Sunday, April 27, 2008

Green thoughts, green actions

We all, in the Valley and beyond, need to think green. Conservation by each of us, however small the steps, can add up to big savings for your wallet and bigger savings for planet Earth. In this video, check out the hidden costs of your computer and other hi-tech stuff. 
So, what is your carbon footprint? The Nature Conservancy has an interesting and informative carbon footprint calculator to measure your household's climate impact. Check it out. Follow the links. Save money. Do your part to help the environment. We are all in this together!

Warner's Shad Planking Speech

Mark Warner has released his speech at the Shad Planking. A nice blend of humor and "radical centrist" politics. Haven't seen Jim Gilmore's comments yet. Have you?

Saturday, April 26, 2008

Peckin' around Queen City

Staunton has elections for city council coming up in a couple weeks. Folks in the Queen City pride themselves on the elections being nonpartisan and, because they are held in May, somewhat immune to contamination by state and/or national issues. Of course, voter turnout is probably lower than it would be in November and there is a cost factor. Delegate Chris Saxman, acting contrary to the expressed wishes of city council and many residents, introduced legislation to change from May to November. He cited the cost, but most observers recognized his attempt as pure partisan politics to bring GOP coattails to the nonpartisan election. Maybe it was a bit of payback to Bruce Elder who challenged Saxman and after losing that race was elected to council. While Elder doesn't parade around town on a donkey, he is known to frequent some Democratic events. And, he's pushed Saxman's hot buttons on payday loans and other issues.
But, are Staunton elections really "nonpartisan?" Although party labels aren't on the ballot and everyone talks about being nonpartisan, the Republican chair has been encouraging people to elect four Republicans: Rusty Ashby, Dickie Bell, Bob Campbell, and Andrea Oakes. 
Not to be left out, the Staunton Democratic Committee is hosting a candidate forum on April 28 at 7 PM in the council chambers. Wonder if those four will show? The other two candidates, Opie Kier and Dave Metz appear to have some unofficial support among city Democrats.
For now, at least, neither party appears to have endorsed any candidates for school board. Or have they and I just haven't found it in my scratching around?

Friday, April 25, 2008

Warner Kicks Off Campaign in 6th District

Mark Warner is kicking off his campaign in the 6th District with several exciting events. It all begins on Monday, May 5 at 8AM at No. 1 Fire House in Roanoke. On Tuesday, May 6 a campaign rally will be held at Monument Terrace in downtown Lynchburg at 11:30 AM. Later that same day, a kickoff speech on the Courthouse steps at 5PM in Harrisonburg

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Follow the Leader?

The News Leader just won't let the Augusta GOP, especially Capt. Kurt, alone! The Leader is all out of joint on this one, while most of the public could care less. But, such is the yellow journalistic style of that newspaper - run with a story and gin up people's emotions. Recall the endless "porn store" coverage and all the stories about the track at Expo. My guess is local Republicans don't really care about the Leader's position on the committee's problems. Neither do most residents. Give it a rest.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Rasoul wraps it up

With unanimous victories Monday in Lynchburg, Augusta, and Harrisonburg Sam Rasoul received an additional 34 delegates and 12 alternates for the May 24th District Convention in Lexington. Sam has now has more than 100 delegates, well past the 74 needed to receive the Democratic nomination at the Sixth District Convention.

Goodlatte - wrong on the ballot

Bob Goodlatte, the long time representative of VA-6, once again has misrepresented his constituents. Coming before the House of Representatives was the Holt bill – legislation that would give states the money they need to secure their electronic voting machines with paper ballots in time for the November election.
Goodlatte voted NO to secure elections. NO to fair elections. NO to elections that we can all trust.
The Holt bill got bipartisan support and won a majority of the House. But, it was brought up under a "streamlined" process requiring a 2/3s vote. It fell short because President Bush urged the House to vote against it. Goodlatte, ever the White House lap dog, voted NO.
Want to let Representative (a term I use loosely) know how you feel about free, fair, and open elections that Americans can trust. Common Cause has more information the Holt bill and suggestions about how you can get involved. Tell Goodlatte you want a paper trail. Tell him to represent Valley voters . . . for a change.

