November 16, 2005

November 14, 2005

Brit Overcomes AIDS With No Treatment, Doctors Astonished

File with the "how come I didn't hear about this from the American media" file.

After being diagnosed with the disease, Stimpson began taking a daily cocktail of supplements in a bid to keep as healthy as possible though he knew a cure was impossible. Because he was in the early stages of the disease he did not need to take special medication. Throughout the year, he underwent routine blood tests every other month and had check ups on his liver, heart, and immune system. Doctors were astonished at his continuing excellent health, unusual for an HIV sufferer. In October 2003, Stimpson was offered a repeat HIV test — and the result came back negative.


Click here for full article.

Quote of the Day

"Normal is getting dressed in clothes you buy for work and driving through traffic in a car that you are still paying for - in order to get to the job you need to pay for the clothes and the car, adn the house you leave vacant all day so you can afford to live in it." - Ellen Goodman

November 11, 2005

Warner Gets Boost In Run for President

So I guess this is it...

RICHMOND, Nov. 10 -- While working feverishly to help elect Timothy M. Kaine as his successor, Virginia Gov. Mark R. Warner (D) has been assembling a team to prepare for his own political future, which supporters said is likely to include a bid for the presidency in 2008.

Warner is preparing to hold a final fundraiser as governor at the Ritz Carlton in Tysons Corner next month, but next week he will formally launch his federal political action committee and unveil its Web site, and make his first political trip to New Hampshire, site of the nation's first presidential primary. There, he will host a luncheon for Democratic activists.


Click here for the rest.

November 9, 2005

The Morning After

Here's some news about yesterday's huge win for Tim Kaine and Mark Warner!

The New York Times -
Democrat Wins Race for Governor in Virginia
After a lengthy introduction by Mr. Warner, who called the outcome a triumph against negative campaigning, Mr. Kaine told a raucous crowd at a downtown hotel that the results proved that Mr. Warner's victory four years ago was not a fluke.

"We proved that people are more interested in fiscal responsibility than ideological bickering," Mr. Kaine said. "We proved that faith in God is a value for all and that we can all share regardless of our partisan labels. And we proved that Virginians want a governor who has a positive vision for moving this commonwealth forward."

The comeback victory by Mr. Kaine, who trailed for much of the campaign, provided a big boost to Mr. Warner, who had anointed Mr. Kaine his successor and is considering running for president in 2008.


The Washington Post -
A Triumph For Warner, And a Guide For His Party
Virginia's quadrennial search for a governor featured neither charismatic personalities nor dominant policy initiatives. But Democrat Timothy M. Kaine's resounding victory over Republican Jerry W. Kilgore nonetheless provided important political lessons for the commonwealth, and maybe the country.

The outcome marked what feels like a dramatic strengthening of Democratic appeal in Northern Virginia, the state's richest and most populous region. It showed that Republicans can no longer depend simply on the power of their party to win statewide and demonstrated the dangers of a negative campaign. It presented an intriguing campaign model for Democrats, in which religious faith plays an important role. And most of all it demonstrated the appeal of Gov. Mark R. Warner (D), for whom this could become the first stop of a presidential campaign.

"The real asset that Kaine had was this rather astonishing popularity of Warner," said Merle Black, a professor who studies Southern politics at Emory University.

George Mason University professor Mark J. Rozell agreed. "I think to a large extent [the story] is the Warner influence," said Rozell, who has closely followed the race. "He created the circumstances for a Democrat to win in a Republican-leaning state in the South."


Bloomberg.com -
Virginia's Election of Kaine Lets Democrats Stand Up to Bush


At about 9:05 p.m., almost simultaneously, CBS, ABC and the Associated Press call the race for Kaine. His supporters press forward en masse to get closer to the screen, roaring ``Tim Kaine, Tim Kaine!'' They boo a live shot from the Kilgore campaign, then cheer when the newscaster says the mood there is downcast.

Bruce Springsteen's ``Born to Run,'' pumped up, begins to play. The younger Kaine backers dance. Amid the Kaine signs waving in the ballroom is a solitary hand-drawn sign saying ``Warner in 2008.''

``I want Mark Warner to be our next president,'' says Charles Goin, 38, an engineer from Richmond, waving his poster. ``You can't win the presidency without the South and what's more southern than Virginia? And we didn't just win, we clobbered Kilgore.''


USA Today -
Dems shut out GOP in 2 closely watched races

Democrats scored victories in this year's two governor's races, keeping the seats in their party and denying Republicans a measure of comfort in a tough year.

