Showing posts from 2008

I Am Ashamed That Eric Cantor Is My Congressman

I understand that most don’t have the leisure I have, as a retiree, to follow issues, to stay tuned to political debates, to spend time and become involved in local politics. However, it is appalling that those fellow citizens of my 7th District in Virginia have such a knee jerk reaction to this current financial crisis such as to swallow the political rhetoric of Congressman Cantor and to not see this partisan politician for who he is.

To see Congressman Cantor spotlighted on national news holding up House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s floor remarks and using this as the reason that Republicans failed to pass their administration’s backed financial crisis bill was nauseating. Cantor was playing politics. Cantor was petty. Cantor was being used by his party handlers to try and shift this failure to reach accord onto the Democrats for political gain. Cantor was seen as a safe spokesman who is from the brightest red district of a red state with little formidable opposition to push this mal…

Solve The Economic Crisis – Sell Alaska Back To Russia

In 1867 Russia was in a difficult financial position and sold Alaska to the United States. Perhaps its time to consider selling it back. Russia might pay for this helped with their huge oil revenues. At 350 million acres, by offering to sell back Alaska to Russia at a mere $5,000 per acre, there would be an almost two trillion dollar infusion into our Treasury. This would pay for the bailout of Wall Street and hopefully restore our financial markets as well as pay the cost of the Iraq War. There is certainly precedence for this. Countries sell territory when they get into big problems. For example the 1803 Louisiana Purchase from Napoleon.

After all the population of Alaska is only about 700,000 (about the same as Memphis Tennessee) and they are geographically closer to Russia than mainland United States. And this will have many side benefits. The drilling in ANWR debate is shifted out of our politics. Governor Palin now becomes a Russian citizen and will get some internationa…

"World War V" - a timely novel

First time novelist Tom Elliott has hit a home run with this propitiously published new novel, “World War V”. Elliot seems to be a cross between Follett, Vonnegut, and Pynchon but with an uncanny ability to capture the disparate characters playing in the big picture of a world stage while simultaneously being so fallibly human.

The year is 2010 and in the midst of a worldwide financial crisis, accelerating inflation, and tightening of credit, traditional military war is being replaced by economic war. OPEC, Venezuela, and Russia have been holding secret meetings, each with their own agendas but with the realization that together they can put enormous pressure on the west to advance their agendas. And together they are able to pressure China by both reassuring it on its energy supply and suggesting a way to bolster its relative geopolitical power and prestige.

This all bodes poorly for the west and especially for America. In the states unemployment has skyrocketed, personal equity ha…

Why Is Congressman Eric Cantor Not The Prime Example Of The Type Of Politician That McCain And Palin Say They Are Fighting Against?

Rather than go into a lengthy discussion on the ineptitude and toadiness of Virginia’s 7th District Republican Congressman, I thought this interview of Cantor by Chris Matthew would better prove my point.

Will Virginia Decide The Election?

Regardless of all the national polls, least we forget, it is the electoral votes that decide the presidency. An interesting insight into this dynamic is provided by, which uses the consensus of the market where real dollars are being bet on the presidential election and other political races. I’ve plotted the “market value” of the electoral votes and here is the graph.

And it’s a very close race by any measure. And Virginia is both now in play as a swing state and perhaps is a presidential decider. Northern Virginia is swinging blue and has for years. And to some extent, so is the Richmond metropolitan area. Surprisingly, the stalwart conservatives in the Norfolk area are even giving Obama a second look. Certainly rural and western Virginia will vote along conservative lines.

But, again least we forget, it was Jim Webb, whose recent close and surprising win over George Allen, tipped the Senate to the Democrats and changed the balance of power in Washington. And now V…

The Presidency Will Change – But What About The Congress?

With both parties waking up to the clarion call of all Americans for change, and not just change, but basic change in the way our government serves its people, there are now four individuals of uncommon promise. The presidency will change. But perhaps much more importantly, will the Congress?

Mohandas Gandhi is quoted as saying, “I like your Christ, I do not like your Christians. Your Christians are so unlike your Christ”. To follow in that thought I have to say to the McCain campaign, “I like your presidential candidate, I don’t like your Republicans. Your Republicans are so unlike your presidential candidate”.

