Tuesday, June 26, 2007


You are known by the company you keep ... which makes this post by Kilo at Spark It Up interesting -- Andrew Clem Mayday! Mayday! Democrats to the rescue!

What if, indeed

Today's Richmond Times-Dispatch editorial, "Different Stories," does a good job defining the mainstream media's hypocrisy in their news coverage of Democrats and Republicans. Take, for instance, the incident several months ago of Jim Webb's assistant being arrested with a loaded pistol at the Senate office building in D.C.

The Times-Dispatch plays devil's advocate:

Playing "What if . . . " can be a silly game. On the other hand, as a speculative exercise, it may be enlightening if limited to broad themes and relatively simple matters. And it's almost always fun, so what the heck:

What if the aide to a conservative Republican senator from Virginia -- someone like, say, George Allen -- had been arrested for carrying a loaded pistol into a Senate office building?

And what if, after the arrest, the senator had refused to answer questions about the gun's ownership -- but admitted nearly three months later that he did indeed own the gun?
What if, indeed.

It is against the law to carry a handgun in the District of Columbia. And it is impossible -- without a helicopter -- to reach Capitol Hill without traveling through parts of D.C.

So what if a newspaper reporter asked our hypothetical conservative Republican senator whether he complies with D.C. gun laws and the senator's response was: "I don't think we need to discuss that anymore"?

Does anyone honestly believe the media would nod and let the matter rest? But that has essentially been the response to the real-life version of our cleverly constructed what if, which differs -- as readers have no doubt deduced -- only in that the senator is Democrat Jim Webb.
The TD openly examines the actions of its fellow MSM's coverage -- or lack of -- throughout this episode.

Truth be told, we believe the media's response to the story has been appropriate. Petty use of the law to score political points is unseemly and undermines both the integrity of the public debate and respect for the law. Webb's offense -- if there was one at all -- seems relatively minor.

On the other hand, much of the media has spent the past six years working to undermine conservative Republicans by slamming them with unproven or absurdly arcane charges of legal wrongdoing. The Justice Department seems to be doing a good job catching the real crooks in both parties, including plenty of Republicans. The media's standards are much lower.

We've heard few demands for further investigation into Webb's gun kerfuffle -- and the media display little appetite to pursue the public's right to know more about the incident. And that's probably best.

But what if Webb were a Republican? Now that might be a different story altogether.
Not "might be" a different story but "would be" a different story. We need look no further than the Washington Post and their coverage last fall of George Allen's campaign.

What if, indeed.

Monday, June 25, 2007

We lost one of our own ... in memory of a home school dad

I will lift up mine eyes unto the hills,
from whence cometh my help.

The local home school community has lost one of our own. Only 55 years old, Darrell Lam passed away while at work Friday, leaving behind his wife and four children -- one son and three daughters.

Darrell and his wife, Patty, were two of the charter members of PEACH -- Parent Educators of Augusta County Homes -- the local home school support group. Begun by six or seven families in 1989, the group had two goals in mind: provide social, educational, and athletic activities for our children; and to establish a peer support system for the home schooling parents in Staunton, Waynesboro, and Augusta County (SWAC).

Patty and Darrell were pioneers in the home school educational world ... and I thank them for it. They blazed the trail that I was to follow a few years later.

I saw Patty about two weeks ago and she was her usual bubbly smiling self. Darrell was always friendly and laid back and, though I didn't see him as often, he was there at annual back-to-school picnics and other events. Their youngest child is the only one still in high school. The others have graduated from or are attending college.

A memorial service was held this evening at Community Fellowship Church in Staunton. Friends and family said a last goodbye to a husband ... father ... son ... friend. It was a reminder to live, love, and hold friends close. Life can change ... in a heartbeat.

Sunday, June 24, 2007

47% in a Primary is different than 47% in a General Election

There has been discussion from some claiming I shouldn't be happy with the 47% of the vote garnered by Scott Sayre in the Republican Primary on June 12.

I beg to differ.

The latest post about this has a comment from Charles at Two Conservatives that says it well.

Charles said:

Winning 47% in a primary against an incumbent is a different thing than losing closely in a general election.

When an incumbent barely gets 50% of his own party to support him in a primary, I hope they get the message that their party is upset with them, and they will re-think their positions.

Because they should realise that a probably 30% were going to vote for them just because they are the known entity, without regard for their positions — which could well mean that most of the party isn’t happy with their votes.
That sums it up and says it far better than I. Thanks, Charles.

Because the truth of it is we should never have been anywhere near 47% in that race. The incumbent usually walks away with it ... and besides, as I stated before, they slung some pretty heavy ammunition at us including the endorsement of just about every elected official they could get their hands on. I think 47% was a really good showing under those circumstances.

Resign and then change Party affiliation....

Bearing Drift's Brian Kirwin has posted Change Parties? Resign. I concur.

Chris Saxman: "Anti-tax pledge signers not 'extremists' "

By Delegate Chris Saxman

Recently there has been discussion about those of us who have signed the Americans for Tax Reform pledge to not raise taxes. We have been called extremists, ideologues and undoubtedly other less flattering words that have not yet found their way to the media.

I would like to explain why I signed and continue to support the ATR pledge not to raise taxes.

What does the pledge mean? It means that I will not support higher tax rates for the purpose of increasing revenues to the commonwealth.

Economic growth and the current rates of taxation should be able to provide the government with sufficient money to provide and maintain quality government services. Since I have taken office, the revenues to the commonwealth have increased by over 50 percent in just three budget cycles, one of which included a recession where revenues were flat to declining. I dare say that few businesses and families have seen their income rise as dramatically as the government's has.

This increase in revenues is directly related to the strong performance of the economy, not the tax increases of 2004.

So, what should be done when we have an economic downturn and state revenues flatten or decline? Many of us in the legislature have been working very hard since the previous recession to reduce the cost burden of government while still producing essential government services — keyword being essential. Non-state agencies do not rise to that standard during a recession or for that matter any other time.

