Monday, July 31, 2006

Stupid House Sale Tactics

There are some things realtors will tell you not to do when trying to sell your house, like re-do the wallpaper (because wallpaper is a personal taste item).

Today's Potomac News tells of a tactic that I'm sure any realtor would laugh at, if they even THOUGHT someone might try it:

Just a month ago, a Manassas Park couple agreed to have their home filmed for a new HGTV series in which an expert Realtor assesses what renovations are necessary to make the house saleable in today's buyer market.

So far, so good -- that show seems to focus on items that, if fixed, would enhance the sales price beyond their costs. But then they took it one step too far:

Now Lake Ridge residents George and Susan Garrigan have bought a 2006 Toyota Corolla as a giveaway to whomever buys their 1969 split-level home and excited regional media attention by doing it. How it pans out, though, has yet to be seen.

How is this bad? Let me count the ways. First, what could be more of a personal taste item than a car? Second, what relationship could there possibly be between needing a house, and needing a car? Third, having PURCHASED the car, wouldn't that make it a used car, meaning it's already lost a good bit of its value before it's given over to the new owners.

I think you'd be better off adding a pool in the back yard. IT's still a TERRIBLE idea, but at least it's something some people are actually LOOKING for in a house. I've NEVER heard anybody say they were looking for a 2-car-garage with the car already IN it.

About the only thing this has going for it is the novelty value which got them a front-page article, as they knew this was taking a chance:

The couple, which has lived in that home for 28 years, knew what they were doing was a gamble. Both were certain it would distinguish their corner-lot Cohasset Lane home from the others on the market in their neighborhood. At the very least it would put a "second thought" in the minds of prospective buyers.

My guess is they expect to keep the car, and only made the "offer" to get more attention. The article suggests as much, as thier "next" strategy doesn't include the car at all:

No bidders means a new plan, though. Tivnan plans to have a "strategy meeting" with the Garrigans today. Tivnan said that they would likely decide to reduce the price and pay the closing cost.

So, was it just crazy, or crazy-like-a-fox? I guess we'll know in a few weeks, if the paper runs a follow-up article.

Saturday, July 29, 2006

On the shoulders of others.

Not too long ago, I mentioned a blog I had stumbled across, called "Eject!Eject!Eject", written by Bill Whittle. He doesn't post often, but when he does it's chapters in a book, and excellent work so far.

When I last posted, he had supplied his introduction, "Rafts". Now he has the next installment up, called "The Web of Trust". I can't do it justice, you really should go read both Rafts (if you didn't already) and chapter 1.

At one point Bill recounts a particularly hairy incident with instrument flight and a bad gauge, which for him ended well. In recounting that, he reflects on the literally millions of people that had a part in his arriving safely on earth:

How many people were there with me that day? Not just the obvious two – Dana and Craig, whose support kept my monkey brain in the back of my head to return to throw pooh another day. How many guys were watching me on radar, keeping me separated from far, far better men and women who do this in their sleep up there? How many people did it take to make the instruments, to mine the silica for the glass, to tap the rubber for the wires? Who laid the asphalt on the runways, who built the filaments in the approach strobes, and who attached the ceramic tips to my spark plugs? And how many millions of other unseen connections had to be made to allow me to do, routinely, and on a middle-class salary, what billions of dead men and women would have given a lifetime to taste – just once. In those few minutes I just told you of, I stood on the shoulders of millions of my brothers and sisters, not the least of which were two sons of a preacher from Dayton, Ohio – now long dead but with me in spirit every day. I was atop a pyramid of dedication, hard work, ingenuity and progress, following rules written in the blood of the stupid and the brave and the unlucky.

This is what he calls the "web of trust". I have obliquely referenced in my Weekend Without Echoes post the concept that nothing we do is unique, that we build on others. Bill takes this further in his discussion of civilization and the necessity of trust in that civilization for real progress to be made.

Some people today do look on "civilization" with disdain, a quant notion of a bygone era supplanted by what, I have no idea.

Anyway, read the chapter. I wish I could think of these ideas, much less express them the way Bill does.

Friday, July 28, 2006

Terrorism is in the eye of the Beholder

Jim McDermott, a Democratic Party Congressman, was explaining what the problem was with the current adminstration and the middle east.

He expressed the opinion that we needed to sit down and talk to Hamas, to talk to Hezbollah, to enter into negotiations with our enemies to solve the problem. Then, I suppose sensing that some might have a problem with that, he addressed the issue head on. See, he said, some people would say you don't want to bargain with terrorists, but that wasn't a problem here, because, after all, "terrorism is in the eye of the beholder".

In other words, McDermott doesn't seem to think that Hamas and Hezbollah are terrorist organizations. Because we don't bargain with terrorists, but we should bargain wtih Hamas and Hezbollah. Which must mean he doesn't "behold" them as terrorists.

Maybe someone will argue that McDermott isn't really a Democrat.

