Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Slowly Catching Up

Other than a comment here and there on other's blogs I haven't been able to say much lately. After taking last week off to make the final preparations for the conference I come back to work to find myself three weeks behind.

Oh, and Kat has the carnival up Kat has had the Carnival up for days now.

Posts will be slow, but they will be coming.

Sunday, August 27, 2006

Smith River Community Bank, We Thank You

In case you haven't seen it over at the Blogs United website, one of my compatriots has posted a well deserved thank you to Smith River Community Bank. A more formal letter of thanks will be going out to the bank in tomorrow's mail. For now this will suffice.
The scattered reports that have come in so far on the conference have been overwhelmingly positive. While the people who put this together--primarily Alton, Anne, and Mary--deserve all the kudos coming their way, they were fortunate to have what might be the first ever direct corporate sponsor of a blog conference.

Smith River Community Bank sponsored the Blogs United in Martinsville for Free Speech Blog Conference. The sponsorship came with absolutely no strings attached.

It's hard to underestimate the good that community-based banks do in predominantly rural areas of Virginia. Smith River Community Bank obviously saw the blog conference as a wonderful way to showcase the area they serve to an audience that otherwise might not see the opportunities that abound in Southside.

Thanks to a forward-looking corporate citizen, this blog conference venue benefited the attendees and the host communities, Martinsville-Henry County.
Several people have remarked on what a value this conference was for the $50 registration fee. Our final accounting is incomplete at this time, but I can truthfully say that this would never have been possible without the support of Smith River Community Bank. In order to provide the same level of accommodations, our registration fee would have easily doubled without their involvement.

In the interest of full disclosure I will be posting an Excel spreadsheet of the final accounting when it's completed sometime later this week.

Once again I thank the Smith River Community Bank and look forward to a long relationship with them.

The conference...

I just got home. It's 1:10am, I am beat, but proud of my team that helped me put this together.

Mary Rives and Will, you two are wonderful. You know just when to lighten things up, just when to make it serious, and just when to have fun. I love you both.

Barnie. I must say that you are the consummate emcee. You kept the ball rolling during all the events, even though you did not feel up to it Friday evening, your performance Saturday more than made up for it. Once again you have shown me why I believe you are our area's premier statesman. Henry and Patrick Counties are richer for your presence. I look forward to our next lunch together. (When can we go fishing?)

Anne. What can I say? You are my rock. We fit together well, and I am pleased to be considered your friend. Without you this could never have happened.

To all of you I have more to say, but I would prefer to wait until we are face to face. Believe me, I owe you all very much.

To the attendees of the first annual Blogs United in Martinsville conference, I sincerely thank you all. Along with my dear friends mentioned above, you made this all possible.

I'm going to bed now, but sometime soon I will properly thank you all.

Wednesday, August 23, 2006


I am on vacation this week. Just kicked back enjoying margaritas in the hammock....

Yeah, right. Back to reality....

I, along with my beautiful and talented "right arm", have almost tied up all the loose ends in preparation for the conference. As Maj. Warden said in "Bridge on the River Kwai", "When you have completed your preparations, there is always one more thing to be done." Sometime tomorrow we will be looking for that "one more thing".

If you are registered, look for an e-mail "information packet" sometime today. We are looking forward to welcoming you all to Martinsville and Henry County.

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

"That Was Pretty Stupid Of Me", Al Weed

Al Weed admits planning the Lunch for Letters Contest I referred to in a previous post. In todays Martinsville Bulletin, when asked about the Lunch for Letters Contest which he has until now denied the existence of, Al Weed finally admitted Day's assertion was correct;
Weed said he asked Day to be part of the prize in the contest because Day is known for his entertaining writing style. The former delegate, he said, was not enthusiastic about the proposal.

"His response was not very positive," Weed said.

Weed said that after talking with others about the plan, he scrapped the idea.

He said his campaign comes up with many ideas and not all of them are used. When asked if he regrets making the proposal, he said he regrets not knowing that Day, who is "supposedly a Democrat," supports Goode.

"That was pretty stupid of me," said Weed, a Democrat.

In a press release dated noon today, after quoting the Goode release that broke the news of the Letters for Lunch Contest, Weed said;
"It's time to be upfront and honest with the voters. They deserve to see the candidates side by side. They deserve to hear our ideas and vision for the future. To rob them of that is wrong."
Weed's remark about Barnie Day supporting Virgil Goode can only be assumed to be a snarky, smart ass remark. While I, like everyone in this end of the 5th, know that Barnie and Virgil are longtime friends, no one believes that Barnie Day is officially supporting Virgil in the 5th District. I will, however, fully endorse Mr. Weed's estimation of his own relative intelligence.

