Tuesday, May 31, 2005

Welcome back, Spacecraft

A great Southwest Virginia blog has reentered orbit! The Spacecraft.

Take a look at the photos of one of the most beautiful spots in Virginia.

In the merry, merry land of Odd?

A brain, a home, a heart? Posted by Hello

Does it seem to anyone else that the tale of Doro and her dog Toto, set in Tim Kaine's home state, Kansas, seems to be playing itself out in Virginia?

Consider -- The liberal Kaine, set down in a strange and unfamiliar conservative land, seeks Virginia's Emerald city where he will find happiness. He starts his journey, not sure of whether to turn left or right, but willing to follow any road that arrives at his destination. And like Dorothy, he picks up some odd companions along the way.

For example, his friend "The Duck." The first important issue raised by Kaine's supporters was the tenor of Jerry Kilgore's voice. This was so important they created a website to advertise it -- "Jerry the Duck," complete with a link -- "Hear Jerry Quack!" (that has since been removed). Kaine's official website welcomed the Duck on their journey to the Emerald City and linked to the "Duck" website.

To reinforce The Duck, swarms of flying left-wing MoveOn moonbats, servants of chief Democratic moneybags and Wicked Wizard of the East George Soros, drove in from out of state to erect Tim Kaine's signs.

Send out the moonbats! I'll rule Emerald City yet! I'll get you Kate Obenshain Griffin, my pretty! Posted by Hello

Next, Kaine supporters decided to take the voice attack a step further and mock Kilgore as "gay." (I recently heard Kaine's voice in a TV add, it was hardly "macho." More like a "Choirboy.")

But unexpected events lay ahead on the road to the Emerald City. The Duck got winged when he attended Virginia's historic shad planking, and got busted by the cops.

I'm looking for the Emerald City, officer, and I've lost my dog. Posted by Hello
(Photo courtesy of Commonwealth Conservative.

Then the fun with Kilgore's voice backfired and made national news when it transmorgified into "Accentgate." Scrambling away, Kaine's official website delinked to "Jerry the Duck" and his supporters' whining protests sounded more like munchkins than Kilgore could ever hope to.

So, Ducks and moonbats failed. Then what?

How about a new strategy to push the Duck costume theme further down the crossdressing road? How about suggestions -- that Kaine supporters become transvestite voters?

What the ....?

Somewhere in the Reagan years, the Democratic Party lost its bearings. I know -- I worked to get Jimmy Carter elected and then watched his party almost drive the American Dream into the ground through self-loathing, distaste for traditional values of the American people, and big government worship. With the passage of time, it's gotten worse. Howard Dean, George Soros, and now a Virginia Democratic gubernatorial candidate cavorting with Ducks, moonbats, and transvestites. (Not that there's anything wrong with that.) Where are the lovable old Scarecrow, Tin Man, and Lion?

Someone tell Tim there's no place like home. I'll buy the ruby slippers.

One Woman's Trash

A tool shed without a woman's touch
is nothing but a shack.

(Just don't let them start rearranging the inside. A man needs his space.) Posted by Hello

Monday, May 30, 2005

Memorial Day -- We can do more than just remember

Remembering. Posted by Hello

There is nothing I can write about Memorial Day that can't be said by others more eloquently and with more authority. Military blog Mudville Gazettte, run by a soldier, is particularly good for memories and commentary.

I always fly my flag on Memorial Day and attend a memorial service. In the middle of a war as we are now, those gestures seem paltry. This year I'll donate to Freedom Alliance Scholarship fund which provides college money to the children of soldiers killed in Iraq and Afghanistan. We can't give those children their parents back, but we can make sure they don't miss out on a good education. A small sacrifice on our part against the ultimate sacrifice of our countrymen.

UPDATE: Florida Cracker, a veteran, has some great Memorial Day pictures at her site.

UPDATE: Another way to support veterans at Chicago Boyz.

Sunday, May 29, 2005

An Ally in the War Against the Roanoke Times

Hey, Salt, thanks for inviting me to ramble incoherently here even when you're not away!

I was reading the on-line Richmond Times-Dispatch this morning because they had a big editorial about the recent Game and Inland Fisheries unpleasantness. Lo and behold, I found this affirmation of your life's work:

Readers of The Roanoke Times' editorials no doubt were amused to see -- not long
after the paper blasted hypocrisy on Capitol Hill and defended the filibuster --
a piece condemning "minority tyranny" on stem-cell research and criticizing
Majority (that's Majority, by the way) Leader Bill Frist for threatening to tie
up stem-cell legislation. The kicker was the paper's closing lament: "So much
for . . . logical consistency."

"Every herb bearing seed"

"And God said, Behold I have given you every herb bearing seed, which is upon the face of all the earth, and every tree, in the which is the fruit of a tree yielding seed; to you it shall be meat...And God saw every thing that he had made, and, behold, it was very good. And the evening and the morning were the sixth day... And on the seventh day God ended his work which he had made; and he rested on the seventh day from all his work which he had made."

And Salt Lick planted his taters, praised the Lord, and rested.

 Posted by Hello

Saturday, May 28, 2005

Weekly roundup -- Roanoke Times editorials

They can't quite ween themselves of the ad hominem attacks on evil Republicans, but signs indicate they might be trying. (Hint -- it helps to quit listening to Bill Moyers and Kos).

And congratulations to House Majority Leader Morgan Griffith, R-Salem! You almost won the trifeccta this week! So we know you're on the right track.

Saturday, May 28, 2005. If only the White House and Congress would familiarize themselves with the [U.S. Constitution]. The effect might be a needed deflation of the misinformation and propaganda that seek to suppress the Constitution’s moderating functions and advance a hardline reactionary agenda in the courts and elsewhere.

Friday, May 27, 2005. President Bush, House Majority Leader Tom DeLay, Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist and other politicians are determined to maintain Bush’s tight restrictions on federal funding are guilty of hypocrisy, inconsistency and opportunism.

Thursday, May 26, 2005. If Goodlatte [U.S. Rep., R-Roanoke} were really serious about protecting Americans from identity theft, he should have withheld his support for recently passed ID legislation...

Wednesday, May 25, 2005. Virginia’s Sen. John Warner played a key role, along with West Virginia Democrat Robert C. Byrd, in forging the compromise [to continue allowing filibusters].Alas, Virginia junior Sen. George Allen was one of the partisan bomb-throwers urging Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist to pull the nuclear trigger. He urged fellow Republicans not to be timid... Speaking on the Senate floor after the announcement of the compromise, Warner said, "I am proud to have been a part of this."
Virginia should be proud, also. At least of one of her senators.

Tuesday, May 24, 2005. The long-term threat [to the scenic New River] requires multiple actors: land owners who sign conservation easements; donors to groups such as the Western Virginia land Trust; local officials who adopt zoning for the greater good, a Congress willing to bestow protective status on the river,.

Monday, May 23, 2005. The outlook [for Virginia’s transportation system] is so disturbing that even House Majority Leader Morgan Griffith, R-Salem, not known for fiscal common sense, sees the need for “solutions for the next 30 to 35 years...”

Sunday, May 22, 2005. [At last week's Cultural Summit 2005], participants floated sensible responses to the deficient funding of Roanoke institutions; a local, dedicated tax... House Majority Leader Morgan Griffin, R-Salem...quashed hopes of a local culture tax by declaring the idea would be dead on arrival in the General Assembly... In other words, the assembly won't provide the tax money to support institutions such as Center in the Square, and neither will local government if the assembly can help it.

Opportunities for conservatives at the Roanoke Times?

If you add the jobs recently advertised (below) to others this year, there's been lots of turnover at the Roanoke Times. Salt Lick has no idea of the newspaper's working environment (other than it's lack of intellectual diversity) but he wants to assure conservative journalists (both of you)that Southwest Virginia is a wonderful place to live and raise a family. Honest. Check it out.

Please apply for these jobs. Think of it as pioneering in Indian country.

How about this job?

Or this one?

Chrisley seeks Democratic nomination in 7th District

Barbara Chrisley, retired associate professor of foods and nutrition at Radford University, announced she's switching parties and would eat three Big Macs and a bag of Hostess Twinkies a day if that's what it takes to get in the House of Delegates.

More here on Chrisley's political rebirth.


Contained in Barbara Chrisley's campaign announcement:

She said the GOP pushes for lower taxes but also increased services. "That does not quite add up. The promise of a thriving economy will not take care of unfunded mandates from Washington."

Today's Roanoke Times:

We've skewered GOP gubernatorial hopeful Jerry Kilgore as he sweet-talks his way toward his party's nomination, dripping those honeyed promises voters so love to hear: I'll cut your taxes and pay for the services you need.

Eddie Albert passes on to green acres -- RIP

Eddie Albert, aka Oliver Wendell Douglas  Posted by Hello

It's been a hard week. First, Ernest T. Bass, and now Oliver Wendell Douglas.

