Tom Joad's Place

Welcome to Tom Joad's Place! Join me for political discussion and banter on important national subjects and VA politics. I've also noticed that there are a lot of people looking for information on "Grapes of Wrath". Look for the sidebar and we'll discuss. Contact Kevin, at

Location: Fairfax, Virginia, United States

Friday, April 21, 2006

Republicans and Immigration

Republicans hoped that immigration would help them at the polls this fall. Unfortunately for them, it looks like they are on the wrong side of this issue. According to a poll by Pew Research Center of 1,501 American adults shows that Republicans are in trouble.

"Public opinion toward immigration policy continues to divide the public, though the partisan differences are smaller than on Iraq and other issues. A solid majority (58%) favors a proposal to allow undocumented immigrants who have been in the U.S. for several years to gain legal working status and the possibility of future citizenship.

More divisive is a proposal to make it a criminal offense to assist an undocumented immigrant to remain in the U.S.; 45% favor such a proposal, while 47% are opposed. There is more partisanship on this issue than on whether illegal immigrants should be provided a path to citizenship. A majority of Republicans (57%) favor making it a crime to assist an undocumented immigrant to stay in the U.S., while just 36% of Democrats agree.

By 43%-27%, more Americans say the Democratic Party can better handle immigration. Roughly one-in-seven Republicans (15%) believe Democrats can do a better job on this issue, compared with 7% of Democrats who favor the GOP on immigration. Independents by 37%-21% think the Democratic Party can better handle immigration."

Seven months before the November elections, the Republicans are in dire straits. The last two years have been legislative failures. In 2005, the Republicans were going to pass massive Social Security "fixes". They failed. This year, immigration reform has been the big push. They're failing. Seriously folks, the Republicans have had a monopoly on government for the last 5+ years and they haven't done anything effectively (unless you count screwing up a war). It's high time to kick the bums out. They've had their turn (12 years in Congress, 5+ in the White House), now we shall have ours.

Thursday, April 20, 2006

Harris Miller...Artie Ziff

Someone at Raising Kaine made the suggestion...I'm just following up...By the way, let's laugh a little. If someone has a suggestion for James Webb, I'll do it.

BREAKING NEWS- Allen still up in poll... other news the sun will set in the west tonight.

Ok maybe it's not that Earth shattering that the incumbent George Allen is leading in a poll against both Democratic candidates Harris Miller and James Webb but it isn't exactly good news either for Democrats either.

The latest polling shows Allen with a 17 point lead over Miller (51-34) and a 20 point margin over Webb (50-20).

A couple of things pop out at me. One is that Miller has closed the gap on Allen and is slightly ahead of Webb in terms of margin. With a little under two months until the primary, both campaigns better compete for their agenda and forget the petty mudslinging. I would like to see a poll between the two Democratic candidates...when will one come out?

The other is that Allen is pretty close to 50% with both candidates. Allen is a popular incumbent who is in a Republican leaning state and he can barely inch over 50% against two relatively unknowns? It's probably due to the fact that being a Republican right now is about as popular as being a Red Sox fan in Yankee stadium. Democrats need to harp on the fact that the REPUBLICANS control the government and that they are doing a piss poor job in running it. That could sink Allen by November.

After the primary, the polling becomes more relevant. Right now, it's good for political geeks and people who like to wear Prada!

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Where was the Webb presence last night????

One thing from last night's Longmyer-Hurst debate that struck me was a lack of presence by James Webb's campaign. There were no bumper stickers, flyers, or sign-up sheets. Harris Miller, on the other hand, at least had a person there to hand out material.

I saw on a couple of comments on this thread at Raising Kaine that has me wondering if this is a systemic problem in NOVA. Why doesn't the Webb campaign have lit at FCDC headquarters? Why was there no one there last night to represent the Webb campaign? There has to be some reasoning behind the decision.

Update: Apparently the Webb campagin and ALL of their materials and personnel are at Shad Planking. I know Shad Planking is a big event but you would think that there is ONE person in NOVA that could have attended the debate and handed out material.

Hurst-Longmyer Debate Part 3 with Grades

Raw notes with grades...grades based on substance of points made and confines of debate etiquette


KL- Everybody should be paid a “living wage”. Have to start paying down the debt. Essential for our future economic survival. Rebuttal- Get out of Iraq can save us money. Ran over time by about 25 seconds.

AH- Highest per capita income in the country…where we are failing is the distribution to different class. “We are not lacking money, we are lacking where we put the money”. Every tax break has benefited the rich. They have to be repealed. Rebuttal- “Sky is falling” argument is not going to work. “This is our 1994!” We can do business right!


