Wednesday, December 31, 2008
Now I get an email that may persuade one of the three to come to a final decision. There is a group of local leaders, led by... Never mind, the leader of the group has asked that I not reveal his name, not yet.
According to this email, and a follow-up phone call, there is a planned breakfast meeting scheduled in the coming weeks. During that breakfast meeting, (which I have learned will be at Ryan's Steak House in Martinsville), one of the three candidates will be asked to campaign against Ward.
I've also called the potential candidate named in the email. His response was one of surprise. "I'm pleased that guys like [redacted] would think enough of me to want me to run, but I have no plans right now to do so," he said. "Like you Alton, I've heard the rumors too. I know my name has been mentioned at times in rumors and innuendo about this, but that's all it is right now, rumor."
When I asked him if he would consider their request, if offered, he replied, "It's too early for me to say, I haven't even been invited to the breakfast you mentioned. But if that situation arises, I'll seriously consider their request."
More to come...
A business leader in Pittsylvania County, Don was persuaded to run by Senator Robert Hurt and former Senator Charles Hawkins. With support like that what else could Don do but win? He did. In an overwhelming manner.
Don himself could hardly be described as overwhelming. A true southern gentleman and unashamed Christian, Don is one of the finest people I know.
His first year in the General Assembly however, could be described as overwhelming. During a freshman year, a year in which most new Delegates simply learn their way from the best local parking spots to the GA building and where best to find coffee, Don was a factor from the beginning. He had a phenomenal freshman year, and I expect the upcoming session will showcase Don's easy personality and honest hard work just as well as his first.
Even if the Democrats do find someone to oppose Don, he still will have my wholehearted endorsement.
House of Delegates District 14.
Instead, it reflects a general feeling that seems to be affecting way too many GOP Unit leaders in Virginia, (and perhaps nationwide).
Recently my friend Shaun Kenney laid forth an open letter to the RPV (Republican Party of Virginia), and he hit on many a problem (or potential problem). I endorse most of the thoughts he expressed in that letter. (Letter available here in PDF form alternately, it is also available here, and here as a Word document.)
In this document, Kenney suggests that change should begin at the bottom, and work up to the statewide group, RPV. I agree.
Experimentally, unit committees should consider reorganizing along the following lines and principles:What exactly is Shaun saying here? My best interpretation is given in the headline above. Too many Units are "led" by people who have held their position for way too long. Long enough that they have developed a feeling of ownership of their Unit. Held so long they just "know" that no one else could possibly be more concerned for the good of the Party than they are.
- All unit committees must radically commit themselves to new media. That means a community blog focusing on issues pertinent to the locality in which they live, open to all the members of the committee (Democrats tend to use SoapBlox as their platform of choice; Drupal, Joomla, or even WordPress is suitable).
- Chairman is elected as the lead community organizer. As a first among equals, the chairman co-ordinates as a garden-variety chairman would.
- All districts and precincts are given a chairman. These individuals form the Executive Committee of any given unit committee, and targets the specific race (supervisor, city council, school board) under their jurisdiction.
- The idea of "district and precinct chairman" should be expanded to advocacy groups as well. This means anything from minority outreach1 to youth advocacy, from Republican Womens’ units to Young Republicans, all the way down to Republican Liberty Caucus organizations or Taxpayer Alliances within a locality. Every group with a "tribe" should have a seat at the table.
- The Executive Committee subsumes the role of Finance, Communications, and all grassroots activity. No vice chairs for finance, communications, membership, or any of the nominal. The Napoleonic dictum "Every soldier carries a marshal's baton in his pack" is the rule.
- A strong focus on driving a narrative both within the online community and in the traditional media should be imperative. Perception is reality; MSM outlets are typically hesitant to challenge a strong new media culture. Moreover, strong alternative outlets for information attached to the unit committee are essential.
- Surrender the message control. This is probably the most difficult thing for unit committees to learn, but increasing participation means a decrease in message control. Jefferson’s advice still rings true. "We are not afraid to follow truth wherever it may lead, nor to tolerate any error so long as reason is left free to combat it" is wonderfully appropriate advice. After all, are we the party of free minds, free markets, and a free society – or are we not? It is far better to be bold (fortuna audaces juvat?) than it is to remain safe… and losing.
What is being advocated at the local level is a bold, spirited return to the principles of direct action and the entrepreneurial spirit of the Republican Party, and a direction away from the top heavy role imposed by an outmoded system of unit organization.
Unfortunately, far too often, that leads to situations such as experienced last year by Tazewell County. And Augusta County, and Fluvanna County. And who knows how many that were never challenged or publicized.
Such tactics lead others in the community, others who could be strong workers for the GOP and conservative causes, to avoid the local Unit as though it were infected with a virus. When such attitudes begin to show, it could be said that Unit really has become infected with a virus. We are what people perceive us to be, I suppose. We need to work together, as individuals, as small groups, and as what Shaun describes as "tribes" in order to grow our Units.
Far too often the growth of the Unit is feared instead of encouraged. Too many people participating in a Mass Meeting means harder work getting re-elected Chairman, that cannot be tolerated.
Horse hockey! It must be tolerated. It must be encouraged. It must be worked for.
Thankfully, there will not be any change in the Henry County local Unit's Chairmanship during this critical election cycle. Perhaps that will allow Units such as ours to function as designed without any "looking over my shoulder" antics by our leaders.
In the meantime, I suggest Shaun's letter be required reading for all Unit Chairmen and other local leaders.
Here in Henry County we will have a full slate of statewide races this year. In the House of Delegates, districts 10, 14, and 16 are all on the line. Nearby we have House of Delegates district 9 in Franklin County. A little further away, but still close to our HOD districts, we have districts 5, 8, and 6.
Needless to say, all but the 10th HOD district incumbents have earned my endorsement. Danny Marshall and Don Merricks here in Henry County have my enthusiastic support. I also fully support our neighbors Charles Poindexter, Bill Carrico, Annie B. Crockett-Stark, and Morgan Griffith.
Ward Armstrong, in the 10th District, warrants a closer look. Ward and I went to school together, though I doubt he remembers it. He was the same spoilt brat then that he seems to be now in the HOD.
That sense of entitlement that you perceive when speaking to Ward? That feeling of superiority that you feel he harbors? They have been there for years. Sure, Ward really is an intelligent guy. He's probably more intelligent than you. You instinctively know it. He knows it. And he doesn't mind knowing that you know it. And he doesn't mind that he knows that you know it. In fact, he thrives on knowing that you know it. The only thing that could ever possibly bother him is thinking that you don't know it.
Ward openly considers himself the reincarnation of his political mentor, A.L. Philpott. Ward's greatest ambition is to be Speaker of the House. He cares little about Henry, Patrick, or Carroll County. In fact, he's been heard to openly disparage the good folks out in Carroll.
What Ward depends upon is his constituents short memory and certain habitual voters diminished mental capacity to remember that A.L. was a really conservative Democrat. I mean REALLY conservative. More conservative than the most reviled "right wing extremist" is now perceived to be. Albert L. supported the closing of entire school districts in order to maintain segregation. Albert L. supported most, if not all of the DixieCrat platform that denied the legitimacy of the Rev. Martin Luther King. Albert L. even loved himself a good cockfight, Roscoe.
