September 29, 2006

Good News, Bad News

Good News: Someone trying to exploit a minor for sex has been exposed and will be stepping down from his position and campaign.

Bad News: He is Mark Foley, a Republican congressman from Florida. It is good that he is taking the moral high ground and dropping out of the race, likely awaiting charges for sexual misconduct. This, however, does not justify his actions. And there is no way to believe that Republicans will be able to hold this seat, regardless of who replaces him in this campaign, and it is hard to tell how this might affect other races. Hopefully, the voters will recognize that the actions of this one nutjob does not reflect on the rest of the Republican party.

Devotion and Sacrifice

The Friar looks at the Lance Armstrong divorce and the unrealistic expectations that surrounded it. Marriage is not always easy, and seeing how many people react in the face of a challenge, it makes more and more sense why half of all marriages fail.

September 28, 2006

New Zogby Poll

A new Zogby poll was released, and it shows Senator Allen up nearly 6 points, a 13 point swing in only a week This means one of either two things: Zogby continues to prove why we should not put so much stock into polls. Or, in the new age of the internet, RSS feeds, and instant news, voters are able to shift their choices at the same pace as changes occur.

Either way, this poll is consistent with the 5 point lead in the recent SurveyUSA poll that Allen enjoys. With just under six weeks left until the election, this may be good news for the Allen campaign after such a tumultuous election; then again, with all the tumult so far, there may be no way of knowing how things will swing before November 7th.

An Open Letter

Vivian and Conaway have cross-posted a co-written letter concerning the use of racial ephitets in the Senate race here in Virginia.
Some have used this inquiry as a opportunity to throw around racial epithets themselves. We contend that doing so is reflective of a lack of racial sensitivity that both candidates have indicated that they lacked in the past. Further, we contend that this desensitizes the readers to the real issues of race that are still with us. We find such behavior unacceptable and implore our colleagues to refrain from engaging in such behavior.
Go to either of their blogs to read the whole thing.

For the record, I have not used these words the way some others have. The N-word is a no-go; if it has ever crossed my lips or my pen, it was in reference to a book (To Kill A Mockingbird or Huckleberry Finn are a couple possibilities). I never use the term otherwise because of the strong emotions evoked by it. I am anything but PC, but there are some lines I will not cross. Likewise, I have avoided the use of the M-word. I still do not believe that Senator Allen was being racist, but seeing the reaction to it, it makes no sense to make that word a part of my normal vocabulary, as it may now evoke the same emotions as the N-word. And it has been rather disturbing to read a number of Virginia's blogs recently. These words are supposed to be offensive, and more interestingly, it seems like Webb-supporting bloggers have used it even more. Why the liberal (in more ways than one) use of these words?

September 27, 2006

The Kilgore Effect?

Republitarian thinks so.

Shame, Shame

This just in, Senator Allen may have used the H-word. It appears a ton of unnamed sources came out to support this claim. Why Senator Allen, why?

On a more serious note, these charges of racism are seeing more and more doubt everyday. Snyder wonders where all these people were while Senator Allen was rising up the ranks. Chad thinks this is all nothing but a big smear campaign, and one that gets weaker by the day.
In fact, note that every one of these accusers tell stories that are unverifiable. Not a single one can be corroborated and, in fact, none of them are corroborated. Every witness and peer of Allen's says exactly the opposite, and now the huge holes in this ridiculous smear campaign are beginning to become evident. And - surprise! - every single one of these accusers are ideological opponents of Sen. Allen. Imagine that!
And if this is not enough, it appears that some people have not given up hope on a George Allen presidential run in 2008. Perhaps, it is not time to rule one out just yet.

The Washington Times, not to be left out, notes that conservatives want to keep this race on the positives of Senator Allen. If the racism charges continue to meet this scrutiny, then it is hard to imagine how the race could go any other direction.

Indeed, Senator Allen has shown himself to be a man of great character, and one who has worked hard in the Senate for Virginians. He is pushing for stronger education that will allow Virginia to stay among the leading states in technology and economic growth. Senator Allen has put a focus on keeping Americans safe from terror. He also supports the Bush tax cuts, which has allowed more people to support our economy and provide for their families. And despite the charges of racism, Senator Allen has given a lot of support to traditionally black colleges. Senator Allen has been good for Virginia in the Senate, he was good for Virginia in a number of other offices, and will be good for Virginia for another six years. When it comes to merit, Senator Allen is not lacking.

