Here are some pictures from last weekend on campus to get everyone ready for the Final Four tommorow:
Hopefully, tommorow will be more of the same!
Here are some pictures from last weekend on campus to get everyone ready for the Final Four tommorow:
Hopefully, tommorow will be more of the same!
For all who come across this blog from NOVA, if you want some sweet new Mason schwag, head over to Modell's at Fair Lakes Shopping Plaza, right of the Fairfax County Parkway, they got all new shirts and hats. With my limited funds, I only picked up a sweet "GMU: The Kryptonite Kids" shirt, with GMU in the Superman logo. Its hot.
I just can't believe MASON is in the windows of all the sports stores. Its insane! I mean, at the Modells at Fair Lakes, there was like 20 people waiting for them to open the boxes with the shirts in them. Crazy. Driving around town, you see local businesses with huge banners saying "Go Mason!" The WJFK studio on Main Street is drapped in Mason banners. Cars have Mason flags on them, "Go Patriots" painted on windows. I see people walking around with Mason shirts, adults who probably did not go there. At my store, some of my customers who know I'm a Mason grad are giving me fives, talking about how happpy they are. This run has really been remarkable for the community. I remember when Mason was a campus where all the students wore shirts of other schools. Now, we just created our own fight song, and the pride of the study body is in plain sights. Remarkable. I know most of it is probably bandwagon, but thats ok--its bring together an community that isn't that united. Traffic, frequent moving, more and more new people coming in, NoVa is a rather unstable place. Its cool that something like this can bring everyone together.
Come out to the Fairfax campus tommorow, everyone. Watching the game at the JC is an experience you will never forget!
According to Shaun Kenney, One Man's Trash, and Bearing Drift; it seems as if the Senate has "blinked" and has been moving back from its militan high-tax stance. Its not over, clearly, and the House needs to hold on.
This now poses a question, which could be preamture, but has Speaker Howell turned into the leader we have been searching for? If Howell and House Republicans can hold on and get the budget down to their level, what does that do for him? Suddenly, the Speaker had tamed the "mavericks" in the Senate and beaten back Mark Warner's heir, Governor Kaine.
Its clear to me that Speaker Howell has stepped up to the plate. His blasts at Tim Kaine have hit their mark, and his leadership in the House has been good this year, helped by the lack of a budget crisis and the challengers downstate in 2005. I still think they backfired up here, but in the rest of the state it message seemed to get through.
There is still a leadership void in the party, but if things hold out the way they are looking, Speaker Howell will have gone a long way to filling at least a part of that hole.
But maybe I am being premature.
I have refrained from commenting on the death of Harry Parrish. I did this because I knew very little about Del. Parrish and I am still relatively new in my intense interest in local politics. All I knew about Parrish was that Steve Chapman challenged him last year. So I decided to spend the last few days cruising the blogs and reading newspapers to find out whom he was. What I found was impressive. Not only was Parrish a 13-term delegate, but also has spent nearly 25 years serving Manassas as a city council member and then mayor before moving down to Richmond. When he arrived in the Capitol in 1973, as the Washington Times put, he was part of an insignificant minority of 18 Republican delegates. In 2000, he was chairman of the House Finance committee. The most impressive part of Parrish's life was his incredible service in World War II, piloting giant C-47 cargo planes over the Himalayan Mountains from India to China. To think, a boy from, what was then, a small, rural Virginia town doing that! As the RTD article described:
"[C-47’s] took off from crude, sometimes muddy airfields in the Indian jungles and struggled to heft their cargo over icy peaks that doomed many flights."
He won numerous honors for his service, including the Distinguished Flying Cross and the Air Medal. For a boy from small town VA, Parrish embodies what the greatest generation was all about. The most interesting thing for me was a humorous story that Sen. Chuck Colgan told about how he and Parrish might be the only two Republican and Democrat to hold a campaign fundraiser together!
Prince William country lost a dignified servant, Virginia lost a statesman, and America lost a true hero. I hope Harry Parrish, after 84 years of war, service, politics, and elections can finally rest with God, where we all know he is. Rest in peace, sir. You were the embodiment of the commonwealth, a true Virginia Gentleman.
