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

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

A Letter from a Soldier in Iraq

He thinks the U.S. should leave.

"My name is Donald Hudson Jr. I have been serving our country’s military actively for the last three years. I am currently deployed to Baghdad on Forward Operating Base Loyalty, where I have been for the last four and a half months.

I came here as part of the first wave of this so called "troop surge", but so far it has effectively done nothing to quell insurgent violence. I have seen the rise in violence between the Sunni and Shiite. This country is in the middle of a civil war that has been on going since the seventh century. "

Click the link to read the rest.

Sunday, May 27, 2007

Bush administration's funniest commencement videos...

Funny as hell. Things don't go as well when you don't have a controlled audience right Andy?

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

A Creature of the Right?

Since Riley thought that the Cho Seung-Hui was influenced by the left, how do we explain this bombing plot that was planned by Mark David Uhl, a Liberty University student.

This person was fortunately stopped because a family member called police before any mayhem could occur. But it begs the question, is this 19-year old a creature of the right? He was obviously prepared to kill people in the memory of Rev. Jerry Falwell. Can we all just agree that sociopaths occur across the political spectrum?

Update 1: Bored Young Professionals, The Colette, and The Richmond Democrat have more.

The dollar is buying less around the world...

Time to start investing in those Euros.

I know that one man is not solely responsible for this but President Bush's economic policies over the last 6 1/2 years have produced short term gains that will eventually lead to long term financial insecurity for our children and grandchildren.

Our place in the global economy is strong but weakening. We have been a hegemonic power for about 15 years militarily and economically and this has made us forget that eventually other countries and organizations will try and counteract our influence to balance out the world. They will string us along for as much time it takes to marginalize our power on both fronts. China, India, OPEC and the European Union have been chipping away economically for the last 10 years. When the time is right, those countries with the means to do so will pounce.

Our war of choice in Iraq has fractured our military resources. Thumbing our nose at the United Nations has shown our willingness to work with other countries. We have effectively isolated ourselves by pushing our agenda around the world with our military might as a stick while holding our economic strength as a carrot for other countries to eat. What happens when our stick is no longer effective and you can find carrots elsewhere?

The U.S. could be left behind like the British in the mid-twentieth century. The larger problem is that we might still feel that we can act globally without impunity. That could be our downfall.

It doesn't have to happen this way. We still have time to change our course. We need new leadership in 2008. The Democrats just have to be bold enough to grasp it.

Monday, May 21, 2007

Happy Birthday Judge!

Mary Washington College alumnus Judge Reinhold turns 50 today!!!

Good actor, funny guy. This is one of my favorite quotes by any celebrity. On speaking about one scene in "Fast Times at Ridgemont High", "My first sex scene - and it was with myself."

Friday, May 18, 2007

President Bush supports our troops...

A 3.5 percent increase in pay, though, is too much for this administration. It would be an extra half percent but that costs too much for our "budget". Funny how President Bush wants to extend our soldier's time in the field away from their friends and families but cannot find a way to give some extra pay.

This administration has clearly shown that they use our military as expensive props like standing on a U.S. carrier or backdrops to give speeches. They also use our troops as a political shield for their failed policies. Is it 2009 yet?

Iraq: Beatles style...

This is a section of "Getting Better" by the Beatles. I've taken the liberty to add a couple of links for your perusal.

"I've got to admit it's getting better
A little better all the time (It can't get more worse)
I have to admit it's getting better
It's getting better since you've been mine
Getting so much better all the time
It's getting better all the time
Better, better, better
It's getting better all the time
Better, better, better"

Of course, remember that no one suffers more than the President and First Lady do.

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Falwell Dead!!!! Updated

Rev. Jerry Falwell is dead...He made an impact with the Moral Majority that changed politics for the last 20 years...More conservatives are involved in politics from him...I didn't really like the man but that doesn't make me heartless...RIP.


