Thursday, July 31, 2008

While John McCain is running ads about Brittany Spears and Paris Hilton....

There are still two wars going on. Sgt. Ryan John Baum, a 27-year-old Army Ranger and combat medic, died from wounds he suffered during a battle near Karmah, Iraq, last May 18. His wife Amber Baum couldn't attend the funeral because she was due with daughter Leia any day.

A photograph of his daughter, Leia Ryan Baum, was placed inside the uniform of Sgt. Ryan John Baum during visitation at a funeral home in June 2007. "That's all he wanted to do, is come home and put her on his chest," said Dana Baum, Sgt. Baum's mother.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Why is everyone ignoring this?

I have written to several local blogs who purport to care about issues and people with the following:

Why have you not reported or commented on this?

Kind of a big deal I would think.

I have waited to see what you would do, and obviously you intend to write nothing...

Why might this be?

We will now see what their response is, and what their reasoning is, in ignoring such a horrendous event at a church, at a children's event...

And I would also ask why, the Daily News Record, the paper of note in the central Shenandoah Valley, made no mention of this event having taken place at all?


Could someone please shed some light on this for me?

Monday, July 28, 2008

Sam Meet & Greet on Saturday

You are Invited to attend a "Meet and Greet" wine and cheese reception
for Sixth District Democratic Congressional Candidate, Sam Rasoul.
The wine and cheese reception is being hosted by John and Joanne-Smith
Knauf and Sandra Price-Stroble. The open house reception will be
held at the home of John and Joanne Smith-Knauf in Harrisonburg..

Date: August 2, 2008
Time: 4:00 to 6:00 p.m.
Location: 120 Diamond Ct. Harrisonburg, Virginia 22802

Cost: No Charge, but volunteer donations of $20 to Sam Rasoul's Congressional Campaign would be appreciated.

We hope those who know Sam will come and bring someone with you who has not met
him. It is suggested that a $20 ( or whatever you wish to donate) per person
donation be made, but this is a voluntary. There is no charge for the

We hope to see you this Saturday, Aug. 2nd from 4:00 to 6:00 p.m.

In order for us to get a tentative number of those who will be
attending, you may contact:

Sandra Price-Stroble at pricesf [at]

Must've heard about that $490b 09 budget deficit...

Saturday, July 26, 2008

McCain's Numbers Dropping

John McCain is Losing Ground in Every Area of the United States

McCain has dropped to below 50% in the southern states for the first time since he was the eventual nominee. He is below 40% for the first time in the Western states. He is below 45% for the first time in the Red States... Dropped to below 40% in the blue states... And at his lowest point ever in the midwestern states.


Friday, July 25, 2008

VA Victory 2008 Office Workday!

Rockingham County Democratic Committee

Date: Saturday, July 26, 2006

Location: RCDC/VA Victory ‘08 Campaign Headquarters

Third floor of the Ruddle building

22 East Market St.

(Above Dominion Coffee Company on Court Square)

Time: 9:00 AM –12:00 PM

Working Session

Come and Help Clean, Organize, and Decorate Our New Party Headquarters

For our July meeting, we are asking Area Democrats to roll up their sleeves, bring some office materials listed below if possible, and help setup and organize our new campaign headquarters. The office will be open from 9 AM – 12 noon. Let’s make this a teambuilding event! Here’s a list of materials needed.

o Folding tables, folding chairs, office chairs, file cabinets etc…

o Laser Printers (to produce walk sheets with bar codes)

o Fax Machine, telephones

o Dorm refrigerator(s), Microwave(s)

o Window air conditioners, clock, clock radio

o Coffee Pot(s), coffee, creamer (powered), sugar, sweetener packets

o Copy paper, clip boards, dry erase boards, erasers

o Pens, pencils, high lighters, staplers, staples, paper clips,

o File folders, note pads, legal pads

o Trash cans and liner bags

o Plastic utensils, plastic cups, Styrofoam cups

o Snack foods (individually wrapped trail mix, microwave popcorn etc...), bottled water, flavored vitamin water, juice boxes

o Gift certificates for local restaurants throughout the area (to keep our hardworking volunteers strong as they go door to door, community to community!)

o First Aid Kit, Band aids, Tylenol, Advil, Vitamins (to help keep our volunteers healthy!), tissues

o Anything else you can think of that might not be listed!

Donations of dollars would also be a great way to help and are greatly appreciated!

To make a monetary contribution to this effort please click here

To prevent duplication, please contact Linda Shuler to see what materials are needed.

