Saturday, December 30, 2006

My Last Words On Both Matters

I'll write one more post on the recent kerfuffle and then I'm through with the subject. Actually both subjects.

I need to start with what seems to be the major misconception most Virginia bloggers have about the whole thing. I do not hate Waldo Jaquith. I do not even dislike him. I've met Waldo exactly twice, and both times he was a very charming, intelligent conversationalist. But I've said that before.

I've also said that I did not have a problem with him removing a blog from his aggregator, it's his and he can do with it what he will. However, I could and did point out his hypocrisy in doing so. Does that mean I'm completely above hypocrisy myself? Nope, and you're not either. What it does mean is that I will never let unsubstantiated charges from the left go unanswered. We've been there, done that in the Republican party for way too long.

I knew from the beginning that anything that found it's way onto the Virginia Political Blogs aggregator was not the doing of Waldo Jaquith. Just as all of you know that. Therefore I have never complained to Waldo about any content found there. The origin of that content is clearly displayed, and even contains a link to take you to the actual source. That is the reason I refused his "olive branch". He demanded that some of us put an obviously distasteful post on our blog with no reference from whence it came, and no explanation or apology allowed. You would be correct in calling that just one more incidence in a very long history of hypocrisy shown by Mr. Jaquith. However, for anyone to blame Waldo for over the top content on his aggregator is simply another example of hypocrisy, regardless of the political side from which the complaint comes.

Second subject. Now it seems we in the ODBA have a bit of egg on our faces. One of our members, a good writer with a sharp mind, was posting under a pseudonym that did not accurately reflect his true self. For whatever reason someone saw fit to "out" him.

Personally I believe that blogging anonymously, in and of itself, is not necessarily a problem. Shaun has a very different perspective on the subject. But the ODBA does not demand that each member march in lockstep with each other.

Some people simply must blog anonymously due to various circumstances. We in the ODBA have learned a valuable lesson. If a blogger must work under cover of anonymity, and he joins with others to collaborate whether it be on a single blog, a diary type blog such as RK, or a loose affiliation such as ours, he or she owes the rest of the team the simple courtesy of describing himself truthfully. We didn't demand that before, and now we are paying the cost for it. Thankfully the damage was much less severe than it might have been.

We will recover, though. I hope the young writer will lick his wounds, describe himself a little more truthfully on his blog, and go back to producing the work that first got him noticed here.

Just What Is A Bigot?

I'm a bigot. Or at least I've been told I am. Most likely by people who don't even know the meaning of the word. Or at least by people who have been trained to use the word to describe anyone who is "less tolerant" than they perceive themselves to be. Certainly by people who don't know me. If they knew any of these things they would know that I'm not a bigot.

Noun: bigot
1.a person obstinately or intolerantly devoted to his or her own opinions and prejudices.

Those of you who know me know that definition simply does not describe me. I am quite open to argument and honest debate and I've even been persuaded to change my opinion on occasion. It may or may not describe you, I don't know. That is the reason you will never find me making that accusation of someone. The following definition would be more aptly applied to me, and most likely to you as well. I have yet to meet someone to whom the following definition does not apply.

Noun: discrimination
1.the act, practice, or an instance of discriminating categorically rather than individually.

Now that's something I am guilty of. But like I said before, you are too. We all have a tendency to associate or not with groups based on the characteristics of that group. Even in such innocuous situations as determining which church to attend. "Oh, I could never go there, they believe that a woman can't be a Pastor." (My church does not espouse that opinion, by the way. Although I have quite happily attended some that do.) Or, "How can you attend a church that professes that homosexuality is a sin?". "What," you may ask when invited to attend Mass by a friend, "You do know I'm Baptist, don't you?". You get the idea. All of God's children discriminate against one another all the time.

We all discriminate in other ways as well. I tend not to hang out with liars, cheats, and thieves. You may choose not to enter a certain part of town after a certain hour of the night. Some of you may feel very uncomfortable if required to attend a formal function that is outside your normal social circle. Still others are afraid of groups of guys on Harley-Davidsons wearing black leather and denim.

The one way that is most familiar to you, my readers, is in political ideology. Many on the left will quite proudly say that they do not desire to attend some bi-partisan event or function, simply because those intolerant Republicans will be there. While I always smile at the irony of such a statement, I don't deny that there are Republicans that may express the same or similar opinion from time to time. I say this from experience. The experience of attempting to persuade liberals to attend a blog conference in Martinsville this past summer.

The source of the bigot tag being placed upon me is an obscure, offhand comment I made some time back, in reply to a friend. That friend and I knew that I was referring, in the form of a rather obtuse joke, to the story from the recent past concerning Abu Ghraib prison and the charges made at the time that soldiers had flushed a Koran.

That remark certainly does not mean that I would desecrate in any way your copy of the Koran. Your copy of the Koran is sacred to me simply because it is yours. The only meaning that can be drawn from my comment is that a copy that may somehow find itself in my possession would mean no more to me than a John Grisham novel. It may go on my bookshelf, but it will never be considered a sacred text by me.

Does that mean that I'm intolerant of Muslims, of course not. It simply means I will tend to discriminate in my choice of what I consider sacred. Just like you do when you eat a cheeseburger. What? You didn't know that cows are sacred to Hindus, and Jews who keep kosher consider it a sin to combine meat and dairy?

Thursday, December 28, 2006

Iranian Diplomacy

The cornerstone, if you can call it that, of Jim Webb's campaign was his brilliant strategy of involving Iran in a diplomatic solution to the war in Iraq. This is also a major theme running through the Iraq Study Group report.

A few days ago, the New York Times reported that at least four Iranians, including senior military personnel, were captured in a pair of raids aimed at people suspected of conducting attacks on Iraqi security forces. The Times reports;
Gordon D. Johndroe, the spokesman for the National Security Council, said two Iranian diplomats were among those initially detained in the raids. The two had papers showing that they were accredited to work in Iraq, and he said they were turned over to the Iraqi authorities and released. He confirmed that a group of other Iranians, including the military officials, remained in custody while an investigation continued, and he said, “We continue to work with the government of Iraq on the status of the detainees.”

It was unclear what kind of evidence American officials possessed that the Iranians were planning attacks, and the officials would not identify those being held. One official said that “a lot of material” was seized in the raid, but would not say if it included arms or documents that pointed to planning for attacks. Much of the material was still being examined, the official said.
I'm sure this must be some sort of misunderstanding. It has to be because Jim Webb and the ISG assures us that Iran wants to bring stability to the region.

You will remember that Webb and the ISG both also called for a increased diplomacy from Syria as part of the Iraq solution.

D.J. blows that idea pretty much out of the water in an article that suggests just where those WMDs that every intelligence organization in the world claimed Saddam had.

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Hey Donk, Let's Do Lunch

Tale of the Donkey is doing a great job covering the 5th District. See his posts here, and here. I need to lure him to Stuart one day for lunch at Honduras Coffee.

Article X Section 10

Neither the credit of the Commonwealth nor of any county, city, town, or regional government shall be directly or indirectly, under any device or pretense whatsoever, granted to or in aid of any person, association, or corporation; nor shall the Commonwealth or any such unit of government subscribe to or become interested in the stock or obligations of any company, association, or corporation for the purpose of aiding in the construction or maintenance of its work; nor shall the Commonwealth become a party to or become interested in any work of internal improvement, except public roads and public parks, or engage in carrying on any such work; nor shall the Commonwealth assume any indebtedness of any county, city, town, or regional government, nor lend its credit to the same. This section shall not be construed to prohibit the General Assembly from establishing an authority with power to insure and guarantee loans to finance industrial development and industrial expansion and from making appropriations to such authority.
That is from the Virginia Constitution. Article X Section 10 to be precise. The way I read that it simply means that the Commonwealth of Virginia may not include in it's budget funds for any non-governmental agency.

