Friday, June 1, 2007

Media Spin on the Venezuela Uprising

Wuzza Dem has an interesting take on the mainstream media coverage of the intense civil uprising in Venezuela against Hugo Chavez's hard-line socialist government

He mentions that some of the article titles he has read were completely ambiguous and do not really capture the real story at all.

For instance, two headlines he mentions are "Venezuelan TV Station Shutdown Sparks Criticism" and "Venezuela TV Station Shuts Down". Yes, those headlines capture the scene of thousands of protesters filling the streets of Caracas each and every day for several days now.

Check out the video at the Wuzza Dem link above, and tell me it doesn't remind you of Tienanmen Square, circa 1989.

All Candidates On The Issues

Check out every political leader on the issues here.

You can see where they stand on many important issues.

Scroll to the bottom to see their political leanings as defined by their votes and comments. Also, take the "Vote Match" quiz to see your political philosophy and what candidates you most closely match ideologically speaking.

Out of the presidential candidates, I match closest to Fred Thompson and Duncan Hunter...go figure. My ideology is defined as a Populist-Leaning Conservative. I found that to be somewhat true, but there are those who say this test is flawed, so take it with a grain of salt.

Have fun.

Immigration Revolt Amongst Conservative Base

The GOP base is going into full revolt over this immigration bill/easy amnesty bill that the Bush administration and some 'Pubs in Congress are pushing. The blogs aren't being quiet, either. The donors, however, are apparently being deafening in their silence. A lot of buzz about this today. Needless to say, the Republicans need to do a SERIOUS about-face on this issue. Right now, I'm REALLY supporting a Fred Thompson/Duncan Hunter ticket come 2008.

--- The Washington Times reports that small-donor contributions to the RNC are off 40% from where they should be, mostly due to the grassroots donors who are rebelling against this immigration bill.

--- The News Buckit calls for the U.S. to "enforce the laws on the books and protect that border!" That kind of common sense is too much for Congress to figure out, I guess. They also note that Bush's poll numbers were hovering around 33-35% before this mess, but that this bill could so alienate himself from the GOP base, that he could possibly poll below Nixon's Watergate-era poll numbers (25%) if he continues pushing this bill.

--- La Shawn Barber has now lost all faith in President Bush, referring to him as "an idiot", and stating that Bush will go down in history as a man who turned America into a 3rd world country.

--- Peggy Noonan makes an astute observation..."What political conservatives and on-the-ground Republicans must understand at this point is that they are not breaking with the White House on immigration. They are not resisting, fighting and thereby setting down a historical marker--"At this point the break became final." That's not what's happening. What conservatives and Republicans must recognize is that the White House has broken with them."

And asks a good question...

"Why would they speak so insultingly, with such hostility, of opponents who are concerned citizens? And often, though not exclusively, concerned conservatives?"

--- Laura Ingraham is angry with this whole immigration bill, too...and she takes Linda Chavez to task on it. H/t to Hot Air for the audio.

--- Michelle Malkin reports on the protests outside of Trent Lott's office this morning.

--- Hot Air notes that in the latest Rasmussen Reports poll, only 16% of Americans believe that this immigration bill will reduce illegal immigration, 74% disagree...including 41% that believe this bill will increase illegal immigration.

Interesting Look at the 27th Scandal

Virginia Virtucon has an interesting look at the accusations and stories that Ben Tribbett (Not Larry Sabato) has been posting as of late. It seems Ben is jumping the gun and overlooking the facts behind the statements on a few points.

Of course, the fact remains is that Mark Tate was still indicted on the election fraud and perjury counts...but how quick some are to dismiss that fact and attempt to find out all the supposed "dirty dealings" of the Republican Party of Virginia.

Apparently, I'm Not Clear Enough For Some...

This is, hopefully, the last I have to speak on this issue. I'm going to even bullet-point this so I make myself clear.

  1. I don't think that Republitarian's constant harping on the Mary Sayre/DUI issue is right, and is overstating the issue. If he had mentioned that this is a fact, and left it at that, I wouldn't have an issue with it.
  2. I do believe that Republitarian was provoked into publishing any dirt possible on Sayre because he felt he was being unfairly attacked by pro-Sayre bloggers.
  3. I don't think Republitarian should have threatened Virginia Virtucon.
  4. I'm not defending Republitarian's actions, as I think he's gone WAY over the line on this issue.
  5. I'm not defending Bloggers4Sayre, either.
  6. I'm simply stating things as I see them from a 3rd party perspective. If Republitarian and the Sayre bloggers want to continue this war of words and actions, so be it...I will have nothing more to do with this spat.
  7. I don't have the "anti-Sayre blogger" viewpoint that most at Daily Whackjob have.
  8. I actually like Scott Sayre a lot, politically-speaking, and I would readily endorse him if there weren't constant controversies involving his supporters and others.

See the lengths I have to go to just so people understand MY point of view?

A View of America

I've heard many people, mostly on the left, that state that blind patriotism and love for your country is apparently only for morons. Some even say that true patriotism is to exercise your right to question the government and the direction of the country. I know I certainly exercise those rights, that's a large part of why I have this blog.