Botetourt County Backs Down

Botetourt County has decided to not enforce a political sign ordinance and will repeal it in the future. The ordinance had come into question because the Rasoul for Congress campaign had placed many signs in the county. Some in the Richardson campaign, and others, raised the issue. The ACLU eventually got involved arguing the ordinance limited free and open political speech.
From the ACLU press release:
Botetourt County Administrator Gerald Burgess has informed the American Civil Liberties Union of Virginia that a local ordinance prohibiting the posting of campaign signs on private property more than 60 days in advance of an election will be repealed in the near future and will not be enforced in the interim.
“Censoring the timing of expression can undermine free speech just as much as censoring content.” said ACLU of Virginia Executive Director Kent Willis. “The government can no more dictate when I put a campaign sign in my front yard than it can tell a newspaper when it can write an editorial about a particular topic.”
"We are pleased with Botetourt’s quick turnabout,” added Willis. “We are entering a particularly active political season in which many voters in Botetourt will want to express their support for political candidates through campaign signs. They should be able to do so without fear of reprisal.”
Willis pointed out that residents choosing to post Obama, Clinton, or McCain signs in their yards at this time would be breaking the law under the old ordinance.
The Botetourt sign controversy started earlier this year when County officials sent a letter to local political party leaders warning them not to post campaign signs in violation of the ordinance. Writing on behalf of Botetourt County Democratic Committee Chairman Jim Fain, ACLU of Virginia Legal Director Rebecca Glenberg threatened to file a lawsuit unless the County immediately scrapped the ordinance.
Similar ordinances in Farmville, Norton, Culpeper and Big Stone Gap have come under ACLU scrutiny in recent years. In each of those jurisdictions, government officials voluntarily repealed the time restrictions on campaign signs, rather than face a lawsuit.
In a letter to the ACLU, Burgess writes that the delay in repealing the ordinance is because Botetourt does not currently have a County Attorney. When an attorney is hired, according to Burgess, the Board of Supervisors “will direct that person to prepare an ordinance repealing the County’s current ordinance regarding political signs.”

Kurt's clucking

Kurt Michael, one "chair" of the Augusta GOP, says he'll step down after the May 3 Sixth District Convention - step down from a phantom chair, I guess. Larry Roller, the other "chair" of the Augusta GOP announced a meeting by way of a letter to the editor - doubt that follows protocol. Fred Anderson, the chair (he really is) of the Sixth District says he'll resolve the chairmanship of the Augusta Republicans by the time of the convention. He knows a fight in the hen house won't be resolved by the hens themselves. What he won't resolve are the bitter (popular political word these days) feelings running rampant among the party faithful. One needs only read a few local blogs like Lynn Mitchell's swacgirl to know how deeply divided the party is between what I'll call "responsible Republicans" and the "reactionary Republicans." Would be nice to be a mouse in the Sixth District Convention which promises to be a fowl affair. My bet is the hens, led by Capt. Kurt, will still be clucking . . . and spreading litter.
In contrast, Sixth District Democrats seem a pretty calm bunch. Sure, there was a dust-up about local leadership in the Roanoke area, but for the most part their local committees seem united for the fall campaign. Reports are that attendance and donations are up. A potentially divisive nomination fight for House of Representatives was averted with Drew Richardson's gracious withdrawal. Valley Democrats appear to be enthusiastic in support of Sam Rasoul for Congress and Mark Warner for Senate.
Remember Will Rogers' quote about "I belong to no organized political party - I am a Democrat?" I'm sure they'll get in their own intra-party scuffle at some point, but Rogers' sentiments don't seem to be holding true in '08.

Saturday, April 19, 2008

This ain't chicken feed

Mark Warner and his wife, Lisa Collins, have donated $1.5 million to the Nature Conservancy for its work in the Allegheny Highlands. The Conservancy bought the Warm Springs Mountain Preserve in Bath County for $6.2 million in 2002. Their donation is good bit more than the hundred bucks a year I can muster!! The central Appalachians, from Virginia to Pennsylvania, are known for a diversity of wildlife including bobcat, black bear, and barred owl and for many species of plants. The area of the preserve is also the headwaters to many Virginia rivers and is crucial for assuring clean water for millions.
Thank you Mark and Lisa for your generous contribution!

