Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Follow Me!

As Raising Kaine ends its successful run in Virginia politics, I'm joining up with the group who hopes to help fill that vacuum at Blue Commonewalth. Please follow my blogging adventures there!

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Tom Needs Your Help!

You can debate Virgil Goode's prudence in requesting a recount, but no matter what you decide, Tom Perriello needs your help to keep his offices open and his lawyers on retainer during the recount. You can click here to donate. Just a few dollars are sure to help ensure progressive leadership in the Virginia Fifth!

Saturday, November 8, 2008

All politics, all the time

The New York Times reports that Gov. Mike Huckabee will begin a book tour in Iowa later this month. Despite my utter exhaustion following my two weeks on the trail, I have to say that I love elections. I think that they represent a time citizens can have a conversation about the direction of our country, but I dislike all of this focus on national races. All politics is local. And, in this endless campaign cycle, I would really like to see politicos turn our attentions to state races next. In Virginia, the entire House of Delegates will be up for re-election. This election is exceptionally important as congressional redistricting ocurrs following the 2010 census.

So, let's stay away from Iowa and New Hampshire for a few years (a lot of people in NH seem to not be big primary fans, anyway) and focus on the elections that will continue to shape our nation and will actually happen this decade.

Friday, October 31, 2008

Campaign Craziness

Virginia is the place to be for this election season! I saw a quote in someone's gchat status the other day: "Obama can win without Virginia but with Virginia he can't lose!" Since I've been here, I've canvassed for VA-2 and VA-5. Both are likely Republican keeps, but the Danville Register and Bee endorsed Periello today.

Maybe it's just because I'm surround by Obama people all day, but I'm feeling really hopeful about this election so long as we keep knocking doors, making calls, and driving folks to the polls.

“Don’t believe for a second this election is over. Don’t think for a minute that power concedes. We have to work like our future depends on it in this last week, because it does.” - Barack Obama

Friday, October 24, 2008

Death and Taxes

Sorry for the hiatus. I've been trying to get everything together for my campaign trip to Virginia. Today we take off for the Virginia 2nd and then it's back to C'ville to campaign for Obama, Warner, and Periello. Only eleven days left!

At any rate, I find this article from the Washington Post heartening during my morning peruse. It's a shame this line got burried three grafs down, instead of in the lede: "But for the first time in decades, Democrats appear to have the upper hand in the debate over taxes."And then, much further down, they let us know that "In the latest Washington Post-ABC tracking poll, Obama maintains a 51 to 43 percent lead over McCain on handling taxes."

Most of us have known for a long time that it is a fact most families enjoy better economic times under Democratic administrations and that Democrats seek to ease the financial burden on middle- and working-class families far more often than Republicans. It is very exciting to see the party finally own these facts! Yes, as Oliver Wendell Holmes (a Republican) said, taxes are the price of a civilized society. But there's nothing wrong with highlighting the fact that we would rather tax people who can afford it than those who can't.

Eleven days. Go knock doors.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

You Can't Make This Stuff Up

Thanks to Raising Kaine for this one:

With all of the finger pointing McCain has been doing lately toward ACORN, he must have forgotten he spoke at at this pro-immigration rally co-sponsored by the community action group.

Let us all collectively mourn for the loss of the John McCain of 2000 and his "Straight Talk."

In true liberal media fashion, the Washington Post article doesn't mention McCain's appearance.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

You Can't Scare Me; I'm Stickin' to the Union

In the craziness of KidFid and grantwriting, I also missed my chance to comment on these two items:

Ralph Stanley released a radio ad endorsing Obama. It's been getting a lot of play on 94.9 - the main country station here in Southwest Virginia.

Also, in true "Which Side Are You On" fashion, some coal miners in the southern part of West Virginia rallied against the company men's attempts to get them to speak out against their union's endorsement of Obama.

Just remember, their flag's a big ol' dollar sign.

"It lacks the throw-weight of 'Ron Reagan Jr. to Address Democratic Convention,' but it'll have to do."

While on my Nashville road trip (Old Crow Medicine Show and Carolina Chocolate Drops at the Ryman!), the political world still turned. My favorite news that I missed is Christopher Buckley's endorsement of Barack Obama. Buckley, the son of National Review founder William F. Buckley, Jr., admits that his endorsement is not likely to be the end all of the campaign. I would, however, like to take the time to reflect on the GOP's recent dismissal of "cocktail conservatives."