The General Assembly has created legislation that puts into place the Council on Virginia's Future (House Bill 2097 of 2003), which works with the Transparent Budget Act (House Bill 1838 of 2003) to set our goals and objectives and direct funding. That is a long-term steering of the ship to the calmer seas of government performance. An example of this in practice would be setting growth rates for Medicaid at 6 percent instead of 8 percent while still providing quality services. Hospital groups tell me that we can save up to $700 million per year as a result of this action alone.

Another example, according to a very senior member of the previous administration, is to manage down over an extended time period (6 to 8 years) the work force of just one department from 9,200 employees down to 5,000. That would result in aggregate savings of $200 million per year without harming delivery of services.

Other smaller yet significant savings have been found in asking simple questions.

The General Assembly asked one university where and how it negotiated its natural gas contracts and as a result was able to save the taxpayers $1 million per year. Another $400,000 was saved annually when we asked why VDOT painted its trucks orange. They realized that it was not necessary and now that money can be used for Rural Rustic roads—another great money-saving project.

Sound extreme? I don't think so.

So what if we do all that and still "need" revenue to balance the budget submitted by the governor? What then?

My business experience has taught me to look at accounts receivable first. These are taxes that are due to the Commonwealth but have not been collected. Several years ago I wrote legislation to streamline this process in anticipation of another downturn. The Warner amnesty produced almost $100 million. Given the present rate of budget (economic) growth, one can reasonably presume $150 million will result from another amnesty.

One can then look at tax exemptions as we did in 2004. These are individuals and businesses that do not pay taxes.

In 2004, the estimates were in excess of $4 billion annually. Lifting exemptions on those who do not pay current rates of taxation, temporarily or permanently, does not violate a no-tax pledge. Rescinding tax credits like the $60 million tax credit that one tobacco manufacturer received in the 2004 tax "reform" package should also be considered. With all the aforementioned, we have not even discussed the Rainy Day Fund.

What is the best answer though? I believe the answer is to reform and manage government operations every day to deliver better services at a lower cost. That way, conversation about increasing government revenue is as unnecessary as increasing the rates of taxation. Only then we can talk about real tax reform.

Instead of calling us extremist ideologues, maybe it's more appropriate to term those of us who pledged not to raises taxes as responsible stewards of government revenue — revenue that belongs to the taxpayers of Virginia. You decide.

Contact Chris Saxman by e-mail at saxman@vacostcutting.com or at his office at 886-8284.

Saturday, June 23, 2007

"And the winner is"....

This kind of story makes me smile. The "little guy" won in this local ever-after story ... as in "Once upon a time there were two Kroger employees who won a million dollars" ...

... in little ol' Waynesboro, Virginia.

And it's the story of a friend helping out a friend because, you see ... one employee who was practicing working the Lottery machine accidentally printed out a for-real Lottery ticket. Knowing it had to be paid for, she turned to her fellow employee for help and they split the $20 cost of the ticket.

That's what friends are for ... and today they are $1 million richer. The prize will be split 50-50 between them.

There's a great front-page story about Ron Washington and Betty Miller's jackpot win on the front page of The News Virginian written by Alicia Petska.

Read it. It will warm your heart and make you smile ... because, in this ever-after story, the "little guy" wins.

And if you go by Kroger today, you will find them still working their jobs ... Betty at the customer service counter and Ron in the deli.

Congratulations, you two!

Friday, June 22, 2007

First day of summer and shrimping....

So yesterday -- the first day of summer -- while working in the yard I was thinking about another first day of summer when I was around 30 when SWAC Husband and I visited with friends who were living in Charleston, S.C. On June 21 of that year we all boarded their boat and headed out into Charleston Harbor to visit historical Fort Sumter, walking its pathways and absorbing the history of it all.

After leaving Fort Sumter, we pointed the boat toward the coastline and went into one of the delta inlets for some shrimping, a great pastime for our friends and something that was about to become a new experience for us. After anchoring the boat, we swam and waited for the water to recede as the time for low tide approached.

The delta flats have canals cut into them where the water rushes out with low tide ... and that's where we turned our attention. Jumping overboard with nets in hand, we stretched them across those canals to catch the shrimp being washed to sea in the ebbing tide. As we loaded our nets, we emptied the shrimp into five-gallon buckets on deck, continuing until all buckets were full. Since we then had plenty of time to wait until the tide returned to once again float the boat, we worked at removing the heads before putting the shrimp on ice for the ride back to dock.

The experience made an impression on me because we commented several times throughout that day that it was the first day of summer, the longest day of the year, and it was HOT on the salt water -- mid 90s -- with barely a breeze. It was a memorable event that I recalled yesterday while enjoying the present first day of summer in the Valley with low humidity with the temperature a refreshing 80 degrees and breezy.

Both memories are keepers....

Thursday, June 21, 2007

First ripe tomato from the garden....

The tomato plant called 4th of July that I found at Milmont Nursery this spring has produced even earlier than promised! SWAC Husband found the first ripe tomato late this afternoon ... and for Shenandoah Valley standards that's pretty darn early.

First day of summer ... first ripe tomato. That's one we'll remember.

Summertime, summertime, sum-sum-summertime....

Today is the longest day of the year -- the first day of summer.

It's summertime in the Valley ... a short respite from politics ... and the living is easy....

To live here is to enjoy everything tourists come to this area for ... the climate is great -- hot days, cool nights (it was 48 degrees at my house this morning), cool days, lower humidity than points east of the Blue Ridge.

Sitting on my deck I can watch deer at the far end of the yard where it enters the woods ... turkeys and bears roam through the area. The views of the mountains are soothing, the hayfields are picturesque. Occasionally an eagle (yes, an eagle) soars high overhead.

The vegetable garden is thriving since we've had sufficient rain this spring. I'm looking forward to squash, corn, beans, potatoes, onions, cukes, a wide variety of peppers, and a nice selection of tomatoes including a new 4th of July variety that promises to have ripe meat by that all-American holiday. We'll see if it makes it.