Come on, Henry, Patrick, Floyd and Carroll County. This is perhaps Virginia's most conservative area. But we are not the conservatives once represented by A.L. Philpott and his ilk. Philpott did have his endearing qualities. He was important in a Virginia History kind of way. He was important for Henry County and Martinsville in many ways. He was a faithful supporter of our local industries and lifestyle. But he was no more a present day Democrat than I am. Why do we continue to vote for those that claim him as their legacy, yet are so far removed from his record and ideology? Why do we continue to vote for our homegrown pair of losers? Ward and Roscoe must go! We vote for his legacies simply because we do not know better. It's time we learned better.
Ward is dependent upon these "habitual voters". Those who go into the voting booth and see that familiar name, "Ward Armstrong", and habitually hit the lever. Or "enter" key, or whatever new technology they come up with next.
Enough for now about Ward. I'll be introducing his opponent, (there are three currently rumored to be considering), whenever one announces.
In the following days I'll be announcing my endorsements for the 2009 election cycle.
Of course I support our incumbents in the 5th, 6th, 8th, 9th, 14th, and 16th HOD districts.
Bill, Annie B., Morgan, Charles, Danny, and Don will represent our conservative principles with vigor in each and every legislative session.
I'll be going into more detail on each in the following days, along with individual articles on each of our statewide races.
Wednesday, December 24, 2008
THE GIFT OF THE MAGI
by O. Henry
One dollar and eighty-seven cents. That was all. And sixty cents of it was in pennies. Pennies saved one and two at a time by bulldozing the grocer and the vegetable man and the butcher until one's cheeks burned with the silent imputation of parsimony that such close dealing implied. Three times Della counted it. One dollar and eighty- seven cents. And the next day would be Christmas.
There was clearly nothing to do but flop down on the shabby little couch and howl. So Della did it. Which instigates the moral reflection that life is made up of sobs, sniffles, and smiles, with sniffles predominating.
While the mistress of the home is gradually subsiding from the first stage to the second, take a look at the home. A furnished flat at $8 per week. It did not exactly beggar description, but it certainly had that word on the lookout for the mendicancy squad.
In the vestibule below was a letter-box into which no letter would go, and an electric button from which no mortal finger could coax a ring. Also appertaining thereunto was a card bearing the name "Mr. James Dillingham Young."
The "Dillingham" had been flung to the breeze during a former period of prosperity when its possessor was being paid $30 per week. Now, when the income was shrunk to $20, though, they were thinking seriously of contracting to a modest and unassuming D. But whenever Mr. James Dillingham Young came home and reached his flat above he was called "Jim" and greatly hugged by Mrs. James Dillingham Young, already introduced to you as Della. Which is all very good.
Della finished her cry and attended to her cheeks with the powder rag. She stood by the window and looked out dully at a gray cat walking a gray fence in a gray backyard. Tomorrow would be Christmas Day, and she had only $1.87 with which to buy Jim a present. She had been saving every penny she could for months, with this result. Twenty dollars a week doesn't go far. Expenses had been greater than she had calculated. They always are. Only $1.87 to buy a present for Jim. Her Jim. Many a happy hour she had spent planning for something nice for him. Something fine and rare and sterling--something just a little bit near to being worthy of the honor of being owned by Jim.
There was a pier-glass between the windows of the room. Perhaps you have seen a pier-glass in an $8 flat. A very thin and very agile person may, by observing his reflection in a rapid sequence of longitudinal strips, obtain a fairly accurate conception of his looks. Della, being slender, had mastered the art.
Suddenly she whirled from the window and stood before the glass. her eyes were shining brilliantly, but her face had lost its color within twenty seconds. Rapidly she pulled down her hair and let it fall to its full length.
Now, there were two possessions of the James Dillingham Youngs in which they both took a mighty pride. One was Jim's gold watch that had been his father's and his grandfather's. The other was Della's hair. Had the queen of Sheba lived in the flat across the airshaft, Della would have let her hair hang out the window some day to dry just to depreciate Her Majesty's jewels and gifts. Had King Solomon been the janitor, with all his treasures piled up in the basement, Jim would have pulled out his watch every time he passed, just to see him pluck at his beard from envy.
So now Della's beautiful hair fell about her rippling and shining like a cascade of brown waters. It reached below her knee and made itself almost a garment for her. And then she did it up again nervously and quickly. Once she faltered for a minute and stood still while a tear or two splashed on the worn red carpet.
On went her old brown jacket; on went her old brown hat. With a whirl of skirts and with the brilliant sparkle still in her eyes, she fluttered out the door and down the stairs to the street.
Where she stopped the sign read: "Mne. Sofronie. Hair Goods of All Kinds." One flight up Della ran, and collected herself, panting. Madame, large, too white, chilly, hardly looked the "Sofronie."
"Will you buy my hair?" asked Della.
"I buy hair," said Madame. "Take yer hat off and let's have a sight at the looks of it."
Down rippled the brown cascade.
"Twenty dollars," said Madame, lifting the mass with a practised hand.
"Give it to me quick," said Della.
Oh, and the next two hours tripped by on rosy wings. Forget the hashed metaphor. She was ransacking the stores for Jim's present.
She found it at last. It surely had been made for Jim and no one else. There was no other like it in any of the stores, and she had turned all of them inside out. It was a platinum fob chain simple and chaste in design, properly proclaiming its value by substance alone and not by meretricious ornamentation--as all good things should do. It was even worthy of The Watch. As soon as she saw it she knew that it must be Jim's. It was like him. Quietness and value--the description applied to both. Twenty-one dollars they took from her for it, and she hurried home with the 87 cents. With that chain on his watch Jim might be properly anxious about the time in any company. Grand as the watch was, he sometimes looked at it on the sly on account of the old leather strap that he used in place of a chain.
When Della reached home her intoxication gave way a little to prudence and reason. She got out her curling irons and lighted the gas and went to work repairing the ravages made by generosity added to love. Which is always a tremendous task, dear friends--a mammoth task.
Within forty minutes her head was covered with tiny, close-lying curls that made her look wonderfully like a truant schoolboy. She looked at her reflection in the mirror long, carefully, and critically.
"If Jim doesn't kill me," she said to herself, "before he takes a second look at me, he'll say I look like a Coney Island chorus girl. But what could I do--oh! what could I do with a dollar and eighty- seven cents?"
At 7 o'clock the coffee was made and the frying-pan was on the back of the stove hot and ready to cook the chops.
Jim was never late. Della doubled the fob chain in her hand and sat on the corner of the table near the door that he always entered. Then she heard his step on the stair away down on the first flight, and she turned white for just a moment. She had a habit for saying little silent prayer about the simplest everyday things, and now she whispered: "Please God, make him think I am still pretty."
The door opened and Jim stepped in and closed it. He looked thin and very serious. Poor fellow, he was only twenty-two--and to be burdened with a family! He needed a new overcoat and he was without gloves.
Jim stopped inside the door, as immovable as a setter at the scent of quail. His eyes were fixed upon Della, and there was an expression in them that she could not read, and it terrified her. It was not anger, nor surprise, nor disapproval, nor horror, nor any of the sentiments that she had been prepared for. He simply stared at her fixedly with that peculiar expression on his face.