You know what...I forgot some quotes. I wanted to be nice but when CNN compares this to Virginia Tech because of the upcoming graduation, I've got to put my foot down. Look, the man said these things below. There's no justification for them in my mind. Sorry.

Jerry's Greatest Hits:

"The abortionists have got to bear some burden for this because God will not be mocked. And when we destroy 40 million little innocent babies, we make God mad. I really believe that the pagans, and the abortionists, and the feminists, and the gays and the lesbians who are actively trying to make that an alternative lifestyle, the ACLU, People for the American Way—all of them who have tried to secularize America—I point the finger in their face and say 'you helped this happen.'" (September 14th, 2001)

He later said he was sorry for the quote. But I just heard in an interview on CNN that took place a week ago with Falwell saying he meant what he said. Sorry...that's underhanded and slimy to recant something that obviously hurt other Americans.

"AIDS is the wrath of a just God against homosexuals. To oppose it would be like an Israelite jumping in the Red Sea to save one of Pharaoh's charioteers . . . AIDS is not just God's punishment for homosexuals; it is God's punishment for the society that tolerates homosexuals." (circa 1991)

"Jimmy Carter's "message of peace and reconciliation under almost all circumstances is simply incompatible with Christian teachings as I interpret them. This 'turn the other cheek' business is all well and good but it's not what Jesus fought and died for. What we need to do is take the battle to the Muslim heathens and do unto them before they do unto us."

In a radio interview on March 4, 2002, Falwell said of former President Jimmy Carter
From Wikiquote

Monday, May 14, 2007

Giuliani: DOA

This one post can pretty much sum up Fmr. New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani's calculated decision to come out unabashedly pro-choice. Now he's come out with a more nuanced view on Supreme Court judges and abortion (Roe v. Wade). Giuliani wants "strict constructionist judges" that may or may not want to overturn the 35-year-old precedent.

I believe that this position will make Giuliani weak with conservatives because he's for allowing abortion and weak to Democrats because he wants to punt away the responsibility of dealing with Roe v. Wade. This is not a good way to win the Presidency.

Charles Krauthammer believes the exact opposite. He thinks that this is a strong, calculated move that could be the nail in the coffin for the other presidential contenders.

Maybe. But the American public is not interested in nuance. They want soundbites. They love soundbites. If soundbites and the American public could somehow get together and make babies, they would make a Mormon family or Whackette proud. Although there are millions of people who think like Giuliani, this will be spun by both sides to cater to their bases. Therefore, his explanation looks muddled and will be tossed to the side. I can hear the flatline right now...

Towel Day...May 25, 2007

On Friday, May 25, 2007, I will be participating in a celebration of Douglas Adams and his literary genius by carrying a towel with me at all times. I found this exercise entertaining last year because I had to work and go to grad school at the same time giving me ample opportunity to spread the word about Mr. Adams and his book "The Hitchhiker's Gude to the Galaxy".

I did receive some quizical looks and had a few questions to answer from people not used to seeing a person walking around with a towel for no apparent reason. So this year, I will have a prepared quote from "Hitchhikers" to read to people if they ask what I am doing with a towel.

"A towel, it says, is about the most massively useful thing an interstellar hitch hiker can have. Partly it has great practical value - you can wrap it around you for warmth as you bound across the cold moons of Jaglan Beta; you can lie on it on the brilliant marble-sanded beaches of Santraginus V, inhaling the heady sea vapours; you can sleep under it beneath the stars which shine so redly on the desert world of Kakrafoon; use it to sail a mini raft down the slow heavy river Moth; wet it for use in hand-to-hand-combat; wrap it round your head to ward off noxious fumes or to avoid the gaze of the Ravenous Bugblatter Beast of Traal (a mindboggingly stupid animal, it assumes that if you can't see it, it can't see you - daft as a bush, but very ravenous); you can wave your towel in emergencies as a distress signal, and of course dry yourself off with it if it still seems to be clean enough.