I like the National Review. A group of people who paint themselves as fiscally conservative and socially libertarian are just fine in my book. Sure, I disagree with them on some points. If we had just let the states decide the segregation issue, for example, would we still be sending folks like Barack Obama to the back of the bus? Would two generations of black children have been denied the right to attend the best public schools available without Eisenhower calling in the 101st Airborne and nationalizing the Arkansas National Guard? Sometimes the national government has to take a stance on an issue -- and then enforce that stance -- or justice won't be done.

But these are political philosophy questions. We can respectfully disagree on methods of justice and still see both sides as smart, capable, patriotic people. It's the Republican Party's recent shift away from WFB's emphasis on reason that terrifies me. As a very wise man said recently, "It's like they take pride in being ignorant."

So, here's to you, Chris, and your whole National Review family. Let the debate the continue.

Friday, September 26, 2008

When Kathleen Parker Suggests You Go

Although it sometimes leads to butting head with many feminists, I like the idea of feminism being the simple idea that women are human beings deserving of equal treatment under the law and equal pay. Everything after that is debatable. Today feminists from both parties can come together as Kathleen Parker suggests that Sarah Palin bow out of the race. Palin's candidacy insults all women. It's not having a woman nominee for any office that matters. It's having a qualified nominee. If that nominee is a woman, then so much the better for our democracy's ability to expand the number of voices in the conversation. Palin was nominated because of her gender, not because of her policies (although that whole praying for the pipeline thing probably excited the base) or because of her qualifications.

I keep hoping that when the glass ceiling is finally smashed, it will happen because the candidate is a qualified, poised, smart elected official who happens to be a woman.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

"There are times when you are simply required to be impolite."

I've been on a bit of a West Wing binge lately and this Sorkin-imagined conversation between Pres. Bartlet and Sen. Obama definitely hits the spot.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Of Hunters and NASCAR

My Virginia Demcrats weekend reminded me just how in-touch our party can be. But let's keep working on it.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Ralph Stanley for President?

Bluegrass legend Dr. Ralph Stanley just endorsed Barack Obama during a campaign stop in Lebanon, Virginia. If you don't know who Ralph Stanley is, you might be an eltist. In addition to all of his amazing banjo pickin', Stanley also sang "O Death" in the Cohen brother's film O Brother Where Art Thou? This endorsement really could go a long way with Appalachian voters.

Friday, September 5, 2008


There isn't too much I can say about last night's fairly quiet, but rhetorically interesting, speech that hasn't already been said.

But I do have to say that, optimistically, I have a renewed sense of love for this country and democracy in general. The last eight years have been rough for civil liberties, minorities, women, people in poverty, and pretty much every other marginalized group in this nation. But we're still standing. Even after eight years of failed leadership, we still have a place where free elections are the norm and there is still a modicum of respect for the Bill of Rights among everyday people. Is that silly or simplistic or naive? So be it; it gets me to the voting booth.

Oh, and watch this:

Thursday, September 4, 2008


A small apology from the media directed at Gov. Palin.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Language and the GOP

So I'm sitting in my disaster of a new kitchen watching the RNC and, maybe it's just the English major in me, but I'm growing increasingly frustrated with their use of rhetoric. There was just a "detailed" 45-second spot on how McCain will save America by "putting prosperity first." Are you serious? Who isn't for prosperity? And just how do you balance putting prosperity first with the speech former EBay CEO Meg Whitman gave on how government can't solve your problems. If they can't solve your problems, how can they put prosperity anywhere in the line-up? This might just be a preaching to the choir post, but it's this sort of doublethink that brought us wars on terror and drugs and other intangibles that can't actually be defeated.

Why Bristol Palin's Pregnancy Matters

Obama may have declared family off-limits, but his opponents haven't. Bristol Palin's pregnancy could just be a footnote in this election, had her mother not promised during her 2006 gubernatorial campaign "explicit sex education courses will find no support from me" in the conservative Eagle Forum (that page has recently been "rectified", but you can still read about it here).

