Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Regarding C'ville Too

Norm has noticed. He also cautions us about holding the event in August. I'm not married to August, but it just seems right to me. It's outside the NASCAR schedule, and hotel rooms here for race week have to be inherited, they can't be bought. The political scene is in a virtual hiatus then, and bloggers will be searching under every rock and posting every cute video link they can find.

He says most will be looking at a trip to the beach, rather than a trip to southside during August. My point precisely. Henry County is often lumped in with Southside, but we are actually more Southwestern Virginia in flavor. We are minutes from the Blue Ridge Parkway. My office for example, is 26 miles from my home in Collinsville, but it overlooks Bull Mountain. Well, not really, but if it wasn't for that big un-named hill between us, it would.

There is much here to be had for the visitor. On my hunting club property is the final resting place of General Joseph Martin. Patrick Henry lived here when he was elected Governor. Governor Thomas B. Stanley's home, Stoneleigh, was on my boyhood paper route. (Mr. Tom, was also a major patron of my Boy Scout troop 73). I'll even go so far as to promise each attendee a fairystone. (No, Rick, you can't have two. And Rick, if you're offended, I'll concede to thirty lashes with the noodle of your choice. May I suggest vermicelli?) I am planning a short tour of the area for conference attendees on Saturday afternoon. Maybe even a biker type "poker run" and get you all out on your own, with printed directions of course, to discover the area on your own. Those of you who fly in, will have to arrange your own transportation for the poker run, if it makes the final cut.

I almost forgot, Norm said, "unless there's barbecue". Well, I've got barbecue. My sister's husband is the only brother of Tommy Houston. Martinsville's Barbecue King. He recently won the Reno, Nevada rib cookoff, earning him a place at the Jack Daniels cookoff in Lynchburg Tennessee. You may have seen him on the Food Network. His local restaurant, Pigs R Us, will cater lunch on Saturday.

The Ball Is Rolling On C'ville Too

Planning has begun for C'ville Too, the Virginia Blogger's Conference by bloggers for bloggers.

The conference will be at Patrick Henry Community College, via arrangments currently being handled by Barnie Day. Barnie has also graciuosly offered to help recruit speakers, and has presented me with an impressive list of choices.

I have been in touch via e-mail with J. Tucker Martin, Director of Communications for Attorney General Bob McDonnell. The Attorney General wants to participate, pending only a firm date.

My e-mail box is always open to anyone wishing to provide input on such items as;
  • Agenda
  • Date
  • Requested speakers
  • Workshops
Let's get together and make this happen sometime in late summer. I'm thinking about August, politics dies down somewhat then and you all will be searching for topics.

Via e-mail I've just learned that the College has been secured by Mr. Day, pending only notification of a firm date. According to Barnie, Max Wingett, president of the college, said "Patrick Henry Community College would be glad to sponsor a thing like this...". Other details to come.

Smith River Community Bank agrees to be lead sponsor--commits to $1000. BKD

Click the logo for the bank's website.

Bearing Drift Has Another Podcast Up

Our guys over in Hampton Roads, Bearing Drift, continue to drive the leading edge in Virginia.

Another podcast from Jim, this one with Lt. Gov. Bill Bolling


In my best "Glen Reynolds quick hit" mode;
Check out this, from Jerry.

Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Our New Roomies...

I came home last night to find that my house had been broken into. A couple (a family, actually. Husband, wife, and young son.) was there. As I was picking up the phone to call the police, the husband asked me not to. "Look around", he said. While you were out I fixed the light on the back porch. My son mowed your grass. My wife washed all the dishes, made the bed, and mopped the floors. She has just finished putting a load of laundry in the dryer, and I'm about to take out the trash and clean the gutters. You need us, sir."

He was right, all the things they had done were minor jobs I had little time for. His little family was pleasant, and courteous, but I hadn't asked them to come and do those things for me. I did not want him and his wife living in my home. His argument was simple and compelling. "We're already here now, and we're doing the jobs you don't want to do, so you should just let us stay". My argument was just as simple. "You violated the law by breaking into my house", I told him, "I can't just let that go by without calling for the law to be enforced".

Which of us was right?

No, the scene above did not actually happen to me yesterday. Instead it's happening right now to all of us, and the Senate and President Bush both feel that I was wrong in the fictional scene above. The Roanoke Times Editorial staff agrees with them. I'm grateful that Virgil Goode and George Allen, two thirds my Representative force in Washington, agree with me.