I can't explain the television sitcom ("Green Acres") in which Eddie Albert starred more succinctly than The Catalog of Cool:

Eddie Albert (ostensibly sane) spent six seasons appealing to the whacked out citizens of Hooterville to behave in a rational and orderly manner. Naturally, he got just what he deserved--the gradual erosion of his own mental stability.

It was wonderfully funny. Kind of an American country Monty Python.

In a very weird way, this website transmits perfectly the "Green Acres" laugh-out-loud quirkness.

Friday, May 27, 2005

Virginia-Pilot junks "Click and Clack"

Taxes for "trouser tents"

Salt Lick has complained frequently that Medicare-funded Viagra is just too hard to accept. Taxpayers are being stiffed. Rick Sincere in Charlottesville says release may be on the way.

After the end of Medicare-funded Viagra, Bob wonders why, for the first time in their 50 years of marriage, his wife is so happy to clean fish. Posted by Hello

Attention Editor Mike Riley: Media credibility is in the toilet, even if the Koran isn’t...

Michele Malkin offers analysis of the Newsweek-Koran debacle.

Guess where the news clearing the U.S. military of desecrating the Koran is today in the Roanoke Times? Deep inside on page 8. Guess where the story was placed when it looked like it might be true? Front page. Guess where a follow-up was placed when the story's accuracy began to crumble? Page 3. Don't worry, it'll be placed on the front page when an anonymous source tells Time or CNN she heard from a friend of a friend that a Gitmo inmate had nightmares after seeing a guard munch down on pork rinds.

Want to hide stuff? Remember to turn your next Easter egg hunt over to editor Mike Riley (a former Executive Producer at Time/CNN's AllPolitics.com).

UPDATE: Even a contributor to "America's oldest journal covering the newspaper industry," Editor and Publisher, suggest that with regard to the U.S. military, the media is The Dog That Didn't Bark.

Terror tactics backfiring in Iraq?

Former U.S. Army Colonel and Iraq war veteran Austin Bay says Zarquawi's movement might be as badly wounded as he is.

Zarqawi is a master-terrorist, at the tactical level. He’s cunning. He can attract fanatics and turn fanatic desire into front-page mass murder. Strategically, however, he’s in the process of engineering his own movement’s defeat. His “bloodbath tactics” have backfired in Iraq and –according to several analysts– are in the process of turning Arab public opinion against Al Qaeda. He’s brought Islamist terror to the center of the Arab world, and Islamist terror kills Arabs and Muslims without mercy. As for operational success? That’s a tougher call. He’s failed to ignite any kind of mass uprising against the Iraqi government. Instead of baiting Shias and Kurds into a civil war he’s hardened their political resolve– a Kurd is now Iraq’s president. He has played a key role in sustaining Iraq’s Sunni holdouts– in part terrorizing Sunnis who might consider a deal with the Iraqi government. That’s a “negative” kind of success (ie, he’s not inspiring, he’s enforcing).

Roll of Southwest Virginia troops killed in War on Terror

Last year the Roanoke Times defiled Memorial Day by using it as a platform for an anti-Bush editorial. Perhaps this Roll of Honor foreshadows the Times' realization that Memorial Day is about remembering and honoring the sacrifices of our family, friends, and neigbhors, not indulging our political passions.

I would have let them call it "Salt Lick -- Military" but that's OK

An alliance of veteran bloggers at Media Slander will be "dedicated to highlighting bias, rumor and falsehoods that have been creeping into military coverage under the guise of objective news."

Yet another source against which Salt Lick will check the Roanoke Times.

Hat tip to Michelle Malkin.

Internet sales tax

A Waynesboro businessman takes the Roanoke Times to task for supporting the Streamlined Sales Tax Project.

Greedy bastard. I bet he won't support the Times' proposed "culture tax" either.

Thursday, May 26, 2005

What would Lawrence of Arabia say?

Sent to me by a friend in Special Forces. The singing Brits of Iraq

Big League

I bet John Behan has one of these posters on his wall.

Cross-over voting in primaries -- primordial soup for moderates?

I've long had the impression that Senator John Warner owes his longevity in the Senate to a primary system that allows cross-over votes. Democrats and liberals often crow that they vote for Warner in Republican primaries to ensure Republicans can't nominate a more conservative candidate.

Got me to wondering -- doeds anyone know how to determine if the other 7 senators involved in the filibuster compromise are products of similar primary systems?

Sports heroes

At my foster son's Little League game the other night, I looked over at the other team's first baseman and saw his lower lip bulging, packed with...what? I knew it couldn't be snuff -- he was only 10 years old. Then the boy leaned over in perfect Major League style and spit. A sunflower seed.

Another parent told me he sees the seeds-in-the-lower-lip thing frequently. "They're copying the big league guys."

Before now, I've never given much credence to claims that sports celebrities might influence kids. Let's hope they stay with the sunflower seeds.

Wednesday, May 25, 2005

"The agenda of the press includes making the Administration look bad at every opportunity. "

Dr. Jay Rosen over at Press Think offers the best word on the Newsweek-Koran debacle.

For Chris

Don't worry, the bike's got training wheels. Posted by Hello

Another sign the filibuster cave-in was bad for Republicans

Today's Roanoke Times editorial, in part:

Virginia's Sen. John Warner played a key role, along with West Virginia Democrat Robert C. Byrd, in forging the compromise. They worked together to remind their colleagues that the role of the Senate is both advice and consent.

Alas, Virginia junior Sen. George Allen was one of the partisan bomb-throwers urging Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist to pull the nuclear trigger. He urged fellow Republicans not to be timid - as if that has been a Republican failing of late.

Speaking on the Senate floor after the announcement of the compromise, Warner said, "I am proud to have been a part of this."

Virginia should be proud, also. At least of one of her senators.

As usual, Jeff Goldstein and his commenters at protein wisdom provide some insightful and obscene thoughts on the episode (scroll up to read the main post). Jeff hits my own emotions on the head with:

I have great sympathy for all those who are beginning to question why they’ve given so much time and energy to win the party the presidency—as well as control of both the House and the Senate—only to watch their elected officials allow the minority party to control the government.

Bush economy may throw Southwest Virginians out of work

Salt Lick hates to hear of people losing jobs, but this story perfectly illustrates the tension between conscientious state managers and the taxpayers' right to their own salaries.

Low jobless rate means VEC cuts

Because the state's economy has improved and its jobless rate has remained low for some time, hundreds of employees for the Virginia Employment Commission could soon be looking for work and filing claims for unemployment insurance.

The impacts for Southwest Virginia are not yet clear. But Bruce Johannessen, manager of the VEC's Roanoke office, said he "very well could lose some staff." Johannessen said that prospect upsets him, both because he values his staff and because he believes services will suffer.

"I don't like the idea of compromising services for the folks in Virginia one bit," Johannessen said. "And we're going to be hurt and people are going to be affected by reduced services."

Ernest T. has thrown his last rock --RIP (Rock In Perpetuity)

How many actors have created such a memorable character in only FIVE episodes? Yes, only five. In my family, all you've ever had to do to get a laugh was say "Ernest T."

Actor Howard Morris relates how he created Ernest.

Tuesday, May 24, 2005

The Virginia internet -- a bully's pulpit?

Will Vehrs at Virginia Pundit Watch surveys Virginia internet pundits and wonders if The Salt Lick has been analyzed by an industrial psychologist. Shucks, not even Mrs. Salt can figure him out.

Attention Wendy and Tommy -- good advice on regaining public trust

Romenesko offers links to several articles about what newspaper editors must do to regain public trust.

But what if a newspaper thinks its community needs to be provoked?

In an interesting article at Editor and Publisher Michael Bugeja, the director of the Greenlee School of Journalism and Communication at Iowa State University, opines that newspapers should "invest in the newsroom" instead of the internet.

What is going on? Journalists used to have "street smarts"—-another term for common sense. Don't we realize that our entire history is associated with the community, which we have abandoned because consultants in the dubious "dot.com" days told us to go online where the money was or risk extinction? Now they are telling us that newspapers on line risk extinction unless they blog, or provide content to a specific target market.

Community is our target market.

Salt Lick is just a country bumpkin, but he thinks Mr. Bugeja is showing how out-of-touch he is with the reading public. Newspapers' declining circulations reflect public resentment at the agenda of ideologically one-sided newsrooms and the way that agenda is used to slant the news. It's time for newspapers to create a staff which is ideologically diverse, not one which seeks to provoke and guide the prols.

Maybe instead of "What is going on" a better question for newspaper publishers and editors to answer is "What are you afraid of?"

Diversity, maybe?

Next time, dude, I ain't getting a Dell

After a few months use, the ethernet plug on my Dell 600 laptop is broken. In the meantime, I'm limited to an old dial-up connection.

Which is like plowing with mules after your tractor breaks down.

Bear with me.

"The biggest flaw in mainstream journalism today is the lack of diversity."

Yesterday's column by John Leo hits the Roanoke Times nail right on the head.

I once complained to an important news executive that he ignored certain kinds of stories. He said that he would like to do them but that his staff wouldn’t let him. He admitted his staff had been assembled from one side—guess which?—of the political spectrum. This conversation hardened my conviction that the biggest flaw in mainstream journalism today is the lack of diversity.