Palin also slashed funding for housing programs for teenage mothers.*

So while the Obama campaign might "take the high road" and not mention Palin's hypocrisy, she seems to have gotten a free pass. Her daughter made a mistake (or not, who cares?) and Palin appears supportive. It's a shame she couldn't be supportive of all young women faced with unplanned pregnancies, or you know, support programs that teach young men and women alike to prevent them.

Make no mistake, there are other issues at stake here, such as Palin supporting the "Bridge to Nowhere" before she was against it, her possible abuse of power involving police enforcement, and her lobbying for earmarks while campaigning as a "fiscal conservative." But I am a little disappointed in the media backing off on the issues brought to light by Palin's daughter's pregnancy. If she's going to campaign on family values, she ought to be held accountable when she doesn't live up to them by truly supporting all teenage mothers.

*Apparently, she failed to fully fund the program. I apologize.

Monday, September 1, 2008


I love to hear journalists say "You didn't answer the question" - maybe because it happens so rarely.

Looks Like His Prayers Have Been Answered

The moral here, I reckon, is to be careful what you wish for as it could cause hundreds of thousands of people to be evacuted from their homes and live in fear of another Katrina-like disaster.

What does Gustav mean if, as Stuart Shepherd says, it's "always up to God"?

Of course, Shepherd "apologized" after being named Keith Olbermann's Worst Person in the World but since his taped segment included him consulting the "Wide-eyed Liberal Mainstream Media Dictionary," you'll forgive me for not taking it very seriously.

Sunday, August 31, 2008

Palin? Oh, please.

Sorry for the break during such a fun, political time.

Let's rejoin our race in Dayton, Ohio where John McCain just insulted feminists across the country by suggesting that one woman equals another. That glass ceiling Palin referred to in her "speech" - don't you think it's positions such as McCain's disapproval of equal pay for equal work that have made that ceiling and kept it firmly in place? Feminism should be large enough to embrace pro-choice and pro-life positions. Feminism is the belief that women are people, too. But McCain didn't nominate Palin because she's a qualified person for the job; he nominated her because of her gender.

As for all the foaming at the mouth about Palin's rural credentials, hunting moose doesn't make one qualified to be a heartbeat (and an election, thankfully) away from the presidency. I'd rather see a city-slicker with a heart for workers all over the nation than someone who suggested in her inaugural address that we all just need to pull ourselves up from our bootstraps. Never mind the lack of boots.

At least early polls suggest most voters see this political stunt for what it is.

Sunday, August 24, 2008


I don't have television, so I just now got to watch Biden's speech thanks to Politico and I don't have too much to add to the blogosphere. But I'm very impressed with the way in which Biden has already addressed both his social connections to McCain and his previous (merited) criticism of Obama. I really hope that they electorate can see that Obama is still holding on to those politics of change when he is willing to surround himself with principled, experienced critics.

On to Denver.

"Appalachia, ideologically, is at war with itself."

My hometown newspaper, The Roanoke Times, has a great package today about Appalachian voters and Obama's chances in Virginia.

Pundits and bloggers, myself included, have already spilled a lot of digital ink about how to swing rural mountain voters one way or the other. This is important to both campaigns, but I don't know what I can say that hasn't already been said. I would like to point out, however, how the Times' piece tries to balance coverage of people in Appalachia. Yes, a lot of us still operate under the misunderstanding that Obama is Muslim. A lot of us are racist. A lot of us are disenchanged. And, yes, a lot of us are bitter.

But as I've moved even farther back up into the mountains, I am also reminded how people here would give you the shirt off their back, cut you a deal on rent you can't afford, and carry out a million other small acts of kindness. In sum, Appalachian voters are people, too - people who seem to have gotten a shorter end of the stick than those voters who don't worry as much about Obama's racial background. People in poverty who are racist or too busy feeding their families to pay attention to politics don't deserve to be exploited, either.

And if you think that considering how to cover these voters without being condescending, just ask Obama what sort of electoral risks that attitude carries.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Well, maybe not

Looks like Wes Clark will be in Italy instead of accepting the Democratic VP nomination. Oh well, this game is fun.

If We'd Just Run Government Like a Business

I think comparisions of government to business is generally overly simple and not very helpful. Mark Warner remains an exception to that rule and I'm excited to see him deliver a keynote at the convetion in just 13 days!