However, why is it that some people refuse to have any kind of a moment where they simply stand up and say "I love America! It's the greatest country in the world!"

My mother has told me that when she came to this country (which was in 1971, during the Vietnam war), she was amazed that the straight-up, unconditional love American citizens had for their country. Now, she says, unconditional love for our nation is at an all-time low, and it wasn't even this bad during the tumultuous decade of the 1970's.

I'm inclined to agree. To have an unconditional love for America, flaws and all, is something that many people look down upon as being ignorant, or simply out-dated. Some believe that there is no place in modern America for this kind of old-fashioned patriotism.

"Why not?", I ask.

I don't subscribe to the theory the common, everyday liberal hates America. They simply have a different view of it. I do believe that there are some who hate America as she has been and as she is now, and think that rapid changes need to be made to our society...namely, adding in socialist ideologies. There are many instances that liberal ideology can be helpful in guiding America down the right path.

However, other than during the Great Depression, when has the federal government really had (or needed to have) a consistently heavy hand in our day-to-day lives? The answer is really, never. Most recessions and economic downturns have been short-lived, due to the strength of the American economy, not due to large increases in government influence in industry, commerce, and society.

Yes, our nation has it's flaws. Yes, we're not completely rid of racism, religious bigotry, homophobia, and sexism. However, one of the glorious aspects of this nation is the fact that our government is designed to allow the average citizen to live their lives without consistent governmental interference. To change that will change the entire definition of American society.

I still take pride in the fact that I am an American. I am a citizen of the United States of America, and I LOVE it. I wouldn't want to live anywhere else in the world. I do take offense when other nations attack and denigrate the country that allows me to live as free a life as possible in this world. I truly believe that in this country, we are allowed life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness...we might not all get that happiness, but at least we have the opportunity to pursue it.

I support our military, and the need for a strong military to defend our shores and to stop tyrants from encroaching on the established freedom of others. I believe in lower taxes, smaller government, American-style capitalism, and a certain moral standard about our society. I also believe that prejudice against religions, races, sexual orientations, and gender is wrong, but as a nation, we have always moved forward in eliminating those prejudices from our land.

In the end, though, I believe that our nation, in a general sense, does the right thing most of the time. Sometimes we stumble, sometimes we aren't fully prepared, sometimes we have to admit that we messed something up, and once in a long while...we're wrong about something. However, most of the time, we are usually right.

Now I ask you, what's wrong with that?

Chaz Evans-Haywood is Popular, and for Good Reason

Between Virginia Virtucon, SWAC Girl, NOVA Townhall, In-Politically Correct, John Maxfield, and even his own opponent Myron Rhodes (Republitarian), Chaz Evans-Haywood is a very well-liked guy and has been ringing up tons of compliments and endorsements from conservatives in the blogosphere during his campaign for Rockingham County Clerk of Court.

Chaz has a good amount of experience in the political arena, having served as a Regional Representative for former Senator George Allen, as well as District Representative for Rep. Bob Goodlatte.

His open letter to the residents of Rockingham County and the City of Harrisonburg really outlines his credentials well.

Myron has had plenty of good ideas that I can agree with, as well. However, while I can see why he brought up the issue with Sayre's wife, I also believe that he could have used better judgment in how he went about bringing up this issue, instead of simply slamming Sayre for it because of his grudge against the Bloggers4Sayre.

So, the Podium now endorses Chaz Evans-Haywood for Rockingham Clerk of Court.

Thursday, May 31, 2007

Republitarian and the Bloggers4Sayre

I goes without saying that the 24th District Primary has become a wild affair in the VA blogosphere.

Republitarian (Myron Rhodes, in case you read about this elsewhere and see his name) pretty much conceded to me that I was right to think that his recent avalanche of stories, sentiments, and opinions against Scott Sayre were not necessarily because he didn't like the candidate or was a fan of Emmett Hanger. It was because of the fact that many of the Bloggers4Sayre group attacked him for what they felt were pro-Hanger sentiments.

It was revealed by Republitarian, and then confirmed by The New Dominion, that Scott Sayre's wife has 2 DUI convictions on her record, on in 2003 and another in 2006.

I do agree with SWAC Girl and Cliff Garstang, among others, that this issue really has practically NOTHING to do with the upcoming primary between Sayre and Hanger. This information is also inappropriate, and not the kinds of things I want to read about when it comes to deciding who a better candidate is. If Sayre's wife was running, maybe then it would be an issue. Nonetheless, it does cast Sayre in a bad light.

Where I somewhat defend Republitarian is on the issue that he was trying to remain neutral, and when he wasn't necessarily pro-Sayre in his commentary (nor was he pro-Hanger, either), he was taken to task by the Bloggers4Sayre. Spank That Donkey told me that he was taking Myron to task because up to this point, Myron had been against taxes...and that by not supporting Sayre, he was "swaying" on this issue.

However, I figured that the attacks on Republitarian were what drove him to start publishing dirt on Sayre, since it was his supporters that denigrated him for quite a while. Turns out I was right.