My flowers, after being neglected during campaign season, are now enjoying the benefit of tender loving care on a daily basis. Many varieties of annuals are planted in the window boxes; dozens of perennials are blooming throughout the yard. My yard is much like a memory garden with flowers passed on from my mom, my grandmother, my sisters, aunts, and friends. As plants grow and multiply and need to be divided, friends and I share with one another.

The grass, as well as trees and shrubs, is green and lush and smells like --ah, fresh-mowed grass! -- on these hot days.

The lightning bugs came out in force this week as temps on Monday briefly hit 98 degrees before dropping like a rock as a thunderstorm rolled through. High 90s on Tuesday with overnight storms led into low 80s yesterday with low humidity and nice breezes.

Before the cool morning slides into a warm mid-day, I'm heading to the garden to do some work. And so it goes ... summertime in the Valley.

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Hello, News-Virginian....

It's official.

After divorcing the News Leader, I'm now a subscriber of the Waynesboro News-Virginian. Because we already subscribe to the sister Richmond Times-Dispatch, the same carrier will deliver both newspapers on a daily basis.

After prepaying for one year in advance, we're set to go ... local news again at my front door. Hello, News-Virginian!

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

"These Things" ... a USMC poet writes from Iraq

"These Things"
By Lance Cpl. Marvin Bell, USMC

We're just ordinary men away from it all
Some of those things are big and some are small.
Some of us are young and some are old
About each one of us different stories are told.

We left our girlfriends and our wives, our fathers and mothers,
We left our sons and our daughters, and so many others,
We're in love with their pictures and their voices on the phone
Because this is all we have since we've been gone.

They know not what we are doing; there's only so much we can say
Just to keep their minds settled to let them know we're okay.
With every setting sun and changing of the moon
And everyday that has passed means we'll be home soon.

When we see our loved ones we'll then hold them tight
And thank the Lord we made it back from this fight,
But until then....

We're in love with their pictures and their voices on the phone,
It's these beautiful things that keep us moving on,
The nights are shorter and the days are long,
With each picture and phone call our love grows strong.

Our loved ones back home feel the exact same way
But this is the price we as Marines must pay,
Though we are in love with their picturs and their voices on the phone,
None of that will matter when close to them ... we are home.

Written while deployed to Iraq 2006-07

Nate's perspective ... should the U.S. be in Iraq?

Nate back home in Augusta County May 2007

"To win our freedom, we fight. To secure our freedom, we must instill patriotism in our children. A society that fails to remember those who served, their deeds, sacrifice, and why they fought will quickly find they must fight again and again."

Lance Cpl. Nate Salatin, USMC, is the son of missionaries who spent his very earliest years in the mission field of Indonesia. The second oldest of four children, he decided as a teenager that he wanted to go into the military. He graduated from home school high school, attended Marine boot camp, entered the Marine Reserve, and attended his first year at Virginia Military Institute before being deployed to Iraq. Now back home, this 21-year-old plans to continue his studies at VMI in the fall.

The question everyone asks is ... should the U.S. be in Iraq? In his final email to the many who had stayed in touch throughout his deployment to Iraq, Nate addressed that subject:

In closing I want to mention two things about the war in Iraq. This seems to be the number one question I am asked after people say, "Welcome back."

First of all, Iraq was one of the most messed-up countries in the Middle East, which as we all know isn't the most stable of places. Saddam Hussein was very much like Hitler in the things that he did to his own people. So, the U.S. military was supposed to take the country over, and rebuild it from the ground up and leave it a stable democracy.

Which, by the way, took America herself years to accomplish.

These people have no concept of what democracy means nor what it means to be free. They have been living in fear their entire lives just trying to carve out a living for themselves and their families. But the problem in America, it seems, is that we are not rebuilding this country fast enough.

So, to put it in perspective, it seems that the American people want us to take over one of the most messed-up countries in the world, then rebuild its police, military, government, industry, etc. from the ground up and change it into a stable democracy in less time than it takes for most Americans to pay off their car loans (we have only been there for five years).
When people ask if he's glad he went, Nate responds:

Then the final thing is what I tell people when they ask me if I am glad I went. I ask them, "When is the last time that you were able to look into a dirty, hungry little child's eyes and know that you were risking your life to make a better life for that child?"

Yes, I am glad that I went.
Nate, thank you for your service to our country ... and for your friendship. Semper Fi.

More about Nate: Back from war ... Nate's perspective

Monday, June 18, 2007

Back from war ... Nate's perspective

Nate's eyes still laugh. I was worried that war would wear away at the young man I had known since he was a boy and that he would return from Iraq somehow older, somehow wearier, somehow not Nate. And while battle a half-world away can't help but leave an impression on those who serve, and it certainly leaves them wiser, it didn't scar him ...

... because Nate's eyes still laugh.

As he sits in my living room or in the back yard talking ... as he does back flips off the diving board, gathers his fellow home school friends for a volleyball game, or canoes with those same friends on the Shenandoah River ... he's still the Nate we love. He jokes, tells war stories, and warmly remembers his Marine buddies ... those guys he depended on to watch his back in life-and-death situations. And somehow you know he's leveling with you and, at the same time, protecting you.

In Iraq he was Lance Cpl. Nate Salatin, United States Marine Corps. We stayed in contact with him through email while he was in combat ... "we" being dozens of friends and parents who wanted to stay abreast of his time in Iraq. Through regular emails home we kept up with what was happening and, even then, Nate's humor came through.

His last "group" email sent several weeks ago was a remembrance of his time away from the States. He starts by saying:

First, I want to thank everyone who thought about and prayed for me and my fellow Marines. We needed it and could feel it in many instances. It's hard to explain, but when you are in a world so far removed from anything that you have grown up with, it is very comforting to know that people are thinking of you.
He continues by talking about the mundane days and nights of regular patrols when nothing happened, and when excitement did come it wasn't always the kind that you wanted.

