Friday, December 7, 2007

Heisman Will Be Decided Monday

This insane college football season has boiled down to two things. Ohio State vs. LSU and the Heisman Trophy winner. I was kinda rooting for a WVU/Missouri championship game, but alas both teams failed me.

- Right now, I'm hoping and praying LSU wins...I only like Ohio State when they play Michigan :)

- As for the Heisman, Florida Gators QB Tim Tebow should win. Tebow set an all-time NCAA single-season record for rushing TD's by a QB...and he also was excellent through the air, as well. However, even more excellent than Tebow's legs and arm would be his girlfriend. She's hotter than one of Tebow's rocket-powered throws.

Hehe, sorry...I couldn't resist. I have heard (and I'm being honest here) that she is an exceptionally bright woman. Brains, beauty, and a Heisman Trophy...Tim Tebow can't get much luckier than that.

In other sports news...

- This weekend will be the Floyd Mayweather/Ricky Hatton fight. It's a battle of undefeated boxers, Mayweather at 38-0 and Hatton at 43-0. The last time Mayweather was in a "big fight" was when he won a 12-round decision against Oscar de la Hoya (that was a bit of a BS decision, in my opinion and in the opinions of many others). Hatton is a brawling, hard-hitting boxer who has a strong jaw and fears nobody. Mayweather is a slick, stylistic boxer who is a much better "point-scorer" than Hatton. However, Hatton believes that Mayweather has never been hit hard by a puncher like himself, and that he will wear out Mayweather and come out of this bout victorious.

My opinion...Hatton will punk out Mayweather, even though I like both guys. Mayweather hasn't faced anyone like this before, and he won't be able to run forever from Hatton, because once Hatton traps him in a corner, Mayweather will have to face Hatton's sledgehammer-like punches.

- Steelers/Patriots...if the Steelers don't beat the Pats, then New England goes undefeated. Simple as that. Nobody else left will challenge them like Pittsburgh will. I think the Steelers can pull out a win, here.

Then again, I also said that the Colts would hand New England their first loss and that the Redskins would give the Patriots a good game, which shows you what I know.

The Ron Paul Blimp

You read that right. There is going to be a Ron Paul blimp flying over the skies of the eastern seaboard.

It will launch from Elizabeth City, N.C. on December 10th (this coming Monday), and will arrive on December 16th in Boston...just in time for the 234th anniversary of the Boston Tea Party and the base for Paul's latest "Money Bomb" event, where Paul will attempt to raise $10 million in campaign funds in one day. The blimp will also dump tea ("enough to be symbolic," blimp organizers say) into Boston Harbor to celebrate the anniversary of the historical event.

From the Politico...

Each payment will fund a portion of the $350,000-a-month blimp rental fee and associated costs ($10 pays for 1-minute’s worth of advertising on the blimp, while $1 million buys 10 weeks, according to the website).

The plan also calls for a spotlight truck, remote-controlled blimps trailing the main blimp and paid support staff, as well as the 10-seat blimp, which measures 190-feet long and 60-feet high and until recently was leased to the U.S. Navy.

The odd thing is...Ron Paul's campaign has virtually nothing to do with this blimp. This is an effort undertaken solely by Paul's supporters. Also, they'll be advertising the candidate more than the campaign.

The blimp itself will be affixed with banners asking “Who is Ron Paul” and will urge people to “Google Ron Paul.”

The other side will feature the distinctive “Ron Paul Love Revolution” logo gracing countless pro-Paul web forums and blogs.

“We specifically left off any reference to an election, because most people do not care about politics,” the effort’s website explains.

You have got to hand it to Ron Paul supporters, they come up with the most creative and innovative ideas to push their candidate. If you're interested in seeing the blimp, here is the blimp's itinerary.

Chris Graham Interviews Lou Dobbs

Check it out over at The New Dominion's website. It's an interesting read.

Another Year of Dem Majority in Congress, Another Broken Promise

From Brit Hume's latest political grapevine...

Remember a year ago when leaders of the new Democratic majority in the House pledged 5-day work weeks and an end to what incoming Speaker Nancy Pelosi called the Tuesday-through-Thursday "drive-by Congress"? Those full work weeks did not regularly materialize this year and now The Politico reports they have been all but abandoned.

A 2008 calendar distributed to congressional offices shows only three 5-day weeks are scheduled next year. Four-day work weeks will be the norm instead.

Well, so much for the "do-something Congress" that actually has done nothing yet. At least, they've done nothing they promised to do.

Taxes, Budgets, Transportation...

Craig Vitter and I were bantering back and forth a bit over the proposed gas tax increase. Craig thinks it is a good idea because we need to improve roads and finish transporation projects. I, on the other hand, think that maybe some budget cuts would help, or at least some reallocation of funds.

So I'm looking at the 2006-2008 biennial budget for Virginia, and let's see where our money is going. My goal is to see if we can find $500 million that can be trimmed off of the over $70 billion that is budgeted for the current biennium. Here's a few spots I've found and that I would question in future, or cut down, the figures I use are combined from the General Fund and NonGeneral fund for Fiscal Year 2007 and 2008 unless otherwise stated....

I will also preface this with saying that this is just number flipping, I'd have to actually see a better breakdown of the budgets to make really specific cuts. I'm just throwing some numbers around and looking at where they're going in a slightly general sense.

- We should be able to cut the $15 million spent on Jamestown 2007...that's over and done with now.

