May 30, 2006

A Convenient Truth

In two years, we again will be in the middle of a presidential campaign (wow, is it really that soon?). Likely Republican candidates include George Allen of Virginia, Mitt Romney of Massachusetts, and Bill Frist of Tennessee. Democrats may have an advantage in name recognition, but will that be enough? Mark Warner, former governor of Virginia, has been tossed around by many, but it seems more likely that he will be the VP candidate as Democrats will likely continue the trend of selecting Democrats that appear more liberal. Hillary Clinton, Senator from New York, has also been a favorite name tossed around, but with her show of support for the War in Iraq, and her polarizing nature, the Democratic Party will likely avoid her as well. Who might the Democrats warm to?

Hmm, warm?

Like global warming?

Al Gore is positioning himself for a run in '08. Pay no attention to his claims of being a "recovering politician"; the timing of his new film, increased visibility, and strong criticism of the current administration all appear to point to a burgeoning campaign. Never mind the fact that Al Gore seems to be trying to cling to the last of his fifteen minutes, he could possibly be a very popular candidate.

Why is that? First, what does the average American know about Al Gore? Other than the word "lockbox" and strong concerns about global warming, I imagine not much. In 2000, Gore lost a tough election to President Bush, gaining further support from Democrats across the nation. "What if?" runs through the minds of America's left, and not just wondering what life would be like without George W. Bush in the White House. There was a great sense of commiseration towards Gore. This could play very much in Gore's favor, where liberals outside of Virginia are cool towards Warner and liberals in general are fed up with Clinton. While many more candidates will likely make a push towards the primaries (I suspect Kerry, Edwards, and Lieberman will all make attempts again), a Gore campaign would probably be able to take a lot of momentum into the primaries and only a Dean-scream-like mistake could bring rise to a different candidate.

Now, in the general election, could Gore be successful? He will not have Republican support, but sympathy for Gore from independant voters could play a large part in '08.

Global warming is not the threat that Al Gore attempts to portray it as. However, Al Gore could be a threat for the 2008 Presidential Election.

Where is that lockbox? It would be a little reassuring if we could put Al Gore in there until 2009.

May 29, 2006


On this Memorial Day, remember those who have sacrificed their lives so that we could live free. Enjoy your day off (if you do not have a day off, sorry about that), watch a little TV (UVa in the national championship game for lacrosse anyone?), and dedicate those things we take for granted to those who took none of it for granted.

May 27, 2006

"Do what you have to do"

Gun control advocates take note. A gun not only saved a few lives, but was used skillfully and wisely, and the media even picked the story up. It is simple; anyone who owns a gun and has children can learn something from the father of this heroic boy. Javaris Granger was raised to respect guns, and knew how to properly handle one. And yet with a gun, he did not go on a shooting spree, did not rob a store, and did not threaten anyone without having a prior threat made to him. I guess kids and guns are not necessarily ingredients for disaster.

May 25, 2006

Lowell summed up

I still wonder how Lowell does it. Over at Raising Kaine, he has posted recent poll numbers concerning Virginia's senatorial candidates. He notes that George Allen is viewed positively by 47% of those polled and unfavorably by 26%. Certainly not exceptionally high, but considering America's distrust of Congress right now, those numbers sound pretty good. Lowell paints this as good news; as a Republican, I see little reason to be concerned with those numbers, particularly with what follows.

He notes that Harris Miller has favorable-unfavorable ratings of 7-21, and that James Webb is at 11-19 (each are unknown at a rate of 36% in the samples). The Virginia blogosphere's biggest fan of Webb does note that he has an incredibly low recognizability, but after that, it is all spin. He neglects to mention the error of +/- 4.6%. Lowell says that Miller has an "awful" rating, but Jim Webb's is only "not great". Funny, let's look again. With even one standard deviation, there is approximately a 68% chance that Miller's favoribility may fall in the range of ~2.5-~11.5%, while James Webb is between ~6.5% and ~15.5%. That leaves a considerable range of overlap. It is most likely that James Webb has a better rating than that of Harris Miller; however, it is not by much. Nearly six months out of the general election, the primary contenders for the Democrats are both relative unknowns and viewed unfavorably by those who do know of them. George Allen's "worst nightmare" may not even present a challenge.

I can honestly say that I would like to see Harris Miller chosen in the primaries. Not because I see Webb as any sort of serious contender (these poll numbers are not aiding Lowell's cause), but because I can see that Lowell will have to take back months of attacks if he wishes for George Allen to be defeated.

Culture of Corruption?

It probably does not come as a surprise to anyone that Howard Dean has latched onto the indiscretions by members of the GOP such as the Abramoff scandal. Certainly, a number of Republicans have not been acting very ethically; no one can make an excuse for their mistakes. But can Howard Dean really run confidently on such a campaign?

