Thursday, July 31, 2008

Laughing Her Out of Office?

On the same day we catch a whiff of a local plan to hold a "Virginia Foxx Retirement Celebration" in Boone, featuring publicly performed home-grown limericks and other forms of grassroots satire, we come across this open invitation for Ye Wits of Bloggerdom to submit humorous videos about local examples of pork-barrel spending, and one of the examples they prominently suggest is to hold a tea party on the lawn of Madam Foxx's notorious Teapot Museum in Sparta, N.C.:
Remember to keep the videos short — two to three minutes is ideal — and make them funny if you can. Everybody online loves a good parody. Think of gimmicks, too. If you're exposing the idiocy of funding a teapot museum, try organizing a tea party on the site. [EyeblastTV]

Gosh, if we don't get an invitation to partake of some Earl Grey and crumpets, in suitable snooty attire, we don't know WHAT the world's coming to! Come on, people! Someone's gotta do it. Give us a time and date, and we'll advertise it. Hundreds will show up!

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Asheboro 'Drys' Get Religion About Zoning

Asheboro wets celebrating the liquor vote last night.

The most complete reporting we've seen is in today's Greensboro News & Record.

The most curious wrinkle to emerge ... the drys are vowing to fight for stricter zoning laws in the city of Asheboro. Wha? Turn away from sin, O my brethren, and turn toward ... the Z Word!
[Asheboro First Baptist Church pastor John] Rogers said Christians in the area should work for strict zoning laws for businesses that serve alcohol and attempt to put church members on the new ABC board. "Someone who won't be afraid to give the Christian perspective," Rogers said.

We'll second that motion for strict zoning laws, but that suggestion about putting Baptists on the ABC Board will take some thought. Where I grew up, you wouldn't necessarily entrust a Baptist with the keys to your liquor cabinet.

Liddy Dole, Getting Busy

News this a.m. that Sen. Liddy Dole is shedding -- quicker'n a scared rabbit -- the $10,000 she received this election cycle from indicted fellow Republican Sen. Ted Stevens.

Plus she's announced that she won't be attending the National Republican Convention this year, a gathering where she's been a featured star speaker during the last three quadrennia. Dole's sudden allergy to fellow Republicans reminds us a little of The Guv's long history of eschewing fellow Democrats, and maybe it'll work for Liddy the way it's worked for Mike.

Hell, we guess that now that Liddy has refound the state that elected her to the Senate, she'll be putting up a cot at her mama's old home in Salisbury and pretending that she's been living here all along.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

New Polling in NC-5

A new poll of fifth district voters shows Roy Carter within striking distance of incumbent Virginia Foxx, despite being outspent seven to one so far. The survey of 846 likely voters was conducted by Public Policy Polling of Raleigh on July 23-24.
Foxx 51%
Carter 41%
Undecided 8%

The raw numbers alone tell only part of the story. Here's the analysis of the pollsters:
Virginia Foxx has only a 45% approval rating with voters in the district, well below the 50% threshold that is considered safe for an incumbent. It is a remarkably low 30% with the independent voters in the district, whose votes will be critical if Carter is to win this fall.

On the issue that matters most to voters in the district, Roy Carter has the edge over Virginia Foxx. 49% of respondents picked the economy as their biggest concern from a list of eight major issues, and among those folks Carter leads Foxx 48-45. If Carter is able to keep the campaign focused on the bread and butter issues that most affect the daily lives of people in the 5th district, he will have the upper hand.

There are indications that the Republican brand is damaged in the district. Although he received 66% of the vote in the district in both 2000 and 2004, President Bush's approval rating is just 34%. Just 20% of respondents think that the country is heading in the right direction under the current Republican administration.

Although trailing, Barack Obama and Bev Perdue are both outpacing recent Democratic performance in the district. Obama trails John McCain by 19 points, a significant improvement on the 33 point losses Al Gore and John Kerry sustained against George W. Bush. Perdue trails Pat McCrory by 8 points here, where Mike Easley lost to Richard Vinroot by 12 in 2000. It's also worth noting that Carter is polling at a higher level than both Perdue and Obama, an indication that he can differentiate himself from national Democrats, something that will be key to victory in this Republican leaning district.

If Roy Carter gets the funding he needs to run a strong media campaign that will complement his already strong grassroots backing, he has a genuine chance of beating Virginia Foxx this fall given the political climate and her lacking approval rating.

Ashboro Goes Wet

From what we can see on the Randolph County Board of Elections site, liquor-by-the-drink seems to be winning, overwhelmingly.

Actually, there were four initiatives on the ballot: malt beverage election, unfortified wine election, ABC store election, and mixed beverage election. All seem to be passing by over 60 percent of the vote.

Sometimes, the threat of hellfire just isn't enough to swing an election.

According to the Ashboro Courier-Tribune, people seeking the election results were barred from going to the Randolph County Courthouse, where people have traditionally gone to see the vote tallied, because "Patsy Foscue, elections director, said she feared the possibility of confrontation between the pro- and anti-alcohol groups, regardless of which side wins."

And we thought Boone town elections were tough.

Monday, July 28, 2008

Give 'The Elevator Lady' the Shaft!