- $55 million in grants to nonstate entities or agencies...I'd like to see this one explained a little more. Are the recipients of these grants doing anything to bring commerce and/or industry to Virginia? Are they doing anything to increase state income? I'll go on the assumption that they are, so I'll leave them alone...but I'd be interested in seeing how much we could cut from that.

- Department of Taxation has a budget of over $194 million. I imagine that we could shrink that down a bit. Maybe down to an even $180 million. I mean, honestly...the only reason to increase the budget for the Dept of Taxation is if we're going to increase taxes, which is what I'm trying to avoid here.

- Can we shave a couple million from the budgets for each of the major public colleges and universities? The combined budget for the main campus of William & Mary/VT/UVA/JMU/GMU/VCU/ODU/Norfolk State/Virginia State/Radford/Longwood/CNU = $9,615,094,801 for '07 and '08. That's about 13 percent of the budget by itself.

If you averaged cuts that equaled $2 million per school (bigger budget = bigger cut, obviously, but let's just average it out for simplicity's sake), that right there could save the state $24 million, a $3 mil average would save the state $36 million. If you averaged cuts of $5 million, you would save the state $60 million. This is a large portion of the budget that is worth taking a peek into. Let's see if we shave $60 million over two years on this, what it would do.

Note: I didn't even count the $1.9 billion for the UVA Medical Center, VMI, or any special research or experimental divisions, or special colleges (like the Virginia Institute of Marine Biology). I also didn't factor in Community Colleges, general public education, museums, arts projects, or anything of the sort. We can leave those alone for now.

- Secretary of Education = over $1.4 million...for what? Anyway we can shave this down to an even $1 million, or $500,000 per year?

- Judicial Agencies combined = over $769 million. Take it down to $760 million even, if not further.

- The Virginia ABC = over $950 million. Somehow, I think we can cut $25 million from this without any problem.

- General Assembly - Senate = $21,229,665...HOD = $38,115,455. I say we get the Senate down to $20 mil, HOD down to $36 million. Total cut = over $3.3 million.

Just using round numbers, and making relatively modest cuts on only a few programs...I'm saving the state $126.7 million over two years. That right there is pretty much equal to the revenue that would be generated by the proposed gas tax increase.

And really, I've only scratched the surface.

Comparing The Campaign Ads

Let's have some media fun, shall we?

Fred Thompson - "Revolution"
- The ad that stopped the GOP CNN/YouTube debate dead in it's tracks. It's a hammer-dropper of an ad.

Rudy Giuliani - "One Hour"
- Rudy does a good job invoking history, but the connection between that moment and Rudy is pretty vague.

Mitt Romney - "Historic Choice"
- Pretty generic stuff, really. This is where Romney's "presidential image" could work in his favor.

Chris Dodd - "White Hair"
- I liked this ad, actually, gets the point across with a slight bit of camp. One of the better ones I've seen from the Dems.

Bill Richardson - "When I Began"
- I liked the "job interview" and "resume" ads better. It was a better portrayal of his strong points.

John Edwards - "Rigged"
- Washington hates you, I love you...blech! And people say Mitt Romney looks and acts fake...

Your thoughts?


The Redskins beat the Chicago Bears 24-16 last night. It was a pretty solid win, with the Bears never getting closer than 4 points (14-10, and later 17-13).

However, the Skins also lost Jason Campbell for the rest of the season with a knee injury. However, veteran Todd Collins came into the game in the 2nd quarter and went 15-20 for 224 yards and two TDs. In fact, the Skins' passing game was excellent all-around. Before he left the game, Campbell had gone 10-16 for 100 yards. That's a combined 25-36 and 324 yards...the kind of game any NFL QB would want to have.

Collins, who had not thrown a touchdown pass in the 21st century, looked very good and will hopefully continue to look this good as the Skins attempt to make a run at a wild-card berth in the playoffs.

Urgency may have finally set in with these guys, as they were up 17-13 in the 4th quarter, but has blown so many leads previously. So what did they do? They marched downfield, and threw the ball several times, culimating in a nice Collins dump-off pass to Ladell Betts over the middle for a 16 yard catch-and-run TD.

Clinton Portis found it tough to run against the Bears' stout defense in the freezing cold, only running for 36 yards on 17 carries...but he caught 6 passes for 86 yards (a career high), including a 54 yard catch-and-run that put the Skins inside the Bears' 5 yard line and set up a 1-yard TD run by big Mike Sellers. Portis also missed some time in the 3rd quarter due to stomach illness, which he later attributed to eating some shrimp at a tailgate party as he entered the stadium, because he had not eaten anything all day.

However, the Skins suffered injuries besides Campbell's. Guard Randy Thomas suffered an elbow injury, Portis bruised his hand and was able to return, All-Pro TE Chris Cooley suffered a leg injury but he also returned, and Fred Smoot missed about 1 1/2 quarters due to his leg cramping up in the cold.

Another key point, the Skins only turned the ball over 1 time, they did a good job avoiding the turnovers that plagued them over the past 4 games.

It was a solid performance by Skins, especially the defense. They took the lead right before halftime, and never gave it up. A great tribute to the fallen Sean Taylor, who was buried on Monday.

6-7, and still in the playoff hunt with 3 games to go! Hail to the Redskins!

UPDATE: Jason Campbell's knee does not need surgery, after all. He will be out at least one week (week 15, at the New York Giants), but could possibly be back in either week 16 at Minnesota or week 17 when Dallas comes to town in the regular season finale.