Code Pink and the Democrats

Earlier this month, I wrote a post about Code Pink protesting in front of Walter Reed medical hospital, and giving the finger to an actual injured veteran who disagreed with them. I linked them to the democratic party, and "maura" objected to the link:

Secondly, Code Pink is no more a "Democrat" organization than the ACLU is a "Republican" organization. CodePink is a non-partisan anti-war group. Most of the CodePink people I know are either independents or Greens - they think the Democratic party is far too corporate-controlled or too far right. CodePink protesters were kicked out of the 2004 Democratic National Convention.

Well, two things this past week provide what I think is a more accurate picture of the symbiotic relationship between the democratic party and Code Pink. First, during the congressional speech by Iraqi Prime Minister Milicki, Media Benjamin, one of the leaders of Code Pink, was invited by a Democrat congressman to sit in the gallery, so she could interrupt his speech with her anti-war protestations. She had to be hauled out.

Then, during the Bolton hearings, two other Code pink members, including Gael Murphy who frequents the Walter Reed protests, were invited by Democratic Party senators to sit in the audience, again to do an anti-war, anti-Bush, and anti-Bolton protest to interrupt the hearing.

If the Democratic party does not want to be associated with Code Pink, then they should stop inviting them to interrupt official government functions.

And if the Democratic Party voters don't want to be associated with Code Pink, they should stop electing Democratic Party representatives and senators who associate with Code Pink and invite them to interrupt official government functions.

Thursday, July 27, 2006

Why are we rushing the board chair convention?

OK, the use of the word "rushing" reveals my position on the subject, but it's still more of a question than a proclamation.

I asked Tom Kopko why we were considering a convention in the middle of August on the last day of the County fair and when so many people are out of town, having made plans months ago.

His response was cogent and rational:

... to meet the August 25 nomination deadline for the Nov 7 ballot and to give candidates and our eventual nominee the maximum amount ofcampaigning time for their respective races.

SBE, RPV and I are together struggling to determine what the law actually says, and what is likely to occur, about the special election underdifferent confirmation and/or resignation date scenarios. There are grey areas, especially when it comes to practical and logistical matters.

In the meantime, I am trying to make sure we are best prepared to meet any scenario. The worst-case scenario of an August 25 nomination deadline caused me to plan for an Aug 19 convention date, if it is needed.

I support planning for an August 19th convention under those conditions -- we certainly don't want to miss a deadline.

But preparing for the worst case, and actually holding a convention before the position is even open are too different things. As I hold out little hope that Sean's nomination will be concluded before the Senate's August recess, I think having an August 19th nominating convention would be a mistake.

There's just something about asking for a final decision from prospective nominees before there is even a position for them to attain to that is wrong.

For example, what if there is a non-public-official person out there who would consider jumping into the race. They may not have the luxury of running for office and keeping their current job, so in order to commit to the process they might have to take a leave of absense. Well, it's one thing to do so if you know you will have a chance at a part-time job as chair in a couple of months.

But what if the position isn't even open, and there is no guarantee it will EVER be open? What if you have to wait until November 2007? Who is going to jeopardize their real job for that?

OK, it's kind of a silly argument -- Supervisors are part-time workers, so they usually keep their jobs or some kind of outside employment anyway. And most employees I guess wouldn't have a problem with giving an employee some time off to test the political waters (I don't really know).

The point is, there could be people out there who are not ready to jump into a short-cycle competition for this position, because they don't have a political campaign organization now. If we have to choose by August 19th because the election is in November, then that's just how it is. But if the election isn't going to be until next March, I think we would all benefit from a nomination convention that was held closer to that date, giving other prosepective candidates a chance to see what they can put together.

I'm not saying we NEED different candidates, or implying there is anything wrong with the current crop of candidates. i'm just saying I hate to get rushed into picking a candidate for an election that could well be a year away for all we know.

I may end up being persuaded otherwise, but for now that would be my position at the July 31st meeting. Have the convention if absolutely necessary, but not if there is no position open yet -- even if we can find some lawyer to tell us it's OK.

Saturday, July 22, 2006

Weekend without Echoes

In keeping with original material, something you are highly unlikely to read in any newspaper, unless you look really carefully.

In their final home game of the season, the Northern Virginia Majestics fell flat, losing to the Western Massachusetts Lady Pioneers by a lopsided score of 4 to 0. The Majestics fell behind early, and had little offense to answer a tenacious team play of the visiting Pioneers. With all the scoring completed before the 60th minute of the game, many spectators remained only for the hope of the 2nd game of the doubleheader.

The game was played at Gar-Field High school, across from the Potomac Mills Mall, and was sparsely attended. But the small crowd, seemingly largely made up of friends and relatives of the players, was vocal and supportive, even when the outcome was long-settled. And to their credit, the Majestic players continued to play hard throughout the game, even though it was a lost cause.

In the nightcap, the Northern Virginia Royals faced off against the Elite of Raleigh, North Carolina. This game was marred first by a very passive referee, who let multiple fouls go unpunished, and then by a strong and long-lived rainstorm, which started with a few minutes to go in the half and continued throughout the 2nd half of the game.