PS. Not one word of politics should be mentioned until Mr. Parrish is laid to rest and his family is given the appropriate time to grieve.
Watching The O’Reilly Factor tonight, something that I am hot and cold on, Bill had Dick Morris on, and they were talking about the politics of Immigration. Morris, who usually sounds smart but is more than often wrong, was talking about the shadow game the Democrats are playing on this issue. They want illegal immigration and they want amnesty because all of those new voters will vote Democrat. Republicans, Morris argued, are in trouble of losing the Hispanic vote for generations by not including a guest worker program—much like the GOP lost the black vote for good in 1964 when Barry Goldwater refused to support the Civil Rights Act.
Then the conversation got interesting. Morris started talking about Mexico, and its future. As of now, Mexico is teetering politically. President Vicente Fox, it must be remembered, was the first politician not from the left-leaning Institutional Revolutionary Party to be elected president in 71 years. That is a lot of time to make up for, and Fox is finishing his constitutionally mandated six-year single term. Fox’s National Action Party (PAN, in Mexican) is basically in a statistical tie, according to Morris—who works for Fox. What makes this interesting is that the opponent, ultra-left wing Andres Obrador is in the mold of Hugo Chavez and, to a much lesser extent, fellow left wing South American leaders like Nestor Kirchner of Argentina, Luiz Lula da Silva of Brazil, Evo Morales of Bolivia, and Michelle Bachellete of Chile. But Morris is especially worried about Obrador, whom he claims is as left wing as Hugo Chavez. This is especially dangerous because between the two of them, Venezuela and Mexico make up close to 40% of American oil imports.
This, of course, makes the game national Democrats is playing even more despicable. As leaders like Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi demonize Republicans as hateful of Hispanics, which they clearly aren’t, these very same quotes are used by leftists like Obrador to bash America and help drive him into office. If Obrador, a former Mexico City mayor, becomes president—we are in deep trouble. If conservatives struggle to like President Fox, we can’t imagine what life would be like with a President Obrador sharing millions of open borders with us. Of course, the man dancing behind the scenes is Fidel Castro. This is why is it critical that a guest worker program be part of the immigration debate. We must prove to Mexicans that Americans, and Republicans, are not right wing, racist white supremacists who want America for Americans, but who simply want law and order to go hand in hand with embracing legal immigration.
This presidential election in Mexico is critical. Passing a comprehensive immigration bill that includes a border wall and increased border patrol to stand behind that wall as the stick, but allowing gates in that wall for legal immigration as the carrot, could be the cure we need to restore order to our country, and prevent chaos in the oil market by an Mexican-Venezuelans axis led by anti-American left wing fascists like Andres Obrador and Hugo Chavez. We must understand the world around us, and how legislation in our country can affect the world around us. I’m saying we turn our backs on principle—but rather agree to compromise so that we can start the ball rolling on reform. The key for conservatives is to get the border shut down, and for liberals a guest worker program. A guest worker program, as articulated by McCain-Kennedy, is an almost ten-year process that includes a heavy fine just to start the journey. 11 million people are physically here. That’s a fact, and there is nothing we can do about it.
To sum up, Democrats need to understand the harm in their overblown attacks on Republicans and conservatives, blind to the world around them and how it feeds anti-American feeling in South America. For Republicans, in broad principle and cynical political purposes, we must accept a guest worker program to both save ourselves from generations of an all-white Republican base and a generation of hatred by scores of South Americans. For Mexico, we must work something out, so we do not become politically isolated in the hemisphere we once protected in the Monroe Doctrine. If Mexico falls to men like Obrador, we could have Fidel Castor and Hugo Chavez pulling the strings behind a regime that shares thousands of miles of open borders with the US.
This Mexican Election is vitally important to the future of the country and the hemisphere. With Stephen Harper in Canada giving America a second chance up north, its imperative we do all we can to not alienate Mexican voters to the point where left-wing leaders like Obrador can control our oil. A fence and stronger enforcement combined with a guest worker program could be the careful balancing act we need.