Thursday, December 6, 2007

Fred Thompson: Iran Still A Threat

Fred's latest commentary at his campaign website is smart, on point, and also provides us with a little historical reminder. Here's 4 key paragraphs that are right smack in the middle of Fred's column.

Let us be clear about who we are dealing with. Iran has long-wanted to be the powerbroker in the Persian Gulf. Other states in the region know this and fear this. Iranian President Ahmadinejad and the Mullahs who run Iran have pledged to “wipe Israel off the map.” We also cannot forget that Iran is the leading state sponsor of terrorism in the world, and that their support for Hezbollah, Hamas, and other terrorist groups, is all about achieving these ends. Iran has been modernizing its military for years, acquiring ballistic missile technology from around the world, and pursuing its nuclear program to facilitate its growing dominance and power. Would a country that is one of the world’s largest producers of oil and natural gas really spend billions of dollars just to acquire civilian nuclear power plants for electricity generation?

As a former member of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, I can tell you that the intelligence business is extremely difficult. Complicating this challenge is our long-standing inability to secure credible intelligence about Iran, North Korea and other “hard targets”. The international community had inspectors in Iraq for years prior to 2003, and U.S. intelligence still got it wrong. ln 2005, the bipartisan Robb-Silberman Commission report underscored that “across the board, the Intelligence Community knows disturbingly little about the nuclear programs of many of the world’s most dangerous actors.” My experience as the recent Chairman of the State Department’s International Security Advisory Board confirmed this assessment.

Let’s also remember that NIEs are snapshots. As recently as 2005 the intelligence community said that “Iran currently is determined to develop nuclear weapons…..despite its international obligations and international pressure.” The new NIE says Iran “halted” its nuclear weapons program in the fall of 2003 in response to “increasing international scrutiny and pressure.” Both are “high confidence” conclusions; however, both can’t be right.

Even if the current estimate is accurate, too many people are too focused now on the assessment that Iran has “halted” its nuclear program. This is good news if indeed it has, but “halted” is much different than “abandoned.” We were told by the Clinton Administration in 1994 that the North Koreans had halted their nuclear program, and look what happened there. And other questions should concern us as well: is this an Iranian “disinformation” program; has their military program has gone too “deep” for us to detect it; or maybe they “halted” their program simply because they lacked the key ingredient—enriched uranium—that their increasingly successful civilian program is now producing.

It is good news, but Fred is right..."halted" is different from "abandoned". We can't simply throw up our hands and say "Oops, sorry, our mistake...we thought you were still trying to acquire nukes. Have a nice day, President Ahmadinejad. We'll be on our way." Remember, this is the same government that has provided IEDs that have killed American soldiers.

So, score one for global safety and security if Iran's nuclear weapons program has been halted. However, I have a feeling this game is far from over, because Ahmadinejad still has ambitions of Iranian dominance over the Middle East.

Hey Gov, Get Your Party on the Same Page as You!

This week, Governor Kaine was set to state that there would be no tax increases for the upcoming 2008-2010 budget.

Now, Virginia Democrats are set to raise the gas tax by 5 percent (that's 5 percent, not 5 cents). That's not a tax on the rich, that's a tax on everyone. C'mon Governor, didn't you say there were going to be "no tax increases"? If so, why is your party pushing a gas tax increase.

Is this the Dem plan to force conservation? Tax the commuters who just want to go to work and make a decent living. Tax the families that want to visit other members of their family across the state? Tax us all into not driving?

But wait, this proposed tax increase (blame Toddy Puller on this one, she's the chief patron), applies to all fuels. So much for your flex fuel vehicles saving you...they're getting taxed, too!

To use the Democratic Party's battle cry, this tax is UNFAIR to the middle, working, and lower classes!!! But hey, it shouldn't come as any surprise...we already knew that the Dems were the true party of the rich.

Rasmussen: South Carolina Turned Upside Down

Wow, and wow some more.

In the latest Rasmussen Polls, Democratic frontrunner Hillary Clinton's 13 point lead from two months ago has shrunk to 2 points over Barack Obama in the key early primary state of South Carolina. At the end of September, Hillary was up 43%-30% on Obama. As of today, her lead is now a slim margin of 36%-34%.

On the GOP side in South Carolina, whose primary is a week earlier than the Dems, Mike Huckabee has surged to 1st place with 25%, which gives the former Arkansas governor a 7 point lead over both Mitt Romney and Fred Thompson, who both pulled in 18% apiece. At the end of September, Thompson led Romney by a margin of 24%-15% (and led Giuliani by 3 points, but Giuliani has also slipped 9 points in South Carolina since then), and Huckabee was in 5th place with only 3%!

With less than a month to go until the Iowa caucus, what other surprises are in store for us?

Excerpts from Romney's Speech Today and Thoughts

Read all the excerpts made available to the public here. Here's a few quotes from Romney's speech and my thoughts on them.

"When I place my hand on the Bible and take the oath of office, that oath becomes my highest promise to God. If I am fortunate to become your president, I will serve no one religion, no one group, no one cause, and no one interest. A president must serve only the common cause of the people of the United States."

This is the money quote of the whole speech, in my opinion, and the one that is most often quoted on the morning shows I listened to while making a drive from Strasburg to Woodstock to Winchester (don't ask, I do this once a week). He's telling the us all that as President, he would be beholden to the people of the United States, and not any one religion, including his own.