UPDATE 4:50 PM: Louisa County cops do not recall any incidents involving deer heads. While it is possible they forgot, such an odd disturbance should be more easily recalled than others, if it really occurred.

September 26, 2006

Democracy's Success and Potential

Icythus celebrates Japan's government, still going strong six decades after World War II, and discusses the importance of remaining patient with Iraq.

The High Ground

Well, it appears that a change in tone is on the rise. Liberal Pi responds and posts a good comparison piece concerning James Webb's and George Allen's views on the War in Iraq. He is looking for some debate in the comment section; I look forward to seeing some well spirited debate. And to Liberal Pi, in short response, I would like to think my disdain is only for nasty attitudes in politics, in particular from liberals. I have always enjoyed good debates with people I disagree with when personal attacks on candidates are avoided, but it is difficult to remain civil when it appears that the other person is not being civil.

And Vivian Paige cries foul over Larry Sabato's statement concerning Senator Allen's use of the N-word. I know I may have started on the wrong foot with Vivian, but she is doing very well at her blog; I look forward to her continued analysis of this race as well.

Hopefully, these are signs of a change in the tone of this election; it may be an enjoyable race again. It would be nice to see the best candidate win, not the worst one lose (though, certainly I believe Senator Allen to be the best candidate).

September 25, 2006

Salon allows the dirty tricks to continue

Many bloggers have jumped on the story that Salon is running concerning one Ken Shelton, former teammate of George Allen on the UVa football team, making claims that Senator Allen is a racist and was one back in college. Only problem, they have neglected the words of many others that contradict Shelton's words. The racism claims unfortunately will continue to be pervasive, however dishonest or dirty they are. But what else should we expect from the people that are even managing to shock Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid?

My biggest regret with all this is that many of these Democrats have succeeded at pulling some of us conservative bloggers off the issues. Some have attacked Webb in similar ways, others have focused on Webb's cronies (myself certainly being no exception for this example), but regardless, we have had to play damage control rather than displaying and even emulating the positives of George Allen. The Mason Conservative appears very frustrated, and that frustration is justified. I have wished many times for this race to return to the issues; I suspect that at this point, it is too late and there is no turning back. But at least, we should all be able to make the attempt, correct?

UPDATE 3:20 PM: Mary Kathernine Ham does not seem to be too pleased with the use of race in this election either.

September 23, 2006

Webb's problems

Blogging has recently been seen as a great way for the voice of the common man to be heard, but it is certainly not the first. Letter's to the editor still are very effective at doing so, sometimes even more so than blogs. Wayne Wilkins (second letter listed) does a particularly good job of relating to Virginia voters why he feels that James Webb would be a bad choice for senator.
James H. Webb Jr. is something of an icon for military folk, among whom he often approaches demigod status because of his decorated service in Vietnam and his directness and intellect. However, his recent debate with Sen. George Allen highlighted two fundamental reasons why he would be the wrong choice for senator.

Most important, Mr. Webb seems to have forgotten the lessons penned in his historical novel "A Sense of Honor" (a leadership course book at the Air Force Academy when I attended), in which he argues effectively that, above all, a public servant must maintain his integrity in order to lead.

His two-stepping on his positions on women in combat and affirmative action and his recent use of the name of Ronald Reagan to bolster his campaign show me that he has traded in the integrity he so eloquently wrote about for a base political pragmatism. Time to try to win an election, I guess.

Second, as a military theorist, he certainly knows better than to castigate those who have not worn a uniform as somehow unfit for public office. Not only does this commit a fallacy (ad hominem), but one only need look to the example of Jimmy Carter, himself a Naval Academy graduate and officer, to realize that honorable military service is not a precursor for effective military command. It is certainly not a trump card to be pulled out whenever your positions are challenged, as Mr. Webb did several times during the debate, most notably when his opposition to the 1991 invasion was called out.

