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The Centreville Citizens Coalition is a brand new civic group formed to address the illegal alien problem in that area, which has become especially notorious at the library - a de facto day labor center for illegal workers. Please contact the Coalition if you are concerned and want to find like-minded people committed to solving such problems.
Referred by Blog Fu.
As hinted at here last month, there appears to have been a bit of back room treachery going on among a clique of local Republicans for the purpose of getting Steve Simpson re-elected as sheriff, after Mr. Simpson got clobbered at the Republican Convention in June and took about four hours to break his pledge to support the party nominee.
The chicanery seems to have included a really pitiable whispering campaign which a semi-prominent local Republican even attempted to disseminate here but which has gone absolutely nowhere - especially now that the superior candidate, Greg Ahlemann, has decided to confront all the allegations directly (more here).
Tough luck for the weasels: Greg Ahlemann is no shrinking violet.
Now comes the revelation via a leaked e-mail exchange - just posted by Loudoun Insider - that some prominent GOPers may have basically leaned on the Ahlemann campaign to shut up about the activities of Simpson supporters within the party. So rather then being thrown out on their arses, the turncoats were permitted to stay, and - if the e-mails are genuine - they counterattacked.
No one I've spoken with has confirmed the e-mail messages are for real, although the lack of response suggests to me they are. Read them for yourself and you'll see they have the semblance of authenticity.
What this means is some people supposedly in the party are really not going to make it easy for the party nominee, Greg Ahlemann, to win this election. What this says about the party is, in my opinion, not much, but then, I have a REALLY cynical view of human nature. There is no reason to think the natural snakiness inhabiting the human race as a whole would not also inhabit the Loudoun County Republican Committee in precisely the same proportions.
More significant is what this episode portends for the public perception of Steve Simpson.
My take on Mr. Simpson from the beginning, since I began following the illegal immigration issue last year and the campaign at the beginning of this year, is he is a decent guy, a little on the feckless side, who happens to have so interest whatsoever in doing anything proactive about discouraging illegal aliens from coming to this area. In Mr. Simpson's words, it's a federal issue, end of story. Until Greg Ahlemann stepped onto the scene in February, Mr. Simpson's entire stated philosophy on the issue was a litany of excuses for why his department will NEVER do anything more than it was currently doing. (You can read the Sheriff's take on the issue, and some of the flack he took from locals, during the February townhall meeting here and here; a little more citizen flack here.)
Mr. Simpson's response to citizens' complaints has been, in essence, you really have nothing to complain about because things are getting better, and in any case there is nothing I can do about it.
Naturally, this approach has not endeared the sitting sheriff to many local residents, and the current controversy will sully his reputation even further while providing quite a bit of motivation to those who want him out of office. QUITE a bit of motivation, I would guess.
I can imagine that local activists who might be getting a bit weary of the campaign season, which has been going on for nearly a year, might get a fresh blast of energy if messages begin circulating to the effect "Hey look at this outrage! Are we going to let them get away with this? Do you need any MORE reasons to work to get Greg Ahlemann elected?" Getting Steve Simpson out of there, while also knocking his supporters down a few pegs, could provide the inspiration to take a few more hours off of work, get up a little earlier on a Saturday, knock on a few more doors.
In a low-turnout election, a few more motivated people three weeks out could make a difference, if such messages were to circulate. Hypothetically.
Our buddies at Equality Loudoun just conducted a fascinating, in-depth interview with Loudoun County Sheriff candidate Greg Ahlemann, no holds barred and no punches pulled. As I've said before, Mr. Ahlemann is at his best in one on one personal interaction. His forthrightness is what won him an improbable landslide victory at the June Republican Convention, and the same quality shines here. Thanks to the EV guys for the detailed and undoubtedly laborious transcription.
Go read it now! If you are not very familiar with Mr. Ahlemann, this discussion will definitely help fill in some of the gaps.
And so all I’m talking about doing is a program that the federal government has already said, hey, local jurisdictions, you can use this in your own community to help deal with, you know, the criminal aspect of it. They don’t give us the authority to go in businesses and check IDs and deport people, because they’re not going to take those people. That’s not our job, and that takes away from what we as law enforcement officers need to be doing, which is dealing with crime and the criminal element. Probably the biggest thing that a group like La Voz could get out, and different community groups, is to get this information out, that having the ICE program here is not going to target people who are here illegally who have not committed crimes. We will not have the authority to deport you, to separate you from your family - obviously there will be a deterrent value, there will be a lot of people who will say, Loudoun is hard on it, so maybe I’m not going to go there to drink, maybe if I live in Centreville I’m not going to come down to Pepe’s and drink, and if I get caught drinking and driving I might be deported, so you can’t put a price tag on that.
Another example of pitiable Democrat wrath:
There is a local liberal Web site called Loudoun Force (sorry, losers, you will not get a link from here) whose "admin" just deleted one of my comments with the rationale
Comment from Joe Budzinski from the Help Save Loudoun organization has been unapproved because it violated the Service Discussion Guidelines.
My comment took David Weintraub and Laura Valle to task for their inane comments made in a thread there. I would have saved a copy of the comment if I had any idea the proprietors were high school sophomores, but since I did not I will have to recount from memory.
David and Laura stated that, in essence, the problems citizens of eastern Loudoun attributed to illegal aliens were bogus. I replied that David and Laura should refrain from holding forth on such matters when the two of them live quite nicely distanced from Sterling. I also advised Laura Valle that the more she speaks out in contempt of Sterling's citizens, the more her organization will be front and center in the debate.
I suggested to Laura that this has not been working out well for La Voz because the citizens of Sterling do not appreciate a western Loudoun elitist telling them they do not know what is happening in Sterling. I also advised Laura Valle that it seems every time she pipes up (or her buddy David pipes up for her), she burnishes her credentials as an antagonist to Loudoun's citizens. I opined that, as the single paid employee of a taxpayer-funded non-profit in Loudoun County, Laura is not acting wisely to continue to position herself as an antagonist to those who are paying her salary.
Two lessons: One - Loudoun Force is a farce. If the above opinion is considered beyond the scope of acceptable debate, the Web site is a joke and a waste of time.
Two - It is high time the citizens of Loudoun County speak up about whether an individual who holds them in such contempt should be funded from the public till. Write to the Loudoun County Board of Supervisors at email@example.com and tell our supervisors how you feel about paying Laura Valle's salary.
What is ironic is the idiots who run the site did not gather that the suggestion in my comment was actually very good, objective advice for Laura Valle. I am guessing they took down my comment before she got to read it. Too bad for Laura.
UPDATE: Well, okay then! Someone from Loudoun Farce just stopped by to leave a copy of my comment that they deleted last night (when they also edited something Dan wrote and kicked him and Greg out of the site.)
I appreciate that, and as a result I am going to give LF exactly one link, right here.
I encourage our NVTH readers to make exactly one visit to LF by clicking on that link. Read Laura Valle's original post there and the remaining comments. Then come back here, shake the dust off your sandals, and scroll down to the LF reprinting of my comment posted Sept 23, 1:31 pm. Read the section titled "Mr. Budzinski's Post".
This is what got us all kicked out of LF. I believe the Loudoun Farce rep left it here to shame us, but I am not sure it accomplishes that goal.
Now that my note has been resurrected, I do hope Laura reads it, because it was written with her best interests in mind.
Ok, joke's over: This is what I really meant to say.
...I do not blame Mr. Weintraub for his confusion about the illegal migration conundrum, and I truly thank him for making it public, because it is a crazy situation.
But I really had you going for a while there, Jonathan and David, didn't I?
UPDATE: The letter that initiated the discussion has fallen off the Times-Mirror front page, so here is the link again for those who have not read it. There is a fascinating discussion going on in the comments.
UPDATE: Read my accompanying letter at the Loudoun Times-Mirror Web site here. Read David Weintraub's "assuming readers have a very short memory" response here. Compare the facts in the latter column, printed Sept 24, with the article below.
The recent behavior of David and Jonathan Weintraub, prominent Democratic activists from Lovettsville, illustrates how clinging tenaciously to a position you know is wrong can get you a little unhinged. (They are also bloggers.)
The Weintraubs are liberal, pro-illegal alien advocates .... a formulation which, I sincerely believe, most Americans are soon going to recognize as a contradiction in terms. "Construction company owner" pro-illegal alien advocates, or "poultry processing magnate" pro-illegal alien advocates each make perfectly good sense. But "liberals" advocating to redirect funds from disadvantaged Americans and reduce wages for American workers makes absolutely no sense.
Staggering under the burden of this predicament, David Weintraub lashed out in a letter to the Loudoun Times-Mirror, and Jonathan chimed in with a comment, with plucky, yet ultimately feeble, attempts to shift public attention from their plight.
Bizarrely, both Weintraubs denounced certain local people by stating outright lies about things these people allegedly said or did at recent events - without even bothering to check whether there was a reviewable record of what actually occurred. As it turns out, there is. And while it will bring me great pain to lay out all of these facts and corrections, I feel compelled to do so as a service to the Weintraubs, in order to help them take the first difficult steps back toward intellectual coherence.
A Shameful Start
David got the ball rolling with the letter, modestly titled "Shame on Mr. Budzinski".
First of all, shame on Mr. Joseph Budzinski, spokesman for Help Save Loudoun, for trying to claim that La Voz is engaging in improper political activity. Mr. Budzinski knowingly made this misrepresentation.
Now, this is a direct assertion that I said a specific thing, made even more unambiguous by the second sentence, that I did so "knowingly." Presuming to know what I know, David probably should have gone the extra yard and hazard a guess about what I might do, which is to fact-check him.
David is referring to a public statement I made about two weeks earlier about Laura Valle and the organization for which she serves as executive director, La Voz of Loudoun. Ms. Valle had been featured in several recent media reports about opposition to the Loudoun Board of Supervisors' July 17 resolution on immigration enforcement.
Two of the reports linked Ms. Valle with Mukit Hossain, executive director of the Virginia Muslim Political Action Committee, with the Post article stating the two of them would be "rallying" people to attend the Board's next meeting.
My statement was made during an interview with reporter Jason Jacks in a front page story of the August 24 edition of ... the Loudoun-Times Mirror. Since it is the same newspaper, it's not a stretch to think someone might go back and read it. But apparently David's zeal overcame his reason, and he left himself a tad exposed. Because it has an online edition, we can see exactly what was in Mr. Jacks' August 24 report:
What's more, Joseph Budzinski, spokesman for Help Save Loudoun, a group that thinks local governments should enforce immigration laws, said he questioned the public money because La Voz's interim executive director, Laura Valle, has been acting like a political "activist" of late rather than the head of a nonprofit.
"It appears to me that some of what La Voz does goes beyond that of a 501(c)3 [nonprofit]," he said. "I think there are some questions to be answered about this. ... It came as a surprise to me to learn how much money they get from Loudoun..."
Note the word "activist" is in quotes, indicating something I said, but the word "political" is not. I have requested the editors of the Times-Mirror ask Mr. Jacks to check his record of our conversation, because I am pretty sure I did not use the word "political." My primary reason for questioning La Voz' funding was because I thought Ms. Valle seemed to be providing services for and advocating for illegal aliens, and against the citizens of Loudoun County - which is fine for her to do, but not with public funding.
But let's assume Mr. Jacks used the word "political" in his question and I responded without a correction, or let's even assume I used the word somewhere in my reply: What I said is that because of how Ms. Valle has been "acting" and what "appears" to be going on, I thought the question needed to be asked whether La Voz should be receiving public funding - asking this question was the action by Board member Eugene Delgaudio that I was being asked to comment on. Affirming there is a "question" is not the same as to "knowingly" "claim that La Voz is engaging in improper political activity." This is a deliberate misrepresentation.
But wait, there's more. Shortly afterward, Mr. Jacks quotes Ms. Valle:
With respect to political activism, she said La Voz "is pretty light" compared to other immigrant groups ...
Ms. Valle here admits that La Voz does engage in political activism. So in the article David Weintraub used as evidence for my "misrepresentation" - the only person who makes a "claim" that La Voz engages in political activity is ... the executive director of La Voz.
David Weintraub apparently lives in a world where people can say all sorts of crazy nonsense and no one ever asks for citations or bothers to check the record. It is my mission to deliver David from that world.
A Note About Laura Valle
In case you are wondering why anyone would give a rat's patoutie about public funding for this nonprofit organization called La Voz, some background:
Though I had met Ms. Valle once, briefly, after television interviews in Leesburg, my first extended introduction to her occurred when I read a provocative July 23 column on the Times-Mirror Web site (which I encourage everyone to read), in which she compared "so called anti-illegal immigrant activists around the country" to Adolph Hitler. The only "ranting and raving" party named by Ms. Valle in the column was Help Save Loudoun, the local citizens' group for which I am a spokesman. Help Save Loudoun is the only such group mentioned by name in Ms. Valle's column.
Ms. Valle wrote that Help Save Loudoun's members
....will preface their outrageous statements by saying that this 'is a nation of immigrants' or that 'my Grandmother came from Italy', etc. They say these things to counter the accusations that they are bigoted, discriminatory, or anti-immigrant.
After labeling Help Save Loudoun as "anti-immigrant" and putting the above phrases into our mouths, Ms. Valle proceeded to launch into a breathtaking display of obfuscation, invoking further caricatures to say that people who are concerned about overcrowded houses are "making an assumption about a person based on the color of their skin or the language they speak."
Then, from her sheltered aerie out in Lucketts (in western Loudoun County), Ms. Valle delivered a tidy slap in the face to the residents of Sterling and those of our neighboring state:
Do these people not realize that if every undocumented person in this county were deported they would still have overcrowded houses with unregistered cars parked in the drives, they would still see people peeing outside (on a side note - I most recently observed that behavior on a private golf course when a golfer had had too much to drink, apparently could not make it to the restroom in time, and instead used a tree). When all the illegals are gone and their neighborhood has still not returned to what it once was, well, what issue will they hide behind then? And if overcrowded, run down houses with cars parked on the lawns are an indication of an 'infestation of illegals' then I am afraid we might have to check the papers of a significant percentage of West Virginia's residents!
The above paragraph perfectly represents the sanctimonious perspective of the elite illegal alien advocates. It is no surprise that the Weintraubs, hailing from Lovettsville, display a natural kinship with Ms. Valle's sneering appraisal of the citizens of eastern Loudoun County who simply want the rules in their neighborhoods enforced. How unsurprising to learn Ms. Valle deems her experience at the golf course in any way proportional to what so many residents of Sterling have to deal with from the house next door.
Memo to the Weintraubs and Ms. Valle: The reason the tide has turned in America is because millions of us who live in regular neighborhoods now have firsthand experience with the negative effects of the influx of illegal aliens into our communities. We do not have the benefit of a ten mile cushion of farmland between our homes and the new suburban reality. Many of us do not even play golf.
After reading her column, a number of people had the distinct impression that Ms. Valle was unfairly targeting Help Save Loudoun, which had prided itself on NEVER ranting and raving nor making broad statements about illegal immigrants. Our primary focus of action, in fact, was on illegal employers. Many of our members took exception to her broadside, which seemed disingenuous, and were surprised to learn she was taxpayer funded.
Shortly after this column appeared and she was featured as spearheading the rallies against the Board, it came to light that Ms. Valle's organization receives over $25,000 in annual funding from Loudoun County taxpayers.
On August 15, La Voz held a public meeting in Leesburg to discuss illegal immigration. Ms. Valle stated the following in response to the question: Does La Voz use taxpayer money to provide services to illegal aliens?
How do you deny somebody the opportunity to learn English, or to help their children that are in the schools - we don't have the capacity, I don't think we have the will, and I don't think it's in anyone's interests to do so.
In other words: Yes.
The final exhibit in our discussion of La Voz is an extremely revealing letter by Ms. Valle printed in the September 4 edition of the Times-Mirror.
Ms. Valle takes a moment to explain how her organization got its name:
The name La Voz (The Voice) was chosen in 2002 by a group of concerned citizens during a community meeting. We have always hoped that it would communicate the message that we are an organization that cares for immigrants.
Why would she bother to spell this out? She had to because she got called on it.
The name La Voz' leaders decided on matches that of another organization which was already prominent in 2002 and, along with the Mexica Movement, is one of the most notorious ideological entities engaged in the illegal migration debate: La Voz de Aztlan.
La Voz de Aztlan exemplifies everything that the most shrill, apocalyptic and paranoid anti-illegal advocates might warn you about, and then some. La Voz (de Aztlan) celebrates anchor babies and unabashedly promotes the reconquista of the southwest U.S., proclaiming Los Angeles the "Capital of Aztlan."
This La Voz also gleefully promotes the agendas of America's enemies. The death of NFL player-turned-soldier Pat Tillman draws snide remarks; the beheading of journalist Nick Berg is portrayed as taking place in Abu Ghraib prison; Osama bin Laden is viewed as the modern Pancho Villa; and, in case there was any doubt about La Voz' sympathies, their Web site even reprints the infamous blood libel against the Jews, Protocols of the Elders of Zion.
La Voz (de Aztlan) takes a benign view of Nazi Germany:
This acceptance of the jew history of Germany would be laughable when one studies the true dogma of the Third Reich. Consequences of internalizing jew lies and acting on them, as we Aztecas, like others, have had led to a misinformed and erroneous view of Nazi Germany. If the jewish depiction of Nazi Germany was true, Hitler would not have supported Francisco Franco in Spain, Mussolini in Italy or have aligned himself with Emporer Hirohito's Dai Nippon (Great Japan). Himmler's Waffen SS was the most perfectly multinational combat organization in the war. Arab civilians prospered more under the Axis than British/jewish occupation. We must be careful not to accept as fact the lies which are published and broadcast about Nazi Germany. We must remember at all times that the jew media censors what gets aired and printed and what most people read, see or hear has been censored to assure it conforms to the zionist agenda.
In sum, La Voz de Aztlan is the type of odious organization that any reasonable American would run away from as fast as our feet could carry us. To the contrary, La Voz of Loudoun adopted their name. This would be akin to the founders of Help Save Loudoun deciding to name our organization the "Ku Klux Kaptains."
Ms. Valle's letter goes on to note
... a bullâ€™s-eye painted squarely on our backs. For what? For helping people. It has been a challenge to navigate through the minefield that is this issue, all the while trying to keep my own opinions and emotions at a healthy distance. It has been a tremendous learning experience, and though I have stumbled along the way, I am proud of my work and the work of the Board of La Voz of Loudoun....