Friday, April 18, 2008

GOP Laying Mash

The feathers keep flying in the GOP cockfight. Larry Roller (elected chair at the first meeting) has called for an organizational meeting that he announced in a letter to the editor. Not sure this follows protocol or not? According to The News Leader, Kurt Michael (elected chair at the second meeting) lays claim to the chair by virtue of fact that his name is still on the state party roster. But the state GOP says nobody is chair. Ditto the 6th District committee.
Pecking around in the grist, I'm 99% sure the Michael folks pulled a slick one at the first meeting, quietly telling supporters to linger after the voting for another meeting. So, after the vote tally and some confusion and protests, the meeting was "adjourned" (seems to be dispute about that too). Many folks left believing they'd elected Roller as chair. Then Captain Kurt took the podium and declared the adjournment really hadn't happened and with precise parliamentary procedure (always easier when everyone in the room agrees with the outcome) conducts a "free and open" election of himself as chair.
Only one thing I'm sure of: Kurt and Larry won't be sharing a ride to the next 6th District committee meeting. One will be coming home early and very pissed off. The other one will come home smiling, but he better be watching over his shoulder. His enemies may be gaining on him.
At any rate, all this has been great fun in the henhouse. What will all the hens do when this is over? Guess it will be back to watching the bugs in the manure. Cluck. Cluck. 

Wednesday, April 16, 2008


Valley Market is a food co-op in Staunton promoting cooperatively run retail stores with produce, bulk food, dairy, meats and other grocery items. It supports local, organic, and sustainable agriculture. Check them out.
Valley Market is hosting a free screening of King Korn at the Dixie Theater. From their online ad:
Celebrate Earth Day with us as we continue our spring movie series with a free screening of King Corn. King Corn is a feature documentary about two friends, one acre of corn, and the subsidized crop that drives our fast-food nation. Voluntary donations support the Staunton Performing Arts Center and future Valley Market events. Enjoy complimentary locally-grown popcorn with corn-free sodas, courtesy of Back Door Butcher. And a big thanks to our other sponsor, Countryside Natural Products.

New Valley YD Blog

A new blog, Young Democrats of Augusta County, appeared this week. There has been some recent activity among high school, Mary Baldwin, and BRCC students to organize YD activities, register voters, etc. Always good getting young people involved in their community and politics. Check it out and pass the info on to teens and young adults.

Monday, April 14, 2008

Warner in Harrisonburg!

Mark Warner will kick off his campaign for the United States Senate with a stop in Harrisonburg on Tuesday, May 6 at 5:15 PM on the Rockingham County Courthouse steps. Warner just turned in over 29,000 signatures (3 X more than necessary) to qualify for the Democratic Primary. No other candidate qualified. The former Governor is very popular among Shenandoah Valley voters. I know there will be many more stops along the I-81 corridor for Mark Warner's campaign.
For more information on Mark Warner's visit to the Central Valley, or to help out, call Lowell at 540-820-2592 or email