Three weeks ago, Patrick Kennedy got into an accident near Capitol Hill. When police arrived, he appeared drunk, and indeed, witnesses who saw him earlier said he had been drinking. Rep. Kennedy said he was late for a vote (how many votes occur after midnight?), and he was driven home by an officer without a sobriety test. No arrest, no ticket, just a ride home. I have a clean driving record, but somehow, I doubt that I would get such treatment if I got into an accident.

Certainly though, many politicians of such high standing would be given a pass in such a situation. Which brings me to Rep. William Jefferson. Rep. Jefferson appears guilty in what should be an open and shut case concerning bribery. Cold, hard cash has never been such a true statement. The "Culture of Corruption" appears to have invaded the Democratic party as well.

Unfortunately, this is a much larger problem than Red and Blue. Some Republicans and Democrats (including Nancy Pelosi, rather surprisingly) have called for Rep. Jefferson to step down, but this has appeared to be the exception rather than the rule. A number of politicians on both sides of the aisle are questioning the Constitutionality of the investigation, and thus Rep. Jefferson may get off on a legal loophole despite the ethical issues. I certainly will not question the importance of the Constitution, but using it to hide behind such foolishness is entirely inappropriate and may lead to future problems. And if that was not bad enough, the Black Caucus has come to William Jefferson's defense.

Is Howard Dean correct about the "Culture of Corruption"? For once, he very well may be. But he needs to pay attention to the left as well. Decrying certain actions will not appear very good if those he believes will fix the problem appear to part of the problem as well.

As for the Republicans, it is well past time for some new blood. The Contract With America has ended, and it is time for some new Republicans to stand up and defend what we believe; politicians who can stand up to Democrats, who can cut spending, secure our borders, ensure that military strength does not lag, and who have not fallen into corruption.

UPDATE 5/26/06 12 AM: As if on cue, Chris Muir chimes in on the congressional corruption debate as well.

May 24, 2006

Will Vehrs Signs Off

Today, Will Vehrs is leaving the blogosphere, but not on the good note that SST did.

In a recent caption contest held at CC, Will made a comment that offended some of those whom he works with in Martinsville. The comments were made in jest, but Will received a scarlet letter for his comments. This is sad because this joke has forced Will to decide to leave blogging, for concern over how future posts may be perceived. This is something I myself have done everything to avoid (I post under a pseudonym and I do not post about my employer; commenting on my alma mater is a different subject altogether), but it is understandable that slip-ups do happen. Still, because of it, Will has now been demonized, and an apology was not enough. Perhaps Waldo put it best.

Good luck Will, in your future endeavors. The Virginia blogosphere will not be the same.

May 22, 2006

Who needs Google Ads when you have the Catholic Church?

The Catholic Church recently started a public boycott against The Da Vinci Code film.

Now, first a disclaimer. I do not intend to see the Da Vinci code, and I personally do not like to test God concerning works of fiction based on Biblical word. However, the First Amendment should still be upheld, and I am rational enough to know that rioting in the streets will not accomplish anything (apparently, pictures of some prophet are justification for irrational violence).

That said, the public boycott by the Catholic Church should be an example. Instead of keeping people from the theatres, it only serves to make people more interested. The Da Vinci Code had one of the strongest opening weekends ever. So much for making The Da Vinci Code look bad; the Catholic Church should have left that to the critics, who indeed have been very disparaging towards the film.

Boycotts, in general, are ineffective. On May 1st, protests were common for Illegal Immigration Day; the effect on the national economy was minimal, even considering the numbers who participated. E-mails have spread suggesting that certain days be designated to not purchase gas as a symbol to the oil companies. The hope was that a large drop in daily sales would bring a sharp drop in prices. However, the oil companies likely are aware that if people do not buy gas one day, they will the next. Many people simply need gas to get around. And most other boycotts are so small that they could never hope to make a significant impact.

I am not going to say that rallies and protests do not do anything; on the contrary, they can be very effective. But a poorly chosen form of dissent (like say, oh, having 17 students sit and whine in a state building) will only work against the cause.

Graduation Pics

Before I put up a few pictures, I am announcing my return is coming a little earlier than I stated a couple nights ago. Plans change, so instead of coming back later this week, I will start tonight first by asking of any readers their opinion. As I am now a graduate and no longer with the College Republicans, I wonder how appropriate the pseudonym CR UVa is now. Should I retain it (not as appropriate now as before) or make a change to something new (almost forcing a restart as readers will now have to recognize a new name)? And if I should change it, what to? The Red Stater (familiarity) or something else (a little creativity never hurt anyone)? I appreciate any input on this that I receive.

