Friday, October 31, 2008

Trick or Treat?

For every piece of sweet candy there is something sour. For every beautiful princess there is a scary witch. For every treat there is a nasty trick.
Treat #1
On top of receiving endorsements from The Roanoke Times and The News Leader, Sam Rasoul also raised over $100K through online donations. I'm proud that a few of those dollars, about .001% as it turns out, came from me. I'm also proud to have done some volunteering on his behalf. It is a remarkable achievement for a candidate in western Virginia. Sam's fundraising success is an especially sweet treat because he, unlike his opponent, refused contributions from PACs, lobbyists, and even from the party which nominated him. It is truly a grassroots campaign.
Trick #1
Bob Goodlatte is running an aggressive TV ad campaign. He would not be spending all that money, all across the district, if he didn't feel threatened. There has been little reliable public polling done in this race, but one has to believe Goodlatte's internal polling is telling him something. The ad I've seen most often makes it appear to be "plain folks" are supporting Bob - in reality the people are local GOP activists like Bill Shirley, the Augusta chair. Is that the guy who got it by default after the Michael/Roller bloodletting? Where's Kurt?
Treat #2
Students at Spotswood High School in Rockingham County went narrowly (112-107) for Barack Obama. Student mock elections don't always predict the percentages of how the general population will vote, but they can illustrate some general trends. In this case, it may well reflect that Obama is faring better in this area than the previous two Democratic presidential nominees. Kerry and Gore both got less than 25% in Rockingham.
Trick #2
True to form, the Daily News-Record's story on the Spotswood Mock Election tricked readers by mostly quoted students supporting McCain who questioned the motives (and intelligence) of their classmates.
Treat #3
Nationwide, Barack Obama defeated John McCain 60% to 35.5% in the Youth Leadership Mock Election that is organized by the Center for Politics at UVA. About 3 million students participated in in this nationwide election. In Virginia, it was very similar with Obama winning 59.72% and McCain 35.56%.
Trick #3
About 5% of the students' votes in the Youth Leadership Mock Election went to various minor party candidates and probably to Homer Simpson and Mickey Mouse. So one can wonder how seriously some students took this instructional activity. On November 4 these candidates will probably get 1% or less. But, I've recently spotted Ron Paul and Chuck Baldwin signs in a very Republican area - does this signal conservatives' unease with McCain/Palin?
Treat #4
Chris Saxman says he'd give up his seat in the House of Delegates to serve in a McCain administration.
Trick #4
John McCain would be president. Trick #4.1 Sarah Palin would be vice president.
Now that's some scary stuff for Halloween!

Thursday, October 30, 2008

News Leader supports Sam Rasoul

The News Leader of Staunton has joined The Roanoke Times by endorsing Sam Rasoul for Congress. Saying it is time for a change, time for a fresh approach, and time for new ideas for the 6th District, the News Leader says:
When Congressman Bob Goodlatte, R-6th, said he would only serve 12 years, we believed him. That was during his first run for the office in 1992....
In March, the nonpartisan research organization Knowlegis ranked the eight-term Republican 254th among 435 House members in the Congressional power structure. The study ranks members on their positions, indirect influence and legislative activity and earmarked funding for special projects. After all his [Goodlatte's] years in Congress, we'd hope for something better than middle of the pack.
The News Leader goes on to write this about Sam Rasoul:
Rasoul, on the other hand, walks the walk. He is seeking a seat in Congress on a shoestring — he refused money from the National Democratic Committee because he didn't want to be beholden to the lobbyists attached to party money.
...we'd like to see a fresh approach to how our district is represented in Congress. Rasoul is not part of the problem. We believe he could be part of the solutions.
Cross posted at We will Rock Dem

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Pond Scum

I received this photoshopped picture in my U.S. Postal Service mailbox today. The envelope was postmarked Charlottesville, which could be many places in central Virginia or the Shenandoah Valley. Of course, the cowardly pussy who sent it didn't include a return address or sign his/her disgusting note, printed in bright red, which read:
The original of the photograph is below. It is the creative work of Ted Szukalski who has a great website of his creative and original photographs. He is appalled that his copyrighted work is now being used for obscene political purposes. Szukalski says:
It is not often that I would post the same image twice in my stories. However , this photo of the homeless man and a women has become part of dirty tricks in American presidential campaign.
Someone has doctored this image to portrait Barack Obama as the shoe shine man and Sara Palin as his customer. This altered image is being circulated via email in USA. The perpetrator of this plagiarism left my copyright notice, which contains the address of this website, thus implying it was my original work. This is quite a low act as it involuntarily involves me and my photographic work in American presidential campaign, which I honestly do not know much about nor do I follow it. I certainly do not have favourite views either for American Democrats or Republicans.
I would like to assure both senator Barack Obama and Alaska’s Governor Sarah Palin that the altered image has not been created, authorised, endorsed or distributed by me.
I'll save this in my collection of hate in the Shenandoah Valley. Along with the Obama sign spray painted with "KKK." Along with the Obama/Warner/Rasoul sign with "nigger" painted over Obama's name. Along with my phone message that shouted "nigger lover."
The Shenandoah Valley has beautiful scenery and many wonderful people. But, in our midst are a few hateful racists. People who have been encouraged by the mean-spirited McCain/Palin rhetoric. Haters that are kept at arm's length but are nevertheless encouraged by some local Republicans. Low life pond scum who have no appreciation or idea of what it means to live in a democracy.
For shame, Shenandoah Valley. You see yourself as a Christian area who loves your neighbor and treats others as you want to be treated, but at the same time some among us aid and abet racists who do these disgusting things. Or you look the other way. I'm not sure which is worse - being evil or being silent in the face of evil. 

