Too Busy

It was fun keeping up this blog, but, alas, my present occupation is keeping me too busy to keep updating.

While I am absent from the blog, rest assured that it is because I am working extremely hard to get Tim Kaine, Leslie Byrne and Creigh Deeds elected the next Governor, Lieutenant Governor and Attorney General of Virginia. We have great candidates, we have a great campaign structure, and frankly, our opponents are little more than a joke. I have good feelings about November, and if I have anything to say about it, we will deliver those seats in November, we will make gains in the House of Delegates and as a result, we will set the tone, along with the future Governor Corzine, for the 2006 midterm elections.

But, as this is MUCH easier said than done, I will have to take my leave from updating here, so that I might, um, occasionally get some sleep.

Hopefully, Adam will find some talented people to take over once classes start, and the blog will continue to thrive. Adam or I will occasionally check in with updates that relate to the organization.

Thanks for making me your President last year, thanks for helping make the PC Democrats into an elite organization, and finally, don't relent. We are a great College Democrats chapter, but we still have incredible unrealized potential. Give Adam and the other officers your support, keep alive the passion that I saw from all of you before election day, and I have no doubt that the group that we basically started from scratch last November will become one of the leading CD chapters in the entire nation. It's a tough job, to go from nothing to the best in just two years, but remember... we are Friars, and we are Democrats. Anything is possible.



Today's big rumor is that Monday, Chief Justice William Rehnquist will announce his retirement. Stay tuned.



I've been busy, so the blog hasn't been updated in a while.

Expect this to continue off and on. The job is getting a little more intense.


Independence Day

When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. –That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, –That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn, that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security. —Such has been the patient sufferance of these Colonies; and such is now the necessity which constrains them to alter their former Systems of Government. The history of the present King of Great Britain [George III] is a history of repeated injuries and usurpations, all having in direct object the establishment of an absolute Tyranny over these States. To prove this, let Facts be submitted to a candid world.

He has refused his Assent to Laws, the most wholesome and necessary for the public good.

He has forbidden his Governors to pass Laws of immediate and pressing importance, unless suspended in their operation till his Assent should be obtained; and when so suspended, he has utterly neglected to attend to them.

He has refused to pass other Laws for the accommodation of large districts of people, unless those people would relinquish the right of Representation in the Legislature, a right inestimable to them and formidable to tyrants only.

He has called together legislative bodies at places unusual, uncomfortable, and distant from the depository of their public Records, for the sole purpose of fatiguing them into compliance with his measures.

He has dissolved Representative Houses repeatedly, for opposing with manly firmness his invasions on the rights of the people.

He has refused for a long time, after such dissolutions, to cause others to be elected; whereby the Legislative powers, incapable of Annihilation, have returned to the People at large for their exercise; the State remaining in the mean time exposed to all the dangers of invasion from without, and convulsions within.

He has endeavoured to prevent the population of these States; for that purpose obstructing the Laws for Naturalization of Foreigners; refusing to pass others to encourage their migrations hither, and raising the conditions of new Appropriations of Lands.

He has obstructed the Administration of Justice, by refusing his Assent to Laws for establishing Judiciary powers.

He has made Judges dependent on his Will alone, for the tenure of their offices, and the amount and payment of their salaries.

He has erected a multitude of New Offices, and sent hither swarms of Officers to harass our people, and eat out their substance.

He has kept among us, in times of peace, Standing Armies without the consent of our legislatures.

He has affected to render the Military independent of and superior to the Civil power.

He has combined with others to subject us to a jurisdiction foreign to our constitution and unacknowledged by our laws; giving his Assent to their Acts of pretended Legislation:

For Quartering large bodies of armed troops among us:

For protecting them, by a mock Trial, from punishment for any Murders which they should commit on the Inhabitants of these States:

For cutting off our Trade with all parts of the world:

For imposing Taxes on us without our Consent:

For depriving us, in many cases, of the benefits of Trial by Jury:

For transporting us beyond Seas to be tried for pretended offences:

For abolishing the free System of English Laws in a neighbouring Province, establishing therein an Arbitrary government, and enlarging its Boundaries so as to render it at once an example and fit instrument for introducing the same absolute rule into these Colonies:

For taking away our Charters, abolishing our most valuable Laws, and altering fundamentally the Forms of our Governments:

For suspending our own Legislatures, and declaring themselves invested with power to legislate for us in all cases whatsoever.