(Yes, I know Tommy Denton served in Vietnam, but Leo's comments with regard to groupthink and lack of diversity are dead-on.)

Read the whole thing.

"What a disaster this is for the Republican Party."

On big issues like the filibuster cave-in, there's not much a little fellow like Salt Lick can add to what the brighter and better-informed folks at Power Line write here and here. Then there's the 100 or so commentators listed at Drudge.

For some time now, I've viewed the Republican party with ambivalence. This filibuster cave-in turns the ambivalence to distrust.

Today's Roanoke Times' editorial (likely written before "the deal" was consummated) suggests that voters look at both major parties and declare "a pox on both their houses." The sad part of that is, even the party led by a doctor looks sick.

Monday, May 23, 2005

The Middle East is "Bush Country"

Arab-American scholar Fouad Ajami paints quite a different picture of the Middle East that do anti-Bush newspapers like the Roanoke Times. And he knows the place better, too.

To venture into the Arab world, as I did recently over four weeks in Qatar, Kuwait, Jordan and Iraq, is to travel into Bush Country. I was to encounter people from practically all Arab lands, to listen in on a great debate about the possibility of freedom and liberty. I met Lebanese giddy with the Cedar Revolution that liberated their country from the Syrian prison that had seemed an unalterable curse. They were under no illusions about the change that had come their way. They knew that this new history was the gift of an American president who had put the Syrian rulers on notice. The speed with which Syria quit Lebanon was astonishing, a race to the border to forestall an American strike that the regime could not discount. I met Syrians in the know who admitted that the fear of American power, and the example of American forces flushing Saddam Hussein out of his spider hole, now drive Syrian policy. They hang on George Bush's words in Damascus, I was told: the rulers wondering if Iraq was a crystal ball in which they could glimpse their future.

The vision of a Middle East with George Bush statues in public squares must scare the mainstream media to death.

hat tip to Instapundit

Roanoke Times continues "fake but accurate news"

Front page headline in today's Roanoke Times "Mideast Protesters Heckle Laura Bush."

Florida Cracker addresses the reality behind this story. That there is one smart gal.

Klan considers entering NASCAR

 Posted by Hello
Hey Billy, you got your generator on yet? 'Cause Commonwealth Conservative has this interesting post about using NASCAR as a marketing device. What? Well, it ain't no dumber than those Klan action figures you were thinking about."

"Elvis, after all, began his career as a danger-dripping Southerner, a loud and fast-living redneck who was scorned as much as he was idolized. Then he went national, made ‘’Clambake,'’ absconded to Vegas, got bloated and died on the toilet."

Nothing but death and taxes

Today's Roanoke Times editorial --

"The looming breakdown in Va. transportation. Hard choices await the task force that will tackle the potentially crippling long-term funding crisis. Tax increases appear unavoidable."

With all the talk of transportation needs on blogs such as Bacon's Rebellion, and no firm nay-saying by Republicans or policy wonks, Salt Lick senses a tsunami of road taxes next year -- one that reaches up even into the SW Virginia mountains.

Roanoke Times weekly editorial roundup

No name-calling this week, but uniformly liberal and anti-Republican.

Sunday, May 15, 2005. Housing maintenance. The Bush administration’s proposed cuts for public housing would be felt in Roanoke – and the feeling would not be good.

Monday, May 16, 2005. Rumsfeld’s military tunnel vision. The defense secretary barrels ahead with a transformation flawed by its failure to heed so many important lessons from Iraq.

Tuesday, May 17, 2005. What really matters for rural Virginia. The expected Democratic and Republican nominees have both pledged to push rural economic development and support education and transportation. But Kilgore especially promises to spend money one minute and cut taxes the next.

Wednesday, May 18, 2005. Another Abu Ghraib scapegoat. The first tier of blame for the Abu Ghraib prisoner-abuse scandal lies at the top of the Bush adminstration, where foolish assumptions about postwar Iraq and shoddy planning resulted in inadequate forces and young inexperienced, poorly trained guards.

Thursday, May 19, 2005. Assault on the media. The Newsweek furor smacks of a concerted effort to subvert public confidence in one of the nation’s traditional checks on political power; the press.

Friday, May 20, 2005. Rethink the Patriot Act. Congress should devote a more measured, studious approach to providing necessary terrorism-fighting tools without eroding constitutional protections. Instead, the Bush administration appears to be pushing for a dramatic expansion of the already expansive powers contained in the Patriot Act...

Saturday, May 21, 2005. Demand Accountability. The latest account of deadly prisoner abuse in Friday and today’s New York Times should prompt outrage sufficient to demand accountability at the highest levels. As at Abu Ghraib, Army officals are attempting to claim that the incidents are isolated.

Lee Highway -- They're "fireproof"

Two fine Mississippi hotels circa 1950, located along Lee Highway, U.S. 11. (New readers need to look here and here to understand the Salt Lick's fondness for U.S. Highway 11.

Woodland Court -- Phone 330 Posted by Hello

"Woodland Court. Newton, Mississippi. Fireproof. 14 units. All Year Air Conditioning. Tile Baths. Beauty Rest Mattresses. Big Picture Windows. Phone 330."

The Southernaire-- Glass-Doored Tub Posted by Hello

"Southernaire Motel. Hattiesburg, Mississippi. Phone JU 2-3306. Telephones and Free TV in Every Room. Glass-Doored Tub."

Sunday, May 22, 2005

Thanks, but I'll just buy my own banjo.

Today's Roanoke Times editorial: "Give culture its due -- and its funding.

[At last week's Cultural Summit 2005], participants floated sensible responses to the deficient funding of Roanoke institutions; a local, dedicated tax...

House Majority Leader Morgan Griffin, R-Salem...quashed hopes of a local culture tax by declaring the idea would be dead on arrival in the General Assembly.

In other words, the assembly won't provide the tax money to support institutions such as Center in the Square, and neither will local government if the assembly can help it.

A "culture tax."

Let me repeat.

A "culture tax."

Good grief, Charlie Brown.

“I share the sentiments of Bill Moyers, one of my journalistic heroes.”

This quote is from an address ("Why Not Blame the Media?") that was delivered on Thursday, October 21, 2004, at Tarleton State University by Tommy Denton, Editorial Page Editor, Roanoke Times.

The connection between Denton, Moyers, and Southwest Virginia is interesting. Salt Lick hopes to give you more on this story soon.

If you are unfamiliar with Moyers, this article in Slate perfectly sketches the Moyers' persona and modus operadi.

More later.

Saturday, May 21, 2005

Taxes and government responsibility

My ISP is acting up this morning, slowing all my web surfing and post creation to a crawl, so I'll most likely just go out and work on the barn today.

However, there are very interesting discussions ongoing at "Bacon's Rebellion" and "One Man's Trash" about taxes. Click the appropriate links on my Virginia blogroll.

Friday, May 20, 2005

Newsweek's "torture" gaf discussed intelligently

Roger Simon is one of the best blogs around, especially for the intelligent give and take in the comments. The discussion of Newsweek's Koran-in-the-toilet story offers great food for thought.

Such a relief to the screeching of certain editorial staffs.

"Read My Lips: Hire Some Conservatives."

Virtually everything in this terrific post at "Oh, That Liberal Media" applies to the Roanoke Times. An excerpt from one letter:

Look, I'm really busy right now but, all right, I'll take five minutes to solve the problems of the mainstream media. I mean, ratings for network news are at an all-time low, newspaper readership is falling off the chart, the public's trust in journalists is steadily eroding — the least I can do is sacrifice one coffee break in order to sort things out. It doesn't require internal studies or revamped formats. Just three little words of advice will fix every one of their troubles: Hire some conservatives.

I don't mean hire a conservative. I don't mean cover conservatives. I don't mean allow conservatives to express a minority opinion on your Op-Ed page or argue at the top of their lungs on some yes/no, black/white, point/counterpoint debate program. I mean that at ABC, CBS, NBC, the Los Angeles Times et al, a substantial proportion of the reporters who cover stories, and the editors who assign and shape those stories, should be people with conservative beliefs. The rest can continue to be what they are now: left-wingers who live under the delusion that they're moderates.

Indeed. Read the whole thing.

It was good to be the King, "but it's all over now"

The Country Store offers another take on the Koran-in-a-toilet story, showing yesterday's Roanoke Times' editorial was a royal temper tantrum.

Elect me governor of Virginia High

Clogging with an accent. Posted by Hello

The unveiling in Roanoke of Tim Kaine's rural economic development plan combined with Jerry Kilgore's announcement that he would direct "unexpected revenue growth" toward helping localities fund school construction and tax credits for school-related expenses left Southwest Virginians dancing in the streets on Thursday.

"It's like when they announced V-E Day," said old-timer Hezekiah Elkston, "but this time with television."

Thursday, May 19, 2005

My transportation plan for Urban Virginia (UVa?)

Yep, looks like they'll endorse Kaine

Yet another attack on Kilgore by the Roanoke Times suggests that Will Vehrs at Bacon's Rebellion is correct that the paper has, to informed readers, already endorsed Tim Kaine for Governor.