While Republitarian's "dirt" barely affects my view of Scott Sayre, I can't say I totally blame him for going on the offensive, considering he was initially gang-tackled by Sayre supporters even though he was remaining neutral between the two. I'm surprised that the pro-Sayre bloggers are so surprised at the backlash against what their supporting.

Personally, I have plenty of ideological similarities with the pro-Sayre/SWAC bloggers. That's why when they go on a massive swarm against someone who is remaining neutral...I'm shocked, because I didn't think that being neutral about a race that is not in your district was such a bad thing.

What I wish is that both sides could simply "cut the crap" and get back to the bigger objective of promoting solid, sensible conservatism, which is what the Republicans should be doing.

Unfortunately, I don't know if that will happen any time soon.

Mitt Romney and the Bigoted Clinton Supporter

You may have seen this already, but if you haven't, here it is courtesy of The News Buckit.

To sum it up, a Hillary Clinton supporter (who later stated he was "a liberal") was approached by GOP presidential hopeful Mitt Romney in a restaurant, who respectfully asks "How are you doing, sir?"

The guy says "I'm one person who will never vote for a Mormon!" That's all, just simply shouted it right at Romney.

Romney replied "Is that so?" The guy affirmed this, and Romney asked "Can I shake your hand, anyway?"

The guy shouted "NO!" Romney said "Ok", and brushed it off with a smile.

Mitt Romney showed some top-notch class and deft ability to handle an awkward situation Hats off to him for handling it for with a smile, still showing the bigoted gentleman respect, and remaining calm. The Clinton campaign immediately disavowed the comment, stating that they "strongly disagree" with the man's comments.

However, I love this quote from Romney spokesman Kevin Madden: "I thought liberals were supposed to be the protectors of tolerance as a virtue."

I don't know, but I know that's what they tell you they are...

Linda Chavez Doesn't Get It

Linda Chavez goes off the deep end.

The former Secretary of Labor nominee (who withdrew due to allegations she hired illegal aliens) made some harsh statements about those who don't support open borders and/or the Immigration Capitulation bill. Most notably, this quote here

"Some people just don’t like Mexicans — or anyone else from south of the border. They think Latinos are freeloaders and welfare cheats who are too lazy to learn English. They think Latinos have too many babies, and that Latino kids will dumb down our schools. They think Latinos are dirty, diseased, indolent and more prone to criminal behavior. They think Latinos are just too different from us ever to become real Americans."

Linda Chavez, I am a Hispanic...first-generation American on my mother's side. I don't support this plan because it circumvents the justification for having laws in this country. Illegal aliens came here illegally, and therefore do not have the right to stay here. They should be deported if caught, and made to go through the legal process to obtain legal status in the United States of America.

My mother did it. My grandparents did it. Millions upon millions of our ancestors did it. These illegal immigrants can do it, too.

A Few Steps Closer...

I was reading a Washington Post article about how Fred Thompson would shake up the GOP nomination race (no, really???), and I believe it to be true. In fact, the crowd will thin out quickly behind him once he gets going. Gilmore, Tommy Thompson, Tancredo, Sam Brownback..these guys won't last too much longer, which will help narrow things down come the fall campaign season and the winter primaries.

Thompson has already told "Law and Order" producers that he will not return to the show this fall. Although he didn't give political reasons, I think it's pretty obvious why.

I also like what was said in a column posted today at The Conservative Voice by Robert D. Novak. Especially the quote below, which really sits true with many of my beliefs.

"...he deplores ethical abuses, profligate spending and incompetent management of the Iraq war. He becomes incandescent when considering abysmal CIA and Justice Department performance under the Bush administration."

As for the conservatives that question Thompson's support for McCain-Feingold...

"His one deviation from the conservative line has been support for the McCain-Feingold campaign reform, much of which he now considers overtaken by current fundraising practices and perhaps irrelevant."

I think that pretty much answers that. Otherwise, he's a populist-leaning moderate conservative, not too unlike myself.

Some people ask me "why Thompson, why are you so behind this guy". Simply put, between his political stances, the way he carries himself, and the way he makes me believe in the man. I've supported many candidates, I've liked many candidates, but few politicians make me believe in them.

For a candidate to not only have strong position stances, but to make you truly believe that he is the right man for the job...that's a rare find.

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

A Potpourri of News and Notes...

---> Protests continue in Venezuela over Hugo Chavez's continued attempt to consolidate a socialist dictatorship in the country. It's good to see that it's the youth of the nation that are leading these protests against the government takeover, and that they embrace the values of freedom and democracy.

Just like the youth that supported Nicolas Sarkozy in France, people around the world are tired of the anti-Bush and anti-American sentiments of their leaders. Democrats be warned, the global tide is turning against what would be considered "favorable conditions" for you.

---> The American Al-Qaeda member indicted on charges of treason has issued a statement saying that Al-Qaeda will launch attacks worse than 9/11 and Virginia Tech. Of course, this guy is hiding out in Egypt saying this.

