Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Obana blunders continue ... MSM silence continues

This again has to be filed under, "What if George W. Bush had done this?"

Michael Barone writes over at the Washington Examiner that the mainstream media have ignored the latest blunder by Barack Obama:
No one in mainstream media seems inclined to mention Barack Obama’s horrifying mistake last Thursday when, speaking at Fort Drum,  he said that SFC Jared Monti was “the first person who I was able to award the Medal of Honor to who actually came back and wasn’t receiving it posthumously.” Alas, he was mistaken. He awarded the Medal of Honor to Jared Monti posthumously in 2009 and awarded the Medal of Honor in person to SSG Sal Giunta in person in 2011. Obama later apologized for this mistake, but it’s really dismaying that a president who spoke movingly and even eloquently in awarding the Medal of Honor made a mistake of this magnitude.
Chirp, chirp, chirp....

George Allen is GOP hope to win against Kaine

George Allen is best known as former Virginia governor and senator who is now running for the U.S. Senate seat that he lost in 2006. His likely opponent will be Tim Kaine, former Virginia governor and DNC chairman. Both have extensive knowledge in political circles ... both have extensive means to raise the piles of cash necessary to run such a high profile race.

Allen has opponents for the Republican primary. They may not like the fact they have pretty much been written off by the national media who see two titans going against each other as the race-to-watch in November 2012.

In other words, if there's to be a battle with Tim Kaine, there needs to be someone who can actually win against him. Ken Falkenstein at Bearing Drift offers more.

Monday, June 27, 2011

Company's coming....

Getting ready for the 4th of July ... company's coming including SWAC Niece. Fun!

Richmond Times-Dispatch leads the way by discontinuing anonymous comments

My hat is off to the Richmond Times-Dispatch for their new policy regarding anonymous commenters. In Sunday's edition they announced:
Beginning this week, there will be no more anonymous comments on TimesDispatch.com.
It has always been a mystery to me as to why newspapers began to allow anonymous trolls to post to their sites in the first place instead of following the same strict rules used for letters to the editor. Letter writers must include their address and phone number and may receive a phone call to verify, and letters follow a certain rule of decorum.

The anonymous troll problem is not just at the Richmond Times-Dispatch but also at the Staunton News Leader and the Waynesboro News Virginian as well as newspapers nationwide.

Personal attacks, name-calling, and slanderous rants are common and, quite frankly, beneath the dignity of any reputable publication, something I wrote about in 2007 ("The trolls at the Staunton News Leader") and again last week ("Leaders lead ... anonymous blog trolls cower").

Most trolls have an agenda, as noted recently when anonymous News Leader commenters slammed a local  Augusta County supervisor with random accusations. However, when the supervisor left a comment that included his phone number and address along with an offer to talk personally with the anonymous commenters about any issues of concern to them, it was ignored. Instead, they changed their tactic and rationalized it was a conspiracy to uncover who they were so they could be attacked, and continued with the cowardly comments. That is not a quest for knowledge; that is an agenda.

Such is the irrational reasoning of trolls who wish to remain hidden in the shadows. It would be nice to see the local newspapers make anonymous commenters accountable by requiring their real names just as they do for letters to the editor.

Meanwhile, thanks to the Richmond Times-Dispatch for being a leader in restoring civilized behavior to the internet ... at least as far as newspaper commenting.

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Out and about in Waynesboro

Photos by Lynn R. Mitchell
25 June 2011

Backroads of George Washington National Forest & western Augusta County

Western Augusta County ... where farmland backs up to the George Washington National Forest.

Photos by Lynn R. Mitchell
25 June 2011

Country traffic jam

This tractor on Rt. 250 west between Staunton and Churchville blocked the right lane as vehicles passed when clear. Traffic jam, country style.

Photo by Lynn R. Mitchell
25 June 2011

Mountain wildflowers

Photos by Lynn R. Mitchell
25 June 2011

Blue Ridge Parkway on an early summer day

 Afton Mountain entrance and, since Shenandoah National Park was celebrating their 75th anniversary today along the Skyline Drive, we took the less crowded road and headed south on the Blue Ridge Parkway.

 Overlooking the Rockfish Valley from Blue Ridge Parkway.

 The overlook sign says this is supposed to be a view of the Shenandoah Valley. Though there may have been a view at one time, there clearly is not one these days. Perhaps the sign is for winter viewing?

 "Who's that on my road?"

"Who's that in my field?"

Photos by Lynn R. Mitchell
25 June 2011

Friday, June 24, 2011

Count the blessings of life

Life gets busy and hectic, especially in the political arena, and we sometimes get lost in the fray. Tonight there's good news to celebrate and the Bearing Drift blogging family has slowed down to enjoy it.

Fellow BD blogger Ken Falkenstein's nine-week-old infant son, Josh, underwent heart surgery today to repair a defect. A dangerous procedure with a risk of failure, the multi-hour surgery turned out successfully and Josh is expected to make a full recovery.