The tone of McCain’s speech was so opposite to the vitriol of previous night’s speakers. He didn’t rail against the evil and effete liberals. He accepted that we are all more alike as Americans than our differences would suggest. And most importantly, he acknowledged the failures of the recent Republican control and the need to fix Washington and to reach for the best ide…

Sarcasm Is An Indirect Form Of Anger

Behaviorists who study such things say that sarcasm is an indirect form of anger. If that is indeed true then the speeches at this year’s Republican convention, especially those of Romney, Giuliani, and the vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin dripped with that subsurface anger. But what are they angry about? Are they angry that the last eight years of Republican control has been so disastrous that they feel power slipping from their hands? Are they angry at a countrywide awakening that we are up to our collective asses in problems and its time for a change. Are they angry that regardless of who wins in November there is a mountain of debt that will have to be paid back by all of us – Democrats and Republicans.

I’m at a loss for an answer.

Just as “compassionate conservatism” in previous Republican cycles was a clever phase – it hardly is a way we remember the reality. And is certainly not a slogan continued in the current cycle. The current cycle seems to be about macho con…

Congressman Eric Cantor - Poster Boy for the Last Eight Years

Do you know who your Congressman is? If you do, I challenge you to ask the next five people you meet and find one more who does. Perhaps it’s just that your Congressman is more a part of the political machine that only raises its head when elections roll around. And which provides the ride back into power of career politicians who see their main challenge as raising more money so they can continue to stay in power.

In the midst of two weeks of political party conventions, the volleys go back and forth but one common theme is prevalent – and that is that the Congress has been ineffective in the last eight years in addressing the important problems facing our country. And there has been possibly no Congressman more associated with this gridlock, this inability to work across the aisle, this putting of party interest above the interests of America than Virginia’s 7th District Congressman Eric Cantor.

But don’t take my word for this. I am just a political junkie who is concerned with t…

Do We Really Want To Elect A Left Handed President?

Not long ago in history, and in some parts of the world even today, being left-handed was seen as a curse. Despite the best science and medicine today that overwhelming tells us that being left handed is not a moral choice but is a state of being, there exists some level of prejudice, bias, and discrimination against the left-handed among us. In America, generally those born left-handed are not insisted to change their handedness to right-handedness, although that was the case just a few decades ago. Parents and teachers would routinely coerce the left-handed to adopt the majority handedness. We don’t persecute or torture the left handed as happened in earlier generations although in Muslim cultures being left handed can be quite a disadvantage as religion requires food to be eaten only with the right hand – the left being used for personal hygiene.

What does this have to do with a left-handed president? NBC news tonight reported that four of the last six presidents were left-hand…

Congressman Cantor - Do We Really Want To Reelect You?

Recent House Votes

Medicare Improvements for Patients and Providers Act - Vote Passed (355-59, 20 Not Voting)

The House passed this bill to cancel a scheduled 10 percent Medicare reimbursement cut to physicians.

Rep. Eric Cantor voted NO

Federal Price Gouging Prevention Act - Vote Failed (276-146, 13 Not Voting)

The House fell short of the two-thirds margin necessary to pass this bill, which would have expanded the Federal Trade Commission’s powers to combat price manipulation.

Rep. Eric Cantor voted NO

Alternative Minimum Tax Relief Act of 2008 - Vote Passed (233-189, 12 Not Voting)

The House voted to “patch” the alternative minimum tax.

Rep. Eric Cantor voted NO

Saving Energy Through Public Transportation Act - Vote Passed (322-98, 14 Not Voting)

The House approved $1.7 billion in grants to mass transit authorities.

Rep. Eric Cantor voted NO


There is an alternative to those who seem to have a higher loyalty to their party than to the district they represent, an alternative…

Reverend Jeremiah Wright

The current 24/7 news cycle this week latched onto several clips from sermons from Reverend Jeremiah Wright, the pastor to presidential candidate Barack Obama for some 20 years.

Most have now seen these clips of the minister’s theatrical and hyperbolic style. And it would be to walk among mine fields to attempt to defend the several sound bites that the networks have chosen out of the many sermons the minister’s church apparently makes available on video.

Wright’s statements in these clips have been almost universally characterized as incendiary, outrageous, and anti-American.

It may not be possible now, in this poisoned atmosphere, to view these in context, but I challenge you to do that. I challenge you to imagine you are in the congregation during these sermons and I challenge you to abstract yourself from the current controversy and honestly ask yourself if you had been there, would you, without the coaching of TV and radio’s talking heads, have the same opinion of this minister.


Does Virginia Really Want To Reelect Congressman Cantor?

For the first six years of the Bush administration all three branches of government were under tight Republican control. It was no secret over those years that a housing bubble was growing. Speculation was rampant. Housing developments were carving a new landscape. Whole TV channels were being devoted to how to make fast money by flipping real estate. And TV commercials were full of enticements to buy and refinance at suspiciously low rates with lots and lots of small print.