We've heard this song and dance before from Bin Laden himself. Needless to say, if Al-Qaeda wants to harm their cause permanently, attacking the U.S. would be the way to go. To resurrect the fervor and need for vengeance that we as a nation felt on 9/11 and the months that followed would be a BAD move for Al-Qaeda.

---> Nicolas Sarkozy wants to eliminate the 35-hour limit on the French work week, as unemployment is about 8 percent, and the economical growth rate is 2 percent. With the lengthened work week, Sarkozy also wants businesses and industries to start paying overtime to those who work it...something that does not happen in France. However, the longer lunch break, a long tradition in French society, is expected to remain untouched, along with a few other traditions of French society.

Good, I like this guy a lot. He wants to improve American-French relations, he wants French workers to be more productive, but still keep some of the social traditions of the nation. Kudos to him. His approval numbers are at 65%, the highest for any president at the beginning of their term in France. Here's some food for thought...not including national holidays and weekends, French workers get 48 days off per year. Many workers believe this does hinder productivity (you think?).

---> Los Angeles mayor Antonio Villagairosa officially endorsed Hillary Clinton for the 2008 presidential race. Villagairosa is a very powerful figure in California politics, and has the ear of millions of hispanic voters. This is a key endorsement for the Clinton campaign.

I really like Villagairosa as a role model for what hispanics (and other minorities) can do in this nation without having been fed a silver spoon, and he's been good for L.A.'s image. However, I just don't like the man's politics...this would be a reason why. At least he's not endorsing John Edwards (ugh)

---> Barack Obama outlined his healthcare plan for America yesterday. While he didn't go into details (not surprisingly), the plan is apparently not going to be a universal healthcare program, but it will expand the government's regulation of insurers, expand the number of people insured by private companies, and increase funds to assist with the payment of costly medical procedures.

Well, I can live with that much better than the Clinton and Edwards versions of "BlueCross BlueBureacracy", which is pretty much universal health care, bogged down even more by heavy government involvement. Either way, it's too much government...but at least Obama sounds somewhat sensible about his approach to this.

---> A man with a rare, potentially deadly strain of TB flew on two trans-Atlantic flights, and could have possibly exposed over 100 people to this. He is now quarantined at a hospital in Atlanta. Authorities in both the U.S. and foreign nations are now attempting to track down those who may have been potentially exposed.

This guy KNEW he was infected, and KNEW he could spread this disease. That's what blows my mind about this whole thing. Hopefully, this doesn't get too out-of-hand.

Ward Churchill, Your 15 Minutes Are Up

Ward Churchill, extreme leftist extraordinaire and professor at the University of Colorado is on the verge of being fired. Now, Churchill and his extremist apologists act like this is an attempt to abridge his free speech. Let's remember, Churchill is the person who called the victims of 9/11 "little Eichmanns".

However, the president of the university is requesting that the Board of Regents fire Churchill. His reasons are due to "serious research misconduct". In fact, Churchill has blatantly plagiarized the work of others, intentionally falsified research, and had ghost-written articles that he had used as supporting opinions of his viewpoints.

Thankfully, many on the web are noting the clear and present facts about Churchill's impending fate.

And Rightly So! puts it well, stating that this whole issue wasn't and isn't about free speech. It's about a really shoddy professor who couldn't find research to back up his extremist he made it up.

Mad Hatter at Daily Whackjob states an obvious, but probably overlooked, truth about Churchill's 1st Amendment rights..."The first amendment guarantees that the GOVERNMENT will not restrict your speech. You restrict your own speech when you are employed, putting yourself under the control of your employer."

Personally, I think it's time for the Fake Native American himself to bow out gracefully, and take his act to the hippie communes outside of Boulder.

Live Blog with Ham Sandwich!!!

If you haven't heard, there will be a live blog with Ham Sandwich at Daily Whackjob tomorrow, May 31st. Mr. Sandwich is the write-in candidate for the Prince William County Commonwealth Attorney's office against incumbent Paul Ebert.

24th Senate District Just Got More Interesting

So the 24th District Democrats had a mass meeting last night to decide who would they would nominate to run against Libertarian candidate Arin Sime and the winner of the Republican primary (Hanger vs. Sayre).

But wait, wasn't Will Hvorat the only contender for the Democratic nomination?

Well, he was...until yesterday morning, when David Cox threw his name into the hat. Even though he had only been running for less than 24 hours, Cox won 28 of the 37 votes cast.

Cox, as some may remember, ran against Del. Ben Cline in the 24th House District in 2005, where he was subsequently thumped by Cline, who won by over 4,700 votes and garnered 62.4% of the vote compared to Cox's 37.5%

Cox is apparently an excellent fundraiser, having out-raised Cline in significant fashion, despite losing convincingly on election day. The Democrats probably prefer Cox's name recognition and fundraising abilities to face either Sayre or Hanger.

Of course, Democrats believe they will win because they believe that the Hanger/Sayre primary has created a split in the party. Unfortunately, I would think that most of the Republican voters who turn out for the primary will back either Republican candidate come election day. In a GOP district, that is the probably the most important factor to remember.

