Elephant Ears

This blog is dedicated to the political happenings in the Valley and Southwest Virginia. As the the name implies, this blog will have posts based on what is heard by this elephant's (GOPer's) ears. It is also a great treat to get while at the county fair or a carnival.

Thursday, September 28, 2006

Now We Have a Real Scandal

From Bearing Drift, Phil Kellam was convicted of beating up a woman while he was in college.

Now after all this talk over what Sen Allen may have said, we have a candidate who actually did something that can be substantiated with absolute certainty.

Lets hear the outrage from the dems now.

UPDATE: Since there seems to be a discrepancy in what "assault" means; perhaps Mr. Kellam would like to tell us what exactly happened in his encounter with this woman. I'll be waiting for his explanation.

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Post Story on Webb

The story in the Washington Post tomorrow morning is out.

Here is the killer quote:

"Cragg, 67, who lives in Fairfax County, said on Wednesday that Webb described taking drives through the black neighborhood of Watts, where he and members of his ROTC unit used racial epithets and pointed fake guns at blacks to scare them."

My how the tables have turned.

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Transportation Session Begins

Tomorrow (or later today I guess), the special session for transportation will begin for the General Assembly. There are about 90 bills that have been proposed.

From what I hear, the $137 million that was miscalculated will in fact be earmarked for its original purposes, but it will only be a one time thing. It was a wrongly calculated formula and therefore the localities don't really deserve the money anyway. Even so, since the localities have already written their budgets based on this money, it was almost impossible for the state to withhold it this year. It still remains to be seen whether it will really end up being a one time thing; but I am confident the House GOP will hold firm on this in the session next January.

As for the actual transporation solutions, it doesn't sound like there is any one plan that is getting widespread praise. The House Appropriations Cmte has approved a spending plan that gives $2.4 Billion to transportation over 6 years by raising $1.5 Billion in debt (this also will require a bond referendum in 2007) and spending $339 Million from the transportation reserve fund. The bill they passed also requires that 50% of general fund surplus (after rainy day fund and water quality funding) be spent on transportation as well. It is my understanding that this proposal is supported by the GOP caucus and should pass the House.
I have a feeling that plan will be met with resistance in the Senate, as they have said they oppose borrowing money for the transportation solutions. Time will tell on that.

Also, I am told that we have received about $100 million in federal money to build/upgrade truck lanes on I-81. I think the total to be spent on that project will be $140 million, which is about half of what they originally wanted to do the whole corridor. Had the $137 million mistake not been made, they may have been able to fund almost all the proposed lane upgrades. No word yet on where exactly those truck lanes will be constructed. Also, I have heard that Star Solutions mega highway proposal for I-81 is dead.

I haven't see or heard of any particular proposals from the Senate, but I am assuming they will still want some type of tax and/or fee increase. I am sure we will know more soon.

Apparently, the governor has not really put forth any plans at all so far. This is not surprising, since he probably wants to use the transportation issue as a campaign issue to try and take back the House and Senate in 2007.

The last piece of info I have is a proposal by Del. Phil Hamilton that would raise as much as $660 million/year for transportation by letting people bet on horseraces on machines that look similar to ATMs. This would be done at the existing off-track betting parlors in Virginia. It sounds like an interesting proposal, though I imagine it will be met with resistance from the anti-betting folks.

Is anyone hearing anything else?

Monday, September 25, 2006

Amen Chris

Check out Mason Conservative for a great post on the loser of the 2006 campaign.

Unfortunately, this is what I figured the blogosphere would become.

Thursday, September 21, 2006

Dems Have It Right

I was glad to see this morning that Charlie Rangel and Nancy Pelosi are condemning Hugo Chavez's speech at the UN. I'm glad to see both GOPs and Dems are on the same page here.

Chavez is the real devil, and needs to be dealt with as such.

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Gas Prices

are falling. Here in Blacksburg they are down to $2.19 for regular.
Anyway, we have seen consumer confidence spike in the past week or so since the drop began. I have seen on report predicting gas below $2 before Thanksgiving.

This morning, Gallup has a new Bush approval rating at 44% and likely voters evenly favoring GOPs or dems for Congress.

I was just wondering if anyone thinks gas prices will have any impact on the elections. Personally, I think alot of the tightening in these Congressional ratings are due to the media machine starting to get cranked up and now people are actually starting to think about the election. I am not convinced if gas prices go down voters will give the GOP the benefit of that.
I don't see it being a big issue.

What does everyone else think?