Obama in the Burg

A few random thoughts on the Barack Obama Rally for Change at JMU on October 28. Obama is the first presidential nominee to visit Harrisonburg since Stephen Douglas. Richard Nixon did visit in 1968, but he wasn't yet the nominee.
It is too bad they didn't move this rally to the football stadium which could have handled more than the 8,000 they could allow into the Convocation Center. But, I guess with the Dukes ranked #1 and and needing their field, perhaps fears there wouldn't be enough people to fill the larger stadium (they could have filled it), and maybe weather concerns, the Convo made sense to the university and the campaign.
There was no way we could get there much before 2:00 and with lines forming well before sunrise, it was pretty clear our chances of getting inside were slim... and as it turned out, none. The long lines snaked from the Convo onto the soccer field, zigging and zagging in the chilly wind. There was a little cutting in line or having friends hold spots, but for the most part everyone was enthusiastic and in good cheer. I personally saw many friends who had traveled many miles, but like me got there too late. There was disappointment but no anger; frustration but growing enthusiasm for Obama.
Yes, there were a few Republicans handing out literature and carrying a few signs. Very few and they got little attention from anyone except for Daily News-Record photo gallery.
Suddenly there was excitement and the lines dissolved... Barack Obama was on a stage at the end of the field!!!! He spoke to the crowd for 6-8 minutes giving a condensed version of his 40 minute speech inside. As he left, Obama shook hands with those lucky enough to be up front. According to some reports, Obama passed up a stop at Jess' Lunch to come talk to the several thousand who wouldn't get inside the doors.
We made our way back to the car, which took a while because of areas blocked off by security. We listened to coverage on WSVA which was taking calls on the question "what would you ask Obama?" Their on air guy, Mike Schikman, is pretty much a conservative Republican and got his jabs into Obama and Democrats. But, when the most outrageous callers ask about things like Obama being a terrorist or a marxist, he at least partly corrected them. 
WSVA then covered the entire speech without interruption. Afterwards the guy on-site at the Convo talked about the upbeat speech and enthusiastic crowd, while Schikman did his best to dampen it. For example, at one point he talked about getting 50 calls during the speech complaining about giving Obama the coverage. The on-site reporter noted they'd do the same for McCain he he came to the area. At the end of the segment, Schikman cut away saying Obama had never explained how he'd do the things he wants during an economic downturn. Shouldn't do it, but I'll give Schikman the benefit of the doubt and guess he was talking to one the wingnuts on the phone and missed those parts of Obama's speech. Like where Obama said we'd have to fix the economy first and put off some of those things. Or where he talked about savings from bringing the Iraq war/occupation to a successful end.
Enough typing... other things to do today. A couple of pics from the soccer field. If I were a little taller, maybe I'd have gotten a good zoomed in picture (missed a couple) of the next President of the United States!
Barack Obama (on stage to left) talked to supporters for 6-8 minutes. Most in the crowd appreciated the fact that Obama took time to speak to several thousand who had been unable to get inside.
Two of about a dozen of the the zig zags of the lines on the soccer field. It was an orderly, happy, and enthusiastic crowd although most sensed they wouldn't get inside.
Another account on Cobalt6. Links to blogs, college newspapers, video at

Monday, October 27, 2008

Sign Wars

As more reports of stolen and vandalized Obama/Biden signs stream in to the local committees, other signs are appearing to counter the "I Am Voting For The Chick" signs in the central valley. 
Many women (and men) find the "chick" signs offensive and a put-down on women. So, was whoever made them (there is no authorization statement so I assume it was an individual) a dumb cluck? Maybe so. Or, perhaps he/she is just blind to the realities of gender. Guess that happens when your brain is a century behind the times. In addition to the inherent sexism of the sign, wouldn't it read better and be more appealing as "I'm Voting For The Chick?" Must have missed homeschool class that day!