Celebrate Your Independence With This!

According to The Politico, Fred Thompson will announce his candidacy over the July 4th holiday.
He will also be expected to reveal that he has already raised several million dollars in campaign funds. He is also expected to announce the fact that his campaign is backed by insiders from the previous 3 Republican administrations.

So basically, he's got millions of dollars to start with, and insiders from Ronald Reagan's administration, as well as both Bush administrations, are already on board. Say what you want about George W. Bush, but he always had very good people on his campaigns.

Staffers go on the payroll in early June, a "testing-the-waters" committee begins June 4th, and yes...expect to see the "Red Pickup Truck" in Iowa and New Hampshire pretty soon.

Thompson had a conference call with about 100 potential donors yesterday, all of whom were urged to raise $50,000 a piece. Should this happen, that's another $5 million

Not to mention there is still a reported $25-30 million that should have been donated from apparent "usual sources" by this point in the primary campaigns that hasn't...which is suspected to have been "withheld" for a candidate like Thompson.

Liberals don't want Thompson to run, as he poses a completely different kind of threat to the Democratic candidates. He communicates well, and provides a clear presence of strong authority (which is augmented by his acting experience). He also has a background of purusing justice, even if it means going after Republicans (see his work during Watergate).

Fireworks, Hot Dogs, Hamburgers, Parades, Patriotism, and Fred Thompson. Should be a good Independence Day.


Raising Kaine proves that liberals have nothing but really weak ad hominem attacks and articles from non-reputable leftist rags like New York Magazine to combat Thompson.

All the more reason to believe Thompson can and will win...they're SCARED!


According to Ward below, Politico got it wrong. No July 4th announcement. Well, that dampens my day a bit...but not my enthusiasm for the next President of the United States.

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Fred Thompson - "Plutonic Warming"

I'm going to quote this in it's entirety, courtesy of the National Review (audio can be found here)...

"Some people think that our planet is suffering from a fever. Now scientists are telling us that Mars is experiencing its own planetary warming: Martian warming. It seems scientists have noticed recently that quite a few planets in our solar system seem to be heating up a bit, including Pluto.

NASA says the Martian South Pole's ice cap has been shrinking for three summers in a row. Maybe Mars got its fever from earth. If so, I guess Jupiter's caught the same cold, because it's warming up too, like Pluto.

This has led some people, not necessarily scientists, to wonder if Mars and Jupiter, non-signatories to the Kyoto Treaty, are actually inhabited by alien SUV-driving industrialists who run their air-conditioning at 60 degrees and refuse to recycle.

Silly, I know, but I wonder what all those planets, dwarf planets and moons in our SOLAR system have in common. Hmmmm. SOLAR system. Hmmmm. Solar? I wonder. Nah, I guess we shouldn't even be talking about this. The science is absolutely decided. There's a consensus.

Ask Galileo."

Now, before people get in a big huff about this, Thompson's point is simple...there is a lot of evidence that global warming trends are taking place elsewhere in our solar system, but the Al Gores of the world will tell you that NOBODY believes in this science...even though it is fact that these warming trends on other planets is absolutely happening.

As I said before, we need to have a lot of discussion and comparison of data before we can say that "there is a consensus" that global warming on Earth is humanity's fault and we are solely to blame for it. Too many scientists are finding other reasons for global warming, and we shouldn't deny them just because we'd rather stick our heads in the sand.

More Hasselbeck/O'Donnell Bantering...

So Rosie O'Donnell doesn't think she'll ever speak to Elisabeth Hasselbeck again. I'm still waiting to find out how Rosie can act like a victim, when she was a perpetual aggressor on the show.

Hasselbeck was the lone conservative on the Behar/O'Donnell represented a hard-left viewpoint, and Barbara Walters pretty much let those 2 run the show as she sits and simply brings up topics. However, Rosie got hers for once as Hasselbeck dished out some truth, and Rosie couldn't handle it.

At least Hasselbeck has tried to mend broken fences. I'd say she's done a good job of simply being the "bigger person", and not attempting to "pile on" the situation. Rosie has also stated that she "loves all 3 of the girls" on The View...but wait, she doesn't think she'll ever speak to Hasselbeck...doesn't that mean, err, I'm confused.

Then again, Rosie leaving The View and future VP of Venezuela Cindy Sheehan leaving her soapbox in the same week isn't necessarily a bad thing.

As If We Need More To Worry About...

Vladimir Putin and Russia claim to have developed an ICBM that no missile defense system, present or future, can stop. Along with this ICBM is a tactical cruise missile that also is supposed to be able to penetrate missile defense systems. This missile can carry multiple independent nuclear warheads and is known as the RS-24.

First Deputy Prime Minister Sergei Ivanov is one of the biggest proponents of upgrading Russia's military might, and is one of the top prospects to succeed Putin as President of Russia.

Yet, it's events like this that get brushed aside when people say "we don't need a missile defense system, it's a waste of money". Sure, North Korea may only be able to hit the Aleutian Islands at best...and Iran doesn't necessarily have a deployment vehicle for the nuclear warheads they are pursuing.

