Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Smith Vs. Bell: It Could Be Bush Vs. Gore All Over

Bush Vs. Gore, Round 2 (kinda)
Valerie Garner reports in Roanoke Free Press that 19th Senatorial District candidate Brandon Bell has challenged Republican Ralph Smith, who needs a script to order coffee, to a debate prior to their election showdown in a few weeks.

The speculation on Val's Facebook page from Bill Carder (a former Republican member of Roanoke City Council; Smith was mayor) is that Smith will decline unless he is perceived "by his handlers" to be behind, in which case he will debate, but ignore questions and stay on a message proscribed for him. If he can remember it.

If Smith is to debate, he'll have to do better than take his intellectual penknife to a bazooka fight. In a straight-up battle of words, he'd have no chance, but then George Bush had no chance against Al Gore until people began to give Bush points for breathing while Gore's score was reduced every time he said anything intelligent, which was with every sentence. Bush crushed him by being stupid because so many voters share that trait with Bush. They want somebody as dumb as they are so they won't feel inferior.

Smith even had the brass to criticize his assumed Democratic opponent in this race because he's smart and the people of Floyd and Franklin Counties, he says, won't like that one little bit.


Liberal Brain Vs. Conservative Brain: A Scientific Study

Conservatives fear what they don't understand.
Just ran across the results of a fascinating study I missed that ran here in April. The study purports to determine the difference between the brains of liberals and conservatives (OK, liberal buddies, stop with the jokes about conservatives not having a brain to study).

The April 7 issue of Current Biology has this revealing information, gleaned from a study of 90 young people (questionnaire, MRI scan) and determined that "structural differences support the notion that liberals are better equipped to make sense of conflicting information while conservatives are better able to recognize a threat." I won't go into the structural differences here, but the link will explain them to you.
Liberals are "open to new experiences."

According to the CBS story, study author Dr. Ryota Kanai of the University College of London Institute of Cognitive Neuroscience, says, "Previously, some psychological traits were known to be predictive of an individual's political orientation. Our study now links such personality traits with specific brain structure."

The study seems to confirm "several previous reports showing that conservatives are more sensitive to feel threatened or anxious in the face of uncertainty, while liberals tend to be more open to new experiences."

(Photos: Scared man,; looking to the horizon,

Quote of the Day II: Rudy's a Fraud

Rudy the fraud
Lawrence O'Donnell went off on  former presidential candidate and 9/11 New York Mayor Rudy Guiliani last night. Here's what he said (and here's the video):

"Despite the painful truth of these details, which show Rudy Giuliani to have been an ego-driven incompetent in dealing with the threat of terrorism in New York City ... most of the media will continue to portray him as one of the heroes of 9/11. Know this: there is no more fraudulent public image in our politics."

This is an epic rant. Just sizzling. And lots of fun.

Quote of the Day: Hannity Questions Obama's Smarts

Hannity and another genius
Had to happen. The loveable and bubbly Sean Hannity had a wheel come off yesterday when responding to a Politico story with the headline, "Is Rick Perry Dumb?" (Hint: yes).

Here's Hannity's response:

"The question of intelligence is one the mainstream media [of which Hannity is a member] never bothered to ask about President Obama ... Every liberal's a genius that drives the economy into a ditch [the economy was driven into a ditch by George Bush, a classic liberal] ... I don't think he's that smart [uh, compared to what? Say Ann Coulter, maybe?]."

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

More Crapola Desguised as a Newspaper

Oh, lord help us all, the local daily is expanding those awful little zoned editions--the ones written and photographed for free by "citizen journalists"--into Blacksburg and Christiansburg, replacing the daily edition (The Current) that has been a mainstay competitor for the small papers of the area for years.

The paper has discovered that these sad little publications, which cost very little to publish, can be quite lucrative and it appears we're taking yet another step away from journalism and into ... well, whatever the hell this self-congratulatory black hole is.