Sunday, April 13, 2008

The Pendulum and the Pit

A blogger named Truth-teller has a good analysis of the recent GOP wars in Augusta County. While Republicans aren't quite committing public hari kari in other committees in the 6th District, the tensions that erupted there and in Staunton can be found among the party faithful throughout the district and across Virginia and the county.
The "Sluggard Republicans" (as Truth-teller named them) are the remnants of the Mountain-Valley Republicans. In the 50s and 60s this group had electoral success in western Virginia and were, in many ways, more progressive than some of the southern Democrats of the Byrd Machine who dominated state politics. These are the Republicans who elected the first Republican governor in nearly 100 years, Linwood Holton (Tim Kaine's father-in-law) and John Dalton. They also began building the party planting the seeds that eventually captured the General Assembly. The Mountain-Valley Republicans, though basically conservative, did believe in the positive power of government and compromise for the common good. In the recent brawl in Augusta, Emmett Hanger is the most obvious heir to this tradition.
Along came the "Regressive Republicans" (h/t Truth-teller) with an anti-government and no compromise agenda. Some inspired by Reagan, others ideological comrades of the old southern Democrats who felt abandoned by changes in that party, and some driven by an evangelical desire to create an American theocracy. Propelled by hatred of Roe v. Wade, taxes, and a more tolerant and open society they slowly but surely took over the heart and soul (if they have either) of the GOP.
For a while, the old and new coexisted in the Virginia Republican Party and together achieved electoral success by eventually capturing the General Assembly, both U.S. Senate seats, and a majority of the Congressional delegation. Sensing a wind shift, some local sheriffs and court clerks abandoned the party who had supported and elected them and became what might be called "opportunist Republicans" who didn't care as much about principles as their own seats.
But, the Regressive Republicans never really liked or trusted the Mountain-Valley types and they were on a mission of taking over the party and reestablishing the "government in exile" (pre Great Depression government policies/interpretation of the Constitution), overturning Roe, and establishing a theocracy. As their numbers increased in the party structure, they threatened and scared many of the remaining Mountain-Valley office holders into submission. And, significant pressure came from above. For example, Grover Norquist threatening to take down any Republican who did not sign his anti-tax pledge (Emmett Hanger and a few others refused) or a former GOP Senator "advising" a moderate mayor to not run for House of Delegates lest federal grants for his city suddenly dry up.
Fast forward to the 2007 General Assembly elections. Regressive Republicans under the "leadership" of Michael, Mitchell, Taetzsch, Davis and others in surrounding parts of the district promoted a political nobody (but drunk on their influence) named Scott Sayre to challenge Hanger in the primary for state Senate in 2007. A nasty and deceptive campaign ensues (amazing how these "moralists" can lie and cheat in pursuit of their goals) in which Hanger squeaks out a victory. Hanger has amazing staying power among Augusta/Staunton voters, but he was far weaker in other parts of the district. Sayre's supporters blame Democrats for voting in the Republican primary and providing Hanger with the margin, but evidence of that is inconclusive at best. The grist mill reveals some Dems did vote for Hanger out of friendship or because of fear of Sayre, but others supported Sayre hoping a fringe candidate would be easier for the Democrat, David Cox, to defeat in the fall.
Today the GOP is in disarray. The Regressive Republicans have achieved some success with guys like Cline, Lohr, Saxman, and others throughout the valley and Commonwealth - candidates with a quick smile, a folksy manner, and a stealthy right wing agenda. Looking at the next crop of potential statewide candidates - Bob McDonnell and Ken Cuccinelli, for example - finds most in the Regressive Republican mold. Old Mountain-Valley Republicans like Hanger are fighting back, but have become outcasts within their own local committees and are vilified on blogs, letters to the editor, and in the whisper campaign.
In the meantime the Democrats have emerged from their intra-party divisions of the past stronger than ever. Behind such practical moderates as Mark Warner and Tim Kaine the party is resurgent. Local committees up and down the 81 corridor, and across the state are growing in energy, manpower, and money. Individuals who once shied away from Democrats and politics in general are coming forth to get involved and run for office. In 2006 Democrats elected Jim Webb to the U.S. Senate and 2007 they recaptured the Virginia Senate and made gains in the House of Delegates. The 2008 elections offer a great opportunity for Democrats to capture the second Senate seat and several seats in the House of Representatives. And for the first time since 1964, if Barack Obama heads the ticket, Virginia stands poised to vote for the Democratic nominee.
The pendulum of politics has a self-correcting mechanism. The Regressives overplayed a hand that was way out of touch with most people - and they don't even know they've done it. The Sluggards frittered their hand away - but they'll keep fighting. Filling the void are the Democrats with a positive agenda, common sense governing, and the politics of working together for the common good. The same mill that made "Coarse Cracked Corn" also made "Victory Laying Mash." Victory is exactly what is blowing in the wind for Democrats in 2008.

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

New Thinking on the Climate Crisis.

In this half hour talk/slideshow, "New Thinking on the Climate Crisis," Al Gore draws the connections between the climate crisis and our democracy crisis. He presents new scientific evidence about global warming. Gore calls for a new sense of "generational mission" to solve this planetary emergency.
Original presentation at Ted Talks.

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Urge Superdelegates to Support Obama

According to the Washington Post and Richmond Times-Dispatch, 34 local committee chairs and five congressional district chairs have urged Virginia's Superdelegates to support Barack Obama. In the February primary, Obama crushed Clinton by winning 64% of the statewide vote. In VA-6, signers included Tom Long, Augusta County; Bob Dickerman, Staunton; Tony Reed, Roanoke City; and John Lawrence, Lynchburg.
Virginia has 16 superdelegates. Currently 6 support Clinton and 4 support Obama. The uncommitted superdelegates are party chair Richard Cranwell, former Clinton administration Labor Secretary Alexis Herman, Virginia AFL-CIO President Jim Leaman, Sen. Jim Webb, John Johnson and Jerome Wiley-Segovia.
Want to join in the effort to encourage these superdelegates to support Barack Obama? Sign the Petition.

