The New Virginia Beach Progressives

Virginia Beach Progressives is growing up! It's moved to it's new domain over at www.vbprogressives.com, and has a totally new design! Head over and check it out, and don't forget to update your bookmarks and blogrolls!

The RSS feed hasn't changed, so for those who have subscribed; you'll receive all the new posts on the new site on the same feed.

President-Elect Obama's Thanksgiving Message

Happy Thanksgiving

Repent Turkey

I wish all of you a Happy Thanksgiving. May we all take inventory of what we have been blessed with, and continually seek to bless the lives of others. Let's also take a moment to remember the troops who are away from home, and be thankful for their sacrifice.

Obama's Weekly "Radio" Addresses

In another display of Barack Obama and his team using new media like never seen before, he is using YouTube to broadcast the Democratic weekly radio address. I highly approve of this usage, as his updates will reach a far wider audience throughout the use of YouTube than if only carried on radio waves. Here are the first two, I'll be posting them weekly as available from this point on.

Council candidate's son lost to street violence

Karlton Robert Jackson, son of 2008 Virginia Beach City Council candidate Andrew Jackson, was fatally wounded in a shooting on West 41st Street in Norfolk, near ODU student housing. Jackson's death represents the very worst of the increasing problems plaguing the area around ODU, especially in the student housing area.

The City of Norfolk and Old Dominion University are working together to try to make the area safer, but many are wondering if their efforts are enough.

One student has started a Facebook group named "ODU IS NOT SAFE!!!!!!!", where he describes the scene after Jackson was shot, and claims that the response time by police and emergency crews was poor and not balanced with response times seen in non-emergency situations.

If anyone has any information about this shooting, please call 1-888-LOCK-U-UP. Police have yet to make any arrests in this case.

My thoughts go out to Andrew Jackson and his family during this difficult time. A public viewing will be held on Monday, November 24th, from 3:00 PM to 8:00 PM at Beach Funeral Services, 4456 Bonney Road in Virginia Beach. Funeral services will be held on Tuesday, November 25th, at 1:00 PM at First Baptist Church, 418 East Bute Street in Norfolk.

Funding the transition?

David Plouffe, Campaign Manager, Obama for America, sent an e-mail out a few days ago. The e-mail reads as follows: team the same way.

I have a special request for you.

The Obama-Biden Transition Project is a nonpartisan entity whose purpose is to facilitate the transition to a new government and prepare for the next administration.

In the past, efforts like these have often been very secretive and funded by the D.C. lobbying and corporate community.

But, like in the campaign, we've decided to do things differently.

For the first time, transition efforts won't be financed with donations from Washington lobbyists and PACs -- which means we'll need to keep asking for your help. Your generosity during the campaign helped get us here, but building a more transparent and open government means continuing to rely on a broader group of people to do this the right way.

We only have a few weeks to assess the state of the federal agencies, prepare our agenda, and staff key positions in the new administration. Your support right now will be crucial to helping us accomplish these goals.

Will you help support the urgent mission of our transition team with a donation of $25 or more?


You know that we got here by building this campaign from the ground up. We're committed to building the White House team the same way.

I'm really not sure what to think by this continued request for funds. This isn't the first time the Obama team has done this. Another request was made on behalf of the DNC not too long ago, asking that we help pay off the debts incurred by the 50 state program.

Neither of these two requests have much appeal to me, and I wonder just how many are actually giving through the Obama team post-election. It's sort of like being asked to fund the travel expenses, or a set of new fine china, for the first family by way of our small Internet donations. It may have worked to fund a campaign, but I'm sure many eyebrows are being raised by the request for additional donations now.

Obama isn't the only one asking for money. Hillary Clinton, possible Secretary of State, is still trying to raise funds to pay off the debt she incurred during her primary campaign. For the low donation of $50, you can get a DVD "with Hillary's historic speech in Denver, the inspiring video that introduced her and President Clinton's remarks as well. It will also include a special message that Hillary recorded just for you and never before seen photos from the campaign trail."