However, this is Russia we're talking about!!! The motherland of the former Soviet Union. Ok, kids, let's harken back 20 years or so...these people were our sworn enemy. Until Gorbechev, every Soviet Premier intended to find ways to destroy the "capitalist pigs" like the United States, the UK, France, and the rest of the west.

In fact, during Jimmy Carter's administration, the Soviet Union had plans to invade the United States by 1984. It was Ronald Reagan's election and subsequent hardline anti-Communist movement that put a stop to that.

The Russians also want the U.S. to withdraw it's anti-ballistic missile forces from Eastern Europe, which is only there to stop nuclear missile threats from Iran, North Korea, and other nations that are actively pursuing nuclear weapon technology.

So the Russians want to eliminate the American anti-ballistic missile defenses from Europe, and at the same time develop missiles that cannot be stopped by missile defense systems. Now tell me, why would Russia want it both ways?

Cindy Sheehan Steps Out of the Limelight

(h/t Virginia Virtucon)

So Cindy Sheehan's mad because she got criticized by Democrats after she criticized them, first. Wow, I can't believe this woman is that much in denial about how the world works. You can't go around throwing criticisms at everyone who doesn't follow you, and not expect them to shoot right back at you.

She thought that her "anti-Bush" status made her immune to criticism from Democrats, no matter what she said. So she's apparently stepping out of the limelight, as the criticism from fellow Democrats is too much for her.

Well, she can always move to Venezuela and become Hugo Chavez's new Vice President.

She looks comfortable enough next to ol' Hugo, doesn't she?

Weekly Podium: The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Political Blogosphere

Cross-posted at The New Dominion.

Let’s face it, it seems like everyone and their mother has a blog of some kind. Whether it serves personal purposes, provides helpful tips for a variety of topics, or creates a forum for people to rant and rave…the blog has become a wonderful medium for expressing your thoughts.
This is especially true in the world of politics, both nationally and locally. Before I go any further, let me give some of you a quick history lesson on political blogs.

Long before the popularity of blogs in their current format, the internet had become a good source for instant information about politics. The Drudge Report became established in the mid-to-late 90’s, and news and op-ed’s were easier to access via the internet.

In the wake of the controversial presidential election in 2000, many people started to use “web logs” (which is where the term “blog” comes from) as a way of expressing their opinions and spreading news to the masses. This intensified further after 9/11, with even more emotions and opinions being stirred up due to the events of the time.

I’m not sure what the first official political blog was. However, it is safe to say that the mass popularity of the political blog begins in late 2001 into the year 2002. Around this time, as our nation was diving head-first into the War on Terror, several popular liberal blogs rose to fame. Among them were MyDD, Talking Points Memo, and Daily Kos, among others. A few conservative/libertarian blogs also came about, such as Instapundit and Little Green Footballs. It was also around this time that Ana Marie Cox founded Wonkette, which was notable for it’s uncensored takes on gossip in and around Capitol Hill.

With even more controversy surrounding the Iraq War and the 2004 elections, it seemed Americans turned to the internet even more. Since then, thousands upon thousands blogs have popped up on both sides of the Red State/Blue State divide. Some notable writers and political figures, like Michelle Malkin and Arianna Huffington, owe most (if not all) of their fame and notoriety to political blogging.

Most newspapers have their op-ed writers maintain a blog on the newspaper’s website. This allows some writers to further espouse their beliefs in a different medium, which can be accessed at any time. This means less trips to your local convenience store to grab a copy of the newspaper to get your favorite writer’s opinions.

While many would tend to agree that, on a national scale, liberals have an advantage in the “blogosphere”, but those same people know that conservatives are also doing well in getting web surfers to ride their digital waves. This has created an interesting atmosphere, especially with important elections looming.

The state of Virginia has one of the most active blogospheres in the nation, especially given both it’s close proximity to Washington, D.C. and it’s relatively even-mixture of conservatives, liberals, and moderates. In fact, it is widely thought that it was the exposure of George Allen’s “macaca” incident in the blogosphere that led to his spiraling downfall and defeat in the 2006 election.

On a more local note, part of the push for Scott Sayre’s nomination can be attributed to both the spread of Sayre’s platforms as well as sentiments against Emmett Hanger via the online coalition known as “Bloggers 4 Sayre.” While they’re not the sole reason for the competitiveness of the 24th District primary, the amount of noise (and subsequent influence) they have had amongst voters in the 24th has mostly benefited their cause.

Are bloggers to be taken as serious sources of news? Do they really hold as much influence as they think (and sometimes proclaim) they do, or are they simply beating their chests over providing a “helping hand” to causes that have other, more influential sources of support?

To be honest, both of those questions can be answered “yes” and “no” at the same time. The vast majority of blogs are opinionated, sometimes to an extreme level of bias. However, most bloggers also make it clear that they are coming from a certain point-of-view. To many, this is what makes a blog better than the mainstream media, as there is no attempt made to hide biased commentary or points-of-view under a cloak of neutrality.