"There are some who would have a presidential candidate describe and explain his church's distinctive doctrines. To do so would enable the very religious test the founders prohibited in the Constitution. No candidate should become the spokesman for his faith. For if he becomes president he will need the prayers of the people of all faiths."

Yes sir...this is correct. Romney is right on with his statement here.

"It is important to recognize that while differences in theology exist between the churches in America, we share a common creed of moral convictions. And where the affairs of our nation are concerned, it's usually a sound rule to focus on the latter — on the great moral principles that urge us all on a common course. Whether it was the cause of abolition, or civil rights, or the right to life itself, no movement of conscience can succeed in America that cannot speak to the convictions of religious people."

I've been preaching this for years, that despite our differences in religion, religious beliefs, place of religion in society...the vast majority of Americans share a common base of morality and moral beliefs. Romney is right in stating that our nation should focus on abiding by the common moral principles we share as Americans...not necessarily by religious principles. However, religious people share those moral principles with most non-religious people.

"We separate church and state affairs in this country, and for good reason. No religion should dictate to the state nor should the state interfere with the free practice of religion. But in recent years, the notion of the separation of church and state has been taken by some well beyond its original meaning. They seek to remove from the public domain any acknowledgment of God. Religion is seen as merely a private affair with no place in public life. It is as if they are intent on establishing a new religion in America — the religion of secularism. They are wrong."

Again...another money quote. While we separate church and state, this nation was founded by people seeking religious freedom, and with deep religious conviction. To remove God from recognition by society would be to go against the beliefs of the founding fathers of our nation.

"These American values, this great moral heritage, is shared and lived in my religion as it is in yours. I was taught in my home to honor God and love my neighbor. I saw my father march with Martin Luther King. I saw my parents provide compassionate care to others, in personal ways to people nearby, and in just as consequential ways in leading national volunteer movements."

Again, we should focus on our shared morals as Americans, not our religious agreements and disagreements. We, as Americans, are not perfect...but we're generally good people.

"Let me assure you that no authorities of my church, or of any other church for that matter, will ever exert influence on presidential decisions. Their authority is theirs, within the province of church affairs, and it ends where the affairs of the nation begin."

There you have it. Romney's separation of church and state. No questions about it.

"The diversity of our cultural expression, and the vibrancy of our religious dialogue, has kept America in the forefront of civilized nations even as others regard religious freedom as something to be destroyed."

Freedom of religion, and our ability to speak about our different beliefs in public without fear of imprisonment or punishment, is part of what makes this nation so great.

"In such a world, we can be deeply thankful that we live in a land where reason and religion are friends and allies in the cause of liberty, joined against the evils and dangers of the day. And you can be certain of this: Any believer in religious freedom, any person who has knelt in prayer to the Almighty, has a friend and ally in me. And so it is for hundreds of millions of our countrymen: we do not insist on a single strain of religion — rather, we welcome our nation's symphony of faith."

Embrace religous diversity and common morality. This is what Romney intends to do.

I think that, from these quotes and others, Romney really makes a positive leap forward. He acknowledges both the deep religious conviction that many have, and the near-universal sense of common morality amongst Americans. In fact, Romney also makes a leap forward in my own opinion of him. He's stating his beliefs, and he does it without making a plea to social and religious conservatives. In fact, he's making more of a case as to why religion is a base of his decision making, and not the sole source.

I can really respect that.

Wednesday, December 5, 2007


Check out Mortman's take on the WaPo's story about Dennis and Elizabeth Kucinich.

Then read the actual WaPo story...I may not like Kucinich as a politician, but this is a genuinely sweet (if not cosmic and a little kooky) love story that these two have.

Mortman's post is definitely funny, though ;)

Yes Virginia, There Won't Be a Tax Increase

I missed this announcement, but that's what Gov. Kaine said this week. No tax increase will be in the 2008-2010 budget. Good news for Virginia, good news for Kaine's approval ratings, and great news for Mark Warner as he prepares for his run at the U.S. Senate.

I stated before that if Governor Kaine could fix the budget shortfall without increasing taxes, I would commend far, he is deserving of commendation in regards to handling the budget problem.

I'm glad to see our Governor take steps towards fiscal prudence, but the question still else does he plan on trimming the budget?

Why The Exclusivity?

First the GOP in Virginia floated the "loyalty oath" idea, which was thankfully rescinded quickly.

Now, on the Dem's side, we have the ordeal of Kenton Ngo.

Obviously, I don't agree with Kenton on most (if not all) issues. We have had disagreements in various places around the blogosphere, including one on my blog. I do think he is an intelligent, bright young man who is a name to keep in mind when looking into the more distant future of Virginia politics (I'm talking 15-20 years from now). Despite our difference of opinion, I hope he finds success in the field of politics, and I believe he probably will (yes Kenton, you can quote me on that).

Apparently, there was an attempt by people in power in the Fairfax County Democratic Committee (FCDC) to remove young Kenton (who is either 15 or 16, I'm not sure which) from the FCDC, although he's been a member since the age of 13. The claim was that his age prevented him from doing so, as stated in the DPVA's Party Plan.

The thing is...there is nothing in the DPVA's Party Plan that excludes those not of voting age. It seems like it was a ploy to "keep out the young'ns", so to speak. No particular reason as to why, but it seems like some of the people in charge want to continue the "older people's club" going. Also, the issue of Kenton's age seems to have come up because there was an upcoming election of officers.