Today's Editorial says that I should have simply assigned my guests a room and allowed them to stay in my home instead of calling the Police. After all, they are being productive, and if I let them stay long enough they will eventually be welcome at the family reunion.

Even more ridiculous, the Times states;
The United States could attempt to round up and deport all 12 million illegal immigrants and ship them back home.

Who wants the job of packing people into cattle cars headed for the border? The workers with the most experience in such activity have either died of old age or been tried for war crimes.

So maybe that won't work. Which pretty much leaves the unacceptable status quo: an underground sea of laborers who live in constant fear of exposure.
Duh.. Of course 12 million illegal aliens cannot be rounded up and sent home. Actually, I'm amazed the Times does not see the obvious solution. One would think, with their disdain for Industry and Profits they would be all over the solution. Seriously enforce the law regarding the hiring of illegal workers. Very seriously. Hefty fines, not to the Corporation, but to the actual officers of the Corporation. Real fines and real jail terms for real people. Remove the incentive to hire them, and they will once again become Vincente Fox's problem.

Monday, May 29, 2006

Virginia Landmark Contest Back By Popular Demand

I've been flooded by numerous e-mails (three can be considered "numerous", right?) requesting the Virginia Landmark Contest be resumed.

Never one to disappoint my readers, I searched through my remaining photos and found Virginia Landmark #15.

Identify the location, and you will win a bathmat made from recycled Larry Sabato toupees, with matching seat cover. (Proprietor of this site not responsible for color mis-match or decorating faux pas which may result from use of prize.)

Mary Rives Brown is now the proud owner of a matching bathset (in a drab brown). She has correctly identified the City of Martinsville's Hydroelectric dam on the lower Smith River, just south of the City Limits on US 220.


When I posted this early this morning I decided that I could add nothing by way of words to the experience. Since then, I've discovered RomeoCat has the words worthy of this scene, plus more photos and videos. Great work, Cat.

Hey Everybody. I've Got Company!

For some time now I've been disappointed to find that I'm the only active blogger in the Henry/Patrick County area. This has always struck me as odd. Martinsville, Collinsville, Stuart and the surrounding communities are filled with intelligent, interesting people who could contribute much to the Virginia Blog community.

Well, today I found The Southern Democrat;
...a rising senior at Virginia Tech studying Political Science, with a smidgen of History, Urban Affairs, and Communications mixed in there. I am currently the Southwest Region Chair of the Virginia Young Democrats, in addition to providing Senior council on the executive board of the Young Democrats at Virginia Tech. I was born and raised outside of Martinsville, Virginia, where I learned that the best things in life come with a lot of hard work, and usually tugging on the end of a fishing line. Growing up there, I have seen plenty of bad policy in action and just how it effects the lives of real people. It is with that, that I am motivated to make something of myself in the realm of politics and policy in order to fix such problems, and help to ensure that such issues cease to arise as they seemingly do so in all too many instances.
Sure, he's an idealistic young Democrat, (hopefully more in the mold of Brian Patton than Waldo Jaquith), who fancies himself to be a piece of furniture, but I'm happy to have some company here. Welcome Southern Democrat. I look forward to reading you often.

Sunday, May 28, 2006

Thanks, But No Thanks Sorensen

I expressed my thoughts earlier on some of the aspects of the Official Sorensen Blog Summit. At that time my reservations centered on the apparent rush to get the final details nailed down with little or no input from the Blog community. "Plane tickets have been booked", remember?

This weekend I've had time to look at the agenda, as well as my own schedule to determine if I will attend. Today I noticed that it's scheduled for Father's Day weekend. That would be a negative point.

A few weeks ago I was shocked to learn that the "Blogfather of the Daily Kos" was to be the Keynote speaker. I suppose Ol' Kos himself was too busy. This lineup of leftists lacks only Dan Rather to give it it's final push over the edge.

So, will I pay $50, plus a $100 hotel room, plus another $50 tank of gas, on Father's Day weekend to boot, to listen to all these fellow travelers? I think not.

I see NLS has this. And Chad says this. And Kilo said this.

In Typical Roanoke Times Fashion...

...the reader is asked to accept a statement as fact with no supporting evidence.

This editorial remarks on the shortage of nurses and the thousands of prospective students turned away each year for a lack of faculty. I agree that the problem exists, and do not necessarily agree with the Senate's proposed solution either.

