Articles from September 2009



Best-of clip of the insanity at Rob Wittman’s town hall meeting in Warsaw, Virginia, on August 30th, 2009.

Ouch, just ouch.

These people really need to lay off the Glenn Beck and the internet. At the very least, they need to do a little research before they repeat everything they see on television or on the internet. Just because someone writes it on a blog or somewhere else doesn’t make it true.

Heck, just take a look at this blog for example.

The Orwellian newspeak approach to whether we have gangs in Caroline County or not.

This is from a story in today’s edition of The Free Lance–Star:

Commonwealth’s Attorney Tony Spencer talked about how decisions have consequences and discussed cases he has prosecuted in the county.

The sheriff and prosecutor say they don’t think the county has any real gangs, but they have seen “gang-like” activity in Caroline.

This is absolutely amazing. A couple weeks ago, Spencer wanted to put someone in a real prison for a real amount of time because Spencer alleged that a 16-year-old was a real gang member:

Ricky Alan Heinbaugh Jr. will stay locked up in a juvenile facility until he is at least 18 years old.

[…]

Judge Horace A. Revercomb III sentenced him yesterday to an active sentence of 2 years. But because he is 16, he is allowed to serve the time in a juvenile facility. After two years, Revercomb said, his behavior will be reviewed.

Commonwealth’s Attorney Tony Spencer argued that Heinbaugh’s criminal history and destructive behavior make him a danger to Caroline County. He had a gang expert critique Heinbaugh’s MySpace page, which the expert said had signs of possible gang affiliation to the Bloods street gang, such as tattoos and mannerisms.

And when Spencer was accused of intimidating witnesses who were subpoenaed to testify against Lashawn Monroe, Spencer said that they were really lying and all members of a real gang:

Spencer argued that the seven witnesses called at the hearing had a motive for wanting to speak out against him: They were all in some way friends or relatives of Monroe and had been reluctant to testify from the start.

He added that many of them are members of the same gang.

“This is an effort by a criminal street gang to throw a monkey wrench into the proceedings here,” he said.

Christ, I heard less BS when Latney was the Commonwealth’s Attorney.

And while I disagree with Supervisor Floyd Thomas quite often, he had some great pearls of wisdom at the community meeting:

Supervisor Floyd Thomas pulled $50 out of his pocket to add to the prizes being given away that night. He challenged all of the students to appreciate life.

He talked about how precious life is to him after overcoming cancer two years ago. “To see kids fight over something that doesn’t matter, it just hurts me,” he said.

Ham Sandwich asks the National Rifle Association to reconsider their endorsement of Albert Pollard.

The campaign of Hamilton “Ham” Sandwich, Esq. released the following statement on the news of the National Rifle Association’s (NRA) endorsement of Delegate Albert Pollard:

“I disagree with the National Rifle Association’s endorsement of Delegate Albert Pollard. I have always been a strong advocate of the people’s right to keep and bear arms. While I do not own any firearms currently — nor do I have the physical ability to use a firearm — I believe that I would be a better advocate of Second Amendment rights in the Virginia General Assembly than either Delegate Pollard or Ms. Crabill,” said Ham.

When asked about Sandwich’s philosophy on gun control, Sandwich said: “It’s simple, I believe that noncriminals and noncrazies should be able to purchase and carry firearms. Criminals and crazies — on the other hand — shouldn’t have access to guns.”

“Ham personally filled out the candidate questionnaire but he accidentally left a mustard stain on the paper and the NRA said that the questionnaire was illegible,” said Sandwich’s campaign spokesman Timothy Watson.  “We’ve submitted another copy of the questionnaire and we feel confident that the NRA will recognize that Ham is a strong defender of the people’s right to keep and bear arms.”

Ham, a Virginia native, is running as a Republican write-in candidate in the 99th district. The district includes the counties of Lancaster, Northumberland, Richmond, Westmoreland, and King George, as well as the Port Royal and Bowling precincts in Caroline. He is a member of the Virginia Bar (Golden Phoenix division) and a partner in the law firm of Dill & Gallinger. He is married and lives with his wife and children in Bowling Green, Virginia.

You can learn more about Ham Sandwich by visiting his website at http://www.votehamsandwich.com/, which is in the process of being updated from his 2007 run for Commonwealth’s Attorney in Prince William County.

The esteemed Democratic nominee for Attorney General, Steve Shannon, doesn’t know the difference between a police department and a sheriff’s office.

The Spotsylvania County Sheriff’s Office recently arrested and/or indicted a number of individuals as part of an online sting that was done over the summer. The Democratic nominee for Attorney General, Steve Shannon, released this press release regarding the sting:

Fairfax– Steve Shannon, candidate for Attorney General, today commended the Spotsylvania police department for their work in finding and charging 15 child predators in an Internet sting.