Della wriggled off the table and went for him.
"Jim, darling," she cried, "don't look at me that way. I had my hair cut off and sold because I couldn't have lived through Christmas without giving you a present. It'll grow out again--you won't mind, will you? I just had to do it. My hair grows awfully fast. Say `Merry Christmas!' Jim, and let's be happy. You don't know what a nice-- what a beautiful, nice gift I've got for you."
"You've cut off your hair?" asked Jim, laboriously, as if he had not arrived at that patent fact yet even after the hardest mental labor.
"Cut it off and sold it," said Della. "Don't you like me just as well, anyhow? I'm me without my hair, ain't I?"
Jim looked about the room curiously.
"You say your hair is gone?" he said, with an air almost of idiocy.
"You needn't look for it," said Della. "It's sold, I tell you--sold and gone, too. It's Christmas Eve, boy. Be good to me, for it went for you. Maybe the hairs of my head were numbered," she went on with sudden serious sweetness, "but nobody could ever count my love for you. Shall I put the chops on, Jim?"
Out of his trance Jim seemed quickly to wake. He enfolded his Della. For ten seconds let us regard with discreet scrutiny some inconsequential object in the other direction. Eight dollars a week or a million a year--what is the difference? A mathematician or a wit would give you the wrong answer. The magi brought valuable gifts, but that was not among them. This dark assertion will be illuminated later on.
Jim drew a package from his overcoat pocket and threw it upon the table.
"Don't make any mistake, Dell," he said, "about me. I don't think there's anything in the way of a haircut or a shave or a shampoo that could make me like my girl any less. But if you'll unwrap that package you may see why you had me going a while at first."
White fingers and nimble tore at the string and paper. And then an ecstatic scream of joy; and then, alas! a quick feminine change to hysterical tears and wails, necessitating the immediate employment of all the comforting powers of the lord of the flat.
For there lay The Combs--the set of combs, side and back, that Della had worshipped long in a Broadway window. Beautiful combs, pure tortoise shell, with jewelled rims--just the shade to wear in the beautiful vanished hair. They were expensive combs, she knew, and her heart had simply craved and yearned over them without the least hope of possession. And now, they were hers, but the tresses that should have adorned the coveted adornments were gone.
But she hugged them to her bosom, and at length she was able to look up with dim eyes and a smile and say: "My hair grows so fast, Jim!"
And then Della leaped up like a little singed cat and cried, "Oh, oh!"
Jim had not yet seen his beautiful present. She held it out to him eagerly upon her open palm. The dull precious metal seemed to flash with a reflection of her bright and ardent spirit.
"Isn't it a dandy, Jim? I hunted all over town to find it. You'll have to look at the time a hundred times a day now. Give me your watch. I want to see how it looks on it."
Instead of obeying, Jim tumbled down on the couch and put his hands under the back of his head and smiled.
"Dell," said he, "let's put our Christmas presents away and keep 'em a while. They're too nice to use just at present. I sold the watch to get the money to buy your combs. And now suppose you put the chops on."
The magi, as you know, were wise men--wonderfully wise men--who brought gifts to the Babe in the manger. They invented the art of giving Christmas presents. Being wise, their gifts were no doubt wise ones, possibly bearing the privilege of exchange in case of duplication. And here I have lamely related to you the uneventful chronicle of two foolish children in a flat who most unwisely sacrificed for each other the greatest treasures of their house. But in a last word to the wise of these days let it be said that of all who give gifts these two were the wisest. Of all who give and receive gifts, such as they are wisest. Everywhere they are wisest. They are the magi.
It's really tough work sorting through the entries, deciding which goes where, which belong together, and which should be highlighted, then writing a short introduction for each link. Who does it better than Kat? No one.
Mash your mouse here to get a Christmas Eve's worth of Christmas Spirit.
Thanks Kat, for all you do.
I'm a patient guy, so when Blogrolling went belly-up a few months ago I was not too disturbed. I'm through being patient.
When I created the ODBA widget I also created one for our friends at the Jeffersoniad. I hope you guys will use and enjoy it.
Tuesday, December 23, 2008
Again, I present the words of Luke, as he describes the reason for our annual celebration.
1 And it came to pass in those days, that there went out a decree from Caesar Augustus that all the world should be taxed.
2 (And this taxing was first made when Cyrenius was governor of Syria.)
3 And all went to be taxed, every one into his own city.
4 And Joseph also went up from Galilee, out of the city of Nazareth, into Judaea, unto the city of David, which is called Bethlehem; (because he was of the house and lineage of David:)
5 To be taxed with Mary his espoused wife, being great with child.
6 And so it was, that, while they were there, the days were accomplished that she should be delivered.
7 And she brought forth her firstborn son, and wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger; because there was no room for them in the inn.
8 And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night.
9 And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid.
10 And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people.
11 For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord.
12 And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger.
13 And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying,
14 Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.
Saturday, December 20, 2008
If you answered "yes" to each of the above questions I have the offer you have been looking for.
Submit a sample of your best conservative writing to either of the email links on my right sidebar and you may become a valued contributor to this website.
Friday, December 19, 2008
This one was devious. It prevented any connection with any of my anti-virus software websites for updates, it prevented most anti-virus software from even running, it kept popping up Internet Explorer (which I never use) windows. It pretty much had me dead in the water.
I've managed to remove most of this infection manually, but vestiges of the virus remain. Anyway, I'm back online now and working more or less normally.
Ironically, it was a Facebook connection that steered me toward the RPV Network. I'm glad I followed that link down the rabbit hole. Go by the RPV Network and join up if you are a Republican and proud of it.
Then request a friend to join as well.
"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!
The video I had here originally was pulled by YouTube, this one, while not quite as good, is the best I could find.
Sunday, December 07, 2008
A little housekeeping first.
I've been lax. Very lax. But only where this page is concerned. Otherwise I've been quite busy lately.
Those of you who do not speak with me often by phone do not know that I have recently begun teaching at a small private school here in Henry County. Imagine that. Me, actually teaching young heads full of mush.
In my somewhat colorful life I've thoroughly enjoyed three quite different careers. I began my working life, after the typical youthful endeavors at Dairy Queen and a couple of retail jobs, as a long-distance trucker. The open road, a Jack Kerouac type of lifestyle, and small towns and large cities all over America was a highly educational experience for me. And a devastating influence on a young marriage. I came home one weekend to discover that my sole possessions were a rocking chair and a telephone. (Centel owned the phones at that time, so I suppose all I really owned was that rocking chair.) She even took my clothes.
Soon enough I met the one who was to become my second wife, a beautiful petite lady with an incredible trained singing voice with whom I fell deeply in love. Karen was from Nelson County, Piney River to be precise, and a graduate of James Madison University where she majored in voice and was the recently divorced choral director at a local high school when she moved into the apartment across the hall from me in Collinsville. I remember thinking on that first day, while I helped some guy move her piano from a truck to her new living space, that she looked great in a pair of tight jeans. Yes, I remember them well. Some sort of short-pile velvet or velour that was in fashion in 1980, not plain old denim. And a deep purple. Not the ordinary blue. There was nothing ordinary about her.