Maybe they'll even throw us a ball sometimes

Commenter RoanokeFound passed The Salt Lick a message from Roanoke Times blog manager Jim Ellison asking if we'd like to join its blogroll. Thanks to RoanokeFound (and my apologies for not yet linking to you). There are many good folks on The Times' blogroll, but if you look at political cartoons like the one in today's Times (below) and combine them with the Times' arrogance, lack of diversity, and occasional references to bloggers being "crabby old men," you have to wonder at their motives. Are bloggers being used to boost the newspaper's revenue, or broaden its perspective?

(David Horsey comics) Posted by Hello

We might be interested in joining the Times' blogroll if they hired a few conservatives to balance their editorial staff, or showed a sincere appreciation for bloggers.

For now, it would be too much like applying to be someone's outdoor dog.

Provoke Americans, not Arabs -- right?

Editorial staffs that consist of journalists who all think the same and rely on left-wing information sources rarely produce writing of interest. So it goes with this morning's Roanoke Times' editorial.

Predictably, the Roanoke Times attacks the administration of Bush McHitlerburton and the Republinazis for using Newsweek's slip-shod journalism to "stifle every last vestige of political dissent in the United
States." In support of its argument against this "crass political exploitation," the Times cites crass political exploiter and race-baiter John Conyers, and prominent Bush-Derangement Syndrome victim Bill Moyers. Good grief. How long before Tommy Denton starts demanding to know what happened to the strawberries and clacking little steel balls together in his hand?

It's the VAST RIGHT WING CONSPIRACY! Bush McHitlerburton and the Republinazis want to burn the Constitution!

Meanwhile, more thoughtful commentators such as Johah Goldberg offer real analysis and insight, cutting through the kind of surface issues that evoke hysteria in self-referential journalists. His thoughts ring true given the Roanoke Times' repeated statements that its mission is "to provoke" conservatives at the same time it downplays facts supporting their opinions.

Which gets me to my real problem with Newsweek. At this point nobody disputes that Newsweek messed up. The only arguments are about the magnitude of their mistake and the motives behind it. I can’t know their motives, but my guess is that Michael Isikoff was more motivated by a reporter’s desire to break a story than by some Left-wing anti-Americanism.

But what on earth was gained by Newsweek’s decision to publish the story — whether it was true or not? Were we unaware that interrogators at Gitmo aren’t playing bean bag with detainees? To me the similarities with the Abu Ghraib are greatest not in terms of the abuse but in terms of the media’s unreflective willingness to undermine the war on terror. We saw the photos from Abu Ghraib on the nightly news and in the newspapers far, far more than we saw video of American leaping to their doom from the top of the Trade Towers. Why? Well, according to the Brahmins of the media, it would be irresponsible to stir American passions with such inflammatory images. But the relentless gray strobe light of images showing Arab men in dog collars and black hoods was necessary to inform the public — even though the abuses were already being investigated by the proper authorities. In other words, American passions are to be feared and tamped down on whenever possible, while there’s nothing too worrisome about inciting Arab and Muslim passions, even when that attitude plays perfectly into the hands of the people we’re fighting.

I just can’t help but think the media’s priorities are backward.

Rep. Rick Boucher agrees with Salt Lick on transportation (sort of)

Wednesday, May 18, 2005

The roads look fine to me

Salt Lick says, "No stumps and wide enough for a wagon. What's the problem?"  Posted by Hello

Last weekend, City Slicker read an article by Roanoke Times' reporter Michael Sluss addressing campaign issues in Southwest Virginia and, in apparent amazement, asked, "Are god, guns, and twang all rural voters care about? Don't 'y'all' have education, transportation, and environmental concerns? You wouldn't know you did from this article."

Well now, that does elicit the old tale of the country mouse and city mouse.

FWIW, City Slicker, as if to answer you, the Roanoke Times editorialized on your questions yesterday. The editorial is worth reading, though not for its predictable support of raising taxes as a panacea ("Nothing will happen without the money"), but for this howler:

On matters related to God, guns and executions, the values of rural Virginia will win out this fall no matter who becomes governor. Tim Kaine and Jerry Kilgore have effectively staked out the same conservative turf.

Dang, I bet those folks at Virginia's Conservative Victory PAC just can't make up their minds on this one!

But for serious thoughts:

City Slicker, I am going to take your questions at face value and assume you are as mystified by "rural issues" as I am by the traffic lanes in D.C. that change directions in the middle of the day. I am no Karl Rove or Michael Sluss, and I can't speak for the majority of Southwest Virginians, but my guess is that while the issues you mention are important, they are nowhere as pressing for us as they are to "your kind." If a dozen Southwest Virginians conferenced with a dozen "average folks" living in the urban areas around Washington, DC and east of Richmond, the two groups would feel like apples and oranges.

Transportation, for example. I've only recently realized how important this is to developed areas. Your post about your "parking lot" on Route 66 raised a situation I never encounter out here in the sticks. Sitting "mashed butt to butt with...fellow sweaty commuters" is a foreign notion. I did feel your pain, however, and it made me receptive last weekend when I was driving along a country road outside another growing metropolis and saw anti-development placards. "Walton Hill Means 48,000 New Cars on our Roads!" "Want Congestion? Bring on Walton Hill!" "Say No to the Walton Hill Bullies!"

Clearly, those are not John Boy's Waltons.

48,000 cars? Heck, I'm not sure there's 48,000 PEOPLE in my county!

Our differing takes on this makes Kilgore's proposal of regional transportation authorities sound pretty good. And explains why some of our local politicians are floating the idea that we send too much money away from here to pay for roads elsewhere.

Education, environment -- yes, we want these to be good, but I doubt the majority of folks down here feel these are in urgent, pressing need of improvement. At least not to the point that talk of an "impending crisis" will resonate. As for environment, we have so much beautiful "environment" compared with so little industry that we're not too concerned with the latter destroying the former at this point. Schools -- by and large, we don't have those mega-schools with mega-problems and poor teacher to student ratios. The kids are getting educated pretty well; we don't obsess as much as city folks about whether they will get into "top" schools and colleges. A state college is good enough. Really, anything that results in a decent job is good enough.

And in that regard, I'll actually have to agree with the Roanoke Times editorial that down here the number one "non-values" issue is jobs. We've never had plentiful job opportunities, so we are "tender" to that problem. Our 9th District Congressional Representative Rick Boucher knows the importance of the jobs issue. That's why he regularly appears at plant openings or grant announcements and why, despite supporting much of the Democratic Party's social agenda, he has represented the district for over 20 years. (Oh yeah, we're a lot more tolerant of political liberalism than the stereotypes believed by the MoveOn moonbats.) Right now, however, no matter how the Roanoke Times tries to downplay the healthy economy created by the Bush tax cuts and create a sense of panic, jobs are as plentiful in Southwest Virginia as they've ever been. So the values/social issues can get more play.

That's my take on it, Slicker. I think it applies across most of rural Virginia, but I could be wrong. I'll get Jethro to studyin' on it.

By their sources you shall know them

Last Sunday's Roanoke Times' editorial begins:

Guest columnist Julianne Malveaux, writing on today's Commentary page...

Does everyone know who Julianne Malveaux is? How about the woman who wished death on Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas -- "The man is on the Court. You know, I hope his wife feeds him lots of eggs and butter and he dies early like many black men do, of heart disease. Well, that’s how I feel. He is an absolutely reprehensible person."

How about the woman who wrote that evolving dictator and Fidel Castro protege Hugo Chavez was continuing Martin Luther King, Jr's legacy in Venezuela?

Or the woman who revealed she does not say the Pledge of Allegiance because she believes its words, including the reference to liberty and justice, are "nothing but a lie."

What kind of journalists would try to pass Malveaux off as an authority on anything? Or perhaps just as bad, what kind of journalists would actually believe she's a reliable source of knowledge?

Someone on the Roanoke Times' staff has read Ms. Malveaux's work. Someone agrees with her so strongly they cite her in their first sentence.

Think about it.

Tuesday, May 17, 2005

Thanks to City Slicker

Thanks to guest blogger City Slicker for keeping the pot stirred at The Salt Lick and showing us the value of a different perspective. Salt Lick's pet peeve about the Roanoke Times is its lack of intellectual diversity and, providentially, City Slicker, with his comments on Northern Virginia traffic and other issues has shown us the importance of another perspective. More on that later.

Thanks, Slick.

City Slicker was a nice feller, but I don't reckon he ever caught on that this ain't really horseshoes. Posted by Hello
(from the protein wisdom "Somewhere in Jesusland" series).

It will take Salt Lick a while to get caught up and comment on the weekend follies, distortions, and spinning at the Roanoke Times. Hope everyone is well, but if not Granny has a wonderfully potent Spring tonic...

Sunday, May 15, 2005

What Do Rural Voters Want?

I've been a pretty lousy stand-in for Salt Lick. I don't see how some of these prolific bloggers do it.