The Board of Directors, volunteer members, and paid staff of La Voz of Loudoun wants it known that we will continue to stay on the high ground. We hope that others will join us there.
Let's all be clear about this: La Voz (of Loudoun) only got a "bulls eye" on their back because they compared Loudoun citizens asking for better law enforcement to Nazis. Claiming "the high ground" in the debate is a pitiful attempt to deflect attention from what Ms. Valle has actually said and done. She admits her "stumble." Good. But this is misdirection, plain and simple, unartfully employed and completely transparent.
The reasons some people might have questions about public funding for La Voz (of Loudoun) have nothing to do with alleged improper "political" activity, but with the organization's aiding and abetting of illegal migration and working against the interests of Loudoun County's citizens.
Crazy Over Greg Ahlemann
The Weintraubs' unstable ground gets even shakier when they discuss Greg Ahlemann, the Republican candidate for Loudoun County Sheriff. Democrats and
turncoat Republicans Independents are noticeably freaked out by the Greg Ahlemann candidacy. Ahlemann is such an excellent public speaker and exemplary individual, and has such a compelling vision for the Sheriff's Office that the other two candidates pale in comparison. This has supporters of the trailing candidates very, very scared. Their only resort is to disinformation.
Unfortunately, that pesky public record stands in their way.
David Weintraub's letter continues:
He was present at the Sterling informational forum that Sterling Supervisor Eugene Delgaudio refused to attend, and he knows that the only person there who had to be reprimanded for political campaigning of any kind was Greg Ahlemann, candidate for Loudoun sheriff.
And Jonathan said this in the comments:
Joe Budzinski lied about my community on his Nova Town Hall blog and collaborated with the local anti-gay industry.
Now we see the most transparent political stunts, like sheriff candidate Greg Ahlemann politicizing a La Voz forum and then testifying to the BoS that their funding should be cut because their forum was politicized.
[As to the first sentence, I would say simply: Prove it, Jonathan. My statements about your "community" and my collaboration with said "industry" should be easy enough to cite if such evidence exists. Of course, the way you've framed it, just about any statement could be presented as about a "community" or "industry."]
Let's turn first to the newspaper report:
During questions and answers, Republican Loudoun sheriff candidate Greg Ahlemann, a former Loudoun deputy, said police can detain someone for something as simple as "running a red light" if they are not carrying identification.
He also recounted an incident of an illegal immigrant from Sterling who last year hit and killed a Herndon man with his car. The driver, Jose Santos Sibrian Espinoza, had been cited by police at least a dozen times for traffic violations before the incident.
"I support the 287(g) program," Ahlemann said.
After Ahlemann's comments, Christ the Redeemer's Father C. Donald Howard reminded Ahlemann that the meeting was not a political forum and asked him not to speak again.
This confirms that Mr. Ahlemann was reprimanded, although the evidence of his "campaigning" or "politicizing" is quite absent.
As luck would have it, I have audio recordings of everything Mr. Ahlemann said after he introduced himself.
After one of the panelists had talked about the 287(g) Immigration and Customs Enforcement training program for local law enforcement, during the questions and answer session, Mr. Ahlemann raised his hand and was handed the microphone. He said "My name is Greg Ahlemann and I am running for Loudoun County sheriff" and he proceeded to provide the following information about 287(g). The first recording begins with the interpreter translating Mr. Ahlemann's first words which were before I got out my recorder:
Shortly thereafter, an audience member was called on, and had a question for Mr. Ahlemann, which he answered as follows:
At this point the priest stood up and said Mr. Ahlemann was no longer allowed to talk. They went back to Q & A, and the next question was for Mr. Ahlemann. When the interpreter explained that Mr. Ahlemann was no longer allowed to answer questions, three or four other hands that had been raised went down and there was an audible sigh of disappointment from the audience.
When the event was over, Mr. Ahlemann was surrounded by a crowd of at least 10 audience members, and he spent 15 solid minutes speaking with them.
After listening to the recordings, which are raw audio captures of the event, you will see that Mr. Ahlemann did not do ANY campaigning. The only reason he was "reprimanded" is the priest did not want him speaking - despite the fact that the audience clearly wanted him to talk more. Mr. Ahlemann had direct knowledge of things the people wanted to know. School board member Warren Guerin - who is also a candidate for office - was allowed to speak without reprimand.
But hey, maybe I doctored the audio. Anyone who was at the August 26 event can listen to the recordings and, if truthful, will tell you that is exactly what was said. But maybe it's a conspiracy. Well, we do have another test.
Jonathan Weintraub claims Ahlemann testified about La Voz "that their funding should be cut because their forum was politicized" to the Loudoun County Supervisors on September 4.
WHOOPS! Wouldn't you know it, but there also happens to be a very public record, which is totally incontrovertible, of exactly what Mr. Ahlemann said in that forum. It turns out the Loudoun government has this newfangled thing called a "webcast" on the Internet.
Go to the Loudoun County video archive on this page. Scroll down to the "Board of Supervisors' Business Meeting" of Sep 4, 2007, and click on "Watch."
On the right side of the page, scroll down till you can see item #III, "Public Comment" and click on the link This will skip you ahead in the recording. Then grab the little bar under the video window on the left side of the page and move it as close as you can to 54:38. There you will get to hear and watch Greg Ahlemann's speech verbatim.
For your convenience, in case you cannot watch it, I have transcribed Mr. Ahlemann's September 4 speech below:
My name is Greg Ahlemann. I reside in Leesburg. I appreciate the opportunity to come before you today to speak. I will say that some politicians and power players within politics don't care for me very much, because I'm very outspoken about what I believe. I also believe that's what elections are for. That's one of the reasons why I'm here today.
I'm quite concerned with the fact that we can use county tax dollars to provide services for illegal immigrants, who are in this country illegally, and reward contracts and donations to groups like La Voz who provide services for illegal immigrants when we can't afford to pay our deputies and our teachers enough to live in this community.
I look at the deputies at the back of the room, the deputies in the lobby that are here today. I venture to say that many of the new deputies that come to work for the Sheriff's Office don't live in Loudoun County. Some of them don't even live in the state of Virginia. We can't afford to get them shift differential.
But for people that are in this country illegally we can take our tax dollars and provide services for them. While we neglect the people whose very lives our deputies are paid to protect. It seems like a problem to me.
Our deputies are not members of our communities, many of them. Their kids don't go to our schools. Their not part of our neighborhoods because they can't afford to live here, all while we're sending tax dollars to fund illegal immigrants. Is this really what we think is best for our county and for our communities?
I've spoke to you before about contracts. And I've read just briefly what the attorney had to say about the contracts here. I can tell you, car washes and things like that, we're going to have studies and these things are going to go on long past the election. We could have studies on this for years.
I could tell you, personally, if elected sheriff, I'm not gonna need a study to tell me that our deputies can wash their own vehicles until the Board of Supervisors can decide whether or not we will pay for illegal immigrants if they're working there and send our tax dollars there. I will take a stand on that.
Unfortunately, since January of 2004, when the Department of Homeland Security contacted the Loudoun County Sheriff's Office to invite them to participate in the ICE program, nothing's been done about it. It took until May 1 of this year when I sat in this room and listened as the Sheriff's Office talked about how they were gonna look into the ICE program. During that time, there have been accidents, there have been people killed, like the gentleman that was in Herndon who was killed by someone that the Loudoun County Sheriff's Office had in their custody.
How long do we need to have studies to enforce the law? These things are no brainers. And I also wonder how sincere are our elected officials about really doing something about this. The programs that you guys will decide, and our elected officials will decide on, will only be as effective as the sincerity of those enforcing it.
There is, to put it mildly, substantial evidence against the Weintraubs. Without putting too fine a point on it: Their claims are blatant deceits.
Greg Ahlemann did not say a single word about cutting funding for La Voz "because their forum was politicized."
The Weintraubs are lying. The evidence proves it.
Pro-illegal migration "liberals" are in an untenable situation because they have pitted themselves against lower- and middle-class Americans who should be their natural constituency. For a number of years they have employed terms like "compassion" and "civil rights" to justify illegal employment practices without any thought to the other people who might be deserving of compassion, namely their fellow citizens, nor the historical population of citizens who truly have been victims of civil rights abuses, such as African Americans.
The common definition of a progressive activist does not include "facilitator of corporate corruption," but we are living in an unusual time, an ellipsis in American political history. Major social and economic structural changes have occurred during the past two decades, and the political end result is still a long way off. At the moment, we live in an environment of contradictions.
Country club Republicans and self-proclaimed "liberal" elites, who do not live in the communities most affected by illegal migration, are lined up with bad-citizen business owners to encourage the influx of unskilled workers from other countries.
This corrupt elite has a definite constituency among profiteers and illegal migrants, but is solidly opposed to the best interests of most of the legal residents. What is happening in American today is, the citizens have begun to push back.
When illegal migration was only a trickle, the impact was minimal and localized. Today, the effects are broad-based. The local situation serves as an instructive example.
Over the past few years, legal residents of Sterling could be excused for becoming cynical after assuming the county government would take action on businesses hiring under the table, commercial vehicles on their streets, businesses run from homes, single-family houses turned into multi-family residences, drivers without operators licenses or proper insurance, and an assortment of other infractions for which citizens felt they would be held liable but for which illegal migrants seemed to enjoy a lower level of scrutiny and enforcement.
To protect the illegal employment establishment, government agencies seemed to have a policy of looking the other way on infractions by illegal aliens. The general approach has appeared to be: The feds won't take them, and we do not know what to do with them, so we will just let them go.
Now that so many communities have been affected by the influx, legal residents are demanding a different approach. When the problems were largely confined within Sterling Park, the rest of Loudoun County's residents had the luxury of viewing illegal immigration as a theoretical matter. Today, the problem is recognized almost everywhere east of Rt. 15.
For many of us in this county and this country, the problem is right next door. Citizens have seen their livelihoods impacted by corrupt employers who game the system, their local governments' budgets strained by increased demand for social services, and their neighborhoods blighted by unenforced local regulations because authorities are inclined to look the other way.
This is where Help Save Loudoun comes in. We are the advocates for legal immigrants and legal residents. We believe the illegal migration problem is directly rooted in corrupt business practices, and the only way we are going to turn the corner on this problem is by enforcing the law on employers who hire illegal aliens.
We believe that solving this problem must begin at the local level. Just as local police are permitted to catch bank robbers for the federal crime of robbing banks, local governments can take specific steps toward enforcing immigration laws. We also believe that our local and state governments can end the don't ask/don't tell policy toward crimes committed by illegal aliens.
We believe our local government officials have wide discretion to ensure the safety and security of our communities, and they need to exercise it.
If our local, state and federal governments would simply do what they are supposed to do, the majority of illegal aliens would leave - self-deport - and companies would be forced to become good citizens and do what it takes to hire and house legal workers (hey, guys, check out the eastern regions of North Carolina - bet you could find some laborers there), and people like the Weintraubs would have an unambiguous calling to work for the betterment of our least fortunate citizens, remember how to tell the truth, and go back to being classical liberals again.
Bill knows more about the illegal migration issue than just about anyone you'll ever meet, and he can reel off data, legislative information and history as easily as breathing. He is an eloquent speaker on issues related to illegal immigration and frequently a guest on radio talk shows around the country.
A regular in the halls of Congress, he spent a great deal of time in Richmond during our 2007 session monitoring the action, inaction and downright treachery of our elected representatives. He created this handy report on the Senate fate of important immigration enforcement bills passed by the House.
I strongly recommend making Buck's Blog one of your regular reading stations. Almost no one knows about it yet but there is a wealth of material there and it is well worth your time.
Please pay a visit and let's help get Bill's blogging career going with some comments!
The interesting thing is all along I thought Jonathan was the instigator in that crew. Maybe that was all a feint.
In any case, this is going to be fun.
HEY! Some good news, finally.
The Blog Rating site has just returned our application package and we won a "G" rating!
Our review notes "This rating was determined based on the presence of the following words: gun (1x)"
Presumably, if not for that one word, we would have gotten an "A" - the only possible less threatening rating - which means not only "General" but "All" audiences are permitted, including your grandma and your puppy.
I am so relieved to learn that my project here will serve as a counterbalance to the notoriously tawdry little dark corner of the Web my wife presides over, which earns a solid "R" rating.
I am also relieved we've gotten over the whole faggot thing. The push-back on that really did seem like an overreaction.
A few times a year, it is beginning to look like, I get to spend a little time with my good friend Kevin of the inscrutably brilliant Digital Camel blog.
Back in May, it was fishing. This time, on a whole n'other level of danger, it was kickball.
Adult kickball, that is. Try to imagine it. Chances are, what you are imagining is exactly what it is. Unless, of course, you are not imagining the beer part, because the chief difference between kickball now and kickball when I was six is that now everyone gets to have a beer with them at all times. I considered this when I was six, by the way, but was not able to pull it off.
I did not play because there was simply so much to soak in, and Kevin and el Jefe provided enough fireworks.
We had an authentic Baltimore day and evening, traversing the gritty places, the fancy places and the places that defy one-word description.
Late at night, we hit the Ottobar. We don't have anything like the Ottobar in Sterling.
Kevin's wrap up is here.
Apropos for a gal from a family of educators, my wife in her spare time educates - in contradistinction to one such as myself, who in his spare time rabble-rouses. (No family influence in that, I would maintain).
This week, she explains the origins of:
Ku Klux Klan
If you have other words you would like to learn the origins of, please feel free to submit them here or in her comments section. I'm personally curious about:
I am told the latter do not fly, but I refuse to believe it.
Appropriately enough for a really slow news day in August, there is fresh heck brewing anew in the "Guess the Loudoun Insider" department.
Apparently our comment section served as unwitting conduit for the proposition LI is actually my countryman and distant relative, Jeff Wolinski. As a bona fide Loudoun outsider, I haven't a clue about the significance of this.
We had great fun back in the cold, dark days of January batting this around (more here). Of course, as always happens with those guys, it devolved into a drinking game faster than you can say "jagermeister" and no one remembers how it all ended.
It's interesting on more than one level, and I am only dealing here with the meta-level. If you want the background, go read all of that post, related posts, related links, and various corresponding links.
The upshot is GoDaddy has a huge hole in its supposed "private registration" program. If you want to find who owns a particular domain managed under GoDaddy, you can follow the steps outlined in that post to get the root of the e-mail address of whoever owns the domain.
For years, Domains by Proxy has been the major "anonymous" domain ownership service which allowed you to own a domain and not have your identity publicly available through a whois.sc lookup - which unveils all the information about the people behind every Web site.
So if, for example, someone had a Web site about a certain prophet of a certain religion, the ownership of which could expose one to intimidation or possible beheading, Domains by Proxy allowed ownership without the usual public listing.
Now, with the advent of the GoDaddy behemoth domain-and-Web-hosting-majordomo, you can bring all of your domains and private registrations under one, very easy to manage roof.
Downside: there is a hole in that roof.
If anyone in the world wants to know who owns a domain managed under GoDaddy, they can simply type in the domain name at the GoDaddy Account Retrieval page and receive most of the e-mail address of the owner.
GoDaddy's nifty database search program returns the root e-mail address of every domain owner via a public lookup. Everyone who thought they had "private registration" through Domains by Proxy, and is unfortunate enough to have the management thereof under GoDaddy, is no longer private unless they have an anonymous e-mail contact set up with GoDaddy.
Lesson One: GoDaddy has a serious flaw in their database lookup.
Lesson Two: If the above item is not fixed immediately by GoDaddy, then everyone who has a private registration managed by GoDaddy - and wishes to remain anonymous - had better change their GoDaddy account information pronto if it does not have an unidentifiable e-mail address as the primary contact info.
(You can get an anonymous e-mail in various places, including mail.com).
Congrats to the Daily Whackjob crew for ferreting out this massive security breach at GoDaddy.
There were a couple radio interviews this week:
This one was on PBS station KCRW. (My part is the second half, about 15 minutes in, but the first part is worth listening to).
In what I'm sure is pure disinformation meant to dampen my overwhelming zeal, the Washington Post blog is spinning that I was not the first choice for the one interview, but was only selected because some public officials supposedly turned it down. In reality, I'm quite certain that the public officials were only considered because of my legendary busy schedule, and everyone was quite delighted that I was, in fact, available after all.
If you listen to either of those, I am certain you will agree that my tactic of never interrupting my counterpart, and allowing them to speak for two or three times as long as I speak, will, in the end, prove to be the most effective approach. It's all about winning the war, baby, winning the war.
[Following is a guest editorial by Nan Matthis of American Daughter]
The First Victims of the North American Union?
Inspection reports had raised some concerns about fatigue in the metal components of the span. Such indicators should have triggered retrofit beyond the rather cosmetic efforts being made at the time of the catastrophic failure, particularly for such a critical component of our highway system. So the question arises, Why was this bridge not repaired or replaced in a timely manner?
Since this is a federal highway, garden variety negligence and incompetence by Congress is one obvious answer. The federal transportation budget had enough money, but the funds were squandered on pork barrel projects designed to buy votes for the incumbents (recall that bridge to nowhere in Alaska).
But there is also a more sinister possibility. It is possible that repairs were deferred, in anticipation of complete replacement with a wider bridge when the North America Supercorridor Coalition (NASCO) project reached Minneapolis. The 2001 report to the Minnesota Department of Transportation, prepared by the University of Minnesota, contains the following statement:
I have been tagged by Riley to "list eight habits or facts about yourself, then tag eight more people." Piece of cake.
1). From ages 8 - 11, I grew up enamored with NASCAR, sharks, boxing (Muhammad Ali), and Elke Sommer.
2). I am both compelled, and repelled, by Wild Man Fischer's "My Name Is Larry." I can listen to it over and over.
3). From age 13-17 my entire life revolved around Bruce Springsteen, and I saw him in concert 4 times before the "Born To Run" album was released, once at a movie theater in Red Bank, New Jersey. Soon after he began playing "large venues," I moved on to Frank Zappa and Tom Waits.
4). I am insomniac to a degree that most would find debilitating.
5). I believe in the bottom of my heart that "everyone else can be wrong." This is surprisingly annoying to some people.