High flying with Rasoul and Periello

The Roanoke Times has endorsed Sam Rasoul in the 6th District with this strong statement of support:
Americans are dissatisfied with a dysfunctional Congress that has placed rabid partisanship and the influence of lobbyists above the interests of the Americans who elected them.
This Nov. 4 affords an opportunity for Americans to force change. Voters in Virginia's 6th Congressional District can help to hasten reforms by electing newcomer Sam Rasoul to replace longtime incumbent Bob Goodlatte.
Rasoul, at age 27, is the youngest person running for Congress. He is still wrapped up in the naïveté of youth. He believes that, with enough principled members, Congress could change. He is idealistic but doesn't seem to fully grasp or appreciate how the system works. Still, voters could do worse than give Rasoul a chance to prove himself.
He has shown through the campaign that he lives up to his principles. He won the Democrats' support as their nominee, but he has shunned all party and political action committee money.
The Roanoke Times also endorsed Tom Perriello in the 5th District. Saying that Virgil Goode gives "conservatism a bad name" and that Goode had run an ugly and negative campaign, the Times went on to praise Periello:
He is an intelligent, articulate, caring individual who has done important work in Afghanistan and Darfur.
Unlike Goode, he does not appear to be driven by partisan ideology, repeatedly saying that governing shouldn't be about "right or left, but about right or wrong.
The voters of Virginia's 5th Congressional District should elect a representative who will make them, and the rest of the commonwealth, proud.
Unseating an entrenched incumbent with a huge war chest is always tough. A newspaper endorsement doesn't guarantee victory. But, it is heartening to see a respected editorial board, which has closely followed both races, come out with a bold and positive statement supporting Rasoul and Periello. Hopefully, in this last week before votes are cast, the Roanoke Times has given undecided voters a reason to take a second look at these two qualified candidates. That second look may just change the outcome in one or both contests

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Trick or Treat?

When the news about Barack Obama coming to JMU hit yesterday it sent ripples through the Democratic faithful and shivers down Republican backs. Obama bringing his campaign to the reddest area of a state the GOP has taken for granted as their turf for years shows how serious he takes Virginia and reaching out to all voters. The last time a presidential candidate came to Harrisonburg was Richard Nixon in 1968 and that was before he formally announced. I bet the Convocation Center will be packed and rockin'. You better arrive by 3:00 PM for the 5:15 PM rally if you want a seat. You should RSVP, but seating is still first-come, first-served.
Of course, this is Halloween week so there may be some political tricks and treating this week. The Staunton/Augusta Democrats are having a little Halloween Party on Friday evening. Details here. Does this mean I have to spend $150,000 for my costume? As Joe Biden said,
I know Halloween is coming up, but John McCain disguised as an agent of change is one thing the American people aren't buying.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Chicken litter

We're 10 days out on the election and both teams seems to pulling out all the stops. A random selection:
The Daily News-Republican endorsed Bob Goodlatte and took a swipe at Sam Rasoul. No surprise in either. Their endorsement could have been predicted a year ago, even a decade ago because the facts and the campaign don't really matter to the editors there. Well, maybe I'll have to eat a little (very little) crow after we find out their views on the Senate race.
Speaking of the DN-R, their letters to the editor frequently are a rehash of libelous BS, many so obvious in their intent and apparent in their stupidity that I think they actually hurt their cause. Then the editors place certain letters in shaded boxes (print edition) or designate it "letter of the day" to, I assume, give them eye appeal and seem more important. Is it just my imagination that this favored treatment is more often given to Obama-bashing letters?
The News Leader has a story about hateful and racist literature showing up in newspaper tubes in the Staunton and Waynesboro areas. Staunton Democratic chair Bob Dickerman referred to the flyers and negative robocalls as "atrocious." On the other hand, Staunton Republican chair Anne Taetzsch denied knowledge of the literature and said it didn't come from the campaign. She said, "my whole thing is the negative approach doesn't work." What? How can she say that with a straight face? After all she's in tight with Chris Saxman the Virginia McCain co-chair whose campaign has used robocalls and mailers spewing the same negative and false information. And isn't Ms. Taetzsch a big supporter of state GOP chair Jeff Frederick, whose racist comments went too far for even the McCain campaign?
On another and more positive front, former Delegate Jim Dillard, a Fairfax Republican, is making calls for Barack Obama. He does get in a jab at McCain/Palin for their negative campaign and lies, but his message is overwhelmingly one of positive support for Obama/Biden. While there has been a lot of news about national Republican figures supporting Obama, there is a groundswell of Republican support among state and local politicians as well.
And the latest counter punch in the sign wars is "You can vote for the chick, but I'm rollin' with Colin." Haven't seen one yet, but understand a few have appeared around Staunton.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Signs of Change

According to several people, there has been an explosion of large Obama/Biden signs between from Rockingham to Rockbridge in the past few days. Reports say about 50 of the large signs appeared in Augusta, Staunton, and Waynesboro alone. This is coming on top of a high energy grassroots get out the vote effort with phone banking and door-to-door canvassing.
Local committees hope the signs will stay up until Election Day that is just two weeks away. I was told that every sign was placed on private property with permission, however they may not survive more than a few nights. Many Obama signs place earlier were vandalized with hateful things like "KKK," were cut apart, or were stolen. Apparently, some folks have a hard time respecting freedom of expression!
Signs have been spotted along well-traveled rural highways.
This array of signs is just off I-64 near Tinkling Springs Church.
On Rt. 11 near the Rockbridge/Augusta line.
The Obama/Biden sign obscures the GOP HQ in Waynesboro.
For more on the GOP and Democrats in Waynesboro, check out
Talk of the Town in the New York Times.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Jeff Frederick is a jerk - part 6