He has abdicated Government here, by declaring us out of his Protection and waging War against us.

He has plundered our seas, ravaged our Coasts, burnt our towns, and destroyed the lives of our people.

He is at this time transporting large Armies of foreign Mercenaries to compleat the works of death, desolation and tyranny, already begun with circumstances of Cruelty and perfidy scarcely paralleled in the most barbarous ages, and totally unworthy the Head of a civilized nation.

He has constrained our fellow Citizens taken Captive on the high Seas to bear Arms against their Country, to become the executioners of their friends and Brethren, or to fall themselves by their Hands.

He has excited domestic insurrections amongst us, and has endeavoured to bring on the inhabitants of our frontiers, the merciless Indian Savages, whose known rule of warfare, is an undistinguished destruction of all ages, sexes and conditions.

In every stage of these Oppressions We have Petitioned for Redress in the most humble terms: Our repeated Petitions have been answered only by repeated injury. A Prince whose character is thus marked by every act which may define a Tyrant, is unfit to be the ruler of a free people.

Nor have We been wanting in attentions to our British brethren. We have warned them from time to time of attempts by their legislature to extend an unwarrantable jurisdiction over us. We have reminded them of the circumstances of our emigration and settlement here. We have appealed to their native justice and magnanimity, and we have conjured them by the ties of our common kindred to disavow these usurpations, which, would inevitably interrupt our connections and correspondence. They too have been deaf to the voice of justice and of consanguinity. We must, therefore, acquiesce in the necessity, which denounces our Separation, and hold them, as we hold the rest of mankind, Enemies in War, in Peace Friends.

We, therefore, the Representatives of the united States of America, in General Congress, Assembled, appealing to the Supreme Judge of the world for the rectitude of our intentions, do, in the Name, and by the Authority of the good People of these Colonies, solemnly publish and declare, That these United Colonies are, and of Right ought to be Free and Independent States; that they are Absolved from all Allegiance to the British Crown, and that all political connection between them and the State of Great Britain, is and ought to be totally dissolved; and that as Free and Independent States, they have full Power to levy War, conclude Peace, contract Alliances, establish Commerce, and to do all other Acts and Things which Independent States may of right do. And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes and our sacred Honor.

New Hampshire
Josiah Bartlett, William Whipple, Matthew Thornton

John Hancock, Samual Adams, John Adams, Robert Treat Paine, Elbridge Gerry

Rhode Island
Stephen Hopkins, William Ellery

Roger Sherman, Samuel Huntington, William Williams, Oliver Wolcott

New York
William Floyd, Philip Livingston, Francis Lewis, Lewis Morris

New Jersey
Richard Stockton, John Witherspoon, Francis Hopkinson, John Hart, Abraham Clark

Robert Morris, Benjamin Rush, Benjamin Franklin, John Morton, George Clymer, James Smith, George Taylor, James Wilson, George Ross

Caesar Rodney, George Read, Thomas McKean

Samuel Chase, William Paca, Thomas Stone, Charles Carroll of Carrollton

George Wythe, Richard Henry Lee, Thomas Jefferson, Benjamin Harrison, Thomas Nelson, Jr., Francis Lightfoot Lee, Carter Braxton

North Carolina
William Hooper, Joseph Hewes, John Penn

South Carolina
Edward Rutledge, Thomas Heyward, Jr., Thomas Lynch, Jr., Arthur Middleton

Button Gwinnett, Lyman Hall, George Walton


Check out the Democratic Veteran, who recently linked to us. Great blog.

Scottsville Parade

There is nothing more surreal than a parade. Today, in a gas station parking lot at the end of the parade route, I witnessed, simultaneously:
-A group of Shriners all in their little cars.
-Delegate Rob Bell
-Miss Teen Buckingham, Miss Preteen Buckingham and Tiny Miss Buckingham
-A bunch of Confederate soldiers

Apparently there are nine components essential to any parade:
1) Political officials and candidates.
2) Beauty pageant winners.
3) Little League teams.
4) Rescue vehicles (police, fire, ambulance).
5) Church groups.
6) Marching bands (including baton twirlers, etc.)
7) Horses. Lots of horses.
8) Men in uniform portraying the entire military history of said town.
9) Candy. Lots and lots of candy.


"I guess that's not good for me then!"
-Congressman Virgil Goode, after I informed him that I was back from Rhode Island for good.