Lord knows I've looked over the Roanoke Times, Salt Lick's favorite target, and it's about as bad as he says it is. Of course, speaking for a rural area like it does, I would expect it to show a little more insight into the rural psyche than the article they ran today on Kaine and Kilgore trying to hustle rural votes. It's here, by the way.

Are god, guns, and twang all rural voters care about? Don't "y'all" have education, transportation, and environmental concerns? You wouldn't know you did from this article. At least Kilgore mentioned that there were other issues. Kaine's too busy trying to prove he's got SW connections.

Friday, May 13, 2005

Did I Miss the Story?

I've been stopping in and out of the TV room, hoping to catch the story on "Good Morning America" about Jerry Kilgore's accent. Salt Lick has written a lot about it, him and every other blogger. I must have missed the story, or else it got pre-empted.

Guess who else was popping in? An Asian buddy. He's pretty sensitive to making fun of people's accents. As he said, "Jerry, welcome to my world."

Thursday, May 12, 2005

Hello, I'm City Slicker

My friend "Salt Lick" asked me to fill in for him while he's "gone fishin.'" I'm a NoVa guy and I don't think he understands that I'm stuck in traffic most of the time, so I don't know how much I'll be able write. I sure don't know much about any part of Virginia further out than Catlett.

Seems like a lot of the blogs are commenting on Steve Chapman's troubles in Manassas. All I can say is that he was supposed to powerwash my house and he never showed up. Somehow I've got to get that information to the Harry Parrish campaign.

Well, I'm off to go listen to the radio in my parking spot on Rt. 66. Thank goodness for WMAL to tell me that traffic is heavy up ahead all the way to my exit and beyond. At least I'm comfortable. I could be mashed butt to butt with my fellow sweaty commuters on that Orange Line train that whizzes by in the medium.

Gone fishin'

Salt Lick is gone fishing for a few days. Friend of mine may or may not show up here. He knows where I keep the jug down at the spring, so presumption is on the "may not."

Enjoy your weekend. I certainly will.

The French explain West Virginia

New Roanoke Times editor Dan Radmacher's old newspaper, The Charleston Gazette, runs an editorial which turns to the French for an explanation of West Virgina's decline into red-state conservativism.

"In a long report titled 'What’s the matter with West Virginia?' the French newspaper [Le Monde] said the Mountain State has been pulled to the right by exaggerated patriotism, love of guns, Bible Belt fundamentalism, resentment of liberal intellectuals, and defense of the coal industry against environmentalism."

Well, at least they don't tawk with a accent. (hat tip to The Ombudsgod!"

As a CITIZEN JOURNALIST, I want equal protection!

Representative Rick Boucher wrote an interesting column for yesterday's Roanoke Times; it is entitled "Press needs a shield law to fulfill its role." The column is on the commentary page of the hardcopy, but I'll be d*mned if I can find it online. Anyway, the key sentences are:

...31 states and the District of Columbia have enacted statutes that protect reporters from the compelled disclosure of their information sources. The absence of similar protection at the federal level is striking.

To provide the federal response, my colleague Rep. Mike Pence, R-Ind., and I have introduced the Free Flow of Information Act in Congress. Senator Richard Lugar, R.-Ind, and Christopher Dodd, D-Conn, have introduced an identical bill in the Senate. We propose to set strict limits on the ability of the Justice Department or a private party to subpoena a reporter in a federal case.

We'll have to see if the legislation sets out just how a court determines who's a "reporter" and who's just a "hack." I'll go with the folks with pajamas and laptops.

Breaking News: Major rebel stronghold captured; 5000 American troops surrender

Bet I fooled you. This news has nothing to do with Iraq or Afghanistan. In fact, it's about something that happened 225 years ago. It's "breaking" because it's probably news to 999 of 1000 Americans that on May 12, 1780, at Charleston, South Carolina, the United States surrendered approximately 5000 soldiers to the British army of General Henry Clinton.

The men surrendering were thought of as "rebels" to the Crown forces. In fact, they were the first "Americans," though many still spoke with the accent of their native lands -- Ireland, Scotland, England, Germany, France, Wales, Africa and others.

Virginia lost almost her entire Continental Line in the surrender. Several weeks later Banastre Tarleton -- "Bloody Ban" -- caught the remainder of Virginia's troops and slaughtered them in the battle that made his name synonymous with brutality -- the Waxhaws "Massacre." If you want to learn more about the American Revolution in the South and have not read John Buchanan's "Road to Guilford Courthouse," do so. It describes the fall and resurgence of the rebel cause in the war's later years. Not many folks appreciate that the American Revolution was won long after the Declaration of Independence was signed, after Washington crossed the Delaware, after Valley Forge, and that it was won in the South.

This website describes a reenactment of the seige and battle of Charleston that will take place this upcoming weekend.

 Posted by Hello

Wednesday, May 11, 2005

We are a profoundly religious people

Advice to foreigners who visit Southwest Virginia at Christmas -- bring a fireman's hat.

We wear them to Nativity scenes because the Bible says the Wise Men came from "a far."

Accentgate -- bigger than they say?

Yesterday the Roanoke Times opined on "Accentgate," predictably criticizing Jerry Kilgore, not the "wink, wink, nudge, nudge" campaign of Tim Kaine and his supporters. On the surface, "Accentgate" seems like small taters, so why would a newspaper which everyone knows will endorse Tim Kaine write such a long editorial on the issue? Hmmm. Salt Lick thinks the reason for the sudden attacks on Kilgore is that maybe the real issue isn't the accent, but a danger accent-uated to the Kaine campaign.

Anyone who reads blogs, not just the mainstream press, knows that the mocking of Kilgore's voice gained its nasty edge because of the Kaine people's hints that Kilgore's speech was not only that of a "hick," but unmanly, perhaps even gay. Kaine's website carried admonitions that Kilgore was "weak and ineffective." His supporters carried the water on mocking Kilgore as "effeminate." It was a clever campaign tactic, to be sure. Certainly, there are a few folks in Northern Virginia who'd be put off by a "hick" accent in a governor, but Salt Lick guesses that the real intention was most likely to shave off a small percentage of Kilgore's votes among anti-gay rural voters. It didn't have to be many, just enough to help Kaine win in a tight election. And it put Kilgore on the defensive every time he opened his mouth. How could Kilgore, whose genteel speech and manner do indeed bring to mind "gayness," meet such a charge? A defense of "I am not gay" would become the Virginia political equivalent of "I am not beating my wife."

But a funny thing happened to the clever campaign tactic. The Kilgore people helped bring it about, to be sure, by emphasizing the "hick" part of the message. But what else could they do? S0, the "hick" remarks and cute little wink, wink, nudge, nudge, "gay" hints, took a sudden and unforeseen turn. Kaine's people and the media, laughing at Kilgore's difficult position like a pack of naughty schoolboys, shut up when the bottle rocket they launched at a rival turned and streaked back toward themselves.

Like one of the human-hosts in "Aliens," the clever campaign tactic of Kaine's people bore something unseen, something that erupted and threatens to cost Kaine the governor's election.

The monster was traditional values, the 21st century nemesis of the Democratic Party in the South, and especially in Southwest Virginia.

It's a fact that today's hard-core Democratic Party views people with Southern accents with contempt, or at least suspicion, and the reason is they do not share the VALUES of most red-state Southerners. Sure, sure, (calm down Barnie) not all members of the Virginia Democratic Party would genuflect if George Soros or Hillary Clinton and Ted Kennedy came to Richmond, but it's the reason Zell Miller abandoned his party in 2004. He knows who controls that party today, who gives out the money and puts up campaign signs, and who does Tim Kaine not want to be associated with?

Look at Michael Moore's "Jesusland" map. Look at the location of the red states mocked as blighted by an overfervent belief in "Jesus." Think about the values of the Northern Blue-Staters vs. the values of Southern Red-Staters. Now ask youself which values Tim Kaine wants to disassociate himself from -- those of "Jesusland" or the ones his own supporters want him to show more support for? The values of John Kerry, Ted Kennedy, and present Democratic Party chairman Howard Dean, or those of conservative Virginia? Who thinks Tim Kaine is going to run as a liberal Democrat?

Salt Lick thinks the values problem is the reason Virginia's mainstream media is suddenly mocking and downplaying "Accentgate" so vigorously. It's a strategy that has backfired, and backfired so badly it could cost Tim Kaine the governor's election among Virginia's traditionally conservative electorate.

When Democratic Party Chairman Howard Dean referred to "White folks in the South who drive pickup trucks with Confederate flag decals," he clumsily voiced a stereotype. Salt Lick thinks Dean, though condescending and goofy, was sincere, in his own arrogant way. What he was saying was, "These folks are ignorant and bigoted, sure, but they may be redeemed if we can reach out to them and show them the error of their ways." That doesn't go over too well where people speak with a drawl.