What do you think? Have or will you contribute to these causes?

Dismay over how votes fell this fall

Sorry about the title. I just couldn't help doing a little word play, and needed to have a little bit of fun with it.

Virginia Beach elected officials aren't happy with local elections coinciding with national and state elections held in November. One can understand why. I mean, the ousting of many officials with decades of service has to make everyone a little more edgy as they recognize just how much more volatile an election can be when you go from 16% turnout to 70%. That understanding aside, the arguments being made for a push to move local elections back to may are more than a bit asinine. Brian Kirwin over at Bearing Drift has an excellent breakdown of these arguments and reasons why they are invalid.

Lauren Roth over at The Virginian-Pilot has an article on why changing the local election back to may will be difficult. The comments left after the article are interesting, as it continues the debate about ethnic turnout and how informed voters are when they go to the polls.

One comment left on the Pilot article specifically mentions that May voting would be best as only those who are really interested in the issues and "provide the time" to vote will show up. If one were predisposed to read between the lines, one would think that the comment referred to those who were educated, more affluent, and able to take time off from work to vote. Interesting.

Why do we hold elections on a weekday, where most voters are expected to be at their places of work? We celebrate so many holidays where many organizations and business are closed, leaving people with a day off with nothing really significant to do. Yet, on the day that we ask every citizen to be involved, they are expected to be at work. It just doesn't make sense.

If Virginia Beach really wants to be progressive, they should cease the debate between May or November elections, and look at the day that elections are held. Why not a Saturday or Sunday to make voting more accessible for more people?

Help the Victims of the Southern California Fires

From the Obama HQ Blog:

Over the past few days, wildfires in Southern California have destroyed more than 700 homes and burned over 35,000 acres of land, forcing many more families to evacuate their communities.

Our thoughts and prayers go out to those who have been affected by the fires.

The Red Cross and Salvation Army are coordinating relief for the victims, and volunteers on the ground are being organized to help with long-term recovery efforts in the days and months to come. If you live in or near Southern California you can volunteer now, and no matter where you live you can help by donating to the relief efforts.

Throughout the campaign, we saw time and again that when ordinary people act together, they can make a huge difference.

Visit CaliforniaVolunteers.org for more information on how you can help.

Civil rights activists ought to be angry, determined, but not violent

Proposition 8 Protest

I've been monitoring the backlash that has flooded throughout California, and is evident throughout the nation, caused by the passage of of California's Proposition 8 which infringes on the fundamental right of some individuals to marry due to the gender of their partner.

The anger and the determination to somehow reverse the damage done by the passage of this proposition is warranted, and understandable. Any people treated as though they are below some false standard the majority has set into place, and therefore not privileged to equal protection, privileges, and justice under the law should respond visibly and forcefully. Throughout the nation, rallies and protests are being organized and held; however, while people should not take any limitation upon the freedoms of individuals lying down, violence is not the path best taken on the way to ensuring equality under the law.

Yes, there is anger; but that anger should be bridled and used for constructive purposes. It should fuel the research, the protests, and the legal struggles. Truly, anger is not the best word to describe the outrage that every American should feel when another's rights are threatened. It is indignation that we should all be feeling. Those who fight for civil rights will never stop fighting. Theirs is the just cause. Their victories lead to a more civil society. The victories of those who fight against the rights of the people only fuel the indignation that gives the people the cause, and the will, to continue to fight.

Those who supported the proposition to infringe upon the rights of the minority should be held accountable. The business and coalition of religious organizations that have done so should be made known. Somehow, they should feel the inconvenience of being restricted by the protests of the people against their actions. They should lose money, and members. They should be held responsible for their involvement in the political process and their attempt to influence the outcome of an election. I wonder, what ever happened to separating what is Caesar's and what is God's?

For those fighting discrimination in our government; please continue. Do all that you can to ensure the equality of all in the eyes of the law, but do so without vandalism and violence. We must remember that we are not the aggressors here, and fighting a battle about love cannot be won through attacks of hate.