Kenton recounts the incident at his blog. Ben from NLS adds more to the story (he doesn't have the bridges that could be burned like Kenton does), and includes his experience as a teenager in the well as presenting the fact that the subsequent actions of the FCDC regarding Kenton's ability to vote in the committee may have disqualified the results of the officer elections.

If either party is going to be a better representative of the people...they need to start making attempts to appeal to people and expand their base...especially when it comes to reaching out to those who will become the future of the party.

Dem Poll Bits and Bites

Breaking down the Dem Polls.

RealClearPolitics(RCP) National Average...
- Clinton 41.3%, Obama 23.%%, Edwards 13.0%, Richardson 4.2%, Biden 2.7%.

Rasmussen Reports latest Dem poll...
- Clinton 34%, Obama 24%, Edwards 16%, Richardson 7%, Biden 3%.

The RCP average is based on almost a month's worth of poll data...the Rasmussen poll was done over the previous 3 days. Since Obama has pulled ahead in Iowa and the anti-Clinton backlash started only recently, that is why their poll is more reflective of lower Hillary numbers. Notice that Clinton lost voters to Edwards and Richardson, and not Obama. Interesting.

Let's go to the early states, the amount of delegates at stake, and their RCP averages...

Iowa (45 delegates)
- Obama 26.6%, Clinton 26.6%, Edwards 22.8%, Richardson 7.4%, Biden 5.4%
Interesting that Edwards once led in Iowa for 4 sits in third.

New Hampshire (22 delegates)
- Clinton 32.6%, Obama 23.0%, Edwards 16.0%, Richardson 9.2%
Clinton once held an average lead of over 20 points here just 2 months ago.

Michigan (128 delegates)
- Clinton 44.7%, Obama 21.7%, Edwards 13.0%, Richardson 4.3%

Nevada (25 delegates)
- Clinton 44.3%, Obama 20.7%, Edwards 12.7%, Richardson 6.3%.

South Carolina (45 delegates)
- Clinton 38.0%, Obama 25.5%, Edwards 11.3%.
You'd think Edwards would be doing better here, given his Carolina roots. Clinton's 19 point lead is now down to 12.5 points in 1 month.

Florida (185 delegates)
- Clinton 47.0%, Obama 17.5%, Edwards 11.5%.

Despite Obama pulling even (and ahead in individual polls) in Iowa, Clinton still has the commanding lead, here.

Obama's best shot at getting a big momentum boost is parlaying a victory in Iowa into a victory in New Hampshire, where he is still in relative striking distance. Otherwise, if Clinton pulls out a win in New Hampshire, she can roll downhill with victories in the other states.

However, if Iowa and New Hampshire both fall to Obama (which they are trending that way), the Clinton campaign will have some ground to make up and some momentum to regain, especially since another key early state (South Carolina) is also trending back towards Obama as well.

UPDATE: Since Kenton was nice enough to explain that Dem delegate math is more complicated than the GOP's, I removed the delegate count from here. It's too hard to project delegates for the Dems without a certain amount of research that I have neither the time nor the monetary incentive to do.

GOP Poll Bits and Bites

GOP Poll numbers...these are all over the place.

RealClearPolitics(RCP) GOP Nomination Poll Averages...
- Giuliani 25.3%, Huckabee 13.8%, McCain 13.7%, Thompson 13.2%, Romney 10.7%, Paul 4.7%.

Latest Rasmussen Reports GOP Poll...
- Huckabee 20%, Giuliani 17%, McCain 13%, Romney 13%, Thompson 10%, Paul 7%

Latest USA Today/Gallup Poll...
- Giuliani 25%, Huckabee 16%, Thompson 15%, McCain 15%, Romney 12%, Paul 4%

So Huckabee has taken over 2nd Place from Fred Thompson in the RCP Average, and leapfrogged McCain in the process, who also jumped past Fred by a slight margin. Huckabee's showing in the latest Rasmussen poll is crazy, as Giuliani has sunk to his lowest margin of support in that poll.

Going to individual states, here's the RCP averages for the key early states, and the delegates at stake...

Iowa (41 delegates)...
- Huckabee 26.6%, Romney 25.8%, Giuliani 12.0%, Thompson 10.4%, McCain 6.4%, Paul 5.0%.

New Hampshire (24 delegates)...
- Romney 34.2%, Giuliani 17.8%, McCain 16.2%, Huckabee 10.0%, Paul 6.2%, Thompson 3.2%.
McCain is posing a serious threat to Giuliani's once-solid 2nd place standing...Fred has no traction in this state.

Michigan (61 delegates)...
- Giuliani 23.7%, Romney 20.3%, Thompson 14.0%, McCain 12.3%, Huckabee 6.7%, Paul 3.7%.
Given that Romney's father was governor here and a former candidate for President, you'd think he'd be in the lead here.

Nevada (34 delegates)...
- Giuliani 28.7%, Romney 21.0%, Thompson 14.0%, McCain 9.3%, Paul 7.3%, Huckabee 5.0%
Sun Belt states will like Giuliani.

South Carolina (47 delegates)...
- Romney 19.8%, Thompson 16.8%, Giuliani 16.0%, Huckabee 13.3%, McCain 10.8%, Paul 5.8%
If Fred can get a boost somewhere here, he may snatch this state from Mitt.

Florida(114 delegates)...
- Giuliani 30.6%, Romney 15.0%, Huckabee 12.8%, Thompson 12.0%, McCain 10.8%, Paul 4.3%.
I'm a bit surprised Huckabee is ahead of Thompson, here...even more surprised that Mitt is doing as well as he is.