A year or so later we were married and moved to Florida. Bradenton is, (or was then), a small town south of Tampa on the west coast of Florida, just north of Sarasota. We called it home. I soon began my second career as a pool contractor. I designed and built swimming pools for the rich, famous, and regular-old citizens of southwest Florida. (Side note: among my customers was Greg Allman, Dik Browne, John D. McDonald, and Lucille Ball. Two of those you may have to Google. If you do you might notice that I may have soaked up some influence from one or two of them during our frequent beer or whiskey-fueled pool-side chats. No, I never had a "pool-side chat" with Ms. Ball. She was famous, but not very friendly.)
It was in Florida, during the Reagan campaign, that I first became politically active. I had always been a political thinker, but there I began actually working on political campaigns and working on civic projects.
I had a very lucrative contract with the City of Bradenton to install all of their playground equipment at parks and such which gave me access to the entire City Council, the Mayor, and at times, Governor Bob Graham. Mr. Graham was one of a very short list of Democratic politicians I have truly liked and enjoyed the company of. I became active in the local Republican Party, and was even asked to run for elected office. A request I constantly declined.
I have a tendency to screw up my life when it’s going particularly well, and my time in Bradenton and my second marriage presented just such an opportunity.
A not remarkably pretty, but very sexy, customer invited me to violate my marriage vows. I accepted the invitation. Repeatedly. She loved the music of Jimmy Buffett. I loved sex. I got caught. End of marriage. I hardly ever listen to Jimmy Buffett anymore. I broke Karen’s heart. I still kick myself. I miss Karen.
Life goes on.
Things eventually began to shake out, I found myself entering my third career. I became a field engineer for a tiny little division of Eaton Corp, Eaton-Kenway. Based in Salt Lake City, Kenway was the manufacturer of industrial automated material handling systems. A fancy way of saying industrial robots. My experience designing and building my own electrical controls for my customer's highly automated custom pools was the doorway that I was able to use to gain access to this new career.
As a "field engineer" at Kenway I was one of a group of guys who took the ideas and designs of the "real engineers" in that big glass building in Salt Lake City and made them work in the real world. Electrical one day, mechanical the next, there were always bugs that had to be worked out once the ideas were actually implemented. I loved the challenge, and I was always able to eventually make the big yellow machines do whatever task they were designed to do.
I spent the next fifteen years as an itinerant bachelor engineer, specializing in electrical engineering, first at Kenway, then in the coalfields of southwestern Virginia, eastern Kentucky, and southern West Virginia.
In 2001 I met the third Mrs. Alton B. Foley. The former Shelia R. Tester was another recent divorcee. Do I notice a pattern here? She had recently moved back to Hurley, VA from Daytona after a rather difficult second marriage.
Shelia and I were married in early 2001, and I became an immediate father to a couple of great step-children, Dana, an 8 year old girl and Jake, a 12 year old boy. (Way back at the beginning of this story my own daughter was born, now 33 year-old Tonya.)
This was an entirely new experience for me. Never before had I showered each morning with a redhead, a brunette, and two blondes. Along with an 8 year-old step daughter come Barbies and Barbie buddies everywhere, even in the tub.
I never had a chance to screw this one up. One day in 2005, during our ritual after work coffee-cigarette-and-more-coffee on the carport, Shelia informed me that she no longer wanted to be married. At least not to me.
Life goes on.
I moved to Richlands,VA, switched over to mechanical engineering, still in the coal industry, and tried to enjoy life. I couldn’t.
Later that year I moved back to Henry County and found employment as an electrical engineer, (ahh, familiarity), and plant engineer in Stuart, VA.
That job ended about a year ago. Here in economically depressed Henry County, with my skill set and lack of an honest degree, I may as well be a deep sea diver for all the employment opportunities that are present.
I was recently asked to teach in this small private school. I fit the position and it fits me. I’m as happy as I’ve ever been, and this job is a real blast. Welcome career number four.
I am now living at the former home of Virginia's governor from 1954 to 1958, Thomas B. Stanley. Now owned by an attorney in New Jersey, I am the caretaker of the estate. I am writing this from a room on the second floor that was probably some sort of sitting room when Gov. Stanley lived here, it's now my office. Future articles here will describe the estate and provide pictures.
I’m still a bachelor, though. I do miss being married. And no, this is not a veiled plea for a wife in any manner, shape, or form. Mrs. Foley number four, if she exists, will present herself in due time.
Sunday, November 02, 2008
Wednesday, October 29, 2008
Thank you for the opportunity to speak before this commission this morning. I am Jeff Evans, formerly a member of the Carroll County Board of Supervisors and now a resident of Henry County and a lifelong customer of AEP.
I’m sure we’ve all heard the old saying; "Poor planning on your part does not necessarily constitute a crisis on my part". Might I suggest that is exactly what we are facing in this hearing?
I have a friend in Henry County, Denton Boardwine. Denton operates a small restaurant in our economically distressed county. If my friend were to place a sign on his front door stating his intention of raising prices by 10% because he plans to build a new restaurant in the coming year he would be laughed out of business. As he should be. Bear in mind that Mr. Boardwine’s hypothetical price increase is less than half of what AEP is now asking.
AEP is justifiably proud of its record of many, many consecutive years of dividend payments to its stockholders. Few private companies can boast of such a record. The reason is simple. Other companies must plan and budget for future capital improvements using funds from their profits or loans against future profits. I know of no other business that can simply raise prices in order to fund future capital improvements regardless of the current economic situation.
No. All other businesses fund future expansion of facilities by saving or loans against future profits. This sometimes means there will be no dividends for stockholders in a given year. Or at best, smaller dividend payments.
No, I do not believe in a free lunch. Of course, in all cases the customer does indeed pay for capital improvements, for there is truly no other source for such funds. These payments come from the customer through any profits that may be accrued by the company. This request from AEP runs completely counter to normal business practice. Here, the customer is essentially being asked to pay twice. We have already provided AEP with a handsome operating profit, as AEP itself boasts when they repeat that they have continuously paid their owners dividends, yet AEP now expects us to provide further funds for capital improvements. Improvements that other businesses must, in one way or another, use a portion of their profits for.
It is this fact that should give us pause today. Poor economic planning by AEP, the enabling of such redistribution of wealth by past SCC rulings and regulations passed by the Virginia General Assembly, should not be used now as an excuse to create a financial crisis for the economically distressed Southwestern Virginians who are its customers. The owners, otherwise known as stockholders, of any other business would be required by economic reality to plan for such expansion through savings, loans, good budget practices, or all three. I am asking you, the State Corporation Commission, to refuse to reward poor economic planning by forcing Southwestern Virginians to bend or break their own budgets in order to mend the budget of American Electric Power.
I also challenge the upcoming General Assembly to put an end to this practice.
Saturday, September 20, 2008
- In 1881, Chester A. Arthur was sworn in as the 21st president of the United States, succeeding James A. Garfield, who had been assassinated.
- In 1961, shortly after his election as president, John F. Kennedy announced that he was determined to win the "space race" with the Soviets.
- In 1973, Singer-songwriter Jim Croce, 30, died in a plane crash in Louisiana.
- In 1975, David Bowie scores his first No. 1 hit with "Fame," from his album Young Americans.
- In 1998, After playing in a record 2,632 consecutive games over 16 seasons, Cal Ripken Jr. of the Baltimore Orioles sat out a game against the New York Yankees.