Monday, April 7, 2008

Chicken Feed: Payday lenders at the trough

A payday lending "reform" bill waits on Governor Kaine's desk. Is it meaningful reform or more laying mash for the predatory industry? Can the Governor offer amendments to toughen it and send it back to the General Assembly? Or will the Senate, at the urging of a couple powerful Democrats, block the Governor and real reform?
The bill that passed has a few significant changes from current law. Among other things it caps the APR at 36% but allows a 20% fee and a $5 fee to support a data base of payday loan borrowers. There are other changes in the minimum term of the loan and limits on the number of loans.
Opponents see this as caving in to the industry. A coalition of the AARP, the Virginia Poverty Law Center, the Virginia Interfaith Center for Public Policy, and the Virginia Organizing Project made it clear they are not giving up the fight for meaningful reform. I imagine Staunton City Councilman Bruce Elder will keep up the fight, too. Elder pushed the Council to adopt a tough resolution urging the General Assembly to act. Many other localities followed Staunton's lead.
Media in the Valley and across the state is urging Kaine to offer some amendments (one he heard about in the Town Hall Meetings - cut the 20% in half). A Roanoke Times editorial speculates the timid reforms will only delay the battle to next year's session. Jim McCloskey, the thought-provoking cartoonist at the News Leader, recently jabbed at the General Assembly's weak bill:
No bill is better than a bad bill. The bill on Governor Kaine's desk will be a bad law that will reduce chances of passing real reform next year. Write the Governor and encourage him to add amendments to protect consumers. Challenge him to put the issue squarely in front of those Virginia Senators, including Majority Leader Dick Saslaw, who are a bit too cozy with the payday loan industry. Then let the Senators squirm and justify why they favor predators over people.

Saturday, April 5, 2008

VA-6: reflections on the recent campaign

Rick Howell posted his thoughts on Drew Richardson's exit from the race. While he makes some good points, he unfortunately returns to spitting the bile that characterized most of his commentary on that blog, in a letter to the editor, and in other forums during the brief campaign.
So, a few thoughts from the chicken house on Sam's success and the reasons Drew's campaign never gained traction. But remember Coarse Cracked Corn is 8% protein, 2.5% fat, and 2.75% fiber. Who knows what comes out the other end? You may see this post mostly as litter to spread on the fields before the spring rains.
When the battle began about two months ago, Sam had a big lead, that in hindsight was probably insurmountable. I don't know when Sam began visiting committees and visiting events to which Democrats flock, but at some point we all became aware of his presence. Yes, there were questions about his youth and comments about shallowness on issues. 
But, Sam was everywhere always greeting folks and (importantly) listening to what VA-6 Democrats had on their minds. As he and his campaign matured so did his understanding of a range of issues important to Democrats and residents of the district. While he spoke more frequently and in more depth some topics, like health policy, it was apparent that he was not a one issue candidate. By the fall of '07 many active Democrats were taking note and drawing favorable impressions.
Sam probably locked the hearts and minds of many Democrats by his willingness to show up and campaign for local and General Assembly candidates. With a smile and energy he went door-to-door, attended fundraisers, and helped where needed. Democrats didn't forget.
By the end of the year Sam was well positioned for the push for the nomination. He'd been to most local committees several times, had built up goodwill among even his skeptics, and had committed volunteers in most counties and cities. He'd grown as a candidate and developed his depth of knowledge on the core issues. He'd shown a willingness to attack Goodlatte on his failures - red meat for Democrats. He'd secured, or was close to securing, the support of various party leaders who appreciated his demonstrated commitment to local committees.
As we entered the new year the question echoed "where is that other guy who was going to run?" For months, rumors had been floating about his candidacy, but nothing was happening. He had great credentials and a compelling life story, but active Democrats didn't know much about him. I remember one person asking in a meeting "what about the FBI guy . . .?" and only a couple people there knew his name. Drew did write interesting columns for a newspaper and made bioterrorism presentations groups, but he really had not connected with the very groups who would be determining the nomination.
In January, Drew began visiting committees and more publicly floating the idea of his candidacy. His main theme then (and in the forum in Harrisonburg last week) seemed to be electability. Yes, he talked about security and other issues, but to many Democrats there was uncertainty about where he stood on core issues. Most importantly, time was running out to organize a good campaign before the local caucuses in mid April.
The uncertainly was reinforced when Drew did eventually announce. For a while, his website was only a greetings portal devoid of discussion of issues. Rumors were rife that he'd asked several people to join his campaign and he'd been rebuffed. Eventually word spread that he had Adam Sharp and Rick Howell on board. Both Adam and Rick have campaign experience and many thought the battle for the nomination had finally been joined.
However, many Democrats recoiled at the negative campaign that began emerging. Questioning Sam's age, contributions, religion, experiences, loyalty, etc. . . . ad nauseam. Posts on Rick's site and other blogs like Cobalt6 quickly became heated. Someone created a new blog, 81blue, to subtly attack Rasoul. Drew personally remained above the fray, but the message generated by Adam's and Rick's tactics was clear: with time short, the path to a Richardson victory was to be found in tearing Rasoul down rather than by lifting Richardson up. I'll repeat, many Democrats recoiled. Emotions got raw. Positions hardened.
Such a strategy may have worked in a primary where a larger numbers of people voting may not have known either candidate personally. But in local caucuses, where the participants would likely be party activists who knew both candidates, it was doomed.
By the first of April, it was clear that time was running short for the Richardson campaign to round up delegates for all the local caucuses throughout the district. Instead of negative attacks, the campaign staff could better have better spent time calling and meeting Democrats to make personal appeals. But, Rasoul's folks weren't sitting still - they were lining up committed delegates at every opportunity.
Drew is a smart guy and, given this landscape, he knew the odds were heavily against his eventual success. The caucuses would have been bloody battles filled with rules and credentials challenges. Rumor is that he was never comfortable with the negative tone coming out of his campaign - a piercing tone that crowded out his discussions on issues.
Drew's comments as he withdrew from the campaign were both gracious and realistic, creating the environment for greater party unity as we face the fall campaign. Hopefully, his supporters will follow his lead. Drew is a committed Democrat and we can all hope he will stay active in the 6th District and perhaps seek office at another time.
So, what has this old rooster learned by pecking around in the coarse cracked corn of this campaign?
Get an early start - especially important if you aren't known to Democrats throughout this large district. Perhaps someone with widespread name recognition could enter just a couple months before the caucuses and prevail, but there aren't too many candidates like that.
Resist going negative - Democrats are not comfortable with negative campaigning, especially against one of their own. Pointing out differences on issues is okay; getting personal or rumormongering is not.
Get comfortable with retail politics - all politics is personal and Sam has proven to be very good and comfortable at it. All magnified in a caucus nominating process.
Pay your dues - a commitment to helping other Democrats' campaigns and fundraising events will not be forgotten.
OK, enough pecking in the coarse cracked corn of this one. Moving on . . .
Peck. Peck.