But, once again the Roanoke Times lays out a statement for it's readers, but offers no supporting evidence;
"Those who teach nursing don't earn as much as those who practice nursing. A government program tailored to raise the pay of nursing professors could offset this deficiency and boost the stream of new nurses.
Once again, the Roanoke Times' solution to another problem is to throw my money at it. The writer of this editorial offers nothing to back up their assertion that Nursing Instructors are underpaid. The editorialist also does not tell you is the fact that this discrepancy between instructor and graduate pay scales is well known and is true in most professions.

There is an old expression, (frowned upon by Ex-Wife #2, who is a teacher), "those that can, do. Those that can't, teach." Whether or not I agree with that old saw is irrelevant right now. But, just maybe, it does explain the discrepancy between pay scales.

A little research today confirmed the discrepancy, and I learned quite a bit more, as you will see later. For now, though, let's look at the salary differences between Law Professors vs Practicing Attorneys;
All quotes below from
The Law Teacher Postsecondary working in Virginia - Statewide, Virginia now earns an average annual salary of 68,269. Half of those in this position would earn between 54,622 and 88,258 (the 17th and 67th percentiles). These numbers are derived from area-specific government survey data.
That gives us an "Instructor vs Graduate" score of -$12,158
The Lawyer working in Virginia - Statewide, Virginia now earns an average annual salary of 80,427. Half of those in this position would earn between 58,945 and 93,874 (the 17th and 67th percentiles). These numbers are derived from area-specific government survey data.
Or, just for fun, let's look at Engineering Professors vs Engineers;
The Engineering Teacher working in Virginia - Statewide, Virginia now earns an average annual salary of 31,563. Half of those in this position would earn between 24,752 and 45,012 (the 17th and 67th percentiles). These numbers are derived from area-specific government survey data.
"Instructor vs Graduate" score -$11,225
The Engineer working in Virginia - Statewide, Virginia now earns an average annual salary of 42,788. Half of those in this position would earn between 34,098 and 57,610 (the 17th and 67th percentiles). These numbers are derived from area-specific government survey data.
Actually, of the dozens of professions I looked into while researching this post, I found only two where the instructor typically earns more than the graduate. Contrary to the Editorial linked above, one of these is Nursing Instructor vs Registered Nurse;
The Nursing Instructor working in Virginia - Statewide, Virginia now earns an average annual salary of 49,355. Half of those in this position would earn between 40,057 and 63,797 (the 17th and 67th percentiles). These numbers are derived from area-specific government survey data.
"Instructor vs Graduate" score +$2,906
The Registered Nurse working in Virginia - Statewide, Virginia now earns an average annual salary of 46,449. Half of those in this position would earn between 34,674 and 59,129 (the 17th and 67th percentiles). These numbers are derived from area-specific government survey data.
Maybe that explains why the editorialist chose not to cite any sources for his or her statement. It may even explain why one other profession deviates from the norm. Ironically, it's Journalism Teacher vs Newspaper Editor;
The Journalism Teacher working in Virginia - Statewide, Virginia now earns an average annual salary of 47,373. Half of those in this position would earn between 31,858 and 62,518 (the 17th and 67th percentiles). These numbers are derived from area-specific government survey data.
"Instructor vs Graduate" score +$3,166
The Newspaper Editor working in Virginia - Statewide, Virginia now earns an average annual salary of 44,207. Half of those in this position would earn between 32,373 and 60,952 (the 17th and 67th percentiles). These numbers are derived from area-specific government survey data.
I suppose Ex-Wife #2 was right after all when she said that old expression about "those that can" could use some revision. Something like "Those that can, do. Those that can't, do something else." Wouldn't you agree, Tommy?

Thursday, May 25, 2006

Is Our Congress Learning?

Let's face it. Congress is not populated with the most intelligent examples of American citizens. Of course, there will be the occasional Daniel Patrick Moynihan or Everett McKinley Dirksen, to choose two from my lifetime. But they will be greatly outnumbered by the "less mentally gifted" like Edward Moore Kennedy or Earl Fredrick Landgrebe.

In the here and now though, it seems they are all falling into the latter category. The current crop, and even the President, are expressing dismay at the actions of the FBI during an investigation of bribery of one of their own. it seems the FBI caught a congressman (in a rather red-handed way) accepting a bribe. Said Congressman did not do a Duke Cunningham and resign. Instead he maintains his innocence in the face of video taped evidence and $90,000 in flash frozen marked cash found in his freezer.

What did the FBI do that has aroused the ire of your Congressman? They had the audacity to execute a court issued search warrant on the congressman's office. The bastards! Your home and office (and mine, and William Jefferson's) are protected from unreasonable searches by the various Law Enforcement agencies. But the argument about unreasonableness ends with the issuance of a search warrant by the Judicial branch. Go back three sentences and you will see that a valid search warrant was issued.