[…]

Spotsylvania’s police department is to be commended for their fast and thorough work in bringing these twisted individuals to court and making their community safer for kids,” Shannon said. “As these arrests show, Internet predators are often hiding right in front of our eyes, living in our towns and even working in our schools. When I’m Attorney General, I will make sure that our law enforcement officers have the training they need to conduct stings like the one in Spotsylvania, rooting out Internet predators, and bringing them to justice.”

The problem? Spotsylvania County doesn’t have a police department, it has this thing called a “sheriff’s office”. See, the voters go to the polls and elect this guy called the “High Sheriff”, who gets to administer and run the office for four years. In jurisdictions that have police departments (all jurisdictions have Sheriffs, even if all they do is court security), the Board of Supervisors or the City Council hires a police chief on a contract who gets to run the department autonomously (in theory).

It isn’t as if this type of stuff is some obscure trivia that the chief law-enforcement officer in the state shouldn’t know. It’s kinda germane to his qualifications and skills, if elected, as the next Attorney General for this state.

If Steve Shannon knew the differences between sheriff’s offices and police departments, as well as which jurisdictions have police departments, maybe his opponent, Senator Ken Cuccinelli, wouldn’t be getting the coveted endorsement of the Fraternal Order of Police today.

Man convicted for 1992 Caroline County murder to get new sentencing hearing.

From Virginia Lawyers Weekly’s blog:

In another criminal case, the court said reducing a sentence to the statutory maximum isn’t enough to cure an order sentencing a defendant to a term that exceeded the maximum penalty.

The defendant [Jerome K. Rawls] was convicted of second-degree murder in 1996 for a 1992 offense, just before the maximum penalty for the crime was increased from 20 years to 40. The jury recommended 25 years, and the trial judge imposed it because neither the prosecution nor the defense caught the error.

Years later, the defendant contended that the sentencing order was void. The trial judge attempted to fix the problem by reducing the sentence to the statutory maximum.

Not good enough, the Supreme Court ruled today and said the defendant is entitled to a new sentencing hearing.

We finally have a real choice in the 99th: Ham Sandwich declares for Delegate in the 99th!!!

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:

HAMILTON “HAM” SANDWICH, ESQ. LAUNCHES WRITE-IN CAMPAIGN FOR 99TH DISTRICT HOUSE OF DELEGATES SEAT

CAROLINE COUNTY, VA – Hamilton “Ham” Sandwich, Esq. today announced his campaign as a Republican write-in candidate for the 99th House of Delegates District on the popular local blog “I’m Surrounded By Idiots” run by Timothy Watson. Ham previously ran for Prince William County Commonwealth’s Attorney in 2007 as a write-in candidate and received more than 700 votes countywide with votes coming from every precinct in the county according to Prince William County Registrar Betty Weimer.

Mr. Sandwich’s 2007 campaign web site, located at http://www.votehamsandwich.com/, provides voters with background information on the candidate, his rationale for running in that race, a critique of his then-opponent’s record of failure in the job, information on the write-in process and a list of endorsements among other items. Plans are underway to update the site to reflect this latest run and the difficult issues that Virginians are facing today.

In keeping with his commitment to open government and his Jeffersonian conservative ideals, Sandwich is issuing a challenge to both Del. Albert Pollard (D) and Republican challenger Catherine Crabill to engage him in a series of debates and town hall meetings on the issues between now and Election Day – one each week.

Ham believes that it is unconscionable that Delegate Pollard’s campaign website is completely devoid of any issues save for two – “Responsible Governing” and “The Bay.”

In a statement, Ham Sandwich declared, “Why doesn’t Del. Pollard just declare that he is also for ‘Mom,’ ‘Apple Pie,’ and, well, at one time I would have said, ‘Chevrolet,’ but now must use the term, ‘Government Motors.’”

Likewise, Ham joins Republican gubernatorial nominee Bob McDonnell and his statewide ticketmates Bill Bolling and Ken Cuccinelli in condemning the candidacy of Ms. Crabill who has openly stated on her campaign web site that she believes the U.S. Government was responsible for the 1995 bombing of the Oklahoma City Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building.

Ham, a Virginia native, is a member of the Virginia Bar (Golden Phoenix division) and a partner in the law firm of Dill & Gallinger. He is married and lives with his wife and children in Bowling Green, Virginia.

UPDATED: What the heck is the First Congressional District Republican Committee smoking?

UPDATE: Chairman Tom Foley of the First Congressional District Republican Committee had this to say in an e-mail:

Dear Mr. Watson,

At its June meeting the committee authorized $1,500.00 to each of the three challengers running  either against an incumbent or for an open seat in the district.