Blogs United Registration Deadline

Lisa Houston of Pigs-R-Us, the caterer for the lunch on Saturday, tells me that she must have a definite number of bar-b-que eaters by Sunday, August 20.

So, I guess she just set our deadline for registration for us. Registration will close at 8:00pm, Sunday August 20, 2006.

If you haven't registered yet, what better time could there be than right now. You know the drill, click on the big red button. While you are at it, go ahead and check on your hotel reservation.

Jameson Inn
378 Commonwealth Blvd.
Martinsville, VA 24112
Group Rate code__Blogs United Conference

Hampton Inn
50 Hampton Dr.
Martinsville, VA 24112
Group Rate Code__BUC (Will also work if registering online)

Quality Inn's Dutch Inn Hotel
2360 Virginia Ave.
Collinsville, VA 24078
Group Rate Code__Blogs United Conference

Monday, August 14, 2006

Lunch For Letters Campaign Backfires On Al Weed

The following is a true reflection of the integrity of both Barnie Day and Al Weed.
Rocky Mount, VA - August 14, 2006 - Statement by Barnie Day on an Al Weed proposal to "plant" derogatory letters against Virgil Goode in the opinion pages of Virginia's newspapers:

"I am disgusted by a recent Al Weed proposal to encourage the surreptitious "planting" of derogatory letters to the editor against Virgil Goode in a "contest" among his supporters that would "award" a Charlottesville lunch with me to the author of the nastiest planted letter to make it past the gatekeepers of Virginia's opinion pages. This insidious proposal - made to me by Mr. Weed - insults fairness and integrity and demeans press freedom. It does not represent values I hold dear as a Democrat. It does not represent values I hold indivisible as a Virginian. It does not represent values I hold sacred as an American. I will have no part of it."

Virgil Goode was "surprised and disappointed" in hearing about the contest. "I hope this campaign will be about the issues facing Central and Southside Virginia, not personal attacks," said Goode.

Barnie Day is a former Democratic member of the Virginia House of Delegates and an author and commentator, and serves as an officer of the Smith River Community Bank in Stuart in Patrick County
I had lunch with Barnie last Thursday, and I did not have to write any nasty letters to earn the priviledge. Apparently Al Weed thinks so little of Barnie that asking him to prostitute himself for the Weed campaign does not set off any ethical alarms. Or is it that Weed thinks so highly of himself that he really thought Barnie would do so? Either one is totally unacceptable to 5th District voters of either party. I am a Republican, Barnie Day is, as noted above, a Democrat. Call us the Felix and Oscar of Stuart, but I am proud to consider him a friend, his statement above is just one indication of why I am.

After I received the press release, I immediately called Barnie. He verified the truthfulness of the account and the accuracy of the quote.

I next called the Al Weed campaign office to get Mr. Weed's side of the story. I spoke with a very charming lady named Jean Wyant who seemed shocked to hear the story. Her response was, "That doesn't sound like Barnie at all," she said, "it sounds like something made up."

I'm sorry, Ms. Wyant, that does sound like Barnie. It sounds exactly like Barnie, a man I know to be of high integrity. During our conversation, while it was thought that I was a constituent calling, the response from the Weed campaign was that it could never have happened, that it just could not possibly be true.

I asked Ms. Wyant for an official response from Mr. Weed. She said that Mr. Weed was not in the area today, but that the communications director would call me right away. So I went outside for a smoke.

An hour or so later I had heard nothing so I called the campaign office again. I asked once again for an official response, as I needed it before publicly commenting on Mr. Weed's actions. At that point something must have clicked in someone's head up there in Charlottesville, because I received a call from Curt Gleeson in less than 5 minutes. It became apparent during our conversation that Mr. Gleeson is familiar with this blog. That in itself is troubling. While I was Alton Foley, just some guy who lives in Collinsville, it was time for total denial. The staff was even willing to go so far as to accuse Barnie of making it up. But once someone realized that I am "that Alton Foley" and I would actually be writing something on this issue, I became important enough to get a call from Mr. Gleeson. I would prefer it be the other way around. A constituent should always come before any type of media. Whether that media is the Washington Post, or this humble page of scribbling.