More importantly, a towel has immense psychological value. For some reason, if a strag (strag: non-hitch hiker) discovers that a hitch hiker has his towel with him, he will automatically assume that he is also in possession of a toothbrush, face flannel, soap, tin of biscuits, flask, compass, map, ball of string, gnat spray, wet weather gear, space suit etc., etc. Furthermore, the strag will then happily lend the hitch hiker any of these or a dozen other items that the hitch hiker might accidentally have "lost". What the strag will think is that any man who can hitch the length and breadth of the galaxy, rough it, slum it, struggle against terrible odds, win through, and still knows where his towel is is clearly a man to be reckoned with."

Here is a link for you to follow if you wish to know more about this glorious day!!! (Yes...I'm a dork...)

And the beat goes on...

Absolutely incredible! I wonder if the patient got a discount since the heart had more than one owner?

Thursday, May 10, 2007

Update: Junior leaving DEI


Dale Earnhardt Jr. is leaving the racing team that his father founded to race on his own. He will take Martin Truex Jr. with him. Apparently, Dale Jr. has cut a deal with Hendrick Motorsports to use their engines. If that's true, any driver not in a Chevy is in a world of hurt. Dale Jr. will still win a championship or two but he wasn't going to do it at DEI. This will breathe new life into his career.

This will absolutely devastate DEI. It might not be to function as a raceteam unless they can get someone better than Paul Menard. It will go from a middle tier race team to the bottom in a hurry. Someone at DEI fumbled the ball big time.

Could this be the new way to circumvent NASCAR's new policy on multi-car raceteams? Use someone else's technology? Maybe.


Article on Dale Jr.'s press conference.

Commentary on Dale Jr.'s decision and Teresa Earnhardt's fumble.

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

VEA-PAC releases endorsements

The VEA-PAC (Virginia Education Association) recently released it's endorsements for the 2007 election season:


1- Marty Williams (R)
2- Ken Stolle (R)
9- Donald McEachin (D)
22- Brandon Bell (R)
24- Emmett Hanger (R)
32- Janet Howell (D)
33- Mark Herring (D)
34- Jeannemarie Devolites-Davis (R)
35- Dick Saslaw (D)

House of Delegates:

3- Daniel Bowling (D)
13- Bruce Roemmelt (D)
32- David Poisson (D)
35- Steve Shannon (D)
36- Ken Plum (D)
37- David Bulova (D)
39- Vivian Watts (D)
40- Tim Hugo (R)
41- Dave Marsden (D)
43- Mark Sickles (D)
44- Kris Amundson (D)
45- David Englin (D)
53- Jim Scott (D)
67- Chuck Caputo (D)
68- Katherine Waddell (I)
95- Mamye Bacote (D)

Each of these candidates are defenders of public education. With a good mix of Democrats and Republicans, it's easy to see that VEA-PAC is "issue driven and party blind". These candidates have made important decisions to stop attacks on public education such as vouchers and undermining our retirement benefits. They have helped secure millions in school funding to keep our school systems viable.

Some people might be surprised at some of the names on this list such as Sen. Devolites-Davis and Del. Hugo. Sen. Davis has a near flawless record on issues that VEA feels are important to its interests. Del. Hugo was instrumental in defeating legislation that was going to allow vouchers to creep into our education system. He even went as far as going to a committee to stop vouchers when he was fighting off the flu.

I'm glad to see Del. Shannon, my delegate, on the list. I wish I could say the same for Sen. Ken Cuccinelli. I guess VEA-PAC will have to remind him in November that his constituents want a solid public education system!

Monday, May 07, 2007

Norfolk student allowed to go back to class...

No tolerance is awful. Especially if you have a headache and just want to take some aspirin to get rid of the pain.

The school was going to suspend the student originally but thought better of it. They instead want to send her to drug and alcohol counseling. Yeah, that's the ticket. "Don't abuse aspirin!" What morons...Give her detention and then tell the parents to leave a bottle of aspirin with the nurse next time.

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