Monday, December 20, 2010

Help Us Support the Troops!

Please join us as we show support for the brave, selfless young men and women PROUDLY serving the United States in Afghanistan. Help us send them a bit of home while they are so far away.

We are putting together care passages that will be sent to three units stationed overseas in Afghanistan. Your help with this effort will make a great difference!

Think about the little things that you enjoy, and perhaps take for granted, and... let’s be a blessing as best we can to these wonderful young people!

Keep in mind that we also need to raise money for postage and shipping to get our care packages delivered overseas.

If you can help with a small contribution to help cover the shipping costs,
Please make your check to:

Seven Generations PAC
11830 Fort Turley Trail
Linville, VA 22834
Put Operation Show We Care in the memo/for line of your check.

Your help with this effort can make an enormous difference! Remember, many hands make light work.

One more very important part of this operation: Please include a card or message with your donated items letting our young soldiers know that you care and that you appreciate the sacrifices they are making on our behalf.

Let them know what we LOVE and SUPPORT them…

Thank you ever so much for your help!

Click here to join our Facebook event!

For more information, click to send an email to: C.J. Ritchie or Lowell Fulk.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

It is a good deal... let me find the credit card

Governor Bob McDonnell wants to take advantage of low construction costs brought on by the slow economy to jump start road building in the Commonwealth. His transportation plan calls for spending about $4 billion over three years to ease congestion and, as a side benefit, to create much needed jobs. Laudable goals. Road construction has languished in the Commonwealth while congestion has gotten worse. Folks in road building could certainly use the work. With costs, both highway construction and interest rates, at near historic lows now could be the time to get more miles for the dollar.

But... there's always a "but" isn't there... make no mistake about it, the Commonwealth will have to go deeper into hock to pay for the roads. Unfortunately the governor's plan fails to address just how we'd pay back those loans. Delegate Ward Armstrong (D-Henry Co.), House minority leader and a potential gubernatorial candidate, issued a press release saying of the plan,
This is just the latest in a long line of irresponsible and half-baked ideas that fail to address our core problem of generating a long-term sustainable source of funding for our transportation needs...
So where would Governor McDonnell find the dollars? He says some of the money would come from saving and unspent funds of over $1 billion "discovered" in a recent VDOT audit. So, that really doesn't represent much new spending, but rather money that is already in the pipeline for maintenance and other projects. The governor's plan anticipates $700 million from as yet unrealized future surpluses and from privatization of state ABC stores. Perhaps this is his way of pressuring the General Assembly into moving ahead on his plan to sell the liquor business, but legislators are far from being sold on deal, especially in light of a recent report of the Joint Legislative Audit and Review Commission questioning administration numbers. According to JLARC, the "profits" would be closer to $300 than the $500 million the governor projected. Plus, while it would be upfront money that could be used for current transportation, the sale would mean a loss of state revenue each and every year in the future.

Beyond that, the governor plans to borrow $2.9 billion in a mix of state-backed and federal-backed bonds. The $1.1 billion federal-backed bonds, it appears, are repaid from future federal transportation grants-in-aid to the Commonwealth. So, we'd have future loss of revenue from the sale of ABC stores, loss of some future federal transportation aid, and future interest payment to service the increased debt. And the Commonwealth already has obligations to repay money to VRS and for other bonds that helped balance previous budgets.

It is irresponsible to spend money without clear plans and a reliable revenue stream for repayment of the debt to be incurred. Future governors and legislators will be forced to choose between core services such as schools and public safety or raise taxes. As Delegate Armstrong noted,
When you don’t pay now, someone has to pay later. Unfortunately the Governor’s lack of leadership on transportation has resulted in a plan that amounts to a back door tax increase on our children.
Perhaps now is the time for the Commonwealth to revamp its gas tax. Start a process of small periodic increases in the current 17.5¢ per gallon state gas tax to raise it to a level consistent with inflation. That rate was set in 1985 and its buying power is closer to 8¢. But, the governor seems dead set against that - he'll just max out another credit card.

Previously posted on Coarse Cracked Corn.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Friends of Bucky Anderson Memorial

A Facebook Site has been started for those who wish to be supportive of Kenny and Margaret Anderson.
You can visit and become a friend by clicking here.