The game was scoreless at halftime, but in the 2nd half the visiting Elite were able to score two goals in the pouring rain, and while the Royals continued to put pressure on the Elite defence to the end, they were hampered by the loss of a player to a red card on a particularly hard tackle which to this reporter seemed more a natural consequence of the slippery surface than any attempt to harm another player.

Fortunately, the Elite player, who for some time was screaming in apparent agony, was able to get up and walk off on his own power. After the game a fellow Elite player reported that the injured player was OK and had no lasting damage to his knee.

With the score 2-0, and with the continuing rain, few spectators bothered to stay through to the bitter end.

The bright spot of the game for the Royals was the dedicated play of one intrepid ballboy, who without raingear stood his ground in the pouring rain to ensure that the players had a steady supply of balls to put into play. When the other far-side ballboy became so cold he literally could no longer move, this ballboy ran back and forth from one end of the field to the other, hoping to supply the spark the Royals needed to get back into the game.

When the rain died down, he could be heard complaining, and when the rain picked up, he cheered it on. With no thought to either his comfort, or his health, this young man exhibited the drive and determination that was equal to the task. Way to go, Matthew. The players also worked hard to the end, rewarding the few who remained to the end. All in all, an entertaining evening activity in Prince William County, notwithstanding the lopsided scores.

Matthew the ballboy, shown with three Royals players during
the pre-game introductions. Later, Matthew was thoroughly
soaked by a torrential downpour while performing his duties.

Lamont 51%, Lieberman 41%

Or so the rumor goes, that the Premium content on Rasmussen reports shows Lamont has opened a 10-point lead on Lieberman for the August democrat primary.

I certainly support Lieberman over Lamont, but dispite Joe's being right about the war in Iraq, that single issue doesn't negate his strong liberal record, so I would be happy to see him replaced with even a liberal republican. Even Linc Chafee votes better for conservatives than Lieberman.

Plus, Lieberman is well-respected amongst independents and republicans. A fall campaign that emphasizes how the democrats threw a good liberal senator out just for speaking his mind, for having principles, should help dissuade independents and liberal republicans who might otherwise be confused enough to think that the democrats offer some principled, well-meaning contrast to the current republicans.

We may complaing about John McCain's maverick ways, but we don't call him names and kick him out of the party. The intolerance the democrats show to the man who was their vice-presidential candidate just 6 years ago should be a warning to those who are looking to the Democrat party for inclusion and open debate and opinions.

Friday, July 21, 2006

There is nothing new under the sun

"What has been will be again, what has been done will be done again; there is nothing new under the sun." -- Ecclesiastes 1:9

The heading on Captains Quarters, one of my favorite blogs, has the saying "Thus every blogger, in his kind, is bit by him who comes behind." I can't say for sure what that is supposed to mean, but it always made me think that blogging is, by nature, a derivative work -- that each blogger does little more than add to something someone has already written.

So tonight, I embark on what may well be a fool's errand -- writing an original blog entry. Because this weekend is "original content weekend" in the Virginia Blogosphere, and several of us have signed up to write only "original" work.

Just between you and me, I'm not sure I've ever written anything that could be considered "truly original". To write about any issue of substance, one must first study the issue. Doing so exposes the author to not only the viewpoints of other people, but the words they use to express those viewpoints. And try as we might to express the same ideas without using the same phrases, the simple truth is that English is not the most expansive language in the world. There is a limit to the number of ways one can say "war is, at it's core, failure".

And when others have already expressed the strongest viewpoint with the best turn of the phrase, what is left to do but to plagerise, or more acceptably to liberally quote from those who have outdone themselves? With thousands of authors expressing the same limited number of opinions, what are the chances that some two-bit blogger will invent even one small phrase of originality and merit, much less wrap an entire idea in a splendid covering of flowery prose never before seen by human eyes?

But, you may suggest, why not simply avoid writing about issues, and instead paint a picture of some personal event, or better still some invention of the imagination? Surely an original concept of happenstance is more likely to be "original", right? But that too is folly, and a fruitless pursuit. Because nothing that happens is truly original. What is done has been done before, what happens has happened before. You may think that what has befallen you is something no man has ever experienced -- but it is just as likely that, if you share your story with the person sitting next to you in Yoga, you will find they have experienced the same heartbreak, only twice as bad, for twice as long.

But surely our imaginations can picture something that no other could experience in real life, and that has previously been unimagined? Fat chance. One need look no further than our own cultural looking glass, the silver screen, to see that the very concept of an "original idea" would be both original and unfathamable. Oh, that is not to say that, once in a blue moon someone somewhere will come up with something that, if not truly unique, is different enough to appear as something new. But in a world of billions of people, the rare occurance of some small speck of originality only proves the hopelessness of a world of people with truly original stories to tell.