Here's part of the press release:

A local daily in Roanoke today announced the launch of new print and online products to serve New River Valley readers. The fresh new print publication called The Burgs and companion website ... will provide local news to readers, drawing on much of the content from The Current, but offering even more news and information about Blacksburg, Christiansburg and neighboring communities.

"The two will debut the week of Sept. 25 and include these changes:

     Print subscribers in the New River Valley will receive The Burgs on Thursdays through Sundays. The new publication will replace The Current, a zoned product that publishes Tuesdays through Sundays. The new publication will include content now featured in The Current, plus draw on additional photos and community information contributed by readers.
     A new website will provide online readers with daily updates of breaking news and stories that reflect the communities of the New River Valley. The site will provide a closer look at news and achievements in local schools, businesses and youth sports. Users will be invited to upload photos, post community information and share their submissions via The Burgs and social media.
     In addition to The Burgs, readers can continue to find breaking news and in-depth enterprise reporting about the New River Valley in the pages of [a local daily] throughout the week.

The staffing will include a community content coordinator and two community journalists who will develop relationships with schools, community organizations and businesses to produce stories and encourage those groups to contribute content.

Mural Commission: LewisGale Gets It Right

Chuck Almarez's mural photo
OK, now we're swimming with the fishes. LewisGale Regional Health System, the health care facility based in Salem, has hired a local photographer to create a mural for its new  Senior Transitions Unit at LG Hospital Alleghany. The photographer is Chuck Almarez, who is putting the final touches on as we speak.

This commission is a recognition that there is talent in this region. It is in stark contrast to the murals so prominently displayed at one of the region's signature buildings, Roanoke City Market, whose grand re-opening will be marked Labor Day Weekend with a celebration. None of the murals, commissioned by the City of Roanoke, is done by an artist from the city, the region or even the state.

Here's part of the LewisGale press release: "Almarez is creating five murals and three prints that will be displayed in the treatment area and waiting room. Two of the murals are large in scale, four feet by 15 feet, and are landscape images photographed by Almarez of Douthat Lake and Lost River Farm.

"Another mural captures the rich history of the community with an image of the C & O Railway Heritage Center in the foreground and the Town of Clifton Forge and Alleghany Highlands in the background. One of the canvas prints reflects Falling Spring from the top of the falls.

"'These images project peace and tranquility and should be very comforting to the seniors. I also hope the murals will bring some good memories to those who view them,'" says Almarez.

Photo(s) of the Day: Which Is Which?

I'm pretty sure I'm not the first person to notice this, but look at the two pictures here and tell me who's who. The resemblance is striking and I'm wondering if maybe they're brothers.

You tell me: which is which? Dudley Do Right and Rick Perry. Separated at birth?

(Bottom photo:

Monday, August 29, 2011

Quote of the Day: Juggling Everybody's Balls

The following quote, which I had printed and framed after it ran in the old Blue Ridge Business Journal, which I was editing at the time, is a marvelous example of our stories getting away from us on occasion.

The story was a profile of a hotel manager in Roanoke named Herman Turk and writer Ellen Davies (one of my favorites, by the way) quoted him thusly:

"The big challenge for me as a manager in this business is trying to juggle balls. I look at my job as trying to facilitate the operation of a top quality hotel and to do that I need to juggle the balls of our associates, our guests and our owner (T.A. Carter)."

Busy man, that Herman Turk.


Friday, August 26, 2011

Lap Dancing at the Ballpark

Gracie, Madeline and Isaac crowd the old man's lap.
Isaac sings the National Anthem. Off key.
Gracie and Maddie hassle the mascot.
As the evening settles in, it doesn't get prettier.
Joined my young buddies Grace, Isaac and Madeline tonight in Salem for a ball game--or two, as it turned out. We got there in the seventh inning of the first game without knowing they were playing two, but we had a dandy time.

I picked up a new cap for Isaac (and something for the other kids, as well) which he was terribly proud of, holding it over his heart during the trumpet version of the National Anthem. Good kids. Good evening.