Jeff Schapiro exposes more about the soft underbelly of the Virginia Republican Party under the "leadership" of Jeff Frederick. Is he incompetent? Inept? Unethical? Or, just an embarrassment?
Frederick seems to have alienated half the party, dropped the ball on technology, and in general screwed things up. Although he says he isn't running for the House of Delegates again (good riddance) he is raising money. Although he won't quite say it, it is widely expected his wife will run. Apparently she is the only one who still loves him. Even mom has some doubts.
Schapiro has more about Frederick's racist remarks and the tensions it created with the McCain campaign:
The chatter over Frederick's tense relationship with McCain also continues. Frederick's apparent frustrations with McCain seem to reflect those of conservatives in general. The feelings must be mutual.
In an e-mail to Frederick after the latest dust-up, the McCain team warned, "Come on, man, this [expletive] has got to stop."
And these are values voters?
The soft underbelly of the Virginia GOP is that their values are corrupt.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Obama Rocks Roanoke

Yesterday, Barack Obama made his fourth stop in western Virginia drawing over 8,000 people to the Roanoke Civic Center for a midday rally. A wildly cheering crowd, many with homemade signs like Hokies 4 Obama, and Roanoke Loves Obama filled the center with noise and enthusiasm. Apparently many students, teachers, officer workers, and others took a skip day to be part of making history.
Senator Jim Webb asked the crowd when was the last time the Republican nominee had been to southwest Virginia. McCain hasn't been to the region since 2007 when he visited VMI. Representative Rick Boucher told the crowd that the past week has seen "tremendous movement on the part of southwestern Virginians" toward the Obama/Biden ticket.
The video clip is from the part of Obama's speech where he talks about the need for change. Clips of his discussion on health care, the economy, and more can be found here.
Obama later stopped by a downtown hair salon and greeted the proprietor and customers. 
Meanwhile, across town at Young's Towing, a half dozen Republicans held a counter rally. Not sure why this was even newsworthy, but I'm glad The Roanoke Times ran the story which is full symbolism and irony. Delegate Morgan Griffith and a couple others spoke the garage's battery load tester which served as a podium. Actually, it was a disguised defibrillator for a campaign on life support. The tow truck left immediately afterwards, looking for McCain's car which is stuck in the mud they are spewing.
Of course, Republicans can never resist that mudslinging which only serves to get them deeper in the ditch - Delegate Ralph Smith of Botetourt County accused Barack Obama of being a Chicago gangster when he dropped the name of Al Capone, as if the criminal who died in 1947, was a close Obama advisor.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Jeff Frederick is a jerk - part 5

From the Lynchburg News & Advance:
"It is a sad commentary on the state of political discourse in this nation and this commonwealth when someone in a position such as [Jeff] Frederick’s resorts to cheap, nonsensical rhetoric."
When will the wingnuts give up on this loser, Jeff Frederick? The Virginia GOP is dying a slow, self-inflicted, bloody, death. Good job Anne, Chris, Scott.

Rotten Eggs

The Virginia Retirement System reports that it lost $11 billion since June, much of it during the recent financial meltdown. Its holdings are now worth $44 billion. The VRS executive director assured senators that its ability to pay pensions for about 140,000 retirees will not be impaired because the system still had a positive cash flow.
Based on my far more modest portfolio of investments, I can share VRS' pain. Actually though, I think I've fared a little bit better. 
But, more bad news this morning - President Bush is making a public statement about the economy and financial bailout today. When the president speaks, people listen, fear rises. Every time he's opened his mouth in the last month I (and VRS) have lost money.

Jeff Frederick is a jerk - part 4

Another newspaper has criticized the inept chairman of the VA GOP, Jeff Frederick. Most recently, the Fredericksburg Free Lance Star unloaded with this barrage:
Many young conservatives, especially, strive to prove manhood through their mouths. So here's a thought for Master Jeffrey if he wants to take it to the real, flesh-and-blood terrorists: Join the military. He's still age-eligible for the Army and Navy. Not only could the fierce-talking Mr. Frederick give al-Qaida what-for, but his absence would leave a GOP chairmanship vacancy that might be filled by a thoughtful grown-up. In which case: Democratic Secret Agent Limbaugh, foiled again!
Although the McCain campaign sought to distance itself from the flame throwing Frederick, John McCain himself refused to do so when given the chance. Now, struggling in vain to hold on to a state that has voted Republican in presidential elections since 1964, McCain will join the unrepentant Frederick at a Fairfax rally. 
Can you spell   G U I L T   B Y   A S S O C I A T I O N  ?

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Jeff Frederick is a jerk - part 3

Even the GOP leaning Richmond Times-Dispatch has chimed in condemning Jeff Frederick in an October 16 column, Hee Haw
"...the line about Obama and bin Laden strikes lifelong Republicans as supercilious, divisive, sour, and mean -- in other words, typical. Decent conservatism prefers wit to rhetorical thuggery."
But perhaps the best quip about the wingnut chair was by GOP rational conservative John Hager, the man ousted by Frederick for the chair's job:
"I'm letting nature take its course."