6). If our nation was ever to suffer shortages of red wine, seltzer water or nicotine gum, it would be a cold, dark time for one particular citizen.
7). I love Bob Marley's "Buffalo Soldiers," because I was a huge Banana Splits fan.
8). Favorite movie: "The Man Who Would Be King." Followed closely by the DVD-collection seasons of "24".
I hereby tag:
[Following is a guest editorial by the most excellent Nan Matthis of American Daughter]
North American Union
by Nancy Matthis at ADMC.
It's almost a done deal. While most patriotic Americans have been preoccupied this summer with the invasion of illegal aliens across our southern border with Mexico, President Bush has been quietly finalizing plans with Stephen Harper and Felipe Calderon to eradicate our national sovereignty. They'll wrap it up on August 20 at a meeting in Montebello, Quebec.
Soon the United States will be subsumed into a North American Union, just as the nations in Europe have been gobbled up by the European Union. Boundaries will melt away and our dollar will be replaced with the amero, giving the "globalistas" an opportunity to get rid of that pesky phrase In God we trust which reminds us of our rapidly vanishing heritage.
Judging from reports we receive from our friends across the pond, this is not a good thing for nations with successful economies. What it does is bring all the participants into the same business climate, a sort of socialism at the national level -- an advantage for the less robust nations and a huge disadvantage for the vibrant economies.
One of the worst results of such a union is the migration of people within the union that results. In the European Union, for example, poor Romanians are pouring into the United Kingdom and dumping themselves onto the overburdened social services system. Currently in the United States, illegal immigration across our southern border is overtaxing our schools, hospitals, law enforcement and welfare systems. Within the North American Union, the fiscal penalties to our citizens would be greatly multiplied, and it would be legal.
As this calamity bears down on us, the mainstream media are strangely silent. One has to look to Canada to find anyone sounding the alarm. We want to call our readers' attention to this copyrighted article by Global Research. We excerpt a portion here under the principle of "fair use" but we urge everyone to visit their website and read all of it:
...extiende su bienvenida a trabajadores undocumentados.
New Haven, Connecticut has set up an extremely generous new program for illegal aliens, providing many of the benefits of citizenship. To assist in this effort, ALIPAC is conducting a major national campaign to encourage all illegal aliens from everywhere in the U.S. to move to New Haven, Connecticut.
It is supposed to be a fine city, so I say we all get on board and dedicate a little time to furthering this effort.
Print off several copies of this flyer, then run, do not walk, to your local grocery store bulletin board, etc.
Pretty powerful stuff worth listening to till the end. I am sure we will be seeing a lot more of this in the coming months. The sheer number of illegals being brought across the southern border is shifting public perception of the issue, across party lines.
Craig Hudgins, Independent candidate for Virginia Senate (challenging incumbent Ken Stolle), will be the guest on Bearing Drift's podcast tonight at 7:00 pm. Clicking on the graphic at that link should allow you to listen.
To call in with questions: (718) 664-9599
You could also probably leave questions in the comments section to that post.
Ken Stolle helped kill quite a few immigration-enforcement bills which passed the House of Delegates with veto-proof majorities in the recent session.
For this reason alone, it is worth your time to hear what Craig Hudgins has to say.
[This is a guest editorial from American Daughter]
Local Action, Outside Interference
by Nancy Matthis at ADMC
Prince William County in Virginia is one of the more distant suburbs of the metropolitan Washington, DC area. It used to be an idyllic setting, and residents who worked downtown were willing to endure the longer commute in return for the privilege of raising their families in delightful and safe surroundings.
But recently, the county has been overrun with an illegal immigrant population estimated at about 40,000 out of a total population of about 350,000. Put differently, over 11% of the county's residents do not belong. The hard-working, tax-paying young families who do have the right to live there are supporting illegal aliens at a ratio of roughly 31 to 4.
The quality of life is deteriorating around the legitimate homeowners who have invested their future in the county. Multiple families violate the zoning ordinances to jam into "boarding houses" in single-family residential areas. Schools, hospitals and social services are burdened with non-English-speaking aliens. Public spaces are plagued with crime, including murder. There is a growing MS-13 gang problem.
Recently, the citizens of Prince William County took action to reclaim their American way of life. In a public effort that enjoyed overwhelming local support, the County Board of Supervisors voted unanimously to crack down on illegal immigration.
A powerful national organization is attempting to intimidate the citizens from exercising local sovereignty. The Puerto Rican Legal Defense and Education Fund, based in New York City, promised a lawsuit. Their threat, made before the Board of Supervisors voted, was reported on Lou Dobbs Tonight:
FOSTER MAEL, SENIOR ATTORNEY, PUERTO RICAN LEGAL DEFENSE & EDUCATION FUND: We think that the County should be on notice that what they are doing will have serious legal consequences for the County so they can't say, oh, we're surprised. Because, yes, we do think it violates federal law. And so we think they should be aware of that before they make the final decisions as to how theyâ€™re going to proceed here....
BILL TUCKER, CNN CORRESPONDENT: The involvement of PRLDF ... is not surprising. Theyâ€™ve acted to prevent several local communities from enacting similar ordinances, mostly notably Hazleton, Pennsylvania. Their involvement is usually seen as legally and financially intimidating ...
So the County, in this case Prince William, is left with a choice - spend millions on social services or spend the money on lawyers defending its ordinances.
The American Civil Liberties Union is waiting and watching, according to this report in the Christian Science Monitor:
More communities use local police to enforce US immigration law Prince William County in Virginia is one of a growing number of counties and cities making their own immigration reforms. By Zoe Tillman
.... when political leaders in Prince William County saw national reform legislation falter last month in the Senate, they approved their own immigration-reform resolution that, among other things, would give local police a shot at enforcement.
To that end, the Board of Supervisors voted unanimously on July 10 to allow county police officers the authority to check the citizenship status of anyone they've stopped or arrested whom they have "probable cause" to believe is in the US illegally. The county board has yet to define "probable cause," but board chairman Corey Stewart says it may be based on whether a person has a driver's license.
The county "has reached a boiling point," says Mr. Stewart. An influx of illegal immigrants over the past four years has led to overcrowded houses and schools, overstretched public services, and a rising problem with gangs, he says....
So far, the ACLU of Virginia has no plans to challenge Prince William County's resolution. That could change, says executive director Kent Willis, after its details become clear.
It's like Texas picante sauce made in New York City.
Pr. WILLIAM SLAYING Police Charge 3 With Murder in Beating
Three men have been charged with murder in the beating death of a 21-year-old Manassas man who was last seen alive running from a mob of men, Prince William County police said yesterday....
Arrested were Marvin A. Rodriguez-Barrera, 19, of the 3500 block of Coxcomb Mews in Dale City; Salvador M. Elias-Miranda, 25, of the same address; and Elias I. Quinteros-Soriano, 29, of the 7800 block of Meadow Ct. in Manassas. They are being held without bond.
Pr. William Passes Resolution Targeting Illegal Immigration Wednesday, July 11, 2007
Prince William County supervisors voted unanimously last night to approve a resolution that targets illegal immigrants by attempting to curb their access to public services and increasing immigration enforcement by local police....
The largest board meeting crowd in 20 years showed up for the vote at the county government complex, turning Prince William into a microcosm of a debate playing out in communities across the country in the wake of Congress's failure to reform immigration laws....
We have to encourage this sort of thing because it keeps them off the streets. This leaves the streets for those of us who are old enough to appreciate them.
I got nuthin' of substance thus yet, so forgive the breeziness of what follows, but my far more disciplined and productive wife has a recap here. I hope it was some consolation for her that we spent much of the social time demonstrating our non-political sides.
Jim and Brian of Bearing Drift have some notes. (Scroll down). Jim is a prince for all the work he put into this great conference.
Jay of VV has a nice wrap up. After learning the details, I can say Jay's palatial estate in the boondocks is the blogger-dwelling I most want to visit.
Kat of CatHouse Chat also has a good recap. Kat shares some of my hard-edged interests and concerns, so it was pleasantly surprising to discover she is nothing like me, but actually quite friendly.
The Whacked crew seem to have the only photo coverage - good work! (Scroll down). From my initial impression of their collective personalities, I had the idea that must be among the Best Places to Work in the blogosphere.
In reality, though, I'm sure it's more like a sweatshop. That's how it always is.
There seem to have been some controversies at the event, which I managed to miss, either as a result of socializing or daydreaming, so I apologize in advance for the lack of juicy tidbits here.
I can say the whole brouhaha about "liberal" bloggers staying home turned out to be quite the non-issue because the several liberals who attended represented the species extraordinarily well.
Whackjob himself is a frickin' nut and one of the funniest people I've ever met - so, frankly, there simply may not have been sufficient time for many more liberals because we were all so enthralled by the Greg-meister's routine.
And speaking of funny, Johnny Camacho - you know, the 17-year old guy running for county supervisor, and Kenton - the 16-year old whose traffic had it's biggest spike during the run up to the 2005 elections - have this deadpan hilarious schtick going which someone seriously should make a film about. I am most encouraged by these fine gentlemen being liberals now because in order to eventually say "I used to be a liberal" one really should have been a liberal - and they now have that part of the life-puzzle completed.
Vivian Paige is treat to talk with and such a decent person she reminds you the whole "liberal"-"conservative" polarity is a false or semi-useless construct when it comes to actual, well, people sharing views.
Along the same lines, Dan of VB Dems is another among many "liberals" who shares far more of my own beliefs than many of my fellow "conservatives." Disenchantment with the Parties-that-be being chief among these. Those of us who suffered through the Ross Perot implosion share a special kinship.
Switching to the other side of the ideological spectrum ... Jim Bowden was one of the main people I wanted to meet and I was privileged to spend over an hour talking with him. Some good counsel came over the bridge. On top of that, I bought a copy of his book which I encourage all of you to do as well.
Kilo has the enthusiasm thing down pat.
I'm Not Emeril is, appropriately, secretive with his recipes. On the other hand, he is a force of nature, so he has that going for him, which is nice.
I met a number of other great folks for whom I do not have links at the ready. (Sorry!) It was great to meet all of you.
Special thanks to the incredible Christopher Newport University people for allowing us to have the conference in their facility. It was top notch in every respect and a huge contribution to the Virginia blogosphere.
Blogs United will be a going concern, apparently, following the overall success of this event. I encourage Virginia bloggers of every stripe to attend the next one. It was a really good time.
I'm at the Blogs United conference in Newport News for the weekend.
- Don't move to Newport News unless you really enjoy sitting in your car.
- Most bloggers are young enough to be my offspring, technically.
- Of the ones who are not, most hold their liquor extremely well.
I may not have the opportunity to actually "blog" this event, on account of basic laziness, but those delightful young men of Daily Whackjob are dutifully on the task so I encourage you to visit over there.
This is the video the pro-illegal alien advocates don't want you to see.
Because of the state's tough immigration enforcement law that just went into effect July 1, illegal aliens in Georgia are leaving in droves - some returning to Mexico, some going to other states.
If we in Virginia can take action at the local and state level to convince the illegals that this may not be the ideal place to come to, more will return to Mexico or other home countries, and thus will begin the process of advocating for reforms there. Which is what should have been happening in the first place and which the corrupt people running those countries are extremely grateful not to have had to deal with.
The following should be required viewing for every current or prospective office holder at every level of government.
Heh. This is a movement I can support.
We bought a "ceramic heater" from Target, where everything except the employees and customers is produced in Chinese factories, and it lasted about a week before it stopped heating and started whistling, which I assume was the preliminary to vaporization.
And yes, I will buy the t-shirt.
While Eileen at VB Dems has discovered some supposed nefariousness with our Attorney General's immigration enforcement initiatives (and rediscovered her special love for Ken Stolle in the process), today's RTD contains this reassuring column from Lt. Gov. Bill Bolling:
While Congress fails to act, states are forced to do what we can to address the issue on the state level. While the primary responsibility for immigration rests with the federal government, there are things we can do in Virginia to help address this problem.
We can require the governor to enter into a Memorandum of Understanding with the Immigration and Customs Enforcement Agency (ICE) to allow state and local law-enforcement agencies to enforce civil immigration laws. This would enable our state and local police to arrest and detain illegals when they encounter them, rather than releasing them.
We can make sure that illegals in Virginia are not receiving the benefits of citizenship. While we have already acted to take most of these benefits away, we still allow the children of illegal immigrants living in Virginia to pay in-state tuition at our colleges and universities. That should be stopped.
And finally, we can pass our own laws holding Virginia employers accountable for knowingly hiring illegal workers or knowingly failing to confirm their immigration status prior to hiring them.
Read all of that. Local and state legislation will be the next major front in the culture war during the next several months.
In a previous life I spent much time in the company of a few early masters of the blogosphere, gentlemen who shaped the genre, who entertained and informed me and also occasionally linked to me.
One of these top dogs was Rob "Acidman" Smith, author of Gut Rumbles, who died almost exactly a year ago. Last time I checked, his blog still gets more than double our traffic here.
Gut Rumbles is notable for its honesty and articulateness. Rob, along with Eric of Straight White Guy, were the first and best blogger-poets to exemplify the potential of blogging everyday life.
In my view, this was one of the key developments of the blogging phenomenon.
Most of the people who do this do it as an outlet for political frustration: Instead of yelling at the television news anchors, we type out our rants.
But there have been those like Rob and Eric who have taken the medium in a different direction and blogged about their thoughts and lives. More personal prose, and less links to public events. It is a compelling model. These guys foresaw what is now immensely obvious: In the blogosphere there is a surplus of political speech, and a deficit of reflection on life.
For all you up and coming, unfocused bloggers out there, I strongly recommend reading the archives of both Gut Rumbles and Straight White Guy.
I think the "citizen journalist" concept for blogging has great potential for those inclined in that direction. But I think the "daily diary" model has greater potential because there are so many more of us who live and can talk about it, than those who can report the "news."
In honor of Acidman, Eric posts this memorial event featuring friends singing one of Rob's favorite John Prine songs.
While the corks are popping and confetti and silly string still hang in the air, let us sneak a glance gamely ahead at the next stage: Local action. Time to ramp it up.
John Hawkins has a source inside the Senate.
Then on Wednesday morning, the bill was out on the internet and bloggers started picking it apart and that morning around 10 AM, Reid pulled the bill so it could be re-drafted because he said there were mistakes in it. They spent almost the whole morning drafting it and when they re-released it, it was 400 pages long. That means that it's likely when the vote occurs tomorrow, not a single senator voting on the bill will have had an opportunity to actually read it. Reid's response to complaints about that has basically been, "Trust me." My source told me that the general response to that from the anti-amnesty senators has been something akin to, "Yeah, right."
Read all of that, it is sure to boost your cynicism to unprecedented levels.
I have to say, despite how unbelievably asinine our Republican 'leaders' are, the Democrats manage to go them one better every step of the way.
Last year the Republicans presided over the passing of S. 2611, likely one of the worst pieces of legislation ever devised anywhere. How do the Democrats surpass that one? By pushing through a piece of phantom legislation that is not even written yet and which - obviously - no one has even read.
I just had a private conference with Not Larry Sabato and Black Velvet Bruce Li; and although the meeting was supposed to be completely off the record, I feel morally compelled to share the entire content with all of you right now.
Blogging ethics allow this.
Let's put it this way: The discussion ended with NLS head honcho Ben Tribbett screaming at me "I will bust you down to COPPER, Budzinski, I will bust your sorry little blog down to freakin' zinc!"
"Get out of town, you crazy bald man" I yelled back, "Zinc isn't even a metal!"
Well, it turns out we were BOTH partially right and partially wrong in that exchange, but who's to quibble over minor details. The important thing is that Don Ben is laying the heavy hand of blog dominance on my back, and I don't intend to submit without a fight.
We've had our run-ins with the Don before, as many of you will recall.
In this instance, the sticking point was illegal immigration. Namely, are those of us talking the talk walking the walk?
Jim Webb, as of late tonight, is reported leaning "yes" on cloture and "no" on the final bill.
Which would be about as weasely as it gets. Yes on cloture lets the Grand Swindle pass in the Senate while a no on the bill supposedly gets the senator off the hook for supporting it.
No dice, Jim. "Yes" on cloture is "yes" on amnesty. Such a vote would be remembered.
Contact Senator Webb here if you want to help him make the right decision on this.
Senator Voinovich's cluelessness should serve as a reassuring reminder that our Republican "leaders'" proclivity to destroy the country via instant amnesty for tens of millions of illegal aliens is the result of ignorance more than malice. So we have that going for us.
[UPDATE: I just saw the ad on FNC and it appears the show tonight might be telling the same story as Islam vs Islamists but not play the same film. In any event, the story of this individuals is very compelling so I strongly recommend watching it.]
Free Republic has a notice that the documentary I wrote about in April, Islam vs Islamists, is going to air on Fox News Channel tonight at 9:00 pm. (There is some controversy because it was supposed to air last night, and so far it is not showing up on the Comcast guide.)
I highly recommend everyone watch this short film. It got pulled from PBS under questionable circumstances with the hint of pressure from Islamist advocacy groups.
There is only one possible, practical answer to the biggest problem of our age, and that is reform within Islam. This documentary tells the story of a few very brave individuals who are attempting to accomplish such reform. Don't miss it.
Craig Hudgins, left, is a jet pilot of some sort who the usually percipient Eileen identifies as a "Biblical values" candidate. That could mean a number of things, I imagine.
This will be interesting to watch.
As one of Jack's commenters noted the other day, it is absolutely sinful for anyone to make money on "health" related work.
It therefore warms the cockles of my heart to learn that leftist auteur-provocateur Michael Moore is finally able to put his money where his mouth is by giving away the fruit of his labors.
Some things are just too important to be sullied by the profit motive.
My constant needling, haranguing, hectoring and general face-slappery of our perpetual antagonist, the hunched-over, beady-eyed one, Loudoun Insider, has finally achieved its desired result:
Ha ha ha ha HA! This is how it always begins ... and this is what I live for. Toobad nobody bothered to inform our Lillipution Incubus that by the time he realizes that war has begun HIS DEATH THROES ARE ALREADY IN THE FINAL STAGES!!
Take ye care, Liberal Insensate, lest the flames ye fan devour ye.
UPDATE: Ah, criminy - capitulation before the smoke from the first salvo has even ceased stinging our nostrils. Story of my life ...