The 3,000.00 you cite is not correct.  I looked up the SBE report, and upon inquiry have been told that campaign staff filed that report with SBE in person and were instructed to show the single contribution in two places. It is now being corrected.

Okay, but this raises an even bigger issue: If Catherine Crabill received only $1,500 from the committee and not $3,000, that means her campaign committee currently has a balanced of -$480.61, which isn’t possible either logically (since she discloses no debts) or under state law.

CORRECTION: The math actually works out correctly with the removal of the second $1,500 contribution from the committee.

The campaign finance disclosure reports covering July 1 through August 31 for most candidates were released today by the State Board of Elections and there were some surprises in Catherine Crabill’s report.

On July 13, 2009, the First Congressional District Committee contributed $1,500 to Crabill’s campaign. On August 24, 2009, ten days after Bob McDonnell, Bill Bolling, Ken Cuccinelli, and Pat Mullins publicly repudiated Crabill and her campaign, the First Congressional District Republican Committee contributed another $1,500 to her campaign.

There are so many things wrong with this I don’t know where to start: First, the committee contributed money to a candidacy of someone that’s obviously insane and believes that the United States government was responsible for, inter alia, the murder of 168 people, including 19 children, in the Oklahoma City bombing. Do I need to stay more? Do the values expressed by Crabill match those held by members and chairman of the First District Committee?

Second, why is the committee contributing money to the candidacy of someone that doesn’t have a snowball’s chance in hell of winning? As a sidenote on point two, doesn’t incumbent Rob Wittman have two Democratic challengers running against him in 2010? Am I the only person that thinks they could find a better use for this money they’re blowing on Crabill’s campaign?

Third, why is the committee supporting this Crabill which serves to hurt the candidacy of McDonnell et al.? Are they blind to that fact or do they just not care?

All told, Crabill raised $4,538.95 during the reporting period and has $1,019.39 on-hand. Meanwhile, Delegate Albert Pollard raised $14,101 and has $16,301.36 on-hand.

Cross-posted at Virginia Virtucon.

Son of Israel’s first astronaut killed during pilot training.

AP via the Richmond Times-Dispatch:

JERUSALEM — The son of an Israeli astronaut who died in the space shuttle Columbia disaster six years ago was killed today when his F-16 warplane crashed on a routine training flight, the Israeli military said.

The military identified the dead pilot as Capt. Asaf Ramon, son of Ilan Ramon, Israel’s first and only astronaut. One of seven crew members killed when the Columbia exploded as it re-entered the atmosphere in 2003, Ilan Ramon is seen as a national hero in Israel, and radio and TV stations broke into their broadcasts today to report the news of his son’s death.

The crash elicited emotional responses from Israeli leaders. The military chief of staff, Lt. Gen. Gabi Ashkenazi, arrived at the family’s home along with the air force commander after news of the crash was made public, and the country’s defense minister, Ehud Barak, said he was “heartbroken.”

“It is a sad and painful day,” Barak told reporters.

Ramon’s fighter jet crashed south of the West Bank city of Hebron. Dan Kapach, a security officer at a nearby Israeli settlement, described a “huge explosion.”

[…]

Ramon, 21, was the eldest of Ilan Ramon’s four children. He excelled in his pilot training and in June received a presidential honor and was given his pilot’s wings by President Shimon Peres.

[…]

The pilot was 15 at the time of the death of his father, the payload specialist on the Columbia. A former fighter pilot who took part in Israel’s bombing of an Iraqi nuclear reactor in 1981, Ilan Ramon had schools and other institutions named for him after his death.

Today Israeli TV stations screened footage of Ramon floating weightless in the space shuttle, swallowing floating drops of water and speaking about his love for his wife and children.

By the way, and not in an attempt to hawk a book in a post like this, but “Raid on the Sun: Inside Israel’s Secret Campaign that Denied Saddam the Bomb” by Rodger Claire is a great book that details the Israeli operations against Saddam Hussein’s nuclear reactor.

One thing that Claire mentions in the foreword was how sad he was that he only had a single opportunity to talk to Ilan Ramon for the book. They had originally planned to get together for a more in-depth interview following Ramon’s participant on the Columbia mission, but they obviously never got the opportunity.

Another thing that Claire mentions during the book was that one of the generals that was responsible for the planning of the mission was there to see the pilots off on the day of the attack despite losing his own son in a plane crash during pilot training a few days earlier.

“Jack Webb Schools Barack Obama on Healthcare”

This has been going around in e-mails but for those that haven’t seen it:

Live-blog: Spotsylvania County Board of Supervisors Candidates’ Debate

Cross-blogged at Virginia Virtucon.


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