I was hoping for a more principled tack from someone whose writings have been studied for years by cadets and midshipmen.

Unfortunately, in this debate, he did not seem to remember the words he penned several years ago about the linkage of integrity, public service and leadership.

September 22, 2006

A Chicken in Every Pot and a Pistol in Every Garage

Lowell is Truly Losing It

Breaking News! Breaking News! Dick Wadhams is being demoted.

Wait, no, never mind, he is not.

Lowell's obsession with Wadhams and George Allen only bring about thoughts of Democrat's attitudes towards Karl Rove and George W. Bush. And his connections with the James Webb campaign have raised questions all over the Virginia blogosphere, even at Not Larry Sabato. Seems Ben Tribbett does not like the attention that some certain bloggers are receiving, seeing as they are paid members of Webb's staff. And all the little boys and girls at RK have decided to crash the party, bashing anyone who might possibly question their "messiah" (oh wait, these are left-wingers, I should probably avoid using terms that make us think of Christianity, lest I offend any of them). Of course, they give us their normal spiel, blaming Allen, Wadhams, Jon Henke, Karl Rove, Jews, government conspiracies, aliens, etc. (sorry, seen a few too many wacko DU discussions, but this is not too far off).

Lowell Feld has been much like the spineless schoolyard bully, pouncing on anyone he presumes as weaker than him, but when taken to task, instead points a finger at his prey, trying to convince anyone that his target is the guilty party. And he'll even spread lies, then go back on them when he realizes that he is going to get caught. Sadly, he seems to have enough luck to never really get caught. Josh Chernilla has been like his whiny little lackey, the one no one likes because he gets into arguments with everyone. He just seems angry all the time, and cannot keep it inside or restrain himself in any way. And those who have been posting regularly at RK have been like the posse that follows these two around, thinking they are the cool kids for hanging out with the two of them when in reality it is simply because everyone else had enough sense not to pay them any attention.

While I enjoy hitting at points of view that are obviously wrong, I usually find no joy in going personal. However, this campaign has been dirty from the get-go, and those who have taken the focus away from the issues (besides the horse-race obsessed MSM) need to be exposed as the spineless bullies that they are. James Webb has finally owned up to the mistake he made with the flyers concerning the Harris Miller campaign; it is time he shows that he has the integrity to match Ben Cardin up in Maryland and give these guys the boot. If not, then there will be no doubt of just how wrong he is for the Commonwealth of Virginia.

September 21, 2006

Time for RK and VC to pull back

Senator Allen's mother never used the word so heavily used by Virginia liberals these days, and the history of her father's heritage was distressing to her because of the persecution he experienced. Will Lowell Feld, Waldo Jaquith, and Virginia Centrist take this information and learn something from it? Seeing how things have gone so far, my guess is no.

September 20, 2006

James Webb: Born Evading

Boy, do I enjoy Saturday Night Live. Wait, you mean this is actually on Hardball with Chris Matthews?Lowell Feld and Josh Chernila must be really boring outside of blogging because I cannot imagine why James Webb would forget them otherwise. Jon Henke has more on the use of race in this election.

James Webb should take the moral high-ground by returning this race to one about the issues and firing Raising Kaine (do not tell me they are not officially under the payroll, Lowell Feld clearly is) from this campaign, as well as denouncing the tactics used by many of the liberal bloggers thus far.

No connection?

Evan Coyne Maloney reminds us that the Hussein-bin Laden connection was considered common knowledge back in 1999, when CNN reported on it.

Yeah, yeah, I know, Karl Rove did it. Please, find a new excuse because that one is getting tired.

Senator Allen's Opposition

Ever notice the dirty tactics used by Webb supporters in this election? Seems like many have. Bob Maistros wants the election to return to the issues and not waste time with minor details.
Why has the election suddenly centered on the fact that Senator Allen's grandfather was Jewish?