Salt Lick had his first experience with this kind of stereotyping in Nairobi, Kenya, in the late 70's, while sitting around a bar with a group of fellow Peace Corps volunteers. We'd not been in-country long and had just come out of a session where Lillian Carter, Jimmy Carter's mother and a former Peace Corps volunteer herself, gave us a "pep talk" via international speakerphone. Later at the bar, another volunteer turned to me and said, "You know, I used to think all you Southerners were ignorant bigots, but people like you and Miss Lillian, you're alright."

Gee, thanks. And some of my best friends are black.

The Roanoke Times ends its article on "Accentgate" by admonishing readers that "Resentment is cheap and easy." Naw. Second-rate journalism is cheap and easy. On the other hand, dirty campaigning can be awfully expensive.

Tuesday, May 10, 2005

Southwest Virginia Hickphonics

Salt Lick has lots of Yankee friends. Shoot, he even married one, from Cleveland, Ohio ("Burn on, big river"). So. given the intense and growing interest in "Accentgate," Salt Lick offers the following Hickphonic dictionary as a public service to ignert people from Kansas and Vermont anxious to live amongst gun-toting rednecks with Confederate flag decals on their truck bumpers.

HEIDI- noun. Greeting. "Heidi."

HIRE YEW- Complete sentence. Remainder of greeting. Usage: "Heidi, hire yew? You ain't from Kansas, are yew?"

JEW HERE - Noun and verb contraction. Usage: "Heidi, jew here that Tim Kaine says Jerry Kilgore tawks like a hick?"

SEED - verb, past tense of "to see."

VIEW - contraction: verb and pronoun. Usage: "Tim Kaine went to Harvard. I ain't never seed Harvard....view?"

FARN - adjective. Not local. Tim Kaine. Usage: "I cuddint unnerstand a wurd he sed....mus' be from some farn country, like Harvard."

BARD- verb. Past tense of the infinitive "to borrow." Usage: "My brother bard my pickup truck and a liberal Democrat tore off my rebel flag decal."

JAWJUH - noun. The State north of Florida. Capitol is Lanner. Usage: "I wish Zell Miller was from Virginia instead of Jawjuh."

BAMMER - noun. The State west of Jawjuh. Capitol is Berminhayum. Usage: "Yew know. Bammer, that state next to Jawjuh, the one where Zell Miller lives."

MUNTS - noun. A calendar division. Usage: "Dang, it cain't really be another six munts before the dern election."

THANK - verb. Ability to cognitively process. Usage: "Six more months? Ah thank ah'll have a bare."

BARE - noun. An alcoholic beverage made of barley, hops, and yeast. Usage: "Ah thank ah'll have another bare."

IGNERT - adjective. Not smart. See "Kansas native." Usage: "Them West Virginia boys sure are ignert!"

RANCH - noun. A tool used for tight'nin' bolts. Usage: "I thank I left my ranch in the back of that pickup truck my brother from Jawjuh bard a few munts ago."

ALL - noun. A petroleum-based lubricant. Usage: "I sure hope my brother from Jawjuh puts all in my pickup truck."

FAR - noun. A conflagration. Usage: "If my brother from Jawjuh don't change the all in my pickup truck, that thing's gonna catch far."

TAR - noun. A rubber wheel. Usage: "Gee, I hope that brother of mine from Jawjuh don't git a flat tar in my pickup truck."

TIRE - noun. A tall monument. Usage: "Lord willin' and the creek don't rise, I sure do hope to see that Eiffel Tire in Paris sometime."

RETARD - Verb. To stop working. Usage: "My grampaw retard at age 65."

FAT - noun, verb. 1. a battle or combat. 2. to engage in battle or combat. Usage: "You younguns keep fat'n, n' ah'm gonna whup y'uh."

RATS - noun. Entitled power or privilege. Usage: "We Southerners are willin' to fat for are rats."

DID- adjective. Not alive. Usage: "He's did, Jim."

EAR - noun. A colorless, odorless gas: Oxygen. Usage: "He cain't breathe....give 'im some ear!"

BOB WAR - noun. A sharp, twisted cable. Usage: "Boy, stay away from that bob war fence."

HAZE - a contraction. Usage: "Is Bubba smart?" "Nah....haze ignert. He ain't thanked
but a minnit 'n 'is laf."

GUMMIT - Noun. A bureaucratic institution. Usage: "Them gummit boys shore are ignert."

Monday, May 09, 2005

Roanoke Times is smoking Potts

The Roanoke Times finally finds a man who loves taxes as much as they do.

Leaders are elected to take the broad view, to weigh overall cost and benefits to society, and make reasoned decisions for the long-term public good. They have to make the call, then make the case to voters.

Is no prospective leader prepared to do this?

There is one.

Independent gubernatorial candidate Russ Potts, state senator from up the valley in Winchester..."

Norm, Will, John, Sic Semper, Lars -- take 'er away.

UPDATE: Commonwealth Watch has apparently caught the Roanoke Times' knight errant Russ Potts in a big lie about not supporting referendums. Why is the MSM always behind the curve on these things?

Sunday, May 08, 2005

Nature vs. nurture?

Last week, New River Valley Current columnist Gerry Davies poked fun at "Jerry ('The Squeaky Executioner') Kilgore and Tim ('Democrat? Who Me?') Kaine."

What was really funny about that was Davies' attack on Kilgore for a genetic trait, but on Kaine for a deliberate weasling. That was funny indeed.

(Sorry for the lack of a link. I've looked, but the online paper is poorly organized and I've got a Mother's day date with a hot momma.)

Rocking my crabby life away

Salt Lick ponders "the pompitous of love" and other weighty matters. Posted by Hello

When commenter Roanoke Found revealed a Roanoke Times editor referred to members of its blog roll as "crabby old men," I visited the site to look at the bloggers' pictures. Lars Hagen at The Roanoke Slant seemed the only obvious candidate for the moniker, but only because he appears to be the blogroll's elder. In his interview, however, Lars comes across as a pleasant, level-headed fellow. It occurred to me that Steve Minor at SW Virginia Law Blog submitted a dated picture (after all, his is in black and white and Steve lives in Abingdon where the actresses who appear at the Barter Theater frequently use youthful pictures of themselves in the production programs). But since I've never met Steve, I thought suggesting such a thing might be too crabby.

At any rate, I just wanted to post a picture of myself to show I don't fit the description either.

Roanoke Times' Mommy dearest

For Mother's Day, the Roanoke Times carries a piece (unavailable on line) by Dolores Huerta, social activist and cofounder of United Farm Workers. An accompanying photo shows Ms. Huerta and a coworker wearing "John Kerry" for President buttons and talking to children. It's no surprise this would be the feature article on Mother's Day in the left-leaning Roanoke Times.

Ms. Huerta is probably a nice, well-meaning person, and her personal biography garners sympathy. Nevertheless, when someone writes "The situation for children and mothers in America is urgent...more children fall into poverty and homelessness each year than ever since the Great Depression," I usually stop reading. Any woman who would fill her kids' minds with that kind of hyperbole is committing child-abuse.

And chances are she's the kind of mommy and activist that wants control of everyone else's choices -- right down to the kind of coffee they drink in the morning. Huerta also scolds moms who spend too much time taking their kids to sports events. "...mothers and kids can take time off from sports to voluteer on campaigns or at homeless shelters. When sports overtake civic engagement, democracy dies." And don't forget the left-wing clencher -- "By 'activist' I simply mean that you care about your country and family enough to want to take action to insure that your government is being used for your family's health, education and safety, rather than to make the rich richer or to rob your tax dollars to pay for unnecessary wars based on lies..."

It might be more edifying and entertaining to read Michele Malkin's blog carrying other tales of Marxist moonbat moms while also listing organizations that support mothers of troops in the military. (You'll love the drawing of a pistol-packing Statue of Liberty protecting her child.)

Do something nice for your mom today if she's still with you. Don't turn Mother's Day into yet another occasion to browbeat everyone with your politics; show Mom you care about her. Charity starts at home.

Probable challenge to 7th District Republican Delegate

Will retired Radford University professor Barbara Chrisley challenge incumbent Dave Nutter (R) for his 7th District Delegate's seat? --- Do Carmen Diaz and Drew Barrymore poo in the woods?

Salt Lick has been so busy with taters and the pumphouse that he plumb missed former (?) Republican Barbara Chrisley's letter in the New River Valley Current announcing her new political "alignment." Shucks, and here I thought that was something you did with your car.

Ms. Chrisley's letter followed a recent Roanoke Times article noting, "Barbara Chrisley, who ran an unsuccessful Republican campaign against Keister in 1999, said Thursday that she is seriously considering switching parties and challenging Nutter this year."

A week later came Ms. Chrisley's letter, dated May 1, 2005, parts of which appear below.

I ran for the House of Delegates in 1999 because I hoped to make a difference in the lives of my friends and neighbors here in the New River Valley. Much has changed in six years, but many things have stayed the same...

I've always told Granny that this is the kind of wisdom we need in the House of Delegates.

I have since lost my parents...and I have seen firsthand the benefits of Medicare for average folks without considerable savings who struggle to pay their medical bills.