Friday, April 4, 2008

The hottest places in Hell . . .

A great speech by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. that rings with clarity today as it did 40 years ago.

Rasoul's statement

Responding to Drew Richardson's announcement earlier in the day, Sam Rasoul sent an email that began:
I am writing to you in a time of great possibility and hope. I am thankful and proud to be the presumptive nominee of our party for the 6th Congressional District and I look forward to the challenges ahead. I am thankful that Drew Richardson entered the race and allowed us to discuss crucial issues in our district. I am honored to carry our banner into the general election of 2008. We as a party have the chance now to move forward united and energized to re-capture this Congressional District for the good of the people. I am now prepared to continue an aggressive and grassroots driven campaign as the presumptive nominee.
He also posted a video message:
I expect the next few weeks will see Sam traveling the district and healing any hard feelings that developed in the short but intense campaign since Drew entered. Local committees will still caucus to select delegates to the District and State conventions. 
Peck. Peck.

Thursday, April 3, 2008

Drew Richardson withdraws from race

Drew Richardson suspended his campaign for the House of Representatives today. The following statement was released on his website and in an email:
It has been my privilege to be a candidate for the office of U.S. Congress and to seek the Democratic nomination for that office in our district. Nevertheless, it has become obvious to me over the last many weeks that my opponent has won the support of a majority of our party's activists and perhaps had done so prior to my entry into the race. If I were to continue with my campaign I have concluded, even if I were to be successful, the win could badly divide our party. I personally would be left with, at best, merely having won a short-lived victory only to guarantee sure defeat for the party and myself in November. For these reasons, as well as to allow my opponent to begin his general election campaign a month or two earlier than he might otherwise have done, I am suspending my campaign for the Democratic nomination effective immediately. I congratulate the presumptive nominee, Mr. Rasoul, and wish him and his supporters well and good luck over the coming months. Thanks to those who have encouraged me to enter this race, to those who have supported my efforts and particularly to my campaign staff. Finally, a special thank you to all of you for your past, present and continued participation in the political process. Best Regards, Drew
Cross posted at We Will RockDem