At the same time, it is this admittance of bias that some feels discredits bloggers. There are many who feel that by admitting the bias, it lessens the reliability of the information the blogger is passing along to the general public.

If nothing else, the political blog act as an alternative to the old-fashioned “Letter to the Editor” in our local newspapers. They can also bring attention to news stories and personal viewpoints that may have otherwise gone unheard by the masses.

Whether or not you believe in the reliability and/or credibility of bloggers as a source of political influence, they can have a sizeable amount of impact on our political landscape. In Virginia, blogs like Raising Kaine not only espouse viewpoints that support the Democratic Party, but they also act as a political action committee that endorses particular Democratic candidates for various political offices, and raises funds for these candidates, as well. With an average of over 2,000 visitors a day, you can imagine that they probably have generated a decent amount of funds for the candidates they have backed.

There are a lot of great blogs in Virginia, and one can find information, news, and opinion of all types. However, attempting to jump into the blogosphere head-first can be a bit overwhelming, so here’s a few good starters for you.

The Democrats/liberals have a number of blogs that are well-recognized throughout Virginia. A few of the more notable blogs are Vivian J. Paige, who focuses on Tidewater area politics. Out of Charlottesville is Waldo Jaquith, who is one of the “elder statesmen“ in the world of Virginia political blogs. Democracy In Virginia describes itself as “a forum for progressives in the Shenandoah Valley." The Collette provides a lot of focus in Northern Virginia and DC politics (even though we never agree on anything). Finally, another good blog to start with is VB Dems, with a Virginia Beach and statewide focus.

Some sites, like Not Larry Sabato, provide more of an analytical approach with some point-of-view commentary, which does tend to lean left. However, you can find a wealth of information in regards to the various State Senate and House of Delegates races across Virginia. To track down all the information would take hours, which is why a site like “NLS” is popular with political junkies in Virginia.

Other blogs are a mixture of various political viewpoints, and sometimes they don’t necessarily focus on politics. One such blog is Daily Whackjob. The bunch over at Whackjob (which I am a part of) are more-or-less committed to talking about society, current events, and other topics. While some find the humor and commentary of some of the contributors to be crude and off-color, many people find the lack of political correctness and varied opinions to be one of the site’s more attractive features.

Conservatives are also represented in the Commonwealth in growing numbers.. Frequent New Dominion contributor Stephen Winslow has his Conservative Viewpoints blog. Republitarian focuses on Harrisonburg-area issues as well as some state and national issues. You also have The Mason Conservative, a Northern Virginia blogger who occasionally opines about hockey, as well. Dogwood Pundit hails from Hampton Roads, and has more of a focus on national politics. Spark It Up! is a blog by “Kilo“, one of the most vocal of the Sayre supporters. Bearing Drift is a generally conservative blog that features multiple contributors and collaborates with liberal bloggers as well to provide unique perspectives.

No matter which one of these blogs you go to, they will provide you with more links to other blogs that the writers themselves read. I hope that my article has provided you with some basics to the world of political blogs. Now, go out there and enjoy the opinions of some of the best Virginia has to offer.

Just be sure to check out the Now At The Podium blog before you read anything else, ok?

Coal, the Future of American Energy?

Check out this post at From On High, especially the quote from a NY Times article.

Coal isn't the foul word that some people see it as. If we're to break the dependence on foreign oil, we have to start by using what we've got here in America...then go from there.

In fact, the world's largest deposit of clean-burning coal was discovered in Utah during the 90's, but Bill Clinton then decided to close off the area by either making it a wildlife refuge or a national park (I can't remember which right off the bat). Most suspect this was due to the fact that this was due to pressure from both environmentalists and big oil companies...who stood to lose a lot should that clean-burning coal have been mined and used to create energy.

We have an abundance of coal in this country, and it's not nearly as bad for the environment. To quote a Democrat from this article.

“For so many, filthy coal is a dirty four-letter word,” said Representative Nick V. Rahall, Democrat of West Virginia and chairman of the House Natural Resources Committee. “These individuals, I tell you, have their heads buried in the sand.”

Looks like things aren't so bleak, after all. Mine this coal, use it to create energy and reduce our dependence on foreign oil to power our houses. Gasoline prices will subsequently come down...and everyone will be happy.

Monday, May 28, 2007

A Down Note on Memorial Day

Apparently, some people cannot let dead soldiers rest in peace.

Instead, they burn the American flags at their graves and replace some of them with hand-drawn swastika flags.

This is the kind of thing that makes me sick. Desecrating the graves of people who gave their lives so these very people could live in freedom, where they can make their stupid little protests and have the right to free speech. Many of these soldiers gave their lives fighting against that very swastika symbol.

It's sad, it's sick, and it's incredibly unfortunate that these things happen. However, I must give mega-kudos to the members of the American Legion who went back and replaced the flags. I hope the local authorities capture these ungrateful little punks and punish them accordingly.

Thoughts on the Jeff Dion Saga

Jeff Dion's recent dropout from the 51st House District nomination race is the climax to the Democratic Party's half of the of the ongoing saga of the district primaries.