However, the 2007 budget contains the following items;
  • AARP of Virginia: $100,000
  • An Achievable Dream, Inc.: $400,000
  • Art Museum of Western Virginia: $500,000
  • Belmont Bay Science Foundation: $500,000
  • Celebrating Special Children: $50,000
  • Chesterbrook Residences: $200,000
  • Children’s Home Society of Virginia: $100,000
  • Children’s Museum of Richmond: $25,000
  • Children's Museum of Virginia: $250,000
  • Chrysler Museum: $500,000
  • Community Lodgings, Inc.: $100,000
  • First Freedom Center: $250,000
  • Greater Reston Arts Center: $50,000
  • Hampton Arts Foundation: $200,000
  • Hispanic College Fund: $200,000
  • Housing Opportunities Made Equal of Virginia:$200,000
  • Loudoun Cares: $100,000
  • Prevent Blindness Virginia: $100,000
  • Richmond Area Association of Retarded Citizens: $200,000
  • Science Museum of Western Virginia: $100,000
  • Schooner Virginia: $200,000
  • Shenandoah Valley Discovery Museum:$100,000
  • Southside Business Technology Center: $75,000
  • Special Olympics Virginia: $100,000
  • Tangier Island Health Foundation LLC: $200,000
  • US Slavery Museum: $250,000
  • USS Monitor Center at the Mariners Museum:$250,000
  • Virginia Aquarium and Marine Science Center:$500,000
  • Virginia Arts Festival: $250,000
  • Virginia Holocaust Museum: $200,000
  • Virginia Living Museum: $250,000
  • Virginia Museum of Transportation: $150,000
  • Visual Arts Center of Richmond: $50,000
  • Wakefield Foundation Center for the Arts:$10,000
  • Western Virginia Foundation for the Arts and Sciences (Center in the Square): $200,000
  • William King Regional Arts Center: $100,000
  • Wolf Trap Foundation for the Performing Arts:$500,000
To paraphrase a sentiment often attributed to Everette Dirksen, a few hundred thousand here, a few hundred thousand there, and pretty soon you're talking real money. Or in this case, real money that the real Constitution of Virginia expressly forbids the spending of. In the case of 2007 (so far) this list adds up to 7.5 million dollars.

All of the above agencies or organizations are charitable groups. Groups I can freely donate to if I so desired. In fact I do donate to a couple of them, and no, AARP is not one of them. Strike that previous sentence. I do donate to all of them I suppose, I just do not do so freely.

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Waldo's Olive Branch

Waldo has spoken. He has devised a way for all of us to get out of this kerfuffle which begun with his banning of a blogger who was featured on Virginia Political Blogs. He made the offer on Christmas eve, I first saw it early this morning. I'll reproduce the gist of it below (emphasis added);
I want the complaining blogs (Alton, GGD, Jonathan Maxfield, Chris, SWAC Girl, Carl, Flora McDonald and Kat) to post the blog entry of my choice on their blog. I will not write the text or provide the image — I will provide a codeword to an anonymous third party who will send that codeword, along with as much text and as many images as they want, to each blogger. Each blogger will receive a separate blog entry. They must post that blog entry on the front page of their site without explanation, excuse, or followup. In neither word or deed may they indicate that it was posted because of this offer, or why they posted it. I will say up front that I will encourage each third party volunteer writer to provide a highly-charged image and supporting text that will, without question, offend nearly anybody who sees it. The blog entry will arrive sometime in the next week, and must be posted promptly.LINK
Yes, in order to atone for daring to question why Waldo pulled a blog from his aggregator, some of us must agree to post something he considers to be equally vile on our pages, without question.

I'm sorry Waldo, that ain't gonna happen. Allow me to elaborate. You set up VPB, proudly proclaiming that you accept one and all. And I must commend you on that stance. From the inception of VPB you did just that, regardless of content. You allowed pictures of dead babies held aloft, by a blogger who wanted to attack George Allen. You allowed that same photoblogger to post numerous pictures of people lying stricken in the streets, again in order for him or her to attack George Allen.

You didn't stop with graphic images either. You allowed one particular blogger to use sophomoric references to anal sex on many, many occasions. You stood your ground and refused to prune out any of George Carlin's infamous 7 dirty words. Why, you yourself proudly used the "F" word on occasion. You are a stand up guy, Waldo. I think I speak for everyone on the right when I say I thought your stance was correct, and we applauded your efforts. No matter how vile and disgusting it was, you would not stoop to "editing". Until now. Until it came from a conservative.

Now, simply because some of us have expressed varying levels of surprise at your actions, and as a "deal" to get that conservative blog back on VPB, you offer this "olive branch". An "olive branch" you promise up front will be soiled with disgusting filth. No thank you.

At the top of my left column you will notice a listing of the most recent conservative blog posts. It's a cool little asset offered by Dave Mastio at BlogNetNews. He offers it in several flavors. One can choose to have it fueled by all of the blogs subscribed at BNN, or by region. Or you can choose all liberal blogs, or all conservative blogs.

When I first installed it I naturally chose the all blogs option. I soon grew disgusted with seeing the "F" word and the "S" word in headlines posted on my site. After switching to the all conservative blogs option I have not had that problem. And I doubt that I will.

So, you see Waldo, I've already experienced the vile stuff from liberals soiling my website and I took the steps to eliminate it. I did not begin this blog proclaiming that I would accept any and all contributions to it, as you did with VPB.

Just for the record, I've said all along it's Waldo's aggregator, to do with as he wishes. I did ask him why he did not simply remove the offending post and then consult with the offending blogger. His answer, reasonable enough I suppose, was that his software does not allow that action.

I'm not sure what criteria he used to select the eight of us out of many who questioned his actions. Perhaps, in my case anyway, it's retaliation for pointing out his hypocrisy in my previous post.

Blogging Guidelines For Virginia Political Bloggers

It seems some of us here in Virginia have no idea how to behave ourselves in the blog community. After looking around for a bit today on several Virginia blogs I think I can now offer my conservative friends some guidelines.
  • Posting images that depict the victim of the enemies of America in actual circumstances and conditions is not to be accepted. (note, graphic un-retouched photo, deemed by most on the left as inappropriate for viewing.)
  • Posting images that depict the body of a dead baby, being held aloft and being blamed on Americans is perfectly OK. (note, graphic un-retouched photo, deemed by most on the left as completely appropriate for viewing.)
The following guidelines will help you decide what type of posts are accepted by the ethics police on the left.
Allow me to interrupt myself for a moment. It's been brought to my attention in the comments that I cannot substantiate nor verify that Ben's post regarding the e-mail was unsubstantiated and unverified. That is true I suppose, since Ben' does not mention anywhere in the post just how he substantiated and verified it. I now return you to the rest of this post.
And last, but by all means not least. From the man who would have you believe he is way beyond reproach ethically, two more from Waldo Jaquith;
Yes, you can delete someone else's entirely truthful blog, yet leave such scurrilous accusations on your own blog and still proclaim yourself to be ethically superior to most of those on the right. (note, Waldo does retract the statement, but way down the page where it's less likely to be read. Personally, I would have placed the retraction in the original comment, but apparently I don't know as much about ethical blogging as Waldo.)Waldo is placed on a pedestal by many on the left (most notably F.T. Rea) as the epitome of ethics. Waldo himself actually believes this, and Terry does himself no favors by perpetuating the myth.

What I've learned from all this is that in Charlottesville ethics don't matter, aesthetics do.

Geesh... In the words of Jerry Fuhrman, just shoot me now.

Sunday, December 24, 2006

Christmas Shopping Dilemma

Christmas makes me a nervous wreck. No, I don't mean that I abhor the reason we are celebrating. That God's son was born to save us is a perfectly marvelous reason to celebrate. What I'm talking about is the various traditions we as a society have appended to the rest of the story. Take gift giving for example. Who's idea was this? It must have been one of those that lie on the opposite side of the spectrum from me. Like my sister.