Very simply. Because the Democrats - and their friends in the media - understand that if the race is run on George Allen's record and on the issues, they lose.
Shaun Kenney at Allen's A-Team agrees.
Webb's emphasis on anti-Semitic remarks may or may not be deliberate, but it is a thematic trend progressives have been beating for years. Ascendent in the Democratic Party, these people need to be stopped. Yesterday they were fighting FDR's attempt to break Nazi Germany, today they take a laissez faire approach to Israel and terrorism in the name of isolationsm and "peace." All the while, the progressive preoccupation with Jews in power remains a disgusting undercurrent in the progressive movement that deserves scrutiny - and when it surfaces, unmitigated scorn.
And Chad Dotson even notes that Democrats have gone so far as to deliberately lie about George Allen.

Like Bob said, Democrats know they cannot win this election on the issues, so let's return this race to the issues, and see just how well James Webb does then.

September 19, 2006

George Allen's Response

Senator Allen reminds us of his and his family's values of the meritocracy. And I'm Not Emeril suggested that we all e-mailed Peggy Fox and WUSA-TV about this question. I have; you should too.

UPDATE 9/20 12:35 AM: Like it or not, events in Virginia are getting more than local coverage.

September 18, 2006

Senator Allen's Outrage

Waldo and Virginia Centrist (wasn't he supposed to be leaving blogging?) both are questioning the response of Senator Allen to a question posed by WUSA-TV's Peggy Fox, involving his Jewish ancestry. Waldo wrote:
He claimed outrage at the question, citing (equally bizarrely) his freedom of religion, and went on a two-minute tirade on the topic, accusing the reporter of “casting aspersions” by her very question. He refused to answer the question.


I’m genuinely baffled. Is he of Jewish descent (which seems likely), and is ashamed of it? Has he always refused to talk about religion? Or is his respect for separating religion from politics newfound?
VC wrote:
Who brought up Allen's religious beliefs? Fox was talking about ancestry...why is Allen getting prickly here?
I would like to see this situation turned around. Peggy Fox instead asks a Democrat of Jewish ancestry about his heritage and see the response. I imagine that the Democrat would react similarly (at least with some level of offense) and that voices similar to those of Waldo, VC, RKers, and other Webbies would come out condemning the question.

It is a very personal question no doubt, and does not pertain to this election in any way. It did not add to the debate, and it even sounded a bit confrontational:
"It has been reported," said Fox, that "your grandfather Felix, whom you were given your middle name for, was Jewish. Could you please tell us whether your forebears include Jews and, if so, at which point Jewish identity might have ended?"
And exactly what would the information about the loss of Jewish identity have added to the dialogue? This race is about George Allen, James Webb, and the voters, no one else. Peggy Fox would have served all Virginians much more by asking a question about the candidates' thoughts on the state of Commonwealth and American politics.

I think the real question is why no one covered Miss Fox's mouth as she was making that inquiry.

UPDATE 9/19 1 PM: I am not the only one questioning Peggy Fox. NoVa Scout echoes my sentiments, and Hot Air does the same.

September 12, 2006

Apparently, there is no such thing as tolerance towards Christianity

Jerry Fuhrman catches something that Icythus noted about two and a half weeks ago concerning a comic in the Cavalier Daily. Now, the CD has been known to publish many an offensive cartoon, with one even drawing the ire of much of the student body for its depiction of Mohammed, which the editors at the CD apologized for. Not so this time, only, it involves offensive cartoons towards the Christian faith. And the CD is not backing down for some reason now.
Editor-in-chief Michael Slaven says the paper will not apologize simply because someone is offended, saying newspaper policy allows cartoons to ridicule a group for it's own "opinions or actions."
Michael Slaven. Why am I not surprised?

I know as Christians, we are supposed to turn the other cheek, but for what rational reasoning do so many people ignore our concerns when they come about?

The Big Announcement

If Senator Allen is a racist, then someone must have forgotten to tell State Senator Benjamin Lambert. Mr. Lambert offered George Allen his endorsement, which is only made more interesting by the fact that he is a Democrat. And an African-American.

It will be interesting to see how Democrats respond to this. The guys over at Raising Kaine have been playing this whole campaign at such a dirty level that I am surprised we are not buried shoulder deep in mud. In fact, the Webb campaign could not even respect the events of September 11th by putting partisanship aside even for one day, an ad that Nancy Reagan feels dishonors the memory of her husband. But don't tell Lowell Feld that; it is obvious from that ad that Ronald Reagan endorses James Webb, right? Politicians across the country stopped running campaign ads yesterday; why couldn't James Webb? He does have that big lead in the Zogby poll, right?