Democrat Tim Kaine rode Virginia Gov. Mark Warner's soaring popularity to success over Republican Jerry Kilgore, adding cachet to Warner's expected 2008 presidential bid. Virginians generally vote Re-publican for president — they gave President Bush a 9-percentage-point victory last year — but for the eighth time in a row, they chose a governor from the party that doesn't hold the White House.


MSNBC -
Democrats win Virginia, New Jersey races
Kaine, Virginia's lieutenant governor, had fashioned his campaign around the theme of continuing the state's economic growth, which he said was fostered by incumbent Democratic Gov. Mark Warner, a man with 2008 presidential ambitions.

The victory was buoyant news for Warner, who campaigned far and wide across the state for the 47-year-old Kaine.

Standing side-by-side with Warner at his victory celebration in Richmond Tuesday night, the governor-elect alluded to Warner's presidential ambitions. "I'm looking forward to standing next to you at your next victory party."

November 8, 2005

Victory!

Tim Kaine will be the next governor of Virginia!

Democrats and Iraq

Check out the roundup of Democratic prospects in 2008's presidential race and their current positions on Iraq courtesy of Chris Cillizza of The Fix, a blog on washingtonpost.com.

Click here.

Election Day

If I were a Virginian, I would be voting for Tim Kaine today! So if you happen to be a Virginian, pretend you are me. Or just be you, and vote for him.

November 7, 2005

Interview with the Gov

Yesterday, Governor Mark Warner was on C-SPAN's Q&A. It was a great interview. You can read the transcript here. Here are some excerpts:

---

LAMB: If you were to leave office today, you would leave with an 80 percent popularity rating. The poll I read just before this one came out was 74 percent of the Mason-Dixon poll, the highest of any governor they‘ve ever rated. How is this – how did you do this? I mean, they say you never can raise taxes and survive. So how did you do it?

WARNER: Well, Brian, you know, one of the things I found in Virginia is a little bit of truth goes a long way. We told the truth. We said, here you go, we put in place things that seem to rational to me as a former business guy but maybe weren‘t so rational in politics.

We put a requirement for a six-year financial plan. And I did 50 town hall meetings, I even went straight to the people and said, all right, here‘s where we have cut and now remember, we started with cuts, we didn‘t start on the revenue side. We started with cuts, then we went to reforms.

And then we said we‘ve got to end up with a way that says we can either lose our triple-A bond rating, not meet our minimum requirements to public schools, or we can end up with tax reform that‘s going to have us pay a little more.

Now Virginia is still a very low-tax state. We‘re somewhere between again – how you slice it dice it, between 38th and 41st in the nation in tax rate. But I think the reason why I‘ve got these approval ratings is not necessarily the tax reform plan, but I think it has been more the approach.

One, I‘ve got a very bipartisan administration. I remember when I got elected, about a third of my cabinet, a quarter of my cabinet was Republican. That made the Democrats mad because I wasn‘t putting just Democrats in. It made some of the hardcore on the Republicans mad because it was peeling off a lot of the moderates.

Most of what we‘ve tried to do in Virginia, whether it‘s our education reforms, our revitalization in our rural communities, hadn‘t been Democrat or Republican, it has been what is in Virginia‘s best interest?

And every time that we‘ve that appeal people in both parties have stepped up and we‘ve managed to work together. And the thing that I feel best about in Virginia, you know, those numbers may be ephemeral about whether they go up or down, but there‘s not a day that goes by that people don‘t come up to me and say, you know, Governor, I‘m proud of where Virginia is at now, or, I‘m proud of where Virginia is headed.

That‘s a very different feel than most folks would say about where our country is headed at this point. And I think that is because it has been about the state‘s interest first and not mine or the particular party.

People want government to deliver and they want it to do it efficiently and they like when actually your elected leaders don‘t spend all their time fighting each other.

---

LAMB: Where are you on the Iraq war?

WARNER: Where I am on the Iraq war is I think Democrats ought to spend less time re-fighting how we got into the war and more time figuring out where we go from here. I think the president has a responsibility as our commander-in-chief to be more forthcoming about his plan about how we finish.

But I think a couple of things. I think, number one, you know, I don‘t believe an arbitrary deadline should be set. I think we, regardless of whether we like how we got there, we need to finish the task.

Two, I think we need to continue to put pressure on the Shias and the Kurds to include the Sunnis so that we don‘t have a division in that country.