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Jeff Frederick is a jerk - part 2

The Republican Party of Virginia has sent out mailer comparing Barack Obama to Ahmadinijead, Kim Jong-Il, Putin, Chavez. It states, "America Must Look Evil in the Eye" Printed Over Photo of Eyes Some Believe to be Obama's.
The mailer falsely purports to be an "Official Absentee Ballot Request" and is an attempt to not only scare voters with lies about Barack Obama, it is designed to disenfranchise voters who may be confused by the absentee ballot misinformation. You may not receive this slime, but a neighbor probably did. The RPV likely targeted it to independents and weak Republican voters who don't especially like McCain.
To read more and see more pages of this disgusting GOP propaganda, visit The BRAD BLOG.
This is the handiwork of the despicable Jeff Frederick, chair of Virginia Republican Party and close confidant of many Shenandoah Valley GOP activists. Republicans don't play to the lowest common denominator, they go even lower.
Cross posted at We will RockDem.

Jeff Frederick is a jerk

Jeff Frederick is chair of the Virginia GOP. Elected about five months ago, Frederick was known as a firebrand. He won with the strong support of the most conservative elements of the state party including many from the Valley - Scott Sayre, Anne Taetzsch, Chris Darden, Jim Crosby, Audrey Berkshire, and others.
Last week, while trying to motivate volunteers, Jeff Frederick threw out lies that are the red meat of hate and racism. A reporter from Time recorded the events:
With so much at stake, and time running short, Frederick did not feel he had the luxury of subtlety. He climbed atop a folding chair to give 30 campaign volunteers who were about to go canvassing door to door their talking points — for instance, the connection between Barack Obama and Osama bin Laden: "Both have friends that bombed the Pentagon," he said. "That is scary."
The hopped up volunteers responded by repeating more lies
"And he won't salute the flag," one woman added, repeating another myth about Obama. She was quickly topped by a man who called out, "We don't even know where Senator Obama was really born." Actually, we do; it's Hawaii.
As Frederick's comments have spread across the national media, the Virginia GOP has become the laughing stock of the nation. Or, more like the leper of the nation.
Newspapers from east to west across the Commonwealth have been critical. From The Roanoke Times:
One might expect that type of dangerous rant to be blasted on talk radio, but it falls far beneath the level of respectability that people expect of their state political leaders. The McCain campaign criticized Frederick's remarks. As for Frederick, he remains unapologetic. His tenure as chairman truly must be scary for Virginia Republicans.
In the five months since he took over the GOP apparatus, Frederick has shown himself to be desperate for attention. He took a cheap shot at House Speaker Bill Howell, the Assembly's leading Republican, for trying to work with Democrats in drafting a transportation package. A few weeks ago, he made a baseless statement about voting registration irregularities around the commonwealth. All Frederick has accomplished is to show why he should not be taken seriously.
Now is the time for the Virginia Republican Party to fire their chairman. Jeff Frederick is a drain on the party and is diminishing McCain's chances in the state every day he remains as chair. Jeff Frederick is tarnishing all Virginians with his racist and hateful bile. Jeff Frederick is an embarrassment to all who love our democracy.
So, will people like Anne Taetzsch, Chris Saxman, Matt Lohr, Chris Darden, and other prominent Valley Republicans move to oust Frederick? Or, by their continued silence, will they condone his brand of ugly and hate filled politics? 

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

The conservatives' choice

Shenandoah Valley conservatives are caught in a tight spot. They instinctively know that John McCain does not represent them or their views. They do not trust John McCain whose "maverick" reputation means to them he'll be kissing up to conservatives one day and stabbing them in the back the next. Sarah Palin energized the most conservative folks in the GOP during the weeks following the convention, but as her lack of qualifications and knowledge have been exposed, her ethical lapse documented, and the realization that she'd be a heartbeat away sunk in Palin has paled. She is now a drag on the McCain campaign.
For conservatives there are better and more principled choices for president who have qualified for the Virginia ballot.
Yesterday Bob Barr, the nominee of the Libertarian Party, campaigned in Virginia with stops at Liberty University and a meet-and-greet at Corned Beef and Company in Roanoke. At the Roanoke event, one Barr supporter summed up his vote this way:
"Both parties have lost it, what our forefathers intended for us to become," he said. "I believe in this movement. I am done voting for the lesser of two evils."
Others talked of Barr's strong libertarian ideas on the economy, health care, and welfare. Many in the crowd expressed a fear that McCain would pose the greatest threat to civil liberties.
Another candidate who should appeal to social and Christian conservatives is Chuck Baldwin. Mr. Baldwin, a minister, is the nominee of the Constitution Party, but is on the Virginia ballot under the banner of the Independent Green Party since the Constitution Party failed to get enough signatures. Baldwin is anti-abortion, supports school prayer, and believes Social Security is unconstitutional welfare. A few Baldwin signs have been popping up in the Shenandoah Valley, probably distributed through churches aligned with his beliefs.
If you are a principled conservative, there are other voting options for you on November 4. Candidates that speak to your concerns and issues. Candidates who, unlike John McCain, can be trusted to live up to their campaign promises.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Sam Rasoul fires up the Roanoke Obama rally