Now, let's go back to my initial statement regarding the relative intelligence of our Congress. The Constitution does provide members of Congress with some immunity from arrest and other such inconveniences. But these are designed to prevent an "arrest of convenience" of a member in order to circumvent a vote. During a session of Congress a Congressman (or woman) may not be detained for anything other than a felony. The Constitution is silent on the subject of searches. As we all know, if the Constitution does not mention it, it is not a protected right (well, except for that "penumbra' that provides for the "right to an abortion"). Mr. Jefferson was not arrested. His office was searched, and apparently some evidence was obtained. President Bush has decided that this evidence should be sealed for 45 days. That may or may not be a good decision, but it is hardly a Constitutional decision.

Under similar circumstances my office would be searched. Your office would be searched. All God's Chillun's offices would be searched. But we get this from the leaders we've elected to serve us.

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

The Immigration Problem Is Just As Much A State Problem As It Is A National Problem

OK, let's start with the obligatory "I'm descended from immigrants" statement.

I'm not a genealogist, but I do have memories of my grandfather's stories. It seems that some time back, three separate families of Foley's left "The Auld Sod" of Ireland together and found themselves in the hills of southern West Virginia. Those three families were probably related in some fashion, but not in the first order. Finding themselves in southern West Virginia (or the soon to be "wayward counties") they soon regained their senses and settled in the blue mountains of Patrick County.

I have no idea what the immigration laws were at that time, although I'm sure a diligent search via Google would reveal those facts. I'm just not inclined to do the search, call me lazy, I don't care. I just know that the family of Abraham Foley followed the law as it applied at that time.

Today we in The United States are struggling with a problem with folks from our south coming into the country illegally. That is, they do not apply for a visa, they have no passport, they do not pass through customs and declare their taxable possessions.

During my lifetime so far, this problem had been confined to our border states of Texas, New Mexico, Arizona, and California. Times have changed, employment statistics have changed, and opportunities for those from the south have changed. NAFTA has created a demand here and in neighboring North Carolina for ever cheaper labor. North Carolina has risen to the challenge by refusing to demand proof of citizenship for such necessities of life as a driver's license and vehicle registration. My brethren in the western Counties are experiencing similar problems with Tennessee.

There is much talk on both liberal and conservative blogs concerning the currently proposed various "amnesty"/"not amnesty" proposals in the current Congress. Forget that. Most of the problems we have now can be resolved by states such as North Carolina and Tennessee simply placing into effect simple requirements for proof of legal identity before issuing a driver's license or vehicle registration. Virginia has such a requirement, as I learned the hard way. This past July my license expired on my birthday. I missed it because I had grown accustomed to the old "last day of the birth month" expiration date. It seems that now your license expires on the actual birthdate. I had to send off to Salt Lake City, Utah for a copy of my birth certificate in order to renew my driver's license. I could have instead, drove 25 miles to Wentworth, North Carolina, and obtained a new license that same day.

Every day I stop at the local Valero station for coffee, newspaper, and cigarettes on my way to work. Every day there is at least one car with North Carolina plates in the parking lot, the owner of which is also on his/her way to work. Almost invariably the owner is Hispanic. I go to Wal-Mart with the same regularity as most of my readers. Invariably there will be cars parked near me with North Carolina license plates. If these folks actually lived in North Carolina the Wal-Mart in Eden or Stoneville would be much closer.

Monday, May 15, 2006

Headin' South

The Will Vehrs Goodwill Tour has begun.

I've been in touch with Will over the past few days and I am looking forward to his arrival in Henry County sometime today. Hopefully between the two of us some time can be found for a chat over a beer one evening or coffee some morning while he's here.

I know Will will be treated fairly by Bill Wyatt, a local radio and television station owner/operator. It seems that Mary Rives Brown (she's the one with the great smile on the right) has lightened up a bit. Ward Armstrong has offered to meet with Will as well. (Although Ward has yet to answer my question.)

I've also learned from Will that he will cease blogging once his suspension is over. You can hear the reasoning behind this decision directly from Will himself on this Podcast from J.R. Hoeft.

The only good thing about the end of Will's blogging is that, coupled with Barnie Day's similar decision late last year, the average literary value of Virginia's remaining bloggers will immediately rise by a factor of at least 10.

For what it's worth, I wrote this at work...