- In 1878, Upton Sinclair, Pulitzer Prize-winning writer and reformer.
- In 1934, Actress Sophia Loren.
- And long, long ago, somewhere far, far away. Virginia blogger Norman Leahy was born.
Thursday, September 18, 2008
Jim Bacon is gone. No, he's not dead, (well, I haven't actually checked today, but I don't think so anyway), he's just leaving the e-zine that he began over six years ago. He leaves us with the idea that Bacon's Rebellion will continue. I for one certainly hope so. [LINK]
You see, Bacon's Rebellion had a rather large role to play in my life over the past few years. Not a starring role, mind you. Rather more like a very good character actor. The one whose name you can never quite remember, but whose on screen presence you can never forget.
I'm Not Emeril is now three years old. Quite ancient for a blog. Most tend to whither away within a year or so. This is not Virginia's oldest blog, but with Jim's departure, I may well be Virginia's oldest blogger. At 52 I'm not a geezer, but I'm not as young as most bloggers either.
I began this adventure in September of 2005, after being an avid reader of both Commonwealth Conservative, (Chad Dotson's site, since closed), and Bacon's Rebellion. The common thread between the two was Will Vehrs. I came to "know" Will through his writing on both blogs.
Like most people in Virginia I thought Will was treated way too harshly for his comments on Commonwealth Conservative's weekly caption contest. (If you are unaware of this episode in Virginia's blogging history, I'm sorry. Most of the archival accounts of the story are now gone. A very one-sided account can be found in the Martinsville Bulletin's archive files. Just search for his name.) Suffice it to say Will's excellent sense of humor and irony ruffled some self-important hackles and, being a state employee, he was severely punished for exercising his 1st Amendment rights*. It didn't help that some of the hackles ruffled belonged to two of Martinsville's most self-absorbed roosters, Ward Armstrong and Roscoe Reynolds. Each of whom had the Governor's ear.
At that time I was still very much a baby blogger. I'm Not Emeril was about 8 months old, and I had only been reading Virginia blogs for about a year. I knew no Virginia bloggers personally, certainly not Will, but like most others in the Virginia blog community I thought he was treated shabbily by the Commonwealth.
It was truly a blog community at that time. Sure, Virginia bloggers were partisan, very much so, but they were civil. I had discovered friends, on both sides of the political spectrum, via the gateway that was Bacon's Rebellion and Commonwealth Conservative. Some of those friends suggested that an upcoming blog conference at UVA be re-directed to address the issues raised by Will's experience. Many suggested that the conference even be moved from Charlottesville to Martinsville as a means of underscoring the issue. I agreed. I offered to do whatever I could to help facilitate that move.
When the organizer(s) of the UVA conference decided it was not worth the effort, someone, (Ben Tribbett, I think), suggested that Virginia's blogs should unite in Martinsville anyway, at a separate conference if need be. I think he even suggested that I chair it.
I did. Blogs United was held here in Martinsville during a beautiful August weekend in 2006.
It was not easy. Sure, parts of the planning and arrangements were simple. Made even more so by the wonderful support team that fell into place. Barnie Day, (another Bacon's Rebellion contributor), graciously agreed to host the affair. His bank even kicked in the lion's share of sponsorship funds. Anne Boothe and Mary Rives Brown were put into contact with me by Will Vehrs. These two beautiful ladies proved to be the rocks upon which I stood to keep my head barely above water. (How's that for a metaphor mix?) They remain dear friends to this day.
Back to the story now. As I was saying, Virginia's bloggers were somehow different back then. Democrats and Republicans alike joined together to make Blogs United a very grand affair. We enjoyed each others company. We held spirited debates, fueled largely by spirits. We kidded and joked with each other. We were friends. Just friends. Politics came second.
Sure, there were a couple of moments. One table refused to stand for the Lt. Governor. One progressive blogger refused to attend, saying, "It's our job to defeat them, not to make conversation with them", or something very much like that. On the whole, however, it was great.
I still have that kind of friendship with a couple of Democrat bloggers. Vivian Paige. Brian Patton. If they had continued to blog I think I would still maintain connection to Paul Anderson and a few others. Reasonable people all. I once even enjoyed a fine cigar and the company of Josh Chernila.
No. Now it's all too personal. It's too easy to call names from behind the false anonymity provided by a keyboard and computer monitor.
It's not only on their side, but my side as well. We have come to place politics above civility. Winning above ethics. It's our job to defeat them, not to make conversation with them. Or something like that.
Sadly, I now believe Vivian was correct when she predicted during the 2007 Blogs United that it would be our last. Our last united as bloggers, regardless of party affiliation, that is.
Now we see cruel and demeaning references to a Down's Syndrome child, (a child I know once described a Down's Syndrome child as being "just too nice to be normal"). We see John McCain being described as senile. We see our president compared to a chimp. We see nasty remarks about Nancy Pelosi's face-lifts. We see Hillary's ankles. Or her temper. And Obama's wife. We see anti-Semitic fliers distributed during a primary campaign. We see normal, everyday Virginians falsely linked to a despicable pedophilia group. By bloggers.
We see these things every day. Things which exceed Will Vehrs' simple, funny caption remarks by unknown bounds. Yet no one says anything.
I guess I just did.
Goodnight Chad. Goodnight Will. Goodnight Jim Bacon.
Jim tells us, via comment below, that he's not gone completely. He's simply giving up the extraordinary grind involved in producing a bi-weekly electronic magazine. He's still very much alive on the blog side of Bacon's Rebellion.
*The good news is, Will was eventually completely exonerated. He is once again a happy, productive state employee. A happy, productive state employee who no longer blogs. Or comments on caption contests.
Thanks Barnie. You always seem to know when my well has run dry.The Answer To Our Prayers
TO: House and Senate Leadership, Governor Tim Kaine
FROM: A humble servant
RE: Miracle Commission / Mustard Seed Task Force
Gentlemen, as we slouch with heavy dread toward another appointment with that destiny that is surely ours—the 2009 session of the Virginia General Assembly—it has been laid on my heart to suggest to you a move that could lighten, even dissipate, the heavy burden of problems that vex us. Virginia’s always been in the lead on most things—no reason we can’t be first with this: appoint a Miracle Commission.
I know you’re thinking; “Now why didn’t I think of that?”
I don't know why you didn’t—you’ve appointed them for everything else under the sun—but fret not, that’s what humble servants are for.
What could it hurt?
Why shouldn’t transportation be a faith-based initiative? Nothing else seems to work.
Jesus said, “Take up thy bed and walk.” At the rate you’re going, that’s going to be our only option if something doesn’t change.
If multitudes can be fed with a few loaves and fishes, surely we might pass out a few chunks of asphalt and see what happens.
Lay down your burdens—appoint a Miracle Commission.
Faltering state economy? No sweat. Can’t agree on judges (or anything else, it seems)? Piece of cake. The uninsured? Easy. Chronic school funding shortages? Not a problem. Our vast mental health needs? Peach pie.
You could dump all of these aggravations into the Miracle Commission, and have room to spare!
And Governor, bless your heart, don’t think for a minute that I’m forgetting you. Nossir. I know you were bummed out by the way that VP gig panned out—we all were. But there is still time to come up with a legacy.