No, unfortunately, what we have seen has been a lot of hypocrisy from RK and a number of other Webb-supporting Democrats. That word that they suggest is so offensive, has found itself being used quite a bit in Democratic blogs. If it is the equivalent of the N-word, why is it in such common use? And when some of these Webb supporters crashed an ethnic rally, I heard that amongst that group charging that this ethnic rally would be undiverse was an, believe it or not, undiverse protest group, consisting of whites, anglos, caucasians, and the like.

This new endorsement is big because it shows the truth. Senator Allen has the best interests of Virginians, and not just members of a particular race or political party, in mind. James Webb is letting this election slip away from him. But what else can you expect from the man who hired Lowell Feld? Senator Allen has been active and proven that he will work hard, and State Senator Benjamin Lambert believes so as well.

UPDATE 10:45 PM: Vivian Paige seems to think that Senator Lambert should have just "sat on his hands" (what if he really does want to see Senator Allen win?). And VC again proves why his best posts are those that he tends to keep from being too emotional.

Meanwhile, the Mason Conservative noted a while back that Senator Allen would find some support from blacks, very well understanding the situation: Democrats are taking black votes for granted, and Lambert recognizes that Senator Allen is not.

As for Raising Kaine, they have essentially been quiet on the subject, only trying to find a way to make Allen's record on black colleges seem bad. Come on Lowell, surely you can do better than that.

Big Announcement for George Allen

It appears that there is a big announcement set to come out from the George Allen campaign. Jon Henke has suggested that it will be a big endorsement, so keep an eye on The A-Team for the big news.

September 10, 2006

Five Years Later

Today is September 11th, the fifth anniversary of the day that changed all our lives forever. I chose to write more for this event then normal, and split it apart into five parts. However, as posting was chronological, the posts are listed in a reverse order. This is the appropriate order for the posts:






On this day, five years ago, we were all Americans. I hope that, again today, we will all be Americans.

Five Years Later: Frustration

We have learned the lessons of that day, have we not?

Sadly, my greatest fears from that day appear to be growing true; we are growing complacent, at a very fast rate. September 11th seems like a lifetime away to so many. Some believe that defense of our values is not what is going to save us, but an "acceptance" of the values of a group of extremists. Many foolishly believe that the attacks were part of a greater conspiracy including accountability for the events by the United States government. President Bush spoke of a long and hard war that would require great patience from the American people; already, there are restless grumblings that we should quit, and even loud calls from some like Cindy Sheehan and Michael Moore that we entirely pull out of this war.

In only five years, September 11th has gone from the most barbaric event in America's history to a mere footnote.

Sadly, a lot of this is political. Our fellow citizens are at great risk, but some who do not understand why war has been a neccessary evil would rather test these extremists and see if they would give up if we appear to give up. This is a bad logic; what war were we in when September 11th happened that caused this attack? If our defense only builds more terrorists, than where did the September 11th hijackers and al Qaeda come from?

President Bush has since won a second term, and Republicans have held Congress for over a decade. While there is more focus on the War in Iraq, a conflict which in reality has grown into a part of the War on Terror, many Democrats are ready to end the conflict to buy a few more votes.

There are also some who think that such an event could never happen again; I am sure that some existed on December 8th, 1941 as well. While a lot of credit can be given to Homeland Security and similar organizations in Britain and other countries, we cannot presume that we will catch every odd event. Only a few weeks ago, terrorists in Britain were mere days from accomplishing their goals again.

But with this frustration is hope. Even with the skeptics, there are plenty of people who recognize the threat. Our armed forces have stepped up to protect us. People have kept aware, without being paranoid. And despite what social libertarians say, the NSA and other intelligence organizations have been working hard to ensure our safety.

Life changed that day. Five years have passed. We must remain vigilent. I say this all not as a Republican, but as an American. The Red States and the Blue must bridge the gap on this issue, and include all the Purples as well. On this day, for this issue, let us leave behind politics. September 11th represents something far greater. Fear, fury, and frustration should not be a part of this flight that we call life; we must have the fortitude to stand up for freedom for all Americans and all mankind. If we do so, we'll be able uphold integrity and the value of life in another five years, and five years after that, and so on.