Ace says keep calling because the GOP now says it has enough senators to invoke cloture, and he has a bunch of good phone numbers, including a special hotline for non-citizens who want to call a senator in favor of amnesty.
If you can believe that.
Along the lines of my post from last night: John Hawkins has an important brief on what is really happening with the "comprehensive" immigration reform bill in the Senate. Click here to read it which I HIGHLY recommend.
I'm probably going to just outright steal the post and reprint it here next week - it is that important - but for now I encourage you to visit John's site if you are concerned about this issue.
[Continuing Loudoun Insider's worst nightmare, we have another great post from Brian Withnell as a comment on this post about whether it is appropriate to be paid for work in religion, health or education.]
I have only one major disagreement with this. A pastor is someone that cannot do any other task because God has called him to be a pastor. If someone could do anything other than be a pastor, they should not be a pastor. If someone thinks of being a pastor as a way to make money, they need to leave that "job" and get out of the church. The worker may be worthy of his wages, but those wages should be the median wage of the people attending his church.
As to teaching, I can say only that while I agree in principle, I find that I am constrained in much the same way. When I ran for Clerk, I actually had a strong hope that I would not win. I love teaching. It doesn't pay. (I paid more in taxes as an IT Director than the gross pay I receive now as a teacher.) But there is a reward in getting nearly every one of my students to pass the SOL this year. There are students that I tutored long into the evening, and other I came early to help in the mornings. And when I see those students passing what they thought they would not pass, it makes my day, week, month and year! I am sure that if things were different, I would be back to IT in a heart beat, but as it is, as long as I can stand the negative cash flow of being in teaching, I will. (I'm hoping that the increases in my taxes will eventually stop outpacing the yearly increases in salary, and that could eventually make it a "break even" proposition.)
Money is fun to have, seeing a student grasp a difficult concept (that is, seeing "the light bulb go on") is truly rewarding.
While that is true, I also understand that I'm the exception. Not many of the teachers I meet are converts from industry. Few in fact. I've not met any successful industry "convert" that wasn't dedicated to teaching. Having pay related to subject has been done in some areas, and from what I understand, it has had success. That said, I am still in a place where I'm paying forward what was given me, and more satisfied doing it than what the obvious lack of money would explain.
-- Brian Withnell
Some clown is fulminating over at Blog Fu's place about state Senator Ken Cuccinelli, calling the senator weak on an issue that he is actually strongest on.
(The purveyor of this "black is white" argument is also bemoaning the fact Senator Cuccinelli will not return his phone calls. I can help you with that one: Senators don't waste their time on crazy people. The guy also supposedly runs an anti-Cuccinelli Web site, which I would advise also does not elevate that return call on the priority list.)
Senator Ken Cuccinelli has been one of the most important proponents of stricter immigration law enforcement at the state and local level in the entire nation. He has been involved with Help Save Herndon since soon after it was formed and has supported the group's work ever since. He was the highest-ranking local dignitary at the HSH victory celebration after they bounced the former town government out of office.Help Save Herndon member and Herndon Compass co-founder John Neil. (The Compass, the newspaper HSH started in order to get a fair hearing after the existing local press either ignored them or wrote them off as bigots, was a key factor in turning out the town council.)
As I mentioned the other day, some state lawmakers are taking proactive steps to ramp up immigration enforcement across the country and have formed an organization called State Legislators for Legal Immigration to further that effort. Along with Senator Jay O'Brien, Ken Cuccinelli is a founding member of SLLI from the state of Virginia.
UPDATE: The individual who made the false claims about the senator has retracted his complaints and has in fact fully reproduced this refutation, even the smackdown phrases. That's an act of intellectual honesty, which should be commended. So while we are in the mode of planting kisses on each others' cheeks, I'd like to ask WHY IN THE NAME OF GOD IS HE TRYING TO BRING DOWN ONE OF THE BEST ADVOCATES WE HAVE FOR FIXING THE BIGGEST PROBLEM IN OUR STATE???
The guys at Too Conservative are having a conniption over the fact that Brian Withnell is challenging Gary Clemens for the Republican nomination for Loudoun County Clerk of Court.
The gist of the argument seems to be "How dare he!"
While I will admit, in the spirit of full disclosure, that I seem to be on the other side of pretty much every political contest from the TC folks, I think there is room for objective discussion here.
[More full disclosure: My totally non-political wife, a couple months ago, said this about TC following her initial naive surfing of the blogosphere: "I thought 'Too Conservative' meant they exposed people they thought were too conservative." Heh. From the mouths of babes...]
Anyway, whatever the relative qualifications of the two men, let's examine a simple fact about the Clerk of Court:
The Clerk of Court gets elected for an eight-year term, and the salary is $130,000 a year - and as some insiders have said, it's not exactly a brutal job.
Interesting factoid: If you state the above sentence to anyone in Virginia, 99% of respondents will reply "reeaally??"
So I would say: Considering all the calculations that go into deciding whether one should run for office, this Clerk of Court deal has the added bonus of being a pretty friggin' good job. Better than the governor's or your average congressman's, in fact.
Yeah, it is "public service." But it is also pretty sweet public service.
The outrage at TC, I would therefore submit, is misdirected. I would say, in fact, that if there is any job that we should expect to see contested every eight years, it might be this one. It's a little surprising to me that people are not falling over themselves to line up for the primary.
Hell, it would be an upgrade for me, that's for damn sure.
I wish I had more information on the issues of the campaign. So far, Brian Withnell has established he is a nice guy but has not made it exactly clear why he would be the better man for this cherry position. Gary Clemens has made it clear he is also a good guy, and who can blame him for wanting another eight-year stint.
While I respect Loudoun Insider much of the time and read his posts pretty regularly, I have to think he is overdoing it a bit to hyperventilate over the fact that Withnell is trying to get this job. We do have a democratic process in this country, and oftentimes it is fought over jobs far less remunerative than the Loudoun County Clerk of Court. Supervisor, for instance. I think Gary Clemens should expect a challenge once every eight years and be ready to defend his position.
Brian Withnell is a tech-wonk guy - this is one of the things he did communicate the other night at the LCRC meeting. A lot can change in eight years, and in a data-intensive environment as a court oversees such a person has solid standing to say he should be considered for the position.
Chaz is an up and coming political star who has solid plans to modernize and streamline the clerk's office operation to make it more efficient. He is definitely someone to keep your eye on for the future. So, in an effort to help Chaz launch what promises to be a long and bright future in Virginia politics, Virginia Virtucon is proud to endorse Chaz in this race and add him to our Red Storm Virginia project.
You can check out Chaz's Web site for more info - his background is ideal for the position. If you live in Rockingham County, it sounds like you will have a candidate you can be proud to vote for in November.
Read this essay, then consider the current immigration debate - then say to yourself, "holy crap" as I did:
While Democratic legislators we spoke with welcomed the Latino vote, they seemed more interested in those immigrants and their offspring as a tool to increase the role of the government in society and the economy. Several of them tended to see Latin American immigrants and even Latino constituents as both more dependent on and accepting of active government programs and the political class guaranteeing those programs, a point they emphasized more than the voting per se. Moreover, they saw Latinos as more loyal and "dependable" in supporting a patron-client system and in building reliable patronage networks to circumvent the exigencies of political life as devised by the Founding Fathers and expected daily by the average American.
Republican lawmakers we spoke with knew that naturalized Latin American immigrants and their offspring vote mostly for the Democratic Party, but still most of them (all except five) were unambiguously in favor of amnesty and of continued mass immigration (at least from Mexico). This seemed paradoxical, and explaining their motivations was more challenging. However, while acknowledging that they may not now receive their votes, they believed that these immigrants are more malleable than the existing American: That with enough care, convincing, and "teaching," they could be converted, be grateful, and become dependent on them.
Although we maintain an attitude of objectivity and independence here at the NVTH Blog, usually choosing to endorse candidates individually based on our diverse interests, I am pleased to report that the NVTH bloggers have conferred and agreed to a corporate endorsement of Hamilton 'Ham' Sandwich, Esq., for Prince William County Commonwealth Attorney.
Because of the early date this endorsement is totally unprecedented.
NOVA TownHall's Joe Budzinski said:
While the opponent offers interesting credentials, we strongly believe Ham Sandwich - particularly with a little spicy mustard - presents an overwhelmingly superior alternative.
You can go to the Raising Ham site for more info on this Ham-tastic political movement.
FIRST: Yes, as Blog Fu advises call your own two Senators right now and tell them rewarding illegal aliens with government benefits was a failure in 1986 and would be tenfold the disaster now. It was supposed to legalize at most 3 million aliens and brought 20 million more illegals. What will legalizing the 20 million bring?
The border is not secure; announcing a path to citizenship will bring millions more across as it did in the 1980s and 1990s.
SECOND: Send a word of support to each member of the "filibuster team" who, it appears, we are really going to need.
Sen. DeMint (R-SC)
This, alas, could be trouble, but my previously very private wife has now launched herself into the blogosphere with her own web log. I do not know if this is a reaction to the hellstorm I have stirred up as a bona fide local troublemaker but by the "vows" I am compelled to support it.
Such is life, as the French among us say.
I assume she won't spill any inside information about my continuing political black ops but will only talk about her girly writer stuff there.
UPDATE: Uh, yeah, upon further review my wife's blog IS probably a few notches higher than this one in terms of the "intellectual" factor. So we're obviously dealing with different audiences.
Further evidence of the utter uselessness of the mainstream media - in which I would include Fox News although they pose as "alternative" and MSNBC although nobody ever watches them - is highlighted by La Shawn Barber's post on the Newsom-Christian torture-murders earlier this year:
Even if the stripper's allegations had been true, why was the Duke case burning up the airwaves while the Christian-Newsom case barely emits a spark?
What's up with the lack of blanket media coverage? I'm not talking about a story here or there with case updates. The media should be swarming around this story.
I found it via NewsBusters which has more on the story.
We should be close to the point where "hate crime" can be consigned to the Dustbin of Meaningless Terms.
If you are not apprised of the free speech meltdown taking place at Tufts, click here for the whole story.
The Hot Air guys just did a serious, three-part interview with Stacy McCain and the good folks at the local paper of record. Enjoy.
Interesting report from a Marine over at Not Larry Sabato.
Not what you'd expect on that blog - and followed by an interesting discussion among his (mostly liberal) readers. The gist is, "If it is good news from Iraq, it cannot be true." Well worth checking out.
Soon to be nothing even remotely resembling household news is this story about the Al Qaida guy who was formerly a high ranking officer in the Iraq military.
Begging the question the MSM doesn't dare ask: how "formerly," exactly?
Thomas Joscelyn wants to know how much, if any, contact he had with his old patron while waging terrorist war for bin Ladin in Afghanistan.
Don't we all.
Or should I say, "Don't we most."
I can imagine quite a few people who are right now beginning to shriek that this man, this poor abused misunderstood idealist, must not be asked a single question more.
Don't miss this further post on Bush's shenanigans in this matter.
Also, Captain Ed weighs in regarding media coverage of the capture. Which sheds some light on the story as a whole.
Wow. Eileen at VB Dems just hosted a fantastic live blog with our Delegate Tom Rust, who provided interesting, thorough responses to tough questions. He also taught me a few things about some of the legislative initiatives we followed here during the last session.
It will only take 5-10 minutes to read the whole thing; go check it out.
More Tom Rust info available here.
Don't think about it, just click, damn you.
On a related note, the more traffic we receive on this blog, the less time I will have to drive around town in my truck sightseeing. So put us on your blogroll, visit each day, send out links to our articles via e-mail and you'll be helping to save the Earth. Thank you.
For Wednesday - the bridge between the beginning and end of the week - here is an attempt to build bridges.
At least it's a starting point. Tomorrow we shall discuss some even more effective ideas for healing our nation's fractured soul.
Interesting linked article and opinion by the Times' Stacy McCain:
Social criticism cannot explain Cho's violence for the simple reason that such violence is so extremely rare. There are millions of American college students, and only one of them has ever committed such a horrific massacre..
Read it all.
As Blog Fu and others have since noted, the original VV post was really quite sensible.
Basically, Riley of Virginia Virtucon argued the VA Tech killer seemed to be under the influence of radical leftists and Don Ben said, this is an inappropriate argument at this time. Right Wing Liberal then pointed out that the South Korean leftists are, indeed, freaks, and the VA Tech killer might reasonably be assumed to have been in that camp.
Pointing out the ideological connection is not so crazy, in the overall context of this big old crazy world we live in.
Be all that as it may, the question of who is right and who is a freak is one we will likely argue for months to come. Life, death, guilt, innocence, friend, foe, God, Satan: So much remains to be sorted out.
Of immediate, momentous importance, however is that one lingering question which chills our souls: How will this impact the links to my blog?
(continued below the fold)
I'm too busy to write today, but I have to note that the amazing Digital Camel blog has now gone subscription only. That Kevin is a sheer wild-man genius.
This has got to be one of the worst ideas ever for a blog.
And the person will likely become a millionaire and end up owning five jets.
I hope regardless of all our squabbling over peripheral issues here we can join together and declare Vote For The Worst is the funniest thing so far in the current millennium.
While there is still, admittedly, a long portion of the millennium to go, I'm guessing by the end this will still rank in the top five comedic events, alongside Al Gore's 2024 "New Ice Age" mea culpa speech atop the Michigan glacier, and various and sundry culinary pratfalls.
When Fox created this seemingly bulletproof formula of cranking up millions of teenboppers and evening slackers to "buy in" and jam the telephone lines twice a week, they did not consider the gargantuan bounty of the free market was, well, free.
Free to do the opposite.
This episode presents a case study for ascertaining the precise timeline for onset of cynicism regarding truly silly stuff among the American populace. The time table for pop culture has been set, I think we can all agree, at just about four years.
The only big question now is how many millions of dollars will Fox throw at this guy to just make it go away.
The next two weeks are my really busy time so I expect to be of little help here ... or far less than usual, to be more precise.
As the proprietor of this blog, I hereby announce I expect no horseplay or grab assin' and I want everyone to behave like the gentlemen and ladies you all are. Drinks, as usual, are on the house for those of age. If you have the need to spit, please use a spittoon, but if it is as a result of wine tasting I question your manliness because I've never understood why a body can't swallow a little more wine under any circumstance whatsoever.
I'll make an appearance or two, but most likely under the most ignominious of conditions (watch for reports at Digital Camel), but will not be back in full force until April.
In the meantime, watch these guys.
Ok let's try it this way:
While most of you were still on the tail end of your Friday night festivities, trying to decide whether to go up to bed or just crash in the barco-lounger with a now-warm Budweiser and a colon-cleanser infomercial serenading, I was awake, relatively clean-shaven and on the road.
Photos at Digital Camel (click on each for larger images).
Whew. This is going to be amazing. Right off the bat I've made a major - and I mean MAJOR - networking coup here, as one of the fellow bloggers at Bloggers Row is the one and only Captain Ed of the now-legendary Captain's Quarters blog.
You'll be interested to know that the Captain is, despite the lofty status, quite approachable, especially if you sneak up while he is on the phone and get someone to snap a photo real quick before Ed knows what's happening. Works like a charm.
I am 100% confident that before these three days are up, I will exchange words with Captain Ed. That will be cool.
Needless to say, this stealth photo technique will be fine-tuned in the hours to come, in preparation for the "Coulter project."
*Props to Drudge for this link*
Now, I don't pretend to speak for this site or any of my colleagues' position on smoking, but if you want to see how limiting the rights of smokers is a slippery slope to communist ideology, here you go. I was reading an AP article about a 107 year old man who attributed his long life to forsaking sex. While that's a different barrel of worms altogether, the man made a statement that really struck me when questioned about his persitent penchant for the occasional cig.
But the centenarian, who's had no difficulty living a monastic existence for nearly 80 years, admits the pleasures of tobacco have been harder to resist.
"Now I want to quit," he was quoted as saying of his decades-long cigarette addiction. "Maybe the government should ban cigarette sales so I can give it up," he added.
This is the mentality of a man who's lived under communism for more than half his adult life, and he thinks it's the duty of the state to save him from himself. My point is this: when you catch yourself thinking that the state should take away your freedom to help you, you need to take a hard look at why you want an authoritarian state.
Good Stuff from the New Yorker, passed along by a friend of mine:
Virgin No. 16: Even I know that's tiny.
Virgin No. 17: "Do it"? Meaning what?
Virgin No. 18: I'm saving myself for Jesus.
Virgin No. 19: Somewhere on my body I have hidden a buffalo nickel.
Virgin No. 20: Don't touch my hair!
Virgin No. 21: I hope you're not going to sleep with me and then go sleep with seventy-one others.
Virgin No. 22: Do you mind if we listen to Mannheim Steamroller?
Ok, I borrowed that title from an article at slate.com about the science of gay sheep.
An experiment to test which sex rams chose to mate with found out that about 10% of all rams are gay:
A bare majority of rams turn out to be heterosexual. One in five swings both ways. About 15 percent are asexual, and 7 percent to 10 percent are gay.
Why so many gay rams? Is it too much socializing with ewes? Same-sex play with other lambs? Domestication? Nope. Those theories have been debunked. Gay rams don't act girly. They're just as gay in the wild. And a crucial part of their brainsâ€”the "sexually dimorphic nucleus"â€”looks more like a ewe's than like a straight ram's. Gay men have a similar brain resemblance to women. Charles Roselli, the project's lead scientist, says such research "strongly suggests that sexual preference is biologically determined in animals, and possibly in humans."
Now, you'd think this sort of evidence would put conservative-types between a rock and a hard place, having to reconcile claims that being gay is opposed to nature with the fact that God's own creation includes gays. Not so! The article goes on...
Identifying gay rams wasn't enough. In 2000, Stormshak described an attempt to "alter" them. The idea was to "enhance their sexual behavior or performance" by making them act like straight rams. Three years later, Roselli told an OHSU committee that "information gained about the hormonal, neural, genetic, and environmental determinants of sexual partner preferences should allow better selection of rams for breeding and as a consequence may be economically important to the sheep industry." OSU president Ed Ray says the research "may define biological tests that can be used to identify" gay or asexual rams, "thus eliminating their use for general breeding purposes."