Nate was part of a mine sweeping detail, the Marines who patroled the roadways in the desert, searching for and detonating Improvised Explosive Devices before they could damage vehicles traveling in that area.

In all, my route clearance team traveled 9,000 miles and did more than 250 investigations for IEDs. We only missed one that blew a tire off of an armored tractor trailer and the driver was fine.

We found and successfully blew up around 30 IEDs and dug up several more that other units had spotted. Our convoy was hit six times. Sgt Miller, my squad leader who was in the lead truck, was blown up 3 times, but he personally found 12 IEDs before they were able to hit the convoy. In one instance he got his driver (Cpl Gordon) to stop the truck inches from the IED pressure strip.

Turner, one of my best friends, was blown up three times in three different vehicles. My vehicle was hit once. The run flat (a very thick rubber piece inside the tire) absorbed most of the frag. I pulled out pieces the size of my fist. It went off right under me so I am very glad that I was in a good vehicle.

We got shot at and mortared more than once, but they evidently weren't sharp shooters. JohnnyV (lead gunner) had frag rip up the front of his Kevlar, an inch or two from his face, but not touch him. God was sure looking out for us.
And while this 21-year-old was in the middle of war, there were people here in the States complaining about the U.S. ... and the democrats in Congress were plotting to prevent sending more money to the troops.

Thankfully, Nate's company came home although there were some with serious injuries:

My whole company came home, even though a few of the guys got pretty mangled. The worst one, Cpl. Walker, was there in California to meet his platoon, walking with a cane on his metal legs. We were all very happy to see him, especially to see him doing so well.
He then thanked everyone again for remembering him and his buddies:

Once again, thank you so much for all of the packages, letters, and prayers for me and my guys. Because yes, most of that stuff was shared by all.

Their names are Sgt Mark Miller, Sgt Jeffery Powell, Cpl. Daniel Sherwood, Cpl. Gordon, LCpls. Marvin Bell, Daniel Connally, Dustin Meadows, Matthew Turner, Bruce Jamerson, Jacob Turpin, Johnny Vasquez, Jason Als, and Stephen Pociluyko. The guys in my squad were some of the best that I could have asked for and my squad leaders, Sgt Miller and Sgt Powell, were two of the best Marines that I have ever seen. If you ever get to meet any of the guys in my squad, make sure you thank them for what they did. They all deserve it.
Next: From Nate's perspective ... should the U.S. be in Iraq?

Sunday, June 17, 2007

More discussion about 24th Senate District race....

Spank That Donkey: To Allen and Goode: Where Is Your Leadership?

Spank That Donkey: Clem Manipulates for Party Dissent

James Atticus Bowden: Virginia's Revolt, not a Revolution -- Yet

Spank That Donkey: Battle in the 24th: The Delegate Factor

Yankee Philip: Even those on the left think the NewsLeader went overboard

In-Politically Correct: A Newspaper not worthy for my dog to use for potty training

Thanks to Bloggers 4 Sayre

Friends, colleagues, Republicans, conservatives ... those are the Bloggers4Sayre and we thank them for their help in the Scott Sayre senate race in the 24th District.

Eighteen bloggers, among them some of the finest and most respected writers in the Virginia political blogosphere, stepped to the plate to show solidarity with fellow conservatives in a race that had implications statewide. When the battle became intense, it was good to know such fire-power (or, rather, "keyboard"-power) was watching our backs ... and it was very much appreciated.

Contributors were Black Velvet Bruce Li, Spank That Donkey, Kilo, D.J. McGuire, Riley, Not O'Reilly, JohnMaxfield, Yankee Philip, SWAC Girl, Charlie Fugate, Joe, Elle, Jim Hoeft, Leslie Carbone, Alton Foley (I'm Not Emeril), RightsideVA, F.A.C.T. Report, James Atticus Bowden, and Scott's Morning Brew.

Spank That Donkey did a great job setting up and monitoring Bloggers4Sayre. Many thanks, Chris!

As a SWAC blogger I'd like to say ... thank you.

Dad's Day ... the other two men in my life

My dad passed away in 1975, leaving a huge void in our lives. When Mom remarried a few years later we grew to love another man. My step-dad's personality and demeanor is very similar to my real father's ... and we immediately embraced him. That was over 25 years ago.

Cal was different from Dad in that he was an engineer who had a college degree. He had also been in the Navy (just as my dad had) right at the end of World War II so he never saw combat. He had grown up in Richmond, riding his bicycle to the corner market, working as a soda jerk in the nearby pharmacy, editing his high school newspaper, and experiencing an entirely different Depression-era childhood than my dad who lived in rural Virginia.

Cal's dad was one of those who began WRVA 1140-radio. The history of all that can be found in my parents' house in Richmond and it is fascinating. His dad also was one of the original group that pulled together the PBS station that is located in Chesterfield County off Robious Road. Much of the archived memorabilia for that and WRVA radio was given to the Valentine Museum in Richmond.

My first memory of Cal was when he showed up at Mom's house one evening. Even though I was married and living away from home, I was at the house to mow the grass (I took care of much of that after my father passed away). I answered the front door in grass-stained shoes and met a friendly man who was there to pick up my mom to go out to dinner. The rest, as they say, is history.... They clicked and married ... and my sisters and I gained four new siblings ... two boys and two girls including a Korean step-brother adopted as a baby by Cal and his first wife. Cal is still a significant part of our lives, and he and Mom are still perking along at the age of 80.

My husband ... is my best friend. We have been married 25 years, have two children, and we still can sit and talk for hours.

I want to remember him today because he has been such a good dad to our two children who are now 23 and 19. It was because of him that I was able to stay home and raise our kids in a way that is not often seen anymore. We educated them at home and sent them to college where our son graduated from JMU this year and our daughter is at BRCC.

Over the years he played baseball in the front yard with the kids and swam with them and hiked with them. He passed along to them his love of working in the yard and gardening but, most of all, he passed along the need to be responsible citizens in this world and to work hard at whatever you choose to do.