So, if these polls were to hold up going into Super Tuesday, things would look like this...

Giuliani - 209 delegates
Romney - 71 delegates
Huckabee - 41 delegates

So, despite Huckabee's surge, this race is still Giuliani's to lose at this point. Factor in the fact that, according to RCP, Giuliani leads big time in California (174 delegates) and is polling over 50% in New Jersey (52 delegates), suddenly Giuliani can add another 226 delegates to his column.

The other candidates have some work to do.

Anyone Else Catch The Irony?

The Senate (I believe, or the House) is meeting today to discuss and vote on a global warming bill.

Today is also the first snowfall to visit Washington D.C. this season.

Irony, anyone?

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

You Know What...

...looks like my initial assumption about the Ron Paul "busgate" incident at the RPV Advance was wrong.

They just took the time and the initiative to show up, whereas people like me did not. Then again, I have a job and a family that I don't really see any time except the weekends, but kudos to them for their efforts and show of support for their candidate.

Now, it should be put out there that there have been allegations and reports of Paulites being bussed in to other straw polls (I remember a big hullabaloo about this during the Ames, Iowa straw poll). That being said, I probably should not have opened my mouth so wide only to partially stick my foot in it (because my jumping on what others said had some historical background to it).

Nonetheless, congrats are due to the Paulites for putting in the effort to "be there" at the Advance.

However, I'm inclined to believe that this was not simply a "lie from Thompson supporters" as some have claimed, because I've heard the same statements from Huckabee and Romney supporters, too.

Sean Taylor's Funeral a Beautiful Affair

I made sure I DVR'd Sean Taylor's funeral yesterday. It was a very nice affair and a moving tribute to the fallen Redskins star. I was impressed with everything, except for the occasional agenda push (which I did expect), but otherwise it was a very nice affair and a fitting way to honor Sean Taylor.

In other news, I'm glad to hear that three of the men charged in Taylor's death have been held without bail. Let them sit in jail and think about what's coming to them.

Ron Paul Gets Ripped

From a conversation I've referenced previously in earlier posts (see here, here, and here), Former Mitt Romney aide and now Mike Huckabee supporter Hunter Golden ripped into Ron Paul recently in a manner that I'm surprised nobody else has done. This was in response to someone calling Paul the "only conservative in the field".

I'm fine if you want to vote for him, but really, the guy's as electable as my keyboard is in the end. We can debate what a pure conservative is and isn't until the cat comes home, but it doesn't mean a lick in the end. Right now he's sitting on about 13% of the Republican vote which makes up less than 5% nationally. Hardly electable. Sure, I'm sure the always cynical independents will like him, but they've got brains and would rather support a winner in the end. Really, it's all moot.

He's sat around in Congress doing a whole lot of nothing for 20 years except tell us what he 'believes in' for 20 some odd years yes hasn't passed much in the way of anything important. He likes to play the 'conscience' of the congress thing, but really it doesn't fly when you don't vote on much of....well....anything. The guy won't even vote to condemn genocide because it conflicts with what his view of the U.S.'s role in the world should be. The last thing this country needs is a "take my ball home when I don't get my way" legislator racking his brain for four years trying to figure out how to do the same as an executive. Our current President's most admirable quality and glaring fault is his unwavering commitment to his ideals. It makes for great men, but not great government.

Paul's problem isn't his conservatism, it's presence or lack thereof. It's the fact that he's 1) got nothing to run on; 2.) as a result, is based on what everyone isn't doing. If he were President he would, uh, not do what everyone else would do. Great.

Golden makes a lot of sense, here. While Paul is running on a libertarian platform, a lot of his message is comparing his libertarian principles to other candidates, instead of simply presenting these principles.

You would think that if he felt these principles were right for America, he would've pushed them harder during his tenure in Congress...maybe introducing some libertarian-based legislation, or something. Instead, he simply votes "no" on most issues or abstains altogether.

As I've said previously, I like a lot of what Ron Paul stands for. However, I think most people have a problem with the messenger more than the message.

Warner vs. Gilmore Discussion

Chris Graham and I are bouncing thoughts back and forth on Saxman, Gilmore, Mark Warner, and the upcoming Senate election in the comments section of Graham's article at The New Dominion. Graham's article speculates if a unified GOP can defeat Mark Warner.

Go comment and add to the discussion, as it seems Chris and I pretty much agree on things so far...and that's no fun :)

The Left's Got Their Own Sex Scandals

While the left makes a villain and a fool out of Larry Craig (who, admittedly, has not helped himself), stories like this one go largely unreported.

A U.S. Senate aide was arrested Friday after allegedly arranging a lunchtime sexual encounter with a teenage boy, according to federal court records. James McHaney, 28, was nabbed by FBI agents after he arranged the afternoon liaison via a "cooperating witness" working with investigators.

It gets better...

the CW and McHaney were conversing online Friday afternoon when the CW asked whether McHaney was interested in engaging in anal sex with a 13-year-old boy. "I'll be there," McHaney allegedly replied. He later asked for a photo of the child with whom he and the CW would have sex and whether the boy had "any pubes." When told no, McHaney allegedly replied, "That's hot."

And who does this aide work for?

McHaney had worked as the D.C. scheduler for Democratic Senator Maria Cantwell. A caller to Cantwell's office was told late today that, as of last Friday, McHaney no longer worked for the Washington state politician.