Here you will find a narrative of what the Anderson's have had to deal with, instead of being left to attempt to heal:

The Truth, by John Skelly

Kenny and Margaret Anderson attended a candlelight service held 3 days following the announcement that their son, Spc. Brian “Bucky” Anderson, had been killed in action in Afghanistan.  Clayton Murwin who also attended the candlelight service approached the Andersons to introduce himself.  He gave his condolences for their loss and made them a promise that he would memorialize their son’s name and sacrifice so “Bucky” would not be forgotten.  Within the week, Kay Kibler, an acquaintance of Clayton Murwin, took Clayton Murwin’s artistic rendering of the monument to the Anderson’s home.  It was very clear to all present at that time that the monument was meant to be specifically for “Bucky”.  It needs to be made clear that Kenny and Margaret never asked for their son’s name to be memorialized on a monument; however, after viewing Clayton Murwin’s drawing of the monument, they understood that this monument was always intended to be for their son’s sacrifice. 
Clayton Murwin and his Heroes Fallen Studios, Inc. shortly began raising funds using his artistic rendering and a pencil portrait of Bucky’s military picture.   Many local businesses were visited seeking donations for this monument dedicated to the Bucky Anderson Memorial Monument.  During the dinner following the funeral, Mr. Murwin approached many mourners’ tables asking them for a donation to the Bucky Anderson Memorial Monument.  He also collected money at a car wash fundraiser held at the Exxon station in Timberville in mid-July, seeking donations for the Brian “Bucky” Anderson Memorial Monument, which his parents attended.  During all of these events, Mr. Murwin made it clear to donators that they were giving money to directly fund the Brian “Bucky” Anderson Memorial Monument.   Shortly after the carwash fundraiser, Clayton Murwin announced in the Daily News-Record that all the necessary funds had been raised for the construction of the monument with a substantial surplus.  He also stated in the community that the monument would be delivered in time to be dedicated at Broadway High School’s first home football game.  During this time, Clayton Murwin was approached by management of the Broadway’s Domino Pizza Franchise to help design a flyer to announce a “Bucky” Anderson Memorial Monument fund drive to be held two Saturdays after the carwash event.  Shortly after the Pizza’s fundraiser, Margaret and Kenny Anderson became concerned with the fundraising techniques employed by Mr. Murwin and his Heroes Fallen Studios, Inc.   
I have known Kenny and Margaret Anderson for the past 20+ years.  I felt honored by Kenny and Margaret’s request to help them sort through questions that had arisen around the issue of a monument honoring their son’s sacrifice.  They were concerned with 4 specific issues and they asked me to address them with Clayton Murwin and his organization.   
1). Kenny Anderson, who attended the carwash, observed that no receipts were offered for cash donation.  
2) Margaret was contacted by Domino’s Pizzas’ management and told her that their fundraiser had raised $600.00 for the Brian “Bucky” Anderson Memorial Monument. However, since it was stated in the paper that all of the necessary funds had been raised for the monument, they asked Margaret if she would prefer the cash be given to “Bucky’s” scholarship fund, which greatly excited Kenny and Margaret.  Shortly thereafter, Clayton Murwin visited Domino’s Pizza inquiring for the results of the fundraiser.  He was told that they collected $600.00 and since the newspaper article had reported that all the monies necessary to build the monument had already been raised, the Anderson’s wanted to donate this $600 to Bucky’s scholarship fund.  Mr. Murwin become very upset with the management and demanded that the monies be turned over to his organization.  He felt the money was “his” because the Heroes Fallen Studios, Inc. logo was used on the bottom of the flyer and also claiming IRS regulations requiring him to collect the money.  Domino’s Pizza management team reported that Clayton Murwin made a big scene and disrupted business activities.  In the end, Clayton Murwin collected the $600 from Domino’s Pizza.  In the meantime, Clayton Murwin has promised to give that money to the Bucky’s Scholarship Fund; however, he has yet to make that contribution. 
3) The Anderson’s had heard a rumor that Clayton Murwin was offering donors who gave $500 or more to the Brian “Bucky” Memorial Monument to have their names engraved on the back.  The Anderson’s wishes were that this not be done.  They felt all donations were of equal value and should not be judged on a monetary scale.  These donations were collected from a community who wanted to honor Bucky’s memory -- certainly not to advertise their support.     
4) Andy Anderson, Bucky’s brother, had been planning a softball tournament to raise money for Bucky’s Scholarship Fund.  Clayton Murwin harassed Andy until the wee hours of the morning by cell phone, insisting that Andy needed his help to raise awareness of this tournament.  Andy wanted to do this for his brother and told Clayton Murwin that he did not need his help.  Andy stated that he had to turn his cell phone off to stop these calls. At this point, on behalf of Kenny and Margaret Anderson, I began making phone calls and visits to Clayton Murwin and members of Heroes Fallen Studios, Inc.’s board of directors.  During these calls and meetings, I asked these questions: 
1) Who was keeping the financial statements on the monies collected for the Brian “Bucky” Anderson Memorial Monument fundraising efforts?  
2) Had any of the money been spent?  
3) What the specifications of the monument were to be and what was to be engraved on it?  
4) Who was commissioned to do the actual construction of the monument and bronze artwork?  
5) Was a completed monument to be ready for the first home football game as stated to me by Clayton Murwin? All of the initial calls and visits resulted in the fact that Keith Clark was their record keeper and that the monument was to be completed in time for Broadway High School’s first home football game, provided that the Rockingham County School Board would grant permission to erect the monument on school grounds. Very quickly the responses to my calls and visits turned from being cordial into a defensive posture on their part with answers that became combative.    