With new advances we may one day be able to influence the development of the brain during pregnancy to eliminate homosexuality. This kind of stuff makes me uneasy. What do you think? clearly this would be going against the natural course of things (ie 'God's design'), but is tampering with nature and engineering the brain development of a fetus justifiable in the name of creating "a more moral society" ? We already have amniocentesis to test for downs, and many women who consider themselves to be "pro-lifers" say they'd consider having an abortion if they knew their kid would have downs syndrome.
The Slate article concludes:
But killing is the horror scenario. The more likely path is gentler. Science will gradually convince us that sexual orientation is innate, more like the color of your skin than like the content of your character. Condemnation of homosexuality as a sin will subside. Freed from the culture wars, we'll turn to the biological differences between race and sexual orientation: Homosexuality defies the aspiration to procreate with your mate, and it's easier to isolate and alter in embryonic development. Resentment will give way to pity. We'll come to view homosexuality as a kind of infertilityâ€”a disability, like deafness. The rhetoric of "acceptance" will shift from liberals to conservatives. We'll inoculate our offspring against homosexuality out of love, not hate.
The sheep researchers intend nothing like this. But they didn't foresee the initial uproar over their work, either. It has come from the left, not the right. People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals has tried to quash their research, falsely depicting them as bigots. PETA, like President Bush, thinks that bad ideas come from bad people, and you have to stamp out the whole lot.
But bad ideasâ€”communism, eugenics, wars of liberationâ€”don't happen because they're bad. They happen because, in the beginning, they're good. What we do with the biological truth about homosexuality, for good or ill, isn't written in our hormones or our genes. It's up to us.
(Oh, yeah, we need to cut Al some slack, because he had to be like - what, 45 - in this picture?)
Al Franken, he of the meteoric career (meteors don't necessarily go "up" you realize), is running for Senate in two years.
Undoubtedly he will be identified as "comedian" Al Franken in the press, but he's not very funny anymore. For a good year or so we had the rare treat of the video of his Air America show on the Sundance Channel every night, and I could not get enough of it to be perfectly honest. Apart from the pre-recorded bits, it was the proverbial car crash in slow motion, night after night.
And the operative word here is ... slow. As in, dragging.
Al's thing is he is not particularly comfortable in his own skin, and he telegraphs that like a beacon. You want to talk about dead air? Al creates dead air every time he exhales. If you had a drinking game to do shots whenever Al left an uncomfortable silence on his show, you'd be blitzed and puking within 15 minutes.
If you added bonus shots on top of that for every time he whined, the drinking game would be outlawed on the basis of mass alcohol poisoning.
He may be a clever man at the keyboard or delivering the prepared speech, but quick on his feet he is not. I think Norm Coleman would want to demand debates on a pretty much daily basis. After a week of sheer frustration Al would be goaded into attempting a half-nelson and that would be the end of that.
I got banned for calling them the DEMOCRAT PARTY!!
I love it!!
The pithiest blogger of them all scores another direct hit with the heart-rending tale of the Goldsboro, NC snow monkey.
Dominique Moisi wrote an article for the International Herald-Tribune arguing that the West has changed into a culture of fear. We are fearful of the future, fearful of the other, and even fearful of each other. Meanwhile, he argues, the Islamic world, long used to being marginalized, is converting it's sense of dejection into rage. And while this fear and anger is taking hold of the West and the Islamic world, the East is riding a wave of hope and optimism about the future.
I'm interested in heading what folks think about this analysis of the global situation. There was a nice interview with Moisi on On Point. It's an interesting conversation, and he answers some questions from callers. If you have a minute, it's well worth a listen.
After approximately 54 hours, the "Loudoun Insider" has stepped forward to say that she/he is NOT George Hidy:
George Hidy emailed me a few days ago with a draft letter based on my post asking my permission to use my verbage. I had no problem with it and did not want any attribution at all - I even jokingly remarked that "people just might think you are me."
Personally, I tend to believe this, mainly because I think it would have been better for George if he WAS Loudoun Insider rather than someone who borrowed a letter from Loudoun Insider, and George likely would have immediately stepped up and said "Yup, it's me" if it had been him.
Now ... well, the election is a long ways off, so this is not such a big deal. But my final comment is that George could have helped himself by explaining the situation, rather than waiting for the other person to do so, since he's the one using his real name. My recommendation for future reference: Nip these things in the bud. The explanation from LI, such as it is, does not carry the ring of finality to it, so there are going to be lingering questions when LI posts about local politics.
On the plus side, LI can once again fill the role of woman of our respective dreams.
Whoever in the world he might possibly be, Loudoun Insider does have a sense of humor.
You can still count on one hand the number of Virginia elected officials actually taking the lead on solving the state's illegal immigration problem, but at least now it takes all five digits.
Interesting observation over at Too Conservative - and if everyone already know this please bear with me: Supervisor Mick Staton comments that TC contributor and occasional NOVA TownHall Blog commenter 'Loudoun Insider' is none other than Sterling resident George Hidy.
If true this comes as no surprise to me whatsoever, because I've found Loudoun Insider someone I normally agree with except for his somewhat overactive dislike of Sterling Supervisor Eugene Delgaudio, and he has commented somewhere that he typically agrees with me except with regard to my veneration of our illustrious Supervisor.
These statements would apply PRECISELY to my description of my acquaintance with George Hidy.
It does not appear that Staton needed exactly to be Sherlock Holmes to figure this out, because a letter from George Hidy to a local paper contained very similar verbiage to a post by Loudoun Insider. If Hidy was intent on scrupulously guarding his identity he could have easily done so, so my guess is he did not care too much about remaining incognito - which is the case with plenty of "pseudonymous" bloggers.
Assuming this is true there is one point which needs to be made, however: Loudoun Insider demonstrates a broad familiarity with NOVA government and politics, and his commentary has always been interesting. In the future, his commentary on the race for Sterling Supervisor will need to be qualified by the fact he has something of a personal stake in the matter.
On a related note, I am considering blogging under the name 'Hercules' for a while, just as an image-building thing.
UPDATED: Ohhh-kay ... the crowd at TC has officially launched into "protesteth too much" mode by getting on Mick's case for noting the obvious.
Only some kind of FREAK would suspect they were written by the same person, wouldn't you say?
I responded as follows to the TC folks:
Mick did not actually do any detective work, he just noted the similarities between the two pieces and drew the obvious conclusion. Either that, or George (letter posted Monday, January 8, 2007 4:15 PM EST) borrowed rather heavy-handedly from LI's post (posted Jan. 5).
From what I know of George, I'd be more surprised about the cutting-and-pasting of LI's stuff than if they turned out to be the same person. It would have been easy to simply quote LI in the letter.
If George really is LI he ought to just say so because plenty of people have done this and it ends up not being such a big deal. (Right, Vince?) Trying to cover up the situation, though, could end up being embarrassing.
In any case, this group jumping all over Mick Staton seems a bit rude because he only called attention to the obvious.
Anyway, Loudoun Insider is a pretty good and well known blogger in these parts, and George Hidy is about to run for office, so letting the situation fester will only make it worse and the piling on Mick Staton certainly isn't helping either LI or Hidy.
...is up at Cathouse Chat. First of 2007, a fairly decent little carnival for a fairly decent little state - check it out.
Issues such as: public safety, education, the growing problem of illegal immigration, creating and maintaining open green spaces, an increased need for youth services, and environmental concerns, are all being ignored or barely spoken of at all.
Of particular concern is the fact that the number of Loudoun's children living in poverty jumped 49% between 2000 and 2004. How can we call ourselves a family values community when although we live in one of the wealthiest counties in the country, almost 57,500 of our own children live in poverty?
My sense is that even though a Democrat, Phyllis is a good bit to the right of some Loudoun County Republicans on a number of important issues. For those who have not been living in a cave, that follows pretty exactly the trend that has seen Republicans turned out of a number of state offices over the past few years.
Our esteemed commenter and fellow blogger "Mod" is going to be a formidable candidate. Check out her announcement and if you like what you hear shoot her some cash.
Here's a pretty interesting site at Globalsecurity.org which seems to be documenting the releases of detainees from Guantanamo.
Also, a link to a report by Mark Denbeaux and Josh Denbeaux, Esq. Mark is a Professor at Seton Hall University School of Law and both he and Josh are counsel representing 2 detainees. It's actually pretty interesting.
What I have seen, if properly investigated by the authorities, should reasonably lead to the criminal prosecution of an almost unprecedented number of public officials. David Ruttenberg has tried to use the courts to get this story told, and those courts have, for some reason, at least temporarily failed to allow a hearing of the evidence. Now it's time for that evidence to be presented to the public in a different way...
We'll be reporting on it here, but you need to visit BVBL regularly to stay fully apprised.
Having been on the receiving end of some government-mandated thuggery a couple times, I have a soft spot for those who go up against the Man.
A business owner named Dave Ruttenberg has run into something of a threshing machine in his attempt to protect himself from the City of Manassas Park government:
In the lawsuit, he named specific individuals, including Mayor Frank Jones, Police Chief John Evans and two undercover police officers. Area police and attorneys have asked the two officers not be named out of fear for their safety.
Ruttenberg alleged the two police officers, as well as Evans and Jones, participated in a plan to shut down his business.
Ruttenberg also alleged that the attempts to destroy his business included an undercover investigation by the Joint Narcotics Task Force, a partnership between Prince William County, Manassas and Manassas Park, which led to a 2004 drug raid on Rack 'N Roll.
It appears Ruttenberg pissed off somebody in a high enough office to incur the wrath of city hall.
Read Radley Balko as well.
The story begs a serious big journalism investigation. I'll keep you apprised of developments as they come to light.
Has everyone visited Charles of Two Conservatives recently?
He has produced what appears to be the mother of all home Christmas light shows. Amazing.
I wrap some lights around a bush and the post on our front porch and crash on the couch for the remainder of the winter. After seeing what this nut has accomplished, I don't know whether to be awed, or shamed. I guess the only proper response is to feel both. This may require a pilgrimage to Manassas.
Shaun Kenney has got an interesting Jim Webb story - opposition research on bloggers. I'll be ticked if they don't have a file on me. I guess I'll be a wee bit scared if in fact they do.
On a related note, here's a breaking macaca story from the always vigilant MonkeyWatch. Keeping it real.
Finally, the guy who lives the life basically every guy wishes he could live is having a nice day. When's the last time you felt so centered you were impelled to blog about simple pleasures like getting the car detailed and Godiva milkshakes? I can't remember, either.
Next week or Christmas week I'll be doing some guest blogging at Dismantling Leviathan, as soon as my schedule opens up a little. Kevin has graciously extended the opportunity again even though his antennae keep picking up signals of puppetry from me.
Believe me, if Crazy Joe were ever to create a sock puppet, it would knock your socks off.
The 2006 Weblog Awards is now taking place and I want to suggest a course of action:
Vote for Ace of Spades for Best Conservative Blog. Please go cast that vote right now.
Here is why I make the recommendation (on the off chance you are not already an A of S reader):
What I want in the ideal blog is a Web site I can go over and visit throughout the day and find something new to interest and amuse me. Sometimes I want the Stooges, sometimes I want Steyn, sometimes I want the latest news, and sometimes I just want to be freaked out. That's all what you get from Ace, day in and day out. It is one great Web site.
I see the overwhelming competition is Little Green Footballs. Nothing against LGF, but it is really a different sort of deal. LGF is fantastic and has the mega first-to-market advantage, but not nearly at the same level of personal effort. Ace works his ass off while Charles rides his bike and takes photographs of waves. Ace is a funnyman, a highly irreverant man, while Charles is more of the wonkish type. Which do you prefer at the end of a long, hard day?
Don't get me wrong: These are BOTH good Web sites, both guys of my generation and both guys I'd trust to have my back in a knife fight or hearing before the local committee of the liberal intellegentsia. But "Best Blog" to me means the one you are inclined to visit the most frequently. Ace wins that contest hands down.
Mod of A Moderate Voice is inviting a couple contributors to join her at the best new blog in No VA - and she is conducting the search in the most blatantly discriminatory fashion. Needless to say, I approve heartily.
The Virginia Blog Carnival was up last week and I never linked to it! Please go ye there now! Tarry not! It's a fine little Carnival, quite dandy.
I'm almost exactly 24 hours late with this, but here is a fantastic post from American Daughter.
Cross-posted from American Daughter
Have we forgotten the words?
On this Thanksgiving holiday, please take time to enjoy the verses of two traditional American songs, the Thanksgiving Hymn and the Thanksgiving Prayer. They affirm the gratitude of a people for their God.
The copies we are sharing here did not come from a church hymnal. They were transcribed from a songbook distributed in our public school systems in the year 1945. This book was in every literate home in the United States at that time, and was called I Hear America Singing, or more formally Twice 55 Community Songbook.
The assertion that our nation ever intended to separate our devotion to God from our public spaces and our public life is a blatant lie. Our philosophy of reliance on divine guidance motivated the founding fathers, permeates the Declaration of Independence and the United States Constitution, and is inscribed on our original monuments and government buildings.
The worthy gentlemen who drafted the Constitution only intended that membership in a particular religious denomination must never be made a prerequisite for holding public office, and that citizens should never be forced to subscribe to a specific denomination. They were still mindful of the bitter religious strife between Catholics and Protestants in England, and wanted to ensure that the new republic got started on a more ecumenical footing.
The insidious erosion of our patriotic traditions and our national identity must not be permitted to continue. Every thinking American must stand against the revision of our historical records and the activism of judges who would destroy the ideological foundations of our liberty.
But at this time of joyful harvest and quiet prayer, just savor the words of these two beloved hymns of gratitude.
Wow. Has everyone read Jack's fisking of the Jim Webb WSJ column?
I fully expect to support and hope to influence Jim Webb over the next six years but also must acknowledge the faults. Our own Jack has gotten the latter task off to a great start. I hope this gets forwarded to the Senator.
Paul Belien's "Brussels Journal" blog is a must-read. It should be required for everyone in the U.S., Europeans purportedly too far gone to save.
It isn't nice reading, but necessary.
The number of emigrants leaving the Netherlands and Germany has already surpassed the number of immigrants moving in. One does not have to be prophetic to predict, like Henryk Broder, that Europe is becoming Islamic. Just consider the demographics. The number of Muslims in contemporary Europe is estimated to be 50 million. It is expected to double in twenty years. By 2025, one third of all European children will be born to Muslim families. Today Mohammed is already the most popular name for new-born boys in Brussels, Amsterdam, Rotterdam, and other major European cities.
Broder is convinced that the Europeans are not willing to oppose islamization. "The dominant ethos," he told De Volkskrant, "is perfectly voiced by the stupid blonde woman author with whom I recently debated. She said that it is sometimes better to let yourself be raped than to risk serious injuries while resisting. She said it is sometimes better to avoid fighting than run the risk of death."
I'm going to go a step further and recommend a book that ties in with Belien's theme.
Am I glad THAT'S over with...
Seriously, if I need to do time in Purgatory, I think working on a 20,000-year political or grassroots advocacy campaign would be adequate to help me "work through" all the evil I might manage to cause in this life. Even if I end up initiating thermonuclear war or converting the Gulf of Mexico into a golf resort with trillions and trillions of kittens and puppies as the landfill, I think 20,000 years of concerted politics should leave me clean as a whistle, soul-wise.
And henceforth, if I'm going to abandon my family for weeks at a time, I pledge to be fishing or watching football from a barstool or sitting in the back corner of the library researching millenarian movements. Doing some good, in other words.
I have been extremely neglectful in recent months of all the wonderful stuff out there on the Web, and I'll try to begin making amends this week with some Carnivals. When I'm not watching football or mowing the quite overgrown lawn.
-First off, the excellent James Na and associates are running the equally excellent NoVaPolitics.com blog. I saw James speak earlier in the year and I love this guy. I still have his speech saved in a digital file somewhere which will eventually be found and turned into a post. In the meantime, put that blog on your list for regular visits.
-Next, if you've now gotten all the political silliness out of your system, maybe it's about time you had a touch-dirt date with reality and your infinitely forebearing Uncle Bob Dobbs. He's got the links for what ails ye.
-Next, if you're not reading MonkeyWatch, you're missing the big picture. My advice for aspiring bloggers yearning to stand out is always "find one thing you care about and write about that thing." MonkeyWatch sets the standard.
-Next, General Gozer sends this. Additional time in Purgatory, unfortunately, will accrue.
-And finally, I recommend Melanie Phillips, who thank goodness is still gracing us with her writing. It's the most valuable one-person-show blog in the world.
The kick-butt economy, pro-Webb sliming, John Kerry and Nancy Pelosi: Charles is a one-man content machine this week. Check him out and scroll down.
MSNBC interview with party strategists.
Line of the day is delivered by the Democrat Sascha Burns: "Well that excerpt DOES sound sort of disgusting..."
BVBL reports the foot soldiers of the party of tolerance are tearing it up in Prince William.
When liberal activists move on an area, they tend to have an advantage because they are willing to do the underhanded jobs that red-state folks just won't do. My experience is from the past few election cycles spent in the People's Republic of Reston, a sparkling sapphire in the blue bastion of Fairfax County in Northern Virginia.
The weeks before the 2004 election provide a good snapshot. I was working with a guy doing signs and flyers. Campaign signs would be put out in the afternoon and evening, and by the next afternoon nearly all would have disappeared. We occasionally would spot the opposition running reconnaissance behind us: A guy in a car would make a call via cell phone about the areas we were hitting, and sometime later all our signs would be snatched up. The day before election day, there were hardly any Bush-Cheney signs in Reston - at least, only a fraction of the ones that had been posted.
The exact same thing is playing out in Manassas Park this week. More here.
I don't know Prince William politics well enough to hazard a guess as to why the Republicans have come under guerilla attack. In Reston we learned to expect it because being a conservative there was like being a coal miner at a polo tournament. We were kind of thankful just to be allowed to breath the same air.
Let's hope the story grows some legs in the next week and the local press picks it up.
Charles is doing a great job covering the Virginia Senate campaign (among other topics). Pay him a visit, and scroll down.
The bluebird that used to sit on the window ledge is also gone - nothing but crows out there now. Watching. Looming. Crowing.