Well, kudos to them for firing the guy once he was arrested (he was arrested that day), but if we're going to persecute people in Congress, let's do so equally. Plus, soliciting sex (gay or straight) is not on the same level as soliciting sex from a minor.

(h/t Mason Conservative)

Monday, December 3, 2007

In Case You Missed It

Which you probably didn't, I did a "Candidate Analysis" last week on all of the candidates that are still in that race for the presidential nomination in both major parties. Here's a list and link to each of the remaining 17 candidates.

- Rudy Giuliani
- Fred Thompson
- Mike Huckabee
- Mitt Romney
- John McCain
- Ron Paul
- Tom Tancredo
- Duncan Hunter
- Alan Keyes

- Barack Obama
- Hillary Clinton
- Joe Biden
- Chris Dodd
- John Edwards
- Dennis Kucinich
- Mike Gravel
- Bill Richardson

I also added the websites for each individual candidate to their profile, so you can check them out further if you feel inclined to do so.

If You Needed a Reason to Vote for Bob McDonnell for any Office

Extreme Mortman has a pic of current Attorney General of Virginia's wife, Maureen, when she was a Redskin's cheerleader back in 1974.

I agree with NLS, that should be on every piece of Bob McDonnell campaign literature should he run for Governor in 2009 (which it looks like he will).

"Huckamania" Running Wild

The latest round of Rasmussen Reports polling, and the first round since the last GOP debate, has Mike Huckabee trailing Rudy Giuliani by a mere 3 points. This isn't Iowa polling, this is national polling, people.

Giuliani leads the field with 20%. Huckabee polled at 17%. Fred Thompson third with 14%, McCain at 13%, Mitt Romney down at 11%, and Ron Paul up to 7 %. No other candidate is above 2%.

I'll be completely honest with you, I can't quite comprehend why Huckabee has so much support. I get Rudy, I get Mitt, I get John McCain, I definitely get Fred Thompson...but why Huckabee?

Sure, he has a background that appeals to evangelicals and an honest "aw shucks" mentality, but beyond his social conservatism, what else is there that appeals to the GOP base? I would love for someone to explain this to me, because I find it hard to believe that there are THAT many GOP voters out there that put social issues ahead of fiscal/economical/national defense issues. Huckabee seems like a nice guy, good orator, and a decent politician...but on any issue I seem to find at least one more candidate that I prefer.

Now, I want to see what happens after Mitt Romney gives his speech on his Mormon faith. Given that Huckabee has ate into Romney's base of social conservatives, it makes this speech all the more interesting.

Back It Up, Dems...Mark Warner Facing Primary Challenge

Apparently, Mark Warner is facing a primary challenge from a man named Julien Modica to see who will be the Dem nominee in 2008 for John Warner's open Senate seat.

This could be interesting if Modica runs to the left of Warner, who is not exactly best friends with hard-line progressives in Virginia.

Catch the story over at Virginia Virtucon.

Chavez Concedes Defeat: Socialism Squashed in Venezuela

By a 51-49 cumulative vote, Venezuelan voters voted against proposed constitutional amendments that would have turned Venezuela's current democracy into a socialist state.

The measures were backed by Venezuelan President (and resident anti-American) Hugo Chavez. Among the proposed amendments were an attempt to abolish presidential term limits, an increase in the presidential term from 6 to 7 years, changes to the national administrative structure, an end to the autonomy of the national bank, and the placement of the President in charge of international reserves.

Basically, it would have granted Chavez incredible power over the nation itself.

Even Chavez stated that these measures were an attempt to turn Venezuela from a democracy to a "socialist republic." Chavez had previously stated that only "traitors" would vote against these amendments.

Chavez admitted that he may have been too ambitious to ask the people of Venezuela to leap into socialism and allow him to run for President indefinitely. Chavez also called for nationwide calm and civility in the wake of the pre-vote violence and protest that had been going on in the days leading to yesterday's elections.

President Chavez was also contrite enough to state that this vote has taught him that "Venezuelan democracy is maturing", and that his respect for the vote means he's a true democratic leader (well, that last part remains in doubt). Chavez's current, and final, term is up in 2012.

Nonetheless...score one for democracy and freedom!

The Passion of Paulites

Well, many people disagree with my observation that Ron Paul supporters may have "fixed" the straw poll. Apparently, many Paul supporters state that they actually came on their own volition, and paid their own mass bussing in of supporters.

Although, reports of Paul supporters being bussed in at the Ames, Iowa straw poll were a hot topic for a couple of days on the blogs. Hence the reason I was led to believe this was true.

Nonetheless, I've stated this a lot in the past. I have no problem with Ron Paul, hell I agree with him on many issues. In fact, I've stated previously that he may be the Barry Goldwater of this political generation...he may simply be ahead of his time. I also have my disagreements with him (I'm not quite that libertarian in my viewpoints, I'm more of a libertarian-leaning conservative).

I also get a lot of enjoyment and I feel a sense of hope when observing Ron Paul's supporters get behind their candidate so passionately. I'm hoping that they'll remain this passionate behind whoever the GOP candidate (Paul or otherwise), because it will do a lot for keeping things positive in the Republican Party.

However, when you hear of past incidents, and other people report on these incidents, you have a tendency to make a simple "2 + 2" equation out of it all and come to your conclusion.

So if the straw poll results are legit (which I still have some doubts, as I'm reading conflicting reports from various sources), then it was a great day for Ron Paul, and still a very good day for my candidate Fred Thompson.