During the same time that I was asking these questions, another situation developed.  Kay Kibler, a member of VFW Post #9660 Ladies Auxiliary, attended a meeting where she presented Clayton Murwin’s artistic rendering of the Bucky Anderson Memorial Monument, the same information that she presented to the Andersons.  Her intentions were to secure another donation for the monument.  A strong disagreement occurred among the members present.  Some members did not think it was fair to represent only Bucky’s service and sacrifice when other BHS soldiers made the same sacrifice.  The membership voted not to make a donation to Heroes Fallen Studios, Inc. because it was only for a Bucky Anderson Memorial.  Due to this stance taken by the VFW Post #9660 Ladies Auxiliary, Kay Kibler and a few other members transferred their membership shortly after this meeting.  Kay then makes Clayton Murwin aware of her transfer and why the VFW #9660 Ladies Auxiliary wouldn’t be making a contribution. Clayton Murwin acknowledged Kay’s statement, made sure he had the right VFW Post #9660 and told her that if any donations came from that VFW he would return that contribution with the notation that he was raising money for a Bucky Anderson Memorial.  
I met with the Andersons to discuss the results of my meetings, phone calls and conversations with Clayton Murwin and Keith Clark.  Besides unsatisfactory answers to simple questions about the monument, the Andersons were now dealing with rumors that the monument was no longer a Bucky Anderson memorial; these rumors greatly upset the Andersons.  Their sons’ name and likeness was still being used to raise and collect money for the monument.  
Shortly after the Rockingham County School Board resolution, Clayton Murwin began to change and delete information that he had posted on many websites dealing with Buckys’ monument.  Why?   After prodding from public officials, we were able to obtain a ledger from the beginning of fundraising through the School Board’s resolution.  Studying the ledger showed that the actor Brian Krause, a TV actor, who according to news articles donated his time and efforts to help raise money for the monument.  Clayton Merwin also told me personally in our first phone conversation that he had personally paid for the airplane ticket for Brain Krause.In actuality, Clayton Murwin used funds already raised from the community for the monument to pay for a 1st Class airplane ticket to fly him to Broadway along with parking fees, food and entertainment expenses totaling over $1,000.  At the autograph signing session, Brian Krause claimed that he raised $650 for his autograph signing of which he donated back $500 to the fund.  His visit cost the community over $500 of already donated funds given for the monument.   With this revelation of the Brian Krause financial disclosures and the fact the monument was not going to be ready for the BHS’s first home football game, the Andersons’ patience and understanding was wearing very thin.  With much prodding and pushing, we were able to get the Andersons to sit down with Marsha Garst, Commonwealth Attorney for Rockingham County, Pablo Cuevas, member of the Rockingham Board of Supervisors, Keith Clark, Vice President of the Heroes Fallen Studios, Inc. and myself to attempt to sort through the confusion and come to some sort of an agreement.   The financial accounting shows that a check had been sent from Heroes Fallen Studios, Inc. in the amount of $6,800.00 to a group in Florida called Florida’s Heroes Fallen.  At this time, Keith Clark confirmed that the check was in Florida’s Heroes Fallen and that no work had been done on the monument.  Keith Clark also said there was no signed contract between the two organization and no drawing as to exact features were to be included on the monument.  Marsha Garst, along with the Andersons’ input, drew a rendition of what they believed the monument was to look like.  Kenny Anderson made it clear that he wanted an extra cut on the granite block to include the engraving “Freedom Is Not Free”.  The Andersons stated that they wanted to pay for this extra work.  Bucky’s name, accomplishments and accompanying information was to be on the front.  The Anderson’s were in agreement that the emblems of the Heroes Fallen Studios, Inc. and Florida’s Heroes Fallen would be displayed on the back.  All of the attendees at this meeting were in agreement as to what the monument was to look like and the verbiage to be included.   The Andersons were concerned with the fact that there would be shipping costs incurred from Florida.  It was agreed at this meeting that Keith Clark would get itemized prices for each part of this work plus any additional shipping.  The bronze artwork was something that Kenny Anderson was going to price from a company located in Baltimore, MD.  Margaret was going to follow up and get prices from local monument companies and that I would check on the possibilities of bronze plaques as opposed to engraving the monument .  Then it was agreed that all parties would convene again in 3 weeks with their information.  It would then be determined who was to be commissioned to do the work and what the total expenses would be; a joint announcement would be made at that time.  It was agreed by all that no one would talk to the media,  Keith Clark agreed and shook every bodies hand.     Within approximately a week, a news article was released in the Daily News-Record quoting Clayton Murwin that the bronze and granite monument should arrive in about two weeks but was unsure as to where it was to be placed (this date was not met).  Many other statements were made in that article that greatly disturbed and upset the Andersons.  Clayton Murwin and the Heroes Fallen Studios, Inc. had broken all of their agreements and trust that was gained during the last meeting. At this time, Keith Clark put in his resignation from the organization.    Now we felt that we needed help and advice from legal counsel.  It was the Attorneys’ recommendation that we ask for mediation.  Clayton Murwin and his group also retained an Attorney and a mediation session was set up for October 19th.  