If you're wondering what the heck Virgil and I were referring to...
Last summer, the Nelson County Service Authority received a federal grant. Virgil was at the ribboncutting ceremony all ready to take credit for the grant. Problem is, he was one of the biggest opponents of this grant in Congress, and vigorously fought against it. Now, he was trying to take all the credit. Especially since this was in Al's home county, the Al Weed campaign wasn't about to let Virgil get another one of his patented photo ops. So, we crashed the event. We made signs criticizing Virgil's record on the issue, and we held Al Weed signs. Suffice to say there was not one picture Virgil took that day that didn't have Al Weed in the background.

I got a chance to meet Virgil during that event... and we made small talk. Nothing major. After the event, some of the other staffers and I were eating at the McDonald's in Lovingston, and who else but Virgil Goode walks in!

He told me, one of his constituents, "I'm glad you're going back to Rhode Island so you can't campaign against me," or something along those lines.

I was actually quite shocked he remembered our conversation from nearly a year ago.

I was hoping to shout out "MZM for Goode," but I didn't see him again.


Something We Already Knew

The Bush Administration is the most secretive ever. More items are being classified and fewer are being declassified.

From the Seattle Times:

WASHINGTON — Government secrecy has reached a historic high by several measures, with federal departments classifying documents at the rate of 125 a minute as they create categories of semisecrets bearing vague labels such as "sensitive security information."

A record 15.6 million documents were classified last year, nearly double the number in 2001, according to the federal Information Security Oversight Office. Meanwhile, declassification, which made millions of historical documents available annually in the 1990s, has slowed to a relative crawl, from a high of 204 million pages in 1997 to 28 million pages last year.

The increasing secrecy and its rising cost to taxpayers, estimated by the office at $7.2 billion last year, are drawing protests from a growing array of politicians and activists, including Republican members of Congress, leaders of the independent commission that studied the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks and the top federal official who oversees classification.

Terrorist Leader Killed

In an apparent victory in the war on terror, a leading al Qaeda operative was killed today in Saudi Arabia.

The press is saying that Younus Mohamed Al-Hayari was the head of al Qaeda in Saudia Arabia. I am skeptical, simply because of the loose nature of the organization, and the fact that most certainly, if there is a leader, another has already taken Al-Hayari's place.

Nevertheless, a good development. Now, let's watch the Bush administration fuck it up.

MD Gov: Ehrlich Raises Money at Racist Club

Via the Baltimore Sun (login required):

(BTW, any time you need a login at a news site, and don't want to sign up yourself, check out http://www.bugmenot.com/)

Just three years ago, Dr. Levi Watkins Jr., a noted cardiac surgeon and associate dean of the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine, cited Baltimore's oldest country club as an example of racial exclusion and the progress African-Americans still need to make.

"I have had a professorship at Vanderbilt named after me, but I still can't become a member at the Elkridge Club in Baltimore," Watkins, who is black, told a publication at his Tennessee alma mater. "We have not healed completely."

Still, Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich Jr. held a golf fund-raiser last week at the North Charles Street country club - a decision that is sparking criticism from some prominent African-American leaders, including Watkins.

Several Elkridge members and former officers confirmed that the club has had no African-American members in its 127-year history. None would speak for the record. Club members said there is no written race-based prohibition, and that blacks and other minorities have played golf and dined there. Memberships are extended based on social and family connections, they said...

"Amazing. I could seek candidacy in the Senate of the United States, but cannot seek membership in this club," said Kweisi Mfume, former president of the NAACP and a Democratic candidate for Senate...

"I don't think that the governor should play at a club that his own lieutenant governor could not be a member of," said Del. Adrienne A. Jones, a Democrat who heads the Baltimore County Office of Fair Practices and Community Affairs and who is speaker pro tem of the House of Delegates...

But race has nonetheless been a delicate issue for Ehrlich. He drew the ire of minority groups last year when he dismissed the concept of multiculturalism as "crap" and "bunk," and during the 2004 Republican National Convention when he accused Democrats of racism for what he said were rote appeals for black votes.

During a Board of Public Works meeting this year, he echoed Comptroller William Donald Schaefer's sentiment that the state's minority business program should end at some point - drawing a stinging rebuke from the General Assembly's black members.

It's Rove!