Following this story via various blogs, Dion seems to think that his status as a homosexual is the reason why the Democrats put pressure on him to drop out so Paul Nichols could take over as the party candidate. However, it seems the vast majority of the blogosphere simply believed that he was a poor candidate for that district.

In fact, from what I understand, Nichols would only accept the nomination if Dion stepped aside, as he (and the rest of the Democrats) didn't really want to start a primary race this late into the game.

Dion posting what appeared to be a online dating ad on certainly didn't help his cause with a few bloggers, such as Black Velvet Bruce Li, has a lot of readers in the 51st District. While I, and most other people, don't think there is anything wrong with having an ad on a dating website...Dion should have realized that this would have been brought up by someone at some point.

However, from what I've read at NLS and most other blogs, Dion was simply viewed by the Democrats as a bad candidate for a fairly conservative district. Nichols, from what I've found out about him, is well-established within the community as an attorney and seems to be able to connect with people. This, of course, comes from limited amounts of information.

Dion's claims that "this is only about my sexual orientation" have not earned him a lot of support. Even liberal blogs like Ditzy Dems think Dion's withdrawal was a fait accompli.

The Washington Post ran a blurb about how Dion endured "weeks of attacks by conservative blogs." Dion was quoted as saying that, if he continued, "the other side would create a toxic atmosphere that would make it impossible for us to have a real debate about the important issues facing our Commonwealth."

The fact that Democrats never really stood by Dion in the first place is never mentioned.

In Dion's official statement of withdrawal, Dion said "It would require a Herculean effort to get out our message in the face of their coming attacks", among other anti-Republican sentiments about how much Republicans hate gays, blah blah blah.

Dion comes across a bit despondent and ready to blame others in his official statement of withdrawal (h/t Virginia Progressive). Also, he has "statements of support" from Tim Kaine and Mark Warner...and while Kaine's statement seems to at least have a smidge of genuine support behind it, Warner's is lacking any kind of "oomph" behind it. It's like his secretary typed it up for him and sent it off to Dion. I wouldn't be surprised if Dion had to ask for those statements, as it almost appears that way.

Either way, I think Jeff Dion needs to realize that most people didn't care that he was gay...they simply didn't think he was the best candidate available in that district.

Chavez Shuts Down Opposition In Communist Fashion

Hugo Chavez shut down Venezuela's oldest TV station and the only nationwide station that showed any opposition to Chavez's government. RCTV had been on the air since 1953, and were shut down last night as Chavez decided not to renew the station's contract to broadcast over public airwaves.

Chavez stated that the station supported the failed coup of 2002, and that the station's soap operas were "pure poison" that promoted capitalism. Chavez had the station replaced with TVES, which (not surprisingly) is a state-funded network. There are other opposition media, but none of them have any real national reach. Many expect that these media outlets will eventually be silenced, as Chavez and his government are tackling the big fish, first.

Only 4 national networks are privately-owned in Venezuela...RCTV was the only one that allowed for opposition points of view to be broadcast.

This is another step by Chavez to establish a hard-line socialist government, with state control over industry, commerce, and now the media.

Protesters came out in the thousands throughout the streets of Caracas, and were promptly shut down by riot police with water cannons and tear gas. There were some government supporters in a different section of Caracas that celebrated in the streets...and (again, not surprisingly) they were dressed in red.

With the exception of Fox News, this hasn't really been big news in the mainstream media...or it's significance as a socialist government flexing it's governmental authority to squash dissenting opinion has been downplayed. The blogosphere has been pretty active on this issue, though.

Jeremy D. Hagen at The News Buckit calls it what it is...Chavez is simply doing what a dictator and socialist does. I also like this quote near the end of the post..."In the spirit of Memorial Day, I feel proud to live in a country that respects a man's right to speak without regard to the substance and honors the soldiers that make the exercise of such rights possible."

Nora Zimmett of Fox News has a first-hand account of what went on during the riots from the Fox News team's location. From what I've read across the web, it seems that opposition amongst Venezuelan citizens is growing by leaps and bounds. Many believe that a revolution of some kind, whether peaceful or bloody, is bound to happen...and it's just a matter of time before the people rise against Chavez's government.

Now, many in this country support Chavez, and think we should make diplomatic overtures to him. They believe we should support a man who is silencing free speech, eliminates opposition with force and totalitarian tactics, and hates America. This is why conservatives get mad when the Cindy Sheehans of the world decide to pose for pretty photo-ops with this tyrant.

An Expression of Freedom and Patriotism

Many of you have heard about Freedom Rock in Iowa, and the artist that paints the rock every year for Memorial Day. Ray "Bubba" Sorensen has been doing this since 1999, and every year his work continues to capture the spirit of American patriotism and the respect we hold for those who gave their lives fighting and defending freedom.

Whether you are for war or against it, you have to have respect and admiration for the men and women of our military.

This is one picture from last year's rock...

And from the 2005 rock...

See more pictures of the rock, from 1999 to 2006 here.