But if I, among millions of others, grasp this concept, this "theory of repetition", why did I ever agree to participate in a weekend of "original blogging"? For the same reason so many humans to so many stupid things -- pride. I'm not afraid to admit it -- I wanted to do the impossible, to dream the impossible dream, to reach the unreachable star. And much more so because, as is often the case, the challenge was given to me by a woman. And men are largely incapable of avoiding disaster when prodded by a woman.

For example, on Monday I was at my Physical Therapist, which had thus far been very "unpainful". The PT (a woman) suggested we would strengthen some muscles, and put me on the "Chuck Norris" machine. I knew that what I was about to do would lead to disaster, and I told her so. But she insisted I could do it, and suddenly my Neanderthal instincts took over. And darned if I didn't do 10 reps, followed by another 10.

And darned if the next morning, I was incapable of even WALKING. Men are stupid, especially when it comes to challenges, and ESPECIALLY when those challenges are advanced by a member of the fairer sex. (At this point I should note that I don't rightly know whether the "original original idea" came from a man or a woman, only that my recollection is Vivian Page had something to do with it).

So, here I am, in the face of certain failure, with a song running through my head, something about "unsinkable ships sink, unbreakable walls break" -- yes, it's a country music song, and no, I don't own a gun so I think I'm safe for now. And I am writing something that most suredly is not "new", or "original", but rather derivative of a dozen better-written, better-known works which I have been exposed to in my life.

And I can no more ignore those influences than I can breathe air that nobody has ever breathed before.

"Is there anything of which one can say, 'Look! This is something new'?" (Eccl. 1:10) The answer is a resounding NO.

I can only hope that, in spite of my paucity of talent, or maybe BECAUSE of it, I will be judged to have expressed an original viewpoint in an original, albeit less than perfect, fashion. I don't know why I think there will be judging, but if there was I know exactly why I want to win -- Pride. It's not new, it's not original, but it's real. And if I'm managed to turn a phrase somewhere in here that is new to you, feel free to take it and run with it -- Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, after all.

Thursday, July 20, 2006

How can an Incumbent put down a Primary Challenge?

Well, if you are Democrat Senator Maria Cantwell of Washington State, you just pay off your opponent with an over-paid staff job on your campaign. From the Seattle Post-Examiner:

Cantwell pays former opponent $8,000 a month
Campaign manager makes only a little more

A vocal former opponent's silence is important enough to Sen. Maria Cantwell's re-election effort to pay him $8,000 a month -- nearly as much as her campaign manager -- to join her campaign staff.

The Cantwell campaign initially refused to say last week how much it would pay Mark Wilson to drop his Democratic primary challenge to the senator and his harsh criticism of her opposition to immediate U.S. military withdrawal from Iraq.

But campaign manager Matt Butler issued a statement Thursday disclosing Wilson's salary.

It isn't much lower than Butler's salary, which, according to Cantwell's quarterly Federal Election Commission report, was $26,192 for the first three months of 2006, or $8,731 a month.

She still has one challenger, I wonder if they have more positions open on her campaign staff?

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Court Overturns "Walmart Health Care" law

Last year the Maryland assembly, over the veto of Governor Erlich, passed a law requiring "large" employers to provide health care/benefits equal to 8% of their total benefits. The law's definition of "large" was written so that Walmart was the only employer effected. The law was pushed in part by Maryland and national unions as a way to get back at Walmart for being a non-union employee -- even though the Walmart benefits were already better than some union benefits.

Today, a Federal Judge overturned the law:

BALTIMORE (AP) -- A first-of-its-kind state law that would have required Wal-Mart Stores Inc. to spend more on employee health care in Maryland is invalid under federal law, a judge ruled Wednesday.

The state law would have required non-governmental employers with 10,000 or more workers to spend at least 8 percent of payroll on health care or pay the difference in taxes. The measure was directly aimed at Bentonville, Ark.-based Wal-Mart...
Motz cited the federal Employee Retirement Income Security Act, which he said pre-empts "any and all state laws insofar as they may now or hereafter relate to any employee benefit plan."

"My finding that the act is pre-empted is in accordance with long established Supreme Court law that state laws which impose health or welfare mandates on employers are invalid under ERISA," Motz wrote in his 32-page opinion.

Wal-Mart Chief Executive Lee Scott said the ruling meant businesses would not have to contend with different standards in different states for health coverage.

"The thing that we find encouraging is that there is going to be consistency, that the federal government is going to be the control point on health insurance and these kinds of issues, so that commerce itself, businesses, will be able to have one set of standards that they work against," Scott said during an appearance on the Rev. Al Sharpton's syndicated radio show.

I'm happy to see the law overturned, although I thought it was a bad law to begin with for other reasons. For example, one way Walmart could meet the requirements of the law would be to offer fewer "part-time" employment opportunities (which didn't have access to the same level of health care), or perversely to lower the pay of their employees so that the health care was more than 8% of the adjusted employee pay.

The state argued that the law was necessary because too many companies had decided to no longer offer medical insurance as an employee benefit, and the employees, rather than buy their own insurance, would instead use the state-run medicaid program.