On the mediation day, Margaret Anderson found a posting on the website for the Heroes Fallen Studies, Inc. making a statement that the granite portion of the monument had been completed and would be delivered on the 23rd of October. He also stated that the bronze work had been held up due to factory problems and that the site at BHS had been blocked.  With this upsetting information, the Andersons entered the mediation session with a lot of emotion and distrust of Clayton Murwin. The session did not go well; however, a few tentative agreements were reached with Clayton Murwin. One of the agreements was that Heroes Fallen Studios, Inc. would no longer use the pencil sketch made of Bucky’s military photo in any of their fundraising efforts.  In return, Clayton Murwin demanded the Andersons return the plaque (made by Blue Ridge Trophy Shop) that was given to them at the carwash event; which contained the pencil drawing done by Clayton Murwin.   Clayton Murwin then provided a hand-drawn sketch of the completed granite portion of the monument with Bucky’s name and pertinent information on the front and on the back a list of sponsors who had given $500.00 in cash or in value of materials or services provided (deemed by Mr. Murwin) towards the project.  The first name on this list was TV actor, Brian Krause.  The Andersons were distraught with this information and immediately demanded the removal of their sons’ name from the completed monument.  Clayton Murwin agreed to cover Buckys’s name with a bronze plaque using donated funds.  Kenny and Margaret Anderson removed themselves from the room; thus, ending the session.   The next day, I had a conversation with our Attorney and we decided to request, through Clayton Murwins’ attorney, for any picture that showed that the granite portion of the monument did actually exist.  Their attorneys’ e-mail response to this request was not only confusing but also very disturbing to all.  The Attorneys’ e-mail response is as follows:  “It has been done but not shipped.  I will be glad to have my client provide a photo upon receipt.  Please caution Mr. Skelly against trying to add additional conditions to the agreement, my client compromised a lot.  Obviously, if it had not already been finished, the discussions could have proceeded differently last night.  Please also remind Mr. Skelly that the Anderson’s son’s name was not originally going to be on the monument, my client added his name at the request of the Andersons but have now been asked to have it covered-up.  We need to let the scabs dry and heal and I know you appreciate that, I hope Mr. Skelly can come to appreciate it too.”  This was a devastating response to a simple request for a picture to confirm the existence of a monument and was another blow to the Andersons’ healing process.  Murwin’s attorney also informed us; the next day; that Bucky’s name had not been done, thus saving donated funds. This was the first time that it became obvious to me that Clayton Murwin and the Heroes Fallen Studios, Inc. may have another agenda.   Clayton Murwin and his Heroes Fallen Studios, Inc. had been trying for over two years to publish what he calls a graphic novel relating the stories of soldiers who served in the Iraq and Afghanistan wars.  Until recently, he has had limited success in our community raising the funds necessary to publish his first edition.  Clayton Murwin has just recently announced on his web page that the first publication will be released this month and ready to go on sale at the cost of $24.99/copy.  Clayton Murwin reported the first-run cost of the graphic novel was to be $6,500.00.  We all know the quoted cost for the Bucky Anderson monument was to cost $6,800.00  (Coincidence?)    Not only did Clayton Murwin ignore the wishes of Kenny and Margaret Anderson not to have donors listed on the back of the monument, it was claimed that the monument was already completed, including the list of donors on the back.  I have spoken with over half of the listed donors.  Of these donors, none of them were consulted nor wanted their names on the back of the monument.  They all said that they gave money, materials and services specifically for the Spc. Brian “Bucky” Anderson Memorial Monument.   Our community has always had compassion to lend help, effort and money to any good cause; in my opinion Clayton Murwin and his organization took advantage of this and collected money that was designated for a great cause, the Spc. Brian “Bucky” Anderson Memorial Monument and has given us nothing.   You truly failed to tap the full resources of this community and instead actually attempted to split the community for your financial gains to benefit the Heroes Fallen Studios, Inc. and its goals of publishing a graphic novel.   The Andersons have fought long and hard because their sons’ name was used in their community to raise money.  They have come to the end of the road with negotiations with Clayton Murwin and his Heroes Fallen Studios, Inc. and even went so far as to explore the possibility of legal action.  The Andersons know their community understands the need for them to go back to the process of grieving this first holiday season without their son.  They will no longer pursue any questions surrounding the monument nor its’ funding.  All they need to get through this holiday season is a pat on the back, a handshake, a hug or a thank-you for their son.   Clayton Murwin, your early actions of approaching the Andersons at the candlelight vigil to honor Bucky were not only callous but you short-circuited the communities’ ability to react to the Andersons’ loss.  If Clayton Murwin and his organization are truly trying to honor any of Broadway High School’s fallen heroes, you still have a chance.  If the monument has not been completed at this time, please cease and desist any actions that would spend funds already raised for any version of the monument.  The money raised from this community by your organization could still be a part of the solution.  Following the holiday season, the community will come together to sort through the confusion and problems surrounding your efforts.     Clayton Murwin and his organization have failed to use the greatest resource that was at their disposal and that was the understanding and compassion of Kenny and Margaret Anderson.  Their family now knows the pain and suffering that must be endured by the loss of a family member. They will be the leaders in commemorating and honoring all of BHS fallen heroes.  

