with Warner in a bipartisan manner? They are both Democrats.

7:03 Ouch, Kilgore stumbles out of the blocks

Hurricane Katrina: Kaine cites experience as Richmond mayor (Y2K is a natural disaster?) Kilgore cites experience as Sec. of Public Safety. Pertinent attack on Kaine's management of Hurricane Floyd.

Illegal Immigration: "What part of illegal don't you understand?" Nice.

Death penalty: This issue is a homerun for Kilgore.

Bob Lewis: Doing his best Tim Russert impression. Tim Kaine is a liar. Kilgore has no power to outlaw abortion, nor would he at any time during his term. Nice scare tactic Kaine.

"Found more revenue" There goes the Tim Kaine code-talk. They found it in the pockets of the people of Virginia.

Tim Kaine's eyebrow is the star of the debate so far. Creepy.

Kaine says Kilgore is "making stuff up." The eyebrow is creeping higher by the minute.

Apparently the Attorney General can kill legislation, according to Tim Kaine. Interesting.

Gay marriage and adoption is another winner for Kilgore in this state.

Transportation: This is a key issue in NoVa and Hampton Roads. Good on-point response by Kaine on that one. Kilgore hits the gas tax hard, and for good reason.

College Admissions: It makes a lot of sense for Kilgore to focus on economic rather than race equality.

Kaine: "if I run for Governor" A little late in the game to be on the fence on that one.

"Culture of Life" Innocent children v. Guilty adults. Big difference.

Ouch, attacking Kaine for "walking away from his convictions."

SCORE! "Tim Kaine you are no John F. Kennedy!"

Gas Tax: Another opening for Kilgore. His verbal flubs are really taking away from his ability to hit these points home.

Gubernatorial term limits: I disagree with Kilgore on this one. I prefer the one-term limit. Kaine apparently dozed off while Larry was talking.

Sabato wants to write the election laws himself. Rediculous question.

"Virginians want a work horse, not a show horse."

Now Larry Sabato gets to hear himself talk.