Sunday, December 2, 2007

VA GOP Straw Poll Winner - Ron Paul...or Was It?

The official result of the Straw Poll at the Advance had Ron Paul as the winner with 38% of the vote. However, given that Ron Paul supporters get bussed in and have their admission paid for by his campaign to EVERY state GOP straw poll, as SWAC Girl points out, the results are a bit dubious.

So, you look to the number 2 slot for the person that actually has the most support among actual Virginia Republicans...which is none other than Fred Thompson! Fred pulled in 23% to finish second, and Mike Huckabee was a distant 3rd with only 11%.

So, all Ron Paul campaign tricks aside, the REAL winner of the Virginia GOP Straw Poll is Fred Thompson.

When It Becomes More Than Bad Luck

Off politics for a minute...let me talk about the one other thing that gets me going in emotional rollercoasters and fits of excitement and depression.

The Washington Redskins.

Sean Taylor's death was tragedy that goes beyond football, that is undeniable. I am ecstatic that they apparently have found the hoodlums responsible for the slaying of a man who was trying to do right in his life, and died protecting both his home and his family. The gesture of the Redskins to start today's game with only 10 men (instead of 11) was honorable and a moving symbol of the loss they are feeling.

However, in a strictly football sense, this tragedy is one in a long line of them for the Washington Redskins.

It's been 15 years since "Hail To The Redskins" meant "Hail To The Champions". Since then, heartbreak and tragedy has been all that this team has known.

Joe Gibbs retired after the 1992-93 season after taking a talented but extremely old and injured Redskins team to the playoffs, and nearly upending the 49ers in the divisional playoff...who had the league's best record that season. Richie Petitbon took over, and people thought that Gibbs' defensive guru would pick up where he left off, and the Skins were projected to still be one of the better teams in the NFC.

Not quite.

After a blowout 35-16 win over the defending champion Cowboys on Monday Night Football to start the 93 campaign, the Redskins went on to finish 4-12 to complete their worst season in 30 years. Petitbon was fired and replaced with Norv Turner, who would end up with an even worse season in 1994 with a record of 3-13. However, Turner had a core of younger players that were replacing the worn and aging starters of the past. The next year, the Skins went 6-10 and were poised for a return to greatness.

In 1996, the Skins started the season 7-1, then managed to lose 6 of their last 8 games to miss the playoffs at 9-7...the 37-10 stomping of the Cowboys to close out venerable RFK stadium was the season's highlight. 1997 was another playoff "near-miss", as boneheaded mistakes like Gus Frerotte's headbutting of the wall after a touchdown caused him to jam his neck and miss the rest of the season, and Michael Westbrook's slamming of his helmet after a blown call by a referee caused the Redskins to miss a chance at a game winning field goal in a must-win game...the Skins finished just out of the playoffs again at 8-7-1.

After injuries forced a 6-10 season in 1998, The Redskins fulfilled a dream that many fans craved for...they won the NFC East with a 10-6 record, and nearly made it to the NFC Championship game...except a botched snap of the game-winning chip-shot field goal cost the Skins the victory. Super Bowl hopes in 2000 and 2001 were destroyed by bad personnel decisions, bad coaching, and mediocre play...both times, the team went 8-8, once under Norv Turner and Terry Robiskie, and once under Marty Schottenheimer.

They went back to losing ways under Steve Spurrier, finishing 7-9 in 2002 and 5-11 in 2003. Spurrier was fired, and Gibbs was brought back.

2004 was a rebuilding and adjustment year, as the Skins went 6-10. However, the Skins made it back to the playoffs at 10-6, and once again lost out in the divisional playoffs.

Last year was an injury-marred season for Clinton Portis and a rebuilding year as Jason Campbell went through some growing pains after being given the starting job with 7 games left in the season. The 5-11 finish was disappointing, but we've kept hope.

This year...well, we should be better. However, this team has had a tradition of "giving" games away since Gibbs' first retirement. This year, they've handed victories to other teams in ways I can't even imagine. Just like today, where the Skins allowed the Buffalo Bills to remain in the game...and the Bills won 17-16...and all of their points came on 5 field goals and a safety. THE BILLS DIDN'T EVEN SCORE A TOUCHDOWN, AND WE STILL LOST! We're now 5-7, and we could be 10-2 or 11-1. The only game the Skins lost where they were never in it was against the Patriots.

I'm beginning to think this team is cursed. The incredibly bad timing of injuries, the way they've given games away, Sean Taylor's death, Norv Turner's inexplicable firing when the Skins had a chance at a playoff berth.

This team, including playoff games, is 102-137-1 (after today's loss) since Gibbs retired the first time. If you look back at the talent this team had, and all of the insane misfortunes this team has suffered over the past 15 years, you just have to scratch your head as a Skins fan and ask yourself...


But, I will go on. I will cheer my heart out every week for these Redskins, and every other Redskins team that comes afterwards. I will expect them to win, or at least put up a valiant fight. I will sing "Hail To The Redskins" as loud as possible whenever they score.

And when they lose, I will once again sink into a depression as we diehard fans do. No matter how inevitable the outcome was before the game started.

It's something I will do, and something I can never get used to. I grew up around a winning tradition and incredible pride in my hometown team. One day, I hope, they will return to a winning tradition...if nothing else, for the sake of my son, who (at the age of 2) is already exhibiting signs of becoming part of another generation of Skins fans.

He doesn't need this kind of exhilaration/depression's not healthy.