Election grief

It's now been over a week since the results of the 2008 election either brought you an amazing sense of happiness and accomplishment, or the stabbing agony of losing in a campaign that you had given your all. Most people fall somewhere in between, but many active Republicans now find themselves struggling through the stages of grieving, especially in regards to election of Barack Obama as the 44th President of the United States.

Denial: While many Democrats and progressives experience disbelief as the results were being broadcasted last Tuesday, the reality of what happened must have caused conservative Republicans to begin stage one of the grieving process, denial. Perhaps to the surprise of many, Obama's victory was such that there was no question about recounts. Once the polls closed on the west coast, his win was definite. Many Republicans still seem to be in the stage of denial, as evidenced by their referral to Sarah Palin as a plausible contender in 2012 or a significant player in national politics. Many also seems to want to blame factors beyond the viability of Obama as a candidate. They want to blame the media for not being more negative about Obama and his campaign, or blame McCain's loss to the increased turnout of African American voters who obviously voted for Obama. I mean, he is one of them, right?

Anger: Denial is quickly overlapped or faded into anger. How in the world could this happen!? How could McCain with all his experience and his service to the nation lose to the "untested and unknown", Obama? I've seen Obama called a terrorist, and was shocked to hear reports of sore people diving down to the very bottom of humanity to pull out racial slurs and statements that are absolutely reprehensible. The anger of Republicans is most evident on their overreaction to Obama's election, and their predictions about the collapse of the nation from his pending administration. Of course, not all Republicans have expressed anger at these extreme levels, and I've actually been impressed by some who have taken the election results in stride and now are waiting to see if the worst fears of their peers will come to be reality, and are willing to continue to work to make this nation the best it can be. I tip my hat to these people.

Bargaining: With Republicans not being able to contest the results of the election, they are looking within their party to see what they can change in order to limit loss in the future. This is the natural thing to do; however, with so many still in the stages of denial and anger, now may not be the best time to be figuring this out. Many are jumping to shine a negative light on every decision and slight misstep Barack Obama has made after the election, as if doing so will have any lasting impact, though the expression may be a cathartic response to their anger at the outcome of the election. The conversation about the future may start right now, but it's not wise to make any decisions until the dust settles from the election, and their party members have completed the stages of the grieving process.

Depression: There may not be a lot of time for active Republicans to spend much time in the stage of depression. There's obviously work to be done, and they should get to it as soon as everyone is thinking clearly. For others, especially Republicans who may not be active in their party, they may sit at home night after night smoldering over the 2008 election.

Resignation: After all the pundits have quieted, after all the polling data is analyzed, and after the pulse of the nation is felt, Republicans are going to need to resign themselves to the fact they lost, how the lost, and make adjustments to their strategy for the next round of elections. Will they focus on governance, or on the issues that fire up the social conservatives? Few have reached this point. It's really during this period that any real strategy can emerge.

2008 Election Dissection

Last evening, I had the wonderful opportunity to attend a dinner and panel discussion hosted by the Nimmo Republican Women's Club out at the Virginia Beach National Golf Club. The food was very good, and the company and discussion was even better.

The panelists included Brian Kirwin, Vivian Paige, and J.R. Hoeft. Big topics of the evening included voter turnout and the African American vote, Sarah Palin, how fair the mainstream media was, and the future of the Republican party. Really, none of these topics are new to anyone who has been following the election and the aftermath, being being up close and personal to the discussion shed some light on the emotions and the thinking at play right now as everyone is settling in and planning for new political realities.

Brian Kirwin began the discussion by saying what he's said before about election cycles and how there is hope for conservatives heading into the midterm election. He also expressed his disappointment in how horribly Sarah Palin was attacked, calling the non-stop assault "sickening". After this, he also said something that I've been seeing on various conservative blogs: Sarah Palin "will be back". This is something I highly doubt. I think Sarah Palin has shown her abilities, and was found wanting. Perhaps with more national experience as a Senator, which may be a possibility thanks to Ted Stevens, she'll be able to handle those pesky "gotcha" questions; but I still think it's doubtful that many will be willing to put their trust in her as a possible presidential nominee.