Monday, September 18, 2006


I thought the debate was very good today. As usual, both candidates used their answers to back up endorsements and attack their opponent, but all in all it was a good debate.
Jeff Schapiro had the best questions in my opinion. He asked issue based questions that were relevant and also could show insight. He of course had the best list too since he looked at issues from the past to make the candidates back up their stances (like Allen's motor voter stance versus his concealed carry permit bill).
Of course Peggy Fox was completely out of line on her religious question. That was ridiculous.

I obviously think Allen won the debate, but he is a better debater than Webb. Webb I think has the same monotone bored voice that John Kerry has; and that hurts you in debates. The other problem Webb has is that he still doesn't have very clear answers on many issues. He couldn't even say how he wants to end the war, but that it "needs new leadership on the issue".

Either way, I don't think debates matter that much in content. Its all about how the debate is written about in the papers and on the news. We will see how that turns out tonight and tomorrow.

Sunday, September 17, 2006

Blogs the New Media?

I heard one time that alot of people point to major new media outlets causing poltical re-alignments in this country. For example, Next Gingrich used CSPAN and talk radio to his advantage to retake Congress in 1994.
Anyway, this begs the question; will blogs be the next "new media" that influences politics"? Obviously the verdict is still out on how effective blogs will become at being a viable news source. Even so, you have to ask yourself if blogs are the next big thing, who will be able to take best advantage of them to drive their political party into power?
It seems that right now bost sides have pretty solid blog presences with RedState on the GOP side and DailyKos on the dem side. Virginia too has solid representation on both sides with Commonwealth Conservative and Shaun Kenney on the GOP side and RaisingKaine and Virginia Progressive on the dem side.

It seems to me that the biggest asset blogs pose to the political process is the ability to do a "hatchet job" on someone without direct campaign connection. As we have seen recently, several attacks have been launched first through the blogs to see if it catches or not. If it does, the job is done and the targeted candidate suffers. If it does not make traction, the attacking campaign does not have to take responsibility for it and nothing happens to them.

I don't think blogs will be considered a huge determinant in this year's elections, but I think very soon campaigns will realize the value of blogs. The question is whether the bloggers will take on the job of being the campaign henchmen.

What does everyone else think about the future of blogs?

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Mason-Dixon Poll

I'm sure everyone has seen the new M-D poll on both Allen-Webb and the marriage amendment.
What I have not seen anyone take a look at is the poll they did in Virginia on Bush approval and terrorism. Only 42% of Virginians approve of Bush, but 57% say they believe our efforts to combat terrorism are working.
There was also one more interesting statistic:

"63 percent said they support the use of controversial tactics such as wiretapping and surveillance of financial transactions to monitor terrorist threats"

Just wondering what everyone thought of those numbers.

Monday, September 11, 2006

Where I Was On 9/11

It was my junior year in High School. Of course, we had only been in school for about 2 or 3 weeks when 9/11 came.
I remember coming into my 3rd period English class and my friend Chris asked me if I had heard what happened. I had no idea what he was talking about, so he said that a plane had flown into the World Trade Center. At this point, we only knew about the first one. Of course, we heard nothing during the class, but we then went to 4th period U.S. History and by then everything had happened and everyone was talking about it. We watched the news coverage in class that day and wondered what would happen next. At this point, there was concern that the planes may have delivered a chemical or biological attack as well, and everyone was wondering if there were anymore attacks that would happen.
I also remember the news saying how Bush was on the move constantly on Air Force One and how all air traffic was cancelled and the stock market had been closed (it didn't reopen for about 10 days in I remember correctly).
Everyone in school was worried there would be a huge war over this, some were even concerned that there would be a draft.
There were no initial reports as to who we thought did it, but Bin Laden was my first thought.
For the next several weeks, we watched the news constantly to see what the latest developments were.

We then began to wonder if anything would ever be done. For almost a month no attacks or talk of attacks came, until one Sunday morning we came back from church and we had began the war in Afghanistan.

The one thing I will never forget about this time was the unitedness of the American public. There were flags everywhere, there were no political discussions of republican -democrat, conservative-liberal. For those few weeks and months after 9/11 we were all Americans. The fact it wasn't an election year probably had something to do with that, but I miss that public discourse.
Its a shame the terrorists had to show us how strong we are when we are united.

For my generation, that was our defining day. Like the Kennedy assassination was for the baby boomers or Pearl Harbor was for the war generation; this is the day we will never forget.

Our thoughts go out to the 9/11 families, our prayers are with you.