Hmm. Losing parents is sad. Salt Lick knows. But how long have retired university professors been just "average folks," like the "folks" that work at Walmart or Kroger's, or the Radford Army Arsenal, or Radio Shack. I mean, people who work on staff at a major university may be "just folks," but professors? Professors study folks. Maybe that's what she means. She better study hard. Most professors who've retired on a top-notch Virginia Retirement System pension do have "considerable savings."

But let's return to change.

I have seen things in the political arena change. The Republican Party continues to stake our future on lower taxes, resulting in decreased services. The promise is the economy will always be rosy in order to take care of expansion of the unfunded mandates from Washington. Legislative concerns seem to concentrate on social issues at the cost of education, economic development, safety and health care -- things that are important to me.

I haven't heard anyone promise the economy will always be rosy. What I have heard, and think American economic history in my lifetime has proven, and which it did indeed prove after the Virginia Legislature raised taxes, is that when possible the private sector is always to be preferred over the government sector for "growing" the economy.

"Decreased services?" Would someone tell me what services I'm not getting now because Republicans have "staked our future on lower taxes?" Personally, I'm happy to be allowed to keep as much of my own money as possible.

As for social issues, these were pretty important to Ms. Chrisley in 1999. Check the Roanoke Times' archives for her opinions. In fact, Ms. Chrisley's campaign foundered on a "social issue" -- the right of parents to be notified when their underage daughter sought an abortion. Chrisley steadfastly stood behind her campaign manager's assertion that her opponent Benny Keister opposed parental notification. This lost her the Roanoke Times' endorsement and subsequently the race when the assertion turned out to be untrue.

But that was then. This is now.

What has not changed is my passion for serving my community and my desire to make our area a better place to live and do business. [Governor] Warner has offered moderate solutions to the commonwealth's problems that I am comfortable with. I believe an alignment with the Democratic Party will help accomplish important issues with education, health care, safety and transportation. The fiscally conservative solutions offered by the Democratic Party and Warner fit me better than a party focused on invading our privacy and passing a car tax that has benefited mostly Northern Virginia.

God has blessed me with a wonderful life, family and a desire to help others, and I look forward to doing just that.

Fiscally conservative Democrats, greedy North Virginians, purient Republicans, and God.

It's going to be a doozy. Hang onto your wallets.

Friday, May 06, 2005

Pumphouse problems -- blogging may be light

Finally got the taters in, but the motor in the pumphouse is acting ugly. Gotta have water, so blogging will be light.

A challenge from the "Crabby old men" -- Home Guard of the Pajamahadeen

I have to admit to getting a kick out of a commenter's revelation that he'd mentioned "The Salt Lick" to Roanoke Times' blog list manager Jim Ellison and was told that the list already had enough "crabby old men." The last time that happened to me was when my wife was sleeping badly and one of her friends asked if the problem made her wake up "crabby."

"Oh no," she said, "I let him sleep."

Bloggers clearly make the mainstream media nervous. Bloggers brought down CBS anchorman Dan Rather. They revealed the anti-military lies of CNN executive
Eason Jordan and forced his resignation. In their unpaid spare time, birddogging and fact-checking the mainstream media, these Pajamahadeen have destroyed the dream that most journalists' carried into their profession -- themselves standing on a lofty pedestal, talking down to the public, shaping and selecting the news that educates the ignorant masses and discomforts the powerful and loathsome. The problem is that somewhere along the way, the journalists themselves became the arrogant and powerful who must be made uncomfortable. And they don't like being second-guessed.

Ever wonder why the Roanoke Times has no ombudsman?

If Jim Ellison and the Roanoke Times want to become "interactive" with the public they seem to hold in contempt, why don't they really become, well -- interactive. Start an online chatroom where readers of the Roanoke Times can engage the editorial and news staff directly. Assign certain times when particular individuals on the newspaper staff will answer questions and debate issues. Howard Kurtz of the Washington Post and many other top journalist aren't afraid to do this. Why not the Roanoke Times?

After all, you'll only get questions from a bunch of crabby old men.

Thursday, May 05, 2005

Bush Derangement Syndrome -- a mind is a terrible thing to waste

PLEASE read the Roanoke Times' editorial this morning and when you do, ask yourself this -- "If the Bush administration admitted all the catalogue of wrongs listed in this editorial, how would the next Roanoke Times read?"

And then go to the front page and look at the bloody picture and ask, "How many Arabs become suicide bombers because of the mainstream media's determination to use events like the scandal at Abu Ghraib prison to undermine the presidency of George Bush?"

Remember the Roanoke Times calling Bush a "turkey" when he visited the troops in Iraq in November 2003?

Remember the RT's editorial staff and their serial drive-by character assassinations of George Bush as the 2004 election approached?

Remember the Roanoke Times running a bold, black front-page headline, only days before the presidential election, proclaiming (falsely as it turned out) that hundreds of thousands had died in the Iraq war?

Remember the Roanoke Times running a front-page headline the day before the Iraqi elections on Jan. 30, 2005 that proclaimed something like "Panic Seizes Baghdad as Elections Appear in Doubt!"

Etc, etc, etc.

If you want the real story on Iraq, you can't rely on mainstream media minds warped by Bush Derangement Syndrome. Instead, visit soldiers and citizens more interested in the safety of their buddies and American security. Try

Mudville Gazette
Austin Bay
Strategy Page.

For a few.

Another piece of Roanoke Found

A nice comment from someone at RoanokeFound reminded me that I'd been meaning to upload this postcard. I had hoped to drive down to Roanoke and see if The Huntsman is still in business, but haven't had time.

The Huntsman on Highway 11 Posted by Hello

My family most likely acquired this postcard on our way to the 1964 World's Fair in New York City. We'd have made much of that drive on old Lee Highway, U.S. Highway 11, but the part in Virginia I remember most was a stretch of the Blue Ridge Parkway somewhere outside of Roanoke. Anyone who's driven the Parkway knows it becomes tedious after the first 100 miles (ha!), but for three boys in the back of a station wagon with the seats turned down, three boys who've bought "War of the Blue and Gray" soldiers in Chattanooga at Lookout Mountain, the Blue Ridge was just fine.

What a great interlude. We played back there for hours with our soldiers, occasionally taking a break for a spectacular view or a roadside vendor of apple cider or mountain nicknacks. I remember sitting under trees by a rocky mountain stream, feeling the cold air in a little glen, and having lunch (as Southerners we would have called it "dinner" in those days). My mom had prepared the food in the hotel that morning. Maybe, just maybe the hotel was the Huntsman.

The deep waters of gun control and abortion in Virginia?

After the presidential election, filmmaker Michael Moore posted a map dividing the United States into Kerry "blue states" and Bush "red states." The red states he dubbed "Jesusland."

Following suit, the blog Virginia Centrist has posted a map, mocking Southwest Virginia, "a mostly unpopulated area" with many "creeks."

The map reminded Salt Lick of an article written by Roanoke Times' political reporter Michael Sluss two days after the presidential election (November 4, 2004): "Rural vote plays key role in Bush's Southern sweep. Virginia Democrats engineered their most aggressive voter turnout in recent memory to no avail."

Salt Lick really never has much understood politics, but he's been impressed with Mr. Sluss and figures he probably understands things pretty well. Here are some of the things Mr. Sluss reported:

Bush won nearly 54 percent of the Virginia vote, but his majorities were much greater west of the Blue Ridge Mountains. he got 63 percent of the vote in the 6th congressional District, which stretches from Roanoke to the northern Shenandoah Valley, and 59 percennt in the 9th dDistrict, which covers most of Southwest Virginia.

In interviews with The Roanoke Times' reporters and in exit polling commissioned by The Associated Press in Virginia, many Bush supporters cited social issues and the president's religious faith as key considerations in their votes.

Democratic consultant Dave "Mudcat" Saunders of Roanoke County had harsh words for his party Wednesday..."You can't talk policy because you can't get through the culture."

[Mark] Warner acknowledged Tuesday that Democrats have a hard time making their case on policy matters in Virginia if they can't neutralize hot-button isues such as gun control and abortion.

Democratic Lt. Gov. Time Kaine...said Virginia voters want evidence of "moral grounding" in candidates. "If they know what your moral grounding is, then they know how you'll respond to a particular problem or crisis," Kaine said.

Yep, standing on firm ground is important, especially when those creeks rise.

Watch "Roanoke Slant" blogger interviewed on WDBJ 7

Lars Hagen at the "Roanoke Slant" was featured in a local Channel 7 piece on bloggers. I think the piece is well done and Lars comes across great. Watch it HERE.

Good for you, Lars!

Wednesday, May 04, 2005

Roanoke Times -- The dog that won't bark?

Today's Roanoke Times carries an entirely predictable editorial which sums up the sentencing of Lynndie England by attempting to hold George Bush responsible for Abu Ghraib.

[Miss England]is not alone. Attorney General Alberto Gonzales was wrong in his previous role as White House counsel when he wrote a memo that sought to find legal justifications to permit the use of torture in interrogations against al-Qaida and Taliban fighters, while finding the Geneva Conventions "quaint" and "obsolete." Gonzales, though, was himself only attempting to find legal cover for the attitudes of both Defense Secretary Rumsfeld and President George W. Bush, who didn't want to be restrained by the niceties of international law.