The Changing Face of Food Size

The Little Thickburger, which is not so little.
A few years ago, I collected vintage Pentleton wool shirts and took note at the time how much the male body had changed over time. Shirts from the 1950s labeled "XL" would slip neatly onto a medium build today and a medium would fit my granddaughter, who's 6.

Men were smaller then. We were all smaller then.

So why did we get so big--and fat?

Hardee's, Mickey D's, BK, the Colonel, Taco Bell and a whole list of fast food restaurants whose primary fare is grease, flower, salt, sugar and calories. And even they're stretching it, so to speak.

Hardees has a new 1/4-pound burger called the "Little Thickburger." It is the same size of Burger King's standard Whopper, which, in its time really was a whopper.

Eight Local Weekly Newspapers Bought by NRV Couple

The eight weekly newspapers that constituted Montgomery County Publishing and Blue Ridge Newspapers have been purchased by the former owner of two of them, Wane and Dolores Brockenbrough, principals of Montgomery Publishing.

It was a relatively quick sale, brought about when creditor Wells Fargo ordered the papers to be sold. The Brockenbroughs are former owners of the Radford News Journal and the Montgomery County News Messenger. They picked up the Salem Times-Register, Fincastle Herald, Vinton Messenger, Cave Spring Connection and New Castle Record.

At one point or another, I edited the papers in Salem, Fincastle, Vinton and New Castle. The Fincastle and New Castle stints were brief and the Salem job was interminable, probably the worst I ever had. I enjoyed being in Vinton.

According to a story in the current issue of the newspapers, Brockenbrough is quoted as saying employees will retain their jobs and there will be no disruption in the publishing schedule. In addition to the newspapers, the printing operation in Salem was also purchased.

The newspaper group had been owned for a number of years by investors from Birmingham, Ala. The sale returns them to local ownership.

Book Sale Tomorrow at St. Elizabeth's in Roanoke

For those of you who can't ever seem to have enough books, St. Elizabeth's Episcopal Church in Roanoke is having its annual used book sale Saturday (Aug. 27, tomorrow) 8 a.m.-noon. It's a short one, unlike the Roanoke Main Library sales, which go on for two days and sell books by the bag cheap.

My pal Cara Modisett has something to do with this one, so go. The sale's at 2339 Grandin Road and if you have questions, call 540-774-5183.


Thursday, August 25, 2011

Another Assault on a Woman's Right To Choose in Virginia

Here we go again with the absurd disingenusness of abortion legislation. Tomorrow in Virginia, you'll find that the Republican administration's Department of Health will issue new regulations for abortion clinics in the Commonwealth that could put most of them out of business. The regulations, of course, are designed to do exactly that. Women's health has nothing to do with it.

This story gives you the details of the new rules and just how specific--and unnecessarily onerous--they are. This from people who are dead set against regulation of just about any other business or organization in the world. Repubs hate regulation. Except when it has to do with abortion, which they hate more.

These regulations are temporary, expected to last about a year, and could cause even more problem because after complying with them, clinics could face doing it again with new regulations.

Abortion is the law of the United States, but there is no effort these Republicans will not make to reach their goal of making abortion unavailable, if not illegal. Already more than 80 percent of localities in the United States don't have abortion available because of the combination of intimidation, questionable legislation and demonization.

(Graphic: Mother Jones)

Today's Photo(s): Wells Fargo Pulls Into the Roanoke Depot

Stage coach rolls down Campbell Ave.
Pearl Fu was a passenger in the coach.
Horses take a brief break on City Market.
View from a table at Subway downtown.
Somebody's gotta do it.
Wells Fargo made the transformation of Wachovia to its iconic brand official today in Roanoke by bringing in its famous stagecoach for a parade down Campbell Avenue. The coach stopped at City Hall and picked up Mayor David Bowers and other dignitaries, including the inimitable Pearl Fu before heading to the market, where it was greeted by a big crowd and the Patrick Henry High School band.

Harvey Brookins, the head of the bank in the Roanoke region, sat atop (red shirt) with the mayor in a white suit and ill-fitting cowboy hat.