Sunday, September 10, 2006

Chris Saxman

Bacon's Rebellion has a great post about Del. Chris Saxman and how he is a great proponent of reduced government spending and actually limiting government (what a concept!). He believes that Saxman would make a great LG candidate in 2009.

I heard Chris speak for the first time in Roanoke this past Friday at their monthly luncheon. He was the guest speaker along with the AFP executive director Whitney Duff. He was awesome. He seemed to connect well with the crowd and also clearly laid out how the federal government will never get spending under control when states like ours are spending like crazy too. He said Virginia needs to set a precedent for how a government can be run efficiently and effectively and then use that plan to show the feds how to do it.

I think he has alot of great ideas and hopefully will make a run statewide in the near future.

Friday, September 08, 2006

Double Standards

As many of you know, the folks over at Raising Kaine seem to think a Republican ethnic rally in Alexandria is nothing more than a "Monkey Fest". Don't forget, this comment is from a paid member of Jim Webb's staff.

As always, the media has been largely silent from what I can tell over this issue. Nothing surprises me about that. It does make me wonder though what would happen if the tables were turned. If Allen's new media coordinator Jon Henke had said something even remotely this "offensive", it would be front page news in every major newspaper in the Commonwealth; not to mention dems from all across the state would be calling for his dismissal and a formal apology from George Allen himself.

Under our current situation, Jim Webb is silent on the issue and the dems are passing it off as sour grapes and feined offensiveness from the Republicans. Isn't it wrong no matter who says or does it? Isn't the letter from the ethnic rally's organizers enough to prove the outrage? When will dems get called out for saying racially and ethnically offensive comments? Its a double standard.

If George Allen's comment was a scandal, then a Webb staffer calling minorities monkeys should be one too.

Thursday, September 07, 2006

New Publication

I see there is a new website taking a look at the prospects of a democratic Congress.
America Weakly is meant as a spoof of a newspaper in the future under democratic rule. Its actually not as ripping as I would have probably made it, but thats probably why I wasn't in charge of doing it. It is of course put out by the RNC.

You NOVA folks will love the graphic in the lower left hand corner of the page.

At any rate, check it out. You can either be brought to reality what may be coming soon, or you can get a good laugh; which ever is your pleasure.

P.S. Be sure to check out the features like opinion section and pick the dem leader. Its good stuff.

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Interesting Crosstabs

As you have probably seen on a few blogs, there is a new poll out on Thelma Drake's race. The polling agency is doing a Majority Watch website that is polling the top 30 House races this year. They seem to be very accurate, low margin of error polls.
Anyway, the couple of crosstabs I have looked at shows that in the Drake race as well as a the others I have looked at, over 20% of self-identified Republicans are voting for the democrat. Folks, if this poll accurately predicts that 20% of GOPs vote dem; there is no way in hell we will keep the House.
If that is the case, it will also explain why districts that voted solidly for Bush in 2004 are going democratic. Its not b/c of changing voting patterns, its b/c GOPs are mad.

This also bears a second question; if the dems do take the House this November, how long will dems be able to hold it if they are being elected largely by Republicans?

Just some food for thought.

Liberals in Academia

What has Bush not fabricated according to these people? First he stole in the election in Florida, then he made Katrina hit New Orleans and now we find out he perpetrated 9/11!
What else has he done?

When will the liberals ever get a grip?

Monday, September 04, 2006

Dems in the Valley

Republitarian reports that there were 350 in attendance for the Jim Webb fundraiser in Harrisonburg last night. Creigh Deeds, Brian Moran and I think Tim Kaine were the special guests. This is a good attendance I guess, since the dems are at such a disadvantage number wise in the Valley. I don't know how many of those people were from HBurg/Rockingham and how many were from surroounding counties.
Even so, to put this in perspective; Page County Sheriff Danny Presgraves had a fundraiser for George Allen several weeks ago where 820 people attended. The dems may be having big events; but 820 people in Page County is amazing (HBurg/Rockingham has 100k+, Page has 23k). My understanding is that most of the people there were in fact from Page as well.

George Allen is going to roast Jim Webb in the Valley.
Bring it on.

Freedom Fries

I just thought of this but, here's some "food for thought".
If the dems retake congress this year, will they go back to "french fries" in the Rayburn cafeteria, or will they keep them "freedom fries".
After all, it was changed by a vote of Congress; so the dems could change it if they do desired.
Just wondering what everyone thought.

Friday, September 01, 2006

Hokie Football

The season begins tomorrow at 1:30 in Lane Stadium against Northeastern.
I can't wait.