Friday, May 12, 2006

But I Really Like Eggs!

I didn't have a very good night last night. I spent the better part of it (from midnight until 4:30am) enjoying the gracious hospitality of the Emergency Department at Memorial Hospital of Martinsville and Henry County.

I didn't feel very well all day yesterday, but nothing serious I supposed. I blamed it on the mating season of the local Pine trees. Pine tree sperm has always given me a stuffy head and disoriented type of feeling.

I left work a little early and came home to rest a while. Around 6:00 I called my friend Nancy and asked if her and the little red-haired girl had eaten yet. They hadn't so we all trekked into Kohler for dinner at Garfield's, a local restaurant with a long history here, where I had a typical dinner of hamburger steak (medium rare) with salad and a 'tater.

After dinner we went to her house to sit and relax a bit, but along around 10:30 when I should have been considering getting home to bed, I began to feel extremely strange. All of my extremities seemed to have gone on strike. No, I was not paralyzed, or even numb. But instead my body's reactions to my brains commands seemed to be re-routed via long distance. And it was a lousy, staticky connection at that. Add in a very stiff neck, and legs that seemed to move on their own with no input from me, and you begin to think about the "S" word. That's right, the primary subject on my mind right then was stroke. My mind kept replaying the current Public Safety Announcement you hear these days on the radio which says "Time lost is brain lost". Now, folks, I killed enough brain cells in the '70s and early '80s. Even though I feel I was just "weeding out the weak ones" then, I don't really care to lose anymore now.

Before too long I became worried enough about the situation that I asked Nancy to call 911. Even though I was sure I could drive myself the 4 miles to the hospital, or at least ride with Nancy, I was lucid enough not to try either. I knew that if I arrived in the back of one of the City of Martinsville's shiny white and blue rescue vehicles, along with a couple of firemen in uniform to vouch for me, I would be taken right on in. If, on the other hand, I came walking in through the front door I knew I was destined to wait in the front room until who knows when.

Of course, upon my arrival at MHMHC, I was asked to describe what was wrong with me. Hell, I don't know. I just don't feel like me! There is an evil person with a remote control device messing with my arms, legs, and feet! Disconnect him, and I'll be fine, OK? Where's my tin-foil hat when I really need it? "What's the frequency Kenneth?" was actually beginning to make sense to me.

Fortunately, the excellent staff at Memorial Hospital of Martinsville and Henry County went right to work on breaking the remote control link. They also stuck in an IV drip, and took out more blood than I really thought they needed. They hooked up a blood pressure monitor that squeezed the hell out of my right arm on a fairly regular basis. They sent in a really cute girl to hook up an EKG. (That did not make much sense to me, an EKG should always be done by the ugliest male nurse on staff.) Hell, her eyes alone increased my heart rate by 20%.

The final diagnosis, by Dr.Bruce Mazurek, was that I had an extremely high blood pressure reading, for an extended time. In his words, I was within an hour or less of actually having the stroke I had feared earlier.

So, today is Friday. I didn't go to work. Instead I went to CVS and got a prescription for Norvasc filled. I've also been online this afternoon exploring changes I should make in my diet. In a comment on this site I was recently described as "cool, calm, and collected" (somebody dated themselves quite precisely, by the way, with that quote from a 1970's television commercial). That is an accurate description. People I work with are impressed with my ability to maintain my composure regardless of what is happening around me. I do have a stressful job, but I don't feel at all that the stress has contributed to this. I'm certain it is related more to my diet.

At 198 pounds,I'm not overweight (much). As proof, the photo of me that can be found with just a little bit of searching this page is fairly recent. But I am a southern guy. I like my chicken fried, I like my gravy, I like vegetables cooked to within an inch of their life, preferably in some sort of fat.

My research today has led me to what is called the DASH diet. I'm sure I can follow this regimen, especially if it means I won't have to experience last night/this morning all over again. But, I have noticed that nowhere on this diet does it list a serving of eggs. Not even once a week! I can have grits. I can have pancakes, I can even have hashbrowns. But what good are any of those without a gloriously runny egg or two?

To Tonya

Today, May 12 is my daughter's birthday.

Happy Birthday, Tonya

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Let's Stop The Sniping At C'ville One

I got a lot of hits today from this post by Ben at NLS.

My previous post explains the misunderstanding that led to a well deserved chastising from Waldo.

I want to address some of the comments on Ben's post. Several of the comments make reference to my criticism of the "Official Sorensen Blog Conference". To date, my only criticism of the event has been to point out the discrepancies between Waldo's comment on a blog and the actual content of the official website.