I'm not a good shopper. Some people are. My mother was, and my sister is mom made over. Leslie knows not only the perfect gift for everyone, she knows where to get it.

Now, don't get me wrong. It's not because I'm a cheapskate when it comes to gift giving. Well, that's not the only reason. Whenever I'm shopping for someone else and I find something interesting, my first thought is if she really wanted this she would already have it. Remember, I'm cheap, so it's not like she wouldn't be able to afford it, it must be that she just doesn't want it. I get into that kind of conflicted thought and it makes me want to find the Applebee's outside the mall and get myself a shot of Bushmills. Something no one ever thinks to get me for Christmas, by the way.

The other side of that coin is the receiving of the gift. Some people, again my sister comes to mind, can receive a gift of fossilized dog poo made into a paperweight and seem as though it was the one thing missing from their life, and they would have never thought of getting themselves such an item, but thank you so much for finding the absolute perfect gift for me. I can't do that. My disappointment will always show. Unless it's that perfect gift that Leslie always knows where to find. Or that perfect birthday gift of old VINTAGE magazines I got from someone else on my last birthday. Perhaps the two of them are more alike than I had previously thought.

See comments for proof that they are exactly alike. And proof that I've described myself perfectly...

I'm Not Emeril, But I Make A Great Egg Nog

4 egg yolks
1/3 cup sugar, plus 1 tablespoon
1 pint whole milk
1 cup heavy cream
4 ounces bourbon, go ahead and use the good stuff, I prefer Maker's Mark
1 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
4 egg whites, make sure absolutely no yolk is left

Beat the egg yolks until they just begin to lighten in color. You can do this by hand, but if you have a stand mixer it's much more fun. Gradually add 1/3 cup sugar and continue to beat until the sugar is dissolved. Now is when you'll be glad you didn't try to do this by hand. You didn't did you?

Add the milk, cream, bourbon and nutmeg and stir, by hand, to combine. Transfer this mixture to a clean bowl.

Clean the bowl of your stand mixer and add the egg whites and beat until soft peaks begin to form, but don't stop the mixer. Gradually add the tablespoon of sugar and continue until stiff peak stage is reached.

After beating the egg whites, use a wire whisk to blend the two components together. Chill and serve.

The food police will have me arrested if I don't warn you about consuming uncooked egg products. If the eggs are fresh and uncracked, and you wash them thoroughly before breaking them you have little to worry about. If you feel that there is still too much risk involved, you must be a Democrat and the government must save you from yourself. It has. There are pasteurized eggs on the market, look for them at your local grocer.

If my risk averse Democrat friends want real old fashioned egg nog, but do not have access to pasteurized eggs, I do have a cooked version for you to make. While it's not really "egg nog", instead it's a thin and runny custard, it will fool most of your guests simply because it's so much better than the stuff you get at the store.


Again we use the stand mixer to beat the egg yolks and 1/3 cup sugar just as we did above and set it aside.

In a medium saucepan, over high heat, combine the milk, heavy cream and nutmeg and bring just to a boil, stirring occasionally. Remove from the heat and using a small spatula pick up a small amount of the hot mixture and stir it into the egg yolk mixture. Repeat this a few times to bring the egg mixture up to the temperature of the milk mixture and add the now warmed egg and sugar mixture to the pot. Return this to the heat and cook until the temperature reaches 160 degrees. The food police are now happy, and if you did it correctly the egg yolks did not attempt to go into the "scrambled egg" mode and curdle.

At 160 degrees remove from the heat, stir in the bourbon, transfer to a larger than suitable sized bowl, (remember, you have the egg whites yet to add), and refrigerate to chill. After chilling add the egg whites, prepared as above and in the same manner.

Saturday, December 23, 2006

Ward's Aspirations

Taleofthedonkey has an interesting tale of my favorite General Assembly imbecile, Ward Armstrong.

Interesting indeed, TotD, keep up the pressure on Ward.

Friday, December 22, 2006

Virgil Goode's Letter

I want to welcome Ben's readers who have come to stare at the spectacle. You will notice that I did indeed make the comment that Ben quoted to direct you here.

In a not so clever way, I was referring to the kerfuffle during the past year about the charges against our soldiers flushing the Koran down a toilet. Anyway, the person I was replying to understood what I meant.

But, whether it turned out like I wanted it to or not really doesn't matter to me. Besides, what else am I going to do with a Koran, display it lovingly on my coffee table? I don't think so.

Now you can go read the comment, but I would prefer that you read the post first.

You guys know me, I don't typically jump right on a story. I would rather look at it for a bit, gain some insight, and ponder the full implications first. Consequently a lot of interesting stuff passes off the radar screen before I ever comment on them. Ironically, the only time I've ever been first out of the box with something also concerned a letter. Even with that one I spent some time before making a comment, even going so far as to wait for e-mail and or telephone confirmation from the parties involved before stating my opinion.

I've done that with the Virgil Goode letter story as well. Except I've not corresponded with Virgil or Mr. Ellison. I've simply looked at all the knee jerk reactions and read the letter. An image of the letter can be found here.

I know Virgil. The Virgil I know is not a bigot, not a xenophobe, not a racist, and certainly not stupid. He has recently been described as such by myriad people who have never met him. Instead those people read a letter. A letter Virgil sent to certain constituents in reply to numerous e-mails he had received regarding the ceremonial swearing in of incoming Rep. Keith Ellison (D-MN).

Now, let me get this out of the way immediately. Unlike Dennis Prager, I don't care if Mr. Ellison wanted to place his hand on a half empty box of Frosty Flakes for the ceremonial photo-op, it would mean just as much. Or just as little. There is nothing in Virgil's letter to indicate that he feels any differently. But I do wonder what the reaction from the left would be toward some southern Senator-elect who wanted to be photographed with a confederate flag in the background for his swearing in ceremony.

Read the letter yourself. I know, you've read it already. But I want you to stretch your legs out, so as to stop the inevitable knee-jerk, and read it again. This time remember that this letter was Virgil's response to some of his constituents.

You've read it again and come back here? OK, then let me discuss what you just read.

I'll wager that very few, if any, of the intended recipients of that letter have ever read this blog. Don't get all uppity, they ain't likely to have read yours either. They do not eat politics all day long like you and I do. But they do read the paper. They do watch the news. They do know that Europe is having serious problems caused by Islamic radicals insistent upon Islamacizing France, The Netherlands, and England. They also have heard the founders of CAIR call for Sharia law to be imposed right here in America. They have heard the rhetoric of Louis Farrakhan, a former associate of Mr. Ellison's. They looked to Virgil for reassurance that he does not support any of this. His letter is forceful in assuring them he does not.

Was he too forceful in his assurances? Apparently so. Quite obviously so. He did go a bit far by not repeating the mantra that not all Muslims are Islamic radicals. But that was not the question he was answering. That was not what his e-mail constituents were concerned with. They've already heard that from every politician from the President on down. They haven't heard it forcefully enough from the Muslim community.

Do you still have the image of the letter open? If not, open it again and look at it with me. If I were to have written this letter I would have broken the first paragraph after the second use of the word "Koran". That simple edit would make it clear that there was no bigotry in the letter, just a sensible statement on our obviously flawed immigration policy. Unfortunately Virgil does not employ me as his editor.

I will assume no one has a problem with his final paragraph. If so you are merely showing your own bigotry and lack of tolerance.

Oh, and one other thing. I also admire the man for refusing to issue the standard Washington "if you were offended" non-apology.

Thursday, December 21, 2006

Blogs United in Hampton Roads

After the Blogs United in Martinsville Conference in August Kilo, Brian and I discussed having it somewhere in the coalfields in 2007. We even considered Roanoke as being a suitable Southwestern Virgina location (even though it's really not SWVA, not in flavor anyway). But a few nights ago I got an e-mail from Jim at Bearing Drift. His e-mail raised an interesting question. A question that Badrose and I bounced off one another over the next few days.