This is where the Mustard Seed Task Force comes in. It’ll be an executive committee, sort of a parallel tracking thing that will allow you to guide and mentor the Miracle Commission by
“laying on hands”—if you know what I mean.
And there is a corollary benefit to this one: The Mustard Seed Task Force will give your senior advisors something to do. I know they must get in the way on slow days. Hey, look at it from their perspective. Make-work gets tiresome. It’s hard to look busy day in and day out. You can
only read the “Help Wanteds” so many times without gagging.
Lame-ducking ain’t fun—for nobody. But it could be—with the Miracle Commission and the Mustard Seed Task Force. You could go out in a blaze of glory!
I hear the budget is coming up a little short. Miracle and Mustard Seed could help on that.
Once they solve transportation and all that other stuff, they could regulate and license faith healers.
I looked around. They’re making big dough on everything from “distance” healing, using 1-900
phone numbers, to evened-up leg lengths, to folks made to see through glass eyes, to gout, corns, heart attacks, unsightly birthmarks, smelly feet, various and sundry “fevers,” and “demons on the heart.”
(Brings to mind an old-timer in Carroll County who told me once about his brother, who drank so much that “roaches on the liver” finally killed him. But that’s another story.)
Some of these jokers have pretty good businesses on the side selling relics. The Miracle Commission could decide whether we ought to tax stuff like that.
I didn’t know you could buy the actual nails that held Jesus to the cross on eBay. Did you? (I don’t know what they’ll bring. I didn’t bid.)
Gentlemen, I believe in miracles. I think most of us do. It’s high time we unshackled this power and turned it loose on state government.
Appoint a Miracle Commission. And don’t forget the Mustard Seed Task Force.
*Barnie Day was a Democratic delegate from Patrick County from 1997 through the 2001 session. A graduate of UNC-Chapel Hill and Duke and now a Virginia banker, he currently lives in the wilds of Meadows of Dan where he enjoys an occasional cigar, The New Yorker, low-stakes cards, Jack Daniels, and Andy Griffith re-runs. You can find a couple of archives of his writing here and here.
Monday, September 08, 2008
Think about it for a moment. If you had the power to control anything you desired, what would it be? What would you choose to control if you wanted to exercise maximum influence over your community or your state?
Pause while the theme music from "Jeopardy" plays softly in the background...
Did you choose the power to control how money is spent in your community or state? Hah! Pitifully small thinking on your part, for the power I would choose could trump that easily.
Or perhaps you chose the power to determine who wins which election. Again, you're thinking way too small.
Martinsville is like many small towns, and it's surrounded by Henry County, a not very heavily populated county. Many here think that everything is controlled by some cabal of "local leaders" who conspire to hold growth in check. That thought has been prevalent here from the days of A.L.Philpott, who did work to preserve the low cost of employees for the local businesses. Bassett, Stanley, Hooker, and American Furniture all depended upon that low cost of labor, as did the several textile companies that began as small locally owned concerns. That low labor cost would surely have risen sharply should a larger national manufacturing company locate here.
The local politicians did their duty, they protected the home-grown industry and we were all happy. More or less.
A.L. and Dan Daniel are gone now, yet there is still a force here in Martinsville that wields all (or most) of the power.
Have you guessed what power I'm speaking of yet? It's pretty simple, really. It's a power that most of us complain about on a fairly regular basis, whether we be conservative or liberal.
The power to control information is the most powerful control anyone can have over a community. Here in Martinsville and Henry County that power is held in the hands of two or three people. The private owners of the only area newspaper. If those few people decide that a subject will not be given coverage in the Martinsville Bulletin, then it does not appear there. If they decide that coverage of an event or story should go one way or the other, that is the way it will slant. Period.
Sure, we have the Roanoke Times, but it is not widely read by the average local resident, the Richmond Times Dispatch even less so. We also have a handful of local radio stations, but I dare say they receive even less attention than the Roanoke Times. Then there are the TV stations. (Full disclosure, I have been known to host or co-host a show on occasion at one of these stations.) Two of the local TV stations have extremely small audiences, the third has a much wider audience, but is only now beginning to overcome a reputation earned years ago in the days of some really bad journalism.
In the final analysis, it's the Martinsville Bulletin that most people here turn to for their daily information. Information that is meted out in a manner decided upon by only a few.
Sunday, September 07, 2008
Immediately after the speech I called badrose, and her opening statement was somewhat similar to what she wrote on the badrose blog. I too noticed a real similarity to Margret Thatcher, but there was more. Something else I could not quite put my finger on. Ronald Reagan's son finally led me to the realization. I now know what I was feeling after Mrs. Palin's groundbreaking speech. (I don't often quote complete articles here, but this one by Michael Reagan cannot be broken into a simple blockquote.)
I've been trying to convince my fellow conservatives that they have been wasting their time in a fruitless quest for a new Ronald Reagan to emerge and lead our party and our nation. I insisted that we'd never see his like again because he was one of a kind.Yes, indeed. Welcome back Ronnie!
I was wrong!
Wednesday night I watched the Republican National Convention on television and there, before my very eyes, I saw my Dad reborn; only this time he's a she.
And what a she!
In one blockbuster of a speech, Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin resurrected my Dad's indomitable spirit and sent it soaring above the convention center, shooting shock waves through the cynical media's assigned spaces and electrifying the huge audience with the kind of inspiring rhetoric we haven't heard since my Dad left the scene.
This was Ronald Reagan at his best -- the same Ronald Reagan who made the address known now solely as "The Speech," which during the Goldwater campaign set the tone and the agenda for the rebirth of the traditional conservative movement that later sent him to the White House for eight years and revived the moribund GOP.
Last night was an extraordinary event. Widely seen beforehand as a make-or-break effort -- either an opportunity for Sarah Palin to show that she was the happy warrior that John McCain assured us she was, or a disaster that would dash McCain's presidential hopes and send her back to Alaska, sadder but wiser.
Obviously un-intimidated by either the savage onslaught to which the left-leaning media had subjected her, or the incredible challenge she faced -- and oozing with confidence -- she strode defiantly to the podium and proved she was everything and even more than John McCain told us.
Much has been made of the fact that she is a woman. What we saw last night, however, was something much more than a just a woman accomplishing something no Republican woman has ever achieved. What we saw was a red-blooded American with that rare, God-given ability to rally her dispirited fellow Republicans and take up the daunting task of leading them -- and all her fellow Americans -- on a pilgrimage to that shining city on the hill my father envisioned as our nation's real destination.
In a few words she managed to rip the mask from the faces of her Democratic rivals and reveal them for what they are -- a pair of old-fashioned liberals making promises that cannot be kept without bankrupting the nation and reducing most Americans to the status of mendicants begging for their daily bread at the feet of an all-powerful government.
Most important, by comparing her own stunning record of achievement with his, she showed Barack Obama for the sham that he is, a man without any solid accomplishments beyond conspicuous self-aggrandizement.
Like Ronald Reagan, Sarah Palin is one of us. She knows how most of us live because that's the way she lives. She shares our homespun values and our beliefs, and she glories in her status as a small-town woman who put her shoulder to the wheel and made life better for her neighbors.
