Perfect example of why you shouldn’t believe everything you see on the Internet.

That moron Ben Tribbett at “Not Larry Sabato” (NLS) posted a picture today that purported to show a Confederate flag being displayed in a Bob McDonnell booth at a gun show.

The problem? The Confederate flag belonged to a Confederate memorabilia dealer that was positioned beside McDonnell’s booth. The Washington Post did the fact-checking that Tribbett is too lazy to do:

Hugh Crittenden, the founder and manager of the Virginia Outdoor Sportsman Show, is backing up McDonnell.

Crittenden said he invited both campaigns to staff a booth at the show, which draws 20,000 people each year. McDonnell’s campaign decided to show, but came late, so Crittenden assigned them the only booth left open: Number 43.

It happened to be next another vendor who also signed up late, Down Home T-Shirts, which got Number 44. According to material submitted to the show, Down Home T-Shirts sells “Confederate T-shirts and more.”

He said even if McDonnell’s staffers had asked for a move, the show was so crowded that they could not have been accommodated.

And it wasn’t just Tribbett that was promoting this trash, the folks at Fred2Blue posted a link to NLS without bothering to do any fact-checking either.

And no one involved has bothered to issue a correction to their original posts, including Tribbett. In fact, he has following the say (Id.):

“If a confederate flag was placed at the exact median point between the McDonnell booth and a confederate booth and the McDonnell campaign was not smart enough to demand that it be taken down or that their booth be moved, that’s almost as bad as if the flag were at their booth,” he said. “Either way, it shows a real insensitivity to what the flag means.”

And D.J. McGuire took care of that point:


Now, I have no idea what mathematical genius allowed Tribbett to determine the “exact median point” from the picture, but allow me to use this to establish Blogospheric Rule # Um, we’re supposed to be counting? – When you are forced to resort to a syntactical precision best suited for a college-level dissertation, you lose the argument.

And it wasn’t just the blogosphere promoting this story either. Creigh Deed’s own campaign manager tweeted about the picture encouraging people to visit NLS.

But, of course, this is just more and more of campaigns intermingling themselves with blogs. You would be surprised at some of the e-mails I have gotten and conversations I have had with different politicians wanting such and such promoted. In one case, a well-known local politician wanted me to accuse another blogger of committing a crime because of a picture that he was using. Yes, seriously. And for some reason, he thought that just mentioning an extremely vague criminal statute to me and the blogger’s name would just cause me to pounce. Sorry, guess I’m not as stupid as Ben Tribbett.

In fact, if a campaign mentions anything about something I was going to write a post on, more than likely that post has just gotten deleted. Why am I just going to repeat something that someone else is already saying? If I wanted to do that I would be a spokesman or *shudder* a reporter.

And while the Deed’s campaign will of course deny being involved in this astroturfing campaign, someone should ask Tribbett how a picture from a Mechanicsville gun show ends up being sent to a blogger in Fairfax County. (For those unfamiliar with the term “astroturfing”, it is defined as “[t]he disguising of an orchestrated campaign as a spontaneous upwelling of public opinion”.) Perhaps it kinda like how a video of a deranged nut, Catherine Crabill, speaking at a tea party in Heathsville ended up on the same blog?:

Leigh Anne Collier, executive director of the Democratic Party of Virginia, said a tracker hired by the party had recorded the remarks, which were edited only because she [Catherine Crabill] had been speaking for a long time.

Tribbett couldn’t tell us what county Heathsville is in, much less find it on the map, but he ends up with video from a DPV tracker, as well as a picture from a Mechanicsville gun show, and we’re supposed to believe that this junk is anything but astroturfing?

For more coverage see:

JR Hoeft at Bearing Drift


Shaun Kenney

CatHouse Chat

The Write Side of My Brain

Virginia Virtucon

Red State

J’s Note

The right-wing liberal

Will Creigh Deeds continue to follow the failed Warner-Kaine lead on the Virginia STARS project?

The Virginia STARS (Statewide Agencies Radio System) is an ongoing project that’s supposed to provide a digital, interoperable radio system for the Virginia State Police and other state agencies. The system is also supposed to provide for instance interoperability with local agencies. The contract for this project was awarded back in June 2004 and was supposed to be completely operational by September 2009 according to the original timetable. ((“Frequently Asked Questions About STARS.” <>.))

But, as everything the government does (regardless of whether it’s the federal, state, or local government doing it), the project is behind schedule and over budget. And the General Assembly is starting to get fed up with the whole thing according to the Richmond Times-Dispatch:

Virginia’s new Statewide Agencies Radio System is over budget and behind schedule, in part because of poor planning, the House Appropriations Committee was told today.