The idea Jim put forward in that e-mail was to hold the Blogs United 2007 conference in the Hampton Roads area. Right in the middle of Virginia's 400th Anniversary.

Badrose and I both thought it was a good idea. But the 400th Anniversary thing is an international event, would it be feasible? A follow up e-mail to Jim expressing my concerns was answered with resounding assurances that affordable accommodations would be available, though he didn't mention details. He is also certain that meeting rooms, dining facilities, and other such items would not be a hindrance.

So, as much as I love SWVA and was looking forward to camping on Brian Patton's back porch, I am sure that we will all agree that the chance to be even a small part of the 400th Anniversary celebration in Hampton Roads is just too sweet an idea to pass up. Jim, I'll call you soon and we'll discuss how we can make this happen.

Another Myth Busted

Hmm. Illegal aliens do the work American citizens won't do. We all know that, right? We're told that every time the subject comes up. Our economy would simply collapse if those jobs went unfilled, and they would go unfilled because we simply refuse to do them.

Yeah, right. Tell that to the folks in Greely CO who are lining up to fill the openings recently created when immigration agents raided the Swift & Co.meat-processing plant there.
GREELEY - The line of applicants hoping to fill jobs vacated by undocumented workers taken away by immigration agents at the Swift & Co. meat-processing plant earlier this week was out the door Thursday.

Among them was Derrick Stegall, who carefully filled out paperwork he hoped would get him an interview and eventually land him a job as a slaughterer. Two of his friends had been taken away by Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents and he felt compelled to fill their rubber boots.
Americans will work. Most will anyway. Many will even do really dirty jobs and actually enjoy it. Just ask Mike Rowe. He knows.

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Allow Me To Present...

The newest members of the Old Dominion Blog Alliance.

If you will look at my left column you will see that the Old Dominion Blog Alliance has suddenly grown. By a lot. We are now at our highest membership level ever, and with the best right of center blogs in Virginia represented in the ODBA ranks.

Some of the new members I'm sure will be familiar to my readers, others I'm just as sure will be a delightful discovery. Go ahead now, explore the depths of the Old Dominion Blog Alliance.

To the old and new members I would like to say that I've been thinking about how best to exploit the powers of a well coordinated group. I'll be posting on that subject, as well as utilizing the group e-mail to expound on some of the ideas I've formulated. If any of you have ideas along those lines please use the ODBA group e-mail feature. If you are not signed up for it contact Kat at Cathouse Chat and she will soon be able to guide you in the steps required to do so.

I just fixed a couple of "errors and omissions", please reload your page.

Now, I challenge each of you to scour the Virginia Blog community (I hate the word blogosphere) and find one more conservative blog to recruit for our team. I have two that I am looking at now.

I've been doing this both from home and at work (ala Will Vehrs), consequently there may be someone else that I've overlooked. If we've shared e-mail messages lately concerning this and you are not listed on the ODBA blogroll and expected to be, please don't be bashful, contact me. My e-mail link is right over there ---> and up toward the top.

2008 Presidential Poll At Shaun Kenney's

Shaun Kenney has a straw poll up on the 2008 Republican presidential candidate. Go to and let your voice be heard. Or hear your mouse click, whatever.

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Check This Out

I've been meaning to mention this for a couple of days now, but it keeps slipping my mind to actually make the post.

Elle, at In-Politically Correct writes about a subject I am deeply concerned with.

And one more thing Elle, we'll work on that secret handshake, OK?

After you go by Elle's place, drop in on j's notes. Jason has the Virginia Blog Carnival this week.

A Short History Of The Old Dominion Blog Alliance

The seed was planted on the 15th of November in 2004 by John Behan, soon to become known by his given name of Chad Dotson.
Several other states have blog "alliances" for blogs devoted to items of interest in that particular state. For example, check out Young Conservatives of Pennsylvania, the Rocky Top Brigade (Tennessee), and the South Dakota Blog Alliance.

Well, there's no reason there shouldn't be an alliance of Virginia bloggers, too; specifically, moderate to conservative Virginia blogs. I guess it's up to me to organize this alliance, huh?
By the 8th of January, 2005 the Old Dominion Blog Alliance was born. Chad bestowed upon the new Alliance a motto that certainly fits, a quote from Margaret Mead;
Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.
Thus, with the following Charter Members the Old Dominion Blog Alliance began;
Shortly after those 9 Charter Members were announced Will Vehrs had this to say in his Virginia Pundit Watch column at Bacon's Rebellion e-zine;
Virginia may be developing blog networks that will be as influential within the state as blogs have been nationally. An elected official who blogs under the pseudonym John Behan has formed the Old Dominion Blog Alliance (ODBA), a group of conservative weblogs...Liberals have blogs, but no "alliance", Commonwealth Commonsense and Virginia Progressive. A blog that hasn’t clearly established a partisan slant is Virginia News Review, although "Hefty Lefty", a new Virginia contributor to, claims it as left leaning.

With all this choice in partisan blogs, it may be time for Bacon’s Rebellion to start the definitive Virginia blog that presents all points of view.
However, during that first year there were a few problems, as one would expect from a fledgling alliance. Kilo mentions the sad fact that many bloggers simply fade away after a short burst of brilliance in his post titled "Blogging- The Old Dominion Blog Alliance". Soon after that Too Conservative, Skeptical Observor, Elephant Ears, Below The Beltway, From On High, and my own blog joined the alliance.

Of the 9 Charter Members only two are no longer active, ODBA founder Commonwealth Conservative, and Sic Semper Tyranis. As to Commonwealth Conservative, the lights may be out, but Chad conveniently left the door unlocked. For it's wealth of information and depth of writing from Chad, Will Vehrs, Government Cheese, and Norman Leahy, and it's commenters too numerous to mention, it will maintain it's place at the top of my ODBA blogroll.

In the past year the ODBA grew to a high of 30 member blogs. Recently several of those members have become inactive or quit blogging, most notably Commonwealth Conservative, bringing our alliance down to a current total of 22. Much like Chad did 2 years ago, I have taken it upon myself to re-invigorate the Old Dominion Blog Alliance by inviting several conservative Virginia blogs to join our ranks. If you are a right of center blog and you wish to join, e-mail me at the link found upper right on this page.

Why I Write

I'm a blogger, not a writer, though I do practice and aspire to be one of those rare creatures. I string together words and ideas and occasionally, like a squirrel in winter finding a walnut that he had buried months or weeks before, an inspired phrase will find it's way onto my page. If I do this often enough, and long enough, I hope to get better. I doubt that I will ever get as good as this guy, James Atticus Bowden. But I'll keep practicing.

Monday, December 18, 2006

Best Blog Headline This Month

No silly, not mine up there, this one from Dogwood Pundit;
Mark Warner Spends Time With His Family, Decides He Doesn't Like Them After All.

Martinsville & Henry County Could Learn A Lot From Danville & Pittsylvania County.

The City of Danville has a real problem. So does the City of Martinsville. Just 25 miles apart, yet their respective problems are polar opposites.

Danville needs to find a way to upgrade it's Danville Power & Light to meet the demands of new employers. Martinsville needs to find a way to keep it's lights on.

Having narrowly survived the NAFTA crunch and it's devastating effects on the textile industry, Danville has added over 5,000 new jobs in the past 3 years. Swedwood, Arista Tubes, Unarco and the Institute for Advanced Learning & Research have all added to the re-growth in Danville and Pittsylvania County.

Meanwhile Martinsville is struggling to find an option, any option, to reverting from an independent City to an incorporated Town.

Why, since the two cities are so close together, and only differ slightly in size, are they experiencing such extremely different growth problems?

Danville has not wallowed in it's misery, instead the city has been on track for several years now. The City and surrounding Pittsylvania County are working together toward a common goal. Together they share a clear and comprehensive plan to replace jobs. Efforts toward serious training programs and building a strong base for research are shared between the two local governments. The two local governments even split evenly the tax revenues from two industrial parks.

