People who say it cannot be done should not interrupt those who are doing it. Welcome to From On High.

Sunday, December 09, 2007

The Perfect Christmas Gift ...

... for the man or woman in your life who lives, eats, and breathes Virginia politics.

This month's book review from our very own Barnie Day.


Wading in the Muddy Pool: A Virginia Political Memoir, 1972-1982
By Gary S. O'Neal
The Dietz Press, Petersburg, VA, 23803

So now comes to the literature of Virginia politics a self-published good look back, Wading in the Muddy Pool: A Virginia Political Memoir, 1972-1982 ($15.00, Old Favorites Bookshop, PO Box 8347, Richmond, 23226) by Richmond book dealer Gary S. O’Neal.

O’Neal, who began a 10-year sojourn through Virginia’s political corridors in 1972, when he signed on as an aide to Speaker of the Virginia House of Delegates John Warren Cooke, has served up a rare inside look that reads like an oral history, despite wording here and there that seems…well…a touch quaint.

I’ll translate one for you: “recently passed from the earthly scene” means somebody died.

Still, this is a good, snappy read, as much for its candid observations as anything. (The two-page memory of the House Clerk’s Office is worth the purchase price.)

Virginia politics now is a bland vanilla team sport. It used to be a game of individuals. Many of the personalities here have “passed from the earthly scene,” and won’t be recognized by anyone, even inside players, under the age of 60, or so.

A few will stir the dust of memory:

“Robert B. Ball, Sr., a Democrat from Henrico County, was a self educated man and one time butcher who became a success in the hotel-motel business and real estate. He amassed a fortune in the 1950’s by putting pay TV sets in his motels and used to brag that he took a wheel barrow of quarters a week to the bank.”

“William Dudley, Democrat, “Bullet Bill,” a former NFL great and football star at UVA. Nice man, but fairly dense, more adept at attending local sports banquets than debating the issues of the day.”

“George Mason Green, Republican, one of the last Arlington County Republicans before the Democrats became the dominant party in that area. One of the new breed of right wing ideologues.”

“Frank Mann, Democrat, Alexndria politician and former mayor of that city. Went back on his word to Delegate Lane (Ed Lane, of Richmond) on a committee vote at the 1973 session, a disagreeable man with little character.”

“Thomas W. Moss, Democrat, Norfolk politician, liked the ladies and the bottle.”

“Stanley Owens, Democrat, Prince William County, at that point growing somewhat senile, later known throughout the Assembly for crashing into a water fountain with his car at an Interstate 95 rest stop and then trying to bill the House of Delegates for the damage to his auto.”

“As Speaker, Philpot (Albert Lee, of Henry County) was more politically assertive than Cooke. He saw the role of the Speaker as that of an active participant in the political process, rather than a nonpartisan referee like Speaker Cooke. I don’t mean that Cooke had no party loyalty, but he exercised it gently while A. L. used a whip.”

“Dorothy McDiarmid, Democrat from Fairfax, whose husband Hugh constantly trailed her around the Capitol.”

O’Neal has given Virginia’s political junkies a tasty appetizer (91 pages). I wish it had been an entrĂ©e.

You could do worse than buying this book.

A trip down memory lane for many.

Ordering information: Link to Dietz Press. Or order from:

Old Favorites Bookshop
PO Box 8347
Richmond, 23226

There's More To The Story

... and maybe someday we'll read about it in the papers.

This news leaves all kinds of questions to the imagination:

Tourism authority staffers suspended
By Keith Strange, Staff Writer, The Caolfield Progress

Wise — Citing issues related to the financial management of the group, both the executive director and project manager for the Heart of Appalachia Tourism Authority have been suspended without pay pending a possible vote on their termination by the full board.

At least, that’s what the authority’s three-member personnel committee believes.

The suspensions came following a closed meeting of the personnel committee yesterday morning.

Citing confidentiality issues, committee members declined to specify a cause for the suspension, but one authority board member confirmed that the authority recently discovered that the board owes $171,418.25 to Wise County, which serves as the group’s fiscal agent. The board member also said they recently discovered that no audit of the authority has been conducted in several years. (link requires paid subscription)
Sometimes confidentiality policies - though necessary - work to the detriment of those accused. What prompted the abrupt suspensions (since rescinded, by the way)? Malfeasance? Ineptitude? Something more sinister? The more creative the mind, the worse it appears.