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Broad Side of a Barn

Maybe rural America never needed Edwards in the first place; we've got Obama:

Monday, August 11, 2008

My Money is on Wes Clark

I very nearly drank the Kaine kool-aid when it came to Obama's VP pick but now that the Associated Press has released the themes for the Democratic Convention, I really think it's going to be Gen. Clark. The VP's night is "Securing America's Future." Those who obsessively read about this race, like myself, will note that is the motto of Gen. Clark's PAC. I can't imagine a better nod to the Clintonistas without the choice actually being HRC herself. Gen. Clark is also white and a man. It would be a shame to leave those folks out from under our big tent.

Clark was my original choice back in 2004 when he wowed me at Tudor's Biscuit World in Roanoke, so I may be a little biased, but I really can't imagine anyone better to counter McCain's accusations of inexperience (other than Sen. Webb who has very publicly said "No, thank you").

Saturday, August 9, 2008

A little bit of election humor . . .

. . . in the midst of all the somber news out of China, Georgia, and Raleigh:

Thanks, Ezana.

Friday, August 8, 2008

“You can say that for the first time in his life, Mudcat refused to comment."

The worst things about this aren't the affair or the lying, it's the total disregard Edwards had for those who worked for him and believed in him as well as his legacy and the Democratic party. Can you imagine if he'd been the nominee? Did he really think this wouldn't out? I, for one, really thought Edwards was a different type of politican and feel incredibly betrayed.

On the bright side, there is now an opening for the Progressive Working Class/First Generation College Student Advocate. Daddy, I know you're reading.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

The Complicated Case of Country Music

Over at TNR, Jason Zengerle suggests that Toby Keith isn't all bad. And I have to agree. Not just because I love ironically singing "The Angry American" but because Keith represents a genre that gives a lot of credence to storytelling, banjo music, and other pluses of Appalachian culture. Sure, some of it is ridiculous (see "Redneck Woman") and some of it is objectifying but country music is pretty far behind in the list of genres that encourage violence and objectification.

Thursday, July 31, 2008

And I would be remiss as a progressive rural blogger if I didn't encourage y'all to read Mudcat's review of Rep. Cooter's new book. 

I fully intend to start a Tim Kaine watch tomorrow if he hasn't already been added to the ticket by now. In the meantime, here's a speech where he launches into nearly perfect Spanish at 2:45. We can discuss the details later.

Country Roads

(That title was inevitable. I thought with all the driving I'm in the midst of, I could at least make it somewhat topical.)

Today I started my first "grown-up" job going to a fiddlers' convention! Despite my father's fear that Clifftop is a Yankee, hippie-ridden place, it's a very nice convention. There are lots of Yankee hippies but they all seemed nice and I didn't hear one word about
Deliverance. I put up fliers for our KidFid contest at the Opera House in September, reconnected with some old friends (most notably Special Ed and the Short Bus), and listened to some nice fiddle and banjo music. 

On the way home, I stopped in gorgeous Lewisburg. A friend and I visited in the fall and I fell in love. I really think Lewisburg is one of the only places outside of the Eastern Montgomery/Floyd area I could see myself settling. Even though it's right off 64, Lewisburg has managed to hold on to their downtown and have lots of great shops (Robert's Antiques, an antique store cum wine cellar and Serenity Now Outfitters are two of my favorites). 

The drive from Lewisburg to home in Green Bank got me thinking, however. Just what does a fiddle contest for kids have to do with rural poverty? How has Lewisburg and Greenbrier County managed to remain picturesque and wealthy (one would think they'd have to give up some of their beauty to reap the rewards of a nearby interstate)? 

The first question is much easier to answer than the first, I think. According to the westvirginiaminesaftey.org, coal directly employs about 40,000 people in this state and that number is shrinking.  Tourism employs about 40,000 people as well while it is the state's fastest growing industry. This number also doesn't include the number of people employed in ecotourism, state parks, and other recreation areas.  Marlinton, thankfully, isn't near a coal seam but logging has certainly devastated some of the forests here and this part of the state isn't immune from the previously discussed "brain drain." Cultural activities, such as KidFid, not only help people in this area to own their culture and see it as vital and downright fun, but it also brings money into the local economy without felling a single tree or blowing the top off any mountains. And I get to go to some fiddle fests in the process. Everybody, but King Coal and his friend the logging industry, wins. 

I'll have to think a little longer and get to know the area better before I can answer the second question. Thoughts?