There has been much ado made about African American turnout and how they voted, the specific question being if they voted for Barack Obama due of the color of his skin. It was called "the 500 pound gorilla" in the room. Did Obama win because of the African American vote? The response from the panel was a unanimous in the negative. While voter turnout was up, but not record breaking, turnout for all age groups and ethnicities were up as well. With African American voters traditionally voting Democratic over 90% of the time, any gains due to Barack Obama's skin color were not substantial. If he were a white Democrat, he would likely have done just as well. Expanding the conversation, J.R. Hoeft expressed some concern that Republican campaigns aren't going into areas that consistently vote by large margins for Democratic candidates, and that those areas are being ignored.

Like so many Republicans around the nation, everyone last evening was wondering how the 2008 election would change the party going into future elections to attempt to gain back some of the ground they lost. I think Vivian Paige hit the nail on the head by saying, "If the Republican Party decides to deal with God, gays and guns, they are going to remain the minority party." I really couldn't agree with her more on this. Yes, utilizing these issues has been effective in stirring up the emotions of the base, and some toward the center, but I think we're seeing less and less response to these issues; especially if more tangible issues like the economy and a mismanaged war are staring voters in the face. Interestingly, there wasn't much reaction to the notion that Republicans not emphasise these issues, but get back to the basics of conservative governance and become a far more inclusive party.

For more of what was discussed, I recommend heading over to Bearing Drift for podcasts, organized by topic, covering last evenings event. Special thanks to J.R. Hoeft for recording and posting the podcasts, and thanks to the Nimmo Republican Women's Club for hosting an enjoyable event.

Poll Crashers: Online polls are fun, not science

This is a follow-up to my earlier post Concerning online polls where I expressed some concern over the possibility of the main stream media reporting the results of a PBS poll concerning the qualification of Sarah Palin that was specifically unscientific. I had received an e-mail about this poll informing me that conservatives were sending out mass e-mails, trying to sway the outcome in Palin's favor. The e-mail I received was an attempt at countering their efforts, asking more liberal minded people to cast their votes. Even though I passed on the word via this blog to have readers submit their response, I also took the opportunity to warn about online polling.

The issue is a bit deeper than I had originally thought, and a little more humorous. Within the last week I received an e-mail from Simon Owens over at Bloggasm, who also writes for PBS's online MediaShift, letting me know about an article he had written, Poll Crashers Tilt Unscientific Polls Their Way, where he interviewed the publishers of the poll, and some self proclaimed poll crashers who make it a point to crash online polls to sway the results to the unexpected. It's really quite the read, as it articulates much of what I had expressed with a great deal more depth.

Just as anyone can say anything they want on a webpage, doesn't mean they have, as I heard Bob Schieffer say earlier, any more credibility than the guy on the corner holding up a sign that says "The End is Near". Likewise, web polls can be just as, or even more, intellectually dangerous. Perhaps my favorite quote from Owen's article comes from Greg Laden of University of Minnesota. He says, "First of all, and this is the most important point, it's that these are not polls...Polling is a science, and polls work, and they work well. These are web widgets; it's no more a poll than what someone put up on Flickr is the Mona Lisa. And you put them on your blog because they're fun."

As an interesting note, as of the writing of this post, the PBS Palin poll is now 51-47, in her favor. I'm thinking this is a poll that was successfully crashed...

To the Veterans...

Thank you. You have answered the call of duty, sometimes over and over again. Your service allows our nation to move forward in confidence that you, and those like you, have, and will, defend us in our times of need.

Thank you for your service, and your commitment to the defense and security of the United States of America.

Thank you.

Keith Olbermann on gay marriage

Thanks to Raising Kaine for posting this, and thanks to Keith Olbermann for saying it.