Her astonishing rise up from the grass-roots, her total lack of self-importance, and her ordinary American values and modest lifestyle reveal her to be the kind of hard-working, optimistic, ordinary American who made this country the greatest, most powerful nation on the face of the earth.
As hard as you might try, you won't find that kind of plain-spoken, down-to-earth, self-reliant American in the upper ranks of the liberal-infested, elitist Democratic Party, or in the Obama campaign.
Sarah Palin didn't go to Harvard, or fiddle around in urban neighborhood leftist activism while engaging in opportunism within the ranks of one of the nation's most corrupt political machines, never challenging it and going along to get along, like Barack Obama.
Instead she took on the corrupt establishment in Alaska and beat it, rising to the governorship while bringing reforms to every level of government she served in on her way up the ladder.
Welcome back, Dad, even if you're wearing a dress and bearing children this time around.
Saturday, September 06, 2008
If I write anything here that offends you, please use the comment feature to let me know. I may want to offend you again, so your help in that regard will most certainly be appreciated.Anyway, FGO asked if he could use that line on his blog. After loooking over the BNN feed for Oklahoma, I decided FGO needed to use that line.
Fried Green Onions, this one's for you. And to those here and elsewhere who want to know a bit more about you, I leave them with your comparable sidebar quote;
mispelings and poorly written ad hominem attacks are a signature technique here on this here blog cause even tho we be real smart we are undergovernmenteducated left handed hicks from back in the ArbucklesAin't blogging fun?
Oh, and by the way FGO, look for a new link on my blogroll for Fried Green Onions, coming soon.
It seems that, since I exposed him here on these pages, Lloyd has been much more diligent about citing his sources. That is a good thing. I'm proud of you Lloyd, you were on your way to being a legitimate Virginia blogger.
What? I said "were on your way..."? Yes, that was not a typo.
Lloyd, it seems is completely infatuated with Wikipedia. Let's set aside for the moment that Wikipedia is hopelessly biased toward the left. Even Stephen Colbert and The Onion have mocked its obvious leftist bias, and the facts are well known that the site's top administrators have conspired to limit input. No, we'll let those accusations ride for now.
What Lloyd has done now is even sillier than plagiarizing Wikipedia. In his post that purports to prove that the term "anchor babies" is racially derogatory, he cites a Wikipedia entry to support his argument. What he does not tell you is that the Wikipedia entry, even in the extreme liberal world of Wikipedia, carries a header telling its readers that "The neutrality of this article is disputed" and "The factual accuracy of this article is disputed."
But wait! There's an even better angle here. The portion of that disputed article that Lloyd links to is authored by.... cvillelaw.
Now tell me, how can anyone, anywhere, ever again trust anything Lloyd writes?
Thursday, September 04, 2008
Twenty years after Ronald Reagan left office, Republicans who have long missed him may have found a future Margaret Thatcher. If John McCain wins, conservatives may find one of the most enduring accomplishments of his term will have been what he did before it started: helping to fill the Republican Party's future talent bench with such a fresh and compelling figure. [LINK]
Wednesday, September 03, 2008
We believe that all fair-minded journalists were as shocked by some of the coverage as we were, and in that vein, we encourage you to republish and redistribute the cartoon. There are no royalties or restrictions involved.
Clearly, the attacks against Mrs. Palin and her family have gone far beyond the pale, and have no place in a mature discussion about the direction America is going in this year.
ALG News Bureau
Let's start with the way the event was billed. A quote from the Martinsville Bulletin sums it up nicely.
Obama will meet with local workers and families “who have been impacted by the failed trade policies of the Bush administration,” a release from his campaign Saturday stated.Most, if not all, of the job losses in Martinsville and Henry County stem from NAFTA, a Bill Clinton legacy, not a Bush policy. As I said in my previous piece, Obama's tax policies will only exacerbate the problem, not help alleviate it.
“Look at communities across Virginia and it is hard to see another one that has been as dramatically impacted” by economic problems, said Kevin Griffis, a spokesperson for Obama’s campaign in the state.
Obama will hold a town hall-type meeting with displaced workers and their families. The meeting’s location will not be released publicly because attendance will be by invitation only, Griffis said.
He said community leaders and local Obama campaign officials will identify people who will be invited to the meeting.
Probably the single most salient point to consider is that NAFTA made it more economical for business to flee the high corporate tax rates currently imposed on America's job engine, business.
What will a President Obama do to stop the flow of jobs offshore? He has told us. He will increase corporate tax rates. He'll punish those greedy suckers for making money here in America and redistribute that money to those less fortunate. He fails to remind you though that America's corporate tax rate of 35% is already second highest of all industrialized countries. Increase it another notch and just watch the jobs flee offshore.
Who pays corporate taxes? We all do. Corporate taxes are a cost of doing business, just like the light and phone bill and the cost of labor. Those costs are incorporated into the cost of every product. So unless you buy groceries, or clothes, or cars, or furniture, or are an employee, you do not contribute to the payment of those corporate taxes.
John McCain has a plan though that will increase employment. A plan that may bring some of those jobs back to our shores. A plan that makes sense, rather than makes "feel good".
First, let's look at McCain's plan to create jobs, or bring old ones back. He'll reduce that onerous corporate tax rate -- the one we all pay, remember? -- to a rate that is more competitive in the world marketplace. A rate that will encourage businesses to stay here, or others to come back. He will also work against higher tax rates on small business income. Income that is currently taxed at an individual rate. The result will be an expansion of small businesses, America's real jobs engine.
For those jobs that stay here, or new jobs created, he also has a plan that will increase real wages. McCain's plan calls for incentives designed to increase productivity. Higher productivity equals higher wages. He will make it easier and more advantageous to develop and apply new technology by expanding the existing tax credit for research and development, and make it permanent.
Finally, in direct opposition to Obama, McCain will stimulate saving by keeping tax rates low on earnings from saving in the form of dividends and capital gains. More savings also equals more investment in business and an increase in productivity. McCain has also promised to enhance the incentive to save by reducing the maximum estate tax rate.
Obama has "feel good", "tax them and give the money to us" plans. John McCain has a plan that makes sense. A plan that will keep America strong. A plan that will raise all boats, as long as those in the boat are willing to bail the stagnant water that is now in the bilge.
Well, as uninformed as many voter are, (and I'm constantly decrying that fact), the voters who are paying attention are not quite so naive as Senator Obama would wish them to be. The voters who are responding to polls may be less informed than most of you blog readers, but they are not clueless. Obama's problem is not that too few voters know him, not at this point in the campaign anyway. The problem is that his message has been heard. It's been heard, and it's not selling.
Consider. We all know that if you restrict supply and tax production, what happens to prices? Right! Prices must go up under those conditions. Conditions that the entire Democratic Party has just spent a week in Denver promising us.
We all know that if you send checks to people who do not pay taxes, those who do pay taxes must pay more. Or we increase the deficit. Neither one is good for an economy that is not growing as fast as we would like it to.
Likewise, if we add punitive taxes onto business, the only people who are affected are the employees, stockholders, and customers of that business. In other words, us.
Barack has promised all these things. All the while promising "change". These policies do indeed represent change. A change back to the Lyndon Johnson/Jimmy Carter failed policies that we've learned the hard way simply do not work.