My office is a block down from Joe Gandelman's and I'm thanking my lucky stars and praying prayers I just invented that I am Not. One. Storefront. Closer. Because it's sheer, medieval-vision-of-Hell down that street. When they came for Joe Gandelman, they didn't exactly wipe their feet before entering. They rode in astride Godzilla with Mothra providing cover, if you get my drift. I mean, they bombed everything to holy hell and then they bounced the rubble a few times for good measure.
The Moderate Voice? Not any more, friends. Now it's That Stain On The Pavement Where The Moderate Voice Was Once Headquartered.
It doesn't lend itself to a pithy URL, but Joe Gendelman won't be needing a domain name where he is. Unless he's going to be ghost-blogging.
(Laugh at that joke tonight when you get home; I'm not done painting horror in your mind.)
We've all been searched, screened and put under a geiger counter. I'm on my third iodine tablet and my fifth shot of Dayquil. My wireless is slower than molasses in January but at least I'm still online. Heck, at least I still have a living, breathing mind to actually KNOW I'm sitting here trying to blog.
Better than poor old Joe. Poor, dead, plagiarized bastard. He gave us all a lot of laughs, but forever more he'll be a synonym for self-inflicted tragedy. "Hey Bob, you're about to spill wine on your tie" we'll say. "Don't be a freakin' Gandelman!"
Or "He tried to hit the brakes but...Gandelman."
It all started so innocently. Some dame out in the boondocks started up a blog with zero fanfare and even less traffic. But it wasn't the blog that set the first domino to falling. It was the domain name.
A Moderate Voice. A Moderate Voice? Why the indefinite article, you ask? Because, obviously "THE" Moderate Voice, the biggest, baddest, most even-tempered middle of the road blog of all was already USING that name. And using it quite successfully, thank you very much.
I have to say, the picture forming before my eyes was not a pretty one. Two blogs, one very old and completely established, and one very new with less readers than you could fit in a phone booth, and the newer one has a similar name to the old one? I'm thinking, I don't know what it was like to be hiding under a desk when the Khmer Rouge first marched into Phnom Penn, but I bet it felt exactly like this.
I tried, like I always do, to defuse the situation with a light-hearted remark. Cast Armegeddon in a positive enough light and you might convince a few it's a lacrosse match they're marching into:
Penny, I've been a blogger for years and never heard of Joe Gandalman's site, so my first point is I find it HIGHLY credible that Phyllis never did either.
Secondly, Joe's site has a HUGELY generic name, so approximations are inevitable and if he really cared he should have taken the wee bit of effort to buy the few likely "near misses."
Thirdly - and this is why I have questions about the sanity of Joe's supporters - THIS HAPPENS ALL THE TIME ON THE WEB. There are like 10 possible permutations of every name and services like Godaddy are set up precisely to help people cover all the likely variations on their trade name. OFTEN, IT DOES NOT WORK. Consequently there are beaucoup companies on the Web who have easily mistaken web addresses.
I think any 4-year old knows this, by the way.
Finally, has Joe even bothered to cover the variations on "themoderatevoice"? I can answer for you. No.
So somebody is eventually going to come along with a cough syrup or a dog training class OR POSSIBLY ANOTHER BLOG tied to some product, and they are going to name it themoderatevoice.info. Or maybe themoderatevoice.biz. Or maybe even themoderatevoice.net.
The list could go on and on, obviously.
So this entire "how dare you" attitude is risible in my opinion.
If Joe is really as self-important as you all are making him out to be, then please pass along my personal entreaty that in order to vouchsafe the integrity of his blog's holy name, he must IMMEDIATELY visit Godaddy and procure ownership of about 10 or 20 additional domains. He must not dither and he'd best not tarry: His perimeter is not, I repeat NOT, secured.
But I knew better. Godaddy couldn't put this genie back in the bottle. Joe Gandelman was already toast.
Lemme' tell you how it all goes down when someone puts up a Web site with a name similar to your site's. First, all the people who have gotten used to visiting your site either by clicking a link or - more likely - typing the first few letters and letting the browser autocomplete, suddenly must be extraordinarily careful to continue visiting your site using those same methods.
This is not a simple as it seems, because chaos theory shows that systems which work must eventually stop working. I.e., your regular visitors one by one become complete morons who forget how to get to your site and are forced to retype the name. If they happen to retype it wrong, they end up at the other site and WHAMMO, the new blog has now stolen your visitor permanently.
Play this out over a really long period of time, say four hours, and I think you can guess what happened to poor old Joe Gandelman. His visitors all lost their minds, and poof! went all his traffic right over to the interloper, A Moderate Voice, which as we all know is now the most visited politically moderate Web site on the entire Internet.
Joe himself, I firmly believe, never saw it coming. If he had, he undoubtedly would have done what so many others do, which is to buy an assortment of names similar to his site's. This would have prepared him for that day when all his visitors forgot how to get to his blog and all the many links to his blog on other blogrolls became to his readers like hieroglyphics before the discovery of the Rosetta Stone. Meaningless jibberish.
And once the blood is in the water, well Lord have mercy on the mariner: Soon everyone from corporate raiders to backwoods bumpkins descend like vampire bats to snap up every possible similar domain. .net, .biz, .info, .us, even the friggin' .org (how low they can go!) Oh, mercy, it was apocalypse now. By 2:00 pm the blogosphere abounded with "moderates" in every possible permutation, from "yemoderatevoice.com" to "moderatesvoice.com" to "moderatevoices.com" to "themoderatevoices.com" all the way to "themoderatevoicethatWASjoes.com".
By 4:00 pm Joe's traffic was stolen, his good name ruined, his livlihood gone, his future kaput, and as I glanced up at the clock I noticed the first shadow pass over my building as the helicopter gunships maneuvered into position.
"JOE GANDELMAN!" From a block away I clearly heard the metallic, computerized voice over the loudspeakers. "JOE GANDELMAN, YOU HAVE ALLOWED OTHERS TO HORN IN ON THE NAME OF YOUR BLOG. YOUR VISITORS CAN NO LONGER FIND YOU. GOOGLING YOUR BLOG'S NAME WILL NOW PRESENT THE READER WITH OTHER CHOICES. YOU ARE DOOMED. YOU MUST BE DESTROYED."
And then the explosions started, the concussion knocking me out of my chair smack into the corner of the coffee table.
When I came to, I staggered to the window and gazed in pure shock at the smoldering hulk that was once Joe Gandelman's building. "Poor, poor damn Joe!" I said under my breath. "Cruel world. Conniving woman...Poor old Joe." It was a friggin' merciless bloodbath, is what it was.
But hey, that's blogging.
A new blogger in town!
The wonderful commenter "Moderate 5-19" has finally revealed herself in the course of unveiling her own blog, A Moderate Voice. She is none other than fellow Loudouner Phyllis Randall, as intelligent a woman as ever sported a "Jim Webb for Senate" button.
All who have read her contributions here know "Mod" has been one of the least easy to pigeonhole. From my own experience, she's as likely to agree with you as jump all over your case - which keeps me in a state of fearful tentativeness, which I think is exactly her goal. She agrees with me on immigration and gay marriage - most of the time - but tears me up three ways from Friday when I say the Republicans are more likely to secure our borders (or quite a lot of other things which make perfect sense to me).
There is a method to her madness, however. Although a conservative Democrat, she's not a party animal. Most of her heroes rode in on a donkey but she is a true independent unlikely to kowtow to the blind followers in either camp.
I was honored to be privy to her secret identity somewhat early on, which has made reading and parrying with her in the comments section here that much more enjoyable. She's been sly enough to mask her gender for most of us, I am guessing, and certainly to mask her ideology enough to keep us all guessing.
Phyllis is one of the few people I know who have made me feel like I could actually "do" bipartisanship. If she runs for office, I'm voting Democratic.
Ten years ago, you could have sunk my foot in boiling oil or burned a photo of Tom Landry and you could not have forced me to utter the previous sentence.
Ok, now that the lovefest is over, I am going to recommend you all put A Moderate Voice on your regular list of blogs to visit. I am also going to note, for Phyllis' sake, that it ain't so easy being a blogger. It carries with it certain responsibilities and stresses, which I intend to exacerbate now.
One of the primary virtues of a blog such as A Moderate Voice would be the experience of getting to comment on said blog...but comments do not seem to be turned on! What gives, Mod? Hast thou not mastered thou blogging platform? Or does one need to be a mensa to find the link?
Yo deseo comentar: Â¿DÃ³nde estÃ¡n los comentarios, muchacha?
UPDATE: It turns out, if you look for the "No comments" link at the bottom of the list of categories at the bottom of her posts, you can click that to comment. I'm not one to criticize another's housekeeping practices, but I'm just sayin'....
UPDATE II: We're all going to end up LOVING Phyllis, I just know it. Smart lady, and a sweetheart. But for those rare moments when we feel the need to deliver a sharp rap on the knuckles, I'm betting the phrase "party hack" will get the job done. Just a crazy thought I had...
...over at Kevin's blog. I consider myself a man of high culture, which truth be told might best be described as HIGHEST culture in the Dismantling Leviathan context..
They smack but we smack back.
Well, well, well.
WELL WELL WELL.
WELL-EE, WELL-EE, WELL-EE, WELL-EE, WELL-EE!!!
The plan is completed, the worm has turned, and the wheel of Karma has come full-circle.
Our 'Amnesty Week' ploy has apparently snared its chickadee and caged its minnow. We've now got the cukes in the bushel basket, if you will. Our treasured visitor and beloved commenter Kevin, as dainty a morsel as I ever grew fat on, has invited me, myself, moi to contribute to his maniacal blog, which is, I must say, ripe for the plucking.
If you are not already visiting Dismantling Leviathon you should slap yourself three times. If you're not visiting by the time I get done with it, you should look once in the mirror to say goodbye and throw your sorry self off a cliff.
All hyperbole aside, I am pleased to announce I have been invited to guest blog at Kevin's place with an invitation for "anything free association, post-modern, political, or otherwise."
I plan to hit pretty heavily on the "otherwise" theme over there. Do stop on by.
It has just come to my attention that the NOVA TownHall Blog is being considered for membership in the inscrutably selective Hillbilly Ecosystem.
Nothing is set in stone yet, and normally even broaching the subject prior to a final decision by the Hillbilly Judges Consortium would be a major faux pas, punishable at a level similar to that meted out for using the French language.
We feel we have nothing to fear, however, and even if our application is rejected the ensuing abject humiliation will be, frankly, like waking up in the morning for the NOVA TownHall bloggers.
We expect a final verdict from Lemuel Calhoun in the very near future. If you feel you have a dog in this fight, please drop by Hillbilly White Trash and leave a comment as to why we should, or should not, be admitted to the Hillbilly Ecosystem.
Just leave it on any recent post there, Lemuel will get it.
[The only Ecosystem that's worth a dang, if you ask me. That Truth Laid Bear nonsense has us bouncing from Large Something-or-other to Oily Duck with no rhyme or reason].
Alternate title: Blog-fu Vaporizes Bumbling Lilliputian
A small man and a small campaign just got a little smaller:
So now the investigation is complete...This sordid affair conclusively demonstrates that Judy Feder is utterly unfit to hold a position of public trust.
Go read BVBL, and send him a thank you note for obliterating the Virginia blogosphere's end-of-summer lull.
Go read BVBL. We need to get the following quote, one of blog-fu's best, out far and wide:
Judy Feder is demonstrably unfit to hold any elected office at any level of government, where her ability to engage in political repression, using even children if necessary, will be vastly greater than it is now.
No more dallying, over to blog-fu with you!
It's alive, ALIVE I tell you!! The latest Virginia Blog Carnival is up at CatHouse Chat: All the coolest bloggers in Virginia are represented. Go over there now and read it over and over and over again.
Cat has one of the best blogs in the state but gets less recognition than she deserves because she lives in a part of Virginia which is, technically, still in the jurassic period and thus unknown to modern audiences.
You need to read through all the links to get the whole story. If you don't have time, I'll summarize:
Item #1 is the Daily Post-Eraser.
Item #2 is this reprint of an erased post.
Item #3 is this post about BVBL's daughter called "drown the little F-er."
Item #4 is a pretty, uh, uncool photo on a site owned by Greg Bouchillon (who, one day, we must hope, after he discovers "basic civil decency," will also discover "Domains By Proxy" and simplify his life considerably for the purposes of future personal attacks. Anonymity is your friend, WhackJob. Although, it appears you're not trying to hide anything, eh?)
As you might guess, we are big BVBL fans here. You should be too, so check him out daily. Frank Wolf campaign staff: I'm talkin' to you.
The liberal-yet-estimable Not Larry Sabato got hold of an e-mail from the George Allen campaign today and, well within his rights, managed to get a bunch of commenters to descend with talons outstretched. Whether the e-mail is truly an embarrassment to Allen I cannot say, because reading all those comments and delving into the subject matter are a couple inches outside my "life is too short" circle of relevance.
However I will say the means by which NLS might have come by the e-mail is an interesting mystery in itself.
Here's what we know. An Allen campaign worker sent the e-mail to some bloggers friendly to the campaign. NLS would not have been on the recipient list, obviously. Therefore, the e-mail was forwarded to NLS. So, who did the forwarding?
I'm no Agatha Christie, so don't look to me for an answer. But Virginia Virtucon makes a very educated guess and a useful observation:
If this person was hoping for a future in Republican politics, this person might want to take up residence in a different state permanently.
E-mails forwarded to NLS? Tres conservative bloggers under suspicion? If you are feeling vapors of deja vu, you are not going crazy in the head. You simply need to get reacquainted with an old, old story which was discussed oh so very long ago: here, here, and here.
UPDATE: Virginia Virtucon writes: "It is more than an educated guess. It was fairly easy detective work on the part of those of us who were intentionally included in the original e-mail."
That appears to settle it, friends. If there is any other conclusion to be drawn from this, than that Vince of Too Conservative deliberately sent an "insider" e-mail from the George Allen campaign to a blogger unfriendly to the campaign, please let me know. Otherwise, from the "Worst Blog" of them all: Go take a powder, TC, and rename that blog of yours. My suggestion: "Too Young - A Texas Liberal Republican Viewpoint."
UPDATE II: How now, sirrah! Virginia Centrist writes: "I'm pretty sure it wasn't Vince. From what I heard, he didn't even find out about this whole thing until many hours after it blew up."
We're anxiously awaiting further confirmation.
In case you hadn't noticed, another of our mothers of all comment threads is slowly developing right under your nose, at this post. If you are interested in the topic of illegal immigration, check it out. Zimzo is the headliner, but Moderate 5-19 is chipping away at the clay feet and any moment now we expect the Z-man to fall.
"I always fail to understand why the conversation about illegal immigrants always must go to the place of name calling and accusations. I think this is a rather simple issue.
ILLEGAL MEANS ILLEGAL, it really does not have to go any further then that.
I also believe the focus of all attempts to â€œsolveâ€ or even deal with the illegal immigration issue should start and stop with the people and business that employ illegals.
I congratulate you Moderate 5-19 for never having broken a law in your entire life. I'm glad you think that obeying all laws, even ineffective or ill-advised laws, is more important than their effects on human beings.
With the number of people who die just trying to reach America, I would think that would be enough for all humane people to discourage illegal immigration, not encourage it.
I doubt your conception of the law is so monochromatic that you equate someone stealing a loaf of bread to feed their family with someone robbing a bank.
A couple of interesting posts...
- Spank that Donkey discusses his experience manning a VA4Marriage booth at the Augusta County fair. Interesting irrational reaction from the Webb supporters.
- Not Buck Turgidson over at the Richmond War Room discusses the situation in the 27th Senate district.
- James Young delves into the allegedly politically expedient claim of party affiliation in one of the anti-Marriage Amendment coalition's hatchet-job editorials (this one spewing the typical misinformation/red-herring arguments in the Potomac News).
Welcome to this weekâ€™s edition of the Virginia Blog Carnivalâ€”NOVA TownHall last hosted the VBC in early May and weâ€™re honored to do so again. Iâ€™d be remiss if I didnâ€™t thank Kat for taking the helm in regards to managing the Carnival on behalf of all of the Commonwealthâ€™s bloggers!
We had few submissions this week (probably due to the fact that weâ€™re now in the midst of the lazy days of Augustâ€¦ or maybe it was that crazy school-tax holiday?) so there isnâ€™t much to post. For those unfamiliar with the VBC, here is a description:
â€œEach Monday, a Virginia blogger will host a Virginia Blog Carnival, offering just a sample of the topics Virginia bloggers have been writing about during the week. We hope everyoneâ€™s curiosity will be piqued to read more of the selected posts, thereby giving more exposure to each participating bloggerâ€™s site.â€
Now on with the Carnivalâ€¦
- Jason Kenney over at Jâ€™s Notes discusses the use and efficacy of MySpace as a campaign tool.
- David over at Equality Loudoun has a post discussing the civility of the Virginia Marriage Amendment debate in relation to a purported lack of condemnation of a recent act of vandalism in a Loudoun community (which appears to be motivated by the victimsâ€™ sexual lifestyle).
- Roci over at Rocinanteâ€™s Burdens discusses the federal minimum wage and the Democratâ€™s recent effort to block legislation that would have raised it.
- Leslie Carbone has an eloquent post where she discusses a high and ideal vision for America toward which public policy should be directed.
- Spank that Donkey discusses whether or not bloggers are journalists and as such require some form of editorial control. He then goes on to introduce his blogâ€™s illustrious new â€œEditorial Board.â€
- Rick Sincere has some great commentary on the overly-complicated sales-tax holiday this past weekend.
- Waldo Jaquith digs into the stats behind the 17 times the federal government has raised the minimum wage.
- NickFinity over at Jefferson Mammoth discusses whether or not soaring obesity is a government problem.
- Norm over at One Mans Trash discusses the moderately entertaining YouTube spiff of Al Goreâ€™s sensationalist film â€œAn Inconvenient Truth.â€
- Riley over at Virginia Virtucon discusses the addition of Casey Kasem to the XM lineup (the official satellite radio of his blog).
- Virginia Centrist discusses the Washington Redskins, predicting a 12-4 season.
It looks like our own little Giant Sloar is hitting the blogosphere's big time, courtesy of BVBL.
I just hope he doesn't forget where he started...
NOVA Town Hall is honored to have the opportunity to host the next edition of the Virginia Blog Carnival. Please email me your submissions by 5PM Sunday evening (I apologize for the late announcement and thus the short notice) and we will post the Carnival Monday morning. There is no official theme for this week but I might try to throw one together depending on what readers submit.