Happy Father's Day!

"One More Day" ... with Dad

It's Father's Day and, once again, my dad is not here to be with us. He passed away in 1975 at the age of 51 ... cancer took him from us.

There's a country song by Diamond Rio called "One More Day" ... and every time I hear that song I think of my dad. It's been years since death took him from us and, yet, a word or song or thought can bring me to my knees as I continue to feel the loss of a man I admired and respected and miss to this day.

He was a simple man, the oldest of five children growing up in Amelia County, Virginia ... a child of the Depression who quit school after eighth grade to help support his financially-strapped family.

According to many pundits today he should have felt sorry for himself and given up on life or blamed society. But he didn't. He served in the Navy during World War II traveling to exotic places around the South Pacific as a gunner on the USS Wisconsin. He came home to Virginia after the war, settled down, married, and raised three daughters. He wasn't the CEO of some company ... but to us he was more.

He was funny, easy-going, and hard to anger ... but when he angered, look out! He was a stern disciplinarian when we misbehaved. He was a deacon in our church and a Sunday school teacher.

My dad loved to camp in the Shenandoah National Park along the Skyline Drive. We couldn't afford pricey vacations so my parents took us to the mountains from the time we were young. Dad was a naturalist before it became fashionable. He was mindful of nature and taught us to leave the flowers for others to enjoy. He taught us to pack out our trash, be respectful of the animals who lived there, and enjoy that beautiful part of Virginia.

We still enjoy that beautiful part of Virginia. When I was one, my parents took me for my first camping trip to Big Meadows Campground and we've been at it ever since.

Though he's not physically with me, I carry his memory with me. And that's why the Diamond Rio song can bring me to tears in a heartbeat ... if I could have just one more day with him it would be sitting around a campfire in Shenandoah National Park ... one more time....

Last night I had a crazy dream
A wish was granted just for me, it could be for anything.
I didn't ask for money or a mansion in Malibu,
I simply wished for one more day with you.

One more day, one more time...
One more sunset, maybe I'd be satisfied.
But then again, I know what it would do
Leave me wishin' still for one more day with you.

First thing I'd do is pray for time to crawl,
I'd unplug the telephone, keep the TV off,
I'd hold you every second and say a million "I love you's"...
That's what I'd do with one more day with you.

One more day, one more time...
One more sunset, maybe I'd be satisfied.
But then again, I know what it would do
Leave me wishin' still for one more day with you.

"One More Day" by Diamond Rio

Saturday, June 16, 2007

Oh, Shenandoah....

Spent yesterday evening up on the mountain with the home school families I've known for years, whose kids grew up with my kids, whose kids graduated with my kids. The occasion was the celebration of another graduation from high school, the last of three in that family, and another home school mom who successfully educated her children grades K-12, sending them on to higher education.

This family has a gorgeous home and acreage that backs up to Shenandoah National Park. To be on their deck overlooking the lake and mountains is almost like camping ... and to be with so many friends was like heaven. Trails from the property lead directly into the Park and up to Skyline Drive. There's pockets of hidden hideaways along the trails ... creeks ... swimming holes ... rock scrambles ... shady cool places to perch and sketch or write or watch wildlife or just reflect.

Most of "my kids" who had graduated the past several years were there -- the home school alumni -- back from school or the military. The kids caught up with one another and played volley ball and swam in the lake and pool; the parents visited and laughed and enjoyed watching the kids; and I relaxed in a non-political atmosphere. I needed that....

As I sat on the deck overlooking the pool, watching our young 20-somethings outdoing each other with back flips off the diving board, I thought about the achievements of their parents, my friends ... parents who had sacrificed financially in order to bring up young people to be responsible citizens in today's world. I thought about the moms who had put careers on hold for years to make lesson plans, learn science experiments, educate their children in the way they wanted without turning those kids over to the public school system but, instead, making whatever personal sacrifices were necessary.

Many home school classrooms include The Ten Commandments, the Bible, the American flag, the Constitution, the Bill of Rights, and prayer ... things that are often not allowed in government-run public schools. Our kids learn American history and American government, and they register to vote when they turn 18. Tuesday's Republican Primary? There was 100% turnout of parents and kids 18 and over to the polls by those present at that gathering last night, a group of about 50. Yes, we teach the importance of voting, too.

Even while visiting with other parents, I watched the alumni -- the kids I had known since they were young during my 10 years as teen coordinator with the local home school group: Nate just back from Iraq with the Marines and returning to VMI in the fall; his brother heading to Randolph-Macon in September; Lee home from law enforcement training in Texas; a number of others home on summer break from college; two had graduated from college this year. I listened as they excitedly made plans to meet each other and go canoeing today. I love those young people who have grown up and are busy making something of their lives.

The nastiness of politics went away as the calmness of the Blue Ridge Mountains settled over me ... and I relaxed in the presence of friends who are always there.

Oh Shenandoah, I long to hear you, Away you rolling river,
Oh Shenandoah, I long to hear you,
Away, I'm bound away 'cross the wide Missouri.

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Boycott the News Leader?

Someone left a comment today on my post "Newspaper wants citizens to stay out of political process? She suggested a boycott of the News Leader because of their Wednesday editorial, Time to clean house, in which they urge, encourage, push Emmett Hanger to get rid of all the conservative GOP leaders who worked for Scott Sayre in Tuesday's Primary.

I personally like to read the hard copy of the paper ... curl up with a cup of tea to read or carry it with me when I'm going somewhere. When we moved here eleven years ago one of the first things we did was subscribe to the local newspaper because I'm such a news junkie. I also subscribed to the Richmond Times-Dispatch, my hometown newspaper.

Many conservatives have become disgusted with the MisLeader over the years and cancelled their subscriptions ... but I hung in there.

Not anymore.