I especially like the photo of the cleanup crew (right), which was kept busy by the four horses, which had obviously just eaten.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Hey, Did You Feel That?!?

From what I'm gathering, the brief earth tremor we felt in Roanoke a few minutes ago is area-wide and began as a 5.8 register on the Richter Scale in Northern Virginia. People are coming out of their houses in my neighborhood (I work at home) and laughing about it. My daughter e-mailed that she felt it in North Georgia.

The only real damage to my estate was that two walking canes fell over in the living room. Facebook and Twitter are abuzz. Interesting stuff.

Best line so far from Creigh Deeds: "In Hot Springs, too. Shaken, not stirred."

And there was this from Patti Lucas: "OMG..someone in Washington must have agreed on something!!!"

Shennannigans on the Wind Turbine Issue Before the Board?

Butch Church
I have tried to keep out of the wind generator fight in Roanoke County for all these months after giving my thoughts on it, but I continue getting e-mails from both sides, often shrill and accusatory in tone, filled with so much information that it would take an engineer to understand them.

I have a great deal of sympathy for those who oppose the huge generators on top of a pristine mountain, but, as I said earlier, if we don't start generating alternative energy, we won't start generating alternative energy and, even with its perceived faults, this is an option that is facing us right now, one we can try. If it fails, it will and the generators can come down. If not, we have a start.

In any case, the latest note from Diana Christopulos of the Cool Cities Coalition and an ardent supporter of the generators, is troubling on a number of levels. I'll let her tell you:

"Wanted you to be aware of this troubling development regarding [tonight's] hearing on the large wind energy ordinance. Mark Hanson, one of tomorrow's speakers who supports wind energy (also started the Renewable Energy Electric Vehicle club and has taught wind energy at Dabney Lancaster Community College - he is a very knowledgeable guy), had gotten off work and made a special trip to the [Roanoke] county offices in the last day or so to see that his short video could work - showing how wind turbines really look and sound. This was to be in place of his speaking. He was told that it all worked and that he would be able to do that.

"Now, he has learned from the clerk to the board that Chairman [Butch] Church has forbidden his showing of the video. I am concerned that this continues a pattern of behavior that was evident at the first reading, when the chairman invited several wind opponents to speak but neither invited nor informed supporters of wind energy that this unusual opportunity to speak during a first reading would be allowed.

"We are concerned that the chairman will try to arbitrarily manipulate the hearing tomorrow for reasons not known."

I'll let you judge what's going on here, but Butch Church is not the sharpest pencil in the box.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Photo of the Day: For the Train, Some Champagne

Norfolk Southern CEO Wick Moorman has just broken this bottle of champagne on the coupling device for one of the company's new FreightCar America lightweight, curable coal cars and doesn't seem to know what to do with all that stuff leaking from the bottle. Moorman tasted the liquid and deemed it "7Up and flat."

Quote of the Day: Norfolk Southern CEO's Primary Function

"I like to describe myself as a great-looking figurehead."

--Wick Moorman, CEO of Norfolk Southern at this morning's press conference announcing the purchase of 1,500 coal cars from FreightCar America in Roanoke. Moorman was describing his value to Norfolk Southern, where the worker bees do all the ... well ... work.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Photo of the Day: Stolen Hearts

Oh, lord. This just steals my heart every day. Every day.

(This, of course, is Madeline, my grandkid.)

Photo of the Day: Happy Birthday and Welcome Aboard

My son Evan began celebration of his birthday last night at The Quarter on Roanoke City Market, which suddenly is one of Roanoke's best restaurants. Ev's family (pregnant wife Kara and six-year-old Madeline, right) were with us.

Here Maddy listens to her little brother (we think, but given the doc's track record on predicting, we're not at all certain) in Kara's mid-section. Oscar's supposed to make have his world premier Sept. 2, a Friday. Thank god it's not a Saturday. I don't want to miss a football game over this.

Below, Evan and Maddy ham it up. Maddy shows off her new haircut, one I really like.

OK, so none of this is art, but, hey, it's my blog.

