Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Hokie Nation

It's useless for me to try to talk about the Virginia Tech massacre. I have a lot of sympathy for the reporters - the good ones anyway - trying to find some words in the English language to adequately talk about something so horrible and sad. For the most part they've done a pretty good job - I've read some pretty amazingly touching stuff about this tragedy.

I'll leave it to others more elequent than I to talk about the tragedy itself. And I have no intention of addressing the gun control vs. student firepower debate here - at least not right now. The little piece that I can try to wrap my head around is the question asked early on by many of the parents and many in the media (and many of the surviving students) about what security measures the campus administration should have taken between the initial shooting at 7:15 and the later shootings at the engineering building. I don't know what people mean when they talk about "locking down" campus. I haven't been to Blacksburg but it sounds similar to UNC (even larger) and while you can certainly cancel classes and lock the dorms, what are you going to do about the majority of the students that live in off-campus apartments and Greek houses? They're going to get on the bus or get on their bikes or slip on the flip-flops and get to campus. A major university is not a high school.

Modern campuses are certainly in a much better position to actually get communications out to the students quickly then when I was in school 25 years ago. Every college kid has a cellphone, every one has email - I'm sure you could set up a reverse-911 thing to call or text all the students (and faculty) to warn them of... what? That there was a double homicide in one of the dorms? That's the kind of thing that happens. That's the kind of thing that you sort of know how to deal with. Probably a crime of passion, of jealousy. As callous as it may sound, do you somehow shut down what amounts to a decent-sized town (40,000 people if you include faculty and staff) after what that appeared to be? What if the initial shooting had happened in an off-campus apartment?

I know it's too early to be speculating but that's partly my point. I can understand distraught parents and students in the panic of the moment feeling like something should have been done. I just don't see what, given what we know at this point and I'm not ready to start beating on the administration and security staff who are undoubtedly already beating up on themselves enough for all of us.


Sunday, April 15, 2007


While it's way, way too soon to celebrate, it does appear that the Navy's position on building the Outlying Landing Field (OLF) at their preferred location is finally losing steam. The News and Observer views Senator Burr's strongly-worded letter to the Secretary of the Navy as one of the last bullets in the head of this stupid idea. Note that the major political player in the state that has not staked out position is the ever-elusive Liddy Dole - I'd suggest you email her but as far as I know, she still does not have a senatorial email address. I can't rememer a less effective legislator from NC that Ms. Dole and it astounds me that she's actually running for reelection.

But this not about Bob's little woman - it's about the good news that the worst possible site for the OLF may be soon to die the ignominious death it deservers.


Lex for Preznit

I'm here to announce a press conference for 11:30am Tuesday April 17 where Lex will announce that he is going to schedule a press conference to announce whether he will be forming an exploratory committee to investigate the viability of a possible run for the White House in 2008. Or not.

Just kidding of course but Lex does seem to be the only Republican I know of that hasn't at least publicly flirted with the idea of running for President (naturally, he's the only one that I would consider voting for). I know it's early still (although it doesn't feel like it) but it seems there's a lot of winnowing out to do on the Republican side. In addition to the 847 declared candidates there are at least another few dozen that are being coy and waiting to see whether anyone emerges early on that might stand a snowball's chance in hell of getting elected. I certainly can't see any of the three apparent front-runners actually winning a general election - frankly, I'm having trouble seeing any of them going into a Republican convention with any kind of clear lead.

Like it or not a Mormon is not going to get nominated as the Repuglican candidate. McCain is so ridiculously damaged (almost entirely self-inflicted) I'm surprised he's not in traction. Guiliani comes with incredible baggage and as far as I can tell his only positive is that he happened to be mayor of New York on 9/11 and managed to stop what he was doing and pay attention, rather than read "My Pet Goat" to a bunch of schoolkids. Not exactly the stuff that Presidents should be made of.

So run, Lex, run - you've got as much of a shot as any of these goobers do!


Faux News

As long as Fox News makes no real pretense at being a real news bureau, I see no reason for Democratic candidates to treat them like they are. Kudos to John Edwards in particular for being consistent in his dealing with them as they deserve.