From Lawrence O'Donnell, via Huffington Post:

I revealed in yesterday's taping of the McLaughlin Group that Time magazine's emails will reveal that Karl Rove was Matt Cooper's source. I have known this for months but didn't want to say it at a time that would risk me getting dragged into the grand jury.

McLaughlin is seen in some markets on Friday night, so some websites have picked it up, including Drudge, but I don't expect it to have much impact because McLaughlin is not considered a news show and it will be pre-empted in the big markets on Sunday because of tennis.

Since I revealed the big scoop, I have had it reconfirmed by yet another highly authoritative source. Too many people know this. It should break wide open this week. I know Newsweek is working on an 'It's Rove!' story and will probably break it tomorrow.

About to Eat Crow?

So, Rove leaked or authorized the leak of Valerie Plame?

What does Scott McClellan have to say about said matter?

McClellan said that if anyone at the White House leaked Plame's identity, he should be fired, and pursued to the "fullest extent."

"No one was authorized to do this. That is simply not the way this White House operates and if someone leaked classified information it is a very serious matter," he said.
-September 29, 2003

R.I.P. Gaylord Nelson

Former US Senator Gaylord Nelson (D-WI), founder of the Earth Day movement, has passed away.

Gaylord A. Nelson, one of the architects of America's modern environmental movement who as a United States senator from Wisconsin founded Earth Day to protest degradation and launch a national legislative campaign to improve stewardship, died today in at his home in Kensington, Md. He was 89 years old,

. . . A liberal Democrat, Mr. Nelson was known for his candor and independence. He was just one of three United States senators who voted against the $700 million appropriation that began the nation's expanded involvement in the Vietnam War.

But it was Mr. Nelson's lifelong devotion to the natural landscape that distinguished him as one of Capitol Hill's early and ardent environmental leaders. On March 25, 1963, in his first Senate speech, he framed the declining condition of the nation's air and water as a national issue. "We need a comprehensive and nationwide program to save the national resources of America," he said. "Our soil, our water, and our air are becoming more polluted every day. Our most priceless natural resources - trees, lakes, rivers, wildlife habitats, scenic landscapes - are being destroyed."

The speech coincided with Mr. Nelson's private effort to successfully lobby President John F. Kennedy to embrace environmental protection as a priority. In September 1963, Mr. Kennedy embarked on a five-day, 11-state tour to talk about conservation.

. . . In 1995, President Bill Clinton awarded Mr. Nelson the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the nation's highest civilian honor. "As the father of Earth Day, he is the grandfather of all that grew out of that event," Mr. Clinton said. "He inspired us to remember that the stewardship of our natural resources is the stewardship of the American Dream."

Schumer Speaks Out

"We've heard it from his lawyer, but it would be nice to hear it directly from Mr. Rove the he didn't leak the identity of Valerie Plame, and that he didn't direct anyone else to do such a dastardly thing. I have said from the first day... whoever leaked the classified information should be punished to the full extent of the law."
-US Senator Chuck Schumer (D-NY)


High Treason

Did Karl Rove leak the identity of CIA operative Valerie Plame?

Lawrence O'Donnell on the McLaughlin Group:

"What we're going to go to now in the next stage, when Matt Cooper's e-mails, within Time Magazine, are handed over to the grand jury, the ultimate revelation, probably within the week of who his source is.

"And I know I'm going to get pulled into the grand jury for saying this but the source of...for Matt Cooper was Karl Rove, and that will be revealed in this document dump that Time magazine's going to do with the grand jury."


The Shanley Era

Father Smith's term as President of Providence College has drawn to a close, and Fr. Brian Shanley has taken over as the 12th President.

Best wishes for a successful and slightly more open-minded administration.

Another Poll

CNN broadcasted earlier that 47% of Republicans want a justice who will uphold Roe, while 46% want a justice who will overturn it.

If Roe is overturned, there will be an upside... as it will become a MAJOR issue during the 2006 0r 2008 election cycles (or both), and two thirds of Americans support Roe v. Wade.

And you know what that will mean on election night. Heck, maybe enough state legislatures will go blue that abortion will still be an option everywhere! (Yeah, right, but here's hoping).

And in semi-unrelated news, something tells me that our Outreach Director will be hearing his name A LOT over the next few months.

R.I.P. Luther Vandross

Why Roe v. Wade Will Not Be Overturned

...Or at least the GOP better hope not...