I had a "pipe dream" of moving the conference to Henry County, but soon came to the realization that it would not happen. I then decided that I would lead an effort to produce a conference here in the other C'ville (Not Charlottesville, Not Centereville, Not even Claudeville, but Collinsville. Collinsville is the actual location of all of Martinsville's better hotels.) Please read all my previous posts on this subject, you will see that I have yet to criticize the actual event.

Actually, I will probably attend the "Official Sorensen Blog Conference". But I will still work to produce a similar venue here in this other C'ville too.

I Owe Waldo An Apology, And I Always Pay My Apologies

I received an e-mail from Waldo today.
Waldo Jaquith wrote:


I don't understand -- if you have a question for me, why not e-mail
me or call me? I'd have been happy to have a conversation with you about the Blog Summit. Since you don't allow comments on your website, I'm not really sure what you want me to do in response to your blog entry. Could you help me out here?
OK, I'll take a chastising when I deserve it. I replied with this
An apology of sorts is certainly called for. I did e-mail you. Or at least I thought I did. Saturday morning I composed an e-mail asking you if it would be possible to move the conference to Martinsville. Unfortunately, I sent it to my draft folder instead of actually sending it. Yesterday, after 4 days and still not hearing back from you, I read your comment on Kilo's site and realized that your answer to Carl did not quite match the content of the summit's website. In hindsight, I guess I should have e-mailed you again before writing that post, for that misstep, I apologize.

As an aside Waldo, I do allow comments on my site. You are technically savvy enough to know that sometimes the Haloscan comment app fails to load, a refresh will usually bring it back. That may work differently on a Mac, though, I can't say.

I've received a response from Waldo regarding all this. I wanted to post his reply, but he has asked that I not do so. I respect that request. Suffice it to say that he has sufficiently responded to all my concerns regarding the discrepancies in the website and his previously quoted post.

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

Waldo, Come Clean With Us

I've been too nice to Waldo.

I respect the efforts he and others have expended in producing the "official Sorensen blog conference". But there are some major discrepancies in the comment I quoted earlier that need to be addressed here and now.

Waldo said:
Many months of preparation have gone into this. Thousands of dollars have been paid for deposits. Dates have been considered, accepted, failed, rejected. Speakers have been arranged, plane tickets reserved, hotel room blocks booked, etc. Though it's nice that an idea has popped up in the past few days that bloggers should get together in Martinsville, it's not possible to abandon months of work, a half dozen speakers, and a considerable sum of money in order to, at the last moment, select a new location.
OK, I can imagine there would be a considerable amount of planning involved.

But, according to Waldo, plane tickets have been ordered. Speakers have been aligned. Hotel room blocks have been booked. Why, then, are no speakers announced on the "official Sorensen blogger conference" website? Why does the "official Sorensen blogger conference" website list no hotel accommodations available? According to Waldo, "a half dozen speakers" have been booked, yet each seminar lists the speaker as TBA (to be announced)?

Why does the website for the "official Sorensen blogger conference" list none of those hotel room blocks that have been reserved? Instead you get this.(link recently updated to show some accommodations available)

So, apparently we can look forward to some out of state speakers, coming in via plane, who are yet to be announced. And some workshops held by others that are also yet to be announced. And we are already pre-registered at some of Charlottesville's finest hotels, also to be announced.

Come clean Waldo. Admit that you have barely gotten this put together before Will called for the event to be held here in the other C'ville and are scrambling to cover your ass.

To date there have been no out of state speakers scheduled. What plane ticked are involed here, Waldo?

Monday, May 08, 2006

Virginia Blog Conference Too...(No, That's Not A Typo)

When I first considered it, I knew that it would not be possible to move the "Official Sorensen Blog Conference" to Martinsville. It was a pipe dream at best. Waldo explains it well in a comment on Kilo's site;
Any letters or phone calls would go to my wife, who works at Sorensen. She's on vacation with me, now.

Many months of preparation have gone into this. Thousands of dollars have been paid for deposits. Dates have been considered, accepted, failed, rejected. Speakers have been arranged, plane tickets reserved, hotel room blocks booked, etc. Though it's nice that an idea has popped up in the past few days that bloggers should get together in Martinsville, it's not possible to abandon months of work, a half dozen speakers, and a considerable sum of money in order to, at the last moment, select a new location.