Never, Ever, Forget.

Five Years Later: Fortitude/Freedom

To ensure our freedom, we would need to strengthen our fortitude. President George W. Bush was well aware of this, and began a period that will no doubt be cemented in his legacy.

Before, President Bush had been seen as bumbling and stumbling. Comedians across the country derided Bush as dumb; Will Ferrell had a knack for sounding like him even as he exaggerated his features. But the following Satuday Night Live would show a change. While Ferrell could not step out of character, he portrayed Bush in a more heroic way, standing up to Osama bin Laden. This would be mirrored in real life.

President Bush stepped up immediately. He went to the remains of the fallen towers, and gave support to those helping with the relief effort. He spent a lot of time talking with his advisors. And then came September 20th.

On that day, the president would give his greatest speech before a joint session of Congress and aired live for all of America to see.And tonight, the United States of America makes the following demands on the Taliban: Deliver to United States authorities all the leaders of al Qaeda who hide in your land. Release all foreign nationals, including American citizens, you have unjustly imprisoned. Protect foreign journalists, diplomats and aid workers in your country. Close immediately and permanently every terrorist training camp in Afghanistan, and hand over every terrorist, and every person in their support structure, to appropriate authorities. Give the United States full access to terrorist training camps, so we can make sure they are no longer operating.


These terrorists kill not merely to end lives, but to disrupt and end a way of life. With every atrocity, they hope that America grows fearful, retreating from the world and forsaking our friends. They stand against us, because we stand in their way.


This is not, however, just America's fight. And what is at stake is not just America's freedom. This is the world's fight. This is civilization's fight. This is the fight of all who believe in progress and pluralism, tolerance and freedom.


Great harm has been done to us. We have suffered great loss. And in our grief and anger we have found our mission and our moment. Freedom and fear are at war. The advance of human freedom -- the great achievement of our time, and the great hope of every time -- now depends on us. Our nation -- this generation -- will lift a dark threat of violence from our people and our future. We will rally the world to this cause by our efforts, by our courage. We will not tire, we will not falter, and we will not fail.


I will not forget this wound to our country or those who inflicted it. I will not yield; I will not rest; I will not relent in waging this struggle for freedom and security for the American people.Powerful stuff. The president's approval rating would hit record highs, not because of partisan leanings but because he stepped up as a leader for all the American people.

This would lead to the Global War on Terror. The military stepped up, and has done an amazing job. The Taliban and al Qaeda no longer hold power in Afghanistan. Pakistan and Libya took notice, and both have worked hard to re-engage the United States in civil discourse. And while Osama bin Laden is still sadly uncaught, many of his deputies have been caught or killed. Terror has not been eliminated, but a clear message of freedom has been sent.

The War on Terror continues. Many recognize the threats before us, and continue to do everything they can to protect that freedom, and some try to reward those who do. Candlelight vigils are a common sight each year on September 11th. Two recent films have come out, showing our culture's views of the events and the impact that day had on our lives. Truly, September 11th did show us both the worst and the best of mankind.

Five Years Later: Fury

Fear subsided to fury, for some faster than others. I myself was very angry, almost forgetting the fear, only an hour after viewing the first tower fall. It was apparent in some, though others still were understandalbly gripped by fear (mostly those viewing the grizzly events) or a duty to finish their task (those living the grizzly events). But that changed.

Sadly, some did not channel their anger well. Racism became a real-life problem for many who had seen little or none of it in their lives. The fear that had gripped our lives would serve to create more fear.

However, this was not entirely true. Many channeled their anger towards more productive activities. People organized. Charity drives appeared out of nothing more than the kindness of strangers. Blood drives saw record donations. Even smaller gestures like courtesy on the road became the standard shortly after the attacks.

Some had a little more difficulty. After the fear and fury had both subsided, a numbness settled in. The next couple days came and went. While I can remember clearly the events of the morning of September 11th, that evening and the next day consist only of a memory of watching the events play out over and over again. Many others can claim the same. A sad truth, but it is safe to say that many felt emotionally spent after those events. But this too was temporary; we would all grow active as well.