They know in their hearts that Bucky would have wanted to stand proudly at the school he loved, BHS, along with his fallen comrades in arms.  
John Skelly

Friday, November 5, 2010

Harrisonburg Mayor Poll

Your choice for Mayor of Harrisonburg? (listed alphabetically)
Baugh, Richard - Current Vice Mayor - Democrat
Byrd, Ted - Councilman (Re-elected) - Republican
Chenault, Charles - Councilman Elect - Independent
Degner, Kai - Current Mayor - Democrat
Wiens, David - Councilman - Democrat

Free polls from

Sunday, October 31, 2010

I Remember

For those suffering from selective memory loss....

Friends don't let friends vote Republican.

Friday, October 29, 2010

Four Questions for Republican Voters

Think you are an informed voter? Answer these questions:

1. What was the average monthly private sector job growth in 2008, the final year of the Bush presidency, and what has it been so far in 2010?

2. What was the Federal deficit for the last fiscal year of the Bush presidency, and what was it for the first full fiscal year of the Obama presidency?

3. What was the stock market at on the last day of the Bush presidency? What is it at today?

4. Which party's candidate for speaker will campaign this weekend with a Nazi re-enactor who dressed up in a SS uniform?

(Answers will appear in the comments section)

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

How will you vote?

Here in the 6th District of Virginia, there is no Democratic nominee challenging Rep. Bob Goodlatte. The alternatives on the ballot, a Rand Paul style Libertarian and a tea drinking independent, don't cut it with most Democrats. Certainly, area Democrats will be going to the polls to vote on amendments to the Virginia Constitution and, in localities such as Harrisonburg, on city council and school board elections. But, what to do about voting in the 6th District race?