I think it'd be swell for a bunch of bloggers to get together in Martinsville, but there's nothing to be done for this particular gathering. It'd be very much like canceling a wedding the month before and trying to re-arrange it for a short time later. Expensive, awkward, and it would make a lot of people angry.
My fallback position still stands, though. I propose a separate (though maybe not equal) conference in the Martinsville/Collinsville area.

As I stated in my original post on the subject, the idea was first conceived as a way to allow Will to reconcile himself with the Henry County citizenry, but I believe it can be much more than that.

Some Virginia bloggers will not be able to attend the Sorensen thing, some perhaps will not want to, some will even want to do both. For that reason I would suggest a different date.

Shaun Kenney has expressed a curiosity regarding an agenda for such an event. I can't answer that now, but I do welcome any suggestions. I would also like to hear from any of you with suggestions for speakers. I feel that I could persuade several local persons to speak. (I will go way out on a limb and suggest Barnie Day and Eric Helms Monday for starters, I'll even invite Ward, Roscoe, Virgil, and Rick.) Personally, I would like to hear from Norman, Waldo, Brian, and Conaway.

I guess, in short, what I'm saying is... I will put this together, lack of experience or no. I just ask from you, the Virginia Blog community, some help.

Sunday, May 07, 2006

Blogger's Conference In Henry County, Maybe?

It's been suggested here at Not Larry Sabato, and here at Commonwealth Conservative that Martinsville or Collinsville in Henry County would be a good location for a blogger's conference. I agree wholeheartedly.

Both of the suggestions above are at least somewhat tied to the controversy created by Will Vehrs' comments on Martinsville that appeared last week on Commonwealth Conservative. While I do believe that an appearance by Mr. Vehrs in Martinsville at such an event would help his current situation, I also believe a conference held here would benefit the Martinsville/Henry County area more. Indeed, all of Southside could benefit from the exposure it would surely create. Think about it, all of Virginia's bloggers posting at once about the great business environment Henry County has to offer. All of Virginia's bloggers posting about the people they meet here, and the work ethic they are shown by those people.

I have no experience organizing an event of this nature, but I hereby volunteer any free time I may have to help anyone who would be willing to help put this together.

I would imagine Will would be anxious to speak personally to the folks here in Henry County, and offer his opinions as to what we can do for the area. I would love to hear Norman or Waldo speak at such an event here. I would personally call Barnie Day and request his appearance. Hell, I would even invite Ward and Roscoe.

Just about the time I started this blog last year a conference had just concluded. Of course I didn't go, but I do wish I had. I see on Waldo's website that plans have been made to hold this event in Charlottesville again. If those plans are not fixed, I ask that the organizers reconsider and place it in the Martinsville/Henry County area.

Think about this, even if the idea of helping out Southside does not come into play. Because Virginia's shape geographically is roughly that of an equilateral triangle, and Martinsville being near the middle of the base of that triangle, we are no farther from Williamsburg than we are from Bristol or Fredericksburg.

Just What Is A "Firing Offense"?

By my previous two posts I do not want you readers to interpret my comments as condoning blog commenting on "company time". But also do not interpret the previous sentence as condemning it.

It is my understanding that Mr. Vehrs' job at Virginia Department of Business Assistance consists mainly of personally answering questions and otherwise being helpful to those who contact the department via phone and E-mail. Except on Fridays, when some of the comments in question were posted. On Fridays Mr. Vehrs is chained to his desk (no, not literally) answering E-mails and live Chat requests that come in via the department's website. Those duties can be handled very efficiently while carrying on a conversation with someone else in the office, or while doing the crossword in the Richmond Times Dispatch, or while reading the Wall Street Journal Online, or even while commenting on a blog.

Were we to find that a Commonwealth employee was doing any of those other activities while engaged in an equally demanding official duty I doubt that anyone of us would consider it to be a firing offense. Reprimanded, maybe. Punishable by a few days off without pay, possibly. But not in anyone's imagination would those other activities be considered grounds for firing.

No, only those with a political agenda, or those eager to pander to the unfortunate people of Henry County, or those who are afraid that their own lack of success in economic development in this area might become noticed would ever claim such action to be required.

Friday, May 05, 2006

Open Letter To Del. Ward Armstrong And Sen. Roscoe Reynolds

I read today your response to the Martinsville Bulletin regarding Mr. Vehrs' comments on his blog.

I also read that you sent a letter to Gov. Kaine requesting the dismissal of Mr. Vehrs.