In contrast Martinsville and Henry County have been fighting each other during the time period that their neighbors to the east have been cooperating. Martinsville's City Council and Mayor Kimble Reynolds share the blame for this situation equally with Henry County's Board of Supervisors and Chairman H.G. Vaughn. Some say the root of this animosity is due to the "old days" when cities could annex parts of their surrounding counties. Even though Martinsville was not a good neighbor back then I doubt if any on either the Board of Supervisors or City Council are still guided by those ancient actions. No, I think it's simply power struggling politics, with the Board of Supervisors even passing a resolution last week calling for the city to skip reversion altogether and go directly to an unincorporated town. No one in their right mind would ever expect a group of politicians to agree to such an idea, even though it would certainly end many of the problems between the two.

Competition for new industry is strong throughout the southeast. Competition can and should make each locality work much harder to attract that new industry. Here in Henry County there seems to be no guiding force to develop a plan to do so. There once was such a guiding force here. A joint effort between the city and the county created the Patrick Henry Development Council. PHDC was so successful and innovative that it achieved national praise. Then, for reasons that were soon to become clear, then County Administrator Sid Clower decided that the County's $750,000 share of the Council's annual funding could be better spent on his high maintenance girlfriend. Clower then hired development expert Wayne Sterling, recently fired from a position in South Carolina, for a staggering $200,000 a year. Needless to say, Mr. Sterling was not a stellar success, attracting only 3 businesses, none of which lasted much past his own passing.

The local leaders are still sitting around, hoping for some magic beans to fall from the sky and plant a Toyota factory here. Another shell building ain't gonna get it done. I-73 will not happen while we are waiting. Upgrades to US58 will not be the area's saviour. The need for cooperation between Martinsville and Henry County has never been greater.

Right now, with the two entities constantly squabbling, the logical move would be for Martinsville to revert to an incorporated Town status. The Town of Martinsville would be able to keep most of the services it currently provides to it's residents and businesses, but would probably loose it's schools. In Henry County, the School Board has bought at least 3 studies in recent years to determine it's course of action in the face of declining enrollment and aging infrastructure. Each study recommended consolidation, each study was dismissed immediately. With reversion the county schools would be forced to accept the recommendation that it has paid for 3 times and ignored.

Of course reversion would mean a likely increase in taxes for county residents, and a sure increase for residents of Martinsville, and there is no real reason to believe that a Town of Martinsville and it's representative on the Board of Supervisors would get along with the current board members any better than the City Council and the Mayor have.

What absolutely must happen is for the two to actually work together. If Martinsville must revert, then it simply must. Henry County can pay Dickie Cranwell a small fortune to watch it happen, but happen it will. After reversion happens, and Mr. Cranwell has deposited his very healthy fee, the need for cooperation becomes much greater. At that moment the Town of Martinsville will regain that power of annexation that it wielded so clumsily in the past, it would be much better if both parties could learn to cooperate now, before that time comes.

If Martinsville wishes to avoid reversion as much as Henry County would like to stop it then it must quit picking at the edges and cut out the fat it has accumulated during the past boom years. Martinsville quickly discovered that the magic beans of a cable system could not solve it's problems. The hard choices now must be made. Martinsville has many more employees than a city it's size typically has. It provides many excellent services that I'm sure it's residents do not want to lose. But the time for facing reality is now. I know no one wants to lay off employees, but sometimes that is required. I'm sure there are administrative personnel that can be either demoted or laid off. It's tough out here in the real world, sometimes it can't be avoided in government either.

H.G. Vaughn, Kimble Reynolds, could you two please take a trip to Danville and Chatham and talk to the guys over there. They know how it's done, and they are doing it. You two could learn a lot from them. Our area depends on the two of you stepping up to the leadership position you both hold.

Internet Republicans Of Virginia, Or Something Like That

SWAC Girl has the news about Sen. Ken Cuccinelli's (37th District) interesting idea of an official RPVA blog group.

I like the idea, and it gets us out in front of the Democratic party on this issue. While lefty bloggers have been more active, and vocal, they have not been a very cohesive group. I think that with the right leaders we can truly be a force within the Republican party.

Jim has suggested three excellent leaders, but he left himself out. Why, Jim? I want to add Jim to his list of three.

Sunday, December 17, 2006

Beannachtaí an tSéasúir - Greetings Of The Season

I've always loved the sound of spoken Gaelic. It's even better when it's sung. I'm sure it has something to do with my Irish roots, but I've never known a relative who spoke Gaelic.

An excellent example is this Irish folk song, performed by the Clancy Brothers and Tommy Makem.

Today I have been doing a bit of research just for the Holiday. Let's practice a Gaelic Christmas.

If you were in Dublin (for example, it could as easily be Shannon), and alone, you would likely hear someone say, "Nollaig Shona Duit" (NO-Lihg HO-nuh ditch, or in some places, ghwich). That is "Happy Christmas". If you were accompanied by another the greeting would be, "Nollaig Shona Daoibh" (NO-Lihg HO-nuh JEEV) or "You have a Happy Christmas".

Gaelic, like English, is not always phonetically spelled. In some parts of Ireland the S in Shona would be sounded, in others dropped as in my examples. I won't even get into how one gets "ditch", much less "ghwich", from "duit", or "JEEV" from "Daoibn".

I used to have a recording of Buala Bas (Jingle Bells in Gaelic) by the Clancy Brothers and Tommy Makem. It was used (loudly) to wake the household on Christmas morning. Actually, I do still have the vinyl, but I haven't owned a working turntable in years.

Note to younger readers, vinyl refers to a plastic disc about 14" in diameter into which grooves were pressed, an "LP". A turntable was required to play music recorded in that manner.

At Amazon I have found a short clip of Buala Bas, and I've included it below.

Friday, December 15, 2006

I Smell Christmas!

Wow, Em! It even smells like Christmas in here . . . what is it, air freshener? Candle? Oh, I should've guessed - you've got apples and cinnamon in the crock pot! I love your decorations, even more so now that I've relocated my sunglasses.

I 've decided not to decorate (or even visit) my site for the holidays. I always lose a blog post or two when I fiddle with it and besides, ever try putting antlers and tinsel on a Jack Russell? Since you still have ten fingers, I suppose not. Besides, this place is so cheery . . . I think I'll make myself comfortable . . . . sit a spell.

Anyway, I stopped by to admire the decorations, wish you a Merry Christmas, and rib you a little bit for being so predictable: I got your Blogger password on my third guess. Watergate. Ho ho ho!

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Merry Christmas Merry Christmas While I Think I Will Miss This One This Year

OK, every day now for the past few weeks I've been flooded with hits predicated on what I thought was a rather odd Google search; "merry christmas merry christmas while i think i will miss this one this year". Sometimes it has three "merry christmas"es, but mostly it uses only two.

I decided I was going to get to the bottom of this puzzle, so I did the same search. Of course I come up in the number one spot, but I just knew there had to be something specific everyone was searching for. I think I found it. Below are the lyrics to a song titled "Christmas Wrapping" by the Waitresses, recorded sometime in the early '80's. Does anyone have a WAV or Mp3 file of this song? If you do, please e-mail it to me. I just have to hear it now that I've gone to this much trouble.

"Bah, humbug!" No, that's too strong
'Cause it is my favorite holiday
But all this year's been a busy blur
Don't think I have the energy

To add to my already mad rush
Just 'cause it 'tis the season.
The perfect gift for me would be
Completions and connections left from

Last year, ski shop,
Encounter, most interesting.
Had his number but never the time
Most of '81 passed along those lines.

So deck those halls, trim those trees
Raise up cups of Christmas cheer,
I just need to catch my breath,
Christmas by myself this year.

Calendar picture, frozen landscape,
Chilled this room for twenty-four days,
Evergreens, sparkling snow
Get this winter over with!