Pew Poll

"In 1973 the Roe versus Wade decision established a woman's constitutional right to an abortion, at least in the first three months of pregnancy. Would you like to see the Supreme Court completely overturn its Roe versus Wade decision, or not?"

June 8-12, 2005
Yes 30
No 63
Unsure 7

January, 2003
Yes 31
No 62
Unsure 7

O'Connor's Record

Justice O'Connor was the swing vote in all of the following decisions:

-Grutter v. Bollinger (2003) affirmed the right of state colleges and universities to use affirmative action in their admissions policies to increase educational opportunities for minorities and promote racial diversity on campus;

-Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation v. EPA (2004) said the Environmental Protection Agency could step in and take action to reduce air pollution under the Clean Air Act when a state conservation agency fails to act;

-Rush Prudential HMO, Inc. v. Moran (2002) upheld state laws giving people the right to a second doctor's opinion if their HMOs tried to deny them treatment;

-Hunt v. Cromartie (2001) affirmed the right of state legislators to take race into account to secure minority voting rights in redistricting;

-Tennessee v. Lane (2004) upheld the constitutionality of Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act and required that courtrooms be physically accessible to the disabled;

-Hibbs v. Winn (2004) subjected discriminatory and unconstitutional state tax laws to review by the federal judiciary;

-Zadvydas v. Davis (2001) told the government it could not indefinitely detain an immigrant who was under final order of removal even if no other country would accept that person;

-Brentwood Academy v. Tennessee Secondary School Athletic Association (2001) affirmed that civil rights laws apply to associations regulating interscholastic sports;

-Lee v. Weisman (1992) continued the tradition of government neutrality toward religion, finding that government-sponsored prayer is unacceptable at graduations and other public school events;

-Brown v. Legal Foundation of Washington (2003) maintained a key source of funding for legal assistance for the poor;

-Morse v. Republican Party of Virginia (1996) said key anti-discrimination provisions of the Voting Rights Act apply to political conventions that choose party candidates;

-Federal Election Commission v. Colorado Republican Federal Campaign Committee (2001) upheld laws that limit political party expenditures that are coordinated with a candidate and seek to evade campaign contribution limits;

-McConnell v. Federal Election Commission (2003) upheld most of the landmark McCain-Feingold campaign finance law, including its ban on political parties' use of unlimited soft money contributions;

-Stenberg v. Carhart (2000) overturned a state ban on so-called partial birth abortion;

-McCreary County v. ACLU of Kentucky (2005) upheld the principle of government neutrality towards religion and ruled unconstitutional Ten Commandments displays in several courthouses.


Obviously, the big news today is the retirement of Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O'Connor, creating the first Supreme Court vacancy in eleven years. This is somewhat shocking, as Chief Justice William Rehnquist was the favorite to create the next vacancy.

It's also worrying, as the O'Connor retirement could result in drastic changes, including loss of reproductive choice, blurring of the separation of church and state, indefinite detainment of foreign nationals and US citizens without any form of due process, the loss of affirmative action, etc.

It is important now that we contact our Senators and President Bush, urging them to choose a concensus candidate... one that both sides can agree upon. As this appointment will affect the balance of power on the Supreme Court, if Bush chooses an arch-conservative, there will be a battle like most of us have never seen. But, as Orrin Hatch tells us, a concensus candidate will avoid that situation. From Hatch's biography...

I told him [Clinton] that confirmation would not be easy. At least one Democrat would probably vote against Bruce, and there would be a great deal of resistance from the Republican side. I explained to the President that although he might prevail in the end, he should consider whether he wanted a tough, political battle over his first appointment to the Court.

Our conversation moved to other potential candidates. I asked whether he had considered Judge Stephen Breyer of the First Circuit Court of Appeals or Judge Ruth Bader Ginsburg of the District of Columbia Court of Appeals. President Clinton indicated he had heard Breyer's name but had not thought about Judge Ginsberg.

I indicated I thought they would be confirmed easily. I knew them both and believed that, while liberal, they were highly honest and capable jurists and their confirmation would not embarrass the President. From my perspective, they were far better than the other likely candidates from a liberal Democrat administration.

In the end, the President did not select Secretary Babbitt. Instead, he nominated Judge Ginsburg and Judge Breyer a year later, when Harry Blackmun retired from the Court. Both were confirmed with relative ease.

Bush should ask himself the same question. Does he want "a tough, political battle over his first appointment to the Court?"

Of course we all know the answer.