AH- Same issues that affect immigrants affect us also. No fences…it’s a political sham. Need more border agents. No guest worker program…authentic avenues for immigration. Rebuttal- “This is a crisis by people who have an agenda and their agenda is to divide.”

KL- Guest worker program is not going to work…Germany. Sweden has a situation that works. Bad laws should be changed and made realistic. Combination of many different ideas. McCain-Kennedy bill is the right track. Secure our borders now. Doesn’t dismiss walls. Rebuttal- Improve conditions in other countries. We need to make so the people immigrate want to rather than they need to.


KL- School is not the issue…too punitive.

AH- Vouchers undermine public school system. Magnet schools are excellent ideas that make the system better.


AH- Culture of debt by credit card companies has an adverse affect on our country.

KL- This should not be a congressional issue. Instead it should be a family issue.

Marriage Amendment

KL- Equal rights for all.

AH- For the rights of the people…thinks this issue will backfire on Republicans this year. Very fired up about it…that’s an understatement.

Davis vulnerability

AH- Campaign finance and ethics…epitome of the culture of corruption.

KL- Successful as promoting himself as a moderate but he is more like Tom DeLay. Failure to address our needs.

Closing Statements

KL- Experience…good sense of how Congress works…”it’s not about law but about leadership”…will be a more effective freshman Congressman. This year is our opportunity to elect a Democrat.

AH- Tells a story about how Tom Davis said he can get “$20,000” dollars if he were having lunch with a lobbyist…lost presidential election by .5% lost Congressional by 22%...we need to change that. “I don’t care how much experience you have, you need to have someone who is going to do something different.”

Grade of the debate

KL- Very thoughtful speaker who threw in some slight jabs at Hurst's money sources. Ran over his designated time in many instances...B

AH- Excellent points made on health care and the Iraq War. Made a strong case for himself as a candidate. Needs to work on not making too many's distracting.A-

Hurst-Longmyer Debate Part 2

Same rules as before...raw notes, no edits

Iraq War

Andy Hurst- Leaving timetable in the hands of the generals…we do not belong there and we are doing not much good. If the mission was to get rid of Saddam Hussein, then we’ve done it. “Veteran” says we need 500,000 to build that country. We are not getting it done. We need to get done. Al Qaida breeding ground. Rebuttal- We went to Iraq because people didn’t have backbone when it was needed! People were afraid of losing the possible election.

Ken Longmyer- Talking about who endorses him but is not talking about policy? Opposed Iraq War…need to get out. Just like Bosnia…need to set benchmarks to be determined by experts on the ground. Redeployment is not the way to go. Pressure from Congress but it lacks expertise. Rebuttal- Ran over time again by 20 seconds. Compares Iraq justification to Gulf of Tonkin.

Retired Generals…speaking out

KL- Once you are out of uniform it is your civic duty to criticize if necessary.

AH- Administration has backlashed against the generals. Bush administration uses different devices to hammer political opponents.

Impeach George Bush or investigate

AH- Mixed emotions because of Clinton experience. Tom Davis is head of the government investigation committee. Zero subpoenas have been issued except for Schaivo. People should get up there and fight and not be afraid. Rebuttal- Investigations are essential because Congress has to check the administration.

KL- Investigations are good for education. We should focus on how to stay out of future Iraqs. Does he or does he not want to investigate? Rebuttal- Laws are necessary but it’s about political leadership…best way to deal with it…throw them out.

Health Care

KL- Affordable, accessable, and should provide first class quality health care. Supportive of a national health care system. We would save money because of the duplication and paper work. 28 countries have lower infant mortality than ours.

AH- Deals with Health Care laws as a lawyer. 60% of the people uninsured are employees of small businesses…small subsidy to help health care in those businesses…fraud and abuse is rampant. Not ready to nationalize yet. Massachusetts plan can not be implemented across other states.

Health Care Costs

AH- Medicare Part D…a disgrace of a bill because of special interests, insurance companies, and drug companies…Tom Davis is a part of the problem…get rid of special interests in the process. Rebuttal- Talking about paying lower costs with drug choice.

KL- Any health care policy should focus on preventive care. We can save billions from this system.

Hurst-Longmyer Debate Part 1

This debate coverage will be broken up into a couple of parts to make it easy to read. I'm not going to reconstruct the debate by writing a narrative. Instead, I will give you my raw notes with no edits.

Ken Longmyer-Andy Hurst Debate 4/18/06


General Ambiance

Pretty packed room…about 80-90 people as of 7:35…Small Miller presence with material and one person…no Webb presence at all.

Opening Statement

Ken Longmyer- “Who is the best candidate to represent this district?” Talks about 2004 and how he was there for Democrats…ran over by about 15 seconds.