Flashback to springtime, saw him again,
Would've been good to go for lunch,
Couldn't agree when we were both free,
We tried, we said we'd keep in touch.

Didn't, of course, 'til summertime,
Out to the beach to his boat could I join him?
No, this time it was me,
Sunburn in the third degree.

Now the calendar's just one page
And, of course, I am excited
Tonight's the night, but I've set my mind
Not to do too much about it.

Merry Christmas! Merry Christmas!
But I think I'll miss this one this year.
Merry Christmas! Merry Christmas!
But I think I'll miss this one this year.
Merry Christmas! Merry Christmas!
But I think I'll miss this one this year.
Merry Christmas! Merry Christmas!
But I think I'll miss this one this year.

Hardly dashing through the snow
Cause I bundled up too tight
Last minute have-to-do's
A few cards a few calls
'Cause it's r-s-v-p
No thanks, no party lights
It's Christmas Eve, gonna relax
Turned down all of my invites.

Last fall I had a night to myself,
Same guy called, halloween party,
Waited all night for him to show,
This time his car wouldn't go,

Forget it, it's cold, it's getting late,
Trudge on home to celebrate
In a quiet way, unwind
Doing Christmas right this time.

A&P has provided me
With the world's smallest turkey
Already in the oven, nice and hot
Oh damn! Guess what I forgot?

So on with the boots, back out in the snow
To the only all-night grocery,
When what to my wondering eyes should appear
In the line is that guy I've been chasing all year!

"I'm spending this one alone," he said.
"Need a break; this year's been crazy."
I said, "Me too, but why are you?
You mean you forgot cranberries too?"

Then suddenly we laughed and laughed
Caught on to what was happening
That Christmas magic's brought this tale
To a very happy ending!

Merry Christmas! Merry Christmas!
Couldn't miss this one this year!
Merry Christmas! Merry Christmas!
Couldn't miss this one this year!

Via e-mail I have been directed to YouTube, they have everything it seems. Now that I've heard it I realize I have heard it many times before, but apparently I never actually listened to it.

So, all you people who keep searching for it, here you go. You've found it.

Others Notice Evans v. Reynolds

The Jeff Evans v. Roscoe Reynolds story has been noticed in several other places today;
  1. Jerry, From On High
  2. Brian, Brian Patton
  3. Lars, Roanoke Slant

W. Jeff Evans Kicks Off Senate Campaign

I've mentioned this a couple of times, and now it's all but official. Roscoe Reynolds (D-Oblivious) will be challenged for the 20th District Senate seat.

Lacking only an official nomination by the 20th Senate District GOP Committee, W. Jeff Evans, Veteran, Retired State Trooper, and current Vice-Chairman of the Carroll County Board of Supervisors will be campaigning for that position.

Evans formally announced his candidacy last night at the 5th District GOP end of year dinner (OK, let's dispense with the PC stuff, and just go ahead and call what what it is) 5th District Christmas Dinner at the Dutch Inn in Collinsville.

This seat was in very capable, (albeit Democratic), hands for over 29 years before Roscoe succeeded Virgil Goode in 1997. Unfortunately Roscoe has managed to bring few, if any of his Democratic predecessors legacies to fruition.

For example, A.L. Philpott and William F. Stone together had a vision of a four lane highway between Martinsville and Hillsville way back in the late 1960's. Roscoe and Ward Armstrong, their successors, have based each and every campaign on a promise to complete that project. They've both failed miserably.

That failure makes me wonder just how, only a few miles east of here, two members with much less seniority, Thomas C. Wright(R-Clarksville) and Frank Ruff(R-Clarksville), managed to secure funding for an incredible new bridge across the John H. Kerr reservoir.

We all know Ward enjoys making a joke out of the business of the General Assembly, but what could be Roscoe's excuse?

In an article by Mason Adams of the Roanoke Times, Jeff Evans explains why he is running for the Senate, "I believe the biggest problem I've found, and the thing that's motivated me the most, is that our elected officials are out of touch and not out in our communities...".

In that same article Reynolds confirms this by trying to soft pedal some of his social issues, issues that will certainly resonate with the conservative voters of both parties in the district. And he demonstrates how completely out of touch he is just a few paragraphs later when he says,"I'm expecting for there to be a Republican opponent who will receive considerable financing. To do otherwise wouldn't make any sense. If you underestimate your potential enemy, you're making a terrible mistake."

Maybe that's why I believe Roscoe is so vulnerable here in the 20th District, he not only thinks that tossing off a few phrases designed to allay the fears of his conservative constituency will get him re-elected, he thinks the main issue is the financing of Evans' campaign, and even worse, he sees more than 50% of his constituency as the "enemy".

Monday, December 11, 2006

A Major Move By Hillary Toward The Center.

Suddenly this afternoon Hillary moved 6 steps further right. And she didn't have to change any of her positions to do so.

New Virginia Blog

It's come to my attention just today there's a new conservative blog here on the Eastern slope.

taleofthedonkey comes out of the gate with an interesting tale regarding Ward Armstrong. Keep up the good work, totd.

Search Me...

People who found this blog today searched on;
  • Safety Merry Christmas Bulletin (This one came via, Christmas must be dangerous under the Chavez regime)
  • Brad Coleman (there sure have been a lot of those lately)
  • virginia senator roscoe reynolds
  • christmas caption contest (??? Hey, I dunno.)
  • Jim Mcmillan henry county board of supervisors
  • jim webb quotes
  • invitation mery chrismas (This one came via, maybe that's how it's spelled in Romania)
  • Christmas themed restaraunts (No, I don't rent out spaces at my dining room table)
  • Merry Christmas, Merry Christmas, Merry Christmas, but I don't think I'll miss this one this year (Really, three "Merry Christmas"es? That would make it pretty hard to miss, don't you think?)
  • Jacqui Newman (???)
  • whisk you a merry christmas (And I'll blend you a new year?)
  • tying a roast
  • learning how to shoot with a rifle (That's me, I can tie a roast and shoot it as well)
  • brown enterprise nova parts danville virginia (I don't know anything about Brown Enterprise. I do know where J&W Nova Parts is in Danville, but I'm pretty sure I've never mentioned them here. Well, before now, that is.)
  • Brad Coleman Religion (Maybe that explains all the "Brad Coleman" searches, he's formed his own sect?)
  • Brad Coleman Gibbs (Hmm, I knew Joe hired him, did he also adopt?)
  • jerry 1919 blogspot (???)
And finally we have today's Google search winner;
  • buffalo meat in hampton roads virginia
You should have asked while you were here, there's a buffalo farm just up the road, on the other side of Floyd.

Virginia Blog Carnival LXIV (Yes, That's 64, Can You Believe It?)

We've been doing this for one and one quarter years now. That's 64 Carnivals. Well, 64 weeks anyway, I think there were one or two Holiday weeks when it's been skipped.
In the final weeks before Christmas we have quite a few posts submitted to Virginia Blog Carnival LXIV.

Let's start with a theme that I've been thinking quite a bit about lately, ethics in the Virginia Blog community. Conaway, who is justifiably proud of being named President of the 2006 class of the Sorensen Institute’s Political Leaders Fellows leads with this;
The speeches are done, the sessions have concluded, and now we have our lapel pins, certificates, and secret handshakes. It was a fascinating experience, traveling all over Virginia to learn about different conceptions and misconceptions of leadership, the myriad of issues facing our diverse communities, and meeting with key players in the Commonwealth's government and politics.
He goes on to discuss his "Society of Bloggers" idea and how difficult it is to remain true to such a concept. Read the entire article here.
As one who beats the drums in the blogosphere for the "Society of Bloggers" idea, I am well aware that I have fallen short and will continue to fall short of the very notions of ethics that I an others are promoting. As one who laments some of the seedier elements of media & political activism, I am also guilty of countenancing and sometimes participating in the very actions that I criticize. While it may make me a hypocrite on occasion, it also makes me quite human.
Thanks Conaway, and congratulations to you and all of your classmates. All I ask is that you keep an eye on my late night posts as you did once before. After all, friends don't let friends blog drunk.