In other words, what used to be part of a contract between a company and the workers they were trying to hire, was now to be made a government-mandated benefit of employment, all because the government couldn't bring itself to regulate its own benefits programs.

The problem with government benefits is that politicians get votes from people who get stuff form the government, but rarely get votes for cutting people out of the programs. So the state, which stuck it's nose in the normally private business of people taking care of their own health and buying their own insurance or paying their own way to the doctors, now is upset that too many citizens might take advantage of the state largess, and decided the best thing to do was kill two birds with one stone and punish a large company hated by the unions that elect the majority-democrat legislature.

As I've said before, someone ought to think about removing health care as an employee benefit, which would force medical insurance companies to compete directly for the health care dollars of it's "customers", like most other insurance.

But whatever the reason, the world is a little better off today, now that this law has been nullified.

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Special Ed

This is a blog that I've had as a draft and I havn't gotten a chance to publish this until now, so this may not make sense since this is the middle of the summer. Just bear with me.

Ok, there is this boy at school, he bugs everyone. But he is especially mean to me. We'll call him "Ed".

For example, he has:
  • made rude and unnecessary comments
  • attempted to kick me in the head when I was picking up my pencil
  • kicked my things when they are on the ground
  • slapped me in the face

So, Ed because spends all class interrupting and making rude comments, and HE GETS AWAY WITH IT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Why? Because none of the teachers want to deal with him or his parents. Now even though he used to be a straight A student, he ought not be allowed in regular classes.

He never does any of his work any more, and he acts like a 6 year old.

My school has this new hall swept policy (it has been in effect for three months), which states that if a child isn't in the classroom at his or her seat by the time the bell rings they are to be sent to the office to get a detention. Ed has been late to one class ever since we have had the new policy, and has he had to go and get any of his detentions? NO.

This could be justified as the teacher doesn't wish to send any one down to the office. NOT TRUE. One girl walked in the door just as the bell started to ring, and sat in her seat by the time it was finished reading, and my teacher sent her to the office. Also, many other students have been sent to the office for being tardy, but not Ed.

Just a few days ago we were supposed to write a cause and effect sentence. Ed practically yelled out "I pretended to trip and fall so I could push Crystal and she would fall flat on her face." I was appalled. And what did my teacher do about it? NOTHING! That could be classified as a threat, which is an out of school suspension.

Has the school system stopped punishing students who should be in special ed? And if they don't punish those students, what makes them think they can punish students who did nothing?

One time I was doodling in a class, I got yelled at. Ed doodles all the time and never pays attention, he doesn't get yelled at at all.I'm sure if he dyed his hair neon red they would let him stay in school (LOL!).

Well, what do you think? Shouldn't he be getting equal treatment? Even if he is Special Ed?

Conservathing Two


Hi! The ghost of Conservathing 2 is here.

Should we allow parents to smoke in their cars and homes, with children present? I say, no.

It has been said that "Secondhand smoke is the third leading preventable cause of death in the U.S. killing 38,000 to 65,000 non-smokers every year." (Facts about second-hand smoke)

Also that "Exposure to secondhand smoke can cause children to develop asthma, bronchitis, pneumonia, other respiratory infections, and ear infections. Exposure to secondhand smoke also increase the risk that infants will die of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS)." (same site as before).

So should we risk children's lives by letting their parents smoke in a closed environment with them?

Now, it's not really just smoking in the home, it's mostly smoking in an enclosed area with a child around. The smoke would be stuck in the room and the child would be breathing it constantly. Out in the open smoking is less dangerous for children because they would also get some air, instead of just pure smoke.

However, the worst thing you can do is smoke in car with a child in the back seat and the windows rolled up.

If we were to ban smoking in the household, we could be preventing some cases of asthma in children. We could save some children's lives.

Here are some more facts about second hand smoking and children:

  • Nearly 1 in 13 school-aged children has Asthma
  • An estimated 8,000 – 26,000 new asthma cases arise in children per year
  • Between 1980-1994, asthma among children under 5 years old increased by 160%
  • Nearly 1 in 5 of all pediatric emergency room visits are asthma-related
  • Nearly 2 out of 5 children aged 2 months-5 years live with at least one smoker
  • A estimated 9-12 million children are exposed to secondhand smoke at home
  • It is estimated that up to 1 million children have aggravated asthma symptoms due to Secondhand Smoke
  • Other major indoor asthma triggers are dust mites, mold, and animal dander, and cockroach allergens

( Facts about Second Hand Smoke )

-Conservathing Two

Saturday, July 15, 2006

Vincent (TC) Responds regarding tonight's events

As I often do when speculation arises, I contacted Vincent, who was kind enough to send me an e-mail to post. I do so here without modification. I will briefly add a thought or two in the comment section.


I was excited when I woke up today to take the three hour drive from Waco up to Tyler, Texas to visit some of my family. Eating dinner with family I hadn’t seen for many years, I began receiving a barrage of calls, stating that a hacker had posted anonymous comments on itself, an anonymous site.