Where were the regulators of this industry? The mortgage bank regulators? The federal and state financial institution regulators? Were they all asleep?

Bear Sterns demise over the weekend may be just one domino. And though I have little sympathy for the Bear Stearns execs and the threat to their multi million dollar salaries and loss of millions of their equity, what about all the middle class Americans who were lured into this market bubble and are now threatened with loss of home and hearth?

When the D…

Turmoil in Chesterfield County Elections

Beginning before the January 3rd Iowa primary, there was a heady storm of general interest in November’s upcoming presidential election. Eight more primary election dates would build this crescendo of public attention before the Chesapeake primary on 12 February that included Virginia. Election Commissions and Registrars across the Old Dominion were gearing up for what was to be a very high turn out primary. But somehow this preplanning was far insufficient for one Virginia County – Chesterfield County.

Early on the morning of 12 February red flags were going up in the county about long lines and long waits to vote at several insufficiently staffed precincts. And as the day progressed problems compounded to the point that disgusted voters walked away from lines that circled around polling sites. And then even worse -- precincts began running out of ballots. As the polls closed almost 300 votes had been placed on scraps of paper, countless voters had walked away from the long line…

The Missed Story – From Tuesday’s Election

Virginia is perennially considered a red state by TV’s talking heads and the print world’s political pundits. Virginia is considered a conservative bastion and the home of fundamentalist Christians as shown by being custodian of the two holy places of Pat Robertson’s 700 Club and the late Jerry Falwell’s Liberty University. Last Tuesday’s primary would expect these authoritarian Virginians to march lock step to the polls and vote solidly Republican – but they didn’t.

Where the voter had the option to choose a Republican or a Democratic ballot, only 34% chose a Republican ballot as opposed to 66% who chose a Democratic ballot.

And in my county of Chesterfield, which has been a bastion of Republican ole boy politics up until the last board of supervisor’s election, the breakdown was 38% choosing the Republican ballot and 62% choosing the Democratic ballot.

Virginians were going Democratic versus Republican – two to one!

This is a seismic shift, a pole reversal, an underreported story that…

Dare I Mention the Word - Marijuana

The following is a response to blogger Paul Hammond's posting on Barack Obama's position on marijuana.


America’s criminal justice system has over the past few decades evolved into a criminal justice industry where vested interests and corporate interests have propelled our country into the largest prison in the world, and the largest prison population in the world. And it is not just the two million who languish in cells; it is the millions more affected as families and communities are disrupted. It is not just the millions incarcerated; it is the consequences of the world’s greatest crime university that takes in young men who committed small crimes and turns out hardened criminals and recidivists. It is not just the millions who sit imprisoned, but the fact that one in three adult black men in America are felons or ex felons – deprived forever of not just their suffrage, but disadvantaged regarding housing, employment an…

I Know What You Are, But What Am I?

I’ve wanted for some time to ponder the growing tendency of many Republicans to use the term “Democrat Party” instead of the more familiar “Democratic Party”. A tactic even our President has adopted. And the current Republican strategy to demonize the term “liberal” and equate it to limp-wristed, nebbish, effete, ex-hippies. And to further suggest that any semblance to socialism is to be equally dismissed as a slippery slope to communism. Even further, France and now all of Europe are not seen as precedents of America, but as a region of weak, withering, peoples, only existing by being propped up by our global might and reach. Somehow the oafish bullies and the BMOC types of high school become the Republicans of adult life.

I suggest you pull out your Webster and refresh your understanding of the labels “liberal” and “conservative”. I’d further suggest you afford yourself of the studies that indicate how those with conservative leanings are apt to be individuals who are attracted…

If There Is A God, Huckabee Will Be Our Next President

Don’t get me wrong, I like Mike Huckabee. He is an eloquent and compelling speaker, he is not a part of the Belt Way establishment, and he has a great sense of self-deprecating humor. He is even a musician and I respect his discipline in losing 100 pounds. I like his intelligent initiative to dramatically overhaul out tax system to stop the disincentive to production and earnings.

But as much as I like Huckabee, I would never vote for him. Or anyone who has such an unenlightened and simplistic view of this mystery known as God. No, even large numbers of theologians question the inerrancy of the Christian Bible.

I believe God inspired the Bible – and I use “God” as a short cut for my sense of whatever the mystery of mysteries is. But then aren’t all great works inspired? I believe that Jesus was the Son of God. But aren’t we all the children of God? The more one has a sense of history and of the wiles of men, the more I, at least, can see through the lens of time more and more…