Three, I think we need to move more of the rebuilding resources into the hands of the Iraqis as opposed to the American contractors there where we‘re spending 30 cents on every dollar doing security for the outside contractors. The more we can get Iraqis actually involved in the reconstruction of their country, the more they‘re going to have a stake. And remember, this is a country that did function for 40 years.

And four, let me just – and this doesn‘t have as much to do with Iraq, but I think it‘s a debate that we need in this country. I mean, our American military – and Virginia has got the highest concentration of military of any state in the country, our military is so superior to everyone else in the world that we can take out the command and control functions of the bad guys so quickly, and that‘s good news, because it makes these conflicts very short, not just Iraq, Afghanistan, you know, Somalia, Bosnia, all of our recent incursions.

But one of the things that we have to grapple with is how do you reestablish civil authority? And on that piece our record has not been as good. And where is that role of reestablishing civil authority, turning on the water, turning on the power, whose job is that going to be?

The military understandably I think is reluctant to take on that role. But we‘ve got to have a discussion about that because what we‘re doing right now by not having that fully thought through and having this long deployment I see as commander-of-chief of our National Guard that unfortunately we are in many ways really harming our National Guards and Reserves because not only in terms of lack of equipment and training, but more importantly – or equally important, we‘re seeing these members, who are great patriots, serve and proud to serve in Iraq, but they‘re not re-upping.

Because if you‘re mid career, you know, you can be deployed once, but being deployed two and three times and having that in your future, you just can‘t do it. So we are going to have to have, I think, a real, honest debate in this country about the force structure of our military as well as how do we control these incursions after we take out the command and control of the bad guys?

---

November 4, 2005

To Vote For or To Vote Against

With another election day quickly approaching, and seeing a daily barrage of advertising in the Virginia's governor's race (vote for Kaine!), the issue of voting principles resurfaced in my mind. Specificially, the concept of voting for someone versus voting against someone. There is a difference.

Last November, when Americans were given the choices of Kerry and Bush at the ballot box, I believe the majority of voters who voted for Bush were voting for Bush whereas the majority of those who voted for Kerry, were voting against Bush. Any election that includes a candidate who is running for reelection to the position basically boils down to whether people think the politician did a good job or a bad job in their post. However, a candidate's campaign fuel cannot solely be based on hatred of the opponent. When there is a huge scandal with the office holder leaving in disgrace, sure it could work. However, especially in a close election like we knew the 2004 presidential election would be, a different strategy should have been employed. If a piece of broccoli had been the Democratic nominee, I bet the percentage of the anti-Bush vote would have been pretty close to what it was for Kerry.

In order to be a good American, you must vote. You may hate the candidates. It may be picking the lesser of two evils. But you must vote.

Here comes the challenge. Since you are voting regardless, never vote against somebody. That's right. You read me. Only vote for somebody. Instead of picking the candidate who is "not as bad" as the other, vote for the good, however little, in the candidate you select.

You may think they are boring. They may not have the proper grasp on the issues that you think they ought to have. They may have gone to a rival college (unless that is a dealbreaker in your candidate selection). But find something that you genuinely like about the guy or gal. There may be 99 bad things about them. But find the one. And vote for them because of it. Everyone has at least one good thing about them, right?

The simple swich to voting affirmatively for a candidate makes the whole process more enjoyable--with citizens voting for good charactistics of their candidate instead of against the bad qualities of the other. And if everybody started voting for candidates instead of against them, maybe we wouldn't be bombarded with the typical candidate's campaign ad which, if the disclaimer of "this ad was sponsored by..." were removed, you would only see attacks upon the other candidate without any mention of the guy actually paying for it. A bit idealistic on humanity and campaigns? Maybe. But I think it's worth a shot.

November 2, 2005

A November Smorgasborg

Today I had a couple topics I considered posting about, and after much deliberation, I decided to post them all (albeit briefly). That's right. Four for the price of one!

1. Samuel Alito

During my daily online newsbriefing, I saw this article in the Los Angeles Times that talks about how many Democrats actually like Alito. They say that he is not one of those conservative idealogues who have a particular ideology and when deciding cases, make sure that they do whatever it takes to reach that goal. He considers context and uses reason in arriving at his decisions. He even ruled against some "driving while black" cases. This sure doesn't like the maniac who is on a mission to take the rights of women and minorities away! Or at least the judge that MoveOn.com wants me to think he is.