The blogosphere is a unique place, where people from all sides of the political spectrum come to express their opinions. While some would try to stop the free expression of ideas, I am a proponent of it.
Over 80% of the comments on my site are from anonymous people.

When I received a call from numerous people telling of a hacker, I did not think of anyone except the readers. I immediately halted comments, and then the site itself. If our comments are not safe, neither are the over 700 different ip addresses who have commented on TC since moving to wordpress.

If I can not feel safe commenting on a site as myself, then it is not worth commenting. If this kind of behavior continues, the blogosphere will cease to exist.

I have stored comments made on my site, as well as posts, but until this matter can be fully resolved have chosen to suspend Too Conservative and have rerouted traffic to Commonwealth Conservative.

I hope every blog ensures that their comments are not for public knowledge, even when personal vendettas get in the way.

If I have offended anyone to the point of hacking into my site, I am sorry.

Please help me shed light on the events of today, I know together we can get to the bottom of this.

Once known, I will be sure to reveal the identity of the hacker to the blogger community, even if it is the last post I ever write.

Thanks for your civility,
Vincent Harris
Aka Too Conservative

Friday, July 14, 2006

Yoga isn't that bad

In previous posts I made what could be considered disparaging comments about Yoga.

Having now taken two "gentle Yoga" classes, I'll say that it's not the worst thing I've had to do in my life. In fact, I found myself a bit upset tonight when at 6:40, I was looking over the class schedules and saw that there was a Yoga Happy Hour class at 6:30 that I missed because it was on a different page from the rest of the Yoga classes.

The idea that I would like Yoga, much less that I would feel bad about missing a Yoga session, scares me.

Elvis is Back and Laying into Vincent Harris (TC)

A new blog has popped up on the web, "velvet elvis". (I know this through Virginia Virtucon who saw it on Black Velvet Bruce Lee).

According to Elvis, Vince posted to his web site using assumed names and anonymously. If the information is correct, here are the things Vincent said about me:

charles and jim young are both baby killing commies
C to the H to the A to the R to the L to the E to the S!!!Has it ever occured to you that you don’t know everything dude? you sit on your fanny reading the blogs but never get out there to find out if the information is true
When your wife leaves you charles you will wish they were legal

I actually came off pretty well compared to other people.

It will be interesting to see how Vincent responds to this, if at all. He obviously knows what he has and hasn't done -- but to prove this false he would have to make his counter information public so we could all look at it.

I doubt he would do that -- and from the looks of the Velvet Elvis site, that's what Elvis is posting anyway -- although being dead shouldn't give Elvis access to blog counter information.

I don't even care therefore if TC denies this or not (well, not quite -- if he admitted his past mistakes I would think more highly of him), because I don't care what people call me anyway, and the only person who matters is TC himself, and he knows what he did and did not do and has to deal with his own conscience.

I imagine that if counter information was public, we'd find more than one blog inflating their numbers by having multiple posting names from the same people. In Los Angelos, a writer lost his job because he did this on his newspaper blog (I think they called it "sock-puppeting", the idea being that it's one person operating multiple characters).

UPDATE: Something odd is happening to TooConservative -- I noticed earlier this evening that most of the posts had dissappeared, and now Greg L. over at has a post up suggesting a hostile takeover.

I just want to say publicly that, while I give Vincent a very hard time, he is not my enemy, and while we are not "friends" in the traditional sense, I do not wish harm on him.

Even a few democrats agree DCC add is inappropriate.

From CNN: Edwards and Spratt call on DCCC to pull down web video:

Democratic Reps. Chet Edwards (Texas) and John Spratt (S.C.) have called on the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee to pull down a controversial web video that uses images of flag-draped coffins and a grave of a fallen soldier.
"I would not have included the clip showing the flag-draped caskets or the clip showing a soldier standing at the grave of a fallen comrade," Spratt wrote Thursday in his letter to Emanuel. "I strongly recommend that you pull this ad and delete both of these clips before running it again."

Unfortunately, the Democratic leadership doesn't agree:

But House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-California) defended the video yesterday...

"I don't know why they are making an issue of this except that, again, it speaks truth to power about what is happening in Iraq," she said.

Whenever Pelosi can't think of anything to say (which is often), she dredges up the trite phrase "speaks truth to power", as if it means something. A good reporter might have asked her whether there was ever ANY war in which there were not dead soldiers, and therefore how can the showing dead soldiers be "speaking truth to power", unless she is saying that no war should be fought because there will be dead soldiers.

Or to put this more simply, if the Iraq war is wrong, it's wrong regardless of whether there are dead soldiers, and if it is right, it is right even though soldiers die in war. Judging a war based on the number of people dying is the most anti-american act the Democratic leadership takes, for that reason. People die in war, and when you hype the number of dead, you invite your enemy to kill more soldiers, because you suggest that the war's value is measured by how few people die on your side.

Killing your son is not a "desperate action"

So, I'm watching Channel 7's news, and Gail Pennybacker is talking about the Georgetown Law school professor who killed his 12-yar-old son before taking his own life last night.