A cheap joke

Jim Gilmore visited Kathy's Restaurant in Staunton on Saturday and spoke to 25-30 GOP loyalists, the only ones he can attract to any kind of event. Borrowing from a time honored tradition of candidates trailing in the polls, Gilmore discounted his 30 point deficit to Mark Warner by saying the only poll that counts is on November 4. The ever delusional Gilmore said, "the race is going great guns.... I feel great about this race."
A reliable source told me Gilmore tried to warm up the audience with a joke that went something like this: "Mark Warner likes his fancy dinners in expensive restaurants. I prefer cheap places."
The employees at Kathy's didn't laugh. Neither did Kathy.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Bob's ties to a racist bird

Bob Goodlatte is friends with Bobby May. Who is Bobby May? What is so bad about him?
Bobby May is the southwest Virginia GOP activist, treasurer of the Buchanan County Republican Party, and racist who wrote a disgusting and offensive article attacking Barack Obama in his local newspaper. Among the vile crap, May wrote that Obama would hire Ludacris to paint the White House black, change the national antemm into the "black national anthemm," raise taxes to "pay for Obama's inner-city political base" and replace the U.S. flag with a new one that had "a star and crescent logo."
May was a member John McCain's Virginia leadership team. The McCain campaign broke off the relationship with with him only after the story went national when the Los Angeles Times published parts of May's vitriol. A few days later, Bob McDonnell, a co-chair of McCain's Virginia leadership team, current attorney general, and a candidate for governor in 2009, also sought to distance himself from May. So far, no comment has been heard from Chris Saxman, another outspoken member of the leadership team and member of the House of Delegates from Staunton. 
Back to Bob Goodlatte. What exactly is his relationship with Bobby May? I think Bob owes us all an explanation. We do know that the Goodlatte campaign throws significant cash to Mr. May's advertising business. According to, the Goodlatte campaign bought $7,508 from May Advertising Specialities in 2006. Was there even a campaign then? Records for campaign expenditures are not complete for 2008, but it is likely the close relationship continues.
Virginia Public Access Project records show May Advertising Specialities has been paid hundreds of thousands of dollars by Republican candidates in Virginia, including over $9,000 by the Staunton delegate and almost $75,000 by the attorney general.
Ah, the ties that bind. Mr. Goodlatte, tell us more about your ties and friendship with Bobby May.
Cross-posted at We will RocDem.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Sam Rasoul joins Bill Clinton at Obama rally

Former President Bill Clinton and Sam Rasoul, America's youngest congressional candidate, will be featured speakers at the Change We Need rally for Senator Barack Obama. The rally is from 6:00 to 7:00 p.m. Sunday, October 12th. Gates open at 4:45. Join them at Market Square in Roanoke, VA.

Friday, October 10, 2008

Craig County bails on controversial Bible class

You may recall that last spring Craig County Public Schools approved a new class, "The Bible in History and Literature" that many believed crossed the line between separation of church and state. When the Craig County School Board approved the course, the ACLU of Virginia began an investigation into the board's motives and the details of the curriculum.
Recently, the Craig County superintendent notified the ACLU of Virginia that the School Board had reversed the decision to offer the controversial course. Instead, the board approved another course, "The Bible and Its Influence," which is promoted by The Bible Literacy Project. Most observers feel like the new course teaches, while the former course crossed the line into preaching
“The new course adopted by the Craig County School Board is an improvement over the one chosen earlier this year,” said ACLU of Virginia Executive Director Kent Willis. “But all religion courses in public schools require close monitoring to make certain that they are not used to proselytize students or as a means for the government to promote some religions over others.”
Congratulations to the Craig County School Board for rejecting the religious crazies, for seeing the truth, and for understanding the legal realities. And, kudos to the ACLU of Virginia for investigating and pushing the board to take a more reasonable, and legal, course of action.
For more information, visit the ACLU of Virginia.

We need leadership

"What we need to be looking for is leaders."
                                          ~Sam Rasoul
Yesterday, the 6th District candidates for House of Representatives debated in front of a live audience at Holiday Inn in Harrisonburg. Although not televised, the debate was broadcast on WSVA radio. Below is the opening question as posted on NBC29. You can find other pop up videos of parts of the debate here.
From the beginning of the discussion the incumbent, Bob Goodlatte was on the defensive. With public approval ratings of Congress hovering about 15% and the economy tanking, Goodlatte struggled for answers by falling back on the old talking points from the past. Both the Democrat, Sam Rasoul, and a little known independent, Janice Lee Allen, pummeled Goodlatte for lack of leadership and being part of the problem in Washington.
Goodlatte's face visibly reddened when he was reminded of his promise to step aside after six terms. He sort of stammered about believing in term limits but said when no amendment was put in the Constitution he as just doing the same as others in Congress. Excuse me, congressman, I don't recall your pledge, your moral obligation, being you'd only limit the number of terms if there was a constitutional amendment binding everyone. No, you made this a personal promise that you've now broken several times. Overheard in the audience - "your honor, I'm not guilty of speeding because everyone else does it." Mr. Goodlatte, we hold our elected representatives to a higher standard.
Goodlatte and Rasoul sharply differed on health insurance reform. Rasoul supports a federally supported health system of private health insurance. Goodlatte tried to defend himself by saying he wanted to assure accessibility for those who can't afford it - so tell us again, why did you vote against the children's health insurance program earlier this year?
A few impressions (some overheard):
Sam Rasoul is smart and has the potential for leadership in Congress. He may not have all the answers, but he will seek out pragmatic solutions to problems facing the American people. And he will honor his promise to step down after five terms.
Bob Goodlatte seems tired and locked in by his blind allegiance to the failed Bush policies and the tired GOP mantra. One person commented that he looked worn down and ready to retire from public life. It was clear to many why he's resisted debates, especially televised ones.
Janice Lee Allen. Hum. What to say? Flaky. Vague. Half-baked ideas. Don't know why she is running. Don't think she does either.
Links to news coverage of the debate:

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

The BIG difference

"The biggest thing for me is understanding that Washington isn't even about Democrats and Republicans. That's the biggest misconception about politics today. The reality is that powerful special interests have overrun the system and taken the voice from honest, hardworking, middle-class Americans."   ~ Sam Rasoul
Sam Rasoul and Bob Goodlatte seemed to be in agreement on many issues during last night's debate, yet there is a fundamental difference between the two men. 
Goodlatte, a D.C. insider, has tight connections with lobbyists and the big money political action committees who fund his and other campaigns. The PACs "invest" in candidates (especially incumbents) and expect a return on that investment. They want something for their money - a vote on a bill, an earmark, favored tax treatment.... Over time the relationship becomes too cozy. The campaign contributions are expected. The favored treatment is demanded.
Sam Rasoul has refused to accept any contributions from political action committees and even from the Democratic Party. While this has put him at a huge financial disadvantage to the incumbent, Rasoul stands firmly on the democratic principle that a congressman should represent the people, not self-serving groups. He has staked his campaign on this principle and he is unwavering.
If American wants to change Congress.... 
If America wants to recapture the legislative process from the special interests that rig the game to their advantage.... 
If America  wants a government "of the people, for the people, and by the people...."
Then we can do it on November 4 by electing Sam Rasoul and other candidates who promise to Change Congress.

Monday, October 6, 2008

Sam Rasoul addresses community gathering

Sam Rasoul joined Senator Evan Bayh at a rally at Roanoke's Century Plaza last Sunday. Below Sam charges up the crowd. Read more about the rally for Change We Can Believe In.

Fred who?

There is a new blog, perhaps from the Lynchburg area, that is sounding the call for change in Virginia and America. In one of his first posts, Fred Graver describes how the Obama campaign signed up 150 students in 15 minutes.... but wait, you have to understand where the table was located. Yep, the Obama folks are getting kids involved at Liberty University!!!
Anyhow, check out the Fred Graver Blog. Looks like he's got news to report and ideas to share. 
One more voice to turn Virginia Blue.

I want my America back....

The Boss explains the importance of the 2008 election.

Saturday, October 4, 2008

Don't talk down to me...

Mark Warner and Jim Gilmore debated the economic rescue plan, earmarks, partisanship, and their respective records as governor in a televised debate in Roanoke. Gilmore, trailing by over 25% in the polls and facing a huge fundraising disadvantage took a populist stance on the bailout which had passed Congress and signed by the president earlier in the day. Gilmore was also testy and attacking Warner at every opportunity.
Warner, who is generally considered one of Virginia's most successful modern governors, would have none of it. He reminded viewers of the financial mess that Gilmore left the state in when leaving office. Gilmore fired back, "I object to that characterization...." 
Later, when Gilmore's answers showed a lack of knowledge about the current financial mess, Warner said, "I don't know if Governor Gilmore understands."
Firing back, Gilmore almost shouted, "Don't talk down to me..."
It was inevitable that Gilmore would take a slash and burn approach in the only televised debate between the candidates. With Warner picking up endorsements from Republicans and apparently getting support from almost 25% of GOP voters, Gilmore had no options. He had to shake up the Republican base to generate enthusiasm and some money for his fumbling campaign.
Did the debate do what Gilmore wanted and needed. Not in a country mile. Warner came across as informed and reasonable and as a centrist who will find bipartisan ways to solve problems. Gilmore seemed desperate and mean spirited (judging from his time as governor, this is a character trait). He may have fired up his base to send donations, but he probably alienated independents and moderate Republicans.
The race may tighten over the next month, but Warner will have an easy double digit win on November 4. It will be a landslide. Hopefully, Warner's long coattails will translate into votes for Barack Obama, Sam Rasoul and other Democratic congressional candidates.
More on the debate at The Roanoke Times.

Friday, October 3, 2008

Let's Debate

Looks like it is debate season in the 6th District!
Mark Warner and Jim Gilmore debate tonight, Friday, Oct. 3 at 7PM in Roanoke. It will be televised statewide including several stations in the Shenandoah Valley.
Also there now appear to be two debates scheduled for the 6th District Congressional candidates. Check them out. Apparently, the one at William Byrd will not be televised or on radio.
Monday, October 6 at 7PM at William Byrd HS in Roanoke.
Thursday, October 9 at 10AM Holiday Inn in Harrisonburg; broadcast on WSVA 550.

I'm Voting for the Chick?