Go on over to Bearing Drift and read Ken's post with updates about the surgery complete with a picture of that precious little angel. I think I'll kick back and count the blessings in my life and, while I'm at it, say (another) prayer for Ken and his family ... and for little Josh.

Allen campaign targeted by national Democrats

Dear Friends,

It's begun.

National publications are reporting, "three separate groups have all put trackers on George Allen." The election is 16 months away - that's more that 500 days.

In this day and age, video-taping candidates with "trackers" has become the norm. They are expected - we understand that.

But this early? One notable conservative blog suggested it's possibly "unprecedented" and " insidious".


Because these new trackers have troubling ties to national liberal special interest groups that will pour tens of millions of dollars into Virginia to fuel an onslaught of distortions and false attacks on George Allen.

In fact, one of the groups American Bridge, a liberal group tied to Media Matters and led by David Brock, labeled George Allen a "top priority." It has also been reported that Chairman Kaine's Research Director at the Democratic National Committee is leading this group's research efforts.

Friends, we cannot afford to let these outside liberal groups come in and shape this Senate race to their advantage.

We need your help today to fight back against Chairman Kaine's Washington allies. Please visit our website at www.GeorgeAllen.com and join our cause by making a donation to our campaign. Click here to donate.

Now is the time to take a stand and say, "Not here!"

Thank you for your help and support!

Michael Thomas
Campaign Manager
George Allen for U.S. Senate

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Army medic from Harrisonburg killed in Afghanistan

The Valley has lost another hero with the news that Army medic Spc. Levi E. Nuncio, 24, of Harrisonburg, was killed in action in Afghanistan.

According to the Defense Department, he died of wounds sustained in an attack that took place in Kunar province during his first deployment to Operation Enduring Freedom. He was assigned to the 2nd Battalion, 35th Infantry Regiment, 3rd Brigade Combat Team based at the Schoefield Barracks in Hawaii as part of the 25th Infantry Division.

A fellow soldier, Pfc. Joshua L. Jetton, 21, of Seibring, FL, was also killed on the attack. Our prayers go to both families with eternal thanks for their sacrifice in the war on terrorism.

Freedom is not free.

H/T to Chaz for the heads-up

News from Lieutenant Gov. Bill Bolling

News from Lieutenant Governor Bill Bolling
  • Bolling talks jobs at opening of Altavista tech school

    News and Advance - A technical school in Altavista could help solve the most pressing issue in economic development, Lt. Gov. Bill Bolling said Friday. Employers often ask about Virginia’s tax code, business incentives and its right to work status, but most often they talk about the need for a trained work force.

    Click here to read more.

From Republican Party of Virginia....

News from Governor Bob McDonnell

News from Governor Bob McDonnell
  • ALEC Report: Virginia's Economic Outlook Improves
    – ALEC "Best States, Worst States" Ranks Virginia's Economic Outlook Third Best in Country, Virginia's Highest-Ever Ranking –
    Click here to read more.
  • Secretary of Veterans Affairs and Homeland Security Terrie L. Suit Announces Governor's Plans to Make Virginia the Most Veteran-Friendly State in the Nation; Discusses On-Going Homeland Security Efforts
    Click here to read more.
  • Governor McDonnell Signs Tax Credit Legislation to Spur Economic Growth and Job Creation Related to Port of Virginia
    Click here to read more.
  • Statement of Governor Bob McDonnell on General Assembly Redistricting Plans Receiving Department of Justice Preclearance
    Click here to read more.

From Republican Party of Virginia

Augusta BOS prediction for Beverley Manor

Word comes this afternoon that Jeremy Shifflett, who covers Beverley Manor district, will hold a press conference at the Augusta County Government Center at 4:00 p.m.

Prediction: He will announce that he's running for re-election as supervisor of Beverley Manor.

More on this candidate later....

Update 7:25 pm: My prediction was true. Shifflett announced that he was running for re-election.

Reading from a prepared statement, he abruptly ended and, after a few moments of awkward silence as the five people listening seemed to be waiting for a warp-up "thank you for coming out," reporter Bob Stuart with the Waynesboro News Virginian asked questions followed by reporter Calvin Trice from the Staunton News Leader.

His opponent will be David Karaffa, a critical cardiac RN at the local hospital who recently participated in the first of a series of townhall meetings to listen to citizen concerns and offer a vision for the county.  Karaffa would represent a fresh, new voice on a board that has lost the confidence of many Augusta County residents.

A third candidate who ran four years ago and appeared to be preparing to run again told me she will not be challenging either candidate.

Shifflett is part of the old board, four of whom have now announced their retirement.

That leaves David Beyeler, 72, from South River, as the only one who hasn't announced his intentions. My prediction: he will not run again and has hand-picked someone to step into his place, holding out as long as possible to announce to avoid giving others the opportunity to adequately prepare for the upcoming July GOP mass meetings.

It's time for some new blood on the Augusta County Board of Supervisors who will listen to the people and work together to solve issues facing the county. Candidates so far are  Kurt Michael (Wayne), popular Pastures District Supervisor Tracy Pyles, David Karaffa (Beverley Manor), and Marshall Pattie (North River) as well as Michael Shull (Riverheads) and Larry Wills (Middle River).