Around the turn of the 20th Century, a young man from Castiglione, Sicily made his way to New York City. Like many immigrants, he came alone initially, looking for money to send him. Over the next several years, he returned to Italy several times, bringing his family home with him. He settled in the small hamlet of Canastota, New York where he labored the rest of his life as an onion farmer in the green valleys of Madison Co, New York. His name was Salvatore D'Amico, and he raised his family in Canastota, where his descendents still go every summer for a family reunion.
One of Salvatore's sons was Joseph D'Amico, a Phi Beta Kappa at Syracuse University who married Ora Jane Williams in Washington, D.C. Their oldest child, Ann Courtney, is my mother.
I am a descendant of immigrants, and not in the airy, vague way that many always say they are. I've been to Ellis Island, and I've touched my great-grandfather's name on the memorial. My Grampa and Gramma are buried in the same cemetery, several feet away from Salvatore and his wife. I was raised in the Italian immigrant tradition, I was always aware of where I literally came from. I still see great aunts and uncles every summer, and several members of my family have done Herculean work in our family history
Because of my family history, I take immigration seriously. I think it is the heart beat of this country. But this country has taken to immigration only in spurts, and it has often been a difficult transition. Anti-immigrant feeling goes to before the Revolution, when the Scotch-Irish settled the woodlands in western Pennsylvania, Virginia, and the Carolinas. Their Baptist beliefs clashed with the established, state-sponsored churches. Here in Virginia, it was in this environment that Patrick Henry first made his name, defending the Baptist clergy in the Parson's Cause. As the country has moved along, more and more of the "huddle masses" have come, and it has caused strife. Class chaos was ramped in the antebellum North, and only grew in the Gilded Age, as we came closer to the time Salvatore got to Ellis Island.
The point of this little history lesson is that political controversy has followed immigration at every turn. Now certainly I understand that immigration in the form of what Salvatore did was different from running across the southern border. But how different is the Mexican migrant from the Scotch-Irish settler in purpose? This country, from its tiny genesis, has attracted the world to its shores and borders because of our promise. Sure we have our problems, and we have struggled mightily to overcome racism, slavery, segregation, bigotry, and war--but people still come. The American Dream is real, and I think most people running that border are searching for this.
The questions for opponents of immigration that I want to pose are this: 11 million illegals are in this country right now--what are we to do with them? By the logical extension, it would seem the only fix is to round them up and toss them out.
I want a practical solution, something that is based in real terms, so other Salvatore D'Amico's can plant their tree in American soil, where in a single generation, the son of that onion farmer was an American college graduate.
Here is what I purpose:
1) I’m not here to advocate nonsense like open borders. Before anything can get done, before ay law can be passed, our southern border must be closed by the border patrol, backed up by the National Guard. Once the damn is fixed, then we can talk real reform. Closing the border is the FIRST step.
2) Allow state and local officials arrest illegals. Make no mistake about it; these people have broken the law coming over here. It drives me nuts knowing that if a Virginia state police officer finds illegals, he can't deport them. Especially in Virginia, where the MS-13 is so prevalent, the idea that the Virginia police can't toss them to the INS is ridiculous!
3) Guest worker program. We can't round up 11-million people and toss them out. What we need to do is allow a 90-day moratorium to allow illegals to register for one year, where the government will scan terror lists and FBI files to make sure nobody here is dangerous. Then businesses and companies can request how much work they need and how many workers. The government will oversee hiring and people in the guest worker program will be given full medical and health benefits like any other employee of equal stature that is American. There will be a separate agency within the INS set up where workers can report abuse by employers. Penalties in terms of fines will be leveled at offending companies.
4) Once an illegal has a job and a card, he can apply for full citizenship. So long as he is in the pipeline, he can stay. If citizenship is denied, he must leave the country in 30 days. A penalty for not leaving is seizure of all personal money and property, to be auctioned off to pay down the national debt.