More information on the VBC can be found here.
You're going to want to go read BVBL (which originally stood for Blog-Fu: Vendetta By Law! - probably a sketchy translation of some Chinese phrase).
I had resolved to ignore politics until late September, but something compels me to jump in now:
Could the Democrats have possibly ended up with a worse candidate than Judy Feder to run against Frank Wolf? Which demographic in the 10th District was she supposed to win over, the highly-sought, "tax me now" Drooling Nitwit swing voter?
Gas prices are hurting us all, and, unless we act now, itâ€™s only going to get worse.
Our current congressman had many chances to avert this crisis, but instead he went along with the Bush administration and the oil companies at every turn.
What does "acting now" mean for Judy Feder? Apart from voting for Judy Feder, it's extremely hard to say - but I can tell you what it does NOT mean: A google search of her Web site - which is, if nothing else, focused on the topic of energy - returns the following results:
"drill" - 0 results
"refineries - 0 results
"refinery" - 1 result (not in the context one might expect, though)
"nuclear" - 0 results
"big oil" - 180 results
This is not to imply it's wrong to focus on where she sees the core of the problem: the oil companies. But for someone who positions herself as a "scholar" you might expect at least a barely well-rounded discussion of the issue.
Reading Judy Feder's Web site is an experience of the deja vu variety: I think what it reminds me of are Zap comics circa 1973. But before you jump to any conclusions, such as "this woman is not so bright," remember that she's a....PROFESSOR!! (You say that with the same flourish as the punchline of the joke "the Aristrocrats.")
BVBL has a huge jump on everyone else I know of in covering the Feder spectacle, so be sure to visit him frequently thoughout the campaign - such as it is - season.
This has been some month: a month that, far in the future, bloggers will clink tumblers of scotch over while shuddering in horror at the recollection. While live-posting to their blogs via direct, wireless connections from their brains.
Yes, the month of July, 2006, may rank with October, 1929, in the annals of History with No Sense of Proportion. The month everything changed: the month of innocence lost, of reality biting back, of lawyers gaining a long-sought-for toehold and of chickens coming home to do what they do best.
If you are over 40: Do you remember when you realized that hitchhiking was absolutely insane? Our society has just crossed a similar turning point.
Blogging ain't what it used to be.
Having been at this hobby in various guises for over three years and seeing a lot of good ones come and go and mutate, I know everything in the blogosphere changes. (It would be an interesting project to write an obit-list with "cause of death" for all the departed). But July of '06 may well be the time we look back to and say, "Do you remember how it was before that?"
First, I'll note a passing change, one like many others before - a blogger who has switched media. Regnum Crucis is no longer a blog. This was - in my opinion - the best Web site on terrorism and the War. The writer was a youngster but extremely plugged-in. He has managed to have his blogging history expunged from google's cache as well as the Wayback Machine, which seems no small task, so if you want to learn about him you will need to do some serious digging, including clicking that link and reading Italian.
This one is not a scandal of any type, but it does signal the end of an era. His flow of inside information has moved to a private group. Posting everything one knows for all the world to see may be becoming a thing of the past.
Next, the meatier stuff.
The Greenwald affair in itself is a bit of a chuckler. On one level you want to say: "Sock puppets. What a doofus."
When you read the whole story, though, you realize there's quite a lot to it. You can spend some time digging down through that link. Very enjoyable time, I might add.
The fallout, moreover, has been impressive. More here. Ace is a seriously good blogger, smart dude and wonderful writer. Wizbang is one of the blogfathers at very least. The dirty bomb of this controversy has poisoned the landscape and it will be interesting to see how/if all the affected parties manage to climb back into their chairs.
(You can read some of the lead-up to that mess here.)
Finally, the Frisch-Goldstein imbroglio took the penultimate turn by jumping from the funny papers to the front page. Some background here from Ace - although I will not even attempt to collate this story because I do not have an attorney on retainer. You're going to have to research that one for yourself.
The upshot is, some folks have been forced to lay low in real life because of communications that took place on the Web. There's a lesson in all of this, and while I can't formulate it with total accuracy just yet, I can say it has to do with treating everything you say on the Web just like you'd treat a speech before a town council meeting. That goes for posts as well as comments on blogs.
Here's why this represents a major change: From the 1980s on, computer-based discussion has enjoyed a near-impermeable cloak of radical secrecy. Anonymity is a big part of the deal. Whether on a BBS or Compuserve message board or newsgroup or chat room or IRC channel or forum or blog, an Internet person has always been able to don an incognito. You can say all kinds of crap and get away with it on the Internet: That's one of the coolest things about the Internet. This unique, identity-masked arena of completely coherent communication has no parallel in the real world.
And now, our little boy-in-the-Web-bubble conceit has been unmasked. When we sit at the keyboard and type, we may well need to assume our photo will accompany every message and our every message will be displayed on the 100-foot screen overlooking Times Square. Our cool little secret geek world has been uncovered.
It's no longer just a boy (or girl) and his (or her) keyboard.
Wherefore, then, the incognito? I still believe there is a place for it. I still intend to practice it: though not here, obviously.
I know people who contribute great things to the Internet only because they can do so anonymously.
But a simple rule arises: Watch, very carefully, the personal attacks on people whose lives are otherwise private. If you hit someone, they have a right to hit back. If you, anonymously or incognito, launch a personal attack against a real person by name, said person might get a wild hair and decide to track you down. If you're blogging or commenting on a blog, think of yourself as George Will. You're a commenter, but you must be a responsible commenter. Don't enter into areas that George Will wouldn't enter.
For example: If I call myself Joe Shmoe, and criticize Jonathan or David or the head of the ACLU on their statements about some issue related to gay marriage, we can probably have a civilized debate. But if I start to criticize their personal lives, they may feel impelled to find out who this Shmoe character is.
I may go on other blogs and make up a name and trash politicians or celebrities or terrorists, and that's ok. They're already public figures and getting hammered in the press. But I'd hesitate to hammer the guy who lives down the street or some other blogger on the basis of personal information I might have, unless I was willing to stand behind the statement 100%.
For this reason, I don't think a blog is a great medium for national-enquirer-type exposes unless the blogger is either fully disclosed, willing to be disclosed, or EXTREMELY well-hidden. The latter condition can be met, but those who attempt it need to really cover their tracks.
Great post at Donkey Cons on a topic I find fascinating:
And here's another question the clueless liberal donor never asks: What's in it for me? In other words, by giving to some "progressive" non-profit, am I actually accomplishing anything toward the triumph of progressivism? Will this help elect Democrats?
Read it all. Getting ripped off is not a liberal thing or a conservative thing. In a better world, we'd all band together to question the effectiveness of the organizations we send our money to.
Maybe "501(c) Busters" could be the first step in healing the American body politic.
When it comes to anonymous/pseudonymous commenting scandals, our little Northern VA imbroglio a few days ago has NUTHIN' on the Glenn Greenwald expose going on at Ace of Spades HQ.
It's got it all: Sex, lies, international intrigue, handwriting analysis and, of course, good old-fashioned IP gumshoe work. It's a sock puppet mystery worthy of Agatha Christie. Or at least Penn and Teller.
Plus Ace is funny as hell, so it's good reading. Give yourself a solid 20 minutes to get through the whole thing. It's fascinating - really.
From beginning to the current time, as of early am on July 21, here's the saga in order. (I can't think of a less awkward way to post this because in another day it'll be partially off the front page):
That takes us up to 12:05 am on July 21. Go check out Ace's front page to see if it continues.
This is not going to be a particularly warm and fuzzy post about the Too Conservative stealth-commenting mess, but I'll do my best to be humane, and hopefully no one will end up in a lawsuit or hiding out in a shack in Baja California as a result. The only reason I'm dwelling on it is because I have kids who have gone though this phase (though none so publicly) and I believe taking your medicine and moving on is the best way to get ahead in life.
To summarize: As best as I can understand it, someone had access to the log files at the Too Conservative blog - which is a pretty basic and commonplace administrative privilege - and these logs showed that the owner of the blog, Vince, had been writing comments under different names. Some have said these comments were controversial: I have no opinion on this aspect of the matter. The person then posted the IP log information on the Velvet Elvis blog, strongly incriminating Vince. I picked up the news from Black Velvet Bruce Lee.
It appears that the blogging software, which I believe was WordPress, maintained a log of comments and corresponding IP addresses which could be viewed en masse (Movable Type does not allow this, as far as I can tell). Thus the person who got the information probably opened a report within the WordPress administrative interface and saved a file which included all the data.
Velvet Elvis' goal appeared to be only to show that many of the commenters' comments had come from the same IP address that Vince posted from. Our own Sophrosyne said a few months ago that former bloggers at Too Conservative hinted they had proof that Vince had been commenting under different names.
So far, not so bad. Too Conservative (TC) is a very popular blog, and "TC" himself - aka Vince - is very plugged in to local politics. On the surface, one might just say a popular blogger got nabbed for playing games to increase activity within his comments. I and others have opined this could be justified. Others have opined the harsh nature of some of the pseudonymous comments raised questions about the writer, and still others have suggested the whole enterprise of writing fake comments was disreputable. An underlying accusation was that TC had set himself up for this fall by things he had said and done.
Bottom line: This appeared to be an embarrassing episode for TC but one he would learn from. He appeared to have gotten caught doing something disingenuous. Recognizing TC's youth, many of us said he should simply 'fess up and move on. Even though he had a reputation for being a bit brutal to Republicans who didn't share his political philosophy (he termed NOVA TownHall the "Worst Blog" on the Internet) - particularly those of us on the "hard right" - TC was cut a lot of slack. Several of us said: He's growing up, so let's let him learn from this and no use rubbing his nose in it. Mistakes build character.
I told him humility was a valuable lesson, and issuing a mea culpa, would put this behind him.
UPDATE:TC has a new post...
Anonymous commenting is done by all sides of the spectrum.
This does not make my comments right, and for that I apologize.
I hope we all can move past this issue, and continue on.
...so I have changed this one
Well done, Vince.
UPDATE: Whoops. I am behind the curve as usual. BVBL has the story.
Vince probably owes his audience an apology, which we should readily accept. He understands the value of confession and redemption, and we should as well. In the end, heâ€™s not the only one learning from this experience â€” every other blogger in Virginia is as well.
And I donâ€™t know what is funnier â€” having Vincent posting as â€œChapmanWants[name here]Deadâ€ or the idea of hundreds of viewers busily reloading Shaun Kenneyâ€™s website for hours and trashing it while waiting for this story to get posted. Iâ€™ll bet his server statistics went through the roof tonight. Congrats to Shaun for getting this interview.
Here is an excerpt from Shaun Kenney's interview with Velvet Elvis:
My main problem is when he misrepresents himself in those posts, such as claiming to be a constituent in a particular House district in which he does not actually live. I also have a problem with him posting as elected officials such as Bill Bolling and Marty Nohe. The Bolling post was obviously not him, but the Nohe post even fooled me and I've been friends with Marty for a long time. Someone who doesn't know Marty might not take it in the humorous way it comes across to the people who do know him. And if Marty decides to run for PWC Chairman, some op-researcher might dig that post up and use it out of context. I don't want that to happen...
Go read all of that.
In the discussion of last night's headline news about TC getting caught with his hand in the comments jar, James Young and Charles, among others, raise the basic questions of whether the Velvet Elvis accusation is true and, if so, whether it's all that bad anyway.
Here's my take on it.
Unless Velvet Elvis has put an amazing amount of time into fabricating the access log, and also is extremely confident there is no cached copy of the logs or the original pages available somewhere, I think the smart money says the charges against TC are true.
Conversely, TC could produce logs contradicting Elvis' claim that all the comments came from the same IP address - but then TC would need to be extraordinarily confident no cached copy of any data contradicting him existed somewhere.
For instance, here is the google cache of one of the pages from March 2006, for which Velvet Elvis reveals the IP access details. There are all kinds of caching mechanisms out there, I believe.
[Tech note: If you go to google and type "cache:" and then the exact address of a Web page from within the past year or so, you can see the original post. For the link above, I used "cache:http://tooconservative.com/?p=228".]
Because of the sheer amount of work and risk which would be involved in either of the scenarios above, I strongly believe the story is just as it appears: TC wrote a bunch of comments to his own posts under different names, probably to help drive the discussion and keep people coming back. When this Elvis fellow posted the IP access details, TC realized someone with admin privileges was doing things TC did not want done, and began to lock everything down. (Thus the impression that he'd been hacked...well, actually he HAD been hacked but in a different way.)
As noted in the previous post, this should be a character-building experience for someone. Attempting to mount a defense against the charges if the charges are true would be sad. Character is developed from lessons of experience, especially the experiences when you do something wrong and can't take it back. Maturity in large part consists of scar tissue.
As to the ethics: I don't know enough about local politics to really opine on the content of TC's various alter egos' comments. That would be one aspect of the question. On the basic question of creating pseudonymous comments to one's posts, I'd just say it's goofy - especially the way he seems to have done it. The personalities of the commenters seem similar although they do present different opinions to drive the discussion. To me it does not seem a very interesting use of the incognito. I'll let others analyze the content of the remarks.
Now if he had created drastically different personas, not only representing different shades of the political spectrum, but also having crazy people argue with sane people, THAT would be worth the effort although much harder to pull off.
It would still be goofy and evoke the "too much free time" observation. If you're going to build a blog community just be yourself and see what happens, is my personal approach. But in principle I think the pseudonymous commenter scheme could be interesting and ethically defensible if done with imagination, because it could create interest for visitors. And for many bloggers, visitors (real ones), are what it's all about.
UPDATE: As a result of Charles' hysterical little exercise in the comments, I am inspired to implement a new policy here on the NVTH Blog: We welcome your pseudonymous, schizophrenic comments. Assume any persona, and it will be up to the NVTH admin to suss you out. (Bear in mind, however, that if I can't find an automated way to do this in MT, your secret may remain hidden forever. So if you truly need to be recognized for saying something clever, use your own name or alert me to the masquerade.) I may have some fun with this myself.
...the suddenly homeless former contributors used the original blogger website to demonstrate their displeasure at their authoritarian removal and hinted that if Vince continued to pressure them (to get them to vanish from the blogger site as well) they would (according to our limited understanding of the situation) reveal IP address information demonstrating that Vince has also been posting anonymously under various pseudonyms to further his own agenda.
I guess Soph, wherever he/she is, is enjoying a quiet "I told you so" moment right now.
UPDATE III: From reading all the comments here and on other blogs, I am aware of the niggling question: What about all the people Too Conservative has been slamming? Should there be a schadenfreude side to this story?
Well, obviously we have a stake in this, as TC has provided one of our premier identifiers. We're the "Group B" people. Also, I get pretty ticked off at how TC derogates individuals like Eugene Delgaudio, Heidi Stirrup and Mike McHugh, among many others: the Republican wing of the Republican Party. People like these folks are the reason I am active in the local party. Sometimes I think Vince having a site called "Too Conservative" where he slams conservatives, would be like me starting a blog called "Too Gay." It's something I could only imagine doing if I had a serious animus toward gay people.
I'm pretty new to local politics so the jabs don't sting all that much, and I have two kids who are both older than Vince so I have a lot of tolerance for kids calling me an idiot. I've watched mine grow out of it, and I assume I'll get to see Vince do the same.
There is a small number of blogs that push the envelope demonstrating the unique responsive reporting power of this medium. I don't necessarily count this one among them.
I do, however, count Black Velvet Bruce Lee. If you are not reading that man every day, your priorities are seriously askew. I cannot believe the stuff he comes up with.
Because of things that happened over the past couple months - which I shall not reveal because I do not trade every bit of inside information I receive for personal gain - I must attribute this little imbroglio to divine retribution, with Mitch Cumstein as the instrument of eternal justice.
Getting hacked is a b-tch, but sometimes what goes around comes around.
Vince, I hope someday we will look back on all of this and laugh.
UPDATE: Hoo daddy, BVBL is not the only observer.
Also check here.
Even if you are not from Northern VA, you will likely find those links interesting.
As a wise man once said:
With great power, comes great responsibility.
UPDATE II: Let's be sure to stipulate that Vince is a kid, and a very politics-savvy kid. Vince got nabbed for playing games on his Web site. He'll come out of this a little more humble, and in the long run no one will hold it against him. The experience will build character and toughness. When he graduates, I expect he will be the next Rove or Carville.
UPDATE III: Vince responds.
- Gay activists, Sharpton and the war on words, By Star Parker
Discusses the use of verbiage and terminology in the marriage debate, specifically in light of the recent New York case rejecting the litigation brought forth by same-sex â€œmarriageâ€ advocates in an attempt to redefine marriage:
For the gay activist plaintiffs the offense here is that there is something _ in this case marriage _ that might actually have some real, irreducible meaning, not accessible to political activism. Sort of the opposite of Shakespeare's point that "...a rose by any other name would smell as sweet." That is, I commit a hate crime if I deny your claim that your dandelion is a rose.
The strategy in the assault on marriage is that if the institution is not providing what you want, change the meaning of the institution. Why it is the way it is, the fact that it has been this way from time immemorial and, indeed, the idea that there might be anything objectively true, becomes irrelevant.
The problem gets transformed from the preservation of the integrity of marriage, which was the original point of the law, to a claim that the law discriminates and "restricts an individual's right to marry the person of his or her choice."
- Spank that Donkey has a post up discussing the stateâ€™s interest in protecting marriage from radical redefinition. There is also a follow up post addressing some of the complaints from same-sex â€œmarriageâ€ activists.
In conclusion, I am not even touching the "moral arguments" involved in why we shouldn't have same sex marriage, I am just trying to "flesh out" the human side of why "same sex marriage" is not a good idea for our country, or really even the world in the long run... We need the One Man, One Woman Marriage Amendment to be implemented into our U.S. Constitution period. Let the rest of the world pursue their own social experiments.