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

The Adventure Begins

Yesterday we packed up the family vehicles and drove over the mountains into West Virginia. My parents are gone now and I'm (mostly) unpacked. Today I met with my boss, oriented myself with beautiful Marlinton, cooked a little, wasted a little time, and now I'm sitting at the kitchen table looking out on some beautiful old-growth forest mixed with farmland. The farthest ridge I can see is in Virginia.

Tomorrow I leave to do some publicity at the fiddle fest Clifftop. Monday it's Galax, where I'll get to see some of my family. In the next few weeks, I hope to have many friends come visit as they head back to school and I start to get settled. My landlady is wonderful. She just brought me some snap beans and blueberries from her garden. Bekah's Mosey is going to come live with me once we get things all settled here and there. Tomorrow I'm going to begin a year's service dedicated to helping eradicate poverty in Appalachia. I'll try not to get too idealistic or too jaded.

So, here it goes. Deep breath.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

We Can't Afford No Education?

My dear friend David Moltz over at Inside Higher Ed had a piece a few days ago about the influx of first-generation college students at small liberal-arts schools. As hard as it may be for some of my friends in C'ville to believe, there is still a substantive portion of the US that doesn't even get a shot at a four-year education. 

David says Kentucky ranks 47th in terms of people with bachelor's degrees or higher. In case you're interested, West Virginia is dead last with 16.5 percent of the population holding post-secondary degrees. Virginia is 7th but I wonder what the ranking would be if you just included the Fightin' Ninth. According to the Census Bureau, the nationwide average is 27 percent.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

"Save the Environment, Abolish the DH!"

Sorry for the delay; camp doesn't provide much time or internet access but as I've been laid low with strep for a couple days, I found this gem at TNR.

In other news, we had a camper last week who could name all the World Series winners since 1903 (excepting 1904 and 1994, of course). He could also play "Smoke on the Water" on the guitar. He's nine.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Hey, Teacher

Here is further proof that there is something funny in the water in the Washington suburbs. I just don't see how linking teacher pay to a dubious standardized testing system is going to come close to solving our educational woes in this country. Right now I have to go to some Americorps sessions on poverty but more on this later. 

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Hunting for Rural Votes

Mudcat Saunders, my favorite political operative, has been getting a lot of press lately given the buzz surrounds us rural voters these days. As much as it pains me to say it, The Weekly Standard offers a great profile and fairly unbiased rundown of "Mudcat Math" and his subsequent rural strategy. Mudcat asserts that getting a Republican to vote Democratic is a "twofer" because the other guys lose a vote at the same time we win one. Pretty simple, huh? Matt Labash also discusses Sen. Jim Webb's idea that bringing black city voters and white rural ones to the same table has a lot of promise because we share so many problems. Labash, however, incorrectly states that we "couldn't be more divorced culturally." I would just like to point out our mutual love of friend chicken and the fact that the banjo came from Africa and gave rise to country and blues. Combine those superficial similarities with the government's failure to address poverty for whites or blacks, and maybe you could have a winning ticket, according to rural politicians like Mudcat and Webb. 

Over at The New Republic, Isaac Chotiner finds Mudcat to be furthering stereotypes of both Northern and Southern Democrats. Chotiner suggests Republicans have just as many elitists as the Democratic Party, and he's right. What he fails to notice, however, is that Mudcat (and other yellow dog Democrats down here) realizes the Democratic Party is much more likely to eventually embrace Bubba rather than just ridicule him. To paraphrase Jesus, I don't care about the elitism of the other party when mine has such a large plank in it's own eye. Chotiner's criticism that Mudcat condescends to his own people as much as Washington types doesn't really hold much water, either. After so many years of our culture being degraded, of course we're going to be just a little afraid untrustworthy politicians are going to throw out the guns with the gun show loophole. 

As far as Obama and the rural race question go, the numbers in the Weekly Standard (ironically) provide some hope. The same number of voters in West Virginia and New York both claimed race was a factor in their decision (20 percent). I contend that Clinton's good showing in the rural south, especially the mountain south, has more to do with organization than race. The Clintons are (were?) the organization and when you can remember a time the organization saved your butt after a mine accident, you might be more inclined to vote the organization ticket. I think if he showed up, ready to learn about rural culture like Mark Warner during his famous hunting trip, Obama could stand a real chance in the Fightin' Ninth and other Appalachian districts.  