A story yet to come...

One sunny day in 2009 an old man approached the White House from across Pennsylvania Avenue , where he'd been sitting on a park bench. He spoke to the U.S. Marine standing guard and said, 'I would like to go in and meet with President Bush. The Marine looked at the man and said, 'Sir, Mr. Bush is no longer president and no longer resides here.' The old man said, 'Okay' and walked away.

The following day, the same man approached the White House and said to the same Marine, 'I would like to go in and meet with President Bush. 'The Marine again told the man, 'Sir, as I said yesterday, Mr. Bush is no longer president and no longer resides here.' The man thanked him and, again, just walked away.

The third day, the same man approached the White House and spoke to the very same U. S. Marine, saying 'I would like to go in and meet with President Bush. 'The Marine, somewhat agitated at this point, looked at the man and said, 'Sir, this is the third day in a row you have been here asking to speak to Mr. Bush. I've told you already that Mr. Bush is no longer the president and no longer resides here. Don't you understand? 'The old man looked at the Marine and said, 'Oh, I understand. I just love hearing it.'

Thelma Drake Concedes to Glenn Nye

Just a quick update, Thelma Drake has conceded to Glenn Nye. I just want to express my appreciation for the dedicated election officials who made sure every vote was counted. I'm very exited to have Glenn Nye as the representative of the 2nd District.

The New Political Machine

With the election of Barack Obama as the 44th President of the United States, the one thing I'm hearing from both liberal and conservative analysts is how amazingly effective Obama's campaign was. While the top of the campaign was impressive, it was the efforts of the ground troops, the volunteers, throughout the nation that made Obama a force to be reckoned with. As was mentioned on election day morning, Obama had a virtual army on the ground getting out the vote.

Obama's campaign was dynamic. From the very start, supporters were able to connect with each other using his website in a social networking environment. Events were posted, people signed up, showed up, and campaigned together. The system wasn't some ploy to show that the campaign was hip and in touch with new technology and Internet fads; it was an effective, well oiled, machine.

Many, like me, are wondering what's next. Will this machine be sustained into 2009, and beyond? How will this virtual army be used? Will Republicans be able to counter with their own?

Yard Signs = Free Chick-Fil-A

Bring a political lawn sign to the Chick-fil-A® restaurant at Haygood Shopping Center in Virginia Beach between Wednesday, November 5th and Saturday November 8th and get a FREE Chick-fil-A® Chicken Biscuit from 6:30 - 10:30 a.m. or a FREE Chick-fil-A® Chicken Sandwich during lunch and dinner (limit one per customer per day.)

All signs will be recycled by Chick-fil-A®. No 4'x8' banners, please.

Thanks Eileen over at VBDems for the info!

A picture of history made

Joel McDonald holding the November 5th, 2008, New York Times declaring Barack Obama the President-Elect.

Oberndorf concedes to Sessoms

From the Virginian-Pilot:

Meyera Oberndorf’s two-decade reign as mayor came to an end Tuesday.

At a press conference in Virginia Beach this afternoon, Oberndorf conceded the race to challenger Will Sessoms.

With all but the absentee ballots counted, Oberndorf was down 10,000 votes to Will Sessoms. Oberndorf said earlier this morning that she wanted all the votes counted.

City elections officials counted the votes through the night and with 94 of 95 precincts reporting this morning, results indicated voters had ushered her out in favor of bank president Will Sessoms, who amassed a record-breaking war chest and used it to offset Oberndorf’s almost universal name recognition. Absentee ballots will be counted today.

“I’m humbled by the numbers,” Sessoms said during a celebration at Chester’s Upper Deck Restaurant at the Oceanfront. “I’ve had a lot of hard work from a lot of friends who have stepped up, and you’re seeing the results of that tonight.”