Today's Cover Error: Where Is It?

My eagle-eyed buddy Keith Finch (legal eagle-eyed*, as it were) caught this grammatical error on the front page of a local daily this a.m.

Common mistake, but should never, ever, ever get past a proofreader and a copy editor and all the other internal readers at a newspaper of this size.

No, I'm not going to tell you where the error is. You should know.

* Keith's a lawyer at the Creekmore Law Firm

On the Right: It's About Growing a Spine

Sign at a Tea Party rally.
I'm beginning to believe that the wack-o Republicans on the Tea Party end of the scale are not so much to blame for our mess as are Republicans like Dave Nutter, who is running to win a seat in the Virginia Senate. He has served in the House until now.

I've known Dave for some years, like him and respect him. I have very little in common with him politically because he he rests in a spot I thought was as far to the right as people could get up until recently. But Dave's a tax and spend liberal to this neo-right nutty bunch, personified in this race by a guy named Tripp Godsey, who is following the absolutist line of the Teas.

Problem here is that Dave is apologizing for some of the few good votes he has made in the General Assembly and promising not to do it again. The Teas win whether Godsey wins or not in this case. In effect, they wind up with two candidates in this race and we're seeing it all over the place. Moderate candidates--moderate in this climate but still wildly to the right, let's clarify--are becoming the people who are changing their views and the tiny group of far, far right Republicans are pulling all the strings. That's what's happened all over the country. Even the Democrats are moving wildly to the right out in fear of this emperor with no clothes.

This will not be good for any of us. Godsey (in a story here) says pretty directly that he opposes state funding of education, that he wants kids to be able to pick their schools (can you imagine the empty buildings on one end of town and the overstuffed school on the other?), that he doesn't want the trucking industry to pay taxes that are equal to those of others using our roads (although one truck does more damage than 16 cars), that he is far more opposed to killing regulation of business and industry than actually helping to create jobs. And here's Dave saying, "Oh, OK, I got that wrong, but I won't next time."

That line of reasoning simply feeds these people and makes them stronger than they have any reason or right to be. Somebody grow a damn spine, for chrissakes!

(Photo:, shot by Jesse Russell)

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Photo of the Day, Part Deux: An American Beauty

This 1963 Buick Riviera is the exact car one of my lead characters in my novel CLOG! has a serious accident on a mountain and changes the direction of the book. I hadn't seen one of these beauties in years until a little while ago on Roanoke City Market, but when it came time to put the character in question in the right car, nothing else was considered. I think this is one of the prettiest cars ever designed in America. Simple, elegant and just gorgeous.

Larry Jon Wilson: The Best Singer You Never Heard Of

I don't know what made Larry Jon Wilson seep into my head just a bit ago, but I turned around and there he was. Larry Jon, who was singing at Steak and Ale in Augusta (along with Terry Gibbs, "Somebody's Knockin'") in the 1970s has one of the finest country and blues voices I've ever heard. On top of that he is a simply astonishing songwriter.

And you never heard of him.

Back in the days when I was writing about music for a Roanoke local daily paper, King Edward Smith was a DJ at WSLC, the country station in town and a well-known figure nationally. Eddie took me under his wing and taught me a good bit about country music, introducing me to people like Larry Jon. He once said that Larry Jon "would be the biggest name in music of any genre if he was good lookin'," but LJ wasn't that. He was pretty much the opposite of it.

But if you'll listen to "Wildflowers in a Mason Jar" you'll get an idea what it is I love about him. This smooth bass drips with honesty, revelation, sympathy and an understanding of our shared culture (I grew up across the Savannah River from Augusta). If you want a virtuoso guitar performance and lyric of such simplicity and impact that it will leave you breathless, try "Song for Jonah," an ode to his young son.

