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

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Clinton grabs Vilsack him money

Hillary Clinton received an early endorsement from former presidential candidate Tom Vilsack. The former governor from Iowa announced yesterday with his wife Christie that they would back Clinton in an effort to win the Iowa caucus. In return, Clinton has decided to help Vilsack retire his debt of $400,000 from his run at the office.

"There was no quid pro quo," Daley said. "They have a long history, and if she could be helpful she wants to be helpful."

Nah...there's NO possible connection between this endorsement of Vilsack and Clinton's giving him money...none at all. I'm fine with this arrangement because that's his and her prerogative. But just come out and say it. His wife and Clinton are good be it. I also have a sneaking suspicion that Vilsack is also angling for a VP slot in '08. But thank God it's only '07 so this type of speculation can wait until later!

Monday, March 26, 2007

Best comeback in basketball this year...

No, it's not the Hoyas of's Barton College.

If Anthony Atkinson doesn't play another game again, he will always have that game to remember.

Saturday, March 24, 2007

Informal political survey of poker players

A few weeks ago, while I was playing in the Capitol Poker League, a person I was playing against brought up politics. We started talking about the Bush administration, evolving into state politics, transportation issues, until finally we started talking about the '08 Presidential nomination.

We started naming off candidates. (At this point, we have been eliminated from the tournament and are playing in a side game.) To make a long story longer, I end up naming a few more candidates on each side. I tell him that I'm a freak of nature on American politics and that "80% of America wouldn't know four candidates for President". I tell him that "because of the bastardization of society that cares more about sports scores and celebrity gossip than they do about politics", people don't have time for real world issues. He said that was "impossible" and put the number down to 40%.

At that point, we decide to make an informal survey of the members of the league on their knowledge of the '08 candidates (probably an explanation on why my poker skills have degraded). We would ask the tables the question to name four candidates regardless of party affiliation. If someone knew the answer, they would have to whisper who they knew to us so it wouldn't taint the other participants. We had our local stats professor tally the results. A beer would go to the winner. With our rules in hand, we proceeded with the survey.

We came across 43 people in our league that wanted to participate. Of those, 16 knew four Presidential candidates (37 percent). The most common answers were John McCain, Hillary Clinton, John Edwards, and Barack Obama. One guy started his answer with Joe Biden and I told him to stop right there. If he knew Biden, I'm giving him the other three. Most people knew one or two, Hillary and Obama were the names that often came up, but we did not survey for name recognition.

I was surprised at the results but maybe I shouldn't be considering we are living basically in a college town near DC. I would have loved to have asked age and education but I didn't have the dexterity that night to do it. (Maybe the couple of beers I had that night had something to do with it.) Both of us were left unsatisfied with the results in so much that neither of us won and neither received the beer that would come with winning. It was, though, an interesting look into the average American playing poker at a bar.

Gonzales Lies: Americans Yawn

So it turns out that Attorney General Alberto Gonzales did know about the firings of eight prosecutors. Is anyone surprised or shocked? Here's my favorite part of the story:

"The five-step plan approved by Gonzales involved notifying Republican home-state senators of the impending dismissals, preparing for potential political upheaval, naming replacements and submitting them to the Senate for confirmation."

But wait a second, a few days ago Gonzales said this:

"'I knew my chief of staff was involved in the process of determining who were the weak performers — where were the districts around the country where we could do better for the people in that district, and that’s what I knew,' Gonzales said last week. 'But that is in essence what I knew about the process; was not involved in seeing any memos, was not involved in any discussions about what was going on. That’s basically what I knew as the attorney general.'"

He's so gone. But then again people in the Bush administration have lied before and nothing happened to them...ahem Condi...So I don't expect Bush to fire Gonzales or have him resign. All right, you may continue watching Maury Povich and Divorce Court repeats.

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

On getting the shaft: Housing edition

I live in a 750 sq. ft., one bedroom apartment in Fairfax County. The amenities haven't become any better over my three year stay. In fact, you can argue that they have progressively become worse. The maintenance is spotty at best. "Oh we'll get to that leak in a couple of days."

The management has had more turnover than a pastry shop. It's as if this is a single A baseball team that corporate uses to farm associates for the better apartment complexes they own.

They had a huge issue with trash this year that would about gag a maggot. It was to the point where I called the Vice President of the company in Houston, TX.

It's six miles away from Metro and in the center of one of the biggest screw ups in traffic history: I-66.

YET THEY FEEL THE NEED TO JACK UP MY RENT 13 F'ING PERCENT!!!! This was after last year's increase of 15% until I told them that they needed to reduce it. They came down to eight percent. Screw this...there's no way in hell I'm paying close to $1,400 dollars for a one bedroom apartment. Is there anything that Fairfax County can do to stop the gouging that is occurring on an ever increasing basis?'s nice of Fairfax County Public Schools to give teachers and other employees a COLA of 2%. That really helps us out when we're getting jacked for another 10-15% on housing. And FCPS wonders why it loses their 1-5 years experienced teachers to Loudoun and Montgomery County...

Congresswoman Drake...useless

According to, Congresswoman Thelma Drake is just space filler for the Second District in VA. She ranks 409th out of 439 House of Representative Members and 170th out of 202 in her own party. Why was she re-elected again?

The Senate isn't rosy for either party. Senator John Warner is 57th out of 100 Senators while Senator Jim Webb is 76th. The total state rank is 35th out of 50. Not good.

Sunday, March 18, 2007

I want to take my keyboard and smash it...

like an eight-year-old child!

Has anyone taken a step back to read the stupid shit that people have been writing from all sides over the last month? The amount of vapid, inconsequential screeds that have been written has increased by ten fold! Enough to make Britney shave her head and enter into rehab.

News flash...this just in: Just because you have a blog does not make you a good writer or an important person!* Be honest with yourself. This is more about being able to vent and fry the other side so you can feel better about yourself. Am I right? Please tell me I'm right. Because if I'm not, then a lot of you are just wasting your time that would be better spent eating packets of ketchup while watching "Small Wonder" repeats.

We've got bitching here and whining there. We've got pissing contests streaming out of control in all corners of the state. One person feels dissed here. Another feels that blogrolls are as sanctified as the Bible and should not be touched in any way, shape, or form. Others carry out personal vendettas, call people names or don't place the "ic" at the end of Democrat when using the name as an adjective. While others feel they are high and mighty enough that they should referee the situation.

I've been reading these blogs for a good portion of two years. I have no clue about the older bloggers and their ways of carrying on with each other before then. I'm sure, though, that there couldn't have been this much venom flowing through the VA blog arteries. It seems like they were a little more congenial to each other and didn't attack each other with the same ferocity.

Where ever life leads me, I know it's not down the route of blogging. I will continue to post but sporadically. There are still some blogs that I read and I will still post responses (generally they stay above the fray).

Have fun smacking the crap out of each other**.

*The five people reading this post...thank you.

**I wrote this post about two weeks ago and held off posting because I wanted to see if it would still ring true. It does. So I posted it.

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