This was a surprising end to this race, but for many in Virginia Beach, it was time for Mayor Oberndorf to go. Over and over again I heard of people who personally like Oberndorf, but did not feel she had the required stature to represent the ever growing and increasingly influential City of Virginia Beach. Sessoms should be cautious as he steps into his new role. From what I can tell, voters feel they are taking a risk by electing him and are cautiously optimistic about his future service as mayor. Sessoms must be able to show the citizens of Virginia Beach that he represents their interests and concerns while also balancing the continued development of the city. If he fails to do so, he will be a target in 2012.

A word of thanks is needed for Mayor Oberndorf's commitment to serving the City of Virginia Beach, and best wishes on her future endeavors.

California votes to make their constitution unconstitutional

No state shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States” - 14th Amendment to the United States Constitution

California joined the ranks of states, including Virginia, that have used their state constitutions to deny homosexuals the privilege of marriage.

Yesterday, Californians voted on and passed Proposition 8, a hotly contested measure on the ballot included due to the reaction of conservatives to the California Supreme Court ruling that law denying homosexuals the right to marry was unconstitutional. The passage of Proposition 8 means that the constitution will not be amendment, subverting the ruling of the court, once again denying homosexuals the right to marry.

It is estimated that 11,000 couples were married after the court ruling, couples who may not be recognized as being married by the state. Interestingly enough, the approved measure does not specify the legal status of gay couples already married, leaving them in legal limbo.

It is precisely that legal limbo that those 22,000 people who were married in California should take advantage of, and the reason why everyone needs to be paying attention to what is happening in California. It is quite possible that the issue of gay marriage may become the national issue that politicians have been avoiding. The time may soon be coming that our national leaders will no longer be able to say that it's only a state issue. It's possible that one of the potential thousands of lawsuits that may be filed could make it to the Supreme Court of the United States.

What happens if the U.S. Supreme Court takes on gay marriage in California? While I'm sure a lot can be said about the ideologies of the justices, my prediction is that the precedents of the not too distant past will come into play: Loving v. Virginia and Brown v. Board of Education. The combination of these cases provide a basis for arguing that public opinion regarding restrictions on marriage have been wrong in the past, and that unions provided by the state to gay couples are not completely equal, violating the 14th amendment. The court declared that marriage was "one of the basic civil rights of man." It should be noted that it was the outcome of Brown v. Board of Education that allowed President Eisenhower to utilize federal resources to enforce the law of the land as interpreted by the Supreme Court.

I'll be watching California to see if a push through the courts materializes. Maybe one day it will be argued that the greatest boost for a federal guarantee of gay marriage rights was the passage of Proposition 8.

President-Elect Barack Obama in Chicago

It's the message that he's been sharing from the start. We must have the hope that we can change our nation for the better, and the grit and determination to work for that change.

What a night...

Democrats and progressives in Virginia Beach, and around the nation, couldn't have asked for a much better result from the 2008 election. I'm absolutely amazed at the outcomes of some of the races and mostly pleasantly surprised.

I spent the evening at Guadalajara’s in Town Center, here in Virginia Beach. We had some VIP guests throughout the evening; including Meyera Oberndorf, who was running for reelection. It was great to see some familiar faces from the primary campaign and meet some new friends.

Of course, the race that everyone was watching was the race for the white house. Senator Barack Obama started strong, and just kept going throughout the evening. Several "too close to call" states were placed into his column once polls closed on the west coast. Seeing the results from each time zone roll in was amazing. The first celebration of the evening came when Pennsylvania was turned blue. We knew the campaign was banking on picking up Pennsylvania, and that doing so would give the campaign a very big start to the election. Virginia, however, was too close to call; keeping us on edge throughout the evening.

Once polls closed on the west coast, it seemed as though Obama was immediately projected as being the winner of the election. Virginia turned blue by 1 point (now at two), and I can not fully describe the eruption of emotion that all experienced. All who could jumped up to their feet to cheer and applaud. The trademark chant was begun by someone, "Yes, we can!", which then transformed throughout the crowed to, "Yes, we did". In the midst of the cheering and the chanting, I turned to see a man in the middle of the crowd with his head in his hands, weeping with joy. It was at this time that I realized that I too was teary eyed, and struggled not to be completely overcome as I watched the results continue to roll in on the television.