He gives you funk with "Drowning in theMainstream", laid back blues in "I'll Be Your Baby Tonight", a country ballad in "Loose Change" ("livin' ain't easy, but dying ain't too; and hanging' on just leaves you like me; I'd leave women and whiskey alone if I's you, but I ain't and I ain't likely to be ...") and the wonderfully sensitive "Through the Eyes of Little Children." Nobody ever sang "Stagger Lee" better (and listen to those background girls). And his country/soul "Sapelo" takes you to the Georgia coast you don't know and that my buddy Pete Krull just left for Asheville (look at the photos with this video).

LJ did four albums for Monument in the 1970s and I wore all of them out. A couple are still around here somewhere, but I don't have any way to play them. If I had a record player, my guess is LJ's records would be the only vinyl I'd ever put on it.

There's a good bit of nostalgia in all that. I was drinking heavily when Larry Jon and I spent a lot of lonely nights together, but he's still there through the sobriety, the successes, the happiness because he's good. He was a guy who understood the power of music to heal, to soothe and to become a real part of who we are. LJ died in 2010, about 70 years old and not looking a whole lot different than he did 40 years ago. He didn't sound any different either. And I'm glad for that.

Today's Photo: Early Morning Harvest

This is this morning's harvest from my little garden out back. I was thinking of saying it is "why we garden," but that's only part of it. Like flyfishing, fantasy football, beer making, sewing or anything else that's done for the sheer joy of doing it, the product has much less to do with the enjoyment than does the process. But when the product is a tomato sandwich ... well, I don't need to explain.

Who's To Blame for WDBJ's Decline in the Market?

Jean Jadhon: The Real Betty Boop?
WDBJ's reign as king (or queen, if you prefer, but I'd watch that) of the market is over, but my guess is that it won't be over for long. The dominant television news show in the Roanoke-Lynchburg market since 1958 finished second to Lynchburg's WSET (ABC) in the most recent Neilson Ratings with WSLS (NBC) finishing third. WDBJ is the CBS affiliate.

Read my buddy Ralph Berrier Jr.'s thorough story in a local daily here. (Note: This is a corrected spelling of Ralph's name. He's going to have to change it if I have any more trouble with it.)

The finger-pointing can begin now, especially considering that most of WDBJ's losses were among older viewers and the decline immediately followed the retirement of long-time anchor Keith Humphry and the firing of former producer Amy Morris (a Roanoke native), who wound up with a better job at WABC in New York. I think there's a good bit more to it than that, though.

Humphry was replaced by a 24-year-old anchor, Chris Hurst, who is, quite frankly, appealing and appears to me to be competent. He's easy to like and that is important in TV.

My instinct is to lay this at the feet of a team too young for its former audience and, with Jean Jadhon co-anchoring at 6 p.m., not very serious. Jadhon's annoying Betty Boop posing and chasing of non-stories mortifies professional news people throughout the market--especially the news women--but WDBJ General Manager Jeff Marks insists she is enormously popular. I don't know who she's popular with, unless my 85-year-old former mother-in-law counts as about 20,000 viewers. She loves Jadhon. Says she's "cute." What we all need is a cute anchor telling us about a bloody wreck on U.S. 220 and segueing with a squeal into a story of her own about a doggie that makes the old people in the group home happy.

Marks insists this is a burp in a market adjustment that has been going on for a while (I think he's probably right), but it must still be embarrassing to lose the lead and to lose it to a Lynchburg station, the one that has most often been a distant third in this market.

WDBJ still has the best--by far--television reporter in the market in Joe Dashiell, the best sports team and the top weather team, anchored by the ever-popular Robin Reed, who was a staple annually in The Roanoker Magazine's Sexiest Roanoker competition for years and is still a fixture in the region's elementary schools. (I don't know what that says about aging, but Reed does it well.)

Time will tell who ultimately has the most viewers--as totals continue to decline dramatically for all the stations.