Linda Shuler

Vice Chair

Rockingham County Democratic Committee



Rockingham County Democratic Committee

RCDC – Dedicated to working on the real issues affecting the Valley

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Future Bleak for Young Republicans

Democrats care about youth and future, appeal growing.

Young Republicans, blue about prospects ahead

"You don't hear Barack Obama going around saying, 'I'm John F. Kennedy.' He's saying, 'I'm Barack Obama,' " All says. "There's a reason for that. He's inspiring an entire generation, and it's a generation that's trying to change the world in 160 characters or less through text messages."

Click here to read the story

Monday, July 21, 2008

Condi for Obama?

Rice: Obama's success is great gain for blacks

Jul 20, 2:38 PM (ET)

WASHINGTON (AP) - Condoleezza Rice says it's a remarkable accomplishment that a black politician is on track for his party's presidential nomination.

The secretary of state said Democrat Barack Obama's likely nomination shows the nation's progress in race relations.

"I think it's great, and I think it's great for our country," Rice said of Obama's candidacy.

Read the story

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Mark Warner Tours the Central Valley

Mark Warner's day started in Winchester and ended at the Rockbridge County fair. From there he traveled to Bath County's Homestead where he will participate in the Virginia Bar Association debate this weekend. In between, he had stops in Harrisonburg and Staunton. One of his themes, building a coalition of "radical centrists," was echoed at each stop. As the most successful modern Virginia governor, Mark Warner governed from the center and reached across party lines to first clean up the budget mess left by his predecessor, Jim Gilmore, and then move Virginia forward in K-12 education, protecting the environment, and other core areas. As Warner said -
"If we are going to get this country back on the right track . . . we have to have a strong group of bipartisan 'radical centrists' in the Senate."
In Staunton, where he arrived a little late, Warner was greeted by a crowd of over 150 who braved the mid afternoon heat and blazing sun to greet the next U.S. senator. The sounds of a little pickin' and grinnin' and Woodrow Wilson's Pierce Arrow limo accented the jovial atmosphere among folks seeking a little shade along one sidewalk.

In his remarks, Warner talked of the value of historic renovation and cultural attractions to Virginia tourism - a major business for the Commonwealth - commented on energy policy, rebuilding our nation's infrastructure, and restoring American competitiveness.

After speaking Governor Warner toured the beginnings of the Staunton Performing Arts Center, Blackfriars, and had a short ride in the Pierce Arrow to the Woodrow Wilson Presidential Library.

The best and most complete coverage, including a webcast of some of Warner's remarks, is found at the Augusta Free Press. The News Leader, News Virginian, and NBC29 also had coverage.

A few photos of Warner's campaign stop in Staunton.

Before speaking, Mark Warner spent time shaking hands and talking to the crowd.

After introductions by Tom Roberts and Dave Metz, Warner took the stage in the heat of the sun to talk about his plans as Virginia's next senator, quipping that "I'm unemployed and looking for a job. Will you hire me?
Click the links for the Augusta Free Press or NB29 to listen to his remarks.

A small group of Gilmore supporters is greeted by Staunton Democratic chair, Bob Dickerman. They hovered in the shade of a shop doorway so far up the street they probably couldn't hear the remarks of the man who will join Jim Webb in the Senate.
That's Alex with the sign. I can't identify the Republican in lavender . . .

cross posted at coarse cracked corn

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Paint the Valley Blue

For information and tickets visit Paint the Valley Blue
or email,,

Saturday, July 12, 2008

VEEP Stakes

Anyone care to bet who Obama and McCain will choose for VP?

With the caveat that it's early (though the Kerry/Edwards VP announcement came on July 6, 2004), I say:



I'll put the "why" in the first comment.

Friday, July 11, 2008

Chap Petersen - "Republicans Don't Want to Solve the Transportation Funding Problem"

Senator Chap Petersen (D-34th) has an editorial up in the Washington Post today - and he gets right to the point:

Republicans like to pretend that state transportation funding, last meaningfully increased a little more than halfway through the Reagan administration, can be addressed by diverting existing general fund money to build and maintain highways, bridges, tunnels and rails. They like to pretend that those funds are not needed for public schools, the salaries of sheriff's deputies, the operation of prisons, or payments to Medicaid providers. The bills they offered this week on transportation -- proposing to divert future tax revenue from Dulles International and Reagan National airports, for instance -- were therefore fraudulent; if push came to shove, those bills would have been undone by Republicans themselves.
Rather than meet their legislative responsibility to do the hard work of the peoples business, the Republican caucus has made high theater of rummaging through the sofa cushions down in Richmond to fund transportation. Anyone with a lick of understanding knows that transportation projects take steady and predictable revenue sources to span the multi-year course of design and construction. Yet the Republican majority would have you believe that we can scrape it up from this and that and it will add up to a solution - Gilmore Economics?