You have to wonder what the Roanoke Times would say if George Bush pardoned Miss England and appointed her to a cushy position on a State Department committee on human rights? Do you suppose the RT would like that?

Then why does the Roanoke Times say nothing about the present scandal over the appointment of notorious human rights abuser Zimbabwe to the U.N. Human Rights Commission? Where is "international law" in all this, Roanoke Times?

This is so reminiscent of how in 2003, when the Bush administration was pleading with the U.N. to enforce its disarmament resolutions, the Roanoke Times downplayed the fact that Iraq was the President of the U.N. Committee on Disarmament and Libya was a member of the U.N. Human Rights Commission.

At least we learned of the mistreatment of prisoners at Abu Ghraib because of military servicemen blowing the whistle. What whistle is the Roanoke Times blowing on U.N. corruption and scandal? What warning bark is that dog giving us?

Of course, the latest scandal involving Zimbabwe might show George Bush was right not to trust American security to the Kofi Annan-led bunch of thugs trading penance with each other for atrocities. And it might show Bush is right to nominate John Bolton as ambassador to an organization badly in need of reform.

Get 'er done, John.

Why don't they want you watching?

This post at Power Line reminded me of the time my son's teachers said they would prefer my wife and I not sit in their classroom to observe his behavior because they'd found parents' presence' "disruptive."

To whom? And of what?

Guess that rep for being a "party school" is true

So what's up with Dubyanell Feds the Washington and Lee student blog? I'm curious about what's happening just up the mountain from me in Lexington. Seems like with 18 contributors you folks could produce more than one post a month. After all, your school bears the names of a couple of very productive Virginians.

I'm just saying...

Beyond Gay

"Gay issues" might very well influence Virginia politics this year. Anyone grappling with loving our gay friends and fellow Americans while nevertheless pondering the morality and wisdom of the gay lifestyle might want to visit Sed Contra, the blog of Virginian David Morrison, a Christian, gay man resolved on living a chaste life. You'll find Mr. Morrison's sober, grounded thoughts on issues such as same-sex marriage a refreshing change from the take-no-prisoners war of words in the MSM.

He's got interesting thoughts on other issues as well, like Jerry Kilgore's early attempt to use Tim Kaine's public-defender record as a campaign issue.

Self-fulfilling prophecy?

Looking over my foster son's school calendar, I realized his SOL's are next week. Does this acronym bother anyone else, or am I so old I've outlived what it meant when I was in basic training -- "Sh*t Out of Luck?"

I guess I will be thankful if he doesn't come home after the exams and say, "No problem, Dad. SNAFU."

"Diversity" redux

The Roanoke Times finally posted Shanna Flower's maiden column.

Salt Lick sometimes gets spring fever and slacks off like everyone else. He doesn't want to get the paper's online production manager in trouble, honest.

Tuesday, May 03, 2005

KKK mobilizes to stop "diversity"

"That's right, Billy we can't let the Roanoke Times spread this new "diversity." People will learn stuff they ain't never heard at NASCAR or dog fights. I'll be there as soon as Maybelle gets the Camaro off the jacks." Posted by Hello

If you sing the same verse, it ain't "diverse"

Black woman journalist Shanna Flowers (did I mention she's a black woman?) penned her first column for the Roanoke Times' today -- "Diversity may instill a dose of reality." Unfortunately, it's not online yet, though we'll keep an eye out and link to it if it's ever available. (That new online production manager better get the lead out.)

Regardless, you remember Shanna, don't you? She wrote that column calling George Bush a liar during the last presidential election. She's a black woman journalist who has been moved from the Roanoke Times' editorial board to sharing a column with Joe Kennedy. She thinks pretty much like everybody else at the Roanoke Times, but she's going to bring diversity to Joe's column because she's real different, "diverse" you might say, from Joe.

He's white, I'm black. He's a man, I'm a woman. He lives in Roanoke County; I live in the city.

See? Diversity. And Joe has a beard, and she doesn't. She wears earrings, and Joe doesn't. See?

So let me make this clear for you. You walk into a panel discussion of affirmative action. Sitting on the panel are Clarence Thomas (conservative male black judge), Linda Chavez (conservative Hispanic female commentator), William Kristol (conservative Jewish male commentator), Sean Hannity (conservative white male Catholic), Michele Malkin (conservative Philipino female commentator), and Senator Robert Byrd (white hillbilly KKK leader).

See? Diversity.

Still, Ms. Flowers has a lot to teach you.

The intent is that you at least will consider another perspective, to understand that people think differently than you do -- and their opinion deserves to be aired.

Did you ever realize some people think differently than you do? Oh, did I mention Ms. Flowers is a liberal black woman columnist?

Your local hardware store

I love this kind of discussion at A Little Urbanity on the relative merits of big versus ma-and-pa hardware stores. Hardware makes my heart flutter.

Monday, May 02, 2005

"...the worst sort of gutter politics and gay baiting..."

Cruising the Virginia blogosphere at the end of the day, I see the Democrats' "wink, wink, nudge, nudge" innuendo against Jerry Kilgore is again in play. I don't have time to fully blog the issue now, but do think it's entirely consistent with the ethics of certain Virginia bloggers who have used pictures of bloody, traumatized children to make cheap political points.

This is nothing new on the part of Democrats. Here are some excerpts from a 1996 article by Karen Tumulty in Time Magazine: A New Twist On Sexual Politics: Some Democrats Are Hinting That Their G.O.P. Opponents Are Gay.

One such case is in Columbus, Ohio. For almost 14 years it had
passed without comment that the local Congressman, John Kasich, the
powerful chairman of the House Budget Committee, stretches his
paycheck by sharing a Virginia town house for the two or three nights
a week that Congress is in session. His housemate? His male chief of
staff. Last month Cynthia Ruccia, Kasich's Democratic challenger,
called for a Justice Department investigation of what she said was
'a serious appearance of impropriety'; because Kasich, who is
divorced, lived with someone whose government salary he controls.

That was the official question. What it unofficially implied was
that the two men might be otherwise involved. Though Ruccia denies
that she intended to leave that impression, Kasich's office inevitably
found itself having to deny that either man is gay. No federal
investigation is likely. (To begin with, the Justice Department does
not examine 'appearances.') As it happens, Ruccia had long been
a high-profile supporter of gay rights and Kasich an occasional ally
at best. (He voted yes on AIDS funding, no on gay marriage.) But by
raising the issue, she stands to benefit from whatever doubt she
creates in the minds of voters hostile to gays.

Even Democrats were crying foul. 'It was the worst sort of
gutter politics and gay baiting,'; says Bob Fitrakis, Kasich's
1992 Democratic opponent. And the gay community in Kasich's
congressional district also sensed an invitation to gay baiting.
'It's disappointing to see it from a party that has been the most
progressive on the issues,'; says Phil Martin, president of
Stonewall Union, Ohio's largest gay-rights organization, which counts
Ruccia as a member.

Remember the money line:
"But by raising the issue, she stands to benefit from whatever doubt she
creates in the minds of voters hostile to gays."

It's time for Tim Kaine to speak out against gutter politics.

The Staunton News Leader's Jim McCloskey

I became aware of Staunton News Leader political cartoonist Jim McCloskey via the appearance his work on the editorial pages of the Roanoke Times. If you wonder why his work caught my eye, look at the sample below. There is a refreshing lack of malice. It jokes about human failure and misadventure, but unlike so many other political cartoons these days, it carries no intent to strike out and injure. What's more, if you look through the library of his work at the link below, you'll see that McCloskey is an equal-opportunity critiquer, not an agenda-driven hater. Human foibles is his interest, not putting a knife into someone with whom he disagrees.

mccloskey Posted by Hello

Here is the library of Mr. McCloskey's cartoons. A bit more of biography McCloskey here.

More of this could make politics fun and productive again.

Should bloggers be "Deep Throat?"

A question to the five people who read my blog: When, if ever, should bloggers who attend local political functions identify themselves as "media?"

This question arose when I tried (and failed) to get time to attend a "town hall" meeting of two state delegates and a senator from my region. Unfortunately, being only a CITIZEN JOURNALIST, I could not get away from my day job. Nevertheless, I was certain that if I attended the town hall meeting I would leave with a different perspective than a REAL JOURNALIST, and that I would blog my thoughts.

Over the years I have attended political meetings of each major party, and I remember at the start of these events the chairman would inform the room that there was a reporter (usually from the Roanoke Times or New River Valley Current) in the room. I gathered it was journalistic courtesy to announce "Hello, I'm here."

In the case of those of us who blog anonymously (to avoid complications at work, etc) the question of reporting on what we hear as a fly on the wall is troubling. I'm not entirely comfortable with the idea of "ambushing" a politican, even though we all know we are most likely to get the real deal if an office holder thinks he's not being monitored.

I doubt there is yet an equivalent bloggers' protocol in such situations, but thought I'd ask for opinions. What do you think?