New kid in the coop

She should have done this on April 1.
A new name surfaced in the race for CD6. Yesterday, Janice Lee Allen sent a much forwarded email announcing her candidacy for the seat currently held hostage by Bob Goodlatte. Vaguely worded, the email sounded like she was seeking the Democratic nomination.
She referenced visiting the 6th District Committee a year ago and having regular conversations with David Laymen, including one just a week before David's untimely death. According to Ms. Allen, they talked of "infighting in the Party" and that David was "deeply concerned about the future of the Party." In short, David encouraged her to run saying, "Do it." Guess we'll never know what really took place in those conversations.
Ms. Allen's email included a link to her website, Allen for Congress. After the site name the first word is "independent." I won't bore you or me by relating what is or isn't on her site - visit it for yourself. 
Taking her email and website together, it appears she is probably running as an independent and hopes to pick up some Democrats to support her. If so, she'll be pecking around the district getting signatures on a petition to get on the ballot.
I do know this - David Layman was not encouraging her to run as an independent. So, by sending the email to addresses she gleaned off David's emails, could she be trying to jump into the fray for the Democratic nomination? Maybe she sees an opening in the spirited fight between Rasoul and Richardson and hopes the Democrats will turn to her?
Whichever is the case, Ms. Allen's entry into the race will be the high point of her campaign. Too little, too late for most Democrats to even notice her. If she runs as an independent, she'll get equally little notice from voters. But, she could draw a few votes that should go to the Democratic nominee.
If her email had floated a day earlier, we could have chalked it up as an April Fools Joke. That would have at least been a bit poetic. But, since she waited a day, I can only think it is a Bad Joke.
Peck. Peck.

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Bob Goodlatte's Broken Eggs

Hey Bob - you've supported all the spending and all the WAR. Senator Hagel has a point of view. Care to respond (of course not - you are gutless)

Scrambled Eggs

At the Democratic "debate" in Harrisonburg last night, Sam Rasoul and Drew Richardson laid out their views on issues. Not much of a "debate" because they really aren't all that far apart on the key issues. So according to the Daily News-Record account, the main discussion was electability. Richardson touted his age (56) and experience (FBI) as the keys to winning. On the other hand, Rasoul pointed to his year-long campaign and hard work for the party that has brought him into contact with every part of the sprawling 6th District.
A strong Democrats may be able unseat Goodlatte - nationally the issues like Iraq, the mortgage meltdown, the economy, health care.... and many others favor Democrats. In Virginia, a ticket lead by Mark Warner will be strong.
But, a reality check. There is a fox in the henhouse. Unseating an entrenched incumbent is tough - they win about 90% of the time. Goodlatte has money in the bank and friends with lots of laying mash to keep that feeder full. And we all know there are a lots of GOP clucks in the district who will keep peckin' they way they always have. What I am saying is this: which candidate Rasoul or Richardson, is in this race for the long haul? Which one will attend the county fairs, the committee meetings, the community dinners, the parades, and all the other things that will be necessary to introduce himself to the voters and win their hearts, minds, and votes? If he should come up short on Election Day, which candidate will be around afterwards working for Democrats and the issues which we care deeply about? Which one may see a loss as an opportunity to run again, build on his base, and win? Peck, peck...

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Less Corn?

Belle Rose couldn't ignore news stories about less corn being planted this year. What's up with that? How am I to get my protein, fat, and fiber? Coarse cracked corn.... indeed!
So what is the bottom line? Higher prices for your corn flakes and many other products made with corn. Don't forget those products raised on corn - beef and poultry are the most notable. Expect the lay more green out at the grocery line.
And what about ethanol? Does this mean farmers aren't betting on the future of that alternate fuel? Cluck cluck... I'm coming to that conclusion. Corn isn't that great of a producer of ethanol. Esp. on plots better able to grow soybeans or something else. Takes too much energy to produce corn ethanol (now sugar beets may be another story). And less acres of corn = higher prices for ethanol making is even more expensive relative to (already expensive) gas.
So, I may be a dumb cluck, but I'm still concerned. Sounds like ethanol is a turkey (sorry cousin) and prices at Chick-fil-A will be going up. Also that burger. And the big greasy fried egg breakfast. Toss out some more coarse cracked corn - I'll try to fatten up before the price increase.
Peck, peck.