[UPDATE: He was a George Mason professor, as noted by a commenter].

The ABC written story can be found here. Also, you can see the video from a link at that site.

At the end of her story, all of which was focused on there being two "victims" of this shooting, she said the police would look carefully at recent events to "determine what could have provoked Dr. Lash to take such a desperate action".

I can think of a lot of words to use to describe his action. Criminal, Vile, Abhorent, Mindless, Evil, Inexplicable, and Cowardly, to name a few. But not "desperate". Desperate sounds like he had no choice, and simple made a wrong decision trying to get out of a tragic situation. Again, as if he was as much of a victim as his son.

This was a tragedy -- a well-educated man killed his son in cold blood, and then killed himself rather than standing up and accepting responsibility for his despicable act. But I have no sympathy for the father -- killing your son is never an acceptable solution, no matter how often the pro-"choice" crowd tells the nation that children who aren't perfect should be killed for their own good.

Thursday, July 13, 2006

Democrats Support the Troops, Part 2

The Democrat organization "Code Pink" has a long-running weekly protest at Walter Reed Hospital, where they suggest they support the troops by using the wounded soldiers at the hospital as a backdrop to protest the President and denounce the war.

Last week, one of the wounded soldiers (remember, these are the men that the democrats "honor") came out to talk to the Code Pink protesters. He has pictures of how they responded to a wounded veteran who sacrificed for their freedom -- several pictures in fact, of the democrats flipping him the bird.

His short story is HERE.

James Simpson Re-appears

A couple of months ago, James Simpson "retired" from writing columns for the Potomac News -- a fact I blogged HERE.

This past Wednesday, his column re-appeared directly below my column. I don't know if this is going to be an occasional thing, or if he got tired of not being able to say what he wanted and get people to listen.

In any case, if he is back I think that's a good thing, although I'd rather see him on another day :-)

Especially since so many of my own readers are upset with my latest column supporting the Vulcan Prince William Quarry.

Democrats Honor Troops by showing Dead Soldiers

Heard Rich Lowry on Fox News with an excellent quote:

"Why is it the every time the Democrats want to "honor" our soldiers it shows them dead?"

The Democrats want to take back control of the house this fall, and to do so they have just released a new TV commercial. The TV commercial shows images of a soldier bowing before the helmet of his fallen comrade, and rows of flag-draped coffins.

In other words, the democrats are using the image of dead soldiers to try to win votes in an election.

Don't believe me? See the dispicable video HERE.

The video also shows a hurricane, no doubt generated by the Carl Rove Weather Machine. And a really sour picture of Cheney, maybe after he was told Howard Dean wouldn't go hunting with him one weekend.

Oh, the democrats complain that the republicans ran an ad showing brave firefighters hauling victims from the towers in 9/11, some of whom were dead. Which just shows that, in a picture with both live brave american heros, and dead americans, the democrats naturally focus on the dead people.

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

And the test results are -- inconclusive

I got my MRI results back, and my Doctor says they are good. What he means is that the results show no problems. Of course, my leg is still in constant pain, but at least (he says) we know that there isn't any real damage that would require an operation.

In fact, what little problems there are in my spine (and there are problems, a few compacted disks and a small cyst) are on the RIGHT side, not the left where my pain lies.

It does bother me that we can't find a rational explanation for my current crop of symptoms. The doctor is certain it is a nerve problem, but when I ask what could have caused the problem initially, or the severe pain of Father's day, we just don't have an answer.

The next step is Physical Therapy, maybe 2-3 times a week for at least 4 weeks. My first appointment is Wednesday morning, and I've was told that this particular PT group doesn't believe in pain (several "friends" have compared their PT experiences to torture, which didn't exactly make me happy to sign up).

I'm walking without my crutches now (I take them with me for when I get tired). Today I signed up at the Freedom Fitness center so I could do water aerobics and yoga as recommended by the doctor. I even swam a few dozen laps, later in the day walked a half mile on my treadmill (at about 1 mph or so -- not exactly burning up the track).

I have now decided that this is exactly what I needed to get my life together. In fact, earlier this year I had discussed taking the summer off from work to get myself in shape and lose all the extra weight I've accumulated -- because I'm at risk for heart disease, and I'm getting to the age where it will be near-impossible to recover.

So this injury may have given me the opportunity to do exactly what I thought I should do. I've lost 40 pounds since this started, and now I will have to submit to several hours a week of hands-on therapy, and doctor-ordered exercise classes.

I'm doing it for my family, and for myself. I'm sorry my children have had to put up with a fat parent, and that my lack of exercise has left me unable to participate fully with them. I remember my father playing football with us (of course he had children a lot earlier in life -- when my father was MY age, I was already in college, while my kids are still young). My son is getting excited about getting in shape, and reminds me that I had promised to work out with him this summer anyway, so this may bring us together as well.

I didn't set up this blog to be a personal diary of my life. I hope that my occasional over-sharing of information isn't too distracting.