In fact, the GOP bills were not really intended to ease traffic at all; rather, they were meant mainly to fool Virginia voters into thinking that the Republicans want to solve problems. They don't. When the only serious transportation measure on offer came to the floor of the House on Wednesday -- it was a Senate proposal to provide hundreds of millions of dollars annually in new statewide and regional revenue while also lowering taxes on food and prescription drugs -- it was backed by most Democrats but received precisely one vote from aRepublican: Del. Thomas Davis Rust of Fairfax.
So the special session, convened to find sustainable transportation funding ended with ...nothing. Chap puts a real fine point on it:
And then -- cynically, comically -- it was the Republicans who rushed out statements faulting Gov. Timothy M. Kaine (D) for convening a special session of the legislature without first achieving a consensus plan. Never mind that the Republicans themselves, so many of whom have either signed pledges to oppose new taxes or fear primary challengers who have, make any reasonable consensus impossible.
So what is the plan Senator Hanger? How about you Matt Lohr - do you still think we should pay for our own roads? Delegate Cline, and Landes - where are you boys anyway?

You Shenandoah Valley Caucus Republicans better watch out - if gridlocked voters in NoVa and Hampton Roads decide to put this regional taxing thing into action, they may decide to tell our underfunded rural counties to pay for our own schools, sheriffs, rescue and firefighters. It's one Commonwealth boys...lead, follow, or get back on the porch.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

House Republicans - "Working Hard to Do Nothing"

The Special Session of the Virginia General Assembly ended this morning with no action on Virginia's transportation funding crisis. Last month VDOT announced that a short-fall of $1.1 Billion dollars meant that road construction in the state would be curtailed. That included new lanes to RMH on Port Republic Rd, and the Southeast Connector.

The Governor said, "I don't think I've ever seen a group of people work so hard to do nothing."

Kaine had proposed a package of statewide tax and fee increases, largely to address a maintenance funding shortfall that is forcing the state to divert money from its road construction budget to cover the gap. He also wanted regional tax increases for Northern Virginia and Hampton Roads to replace previous funding plans that were invalidated by the Virginia Supreme Court.
The Republican controlled House rejected Kaine's proposal and countered with:
...chirp, chirp....nothing.
So House Democrats stepped in with an alternative plan:

The bill (Senate Bill 6009) still called for increases in the retail sales tax and vehicle sales and rental taxes and a reduction in the sales tax on groceries, making it an impossible sell to most House Republicans.
But that was also defeated. There will be no solution to the transportation funding crisis this year.

Thanks for Nothing Delegates!

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

GOP Fiddles as USA Crumbles

Bridges collapse, water treatment plants release pollutants,

dams and levee systems breach and allow flooding, deferred maintenance causing ever escalating costs...

What is the status of infrastructure? What has been done? What needs doing? What is being done?

Our generation inherited one of the best planned and invested in infrastructure systems in history, and our present group of GOP politicians can't even bring themselves to keep it working.

Something for nothing is a scam...

Click here to find out the condition of United States infrastructure. Be sure to check out Virginia...

Register your opinion on the focus of political debate over the past several years.

Which of the following bothers you most?
Bridge collapse with cars and school bus. Flooding and dam failure. Fish kills and pollution.
Immigrants working and buying groceries.
Gay people existing.
Anything to do with Muslims.
Anything to do with any form of restrictions of weapons, of any type.
Paying taxes.
Whoever put this poll together is just a Liberal Democratic Hack.
Free polls from

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Bubby, "Dark Markets", Crooked Republicans, and $4.00 Gasoline - Yee-Haw!

Everywhere I go, people want to talk about high fuel prices. It's like the weather, only ugly. Mostly it's like talking to someone with a substance abuse problem - part frantic worry about how to afford it, part angry self-hate, part la-la land about finding more, more, more.

So I have a confession. High oil prices are my fault. Well not entirely my fault, I have been assisted by Anti-Regulation Republicans and their corrupt Republican fixers. Here is how we fixed the system to assure that your dependence on petroleum profited us - me and my group of Republican Fixers, Insiders, and Think-Tankers:

First me: I pay really smart people to manage my investments. They hop-to and make certain that my money never lingers in a bad investment, and always provides a good return. They understand that I require high performance, am willing to pay for it, and if they don't deliver, I will hold them responsible. We have a beautiful relationship. But investors are facing a "Bear" market. That means it is getting tougher to make money in the traditional markets. Even a cow goes dry from time to time.