Here's a clip:

"I grew up in New York City, and I'm a political independent. But I liked Judge Alito because he was a judicial conservative, someone who believed in judicial restraint and was committed to textualism," he said. "His approach leads to conservative results in some cases and progressive results in other cases. In my opinion, he is a fantastic jurist and a good guy."

Some of Alito's former Yale Law School classmates who describe themselves as Democrats say they expect they will not always agree with his rulings if he joins the Supreme Court. But they say he is the best they could have hoped for from among Bush's potential nominees.

"Sam is very smart, and he is unquestionably conservative," said Washington lawyer Mark I. Levy, who served in the Justice Department during the Carter and Clinton administrations. "But he is open-minded and fair. And he thinks about cases as a lawyer and a judge. He is really very different from [Justice Antonin] Scalia. If he is going to be like anyone on the court now, it will be John Roberts," the new chief justice.


2. Michael Steele

The more the Democrats hate Michael Steele, the more it makes me like him. And the more I hope he wins. I am very moderate politically, here supporting a Republican for Senate, yet supporting a Democrat (Mark Warner) for president in 2008. (Do people like me still exist?) Anyway, here is an editorial from the Washington Times on the whole hoopla over Steve Gilliard's racist blog posting about Steele.

Here's a clip:
The slurs are unfit for a family newspaper and cannot be reprinted here. But they are the same old sludge Democrats have been throwing at Mr. Steele for years -- attempts to equate Democratic talking points with the black agenda and suggestions that Mr. Steele isn't authentically "black." It's telling that Mr. Gilliard, a black New Yorker whose popular site gets an estimated 15,000 hits a day, is a newcomer to Maryland politics, since that confirms what practically everyone already knows: Mr. Steele unnerves liberals and Democrats everywhere simply by being a black Republican.

This has been going on since before Mr. Steele was elected as Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich's running mate. In 2001, Maryland State Senate President Mike Miller Jr. called Mr. Steele "an Uncle Tom."

In what must rank as one of its most shameful moments, the reliably liberal editorial board of the Baltimore Sun wrote during the 2002 gubernatorial campaign that Mr. Steele "brings little to the team but the color of his skin." It has since had to eat those words. Mr. Steele has gone on to be a leading member of Mr. Ehrlich's administration, as the Sun itself acknowledged Thursday in an editorial on Mr. Steele's Senate bid.

The political rabble has shown its ire in ugly racial terms, too. In 2002, during a campaign debate with then-Lt. Gov. Kathleen Kennedy Townsend, Steele-bashers threw Oreo cookies at him.


An article entitled 'Party trumps race' for Steele foes, talks about the liberal double standard in politics when it comes to racial issues:

State Sen. Lisa A. Gladden, a black Baltimore Democrat, said she does not expect her party to pull any punches, including racial jabs at Mr. Steele, in the race to replace retiring Democratic U.S. Sen. Paul S. Sarbanes.

"Party trumps race, especially on the national level," she said. "If you are bold enough to run, you have to take whatever the voters are going to give you. It's democracy, perhaps at its worse, but it is democracy."

Delegate Salima Siler Marriott, a black Baltimore Democrat, said Mr. Steele invites comparisons to a slave who loves his cruel master or a cookie that is black on the outside and white inside because his conservative political philosophy is, in her view, anti-black.

"Because he is a conservative, he is different than most public blacks, and he is different than most people in our community," she said. "His politics are not in the best interest of the masses of black people."


The article goes on to describe one of the "big" issues that some have with Steele:

Still, Mfume spokesman Joseph P. Trippi said Mr. Steele opens himself to such criticism by defending Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich Jr. for holding a Republican fundraiser in July at the all-white Elkridge Club in Baltimore.

"The facts are the facts. Ehrlich went to that country club, and Steele said it didn't bother him," Mr. Trippi said. "I think that says something ... and should be part of this debate."

Several club members told the Baltimore Sun that, though blacks are welcome as guests and there is no policy banning blacks from membership, the club never has had a black member in its 127-year history.

Democrats also have used the club for various events, including Peter O'Malley, brother of and adviser to Baltimore Mayor Martin O'Malley, a Democratic candidate for governor. Peter O'Malley held his wedding reception there in 2003.


So it's okay for Democrats to use the same facility but not for Republicans? Or only if a black person joined the country club in Elkridge, it would make it alright for people to hold events there without being called racist? So, let's say that there is a country club somewhere and membership is solely whites and blacks, but no Asians are members. Would it be okay for me to say the members are racist because there are no Asians? I guess it would be okay!