Well, there is a movement encouraging Democrats to vote for the Chair of the 6th District Democratic Committee, Linda Wyatt, for House of Representatives. While nobody expects her to get a large number of votes, those she receives (along with other write-in votes) are a way to express dissatisfaction with the choices presented on the ballot.

How should you vote on the constitutional amendments? Here's what I think...!

Friday, October 1, 2010

Michael Moore: Five Ways The Dems Can Avoid A Catastrophe And Pull Off The Mother Of All Upsets

The election is one month from tomorrow and, yes, it looks hopeless. November 2nd -- the day the Dems are expected to crash and burn.

Sadly, it's a situation the Democrats have brought upon themselves -- even though the majority of them didn't create the mess we're in. But they've had over a year and a half to start getting the job done to fix it. Instead, they've run scared ever since they took power. To many, the shellacking they're about to receive is one they deserve.

But if you're of a mindset that believes a return to 2001-2008 would be sheer insanity, then you probably agree we've got no choice but to save the Democrats from themselves.


Wednesday, September 29, 2010

More Southern Christian Stupidity and Intolerance

Ignorance, Not Islam, Is The Enemy

(RNS) In a single vote, the Texas State Board of Education managed to undermine Christian-Muslim relations, hamper religious literacy and impose ignorance on our kids at a time when they need knowledge to live and work in a competitive and integrated world.

Board members--no foreigners to strange and bizarre decisions--voted to scrub textbooks of anything that smacked of a "pro-Islam" or "anti-Christian" bias. Texas textbooks, by their sheer number, end up setting nationwide standards.


Americans Don't Know Much About Religion

A new survey of Americans' knowledge of religion found that atheists, agnostics, Jews and Mormons outperformed Protestants and Roman Catholics in answering questions about major religions, while many respondents could not correctly give the most basic tenets of their own faiths.

Forty-five percent of Roman Catholics who participated in the study didn't know that, according to church teaching, the bread and wine used in Holy Communion is not just a symbol, but becomes the body and blood of Christ.

More than half of Protestants could not identify Martin Luther as the person who inspired the Protestant Reformation. And about four in 10 Jews did not know that Maimonides, one of the greatest rabbis and intellectuals in history, was Jewish.

Hmmm, smarter people know more than dumb people...what a concept.


The South Will Rise Again?

The Poorest States In The U.S. (PHOTOS)

Check this out, each of the poorest eleven States are located in the uber-conservative, evangelical south which also has the highest rates of obesity, high school drop outs, and teenage pregnancy. What sane person would want to be a part of that? And where is this so called conservative fiscal responsibility?

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

GOP Sticks it to the Working Class Again

GOP, U.S. Chamber Of Commerce Beat Back Bill To Combat Outsourcing

Senate Republicans beat back an effort by Democrats Tuesday to end tax breaks for companies who send jobs offshore only to import products back into the United States. The House has passed a series of similar legislation over the past several weeks, as Democrats work to portray Republicans as in the pocket of Big Business at the expense of workers, the economy, the trade deficit and the budget deficit.

Monday, September 27, 2010

VA: Making it Easy for Criminals to Get Guns

Gun Crime Study: 10 States Sell Half Of Imported Guns Used In Crimes

WASHINGTON — Nearly half of the guns that crossed state lines and were used in crimes in 2009 were sold in just 10 states, according to a report being released Monday by a mayors' group.

Those states accounted for nearly 21,000 guns connected to crimes in other states, said the survey by Mayors Against Illegal Guns, an association of more than 500 mayors led by New York's Michael Bloomberg and Boston's Thomas Menino.........Forty-nine percent of those guns were sold in Georgia, Florida, Virginia, Texas, Indiana, Ohio, Pennsylvania, North Carolina, California or Arizona.

Whole story

Americans Beat 33 Countries to Win Obesity Prize

OECD (the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development), a group of 33 countries “committed to democracy and the market economy,” has just released a major report on obesity.

Its main conclusion? The United States population has the highest percentage of overweight and obesity in the democratic, market-economy world.


Friday, September 24, 2010

Republican Pledge - Here We Go Again!