- With Pope Benedict XVI in Valencia, By Jennifer Roback Morse
Discusses Spainâ€™s Socialist government in relation to Pope Benedictâ€™s pro-marriage, pro-family message during his visit to Valencia to close the Fifth World Meeting of Families:
So why would the Socialist government care about the Popeâ€™s broadcast? They are afraid that they will become the next in line of governments that have been peacefully up-ended by the power of a pontiffâ€™s message to the ordinary people. John Paul II famously inspired the Velvet Revolution in Poland, which led to the end of Soviet domination of Eastern Europe. John Paul was a thorn in the side of the Nicaraguan Sandinistas. Benedict may prove to be a trial to the Socialist government of Spain.
The Socialist government was not elected to impose same sex marriage on an overwhelmingly Catholic country. When the legislation was proposed, over a million people marched in Madrid to protest. Neither the President nor the Vice-President of Spain attended the Papal Mass, as is customary for heads of state. The Spanish government even financed a pro-homosexual conference that met at approximately the same time as the World Meeting of Families.
The Socialists may have overplayed their hand in Spain. People are sick of the social experiments. Pope Benedict XVIâ€™s inspiring words and gentle demeanor may just be the encouragement people need to push back decisively against the trends of redefining marriage and the family. People are ready to restore the ideal of one man, one woman, for life.
- Constitutional isogesis, By Mark M. Alexander
Compares Biblical isogesis to Constitutional isogesisâ€¦ helping to explain the foundation of judicial activism and where why we end up with such horrendous and legally indefensible decisions such as Roe and Goodridge:
The belief in a Constitution subject to the evolving interpretation of the judiciary has as its origin the 1803 case of Marbury v. Madison, where Chief Justice John Marshall ruled, "It is emphatically the province and duty of the judicial department to say what the law is." All well and good if the courts would continue to interpret the law exegetically, but as history would soon show, constitutional isogesis was lurking just around the corner.
In fact, by the early 20th century the isogetical interpretation of the Constitution had been given a name, courtesy of Howard McBain's 1927 book, The Living Constitution. In the decades that followed, this notion of a "living" Constitution, one subject to all manner of judicial interpretation, took hold in the federal courts. Judicial activists, who legislate from the bench by issuing rulings based on their personal interpretation of the Constitution, or at the behest of like-minded special-interest constituencies, were nominated for the federal bench and confirmed in droves.
This degradation of law was codified by the Warren Court, under the influence of Justice William Brennan, Jr., in Trop v. Dulles (1958). In that ruling, the High Court noted that the Constitution should comport with "evolving standards ... that mark the progress of a maturing society." In other words, it had now become a fully pliable document -- one that Jefferson had warned us would be a "mere thing of wax in the hands of the judiciary which they may twist and shape into any form they please."
- Shaun Kenney: Your Marriage is Outdated and Bigoted , So sayeth Howard Dean:
Some great comments discussing Deanâ€™s absurd (and self-contradictory) commentsâ€¦ as always Shaun proves to be one of the most eloquent defenders of family in the blogosphere, well worth a read.
- High courts rebuke activist judges, By Kevin McCullough
Discusses the two recent court decisions in New York and Georgia as well as some other litigation coming down the pipe in other states:
Of course, both decisions are hated by liberals and therefore received spotty coverage in the media, but make no mistake, these decisions portend large in the upcoming decisions in New Jersey (which can't even seem to stay open), California (which seldom ever makes sense), and Washington. The Washington case being the biggest one of all.
In Washington there is no residency requirement for marriages to be performed. Simply put, if Washington courts go all Massachusetts on their votersâ€”suddenly couples from every state in the union could apply for marriage licenses, be pronounced man and husband, or woman and bride, and return to their state to then test the federal statute called the Defense of Marriage Actâ€¦
â€¦The sides who have lost in each of these cases have pledged to work night and day to get legislative approval to redefine marriage. In New Yorkâ€”if Elliot Spitzer is elected governor, and Mayor Michael Bloomberg does throw in the millions of dollars and manpower to conduct a grassroots effortsâ€”who knows what could happen! But at least such a scenario would still have to drive millions of voters to voting booths to get such a result. A good test of such a drive might be seen this fall in Massachusetts as the voters there will be allowed to weigh in on the issue for the very first time.
As you can easily see, the fight isn't over. It's barely just begun.
But it's always a good day to see activist judges get their lunch handed to them.
- Virginia Conservative Analysis chimes in with his/her support of the Marriage Amendmentâ€¦ he/she rightly sees through the red-herring argument that the Marriage Amendment (similar to the 20 that have already been enacted in other states) will invalidate â€œany and all relationships between unmarried individualsâ€ and thus rejects this misinformation campaign designed to leave Virginiaâ€™s definition of marriage vulnerable to same-sex â€œmarriageâ€ litigation.
- Mocking the rules in Massachusetts, By Jeff Jacoby
Discusses the Constitutional Convention called due to the record-setting 170,000+ signatures collected in favor of restoring the definition of marriage, specifically the efforts of same-sex â€œmarriageâ€ advocates to unconstitutionally derail the democratic process:
But for weeks now, same-sex marriage advocates have been telegraphing their intention to kill the marriage amendment through just such an unconstitutional ploy. "Every possible option is on the table," says the head of MassEquality, a powerful coalition opposed to the amendment. Among the tactics being discussed: adjourning the joint session before the amendment is brought up, or arranging for enough legislators to stay away in order to prevent a quorumâ€¦
â€¦Those intoxicated with their own moral superiority often find it easy to believe that it is "perfectly acceptable" to make a mockery of the rules that ensure fairness for those they look down upon. Homosexual marriage is widely supported by Massachusetts elites; few of them are likely to lose much sleep if the proposed amendment is derailed by an illegal parliamentary maneuver. In a newspaper ad appearing this week, 165 Massachusetts business executives and civic leaders endorse same-sex marriage and urge the Legislature to reject any amendment "that would take away rights." But the ad says nothing about the right of 170,000 Massachusets citizens to have their petition put to a vote on Beacon Hill.
"I think we have had enough of this debate," says Democratic gubernatorial candidate Deval Patrick, siding with those who favor procedural tricks to cheat the amendment's supporters out of a vote. "The basic question here is whether people come before their government as equals." His position, in other words, is that scores of thousands of petitioners must be treated as second-class citizens in order to ensure that people aren't treated as second-class citizens.
- CNN Politics: Massachusetts court OKs same-sex marriage referendum
Discusses the defeat of the same-sex â€œmarriageâ€ activistsâ€™ final attempt to deny the people of Massachusetts their constitutional rights as the state prepares to convene a Constitutional Convention tomorrow. Also has some quotes exhibiting the raw arrogance of Supreme Judicial Court Justice John Greaney as he sits in his ivory tower and blasts the legitimate efforts of the people (with record setting number of petition signatures) to undo his act of judicial tyranny and restore the definition of marriage.
In a unanimous decision, the Supreme Judicial Court said the proposed amendment is not a "reversal" of the court's ruling legalizing same-sex marriage but a proposed change to the state constitution, which can be legally done through a citizen initiative...
...Justice John M. Greaney, in a concurring opinion, warned that approving an amendment banning same-sex marriage would be discriminatory because it would remove the rights of same-sex couples to the legal, social and financial benefits of marriage.
Charles is amazing and I didn't realize just how much until I read about the full extent of his injury.
I say this because Charles spent about four days commenting on this really wide-ranging thread here and his contributions were very substantial. He wrote more in our comments than I have written here during certain months. After presenting a number of thoughtful arguments on the general topic of gay marriage, getting pummelled by some of our other visitors, and coming back for more, he simply noted "I'm laid up."
Well, he really is laid up. He saw fit to jump in and write a ton here when his hard drive broke, then kept writing when HE broke. He never goes begging for links. I strongly urge all of our readers to take a moment to visit the Web site of this incredibly selfless good guy and all-around great American. He just keeps on tickin'.
From all of us at NOVA TownHall: Get well, and thanks, Charles. Please let us know if there is anything we can do to help you out.
Hey, I just realized it's been up since yesterday: A real Carnival over at Shaun Kenney's place. Step right up!
Two truly EXCELLENT posts with different perspectives on the 'YearlyKos' 2006 Convention comprise today's Carnival.
First, Donkey Cons (Buy Two!) has a round up and some fascinating background on a few choice Vegas losers.
Second, American Daughter somewhat surprisingly has a semi-positive take on the event, although she also provides a thorough fisking of an apparently REALLY dumb NY Times article (which is saying a lot). It's a very good piece of writing.
SO DON'T DAWDLE YOUR LIFE AWAY, GO READ THEM BOTH RIGHT NOW!!!
By the way, it's worth noting that Markos Himself has a nearly perfect record of raising millions of dollars for candidates who go on to LOSE their elections. I mean, it's pretty remarkable because he's proven a very effective fund raiser, but I think every single person he's supported has lost. Maybe one candidate did succeed but that's it. So if I was a Democrat running for office, I'd be nowhere NEAR Las Vegas this week (though I'd move heaven and Earth to get my opponent to attend). Just my opinion.
UPDATE: Commenter Political Critic writes the following:
Markos purposely raises money for candidates who are well behind in races. In most of the cases, these candidates were able to close the gap, just not enough to win. So even if his success rate is 1 out of 25 or so, it still makes a difference.
This Carnival is solely devoted to one of the best blog posts I've found in a long time. I was cruising around for a bunch of WIJF posts when I ran across a link on one of the primo entertaining blogs, Iowahawk.
I don't always agree with Ace of Spades, and I don't agree with all of his statements in today's selected post. He knows religion, and specifically understands evangelical Christianity although sometimes he sort of belittles it. That's his deal, which I don't quite get.
Also, his deal is he is a "professional blogger" now, having given up working for The Man and relocated to a less expensive living arrangement and now supports himself almost exclusively via the blog - which I also don't get, but in the sense I respect the heck out of him for managing to pull it off.
Plus he's a great writer and cultural critic, and very well educated besides. This post is evidence of the man's talent:
Because there is so much ego involved in the self-definition as progressive, the need for intellectual conformity becomes stultifying. For, if one can believe something different than you -- even if they are, on balance, progressive -- this represents a direct challenge to your own self-valuation as an intellectual worthy. Conservatives have sometimes heated debates about what the right position is, but they're not debates about whether or not someone is worthy or intelligent. Whether or not someone is a "good conservative" is sometimes argued, but that argument is not simultaneously about whether someone is a good human being. Lefitsts, sometimes by their own surprisingly honest self-admission, acknowledge that they are sometimes too eager to define and, worse still, enforce a group-mediated orthodoxy on the wider church, and excommunicate those who are deemed heretical.
Go read it all, it is well worth it.
One of the most beguiling phenomena of the modern age is the obviously intelligent liberal. That phrase, to conservatives, is a major contradiction in terms. But we all know it is a reality. Whether from the smart guys you read on the progressive Web sites or magazines, or the smart liberals you know personally, if you are a literate conservative you have wondered more than once, "How could this intelligent person make such statements?"
Drawing on an accurate understanding of human psychology and keen awareness of our leftist brethren, Ace's essay answers the question.
Today the United States Senate begins consideration of an amendment to the U.S. Constitution that would define marriage as between one man and one woman- thus elevating existing law beyond the reach of activist judges. As it has been widely reported, this effort lacks the necessary support of 2/3 of the Senate and is likely to fail. Fellow Virginian Chuck Colson (who today will be meeting with President Bush along with former VA GOP gubernatorial nominee Mark Early) explains the need for the amendment here. He says:
Unfortunately, a lot of politicians donâ€™t get it. They argue that we do not need a marriage amendment. If we want to keep marriage between one man and one womanâ€”which they say they doâ€”then all we have to do is pass state referenda. Nineteen states have already done so. So amending the U.S. Constitution is unnecessary. Well, these politicians apparently do not understand the inexorable logic of a series of cases that make it virtually certain that when state statutes barring gay â€œmarriageâ€ reach the Supreme Court, they will be struck down. Other politicians understand all too well, and when they claim that we do not need a marriage amendment, they are being disingenuous.
Let me explain the precedents that make it inevitable that the Court will uphold gay â€œmarriage.â€ In the 1992 case Casey v. Planned Parenthood, Justice Kennedy affirmed the right of abortion with a sweeping definition of liberty as the right of a person to determine for himself the meaning of life.
Many feared this definition could embrace anything. Soon enough, it did.
After an examination of some Supreme Court decisions Colson delves deeper into why the federal amendment is needed:
Now, what all of this means is that the Supreme Court, following its own precedents, will declare any law restricting the right of homosexuals to marry unconstitutional. The die is cast. An appeal is already coming up from a Nebraska case in which a judge threw out a statute banning gay â€œmarriageâ€ as unconstitutional. Within two years this will be at the Supreme Court, and the axe will fall.
Just as with Roe v. Wade, the Court will take away the statesâ€™ rights to legislate.
The time to act is now. Donâ€™t let politicians deceive you and tell you this is a state issue. The Supreme Court has already closed the door on that.
Colson is absolutely correct. While the battle to protect marriage in the states (including the VA Marriage Amendment) is extremely criticalâ€¦ ultimately the buck stops at the U.S Supreme Court. That is why the amendment being debated today and the never-ending effort to hold the White House and Senate in order to nominate strict constructionists to the Judiciary is so important.
Senator Allen is in favor of the federal Marriage Protection Amendment but I do not know where Senator Warner stands (although I can unfortunately guessâ€¦). His office has not yet responded to my email inquiries. PLEASE contact Senator Warnerâ€™s office today and let him know you believe marriage is between one man and one woman. You can do so here.
Now that the stakes are so clear, Iâ€™d like to offer a Marriage Carnival of What I Just Found (composed mostly of Townhall.com articles). Of course we will continue to have up-to-date coverage of Virginiaâ€™s efforts to protect marriage from radical redefinition with the Virginia Marriage Amendment this November.
- Liberal reactions to the marriage amendment are not deep
- Marriage and crime: The deadly connection
- Protecting marriage: The battle dawns
- If gays marry, churches could suffer
- Ignoring a danger to liberty
- Identity vs. action
- Marriage is about children [A good reminder that the push for same-sex "marriage" isn't the only issue affecting marriage today]
I donâ€™t have much time to comment on these interesting stories but I think they are worth a read so I am going to post them here as a â€œCarnival of What I Just Foundâ€â€¦ enjoy!
- Louisiana House Approves Ban on Most Abortions, Senate Expected to Agree [needs no explanation].
- Asian Americansâ€™ Political Clout Increasing, Says Report [certainly has and impact in NOVA and should be noted for GOP outreach efforts to build the partyâ€¦ Congressman Davis has been phenomenal in addressing this].
- Brave new world [some insightful commentary from Pat Buchanan]
- Pro-Abortion, Gay Rights Groups Join to Rank States on Abortion [also notes that many who deal with same-sex attraction are pro-life].
- Face it: Marriage is in trouble [and not just because some are working to change the very definition of marriage].
This story's been floating around on various blogs. What was that Sean Connery line from "The Untouchables"?
This is a very special edition of the Carnival, created solely for the purpose of recognizing two blog posts that are in danger of slipping into the abyss before enough people have a chance to read them.
First is by our own No Relation, who wrote this excellent little analysis of the situation in Afghanistan - an area he knows firsthand. I went and unceremoniously dumped five new posts on top of his right after he wrote it and it would be a major shame if everyone did not have the opportunity to hear what this guy knows.
Second is the outstanding Donkey Cons blog with another thorough and entertaining post, this time on the topic of illegal immigration. Robert Stacy McCain, co-author of the Donkey Cons book (Buy Two!) is a great wit but also a great reporter.
Both links earn our highest rating: Well Worth Clicking (tm).
Stealing Joe's concept of a "Carnival of What I Just Found"... I thought the following two articles were interesting and applicable to some of the issues facing the Commonwealth (the struggle in the GOP and the need for the Marriage Amendment). Enjoy!
Cal Thomas has an article discussing the lack of principle in many of today's politicians (something Virginians witness first hand with folks like Potts and Chichester) He asks:
What happens when ideologies and ideas evaporate is that the public becomes politically disoriented. With too many Republicans acting like Democrats and both parties seeming to want power for its own sake, the public has understandably become not only politically disoriented, but disgusted.
The phenomenal Star Parker (an amazing woman with a great American story) has a column discussing the need for a Federal Marriage Amendment to protect marriage from same-sex advocates and judicial activists.
We can look at Europe as a laboratory for what to expect. George Weigel of the Ethics and Public Policy Center in Washington reports in the current issue of Commentary Magazine, for instance, that in Spain, where gay marriage and adoption is now legal, the words "Father" and "Mother" are being replaced on birth certificates to "Progenitor A" and "Progenitor B."
In European countries, a public statement critical of homosexual behavior is deemed "hate speech" and "a French parliamentarian was fined for saying that heterosexuality is morally superior to homosexuality."
This (better late than never) is a quick survey of what conservative (and semi-conservative) bloggers have to say about yesterday's speech by President Bush. There seems to be a common theme underlying most of the responses, but I will do my best to make this edition of the Carnival seem dramatic.
First, some serious round-ups can be found at:
Now onto the negative reactions (quite a few of these to choose from, actually):
-Bryan of Hot Air says it was a wasted opportunity.
-Heidi of Euphoric Reality is unimpressed.
-Ace says it was probably effective...for a wrongheaded cause.
-Captain Ed calls it a speech to pacify critics
-Mrs. M of the Cigar Intelligence Agency found a LOT wrong with it, and does a very thorough fisking. (Man - that would be too much work for me!)
-Baldilocks fisks a portion very few of us likely picked up on.
-Mike at My Pet Jawa say Bush 'boldly called a spade a spork.'
-Finally, on a different topic but not totally unrelated: E.L. Frederick notes which GOP senators voted against today's 'enforcement first' amendment to the Senate bill.
But all is not lost, Mr. President - here are some more or less positive reactions:
-Beth of My Vast Right Wing Conspiracy call it a policy grounded in reality.
-John Cole at Balloon Juice says deportation is impossible, after all.
-Patrick of Clarity and Resolve (no shrinking violet, he) says it's a start.
-And finally, with words of wisdom and moderation we should ALL bear in mind, Frank J. of IMAO envisions a future without borders.
I'm going to create this new home-based Carnival here at NOVA TownHall, the point of which is to facilitate linking to what other bloggers are saying without me having to create a new entry for each and think of clever titles and prefaces and such.
I feel morally compelled to link to other blogs much more frequently, but I am a lazy, lazy man. This should help expedite the process. So here goes:
This is Joe, reporting from the blogosphere. Courage!