The VP debate has come and gone - who won? Like most of these much anticipated debates, there is no clear answer and it often depends who you ask.
Senator Biden did well and demonstrated his grasp on a wide range of domestic, military, and foreign policy issues. No gaffes. Most Democrats are probably pleased with his performance in the debate and on the campaign trail. Biden will be at a rally in Roanoke this Sunday. One can picture him as a trusted advisor to a President Obama, a leader in the Senate (especially since it will likely have a Democratic majority), and fully ready to take over if necessary.
Governor Palin also did well, especially since the bar had been set very low by her bungling media performances in the past few weeks. She was witty, personable, and in spite of some errors of fact, never quite had that deer in the headlights look she exhibited in the Couric interviews. She did repeat some of the talking points that several days of extensive coaching had taught her. I imagine most conservative Republicans are pleased that she survived this low hurdle. But, can you really imagine her as a inner circle advisor to a President McCain? Or ready to take over the presidency if necessary? I can't - not in a heartbeat.
An aside that may have some significance - as Biden and Palin greeted each other she asked if it was OK to call him Joe? Biden, at heart a working class kind of guy, had no problem with it. Palin referred to him by his first name throughout the debate while he always addressed her as governor. Did she put herself on his level, or did she seem too flip and disrespectful? Did he seem too formal? The answer may depend on the age of the viewer. Or maybe it makes little difference.
Both Biden and Palin achieved some of their goals in the debate. He reestablished his strong policy credentials and tied McCain to failed policies. She made effective use of her inexperience to make herself a bit endearing and probably silenced the late night comics... for now. At any rate, the story will be front page for 24 hours and then be lost in the financial meltdown, the vote in the House of Representatives, and the stock market opening on Monday.
Folks have noticed "I'm voting for the chick" signs popping up around the central Shenandoah Valley. Not sure who authorized and bought these, but if they think they help elect Palin, they ought to have their head examined. Now, CCC certainly likes "chicks," but referring to a human female as a chick carries the connotation of being young, cute, and air headed. It is a Palin-putdown that those who put up such signs probably don't understand. If the description fits... 
These signs remind me of "womanless beauty pageants" that are still fairly popular in the area. Guys dress up a females, "celebrating" what a guy apparently wants in a girl - big boobs and a shapely butt - but never the recognizing the female as a person. I find them repulsive and lacking of all beauty. Childish. Many of my conservative Republican friends really get into these womanless beauty pageants. Maybe these guys slip off to the big city and are secret weekend cross-dressers?
These signs and pageants represent deep seated disdain and disrespect for women. If by some fluke, McCain/Palin are elected we can expect to to see the vice president quickly shunted to the back room. Unless fashion tips are needed for McCain's friends.

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Police state?

My son was stopped by a Virginia State Trooper yesterday. Not exactly pulled over, instead the trooper followed him into a gas station and pulled up behind him. The trooper questioned his taillights, which were working fine but are an aftermarket dressed up style. My son then told the trooper they were on the car when he bought it and he'd personally had it inspected twice, most recently in September, and the lights had never been questioned.
The trooper checked the inspection receipt and then quickly dropped the subject of the taillights, and shifted to quizzing my son about his Barack Obama bumper sticker (on the bumper below the "suspect" taillights). After asking a couple questions like, "Why are you supporting Obama?" and "What do you like about Obama?" the trooper retreated to his cruiser and left.
What a turkey!

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Dark underbelly of the beast

Allow me to introduce myself. I am a traitor and an idiot. Also, my mother should have aborted me and left me in a dumpster, but since she didn't, I should "off" myself.
Kathleen Parker, a conservative columnist, has learned firsthand about the ugliness on the Republican right - express an opinion contrary to the party line and they will try to silence you. About a week ago, Parker has written that Sarah Palin was out of her league and should be dropped from the ticket. In response, she got thousands of emails, many of them incredibly ugly, even threatening. You can read her entire column in the Washington Post.
I'm glad Parker had this epiphany and now realizes how mean the spirit can be on the Republican right. Out in the countryside of the 6th District, we've experienced it for years. Stolen and defaced signs. Obama signs shot by high powered rifles. Threats to people who write letters to the editor or place signs in their yard. Some threats acted upon with vandalism and personal intimidation.
Times are rapidly changing here in the 6th. Folks who have had enough are asking, no begging, for Obama/Biden signs which are springing up all over the place. In the newspapers I read, letters supporting Democratic candidates at least equal those supporting Republicans. Perhaps I'm biased, but they are also better written and more thoughtful. So many of the GOP letters seem to be repeating talking points of the partly line (don't want to stray like Parker did, or you will be silenced, too).
I have many Republican friends who subscribe to conservative principles and would never engage in this mean spirited discourse. On the other hand, I know several, including a couple holding office, who will smile to your face while stabbing you in the back. And I certainly know Republicans don't have a monopoly on being nasty, but it does seem much more despicable (not to mention unAmerican) when the group in the majority tries to silence the minority. Perhaps we in part owe this mentality to negative ads approved by the candidates - if its OK for them to lie and make hateful allegations against an opponent, it must be OK for anyone.
So Kathleen Parker has learned, as the Bible taught, "sow to the wind, and reap a whirlwind." That is a lesson we can all take to heart.