5) Once all business needs are met, any illegal that is here must leave if they are not chosen for work. If they are discovered, they will be immediately expelled from the country. But if the illegal leaves, he can immediately re-apply for the guest worker program in Mexico or wherever. But if you are expelled for not registering or by not leaving after a job is denied, you are bared from ever returning to the country.
6) An end to "catch and release." If the Border Patrol catch illegals, they are to have the manpower and resources to send these people back to the country.
7) With Mexico, we will add more consulates along the Mexican border, so immigrants have plenty of locations to apply for visas.
8) Any conviction of a crime, whether a misdemeanor or a felony, requires immediate deportation.
9) Line-item Veto. I bet a gigantic fraction of the cost for all of this could be paid for by all the pet projects and waste coming out of Congress.
I think my plan works well. I believe in the carrot and stick approach. We need to shut the door now, but we still must deal realistically with the people that are in the country already. I also understand that this might chagrin small government types, even myself. But the problem is so large, only the government can do this, really. I justify by the constitution saying one of the chief and direct responsibilities of the government is protection of their citizenry, and the military specifically job is outlined to protect our borders. There will be a growth in bureaucracy, I don't doubt it. But right now, I can't envision any other way in dealing with this. This list, by no means, is something I have locked in stone in my mind. I of course and open to debate and criticism. But we need solutions, not ideology. There are 11 million people who are illegal physically here in this country. That needs to be dealt with realistically. I've purposefully left out the "A-word" amnesty. This is not amnesty. Nobody gets citizenship for free. It is earned by work and good behavior.
When I think about immigration, I always think about my own family. It amazes me that it took Salvatore's family only one generation to achieve "American-ness." My Grampa, like I said, was a Syracuse graduate, a World War II veteran, and worked for the Veterans Administration until the day he retired. I worry when I look at how this country is going. I feel like our culture is being splintered by color. We have "white culture," "black culture," and "Latin culture." This is fine; for my family still retains some of the Italian heritage we inherited from Salvatore. But the dream was amalgamation, the idea that Salvatore could retain his Italian heritage while lead his family towards the American dream. Part of the problem with Hispanic Americans who are here illegally is that they are left out of this fabric. I understand they broke the law, but most are here to do what Salvatore did--plant his family tree. Right now, illegals are hiding, making the problem even worse. If we can get them out in the open, controlled, and registered with the promise (and ONLY the promise) of citizenship. Right now, we are looking for people we can't find, and they are sucking our resources dry.
Like Salvatore D'Amico, many of the folks from south of the border are searching for a better life. I feel America was put on earth by God to give the downtrodden a place to go and find success and equality. But it must be controlled. None of this, NONE OF THIS, can happen if we do not shut that Mexican border down cold. Whether it’s the army, the border patrol, a wall--or all of them combined; reform can only take place when that happens. Once we have a handle on it, then the Salvatore D'Amico's of Mexico, El Salvador, Bolivia, Guatemala, and Columbia can come and plant their tree in America
Apparently George Allen isn't bored with being a senator. He decided to bring in the biggest gun short of Karl Rove to run his reelection campaign--his very own Cheif of Staff Dick Wadhams. I always figured this is why Allen hired Wadhams in the first place. A career politico, I never thought Wadhams joined Allen to run his Senate office. If I'm VADemocrats, I'm looking for some rubber underwear roght now, because Wadhams is BOSS. Not only did he lead John Thune's troops in South Dakota last year, toppling Tom Daschle, then Democratic minority leader; but in 2002 he worked a near equal miracle in Colorado by bringing Wayne Allard all the way back against Tom Strickland, a former US Attorney whom many thought would easily defeat Allard's bid for reelection. Both Thune and Allard where underdogs, imagine what he can do with a popluar and extremely well-finaniced candidate in George Allen.
According to the Hotline, Wadhams joins Allen's inner circle with Chirs LaCivita and Ed Gillespie. I would not be suprised to see either Jay Timmons and/or Jason Miller back when and if Allen win reelection to gear up for the presidential run. Of all the candidates so far, even McCain, I really think Allen has put together a very impressive staff, headed by Gillespie and Wadhams. Should be interesting. But needless to say, with Wadhams running the show, Allen has shown to Virginians that he is not "bored" with the Senate, and is gearing up big time to take on either Miller or Webb.