"It's the economy, stupid" ... will Obama lose in 2012?

In today's Wall Street Journal, former George W. Bush advisor and strategist Karl Rove lays out four reasons why he believes President Barack Obama will not win re-election in 2012.

In a nutshell:
The economy is very weak and unlikely to experience a robust recovery by Election Day. Key voter groups have soured on him. He's defending unpopular policies. And he's made bad strategic decisions.
Obama is facing 9.1% unemployment after promising jobs, jobs, jobs. That unemployment number was supposed to be down, down, down. It's not.

Remember Bill Clinton's 1992 campaign and the slogan coined by his advisor James Carville, "It's the economy, stupid"? Is 2012 going to be 1992 all over again? Clinton and team hammered at President George H.W. Bush, who was considered unbeatable with a 90% approval rating after Operation Desert Storm ... but with Clinton and Carville pounding the same economic drum over and over throughout the campaign, Clinton won.

A year ago Obama ballyhooed that the economy was "growing at a good clip." Not so much, it turned out. He finally admitted it a week ago as he joked, "Shovel-ready was not as shovel-ready as we expected."


Obama's woes include a steady decline of independent supporters as well as his own base, as pointed out by Rove:
Jewish voters are upset with his policy toward Israel, and left-wing bloggers at last week's NetRoots conference were angry over Mr. Obama's failure to deliver a leftist utopia. Weak Jewish support could significantly narrow Mr. Obama's margin in states like Florida, while a disappointed left could deprive him of the volunteers so critical to his success in 2008.
Housing hasn't bounced back, gasoline prices remain high, some businesses have closed while others are limping along hoping to outlast the economic downturn, and yet others' plans for new openings have been delayed or altogether scrapped.

Thanks in part to Obama's "Cash-for-Clunkers" program two years ago, the used car market is ruined. The "environmental" desire by Obama was to remove less energy efficient vehicles off the roadways by offering vouchers for new purchases with instructions that the old vehicles had to be destroyed. Thus, prices in the used car market are high because of shortages and, therefore, pricing people who cannot afford new vehicles out of pre-owned vehicles.

Combine those with unpopular policies such as ObamaCare, government bailouts,  recess appointments, a spiraling-out-of-control national debt, and other failures or disappointments, and you have a popularity rating that is continually dropping for this president. Rove noted, "In Wednesday's Bloomberg poll, Americans believe they are worse off than when Mr. Obama took office by a 44% to 34% margin."

History is usually on the side of the incumbent. Usually. Will 2012 be the exception?

Cross-posted at Bearing Drift

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Leaders lead ... anonymous blog trolls cower

My blogging colleague Jim Hoeft at Bearing Drift posted about the fact that George Allen, one of Virginia's U.S. Senate candidates, now has not one, not two, but three trackers, courtesy of the Democrats and like-minded groups.

Three video cameras, mind you, to try and catch him in any trip-up or slip-of-the-tongue during the numerous campaign stops, talks, speeches, meet-and-greets, and endorsements he is engaged in for the campaign. Election day for him is still a year-and-a-half away.

In the comments section is the usual array of naysayers. Any leader worth his salt has them, and walking through the mine field makes him a stronger and better candidate.

Vitriolic responses have become common in this day and age of anonymous commenters, those faceless individuals who lurk in the blogosphere as trolls for their chosen targets. Though the blogosphere has changed and in some ways grown up in the past 10 years, some didn't grow up with it.

George Allen, George W. Bush, Bob McDonnell ... they are all targets for the darts and arrows along with the slanderous lies and rumors. Wouldn't it be nice if those anonymous commenters came out from the shadows and faced their targets head-on?

Would they?

I'm betting no because their game is a coward's game and a reminder of this Theodore Roosevelt saying:
"The credit belongs to the man in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood ... who if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who know neither victory nor defeat."
Cowards don't put their necks on the line because they are afraid of failure. Meanwhile, leaders continue on. If George Allen had not stepped back into the arena, he could have safely remained on the sidelines ...

... but that's not the way of a leader.

Monticello ... Jefferson's garden quote on stepping stone

Gannett lays off 700 ... how will it affect the Staunton News Leader?

With the news coming out of Northern Virginia that giant news corporation Gannett is laying off 700 employees at more than 80 newspapers nationwide, the question begs to be asked: How will it affect the Staunton News Leader, the local newspaper that is owned by Gannett?

Grayson County in June ... part 2

Our cousins' farm ... looking toward Grayson Highlands.
Cousin's husband hauling in the hay....

Heading to Sparta....

"There's a storm across the valley...."

Photos by Lynn R. Mitchell

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Grayson County in June ... part 1

Western Grayson County, Virginia ... in the shadow of Grayson Highlands State Park on our cousins' farm.
Mt. Rogers National Recreation Area visitor center.
Hay bales ... it's that time of year.

My parents rocking on the porch.

SWAC Niece and the farm horse.

Photos by Lynn R. Mitchell