Now, back to the main point of this post, graduation was a great experience. It was a fun time to spend with friends and family, and I received my "honor of honors". Yet, it was quite surreal. Time flies, and the last four years were certainly no exception.

Some of the students waiting before the procession down the lawn.

With around 4,000 students set to graduate, we were fairly spread out on the north side of the Rotunda.

I was about 2/3 of the way back, and there were still a lot of students following.

I have never seen so many people on the Lawn. It was quite impressive.

Governor Tim Kaine spoke to the University. Surprisingly, he gave a good speech. He stayed away from politics, other than the stray mention of "bipartisanship" concerning his status as a fan of Virginia Tech; he was promptly booed (this never would have happened with Jerry Kilgore, a UVa fan). Still, as I said, I enjoyed his address to the University. He spoke of the adventure that laid ahead, with admiration for service and exploration. While I doubt I will enjoy too many of his other speeches (I am still waiting to hear what the "better way" is), he may have actually given a graduation speech to remember.

Just for some perspective as to how far away I was seated. Still, it is not particularly far, as the other viewers were further up the Lawn.

James Atticus Bowden had a daughter graduate yesterday. Maggie Bowden, though someone I never had the opportunity to meet, was a great columnist at the Cavalier Daily. James Bowden is quite humble; he is a good writer in his own right as well.

Thanks to Chad for the recognition and support. And it now appears that I can again post comments at Commonwealth Conservative; I guess my apartment back at school was not much appreciated by Spam Karma (why, I still do not know).

Steve Whitaker posts the time lapse video taken from the Lawn. It is amazing to see so many people file in and out, and the video does a great job at showing just how large an event that UVa's graduation is.

An "adventure" awaits. We must "cast off our lines" and set sail. I am told that a degree from the University of Virginia is proof that I am ready. I sure hope so.

May 20, 2006


I'm just here to give a quick update. I plan to get back to regular blogging later this upcoming week, probably between Wednesday and Friday. It appears that the Virginia blogosphere has been very active these past few weeks (such as the second blogging conference, which regrettably I will be unable to attend), so I have some catching up to do.

In about 12 hours, I will be attending graduation ceremonies at the University of Virginia. It is hard to describe the great mix of emotions I am feeling, but even knowing that I am ready for my future, I will miss UVa. Still, life must go on, and it will. My advice to all college students who read this blog; make the most of your time in college. There is a lot of opportunity when you graduate, but four years at college will fly by. Work hard, but make sure to spend time with friends and doing the things you enjoy. From my experience, these have been the best four years of my life, and I suspect the same can be said for many others. And when you do graduate, take pride in your accomplishment. Remember your years as happy ones and look ahead to what life will bring you.
The University of Virginia writes her highest degree on the souls of her sons. The parchment page of scholarship-the colored ribbon of a society-the jeweled emblem of a fraternity-the orange symbol of athletic prowess-all these, a year hence, will be at the best mementos of happy hours-like the withered flower a woman presses between the pages of a book for sentiment's sake.


If you live a long, long time, and hold honesty of conscience above honesty of purse:

And turn aside without ostentation to aid the weak;

And treasure ideals more than raw ambition;

And track no man to his undeserved hurt;

And pursue no woman to her tears;

And love the beauty of noble music and mist-veiled mountains and blossoming valleys and great monuments-

If you live a long time and, keeping the faith in all these things hour by hour, still see that the sun gilds your path with real gold and that the moon floats in dream silver;


Remembering the purple shadows of the lawn, the majesty of the colonnades, and the dream of your youth, you may say in reverence and thankfulness:

"I have worn the honors of Honor, I graduated from Virginia"

-- The Honor Men, James Hay Jr.

May 04, 2006

That settles it.

May 02, 2006

Goodbye C'ville

I'd say I am getting out at the right time, but I am heading back to an ever more blue Northern Virginia in a couple weeks. What can everyone in the town around the University that Mr. Jefferson built expect? Four more years of pointless resolutions (that "City of Peace" thing was really effective at stopping the war, wasn't it?) and useless City Councilmen (what have they done besides getting the elected School Board? Oh wait, that was spearheaded by Rob Schilling. Never mind).

To Rob Schilling: thank you for your service to this town. You have worked hard for this city and deserve nothing but praise for all of your hard work.

To David Norris and Julian Taliaferro: please do not fall into the trap that the rest of the council has gotten stuck in. Do some real work for Charlottesville and make it even more of a place that I know I will want to return to.

To anyone in Charlottesville: if it seems that things are not getting done that need doing, remember who it is that you voted for and consider that in the next election.

In the meantime, I am finding it very hard to avoid blogging. Still, regular blogging will not return until later this month. In the meantime, add Waldo's Virginia Political Blogs aggregator to your RSS feed; with any luck, I will find myself added to it when I return.