Obama won the nation with a larger margin of victory than we've seen in some time. His campaign, which included numbers of volunteers and efforts difficult to comprehend, was spread far and wide throughout the nation. The campaign turned red states blue, breaking historical barriers. Those in attendance at this party were mostly volunteers for the campaign, and we all felt some ownership of Obama's election; something we're proud to own.

Mark Warner's win over Jim Gilmore for U.S. Senate was pretty much a given. While we were excited by the win, there were no surprises there.

The first surprise of the evening, besides how well Obama really did nationally, was Glenn Nye's projected win against Thelma Drake. It's been difficult to get Nye's name and biography out to the public. Almost everyone I talked to about the race for the 2nd Congressional District didn't know Nye. Maybe that changed recently due to an influx of ground troops, but I think many were surprised that Nye was able to take the lead tonight. There is some talk of a recount, and absentee ballots to consider, so this race may not be over.

Meyera Oberndorf's most viable challenger, Will Sessoms, surprisingly turned out to be more of a challenge to Oberndorf than I think many had imagined. While many I've had conversations with express their appreciation for her and personally like her, they've also felt it was time for someone else to take over the mantle of the Mayor of Virginia Beach. Currently the race between Oberndorf and Sessoms is too close to call, with Sessoms holding on to a slight lead.

As for the three additional candidates I endorsed: Glenn Davis successfully won a seat on City Council, defeating incumbent Reba McClanan, and Dan Edwards successfully won reelection to the School Board. Andrew Jackson was unsuccessful in his campaign for a seat on City Council.

It was an exceptional evening of celebrating Democratic and progressive victories nationally, and locally. Glenn Nye echoed the words of Obama during his speech tonight: Tomorrow, we must focus on the work that needs to be done.

Tomorrow is the big day

Tomorrow is a very big day for politics around the nation, with Virginia Beach being no exception. It's exciting, and I can't help feeling that tinge of anxiousness that used to attack and keep me awake on the eve of Christmas. Yeah, it's that exciting.

It's been difficult for me to make a choice, let alone publicly endorse, a candidate for every race that will be on the ballot tomorrow. After adding a few very late endorsements this evening, I'm at a stopping point. While I have made decisions in the other races, I'm not impressed to endorse them here. For those I have endorsed, I hope you will take a moment to research and then hopefully vote for them tomorrow. I know it's late, but I do believe it is worth it.

A major goal for Virginia Beach Progressives is to blog about and participate in the local politics of Virginia Beach. It's been difficult for me to research our leaders and understand our government, but I'm learning. November 5th and forward will hopefully be a time of getting involved in the regular and ongoing politics of the city, and sharing it here. It is my hope that this blog will become more valuable to me, while becoming valuable to other citizens as well.

The polls open in about six and a half hours. I hope you will go confident in your choices and proud to exercise your right to vote.

Dan Edwards for School Board - Centervile

Dan Edwards has served conscientiously as the Chairman of the Virginia Beach City School Board. As a school employee, I had had the wonderful opportunity to attend various events and meetings with Edwards and have always been impressed by his candor. His attention to the needs of students, instructors, and staff makes him an obvious choice for reelection.

Please join me in voting to reelect Dan Edwards to the school board.

Andrew Jackson for City Council - Kempsville

I should have made this endorsement a long time ago. Andrew Jackson has been throughout Virginia Beach, meeting citizens one-by-one in order to introduce himself, his ideas for the city, and ask for their support in his campaign for city council. I had the privilege of meeting and working with Jackson during Senator Barack Obama's primary campaign for the presidency, and had I not been pulled away by other interests, I likely would have worked with his campaign for city council.

Jackson has been dedicated to reaching out to every person he can at all sorts of events. Earlier today I heard from someone who had been at the Obama rally at the amphitheater who was extremely impressed by how Jackson took the initiative and the time to work through the crowd.