Two more somewhat related posts this week are from Hampton Roads. First, Vivian J. Paige touches on a subject that leads to many, if not most of the ad hominem attacks found in the blog community, truthiness.
Truthiness, as opposed to truth, requires a suspension of logic, an ignoring of the facts. It is what we would like things to be, as opposed to the way they are.
From the other side of the argument for a "kinder and gentler" community we have The Squeaky Wheel.
Also I need to return to a place where people understand that I am not here to kiss anyone's ass. Unlike so many bloggers around here, I am not trying to run for office, get a job working in politics, start some political group or be in charge of something to boost my ego. Also I am not going to adhere to some mysterious, non-existant, unspoken blog rule that says everyone has to be nice to everyone all of the time.
Squeaky, I don't think your brand of caustic satire is actually what Conaway has in mind in his critical look at blogging. Sure, you can be brutally satirical, but I've never read a personal attack from your keyboard. And you always attempt to remain true to the concept of "truth vs. truthiness". Instead, I think he means the type of stuff Ward is referring to in his Carnival contribution.

Speaking of Squeaky, his compadre Jim at Bearing Drift e-mailed the ODBA just a few nights ago with a crisis. It seems his blog host had hosed his entire blog, or something like that. He also expressed his dissatisfaction with his current website designer, E-webscapes.

Well buck up there Jim, there just happen to be two Virginia bloggers who submitted articles to the Carnival this week on just that subject. And it appears to me that both actually design websites, if not for a living, at least as an avocation. First from somewhere in the Appalachians, via the Cascades, comes High Desert Wanderer. He is a former cowboy, turned graphics designer. Within the past week he has examined the design of both Michelle Malkin's Hot Air and Markos Moulitsas' Daily Kos. The two critiques are; Malkin's here, and Kos' here.

Our next Virginia website designer is Douglas T. Working for a University in SWVA while also creating some nice website designs. In his latest post he showcases a site he's designed for Bethlehem Evangelical Lutheran Church in Brainerd, Minnesota.

Hmm, Douglas has a couple of degrees from Washington State University, High Desert Wanderer mentions homesickness for the Cascades in an earlier post. The Cascades are in Washington State (and Oregon). HDW says he's in the Appalachians now, and Douglas T cites his career at a University in SWVA. Could they both be the same guy? At any rate, Jim, one of these guys may be just what you are looking for.

While we are out here in SWVA let's turn to One Wise Girl, Kilo's blog parner at Spark It Up! The Girl has been posting on the subject of Christmas traditions, especially traditions related to food. So far there have been four, with number two almost certain to make it into my oven before the 25th. Check them all out here. Christmas Traditions Part One, Part Two, Part Three.
& Part four.

Part four has a nice video of the modern Christmas song, "Mary Did You Know?". I remember growing up in the hills around Bassett, it never seemed like Christmas until I heard one particular Christmas song. That song was "Christmas Time's A Coming", written by Tex Logan and originally recorded by Bill Monroe. The version I remember best was from Don Reno and Red Smiley, who had a morning show on WSLS Channel 10 in Roanoke when I was a kid. If anyone has a copy of that, please send it to me. I'll be forever grateful. In lieu of that one, listen to what I consider to be the next best version.

A couple of other good Christmas themed posts from the past week; The Ward View, Ms. Elenaeous in Roanoke and this little shopping tip from Roci.

Changing subjects now I want to point out that just a few days ago was Pearl Harbor Day. A few days before that I mentioned to someone here at work that Pearl Harbor Day was coming up. Someone else asked, "What is Pearl Harbor Day?". I suppose that can be expected, it was, after all, 65 years ago that our Naval base in Hawaii was attacked. The Japanese and the Germans are both our allies now, and have been all of my life. Some people either have no sense of history, or no real concern for it, so things like that lose their importance to those folks.

Kilo had a great Pearl Harbor Day post, and I showed it to the guy who had no idea what Doug and I had been discussing a few days earlier. I only hope that in 65 years the state of our Union will such that someone will be able to ask, "What was 9/11?". Unfortunately, if the Iraq Study Group's recommendations are followed to the letter, I don't think we'll ever see the day that question can reasonably be asked. If the pressure is removed from Al Qaeda in Iraq now, we'll eventually have to return to the region, and quite possibly be forced to leave it in the condition Japan found itself one August day in 1945. As Kat relates in this article, in this war against Islamic fundamentalism we must remain true to our God and our beliefs.
"Greater is He who is in you, than he who is in the world."

I belong to the King of Kings, and the Lord of Lords, who will one day cast this satanic "god" into the eternal pit of fire - and he won't need to exert the least amount of effort to do so.

My Lord and Savior is the Creator of all, the Lord God Almighty, the Lord my Provider, the Alpha and Omega, the Beginning and the End.

Allah? ***pfft!*** A little Johnny-Come-Lately upstart with delusions of grandeur.
Michael Oliver, the Dogwood Pundit, follows up with a notice and some advice for those Islamic Fundamentalists in his article titled "The Worlds Biggest Scandal, Treatment Of Women In The Third World".
The emancipation of women, in all ways, is the greatest achievement of the West, and I believe, one of the reasons the West grew prosperous. The virtual enslavement and abuse of girls and women all but ensures that the Third World, especially in the arc that runs from the Muslim world to Sub-Saharan Africa, will remain mired in backwardness and poverty until something is done about it.
Also last week Kilo returned to the Sago Mine disaster, one of many through the years in that area of the Commonwealth. I miss mining, I truly do, but I do not miss going underground. I've always been one to throw myself completely at a project, especially at work. I'll have to take a deep look inside to see if I'm at risk of going beyond the "Golden Mean", as described by John Wesley at Pick The Brain.

Now to round out this week's Carnival, I have five more articles of note;
  • Equality Loudoun on Reason.
  • Doug, at Below the Beltway applauds BB&T's stance on Eminent Domain.
  • Leslie Carbone, who could write about beating rugs with a baseball bat and make it interesting, explains how Willis Haviland Carrier's invention has caused us so much trouble.
  • Fact of the Matter, announces the premier of "Virginia Time Travel", a new television show he's been involved with. The show will air new episodes every month on the fourth week of the month: Tuesday 600 am, Thursday 530 pm, and Friday 930 pm on Channel 10 (Cox Cable in Fairfax).
  • And finally, a blog that is quickly climbing my chart of favorites, John Maxfield's "Journal of the Common Man". Read his recent comparison between "then" and "now", and realize how true it is.
That's all Folks. Thanks so much for sticking with me this far down what has become a rather long post. Be sure to check j's notes next week for the 65th Virginia Blog Carnival.

Sunday, December 10, 2006

Just A Reminder...

Kat temporarily lost her mind and gave me hosting duties for the Virginia Blog Carnival this week.

Go back through your most recent posts, pick the one you are the most proud of and send it in. You can submit it via this submission form, click here. If you prefer to just e-mail a permalink, send it to either or you can e-mail the permalink directly to me at the e-mail address shown right over there ---> on the right. Take your time, I'll begin putting it together tonight but I'll not publish until sometime late morning tomorrow.

I'll also be poking around some of your blogs this evening to find a few "Host's Choice" submissions, so don't be surprised to see something from yourself, even if you didn't submit anything.

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

She Made It!

After several rounds of testing, both physical and mental, a couple of interviews, and a firearms proficiency test my little girl is now a Pittsylvania County Sheriff's deputy.

I told you last week of her sense of trepidation at having to pass the firearms portion of the test. Hmph, she passed that with ease. Using a Smith & Wesson Model 5906 9mm, and firing 30 rounds (the final 6 being rapid fire), she had one round outside the scoring ring.