Wednesday's editorial went over the top. They attacked volunteers from the community, people who had exercised their freedom to back the candidate of their choice. They attacked my neighbors and friends because when they target local GOP leadership they are also targeting those who back us. We have heard from many of them since that editorial was printed. You truly find out who your friends are when the chips are down.

I called Roger Watson, Publisher of the MisLeader, this afternoon and cancelled my subscription. If I hadn't done it my husband surely would have done so. He and his truck driver buddies have all been talking about it. Yes, there are union truck drivers out there who are Republicans; in fact, most in this area are, and they discuss politics.

What hit a nerve the most to everyone I've talked with was the "snakes" comment in the last paragraph. People who know us in the community know we're not the extreme right-wing nuts the paper has tried to make us out to be so they now believe the paper to be even more untruthful than before.

The News Leader wrote:

Betrayal is a serious matter and insubordination must be dealt with swiftly. It's time to clear the underbrush of the snakes.
Betrayal? Insubordination? Excuse me. Emmett Hanger is a public servant. He is an elected who represents me. I don't work for him. So according to the MisLeader we shouldn't challenge our elected officials in this country? Isn't that a bit like communism?

Boycott the newspaper? That's a personal decision. I will now be subscribing to the Waynesboro News-Virginian for local news. I like Bob Stuart's writing and he seems to be fair even though I don't always agree with him.

If you have comments you may contact Roger Watson, Publisher of the News Leader, at rwatson@newsleader.com or (540) 213-9107.

Comments to USA Today/Gannett, owners of the MisLeader, can be directed to Melani Zadrima at mzadrima@gannett.com or (703) 854-6725. She is with the department that handles Gannett's small locally-owned newspapers around the country.

As for me ... I will miss the newsie part of the News Leader ... but I won't miss the editorial page. Enough is enough.

Check out Not Larry Sabato's "Boycott the NewsLeader? Hell Yes!"

Newspaper wants conservative citizens to stay out of political process?

The Sayre for Senate campaign was different than any campaign I've ever worked. It was local and against a Republican incumbent ... and so it literally fell upon all of us to shoulder the load. The easy path as Republican leadership would have been to fall in line with the incumbent ... pound a few signs and it would pretty much have been over. Voila! Easy campaign season.

But I've never taken the easy route just because it's the easy route. I follow my principles and the beliefs I have in government. That's why I got involved in politics in the first place ... why complain if not willing to work for change?

What puzzles me, however, is the piling-on of the local USA Today/Gannett-owned newspaper. Their editorial after the election was over the top, a sad representation of an information conduit that should be unbiased in its reporting but, instead, uses its power in a less-than-professional way.

Instead of recognizing and applauding that citizens were willing to participate in the democratic process, they mocked and called names of local volunteers who exercised their freedom and right to back a candidate of their choice.

Who did they mock? Unpaid volunteers from the community who represented a cross-section of the citizens living in the 24th District ... union truck drivers, insurance salesmen, retail employees, housewives, teachers, real estate marketers, pastors, high school and college students, and many others.

Volunteers were treated by the media in the same manner the media treats elected public servants. The difference this time was they attacked the volunteers and lined up with the public servants, even the electeds they had scorned and attacked on their pages in the past, most recently George Allen in last fall's election.

This does a disservice to citizens who may want to become involved. The newspaper can disagree with the position or the candidate ... but to go after those citizen volunteers who back a candidate the newspaper does not agree with in such a vicious manner deters folks in the community from wanting to participate in the political process.

Flag Day

Happy 230th birthday to the American flag

These colors don't run ... this flag stands for freedom.

Ronald Reagan, the statesman....

Leslie Carbone is a fellow ODBA member, a respected writer and lecturer living in the D.C. area, and a fellow conservative who was one of the Bloggers 4 Sayre.

Leslie posted a remembrance of how Ronald Reagan handled defeat during the Republican Convention in 1976 when he lost the nomination by only 70 votes to the more moderate Gerald Ford.

In Spirit of 76, she recounts how Gerald Ford invited Ronald Reagan to address the delegates at the Republican Convention. If we use history as our guide we often find a template to follow and words of wisdom to help us weather the storms.

To what could have been a divided Party, Governor Reagan concluded his remarks with:

"We must go forth from here united, determined that what a great general said a few years ago is true: There is no substitute for victory, Mr. President."
Those who wish to split the Republican Party are mistaken if they think they're going to accomplish that through the Sayre supporters. A Republican victory in November is the goal for the 24th District.

Ronald Reagan met with his supporters before heading back to California. Disappointed at their loss, he reminded them:

"The cause goes on. It's just one battle in a long war and it will go on as long as we all live."
Quoting St. Barton's Ode, he added:

I will lay me down and bleed a while. Though I am wounded, I am not slain. I shall rise and fight again.
His final words to his disappointed campaign volunteers were the following:

"Don't get cynical ... look at yourselves and what you were willing to do, and recognize that there are millions and millions of Americans out there that want what you want, that want it to be as we do, who want it to be a shining city on a hill."
Almost half the voters in Tuesday's Republican Primary voted for Scott Sayre. Now is the time for both sides to work together for the betterment of the Party.

Mrs. Graham gravely ill....

In the Blue Ridge Mountains of western North Carolina, located just off I-40 and not far from Asheville, is a beautiful little area called Montreat. The trees are thick and lush and green this time of year as folks escape from Charlotte and Greensboro and other locations in the flatlands to the cooler temps of the mountains. This is the home of evangelists Billy and Ruth Graham.

After years of failing health, Mrs. Graham is now in a coma and not expected to live. As the family gathers to say one last good-bye, the world braces itself for the news of her passing. Our prayers go to Franklin Graham and his family as they prepare for the loss of his mom ... a remarkable woman.

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Will the GOP moderates be uniters or dividers?

It remains to be seen if the moderates are going to be gracious in their wins over conservative candidates. So far they're not doing so well.

Senator Emmett Hanger has been congratulated by SWAC leadership for his win over Scott Sayre. However, on today's WSVA radio talk show Sen. Hanger was heard making more disparaging remarks about the Sayre campaign.