The system is to bring new computers and radios to State Police cars and allow them to communicate easily with other public safety agencies.

Exasperated members of the budget committee sharply questioned Col. W. Steven Flaherty, the superintendent of State Police, about the report by a state auditor.

“What the heck are you all doing and how can we trust you?“ asked Del. R. Steven Landes, R-Augusta.

The project is expected to cost about $350 million. It was originally scheduled to be finished at the end of this year, but will need another year of work beyond that deadline, officials said.

Among the problems found by the auditor was that the project management team could not determine whether the work was on budget. It also found insufficient review of a consultant’s invoices before payment.

Flaherty said the deficiencies have been corrected and that some were exaggerated. ((Tyler Whitley. “Auditor critical of work on state public safety radio system.” Richmond Times-Dispatch. 16 June 2009: <>.))

Of course: ‘They’re just lying. Everything is a-okay here and we’re completely on budget! In fact, we’re under budget!’ *Snort*.

This is a project that’s currently over $10,000,000 over budget. ((Department of the State Police. “Notice of Award.” 14 July 2004: <>.)) ((“Modification #25 to Contract Number 2001-035 Between the Commonwealth of Virginia and Motorola, Inc.” 25 Nov. 2008: <>.)) This is a program that should have been completely operational by September 2009. ((“Frequently Asked Questions About STARS.” <>.)) Now, it’s almost a whole year behind in implementation. ((Department of State Police. “Re: Extended Implementation Justification.” 20 Oct. 2008: <>.)) According to the original project time table, all but one of the seven Virginia State Police divisions should be using the system currently, but as it stands now, only two are. ((“Frequently Asked Questions About STARS.” <>.)) ((Department of State Police. “Re: Extended Implementation Justification.” 20 Oct. 2008: <>.))

This is a colossal failure of management and leadership by both Mark Warner and Tim Kaine. And Creigh Deeds says he wants to follow in footsteps of the Warner-Kaine style of governance? If so, this whole state is in for more of a Charlie-Foxtrot if he gets elected.

How long are we going to have to wait to see any results from Creigh Deeds’ “economic recovery plan”?

After Virginia Virtucon pointed that Creigh Deeds doesn’t even have a section for jobs or the economy on the “Issues” section of his website I remembered this ad he had been running:

So, his “economic recovery plan starts with education”? What exactly that does that mean? What education does he plan to improve to help the economy?

K-12? Well, that would only take 12 years to have an effect.

Community colleges? Two years for an effect.

Universities and regular colleges? At least four years.

And then there’s no evidence that someone having a bachelor’s degree is actually going to result in more jobs. It takes more businesses and entrepreneurs out there if you want more jobs.

And while Bob McDonnell has proposed cleaning and clearing up the regulatory system and making it easier for businesses to start or relocate to Virginia, Deeds has been mum on the subject. What is his position on regulatory reform in Virginia? Heck, when an amendment to the Constitution that would have allowed the General Assembly to override regulations imposed by the various state agencies (and there’s too many of them to count) came before his committee, Deeds voted against it (H/t: Virginia Virtucon).

But what else should we expect from someone running for Governor that doesn’t even consider the economy or jobs “issues” for his campaign?

The many positions of Creigh Deeds on gay marriage all in two minutes.

Shot in Fredericksburg:

Okay, his positions are the following:

1.) The voters should have a say on the legality of gay marriage so he voted twice to put the gay marriage ban amendment on the ballot.

2.) Yet he campaigned against the amendment and claims to have voted against it.

3.) He believes that marriage should be between a man and a woman.

4.) He believes that everyone should have equal rights.

5.) He won’t give a firm answer on whether gay marriage is a civil right.

How many contradictions are in that list? If he believes that marriage is between a man and a woman, why did he campaign and vote against the ban? If he believes that everyone should have equal rights, why doesn’t that apply to gay marriage?

And for the record, this is not intended as a hit piece. I’m just trying to get the person that wants to be our next Governor to give a firm answer on a issue and not try to play both sides of the fence.

And as for the answer regarding the right-to-work amendment to constitution: Five other states already have constitutional amendments guaranteeing an employee’s right-to-work: Arizona, ((“Arizona News & Legislation.” National Right to Work Committee. <>.)) Arkansas, ((“Arkansas News & Legislation.” National Right to Work Committee. <>.)) Florida, ((“Florida News & Legislation.” National Right to Work Committee. <>.)) Mississippi, ((“Mississippi News & Legislation.” National Right to Work Committee. <>.)) and Oklahoma. ((“Oklahoma News & Legislation.” National Right to Work Committee. <>.))