Jackson understands the street level issues affecting us all in Virginia Beach. I believe that he would be a voice of reason and conscience as a councilman, and is worthy of your vote.

Who's on the ballot in Virginia Beach?

Tomorrow is bigger than the presidential election. There are 13 races in which you will be voting. To prevent anyone from being shocked, dazed and confused while in the voting booth, I thought I’d give you a preview of who will be on your ballot tomorrow.

Glenn Davis for City Council - Rose Hall

I have been very slow in making decisions on who to endorse for Virginia Beach City Council, but I'm going to start with Glenn Davis.

Davis is running for the Rose Hall seat against incumbent Reba McClanan. McClanan has served in council for the past 24 years and while she claims that she is the independent voice on the council, as evidenced by a stream of 'no' votes on various issues affecting the quality of life in the city, she has done little to provide fresh alternatives or a progressive vision for the city.

Both Davis and McClanan can be described as conservatives; however, Davis seems to provide a compromise between understanding what businesses need to succeed here at the beach and pushing for better quality of life for the citizens. From his views on education to his support of smoke free businesses, Davis just gets it.

I hope you will join me tomorrow, no matter what part of the city you live in, in voting for Glenn Davis for the Rose Hall seat in the Virginia Beach City Council.

Here's what The Virginian-Pilot had to say about Davis,

Davis is full of possibilities, energy and ideas. He grew up in Virginia Beach and started his own business, and he's prepared himself by running for an at-large council seat two years ago and serving on the Arts and Humanities Commission and several community boards. Davis has an entrepreneur's spirit, with ideas for how to phase out the business tax, how to streamline government and entice industry. He's the kind of young leader Virginia Beach needs to nourish.

Hitting a wall

In being involved in or overhearing political conversations this close to election day, I often get the feeling that we're hitting a wall that can't be broken with people who don't share our views, liberal or conservative. Rational thought and logical argument cease to have any effect on moving someone to change their mind about who they are voting for. Further, the reasons and arguments they have for their current stance don't seem to be altered, even when faced with a substantial argument or evidence to the contrary.

I'm probably just as guilty of anyone at this point. While I try to look at the actions of candidate in search of areas for disagreement, I'm sure I give a pass to candidates I support more often than candidates I don't. For example, I disagree with Obama on FISA and some of his proposals regarding education, but I'm still going to vote for him. The truth is that don't agree with Obama or McCain 100% of the time, but I agree with Obama more. The survey over at Glass Booth estimated that Obama matched by views 79% of the time, while McCain matched my views 50% of the time. Not a wide margin.

What I absolutely try to steer clear of are the smear campaigns that attempt to discredit a candidate using scurrilous information from questionable sources. Often this information is spread via e-mail. A recent article on Politico mentioned that, "Obama is the subject of a far greater volume of these e-mails — as many as 20-to-1". Those were just e-mails sent to Politico asking them to investigate the information being spread about the candidates.

Sadly, smear campaigns work. Clinton supporters thought that branding Obama as a Muslim would gain them a few votes in the primaries. They were correct. I was absolutely shocked to watch a woman in West Virginia explain that she couldn't vote for Barack Obama because he was a Muslim. The truth is that he's not, and that the woman was a victim of misinformation spread by a deliberate smear campaign.

There are many more examples of misinformation, from what John McCain called Cindy in front of a few reporters to where Barack Obama was really born. People latch on to these stories because they are 1.) easier to understand than actual policy debates, and 2.) sensational and emotional. Misinformation spread through smear campaigns make for great living room discussion where voter mindsets are forms. "Did you hear such-and-such about such-and-such? I could never vote for them!"

I'm now hearing misinformation in many of the conversations where I know I'm hitting a wall. It does not matter how questionable the information is, the emotional connection to that information is too strong for them to consider the possibility that they are victims of misinformation, just as the woman in West Virginia was.