And the award for the worst website for a political candidate in 2010 goes to…Krystal Ball!

Geez, her ‘new’ site is just awful.

First: It’s using WordPress. Now, I have no problem with someone using WordPress for a professional website, the problem here is the version of WordPress she’s using is five versions old. Do I really need to explain the problem of using outdated software on a website? Does she want someone to hack her website?

Second: The basic design. The most important question most people will be asking when hearing she’s running is “Who Is Krystal Ball?”. The problem? That question is answered at the bottom of the homepage of her website with white text on a gray background that’s barely readable.

Third: The images. Instead of using text on her “about” page, or her issues pages, she’s uses images. First, when the text is part of the image, that means that it’s not being indexed by Google or any search engine. The search engines can’t read the text from the images.

Second, these images are huge! Instead of using JPEG compression, she’s using PNGs. PNGs are great for something that’s just plain text, but these images combine both images in the background, as well as text, which make them huge.  For example, the two images that make up her “about” page are a total of 783.12KB. According to one website, it would take someone on a 56K dial-up connection 254.14 seconds to download the whole page.

Is Krystal Ball so ignorant of the district she’s running in that she doesn’t know a large portion of it still has to rely on dial-up internet? And what exactly is she playing these ‘consultants’, like Lowell Feld at Blue Virginia, for?

General Assembly gives a big middle-finger to Caroline County.

How? By refusing to fill the judicial vacancy created by the retirement of Circuit Court Judge Horace Revercomb on March 1st.

The General Assembly decided that instead of funding essential services like judges, they could save a few bucks by using substitute judges. They don’t care if that causes problems with continuity of leadership, if it makes it more difficult for the Commonwealth’s Attorney’s Office to prosecute cases, or for defense attorneys to represent their clients.

Even more insulting that the General Assembly voted to increase fees for deed recordation (something done by the Circuit Court Clerk’s Office) and court fees. But did they decide to use that money to pay for judges? Of course not.

But what did the General Assembly have money for? The “Wine Promotion Fund” ($745,000), the “Motion Picture Opportunity Fund” ($1,000,000), and the “Governor’s Opportunity Fund” ($12,100,000). So, they have money for corporate welfare but not for essential services. They also refused to completely cut government funding for “arts” and “public broadcasting”.

The worst part? Three of the four people in the General Assembly that are supposed to be representing Caroline County and its citizens voted for this budget: Delegates Bobby Orrock, who lives in the county, and Chris Peace, and Senator Ryan McDougle. Hopefully the citizens of Caroline County remember this during the next election.

In the mean time, maybe us citizens should send a copy of Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs to our elected representatives.

And an aside, was Delegate Bobby Orrock busy chasing down the dreaded puppy mills while not giving two hoots about acquiring full-time funding for the Caroline County Commonwealth’s Attorney’s Office like in 2008?

Cross-posted at On The Right and Virginia Virtucon.

The Free Lance–Star accuses two Caroline County Sheriff’s Deputies of police brutality using the word of someone charged with a felony.

Because he’s so damn believable, right?

For those that haven’t been following this story, a student along with her father and grandmother were arrested at Caroline County High School last week following an incident where they allegedly assaulted two sheriff’s deputies, as well as school administration personnel.

According to a reporting by WRIC (Channel 8) in Richmond, the father had previously been arrested twice on school grounds after refusing to leave. According to online court records he already has a pending assault and battery charge as well.

But that doesn’t stop esteemed local reporter Portsia Smith from repeating his claims that the sheriff’s deputies attacked his mother (the student’s grandmother) without provocation, and that’s when he stepped in to help his mother:

The father said everything was fine and they were leaving until his daughter realized she left her purse in the building.

He said his mother and daughter went back to get it while he stayed behind talking to one of the officers.

Then he said he saw his 69-year-old mother thrown to the ground by a sheriff’s deputy. His mother said she didn’t know what was going on.

Did our esteemed local reporter seek comment from the Sheriff’s Office or the deputies involved? Nope.

Did she ask for a copy of the surveillance tape, which captured the incident, from either the school system or the Sheriff’s Office? Of course not.

Did she bother contacting any of the people who witnessed the incident, such as the administration personnel? Nah, that’s too much work.

Hopefully, the deputies sue the father, as well as this incompetent ‘reporter’, for libel when this is all said and done.

When does a company’s “goodwill” create a conflict of interest?

Someone sent me a copy of a flier for the Caroline County Optimist Club’s Winter Sports Festival. For those unaware, the Director of the Optimist Club is County Administrator Percy Ashcraft and the club’s President is Percy Ashcraft’s wife. Its Recording Secretary is Karen Jenkins, who is the county’s “public information officer” as well.

Now, if you look at the sponsors of this event, you might recognize some of the names:

  • Amerigas
  • Jarrell Properties, Inc.
  • Utility Services, Inc.
  • Diversified Ambulance Billing
  • Clark’s Cut II
  • World View Solutions
  • E.M. Gray & Son, Inc.
  • Dominion Resources, Inc.
  • Massey Enterprises
  • Purvis Ford
  • Rosner Toyota
  • Virginia Sports Complex
  • Computer-Telephone Technologies
  • Linda Perry Taxes

Jarrell Properties, Inc., whose commercial rezoning application was approved by the Board of Supervisors on January 26th of this year.

Diversified Ambulance Billing? Those are the folks responsible for billing county citizens for the EMS fee program. It also turns out that they’ve fleeced county residents out of $39,000 over the last two years.

In addition, while I can’t find any connection between “Massey Enterprises” and the county, their offices are one suite over from where Diversified Ambulance Billing is located in Virginia Beach.

Clark’s Cut II is the controversial sand/gravel extraction site off of Route 17 whose approval by the Board of Supervisors has prompted legal action against the company as well as the Board (full disclosure: I supported that special exemption permit application and still do).

World View Solutions? They’re a geographic information system (GIS) provider…who just happens to be doing the county’s GIS project.

Virginia Sports Complex, who in 2009 was granted a special exemption permit to serve alcohol at their facility.

So, when does the “goodwill” from these companies become a conflict of interest (or create the appearance of a conflict of interest), especially when the group receiving the money is ran by the County Administrator and his wife?

And as a side note, is the County Administrator’s Office so pressed for work they are selling tickets to an event for a third-party, non-governmental organization? I smell some room for budget cuts there, maybe we can rededicate that money to something important, like education.

Cross-posted at Virginia Virtucon.

You might be a nerd if…

…you can pick out an obscure quote from a semi-obscure science-fiction television show during a completely unrelated radio ad.

I was sitting in my car on the way down to Richmond on Thursday a little before noon listening to WINC 92.5 FM out of Winchester. While listening to the radio, I heard an advertisement for their “retro” hour of music and it had a distinctive quote that I recognized, “Time is meaningless and yet it is all that exists.”

I sat there thinking for a second, knowing for a fact that I recognized not only the distinctive voice but also the quote. Then it came to me, it was from an episode of Farscape, specifically the episode “Unrealized Reality” (season four, episode eleven). Here’s video of the scene:

[flv: 512 288]

You can read a transcript of the scene below the fold.

Continue reading “You might be a nerd if…”