Friday, August 19, 2011

Photo(s) of the Day: Sudan in Downtown Roanoke

This beauty is Fatima Abdelgadir.
Mona Ardoun serves some of her chicken and rice.
Christina Koomen awaits some of Mona's chicken.
Chicken close-up.
These kids are part of the Sudanese Peace Group Dancers.
This is my buddy Pearlie Mae "Fatima" Fu in Sudanese/Chinese garb.
Pearl Fu again.
Sudan was the featured country today in downtown Roanoke as Local Colors held another of its periodic celebrations of the nearly 100 cultures represented in the Valley. Women wore colorful native clothing and served Sudanese food and the group Sudanese Peace Group Dancers performed. Cool stuff. Here are some photos for you.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

To the Right of Goodlatte and She Hasn't Fallen Off the Earth Yet

Karen Kwiatkowski
It is fascinating that the 6th Congressional District version of the Tea Party thinks Rep. Bob Goodlatte is a big-spending, granola-eating, tree-hugging liberal who must be sent to the streets.

Valerie Garner's story today about the Thursday announcement of ultra-wingnut Karen Kwiatkowski's announcement of her candidacy to unseat Goodlatte (who's been in the House for about 20 years after vowing he was a term limits guy initially) gives some indication of how far right we've come. Goodlate is about as conservative as a reasonable person can be, but to Kwiatowski, he's “a go-along, get-along guy … he is an establishment Republican.”

Kwiatkowski is a former Air Force colonel whose political experience is pretty much limited to letters to the editor. She has a doctorate (like many Libertarian candidates) and is something of an out of balance egghead. She calls Social Security and Medicare a "Ponzi scheme" and wants U.S. Senators to be appointed by state legislators. She wants troops put on the U.S. borders and governors to be in charge of them (keep those damn Canadians out!).

On the plus side (and Libertarians frustrate all of us because they always have a plus side), she opposes the Patriot Act and supports bringing troops home from Iraq and Afghanistan (though those are the guys she'd put on the border). She opposes subsidies (though the absolutism here is typically Libertarian and Tea Party, not considering that some of those might be worthy, corn notwithstanding).

If Kwaitkowski is nominated in the Republican dealie (I don't know what they'll have to determine it), she'll face a guy named Andy Schmooker, who is also a member of the All-Name Team. The reporters covering that race will have a lot of practice cutting and pasting those names.

By the way, calling the Obama Administration's health care initiative "Obamacare" is fine for Republicans trying to demonize and score points, but when the press does it (as is the case in Val's story) it is editorializing in support of the right wing. Reporters need to think about what they're writing all the time.


Photo(s) of the Day: Great Faces

Cynthia Lawrence
Clinton Morse
One of the great aspects of my job is that I get to photograph people with great faces. Here are two of them: Cynthia Lawrence of Design Marketing and Clinton Morse of the law firm of LeClair Ryan, both in Roanoke. The pictures are for two stories in the October issue of FRONT.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Quote of the Day: Another Genius from Texas Speaks Out (With a Threat)

Rick Perry: Another Texas diplomat?
With the current field of Republican presidential candidates, the Quote of the Day is difficult to narrow. They say such stupid, arrogant, outrageous things with such regularity that picking through for the right quote is difficult.

So let's start today with presidential candidate newbie Rick Perry of the state that gave us two Bushes--two of them--among presidents elected and appointed. Perry seems to be carrying on the tradition of confrontation, accusation, challenge and threatened violence. Not much diplomacy in the Lone Stupid State. Here's what Perry had to say yesterday about Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke's (he called Bernanke "treasonous") suggestion that printing more money might be an alternative to going broke (thanks to a string of Republican decisions, beginning with one of the Bushes):

If Bernanke "prints more money between now and the election, I don't know what y'all would do to him in Iowa, but we would treat him pretty ugly down in Texas."

"Treat him pretty ugly in Texas," indeed. Is that supposed to make Perry sound like a Renaissance Man?


Dawn at the Cove: A Photo Essay

Yesterday morning's paddle on Carvin's Cove was especially enjoyable for a number of reasons, not the least of which was the sunset and the warm yellow light that followed, creating some majestic reflections. The beginning, when I jumped into my kayak and kept going until I was sitting on the bottom of the lake, was not so majestic, but the water's warm and no harm was done. Great place to wake up.