We were reviewing my investments the other day and I noticed that in addition to my money growing mold in a bank account, I was heavy into "commodities". I asked my investment adviser what "commodities" he had me into, and he listed a group of "materials" like metals and food but noted that mostly I'm in Oil. Big oil, foreign oil, future oil. "So how we doing", I asked. "Great", he said, "it is keeping your portfolio balanced against losses in that Amazon tree farm you insisted I invest in". Thank you oil-addicted America! Your unrelenting demand for petroleum assures that I can buy and sell every gallon at a profit, and you will be back knocking at my door for more soon.

Now my Republican Cronies: Phil Gramm is advising John McCain on his economic policies- which is why McCain has flopped over on things like tax policy, deregulation, and the oil business. Have you heard of "McCain's Economic Brain", Phil Gramm? He was a Republican Senator from Texas until 2002, and the powerful chairman of the Senate Banking Committee. One of his last acts a Chairman was to deregulate most of the "Commodities" markets. Gramm placed a provision in a law (Commodities Futures Modernization Act) in 2000 that exempted electronic trading from regulation by the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC). That is where oil and other energy commodities (natural gas, electricity) get traded these days, and since no one is watching (regulating), no one can tell you what is going on with $140 per barrel oil. This unregulated "Dark Market" is invisible to most people, particularly to the government regulators that you probably think are looking after your best interests. It is called the International Commodities Exchange or "ICE" and that is where my people, with the help of Crooked Republican fixers like Phil Gramm do their business - far from the light of day.

Remember Enron? You know that criminal enterprise cloaked as a corporation down in Texas? Enron lobbied Phil Gramm hard (campaign money) to get energy trading market deregulated, and when they got what they wanted from his Senate committee in 2000 they had most of their Business Plan complete. Enron had previously gotten a lot of help from a powerful Republican bureaucrat, Phil Gramm's wife- Wendy Gramm. She was an economist who brought her husbands zeal for deregulating markets to Washington when Ronald Reagan hired her at his Office of Management and Budget in the 1980's. Reagan called Wendy Gramm his "favorite economist" and named her Chairwoman of the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CTFC). .

One of Wendy's final actions as CTFC Chair (in January 1993, the last month of Daddy Bush's presidency) was to remove energy derivatives contracts and interest-rate swaps from federal oversight. Weeks later Wendy Gramm went to work as a member of the Enron Board of Directors helping Enron make millions from California utility customers by manipulating deregulated "dark markets". She was also a member of the Enron audit committee - the group that certified the accounting that later proved to be smoke and mirrors. A professional fixer!

Phil Gramm retired from the Senate in 2002, and went to work for UBS - the large multinational bank that has recently been implicated in the real estate mortgage scams. So it looks like "McCain's Economic Brain" has a trifecta to his credit; deregulated oil markets, Enron, and the mortgage meltdown.

Don't worry about Phil and Wendy. They are comfortably wealthy, and well served by John McCain's flip flop to support Bush's tax cuts for the wealthy.

Don't worry about me either. I can be out of those electronically-traded exchange fund, "Dark oil markets" quicker than you can swipe your credit card at the gas pump. And please, tell your representatives to drill everywhere, now - my people need more oil to trade, and we're betting you can't kick the habit anytime soon. If the oil bubble bursts before we squeeze oil from Alaska and off the coast of Virginia, I'll be back in the market to buy that oil cheap, and we'll start the bidding again. You know you want it. You know you need it! Drill. Please!

From the Poll of Polls

Here's the recent's summary of the current state of the polls in the presidential race:

And Chris Bowers, over at Open Left, has an interesting piece on the the "flip-flop" charge; here's a bit, but the whole thing is worth reading:

Four years later, I have grave doubts that a "flip-flop" charge is actually effective in a political campaign, especially in an Obama vs. McCain campaign. Consider the following:

  1. If Obama is Kerry, then McCain is Bush. Bush argued that John Kerry was a flip-flopper, and everyone remembers that charge quite well. As such, for the McCain campaign to argue that Obama is a flip-flopper should actually cause voters to compare McCain to Bush just as much as they might compare Obama to Kerry. Right now, being tied to Bush is a lot worse than being tied to Kerry.
  2. Doesn't contradict Obama's image. Obama, unlike Kerry, has been running on his willingness to engage in bi-partisan compromise for over a year. So, it isn't clear how the "flip-flop" charge even goes against Obama's longstanding campaign promises. He has told everyone repeatedly that he will compromise, so it is unclear how attacking him for doing so will hurt him. (That isn't to imply that I think things like FISA are actually compromises, but it is how they are being portrayed in the media).
  3. Do people even dislike flip-floppers? A January 2007 poll from Pew showed that 75% of voters like candidates who "are willing to compromise." That was slightly higher than the 67% of voters who like politicians who stick to their principles.
  4. Has anyone flip-flopped more than McCain?: There are few politicians in the last twenty years who have flip-flopped more than McCain. E. J. Dionne covers some in his column today--taxes, offshore drilling--and a classic video by Brave New Films covers several more.

Saturday, July 5, 2008

Let's Take Care of Our Veterans

"Expect the clamor to grow louder as scores of wounded military service personnel return from Iraq and Afghanistan crippled by combat stress and brain injuries.

The RAND Corporation, in their 2008 study, reports that more than 30% of returning service personnel “have a mental health condition or reported experiencing a traumatic brain injury (TBI).” Nearly 20% meet the criteria for Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) or depression.Multiple tours and inadequate time between deployments can increase the rate of combat stress by 50%.

Blow away the smoke and Virginia’s share of this serious mental health concern comes to more than 50,000 veterans over the next 20 years. Considering the impact on spouses and children, the number increases to 200,000 during the same time period.

It’s a public health issue that the current service delivery system is not prepared to address. So, Governor Tim Kaine and the 2008 General Assembly are dealing with this challenge through the Commonwealth’s Department of Veterans Services (DVS) and new state laws that take effect July 1, 2008."

Click here to gain a better understanding:

What is the Virginia Wounded Warrior Program?

The Virginia Wounded Warrior Program will coordinate support services for veterans with stress related and traumatic brain injuries resulting from service in a combat area. The program will ensure that these veterans and their families receive timely assessment,
treatment, and support.

Who does the Program serve?

The Program supports Virginia veterans and members of the Virginia National Guard and
Virginia residents of the Armed Forces Reserves not in active federal service. The program also supports the family members of these veterans, Guard and Reserve members.

What kind of services will be provided?

Primarily behavioral health services will be provided by the Wounded Warrior Program;
however, other services, such as case management, outpatient, family support, and brain
injury services may be available as well.

Where can people go for help from the Wounded Warrior Program?

If you or someone you know is a veteran—or the family member of a veteran who may have suffered stress‐related or traumatic brain injury as a result of their service in combat, call . . .

You may also get additional information by visiting:

The Virginia for Veterans website


The Virginia Wounded Veterans Program

Doesn’t the U. S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) provide all the services
necessary for veterans and their families?

The U. S. Department of Defense (DoD) provides treatment and health care for military service personnel up until they are discharged or retire. Veterans have access to VA health care services for five years after discharge. But, no care is available from the VA for their family members. For some veterans, access to a VA medical center or clinic may be difficult due to geographic distance or because of their injuries.

Click here for the local organization helping with TBI

One Man's Excellent Perspective

4th of July Obama

Obama on Patriotism

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Webb Works Hard for American Service Men and Women

Thanks Bubby for this link!

Yes We Can Shenandoah Valley!

Dear Friend,

We need you now more than ever,

For together we have the opportunity to help elect

Good Solid Commonsense Democratic Candidates,…


President of the United States

Our Candidate: Barack Obama

Senate of the United States from Virginia

Our Candidate: Mark Warner

House of Representatives of the United States

Our Candidate: Sam Rasoul

Commissioner of Revenue of Rockingham County

Our Candidate: Esther Nizer

Treasurer of Harrisonburg City

Our Candidate: Bill Ney

Harrisonburg City Council

Our Candidates:

Richard Baugh

Kai Degner

David Wiens

Join Valley Democrats and Candidates to show our support

at the 4th of July Parade and Celebration this Friday!

Our Special Guest in the parade:

Senator Creigh Deeds!

Please contact Kai Degner and let him know you will

Join Our Parade Team…

Yes We Can Shenandoah Valley!

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

America's Infrastructure Shows Decades of Neglect

Midwest floods spotlight decrepit infrastructure

By Andrew Stern
CHICAGO (Reuters) - The latest U.S. natural disaster is triggering fresh rounds of concern and debate about how to repair America's aging infrastructure.

The worst Midwest flooding since 1993 has generated images of swamped towns, cracked roads, washed-out bridges, overwhelmed dams, failed levees, broken sewage systems, stunted crops and water-logged refugees.

Read the story