Tuesday, September 02, 2008
Randy Marcus continues to file updates; [LINK]
I think it's great that we have the Lt. Governor's Chief of Staff live blogging the convention. Keep us updated, Randy!
In the past 48 hours I've spoken with a couple or three Christian pastors and several lay Christians about this matter. Every single one has separately expressed the same sentiment. While it's unfortunate that this young woman was unmarried at the time of conception, it changes nothing really. The child is still wanted. The child is still loved. The young mother and father are still to be respected and cherished.
This is true, whether the young woman is the daughter of Governor Sarah Palin, Speaker Nancy Pelosi, or Ms. Nancy Harrington (a fictitious, made-up name). Her parents' politics and religion do not matter. (Unless she happened to be Muslim, then she could be stoned to death, I suppose.)
The point I'm trying to make here is that the Palins, besides suddenly becoming a high profile political family, are, in the final analysis, just another American family. They deserve to be left alone in this matter.
On that note, I leave you with a couple of links. Sentiments expressed by women who are thoughtful, loving mothers in their own right. Women who can express this sort of stuff much better than I.
One Wise Girl [LINK]
SWAC Girl [LINK]
Monday, September 01, 2008
The Republican National Convention got underway today, on schedule, but with a slightly altered opening day. Again, thank God.
I now turn to a more weighty issue. Weighty not because of the story that brings the subject up, instead it's a weighty subject simply because it has sat around for years and gotten fat. No one bothers to pick it up and exercise it. Either that or it's too scary to pick up.
I've had three different Mothers-in-law, nothing scares me anymore.
The story that starts this story has been repeated untold thousands of times in the History of the world. I would hazard a guess that your family has a similar story, if not numerous versions of it. It's the story of a young woman, in love or in lust, who finds herself pregnant and unmarried. A woman less than the legal age of majority. In this case the young woman's child will find itself to be only 9 months or so younger than her youngest uncle. One of the things unusual about this story would be if your family does not happen to share a version of it. Oh, and this unborn child's grandmother has only days ago been announced as a candidate for the Vice Presidency.
Other than that last little fact, the story itself is completely unremarkable. But that last little fact IS a fact. And that's why I'm beginning this story with that story.
AnonymousIsAWoman (somebody sell her a space bar, please), Karen Duncan, has written about this story today as well. And like me, the only remarkable thing about the story that moved her to write about it is that last little fact.
Karen presumes to tell us that the young Ms. Palin would be better off not having that baby. Perhaps. I'll agree, as I'm sure her parents do, that it would have been better not to get pregnant at 17. But Karen also sees and accepts the possibility of altering that fact even now, rather than before the conception. Karen also preaches to us that her parents should have taught her more than abstinence. Now Karen, we don't know just what her parents taught her, do we?
Worse than that, Karen then uses this rather common occurrence to somehow accuse the future Vice President of forcing repeats of this story on the rest of us. Or the rest of you women, actually. She never mentions the fathers.
I'm finally getting to the weighty part of this story. The part no one else will share with you, but like I said, I ain't scared.
Karen, pray tell me what, exactly will happen next Tuesday if Roe v Wade is overturned tomorrow? If not next Tuesday, next month? Or next year?
The unfortunate answer to that question is, for the most part, and for most of us, absolutely nothing will happen. Abortions will continue to be performed. Abortions will continue to be legal. And abortions will continue to be performed as an Ex Post Facto method of birth control. The regulation of the procedure will fall back to where it has belonged all along, the state.
Sure, some states will move to a much more restrictive abortion law than currently exists. Some states (California? Massachusetts?) may move to make abortion legal until some time after birth. But on the whole, should you find yourself pregnant Karen, rest assured you will still be able to kill that little bundle of inconvenience.
Rather than blame your president, or vice president, or congressman, or U.S. senator, you need to look to your state's legislators, for that is where this battle, if you wish to call it that, will occur when Roe v Wade is inevitably overturned. Yes, like in the Dred Scott, Plessy, and several other decisions, the Supreme Court does eventually get it right. Roe v Wade is widely believed by legal scholars to be a badly flawed decision. It will eventually be overturned.
More accurately, the battle will not be fought in your state legislature, but among your neighbors. Currently, and this has been true for some time, the majority opinion in America is that abortion in the first trimester should be legal, at least in most cases. Even in Louisiana, considered the most abortion unfriendly state in the Union, 52% of respondents in an October, 2004 poll stated that abortion should be 'sometimes legal', 31% 'never legal', and 13% 'always legal'. So no one state can be considered a "slam dunk" for anti-abortion law proponents.
While I'm sure there will be loud raucous arguments in statehouses all over the land, politics will prevail. At least until the hearts and minds of the American people change.
In case you're wondering by now, I am avidly pro-life. I do realize that an abortion is sometimes considered to be a necessary medical procedure, but even then it is still the taking of an innocent life. At that time it a choice between the life of the mother and that of the child, a tough decision certainly, but one that sometimes must be made. I also believe the father, whenever possible, should be a partner in making that decision.
Whatever other factors figure into the decision, it should never just be an after-the-fact form of birth control. Regardless of how inconvenient that birth may be.
Sunday, August 31, 2008
Now I'll pour myself a cup of Chock Full O' Nuts, that heavenly coffee, and bask. Yep, just bask.
Saturday, August 30, 2008
Randy Marcus, the Lt. Governor's Chief of Staff, will be blogging live from the Republican National Convention for CBS6, WTVR.com in Richmond.
Welcome to the blog world Randy, perhaps you can even manage to continue after your return from St. Paul. I know most of Virginia's bloggers would welcome it.
Oh, and tell Tucker Martin to contact me. If he would like, he's welcome to blog here while he's in St. Paul. No sense in you having all the fun, now is there?
It seems that Governor Palin has also opposed a similar idea in Alaska. There, the proposal was to block the state from giving public employee benefits such as health insurance to same-sex couples. Her veto came at the advice of her Attorney General, who said the bill as written was contrary to Alaska's constitution.
Now that all that has been said, let's look at a website that has recently popped up. The name and URL of the site is http://www.sarahpalingayrights.com/, a name and URL that seems designed to inflame the Republican base. Never mind that I believe the Republican base to be beyond such simple minded platitudes, and not at all "anti-gay". Hey, I'm part of that base. I know too many people in that base. The Republican base does not hate gays.
The Republican base does not approve of that lifestyle. The Republican base does not want that lifestyle taught to their children as "normal", typical, or even "desirable". But they do not hate those who live that lifestyle, whether by choice or otherwise.
Back to the website. It's a nicely designed, clean interface, with the McCain star logo at the top. Must be the work of one of those extreme right-wing, anti-gay, agenda-driven hate groups, right?
Nope. let's look deeper and we begin to see the Joey Stanley style of repugnant campaign tactics.
The website in question, sarahpalingayrights.com, is hosted on a server at the IP address of 188.8.131.52 which itself resolves to; host 184.108.40.206
220.127.116.11.in-addr.arpa domain name pointer obamadefense.com
obamadefense.com? Yep, that's the domain name under which the sub-domain sarahpalingayrights.com is hosted.
Enter obamadefense.com into your browser and where does it take you? Click here to find out, obamadefense.com
So Joey Stanley is not atypical of Democrat(ick) dirty tricksters, is he?