I must say I am shocked at your Chutzpah. You sir, from the floor of the House of Delegates, delivered a crude sexual joke directed at a member of Virginia's Senate. I'm sure you recall the remark, as well as your follow up statement later that evening. In case you do not, I'll quote it for you; (From the Roanoke Times, no longer available free on-line.)
On the House floor, Armstrong used his imitation of President Clinton to joke about that night's legislative basketball game, saying Devolites Davis would be his team's center and that she was coming over to his place to review the playbook. Later, at a post-game party, Armstrong again spoke about her, saying, "She's no Monica Lewinsky, but she can be taught,"
Your defense at the time, and even during this past campaign, was that it was just a joke, merely an attempt at humor, sophomoric as it may have been. That it may well have been, and I'll accept that.

Today, however, you decide that humor has no place in Virginia's public life, and call for the resignation or firing of a dedicated Virginia employee.

I simply want to know why your standards have changed so.

Next I want to address Sen. Roscoe Reynolds.

Mr. Reynolds,

today's Bulletin quotes you regarding the Will Vehrs kerfuffle;
"If I were him, I would resign. Or if I had the power to fire him, I'd fire him."
I refer you to the above subject, I seem to recall that at the time you supported Mr. Armstrong and called for everyone to accept the remarks as frivolous humor and the subject should be forgotten since Mr. Armstrong had apologized to Ms. Devolites-Davis.

My only comment to you, sir, is that once again you go wishing for power you will never have. You once stated in a letter to me (in which you, a practicing attorney and State Senator, ridiculously claim that a Supreme Court decision applied only to the State of Connecticut and not to the rest of the Country) that "If I had been on the Supreme Court, I would have ruled differently."

Fortunately for the rest of us, you sir, are just as likely to sit on the Supreme Court as you are to be in the position to fire someone of Will Vehrs' caliber.

Thursday, May 04, 2006

Will Vehrs Steps In It...

No, not intentionally, and certainly not maliciously, but Will has come to experience the wrath of petty local politicians and CoC officials.

If you are a regular reader of this blog, then you most likely are also a regular reader of Commonwealth Conservative, the blog from Chad Dotson and Will Vehrs. A regular feature of CC is a weekly photo caption contest, with Will typically being the most prolific and humorous (well, except for Ron's five year old son) of entrants.

This past Friday the caption contest consisted of a photo from the Martinsville Bulletin featuring Mack Davidson and Cindy Price, winners of a jingle contest that was co-sponsored by the Martinsville-Henry County Chamber of Commerce and the Economic Development Corp.

Apparently H.G.Vaughn (Henry County Board of Supervisors) and Kim Adkins (Chamber of Commerce) took serious offense at Mr. Vehrs' sense of humor. Mr. Vaughn's comments, as well as Ms. Adkins' are not avilable online, but this article is posted on the Mrtinsville Bulletin website. (Typically this link will die soon, but hopefully I can update it when it changes.)

What is available online is Will's sincere apology. Here's a link. He also explains further here, (scroll down to the comments).

I suggest local politicians take the advice of Barnie Day, as posted on Commonwealth Conservative;
Folks. Please. If you must, try breathing into a paper bag for a few minutes. I know Will Vehrs. There is no more consumate, articulate professional in all of Virginia. If we are to make those who have been critical of economic development efforts in Martinsville and Henry County-and, indeed, all across Southside-walk the plank, then I must go to the head of that line and walk it first. Are we to focus our collective frustration and blame our failures-and that’s what they are-failures-on the brilliant satire of one individual? I think not. To do so demeans all objective criticism, the very expression of which, in the long run will make us stronger and smarter. We must continually look inward as a community. Therein will we find the solution to the riddle that plagues us. Barnie Day, 604 Braswell Drive, Meadows of Dan, Virginia 24120 276-694-4921

Comment by Barnie Day — 5/4/2006 @ 8:56 am
A personal note to Will;
I don't know you personally, but have come to know you via e-mail and comments across the blogosphere. I have read each comment on the caption contest, and laughed heartily at most (I especially liked the Sid Clower reference). I am a Henry County native, and I took no offense. In my opinion, the flack you are recieving comes from a personal sense of failure on behalf of those in Martinsville/Henry County who have not been able to attract any meaningful economic development to the area. Especially those who think such silly endeavors as a "Jingle Contest" will somehow magically produce real results. Again, my personal thoughts are that such frivolous efforts are merely an attempt at "fooling the natives into thinking we are doing something". I do remember the "O Henry" campaign guys.

I have more to say on this, but time does not allow me to continue. Look for more here in the days to follow.