Make sure you catch the last couple of minutes - you get to hear the Republican leadership saying the same crap they were saying 10 years ago. They think you're stupid. I'm sure Bob Goodlatte agrees.
The Daily Show With Jon StewartMon - Thurs 11p / 10c
Postcards From the Pledge
Daily Show Full EpisodesPolitical HumorTea Party

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Rally to Restore Sanity -vs- March to Keep Fear Alive

Would you like to attend Jon Stewart's Rally to Restore Sanity?

This " a rally for the people who've been too busy to go to rallies, who actually have lives and families and jobs (or are looking for jobs) -- not so much the Silent Majority as the Busy Majority. If we had to sum up the political view of our participants in a single sentence... we couldn't. That's sort of the point." ...Jon Stewart, The Daily Show
A Million Moderate March!!!

The Daily Show With Jon StewartMon - Thurs 11p / 10c
Rally to Restore Sanity
Daily Show Full EpisodesPolitical HumorTea Party

Meanwhile, Steven Colbert is having a counter event
at the same time and location!!!

The Colbert ReportMon - Thurs 11:30pm / 10:30c
March to Keep Fear Alive
Colbert Report Full Episodes2010 ElectionFox News

When?     Saturday, October 30th 2010  Beginning at 12:00 Noon!
Where?    The Mall in Washington D.C.
We would leave the Valley around 8:00am...

Well, let's do so as a team! Join me in working to get as many people from up and down the Valley to build a Carpool Convoy of folks to attend the Rally to Restore Sanity together!  We're also working on filling charter buses.

Think how much fun we'll all have, restoring sanity to the national discourse! 

Click here to visit our local Facebook Rally page.  Let us know that you'd like to join the growing Valley Group!

Let's take it down a notch, for America!

My thought is to set up central assembly locations where folks can meet and load up for a wonderful day's adventure. There could actually be several up and down the Valley! We could establish one in Staunton, one in Harrisonburg, one in Roanoke, Lexington, Waynesboro, Woodstock  etc...

What are your thoughts? Are you in?!!! Do you want to be part of a really cool and fun, and meaningful event?

Would you like to coordinate a group in your area?

I'm looking forward to hearing from you, and to enjoying the day with you!

Sincerely yours,

Lowell Fulk

Click this link to go to the official Facebook event:

Friday, September 10, 2010

Who Would Jesus Vote For?

So we were having a conversation today with a minister and Bible scholar. Here's the short version:

Number of times Jesus condemns homosexuality: 0
Number of times Jesus condemns divorce: 4
Number of times Jesus condemns adultery: 9
Number of New Testament verses condemning the rich: 20+
Number of New Testament verses condemning gay marriage: 0

These Christians follow His teachings. Blessings to Pastor Steve Stone of Heartsong Church! He walks the path.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

The Campaigner-in-Chief

Pity the Republican Party, the Campaigner-in-Chief has entered the fray. As Steven Colbert said the other night, "Reality has a Liberal bias".

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Valley Democratic Celebration of the American Worker!

Join Valley Democrats on September 12!
Fellowship with several hundred of your best friends in the Valley!

Sunday, September 12 --- The JMU Grand Ballroom
5:30pm Cash Bar --- Silent Auction
6:15pm Dinner and Program

Entertainment:  Glick and Phillips

Mayor of Harrisonburg --- Kai Degner
House Minority Leader --- Delegate Ward Armstrong
Former Democratic National Committee Chair --- Terry McAuliffe

JMU Festival and Conference Center
1301 Carrier Drive
Harrisonburg, Virginia

For information call
Deb Fitzgerald at 540-434-8900




Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Prominent Climate Change Denier is Now a Climate Change Believer

The world's most high-profile climate change sceptic is to declare that global warming is "undoubtedly one of the chief concerns facing the world today" and "a challenge humanity must confront", in an apparent U-turn that will give a huge boost to the embattled environmental lobby.

Bjørn Lomborg, the self-styled "sceptical environmentalist" once compared to Adolf Hitler by the UN's climate chief, is famous for attacking climate scientists, campaigners, the media and others for exaggerating the rate of global warming and its effects on humans, and the costly waste of policies to stop the problem.

But in a new book to be published next month, Lomborg will call for tens of billions of dollars a year to be invested in tackling climate change. "Investing $100bn annually would mean that we could essentially resolve the climate change problem by the end of this century," the book concludes.

The whole story

Glenn Beck's rally was the Waterworld of white self-pity.