Military recruiting was able to easily reach its goal, as many felt called to defend this country. We would build our fortitude; we would ensure our freedom.

Five Years Later: Fear

Four flights ended, but fear would persist, if not increase.

The two towers of the World Trade Center did not collapse immediately. No doubt, the force of two full-sized passenger jets that had near-full tanks of fuel would create a tremendous amount of force, comparable if not greater than that produced by many missiles currently used. However, the architects of the World Trade Center had done an exceptional job, and because of this, many people were still alive after each plane hit.

Still, there was a lot of work to do. The people on the lower levels had time to evacuate, but they could not wait. And some had survived on the floors near the crash and above it. The fear that these people had can only be described as unimaginable. And even then, there were brave men and women in the NYPD and the FDNY that actually entered these buildings. Forget Spider-man. Forget Superman. Only those in our armed forces can be spoken of in the same breath.

The same rang true at the Pentagon. While there was less concern that the Pentagon would collapse in its entirety, partially because Flight 77 would hit the ground before crashing into the side of the Pentagon, the danger was no less for those trapped inside. Many firefighters and policemen would be called in from surrounding areas to help, and later on from across the country to help with the recovery of survivors.

The World Trade Center would later collapse, and again thanks to amazing architecture, the towers would collapse in on themselves, the south tower a minute before 10 AM, and the north tower at 10:28 AM. Unfortunately, many would perish. A great number of them would be in the floors above the crashes, most in the collapse, some in the fires, and most shockingly, some even in jumps from the towers, hoping that there might be some better chance of survival. Also among the dead would be those who sacrificed their own lives when only a couple hours earlier, they had been on terra firma.

Fear was not exclusive on the planes, in the World Trade Center, and in the Pentagon. Across the country, people were watching the events on live TV. Pearl Harbor united a country, but no one outside of the Hawaiian islands were aware at the time. Fear spread.

My high school is located only a few short miles from the Pentagon, within the beltway. Some people were afraid because they had family working in the Pentagon or other government facilities. Others were afraid because they had family in New York City. But the rest, the rest were simply afraid. Girls were crying. Guys were quiet and solemn, but the fear was written all over their faces. And I felt like I was going to throw up. But like many, that fear subsided, and turned into fury.

Five Years Later: Flight

At 7:59 AM, five years ago, American Airlines Flight 11 took off from Logan International Airport. Far from historical in its own right, but unfortunately, this would be the first of four flights hijacked that morning. Less than three and a half hours later, both major towers of the World Trade Center will have collapsed.

The events on American Airlines Flight 11, United Airlines Flight 175, American Airlines Flight 77, and United Airlines Flight 93 are defined greatly by fear and immediacy. Flight 11 would be hijacked and reported as such in only 15 minutes following take-off. Flight 175 would call a sighting for this in another 25 minutes, and 5 minutes later would report a recording similar to that heard on Flight 11 before it was hijacked.

Then came the first strike, only 10 minutes later, into the north tower.

In another 17 minutes, the second tower would be hit. Meanwhile, President Bush is only aware of the first flight, preparing to read to some children in Florida. He finds out three minutes later, but elects to finish his visit to not alert the young children.

At 9:28 AM, another 22 minutes later, Flight 93 would be taken. By now, Flight 77 has been hijacked as well, and within 10 minutes will have crashed into the side of the Pentagon; this is later seen as somewhat fortunate, as there was some fear that the hijackers would instead target the Capitol or the White House, but a great toll was still taken.

Flight 93 at this point has already changed direction. However, this plane would never reach its destination. A half hour later, it would crash into rural Pennsylvania. Courageous words from Todd Beamer, "Let's Roll", would define this half hour. Many passengers attempted to foil the terrorists who had entered the flight and attempted to repeat what had already happened thrice that day. They succeeded, if only at the cost of their own lives. Sadly adding to the toll, their brave actions may have saved thousands more.

But this day was far from over.