Andy Hurst- Hurst doesn’t use podium for the opening statement. “Wants to change how Washington does business.” Very lawyer-like…seems like he is persuading a jury.

Why are they running?

KL- “Promoting democracy abroad”…2004 Democrats did not have a candidate…enjoys being a candidate

AH- John Edwards changed Hurst’s perspective and inspired him to run for office. “hasn’t slept well in a year and he doesn’t care because he cares about this community”…light applause.

Better Democrat in this race?

AH- Being a place holder candidate is not inspiring. It’s fine to be that type of candidate but it doesn’t move voters. “Can’t say I’ll be a little better than Davis.” (referring to Ken) “More resources…more energy.” Better organized…raised more money in primary than Ken did in 2004. Rebuttal- We have to raise money to get the message out. Knocked on over 5,000 doors. People said they haven’t met Ken.

KL- “Can we do some push-ups to measure energy?” Laughs follow…Ken says he brings background and that he is close to the Dem base. Resources matter but he is focused on people. Andy is concentrating on money…Ken is concentrating on people. Rebuttal- Where is the money coming from for Hurst? Ken says his money came from ordinary donors. Hurst’s came from wealthy people outside of the district. Money is a means to the end and not an end itself. Light applause…

Special needs and concerns for people of the 11th district

KL- Transportation is the number one issue…health care is second…foreign policy…definitely against NCLB and unfunded mandates…wants a national health care system. Rebuttal- Immigration…law needs to be changed. How? Might have run out of time. Running over time by a large amount…

AH- Highest median income…11th works and earns money…very diverse between rural, city and suburban. Davis taking away federal government rules like overtime…
Rebuttal- talks about whistleblowers…and protecting federal employees…very adept on labor issues

Sunday, April 16, 2006

11th District Debate on Tuesday

The 11th Congressional District Democratic Committee
The Fairfax County Democratic Committee
The Springfield District Democratic Committee
The Democratic Women of Clifton
are proud to present

A Candidate Forum Event



Candidates for the Democratic Nomination for Congress from Virginia’s 11th District

Tuesday, April 18
7:30 PM
Fairfax County Government Center
12000 Gov’t. Center Pkwy. Rooms 4 & 5
Fairfax, VA

By-pass the media, find out the answers to YOUR QUESTIONS from the Candidates themselves! These forums ARE NOT fundraisers. They are being offered to give you the opportunity to ask the candidates about issues that are important to you.

For more information, please contact
Mike McClanahan at 703-866-9811 or
Mark Itzkoff at 703-250-3846

Authorized by the Springfield District Democratic Committee, Kevin Cook, Chair

The FCTA makes me laugh

When I watched the debate on the Fairfax County budget a couple of weeks ago, I saw Arthur Purves speak. After making some claims about education (which I'll address in a later post), I decided to check his organization's website out. I found some interesting items but the most thought provoking was that according to Mr. Purves, I'm a slave driver.

From the Fairfax County Taxpayers Alliance:

"Because of the public schools’ century-old hostility to phonics, low-income children do not learn to read, thus making them dependent of government welfare. Before the Civil War, it was illegal to teach a slave to read because the ability to read, it was thought, would empower an individual to be independent. Not much has changed. Slavery destroyed families at the auction block. Today welfare destroys families by incentivizing out-of-wedlock births with free housing, food, childcare, and healthcare. It is government schools and government welfare that turn our vulnerable youth into felons and feeds Virginia’s prison population, which is growing four times faster than overall population. Government has become the modern-day plantation."

Of course he provides no background information or proof to back up his assertions, but why let that stop the man from making an erroneous point!

There are more great quotes from Mr. Purves on the way!

Back from vacation!

I took a journey with my girlfriend around the state of Virginia. Put another 500 miles on the ole Chevy and ate a lot of delicious food around the state. I'll put up some pictures of our sojourn later.

Monday, April 03, 2006

Cost of private schools through the roof

Private school tuition for the DC area just keeps on going up. According to the Washington Post, some of the private schools in this area will go up $26,000.

The average cost in Fairfax County per student is $12,917. Hopefully, No Child Left Behind will be amended so it will not screw Title I schools. That's where the real shortfall will be in 3 years.

FYI: Private schools are not attached to NCLB. So if you can afford to send your kids there, you're golden. If you cannot, well I hope your kid whether they have LD, ED, or MR can pass the SOLs.

Saturday, April 01, 2006

George Mason defeats Florida

That's at least what I hope. I still believe it will happen all wishing aside...64-60. Go MASON! UCLA should win too 65-59. That would leave me in second place in the Not Larry Sabato pool.

Light blogging for the next couple of days...I've got a paper due on Monday.

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