White Fright

One crucial element of the American subconscious is about to become salient and explicit and highly volatile. It is the realization that white America is within thinkable distance of a moment when it will no longer be the majority. This awareness already exists in places like New York and Texas and California, and there have even been projections of the time(s) at which it will occur and when different nonwhite populations will collectively outnumber the former white majority. But it also exerts a strong subliminal effect in states like Alaska that have an overwhelming white preponderance.

Monday, August 30, 2010

A Blow for Cuccinelli, a Win for VA Taxpayers

Judge quashes Cuccinelli subpoena of U-Va. records

An Albemarle County Circuit Court judge has set aside a subpoena issued by Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli to the University of Virginia seeking documents related to the work of climate scientist and former university professor Michael Mann.

Judge Paul M. Peatross Jr. ruled that Cuccinelli can investigate whether fraud has occurred in university grants, as the attorney general had contended, but ruled that Cuccinelli's subpoena failed to state a "reason to believe" that Mann had committed fraud.

The ruling is a major blow for Cuccinelli, a global warming skeptic who had maintained that he was investigating whether Mann committed fraud in seeking government money for research that showed that the earth has experienced a rapid, recent warming. Mann, now at Penn State University, worked at U-Va. until 2005.

The whole story

"9/11 Christian" cult to Build a Church need Ground Zero

So, what if, in addition to the Park51 interfaith cultural center and basketball courts that are not at Ground Zero, we had a bigoted kook-church for people who believe Islam is a "religion of 'hate and death'" that's also not at Ground Zero? Then, everything would be even-Steven, right? Well, good news, then, from the Salon War Room:

A bigoted pastor who has assailed gays and Muslims is launching the "9-11 Christian Center at Ground Zero" a mere two blocks from the World Trade Center site this Sunday but so far the project hasn't drawn a peep of protest from those who are outraged by the "ground zero mosque."

Pastor Bill Keller of Florida said today he will begin preaching this Sunday at the Marriott at 85 West Street (see proximity to ground zero here). A weekly service is planned at the hotel until the $8 million 9/11 Christian Center finds a permanent space. (Fundraising is going well, Keller told Salon today.)

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Ken Plum: Sizing down government in VA

Recently I received an automated “robo” survey call on my home telephone from Lt. Gov. Bill Bolling. After a brief explanation that Gov. Bob McDonnell was seeking to reduce the size of state government, the recording of Lt. Gov. Bolling posed the first question: Do you agree with Gov. McDonnell that the size of state government should be reduced?

My answer choices were either “yes” or “no.” I like the question; it is one I could debate either side at length. I replied “no.” That clearly was not the answer the surveyors wanted to hear, for after asking my gender – for whatever reason that mattered – the call ended. If I had responded yes, the follow-up questions would probably have picked at the agencies of state government to see where I would agree to reductions. Given the complexities of state government and its many functions, I wonder how informed the responses were to the questions.

Budget cutting with the economic recession has reduced the size of state government. Currently there are nearly 54,000 positions authorized for Virginia government to be paid for by tax revenue. The unit of government with the most tax-paid employees is public safety with just over 18,000 employees. That number includes the 14,421 prison guards and others who operate the adult and juvenile prisons and correctional facilities. That number also includes nearly 2,500 state police.

The next highest number of tax-paid state employees is in higher education with 17,597 employees who staff our colleges and universities. Public school teachers and administrators are local and not state employees. The third highest category of general fund state employees is in health and human services with nearly 9,000 employees who run the state mental health hospitals and mental retardation facilities. These three services constitute 80 percent of state government employees. The remaining units of government employ fewer than a thousand taxpayer-paid employees each.

There is a total of 61,000 additional state employees who work in programs that through fees or contracts pay for themselves including 35,000 in higher education alone. Eliminating these positions also eliminates the source of revenue that supports them with no net gain to the budget. In the instance of the Alcoholic Beverage Control system, eliminating the 1,078 positions in the agency would eliminate the nearly $150 million in annual revenue provided to local government from the profits of the ABC system.

For those who got the same robo telephone survey as I did and who voted in favor of reducing state government, please let me know where you would make the reductions beyond the belt-tightening done recently with the economic recession. Send your suggestions to me at, and if feasible I will lead the effort to reduce government in those areas. I hope there is agreement that we need our prison guards, state police, college professors, and support personnel, as well as our mental health workers.

Ken Plum serves in the Virginia House of Delegates.