Wait a minute. Didn't Emmett win? Doesn't he know that a gracious winner moves forward and does not trash his opponent after the contest is over? What is he thinking?

Check out Jim Riley's post at Virginia Virtucon - "Will support run both ways." He updates about Sen. Ken Stolle (R-Virginia Beach) who made the following comments last night:

“The dynamics are clearly different as a result of the elections tonight. It makes it harder for us to maintain a Republican majority in the Senate. I think it can still be done, but all the stars have to be aligned, with very little room for deviation.”
Hmmm. Jim goes on to add:

Time to get on the same team, Ken. Start extolling the virtues of the rest of the GOP ticket and steer big wads of cash their way. Talk about these candidates’ energy, enthusiasm and new ideas that will benefit all Virginians. Highlight these candidates’ solid backgrounds and how they will be excellent candidates who will not only maintain a Republican majority in the Senate, but expand it. We don’t need a downer who is looking to rain on the parade.
He said it way better than I. Ditto.

Monday, June 11, 2007

Ronald Reagan said....

"Let us be sure that those who come after will say of us in our time, that in our time we did everything that could be done. We finished the race; we kept them free; we kept the faith."

--President Ronald Reagan (1911-2004)

Reality check ... Nate & Moophy

(Click on photo to enlarge)
Nate & Moophy upon his return from Iraq in May 2007
Augusta County, Virginia

There's something tender about a Marine just home from fighting terrorism in Iraq ... tough, hardened, weathered ... back with his beloved cat Moophy.

When we get caught up in the hysteria of elections ... then it's time for a reality check.

Welcome home Lance Cpl. Nate Salatin, USMC.

(Photo by Heidi)

Sunday, June 10, 2007

Saturday, June 09, 2007

"Ya gotta have friends...."

Have received much feedback from friends -- political and otherwise -- throughout this 24th District senate race in the Shenandoah Valley ... emails and phone calls of encouragement, with words of advice and a "you can do it" message. One particular grassroots friend has been through this battle before, successfully removing an incumbent through non-stop hard work, so he has been extremely helpful as a shot-in-the-arm, especially this past week.

Yesterday I received an email from a grassroots political colleague who read the post "Hanger wants to purge GOP if he wins." This hard-working attorney took a moment out of her day to share some words of encouragement and remind me of Ronald Reagan's race for governor of California. She wrote:

It sounds like Fritz [News Leader editor, "What a race"] hasn't a clue as to who the hard-working, grass-roots Republicans really are. One thing for sure, they are not "shrill," as he claims, just because they are exercising their rights to elect the candidate of their choice.

One might argue, rather, that an incumbent office holder who threatens other Republicans is the one who is shrill. When President Reagan first ran for office for Governor of California, his supporters were called extremists. The voters saw through that kind of intimidation and Reagan was elected overwhelmingly against a very popular Democrat incumbent. So, keep your spirits high--you're in good company."
And with those words we move into the final days of this campaign working non-stop for Scott Sayre.

Ya gotta have friends ... and I'm blessed by the friends I have.

Sayre for Senate
Bloggers 4 Sayre

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

Grassroots endorsements continue for Sayre

Sayre unanimously endorsed by Waynesboro Republicans

Scott Sayre continues to add to his grassroots endorsements.

The Waynesboro Republican Committee unanimously endorsed Sayre at last night's meeting, showing unity with citizen volunteers who have come together to back the challenger in this much-watched race.

Grassroots volunteer endorsements of Scott include:

- Chairman, Augusta County Republicans
- Chairman, Staunton City Republicans
- Chairman, Waynesboro City Republicans
- Chairman, Rockingham County Republicans
- Chairman, Albemarle County Republicans
- Chairman, Highland County Republicans
- Chairman, Greene County Republicans
- Green County Republican Committee
- Waynesboro City Republican Committee
- 6th District State Central Committee Congressional Representative
- Augusta GOP Vice Chairmen (3)
- Augusta GOP Secretary
- Augusta GOP Magisterial District Chairman - Beverley Manor
- Augusta GOP Magisterial District Chairman - Middle River
- Augusta GOP Magisterial District Chairman - Pastures
- Augusta GOP Magisterial District Chairman - Riverheads
- Augusta GOP Magisterial District Chairman - South River
- Augusta GOP Magisterial District Chairman - Wayne
- Executive Committee members from Rockbridge County Republicans

These are the unpaid volunteers who pound the yard signs, man the headquarters, make the phone calls, run the meetings ... these are the folks who are on the ground with citizens in the 24th District area.

These are the folks who stand behind a candidate because of principles.

Watch for more endorsements....

Sayre for Senate
Bloggers 4 Sayre

Monday, June 04, 2007

Rumor: The King Makers Cometh

Are we to bow down? Who makes up the minds of the people? The king makers ... or the people themselves?

Can you say "backlash"?

How very interesting. My phone and email have been going non-stop this morning with folks contacting us to offer their support and encouragement for the Scott Sayre campaign.

And here's a first. I've been receiving phone calls from people all morning ASKING to work the polls on June 12!!!

That's a first even for THIS political junkie. There's something going on out there, folks....

Bloggers 4 Sayre
Spank That Donkey
Sayre For Senate

Sayre campaign staying on message....

Sayre for Senate headquarters found all hands on deck Sunday as we enjoyed the remnants of Tropical Storm Barry in the Shenandoah Valley. A mostly-gentle rain fell all day with cool temps and occasional gusts -- perfect for working headquarters lining up last-minute tasks as we enter the final week of this race.

Scott hasn't slowed down. The volunteers haven't slowed down. More volunteers are being recruited; signs are being delivered; the message is getting out there as everyone keeps a positive, upbeat attitude. There's a couple of fun items this week that we're looking forward to and, of course, there will be lots of work.