During our phone conversation, Curt offered to e-mail me Mr. Weed's statement on the Lunch for Letters campaign. His statement is included below in its entirety;
Mr. Goode is again running from his record. He's trying to create news that distracts from his unethical and possibly illegal behavior. I absolutely encourage Mr. Goode's constituents to write letters concerning his poor record in Washington. He has represented them by taking illegal money and rewarding contributors with earmarks for useless contracts. People are ashamed, and want ethical representation.

Mr. Goode is playing politics when he should be working as our representative. It is time for the games to stop. Events in England last week have reminded us of the severity of potential terrorism. It's unfortunate that Mr. Goode is spending time talking about letters to editors and not the cost of our involvement in Iraq. In his release Mr. Goode says, "I hope this campaign will be about the issues facing Central and Southside Virginia, not personal attacks." I couldn't agree more. This election is too important and the issues are all too real to distract voters. Mr. Goode, will you join me and pledge from this moment on to not engage in personal attacks?
Unfortunately, Mr. Weed's statement does not address the question, did he propose the Lunch for Letters campaign? Instead he personally attacks Mr. Goode, politics for a while on the war on Terrorism, and then disingenuously asks for a pledge against personal attacks.

Like Barnie, I'm madder'n hell. Al Weed wants my vote, but I'm not important enough to get a straight answer until it's learned that I just may actually influence someone with this blog. He has insulted a friend of mine, a friend who could have been an asset to his campaign, but no more. And now with this release of a non-statement by the campaign, he has insulted the intelligence of voters in the 5th District.

After I received the official statement from the campaign, I replied back asking for a specific answer about the Lunch for Letters campaign. Mr. Gleeson's response confirmed that during a phone call Al Weed and Barnie Day did in fact discuss letters to the editor, and that Mr. Weed and Mr. Day have not corresponded since. The campaign continues to deny, however, that any letter writing contest has been or is being planned.

Hat Tip to The Wilting Weed

New Virginia Blog

I've been meaning to mention this new Virginia blog, The Wilting Weed.

WW and crew are intent on holding Al Weed's feet to the fire, I especially like their latest post on Weed's meddling in Martinsville's efforts to achieve their goal of establishing The New College.

Virginia Blog Carnival With Sound

Jim has added his unique touch to the carnival this week. Head on over there and listen and read.

Sunday, August 13, 2006

Blogs United Hotel Information

Hotel Information.

Blocks of rooms have been reserved at the following Martinsville and Collinsville Hotels. Each hotel is offering a group rate, ask for it when you register. If you have already registered at any of these three hotels, the group rate can be applied at check in. Each hotel is within 4 miles of the Patrick Henry Community College conference site. Each offers either a breakfast buffet or a complimentary Continental Breakfast. High Speed internet access is free at all three (wireless at Hampton, hardwired at the other two).

Jameson Inn
378 Commonwealth Blvd.
Martinsville, VA 24112
Group Rate code__Blogs United Conference

Hampton Inn
50 Hampton Dr.
Martinsville, VA 24112
Group Rate Code__BUC (Will also work if registering online)

Quality Inn's Dutch Inn Hotel
2360 Virginia Ave.
Collinsville, VA 24078
Group Rate Code__Blogs United Conference

Now would be a good time to register for the conference as well. Mash the red button below.

This information cross posted at Blogs United Website

Friday, August 11, 2006

Jimmy's Still Missing

Today is Friday, August 11, 2006.

James Webb is scheduled to be where in Virginia?

Still nobody knows...
Or nobody's telling.


Today is Friday, August 11, 2006.

George Allen will be at the following Virginia locations;

8:30 - 9:30am Dutch Treat Breakfast
Mustard Seed Cafe
132 Jackson Street
Gate City, VA

10:00 - 11:15am VFP Tour and Employee Meet & Greet
4954 Industrial Park Road
Duffield, Virginia 24244

12 - 1:30pm Dutch Treat Luncheon
The Inn at Norton
Norton-Coeburn Road
Norton, VA

2:00 - 3:00pm SI International Plant Tour and Employee Meet & Greet
Dickenson County Technology Park
1100 Technology Drive
Clintwood, Virginia

5:00 - 7:00pm GOP Picnic
Breaks Interstate Park
Breaks, Virginia

Does Jim Webb even know where Breaks Interstate Park is located?

Thursday, August 10, 2006

The Best Bargain In Virginia

When I was a kid, about Kenton's age, 50 bucks was a pile of money, just about enough to buy two Murray bicycles at Montgomery Ward. It's still substantial, but not quite like it was then. This morning before dawn I spent 50 bucks filling the tank in my car. This afternoon I spent half that amount paying for 3 lunches at Honduras Coffee in Stuart (very good lunch companions and the best chicken salad ever).