I've enjoyed my little break from blogging, and expect to get back into the swing of things in the next couple of days. I've got to finish my column for the week still, but then I've got a couple of stories I want to delve into in more detail.

Thanks for all the prayers and words of encouragement. They are much appreciated.

PW Republicans make good show at 4th of July events

When Tom Kopko cancelled the June 26th PWCRC meeting in order to encourage people to show up at the 4th of July events, some bloggers and commenters attacked him either for not having meetings every month like he promised, or for the tone of his note suggesting that it would turn people off and keep them from showing up.

Now the results are in, and it seems that republicans made a good showing this holiday. (Confession: I was not part of ANY of the activities here, as I was in Bayse, Virginia for the week).

From the Committee:

Dear GOP friends,

TOGETHER, we did it! Thanks to the record number of GOP volunteers July 1st through the 4th! Congratulations!

The Dale City Parade was the MASSIVE GOP SHOWING OUR CANDIDATES NEEDED! Well over 100 Republicans walked in the Dale City Parade or manned the booth. Many remarked at our impressive strength versus the anemic Dems! When the Washington Post chose pictures, they chose us!

The parade followed a great weekend of GOP presence at the Dale City Gun Show on Saturday and Sunday, and a very successful Marriage Amendment booth at the picnic of First Baptist Church of Woodbridge.

Please take a breather before getting back into it at the August events below. See you soon.
Thanks again!

I understand that Tom's direct approach can rub people the wrong way, and think that a slightly more subtle approach would serve him better in his current position (my uninformed opinion is that he is still in more of a campaign worker mode).

But I am happy to see that people are coming out to support the republican cause. I am encouraged, and hopeful that the party can come on strong this fall and hold Prince William for our side. We have good candidates and a good message, and with good organization things should turn out well for us.

Saturday, July 08, 2006

Odd people at Gore Book Signing

I'm watching Al Gore's Washington D.C. Book Signing on C-Span tonight (no, I don't have a real life).

And I'm listening to the people coming up to get signatures, because some things they say are pretty funny. But mostly it's people agreeing with Al, or asking him to come speak to them, stuff like that.

Then this young woman comes up, and says something about being a staffer in the house working on climate change. Gore asks if she works for Henry Waxman, and the woman says no.

She works for Tom Davis.

Gore asks if Waxman and Davis are in accord on this issue, and she says


Things that make me hold my nose when I vote republican.

Of course, I can't say whether this woman really worked for Davis, or if so if she is properly expressing his opinion.

It's just funny what you here on C-Span.

Friday, July 07, 2006

Do we need permission to have Primaries?

Vince over at TooConservative expresses the opinion that you should only have a party primary if the seat is "safe" for the party. In his post Primaries Okay When Party Has A Solid Hold, he says:

Lets take the current Connecticut democratic primary.

It’s a safe dem seat, so while I personally favor Lieberman to win, I believe a primary is warranted.

The application of this particular "rule" would be problematic. For example, if you support the incumbent, you may claim that a seat is only "safe" if the incumbent is running, while if the "crazies" in the party get a victory, the seat may be lost.

And oddly, none of the usual suspects in the comments has mentioned last year, when Steve Chapman ran a primary against Parrish in what has to be considered one of the safest of republican seats. Some who are now saying primaries are good things didn't like Steve's running a primary campaign.

It was last year, during that campaign, that I wrote about why primaries were good for our democracy. And while I disagree that they should be restricted to when a party's hold is sure, I did say that primaries were most important in that instance, to give voters SOME method of signalling their opinion. From that column, titled Primaries offer competition instead of business as usual:

The Democrat and Republican parties are having primary elections on June 14. I am a strong supporter of party primaries. The way most districts are drawn, a primary is the only chance to make a real choice. Incumbents are not entitled to their offices, and democracy is best served by healthy competition. We hurt democracy when parties suppress primary challenges, and when the media paints them as a negative. Voter choice is a good thing.

Of course, primary challenges as a practical matter cause trouble for incumbents, use money that would otherwise be used for a general election, and can leave bitter feelings between groups. But that is more because of HOW we run our elections, rather than the elections themselves.

Saturday, July 01, 2006

I'm going off-line for a short break

Just so nobody worries about me, I'm going to take a few days off of blogging.

I had my MRI this morning, but will have to wait until after July 4th for my doctors to get the results. Meantime there are things to do, places to go, and sitting for long periods with a laptop on my lap seems to make everything stiffen up.

Of course, I may post something if I get a mind to, but my plan now is not. I will have a column this week, it should be in the paper on Wednesday -- that usually keeps me from blogging too much during the first half of the week anyway.

I'm feeling a little better each day, I even wandered into my office friday just to make sure they hadn't re-assigned my desk. :-)

I'm still stiff, sore, and my back aches, but I've really cut back on my pain medications. Hopefully the MRI will reveal a cause and suggest a simple solution -- then I can start some physical therapy and get back in shape.

Thanks to everybody, and catch you on the flip side of the 4th. Happy Independence Day!!!