First Nofzinger, now Cap Weinberger. In my opinion, he was one of our greatest defense secretary, and with George Shultz and Jeanne Kirkpatrick, Weinberger played in a large part in the foriegn policy that helped bring down the Soviet Union. This country owes a debt to Casper Weinberger, and his life will be a lesson to all of us. Yesterday Reagan welcomed Nofzinger into glory, and now his old friend Cap will be with him too. It warms the heart ot know Reagan isn't alone anymore. RIP Cap.
Reagan Spokesman Lyn Nofziger Dead at 81
Monday, March 27, 2006
WASHINGTON — Franklyn "Lyn" Nofziger, the rumpled and irreverent conservative who served President Reagan as press secretary and political adviser, died of cancer Monday. He was 81.
Nofziger died at his home in Falls Church, Va., said Eldin Girdner, a family friend.
Former first lady Nancy Reagan said in a statement Monday: "I was deeply saddened this afternoon when I heard of Lyn Nofziger's death. Lyn was with us from the gubernatorial campaign in 1965 through the early White House days, and Ronnie valued his advice — and good humor — as much as anyone's. I spoke with him just days ago and even though he knew the end was near, Lyn was hopeful and still in good spirits."
Nofziger, who joined Reagan's ranks early in the political career of the actor-turned-politician, headed the White House political office during the first year of the Reagan presidency and then quit to form a political consulting and lobbying firm.
"He was a great big garrulous guy who was very serious about his politics and very serious about Ronald Reagan," Michael Deaver, Reagan's deputy chief of staff, said Monday. "He was sort of the keeper of the flame."
"He was fun to be around," Deaver said. "Reagan would light up when he came into the room."
Conservative columnist George F. Will once described the nonconformist, cigar-chomping Nofziger, as "Sancho Panza" to Reagan's Don Quixote.
Asked why he was leaving the White House, Nofziger replied, "I don't like government, it's just that simple." He denied as "99 percent untrue" a report he'd quit because of his exclusion from the president's innermost circle.
His determined irreverence extended to the Reagans.
"I'm not a social friend of the Reagans," he told an interviewer. "That's by their choice and by mine. They don't drink enough."
Bombay gin, outrageous puns and fierce loyalty to Reagan and conservative Republican principles were Nofziger hallmarks. His caustic wit made him a favorite among some reporters who covered Reagan as governor and president and on his various campaigns.
In a town where men wear expensive suits, Nofziger stood out in his rumpled sports coats and slacks. His trademark was a tie with a picture of Mickey Mouse, a visual statement of what he thought about Washington. When Reagan won the White House, Nofziger refused to join other aides in calling their boss "Mr. President." To him, Reagan was always "Ronnie."
Nofziger was the aide who announced to the world that Reagan had been shot in the 1981 assassination attempt by John W. Hinckley Jr. Nofziger's statement, to reporters in the driveway of George Washington University Hospital, blew away assurances by other White House officials that Reagan had escaped unscathed.
But the Nofziger wit and camaraderie did not disguise the fact that he was a bare-knuckled political partisan.
During his year in the Reagan White House, he saw one of his principal responsibilities as rooting Democrats out of the federal government and replacing them with Republican loyalists.
Earlier, he'd served on the Republican National Committee and as an aide to President Nixon. According to John Dean, Nofziger helped Nixon put together his infamous White House "enemies list."
As White House liaison, Nofziger had mixed success with militant conservatives who early in the Reagan administration began chafing at the number of moderate Republicans given key jobs.
"Every time we appoint someone they don't agree with to a job, they feel the victory trickling away," he said in an interview.
Nofziger, who had worked as a newspaper reporter and editor and then as Washington correspondent for James Copley's chain of California papers, teamed up with Reagan in 1966 when the former actor was running for governor of California. After that successful campaign, Nofziger spent 21 months in Sacramento as Reagan's press secretary.