I also just spent 50 bucks paying my registration fee for the Blogs United in Martinsville for free Speech conference. That was the best bargain I've made all day.

For that most recent 50 bucks I get to meet three of the best unpaid writers in Virginia; Jerry Fuhrman, Norman Leahy, and Katheryn Wilton.

That 50 bucks also buys me the opportunity to meet 2 out of 3 of Virginia's statewide office holders; Lt. Governor Bill Bolling, and Attorney General Bob McDonnell. The organizers of the conference are throwing in the two preeminent ladies of Virginia's Democratic Party,Leslie Byrne and Mary Sue Terry, for free.

But that's not all. Let's not forget Ben Tribbett, Virginia's walking database of election statistics, rumor, and forecasts. He'll be there too.

And I'm still not through. That 50 bucks buys me a fantastic dinner at Martinsville and Henry County's prestigious Chatmoss Country Club, and admittance to a private reception afterwards at Uptown Martinsville's Artisan Center. There we'll get to meet BadWill, the only Virginia employee ever suspended for making fun of a jingle.

When Friday evening draws to a close we are still not finished wearing out that 50 bucks. Saturday morning, after hearing speakers Bob McDonnell, Chris Saxman, and Dickie Cranwell, the conference will provide workshops designed to improve your blog, or your mind, or both.

It's been said that experience is the best teacher. I've always disputed that because it gives you the test first and the lesson afterwards. At 9:45 Saturday morning you will be able to turn it around on that ol' teacher, experience. Sit in on the "Bloggers and Libel" workshop hosted by Eric Helms Monday, Conaway Haskins, and Greg Letiecq. Greg provides the experience, Eric doles out the legal advice, while Conaway navigates us through the ethics involved in writing sometimes unflattering articles about other people.

After that you will be able to participate in a roundtable discussion that includes Norman Leahy and Jeff Schapiro, as well as Jerry Fuhrman and Dan Radmacher. That tag team match alone would cost 50 bucks if Vince McMahon was in charge of this conference.

At noon on Saturday your 50 bucks still has enough life left in it to provide a lunch to die for, catered by Pigs R Us, the official caterer of NASCAR's Martinsville Speedway and winner of numerous prestigious BBQ cookoffs around the country, including the Best in the West Rib cook-off in Reno, Nevada and featured on the Food Network.

Your Luncheon speakers will be U.S. Attorney for the Western District of Virginia, John Brownlee, and the previously mentioned Leslie Byrne. We will try to get Mary Sue to grace us with some words at lunch as well.

Some of you will decide to stay over on Saturday night, rather than face Virginia's deplorable Transportation System in the dark. You will be able to enjoy a very informal cookout-hangout-kickback-and-yack event at Martinsville's best kept little secret. The Firemen's Cabin is nestled back in the woods on the shore of the Martinsville City Reservoir, and it's been recently remodeled and upgraded.

When the fires die out at the cabin, late on Saturday night, you will have finally used up all of that 50 bucks. But wow, look at what all it bought.

Webb, Missing In Action

Today is Thursday, August 10, 2006.

George Allen will be at the following locations;

9:00 - 11:00am
Pulaski County Nanotechnology Meeting with County Employees
1 Magnox Drive
Pulaski, Virginia

12 - 1:30pm
New Pioneer Restaurant
1587 North Main Street
Marion, Virginia

3:15 - 4:15pm
KCG Call Center Tour and Employee Meet & Greet
KCG Call Centers LLC
1574 W Morgan Ave
Pennington Gap, VA

4:30 - 5:00pm
Jasper Fire Department Ceremony
KCG Call Centers LLC (meet here)
1574 W Morgan Ave
Pennington Gap, VA

Today is Thursday, August 10, 2006.

James Webb is scheduled to be where in Virginia?

Nobody knows...
Or nobody's telling.

Monday, August 07, 2006

Reader's Art

Heh. Click on the cartoon to make it grow.

The above cartoon was sent to me by a reader to go along with this story from David Lerman of the Daily Press.

Thanks Philip. Keep 'em coming.

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Virginia Blog Carnival Is Open

This week the Virginia Blog Carnival stops at the Virginia Progressive. James E. Martin pulls together an eclectic mix of posts from across Virginia and presents them all in The Virginia Blog Carnival.