Proud? You better believe I am. Somewhat anxious? Yes, I am that too. I know that her first assignment will be in the jail. Tonya has worked previously as a nurse at Southwestern Virginia Mental Health Institute, working primarily with those awaiting testing prior to trial. The jail environment will not be very much different.

But, even though I will occasionally worry for her safety, I know this is something she has always wanted. I am happy that she has achieved her goal.

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Virginia Blog Carnival Is Up At Cathouse Chat

For some time now I've not been very active in the Virginia Blog Community, but I'm back now and intend to carry my own weight for a while.

Kat, that wonderfully romantic lady in Pittsylvania County, is the host of this week's Virginia Blog Carnival. Go over and check it out. Many of us former Carnival regulars have been missing in action for quite some time, but Kat dug deep into her RSS reader and came up with a great Carnival, even if she did have to resort to the Draft. Let's see if we can all do better next week when Jason Kenny steps up as host. I promise to, you promise too, OK?

Now that I've been back online more I've noticed some Virginia Blogs that should be more widely recognized, such as Johnathan Maxfield's excellent Journal of the Common Man. John is an attorney somewhere in the Shenandoah Valley. I spent the before dawn hours this morning reading his entire archive and I find it to be refreshing. He'll find his way to my right side Virginia blogroll sometime today.

Another that deserves recognition is Dogwood Pundit. While not exactly new, I don't think I've properly welcomed Michael yet. So here is your welcome, Michael. I'm always excited when I see a new post from you reflected in the BNN Bulletin.

I can't leave out Rightside Virginia. Another not quite new blog, and again from the Shenandoah Valley, that deserves to be on my blog roll but isn't yet. I'll fix that later today, Steve.

Finally, I find that I've even managed to miss Conaway's return. Hmph, I knew that wouldn't last.

Monday, December 04, 2006

Bob McDonnell For Senate? Sounds Like A Great Idea To Me

One of my favorite things is this quilt, hanging proudly in my den, which was given to me by the attendees at the first annual Blogs United Conference. I point out to all who see it that it is signed by the next Governor of Virginia, I just don't know who yet. Bob McDonnell, Bill Bolling, and Leslie Byrne all signed the quilt, so I'm sure to have the next Governor's signature.

There is quite a bit of talk out in the Virginia Blog community that has caused me to wonder if the quilt has not only the next Governor's signature, but also the next Virginia Senator's as well.

There are many compelling arguments in favor of that happening, and I agree completely with most of them. I'm speaking of course, about the speculation (hopes? wishes?) that Bob McDonnell will run for a vacant John Warner seat in 2008.

Besides, it will also add just a little more panache to my already great quilt.

Check out the following sites for some interesting thoughts on the idea;

BOS Member Under Fire, Discloses Subject Of Recent (Improperly Held) Closed Session.

Jim McMillian, Board of Supervisors member in the Collinsville District of Henry County, has come under fire from Chamber of Commerce President Kim Adkins and BOS Chairman H.G. Vaughn for revealing the subject of a recent closed meeting held by the BOS.

Ms. Adkins recently sent a letter to Henry County BOS Chairman H.G. Vaughn, County Administrator Benny Summerlin, Martinsville Mayor Kimble Reynolds Jr., and City Manager Dan Collins inviting them all to an informal meeting to discuss the possibility of the City reverting to town status. It's not clear in news reports I've seen whether the invitation was intended for these four officials only, or if it extended to the entire BOS and City Council.

Shortly after recieving the letter from Ms. Adkins, Benny Summerlin suggested to Vaughn that it should be discussed by the Board of Supervisors in a closed meeting. Subsequently, Mr. McMillian disclosed the subject of that closed meeting during the course of a local cable access television show interview.

McMillian can be something of a "loose cannon", as evidenced by his recent demand for the resignation of Mr. Summerlin and his assistant Tim Hall in an unrelated incident. But, before Mr. Vaughn and Ms. Adkins go too far in their criticism of McMillian they need to stop and realize that the closed meeting he discussed was in fact an illegal meeting. There are many legitimate reasons for holding a closed meeting, but discussing an invitation from the local Chamber of Commerce to attend another closed meeting with the neighboring City Council is not one of them. Also, if the circumstances surrounding the meeting being planned by Ms. Adkins are not handled correctly it too could be in violation of Virginia's Open Meeting law.

Brad Coleman Signs With Joe Gibbs Racing

Brad Coleman, Houston native and 2006 graduate of Carlisle School in Martinsville, has signed a contract with Joe Gibbs Racing. The 18-year-old will drive in 17 of the 35 NASCAR Busch Series races during the 2007 season, sharing the No. 18 Chevrolet with Tony Stewart and Aric Almirola. This ends speculation that he would continue with the Owensboro, KY based Brewco racing.

Brad has just concluded a very successful season in the ARCA RE/MAX series, posting the highest average finishing position this year (third) by scoring eight top-fives in his nine total ARCA starts. Among those eight top-fives was his first stock car win at Kentucky Speedway in July, holding off eight-time ARCA champion Frank Kimmel during two green-white-checkered restarts. Brad ran the first of his two NASCAR Busch Series races in 2006 at Nashville Superspeedway and posted a respectable 29th-place result a mere week after graduating from Carlisle in Martinsville, Virginia. "We are excited about Brad joining our race team and what the future may hold for him," said Gibbs Racing President J.D. Gibbs. "He brings a total package approach to the sport. At a very young age, he has proven himself in a wide variety of race cars in a number of different series."

His already impressive career includes a 17th place finish in the 2005 Rolex 24 Hours at Daytona, as part of the youngest driver lineup in that series history, and open wheel experience in Formula Mazda and the NASA Fran-Am 1600 Series. Speed Network's Dave Despain has referred to him as "The prototype NASCAR young gun of the future."

Like another "Prototype NASCAR young gun" that came before him in 1992, Jeff Gordon, Coleman moved away from his hometown in order to facilitate his racing career. His move from Houston to Martinsville placed him in close proximity to Virginia International Raceway, a little known jewel of a road course just southeast of Danville, VA. (If I said it was located in Alton, VA you would think I was kidding, but I'm not.)

In an August interview with David Smith, Brad said, "I really feel like my extensive cross-training background has prepared me for any race venue. I have driven open-wheel formula cars on almost every road course in North America, Porsches and Daytona Prototypes on many different big speedways including Daytona, and stock cars at the smallest of Friday night ovals and now Superspeedways. It's all about preparation, dedication, and commitment. My family and I have made the sacrifices and paid the price. It wasn't easy leaving home at 14 to go live and train with 24 Hours of LeMans Champion and driving coach Price Cobb, but it was well worth it. I haven't just given up weekends to be successful in this sport, I have given up my childhood."

While Brad may regret giving up his childhood, he does not regret the move to Martinsville. He told David Smith, "I moved from Houston to Danville, VA to live and train with Price Cobb at Virginia International Raceway and the many short tracks in the area. After living with him for two years, I moved 30 miles down the road to Martinsville, VA so that I could finish my schooling at Carlisle School. That is the greatest high school in the world! They let me go to all of my training and races and made sure they caught me up when I returned. It was an awesome experience and I could hear the stock cars on the speedway from my apartment window. Carlisle even threw a pep-rally for my teammate Colin Braun and I before a big race. It was so cool, 500 kids and a band cheering for two 16-year-old race car drivers!"

Friday, December 01, 2006

Merry Christmas To All..

Rest gently, the soothing blues and cool white template will be back after the holidays.

I'm in a somewhat festive mood this Christmas season, and since I'm not going to be doing much decorating here at the house I decided to decorate here at the blog instead. Hey, I'm a straight, single guy with no kids in the house, I'm not expecting guests for the holidays, and I have no grand parties planned, so why go to all of the bother of decorating the interior of my home? This way I can express my creativity and hopefully provide my readers with a little Christmas Spirit with each visit for the next few weeks.

I hope you enjoy the change, and I'm wishing all of you a very happy and joyous Christmas season.