While his distaste for government made him unwilling to be part of anyone's bureaucracy for very long, Nofziger never was far from a Reagan campaign, whether for governor or for president.
His unorthodox manner grated on Nancy Reagan, a fact Nofziger never hesitated to confirm for any reporter who asked. But in the days after the president was shot, one of the messages Mrs. Reagan received read: "The president was not the only one. You done good, too." It was signed, "Lyn."
In 1988, after he'd left the Reagan administration to capitalize on his ties to Washington's ruling elite, Nofziger was convicted of illegally lobbying for two defense contractors and a labor union.
But Nofziger compared the offense to "running a stop sign" and remained unrepentant. He told the judge, "I cannot show remorse because I do not believe I am guilty."
A year later a federal appeals court threw out the conviction, saying prosecutors had failed to show Nofziger had knowingly committed a crime.
Nofziger's aversion to bureaucratic rules was best illustrated by the White House staff meeting early in the administration when James A. Baker III, the chief of staff, told everyone that even senior presidential aides must wear the distinctive lapel pins that would identify them to the Secret Service.
"I'm not going to wear my badge," declared Nofziger.
Nofziger was born in Bakersfield, Calif., and was politically conservative by the time he attended high school, where he worked on the school newspaper.
He served three years in the Army during World War II.
Nofziger is survived by his wife, Bonnie, their daughter Glenda and two grandchildren. Another daughter died in 1989.
Nofzingr was one the true titans of the conservative movement and the Reagan Revolution. His prescence around Reagan, accoridng the the history I have read, provided a conscience of conservativism around the president that proved to be a pillar of strength. Its sad that so many of the Reaganites are passing from the scene, these are the people that built our modern party. A true lion who never succumbed to the Potomac Fever that effects so many Republicans in this country, Nofzinger never wavered in his beliefs and in his loyality. We would all be better people if we were half them men Nofzinger was.
RIP Lyn Nofzinger. You get another chance now to light up Ronald Reagan, but not its for eternity.
Those are the words of Del. Harvey Morgan (R-Gloucester) in a Washington Post article today. This is good news for Republicans and conservatives in Virginia. Del. Ed Scott echoed Morgan, ""I would dare to say we're as united as at any time I've seen in three sessions."
The Post outlines the main reason for the sudden unity in the House of Delegates:
1. The financial health of the state is better
2. The credit rating is now sterling
3. SURPLUS, SURPLUS, SURPLUS! All $1.4 billion of it.
The Post article, authored by Chris Jenkins and Rosalind Helderman, outlines several other, more political reasons. The gist is that the major issue is traffic congestion, which is regional. In 2004, there was more on the line that affected the entire state--schools, public safety, and public health. While Fairfax might be keen to taxes, the Post points out that rural legislators aren't hearing the clamor they did two years ago.
The Post seems optimistic in its appraisal of what’s going on: "There is also a sense among legislators that there remains plenty of time for the leadership to work out a deal, without rank and file members stepping forward."
I think the Post is pretty spot-on in this article. There is no gun with a cocked hammer at the head of the legislature this time. I still think that gun was mostly political rather than real, but the political reality stands. Also, in some parts of the state, the conservative primary challenges did their job. I still think it backfired in NOVA, but in the rest of the state the message got through. This is an argument that the Post completely ignored. It will be hard for Kaine and the state senate to say to Virginians that we need more taxes when we have a $1.4 billion surplus. And because the deadlock is centered on regional issues rather than broad, statewide problems. This allows for broader terrain to work out a compromise. I personally like the idea of allow counties to decide tax rates. I would feel more comfortable with that then an committee of assembly conferees with only Vince Callahan and Chuck Colgan representing the area in negotiations with a senator from Fredericksburg and a governor from Richmond who doesn't live this every day.
This Post article further fuels my belief that something will get done in this special session that resembles more of what the House of Delegates wants rather than what the Governor and the Senate want.
In Vince Callahan we trust.