September 05, 2006

The Official Start of the Campaign Season

Buena Vista marks the final sprint to Election Day each year here in Virginia with a parade that usually involves some of the bigger names running for political office, usually for governor and the senators. Jon Henke, the new Netroots Coordinator for the George Allen campaign, was there and got some great pics of the event.


Clearly, the Allen campaign was there in force, putting up as many signs as possible. Among those who placed signs were some of my comrades from the University of Virginia College Republicans. I think it is obvious that they did a great job, and I think Senator George Allen agrees.

Senator Allen

The Senator rode a horse through much of the parade, certainly an image that has always stood for a strong leader. And it appears that he had a strong influence on the crowd present. James Webb was not present because he was spending time with his son who is about to be deployed. I have many qualms with Mr. Webb, but I will step back and thank him and his son for the service they have provided and will provide for this country.

That said, it seems that his campaign is still lacking greatly. The UVa College Republicans tell me that there were very few people putting up signs for James Webb on Sunday. And it did not help him that George Allen supporters appear to have greatly outnumbered Webb supporters in and around this parade. Make no mistake; while northern Virginia is very important in this race (and let's face it, I think Josh Rales is more recognizable around here than James Webb), it is southern Virginia that could ultimately decide who will be representing the Commonwealth come this January, and if Buena Vista is any indication, Senator Allen should retain his seat.

Chad and Carl have more.

Games for the Troops

I do not know how many readers here enjoy the Halo series, but a number of soldiers have played it during their downtime as a way to recharge the batteries and get away from the hardships of war, if only temporarily. However, it is hard to keep video game systems in good shape because of the dusty conditions in the Middle East. This request from a soldier only known as Brandon is simply for some assistance in getting some equipment that is in good shape. Sounds like a good idea to me, and a good way to serve the troops that have served us.

And I myself enjoy Halo, though I do not play enough to be very competitive; I often get schooled by my friends. That's all right, I have always been more of a Nintendo gamer myself.

September 02, 2006

Role Models

I recently learned that one of my best friends' grandfather passed away as a result of cancer. He is troubled, which is understandable. He had a great admiration in his love for his grandfather. His grandfather was a man of Christ, a man filled with passion and life, even after learning of his disease. While my friend and his family will be in mourning after this passing, I am sure they will also remember all that they admired of their loved one.

This reminded me of another friend, who had lost his grandfather a little more than two years ago. Again, it was difficult for him, because of how much of a role model his grandfather had been. He had been a die-hard Wahoo and a doctor; again, he was a man of Christ and of great wisdom. Sadly, I never got to meet either man. They both sound like men I would have greatly admired as well. But I know that they have greatly shaped the lives of my friends, and that they will continue to become great men.

Politics can be a great place to find some good role models. Men such as Thomas Jefferson, Ronald Reagan, and J.C. Watts have very much fit into that role, influencing my thoughts on the role of government and ethics in our lives. But we can find good role models all around us.

I was always a big fan of Cal Ripken Jr. and Darrell Green, and not just simply because of their efforts on the field. These two both showed the value of loyalty, remaining with their original teams in three different decades. Cal Ripken Jr. is making an effort to share baseball with a new generation, getting involved in Little League. Darrell Green has always made it a point to be part of the community, emphasizing education.

Lighthorse Harry and Old Zach of the now-defunct Sic Semper Tyrannis have also been role models for me more recently. These two are men of great character, and proved to me time and time again of their strength in leadership. Their friendship proved invaluable to me, and they were able to find people who wanted to work with them by earning their trust. I am still disappointed that they stopped blogging, now having left it behind for five months, but they have moved on to bigger things, and will no doubt prove to be great leaders in the future.

And most of all, my father and grandfathers have been heroes to me as well. They are not perfect, but they have helped shape me into the man I am today. My father, in particular, holds a great deal of my respect. My interests follow those of his (sometimes to the chagrin of my mother, a woman who has also been one of my biggest role models), and he also helped to shape my views of the world. If nothing else, I received simple common sense from him and my mom.

I am praying for my friend and his family, but I know that his grandfather has greatly influenced him, and will live on through his family. Good role models are the ones we miss the most when they are gone, because they mean the most to us. A good role model is priceless.