Finally, I would like to pose a question: Why is it noble or praiseworthy when upper-middle class liberals vote their conscience and against their economic interests but when hicks do it, we're just showing our ignorance? 

Friday, June 13, 2008

Rest in Peace, Tim

My parents tell me that from a very young age I loved to watch the talking heads on Sunday morning television. Cartoons never were good enough for my weekend TV fix so I would just like to add my voice to those mourning the recent loss of Tim Russert who moved "Meet the Press" in a fantastic direction and always had the utmost journalistic integrity. Thanks for making us smarter and always asking the right questions, Mr. Russert.
I know it's a few days old, but the Southern Political Report has an interesting piece about the rise and fall of the RPVA. Obviously, conservatism is alive and well in the Old Dominion, but I think this article points directly to the dangers of extremism in the pursuit of any ideology (sorry, Barry Goldwater). Democrats should take the lessons learned by the RPVA to heart and carefully continue to practice Mark Warner-style moderation in Virginia (and other potential purple states). After all, it's supposed to be a government for all people, not just those who completely embrace a right or left agenda. 

Saturday, May 31, 2008

Rules are made for people . . .

Follow the proceedings of the DNC rules committee here. Although I'll refrain from much commentary now, I just wonder how it could possibly make any democratic sense to seat any delegates from a contest that didn't even include every candidates' name on the ballot. But then again, democratic and Democratic sense aren't always the same thing. 

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Passing Afternoon

I missed posting about it because I have been at Alta Mons, but yesterday was what would have been James Bond creator Ian Flemming's 100th birthday. In tribute, apparently, a new Bond book has been released. It sounds intriguing enough, and I can't get enough of 007, to add it to my summer list. Thanks to Walt for the heads up. 

Alta Mons is going well. We're finishing up all of the medical training tomorrow and I really do think that the staff is coming together nicely. Coordinating the CITs and the Day Camp isn't the most glamorous job at camp, but I feel so blessed to be there. God shows Himself in the simple things and I really think that the people coming to camp this summer are seeing that already. Alta Mons is no longer the place I grew up. A lot of the identifying features have been changed by logging and new permanent staff, but I just keep trying to remember what Bekah told me last summer about the children running around screaming and playing: It's not any different for them. 

I'll post more and some pictures later, but now it's off to Indiana Jones with the staff. 

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Catfish are Jumpin'

Within a couple hours, I'll be at Alta Mons mostly for the duration. This event marks my first day of summer so I thought I would share my summer reading list. Feel free to suggest books to add (or remove) although I fear I will be reading from this list until Christmastime. 

The Penelopiad - Margaret Atwood
The Last of the Mohicans - James Fenimore Cooper
Pilgrim at Tinker Creek - Annie Dillard
The Life You Save May Be Your Own - Paul Elie
Cold Mountain - Charles Frazier *
Thirteen Moons - Charles Frazier
A Blue Moon in Poorwater - Cathryn Hankla
Jude the Obscure - Thomas Hardy
Ulysses - James Joyce
Animal, Vegetable, Miracle - Barbara Kingsolver
Angels in America - Tony Kushner
The Problem of Pain - C.S. Lewis
A River Runs Through It - Norman MacLean *
Teacher Man - Frank McCourt *
A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court - Mark Twain
A Time to FIGHT - James Webb

An asterisk denotes a re-read. I've already finished Angels in America (the first part was assigned for class) and I'm two-thirds of the way through my perennial summer opener Cold Mountain. I will probably start Ulysses next as I received it for my 21st birthday in December. This is the summer of epic.

Monday, May 19, 2008

That Makes Both WV Senators for Obama

Sen. Byrd once again proves himself to be a pragmatic, if occasionally sleepy, Democrat with his recent endorsement of Obama: "Barack Obama is a noble-hearted patriot and humble Christian, and he has my full faith and support."

Now if only the rest of Appalachia could follow Senators Byrd and Rockefeller's lead in the general election.

House Worship

As one who is terribly excited to move into my in-law apartment in July, I definitely cherish the American Dream of having a little space to plant my garden and roam around with my all-American mutt. Hal Crowther takes a look in the Oxford American at how that dream has exploded into McMansions and subprime mortgages and suggests we all scale back a little.