Let's hope the details of this saga become public soon. For everyone's sake.

Rather Revealing

I mentioned yesterday the news that the Episcopal diocese of San Joachin was going to vote to secede from the Episcopal Church (USA). They voted yesterday. And seceded.

What caught my eye this morning was the reaction that the church had to a huge congregation within its organization taking the unprecedented step - in response to the church's stance on homosexuality - of parting company.

Essentially Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori, the chief pastor of the Episcopal Church, provides us with two reactions. They can be summed up thusly:

1) "They are wrong. We are right. Good riddance."

2) "It's all about the money."

In "Episcopal Diocese Votes to Secede," (the New York Times):
... presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori, the chief pastor of the Episcopal Church, has written to bishops warning them to stop and to be aware of “potential consequences.”

The Episcopal Church has said that people can depart, but they must leave their property, which, it contends, is held in trust for the church. If the diocese sticks to its position, the church would likely vacate the diocese and reconstitute it with the congregations that choose to remain and a new bishop. The church and loyalist dioceses are already involved in several lawsuits against breakaway congregations that have insisted on keeping their property.

“The Episcopal Church receives with sadness the news that some members of this church have made a decision to leave this church,” Bishop Jefferts Schori said in an e-mail statement after the vote. “We deeply regret their unwillingness or inability to live within the historical Anglican understanding of comprehensiveness. We wish them to know of our prayers for them and their journey. The Episcopal Church will continue in the Diocese of San Joaquin, albeit with new leadership.”
"So don't let the church doors hit you in the ass on your way out."

Get the impression that this bunch will remain steadfast until there is no Episcopal Church remaining?

The flock continues to try - without success thusfar - to send a message to this blockhead. She'd do well to open her ears. But there's no indication that that's going to happen.

To think: This all began because the church hierarchs want to be more tolerant.

Here's a Big Shock

Like we couldn't have guessed this to be the case all along.

On that decision by NBC to not air the Freedom's Watch Christmas commercial thanking our troops? Want to know more about the scumbag who made that decision? read on:
NBC Lawyer who nixed troop ad gives generously to Congressional Democrats

According to a Fox News report, Richard Cotton, the general counsel for NBC/Universal, was one of two network officials who decided not to sell ad time to Freedom’s Watch, which describes itself as “a nonpartisan movement dedicated to preserving, protecting, and defending conservative principles and promoting a conservative agenda.”

According to FEC records, Cotton has been a generous donor to Democrat campaigns and liberal causes. Earlier this year, he donated $1,000 to the political action committee (PAC) of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, and last year gave the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC) $7,000.

Over the past decade, Cotton has contributed at least $45,000 to Congressional Democrats, including $2,000 each to Clinton and the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee (DSCC). (link)
Surprise. Surprise.

I Guess This Is Supposed To Be Funny

There was a day when we scorned men who routinely cheated on their wives and joked with friends about it. Times have changed apparently. Now a potential President is the butt of jokes and her husband is ... revered by millions in the Democratic Party:

Civil Rights Icon Calls Obama Too Young
By Errin Haines, myway.com

Atlanta (AP) - Civil rights icon Andrew Young says Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama is too young and lacks the support network to ascend to the White House.

In a media interview posted online, Young also quipped that Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Rodham Clinton has her husband behind her, and that "Bill is every bit as black as Barack."

"He's probably gone with more black women than Barack," Young said of former President Clinton, drawing laughter from a live television audience. Young, 75, was quick to follow his comment on Bill Clinton with the disclaimer, "I'm clowning." (link)
That's the 1990's White House I remember. Full of clowns.

For her part, where was it that I read that Hillary was a feminist? She seems, to me anyway, to better fit the caricature of the cowed, supine stay-at-home housewife with a child on each hip and a husband who doesn't give a damn about her.

Leader of the free world? Please. She's not even a leader in her own household.

So how to explain Hillary's willingness to be subservient? Perhaps Ann Althouse has her pegged:
Hillary is not just another professional woman of my generation, who ought to inspire sisterly empathy. She is a throwback to an earlier era, when women found their place through their husbands. The resistance I feel toward Hillary has to do do with her advancement under the aegis of a powerful man — a powerful man who seems to have diminished quite a number of women.
And these guys want back in the White House.