And for all the talk that supposedly Steele was only chosen for his race, how does that figure into the equation for supporters of race based affirmative action? Wouldn't that then be a huge victory for AA supporters? And whoever is left standing after the Martin O'Malley/Doug Duncan battle for the Democratic nomination for governor, I think it is a forgone conclusion that his running mate will be black. So if a Democrat picks a black running mate, it is not racially motivated, but if he marks the box one inch over on his voter registration card and marks (R), it makes it so? I just don't understand.

3. Gene Weingarten

One of my favorite columnists for the Washington Post is, without a doubt, Gene Weingarten. He definitely has made many of those real life observations that once he says them, you see how true they are as they play themselves out over and over again, but before he writes one, you simply don't even think about it.

Here is a great article from last year which is extremely funny and true.
A Course in Wife Sciences: In the game of marriage, there are players, and there are men

4. John Kerry

One of my biggest regrets of 2004 is voting for John Kerry. Although I did hold my nose, close my eyes, and ask for forgiveness when voting for him, whatever respect I did have for him at the time has diminished each and every time I have seen him make a television appearance or read one of his emails.

The latest email sent to his enthusiastic "johnkerry.com community" is about his goal to "Help bring 20,000 troops home over the holidays." Now, don't get me wrong... I'm not opposed for troops being reunited with their families. Once they are no longer needed in Iraq, they should be brought home. But while there is stuff for them to do, it would make sense for them to be there to do it.

During his campaign, one of Kerry's pledges was to increase the number of troops on the ground in Iraq because according to all accounts that he heard, more help was needed. President Bush, after all, didn't know how to listen to the officers on the ground and their pleas for help. We were overextending our military, I thought.

But now, here we are with Kerry now saying we need to bring 20,000 troops home. I wish he'd just explain the significance of the number, and why he thought if less than a year ago we needed far more troops, and now we don't, if he wanted to either concede that the troops were making good progress or he was wrong in his initial assessment or if he was simply being Cindy Sheehan's voice in the Senate. With Kerry, you really don't know. It could be all or none of the above.

November 1, 2005

Some Mark Warner articles

So there have been a few articles about Mark Warner in the past couple months which I failed to read when they first came out so I could share them with all of you, faithful readers of my blog.

Chasing Bubba - The Mark Warner 2008 prospectus

A Chance Peak at Warner's Ambitions
- Talks about the significance of Warner's PAC website.

House Democrats Hitch Wagon to Warner
- Talks about the long, beautiful coattails of Governor Warner in Virgina

Netting an Elusive Breed - by Mark Warner last fall. Talks about education.

My Profile

1) Your name: Ryan Abel

2) Location: Washington, DC by day, Silver Spring, Maryland by night

3) Age: 23

4) Job: Somewhere deep inside the pharmaceutical industry

5) Horoscope sign: I'd have to look it up... December 15 is my birthday

6) Eye color: Oh so chocolately

7) Original hair color: Black

8) Current hair color: Black with a smattering of silver

9) Smoker: Fortunately, no.

10) Favorite food:
Anything with grilled chicken, green peppers, and onions (i.e. chicken fajita from Chipotle)

11) Favorite ice cream flavor: Edy's Double Fudge Brownie

12) Favorite drink or beverage: Lemonade

13) Favorite restaurant: Chi Chi Chi Chipotle.

14) Favorite color: Orange

15) Favorite actor: Tony Shaloub

16) Favorite actress: Dakota Fanning

17) Favorite TV Show:
Monk, The West Wing, Lost

18) Favorite Movie:
Lord of the Rings: Return of the King

19) Favorite song: Currently, "Wholly Yours" by the David Crowder Band.

20) Favorite musician or group: I love some good music, so I can't just go with one. My top six: Donnie McClurkin, Shaun Groves, David Crowder Band, Israel & New Breed, Fred Hammond, and Shawn McDonald.

21) Favorite animal: The Diamondback Terrapin

22) Favorite subject:
God, government, and politics

23) What are you listening to right now: The ice I'm crushing in my mouth.

24) Day or Night?
Depends on what's happening. Definately not much of a morning person, but I do like the sunlight of the day and the relaxation of night.

25) Summer or winter? Summer, most definately.

26) Beatles or Elvis? Both. Or Neither.

27) What brings you the most joy: The moment you realize you have a true friend.

28) What’s your greatest fear: Winning the lottery.

29) Who/where do you go to for advice: God, my buddies MD or RC, or somebody depending on the need.

30) One word that describes you best:
Ummm.. nice?