Those of us who have been up to our elbows in campaigns throughout the years are hunkering down; our new volunteers who haven't been through this are learning how intense the process becomes in the final days. There's something exhilerating and tiring all at the same time and, yet, we pull together, working as a team, at a time when everything is on the line ... forging friendships and respect that in most cases lasts beyond campaign season.

Burning the after-midnight oil at HQs ... 9 days left....

Sayre for Senate

Iraq and Iran ... proof al Qaeda in both countries

DJ at Right-Wing Liberal, one of our resident experts on Middle Eastern people, posts a chilling revelation: "Al Qaeda-in-Iraq's liaison to Iran is caught."

He calls on those who have insisted that Iraq is in a civil war and says:

Coalition Forces captured a suspected liaison to al-Qaeda in Iraq senior leaders, who assists in the movement of information and documents from al-Qaeda in Iraq leadership in Baghdad to al-Qaeda senior leaders in Iran.

Let me restate the last part: al-Qaeda senior leaders in Iran.
DJ has been instrumental in educating us about the various sects and cultures in that part of the world ... and he continues with this latest information.

Dems losing control of Party?

I received an unsolicited email from my Democrat Supervisor Tracy Pyles who publicly endorsed Emmett Hanger a few weeks ago along with the rest of the Augusta County Board of Supervisors.

Tracy and I have gotten along well over the years. Now we're on opposite sides of the fence. It makes me wonder who he will support in the General Election because the Democrats have backed a candidate.

Will Mr. Pyles support Republican Emmett Hanger, the person he endorsed in April? Or will he endorse the Democrat who will represent his Party?

I looked up the Democrat Party Plan:

Section 10.8 Party Support

No Democratic committee member or officer of any Democratic committee shall publicly support, endorse, or assist any candidate opposed to a Democratic nominee. In the event any Democratic committee member shall undertake such public activity, the appropriate Democratic committee shall remove said person from office. Such action shall not be taken without at least ten (10) days written notice to the accused member and an opportunity for him or her to refute such charges. In the event that no action is taken against such person, the
district committee shall initiate the necessary action. The Steering Committee may take further action within the thirty (30) days after the receipt of a written complaint by any member of the Democratic Party in relation to such matters.

Section 10.9 Candidate Support

The obligations and duties imposed on any county, city or district committee or the Central Committee and their members in this Plan shall not be deemed to require support of any candidate who is publicly supporting a nominee on the ticket of any other political party in any general election where Democratic candidates for office appear on the ballot, or who publicly supports any other candidate opposed to a Democratic nominee.
Interesting situation for Mr. Pyles....

Sunday, June 03, 2007

Fred Thompson's RPV Gala speech televised on C-SPAN tonight

Former Sen. Fred Thompson's speech from last night's RPV Gala in Richmond will be televised tonight on C-SPAN's "Road to the White House" at 6:30, 9:30, and 12:30 a.m. He received several standing ovations during his remarks, and the consensus was his speech was electrifying, with some observing that their search for a conservative candidate whom they could support was over. You have the opportunity to judge for yourself tonight on C-SPAN.

2007 Republican Advance

The Republican Advance is moving ... to Northern Virginia. This premiere GOP event will be at the Crystal City Hyatt this year and, though I will miss The Homestead which was the location the past several years, it will be exhilerating to be in the Nation's Capital during the Christmas season. An exciting addition this year is a Presidential Straw Poll, coming just weeks before the Presidential Primaries begin around the country. Plans are well on their way for a weekend of meetings, workshops, and fun.

Friday, June 01, 2007

Scott Sayre on Immigration Reform

From Sayre For Senate:

Our nation was built by immigrants -- hard-working, law abiding citizens who spent their lives building a better future for their children and grandchildren. Immigrants built this great nation. Because of the greatness of America and the freedoms and opportunities we enjoy, our nation is a magnet for the world. We are also a nation of laws and we must protect these laws or lose our liberties.

All immigrants must begin their journey in the United States with respect for our laws, and the respect of our fellow Americans. Those who violate the law by entering this country illegally are diminishing the American Dream for those who have, with patience and commitment, pursued a path to citizenship in a legal manner.

As a state acting alone it is difficult, if not impossible, to stop the flow of illegal immigrants. This is a problem that needs a comprehensive national solution. But this does not mean that we should sit idly by. We have an ability to remove incentives for illegal immigrants to come or stay in our Commonwealth.

I will support legislation to:

Preserve and protect in-state tuition at state colleges and universities only for those who are citizens and legal residents of Virginia. I would not support my opponent's sponsored bill, SB 677, and SB 1204 granting in-state tuition to illegal immigrants.

Propose legislation requiring verification of legal employment on a quarterly basis.
Hold illegal immigrants charged with a felony without bail.

Require identification when voting and ensure that all non-citizens are removed from the voter roles.

Allow for litigation when an employer knowingly hires illegal aliens and harms a law-abiding competitor.

Language is a common denominator which unites cultures. Generations of immigrants have come to our shores, embraced our language and assimilated into our American culture. I see no need to accommodate the rising tide of immigrants by changing the way we have done business for hundreds of years. I support Congressman Goodlatte's efforts to make English the official language of the United States .

Check out my Biography and consider: My wife's grandparents were immigrants. Sayre Enterprises has employed hundreds of persons without ever having an I-9 inquiry or violation. Why let businesses wait until February of every year to get illegal immigrant W-2's returned. Identify the illegal immigrants now and solve the problem or face litigation.

And then there were 17 ... Bloggers 4 Sayre!

With the Scott Sayre-Emmett Hanger race heating up here in the 24th District -- it has been called THE race to watch with the best chance of unseating an incumbent -- three more prominent and well respected conservative bloggers have come on board. This brings the total to 17.

Jim Riley (Riley Not O'Reilly) from Virginia Virtucon, Leslie Carbone, and Greg L from Black Velvet Bruce Li have signed onto Bloggers4Sayre to help in the conservative battle in the blogosphere.

We are honored to have their support ... and we thank them.

Sayre For Senate