We missed last Tuesday's Charlotte Observer editorial calling for the defeat of Secretary of Labor Cherie Berry (pictured left) ... until this a.m., but it's worth delving into.

Besides getting to put her name inside every elevator in the state, Berry oversees many worker-safety issues. One of her major responsibilities ... worker safety in chicken processing plants, of which N.C. has many, where working conditions have been notoriously rotten.

A Charlotte Observer investigative series of articles exposing unsafe working conditions in the poultry industry prompted the state legislature to give additional money to Berry's department to hire four new poultry plant inspectors. On July 18 Berry announced that she would accept the four new positions but not use them for the purpose lawmakers intended. A cheeky response to the NC General Assembly, no doubt, and its message was clear: the chummy relationship between Berry and the chicken-plucking industry is gonna remain chummy.

Which sorta pissed off the editorial board at the Charlotte Observer:
"We're going to continue doing business the way I imagine we've always done it," said Delores Quesenberry, spokeswoman for Ms. Berry. "We've been doing a good job with that [poultry plant inspections] all along. And we're going to continue that."

A good job? What has Ms. Quesenberry been smoking? ...

...lax regulations and weak oversight have made it easy for a dangerous industry to exploit illegal workers, underreport injuries and get around a regulatory system that lets companies police themselves....

...Yet when confronted with that evidence, here's what Ms. Berry said: "We're going to keep doing what we're doing because it's working," she said. That's not the voice of someone who's intent on looking out for the state's workers....

...Rules and policies at the state labor department have tilted toward business instead of worker safety. Inspections and fines at poultry plants are at record lows....

Fortunately for voters this is an election year....

The Observer editorial then endorsed Democratic Labor Commissioner candidate Mary Fant Donnan.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Ashboro Will Decide LBD Issue on Tuesday

Ashboro may be a bellwether for Boone on the liquor-by-the-drink issue this coming Tuesday, so we'll be watching the returns with heightened interest. Ashboro, by the way, is the largest municipality left in N.C. that allows no alcoholic beverages whatsoever, not even beer and wine.

The Greensboro N&R has a big article up today on the battle. A few excerpts, just to show that nothing much is new under the sun: many, this is more than a vote. It's a battle for the soul of the city.

On one side: businesses and citizens who feel the city should allow adults to buy alcohol and reap the benefits in economic development when hotels, bars and restaurants flow in.

On the other: church groups and more conservative residents who want to preserve the city's dry tradition and believe alcohol is dangerous to the safety and character of Asheboro.

A furious debate has raged between the two groups for months. Campaigns on both sides have spent tens of thousands of dollars on newspaper and television ads. The arguments continue on blogs and in letters to the editor. Drive through town, and you'll see "For" or "Against" signs in the yard of nearly every house, in the windows of businesses and cars....

Incidentally, the Committee for the Future of Ashboro, the group pushing for legalization, is "a virtual who's-who of the city's business, civic and political leaders." If the vote on Tuesday fails, we suspect that some of those political leaders will be facing hot reelection battles when they have to run again. Come to think of it, if the vote succeeds, they'll all be in hot reelection battles too.

Maybe Ashboro is more conservative than Marion, but we doubt it, and LBD passed in Marion earlier this summer.

Sen. McCain Turns Into Mr. Wilson

...with Barack Obama as Dennis the Menace.

McCain had goaded Obama into visiting Iraq and Afghanistan, then watched as Obama's meetings with the leaders of those countries and Jordan, Israel, the Palestinians, Germany, France, and Great Britain dominated the news. Obama visited troops in Iraq and Afghanistan on his trip and had made numerous trips to Washington's Walter Reed Army Medical Center. But because the Obama campaign canceled a visit to wounded troops in Germany after the Pentagon raised concerns about political activity on a military base, McCain now has a new attack ad up on TV claiming that Obama cares more about yadda yadda yadda than he does about our soldiers.

John McCain is just angry. Angry all the time now.

Friday, July 25, 2008

Madam Foxx Votes No on Foreclosure Prevention Act

No surprise.

The Foreclosure Prevention Act of 2008 is designed to help 400,000 homeowners avoid foreclosure. The bill also includes a federal bailout for mortgage giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.

Virginia Foxx voted no, blaming the victims of mortgage scams for being victims. You should have known better. So what if you lose your house? Some packing crates make excellent shelter.

The bill passed in the House anyway, 272-152, and El Presidente says he'll sign it.

Board of Elections Complaint Against NCAR

Becky Harper, a realtor in Raleigh, has filed a formal complaint with the State Board of Elections about the N.C. Association of Realtors' use of required dues to oppose the transfer tax. (Earlier.)
She notes that she is required to be a member of the association to have access to the Multiple Listing Service, which lists real estate for sale.

"I do not believe that it is right that my required fees are used to support direct political action for or against ballot initiatives," she writes.

She also notes that the dues are deductible as a business expense, but the use of them for political purposes may "jeopardize" that deduction.

Director of the State BOE says the matter will be looked into.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Sometimes the Jokes Just Write Themselves

[Watauga County Republican Party Chair Jim] Goff said the party's mood was good, despite not having any county commission candidates, and the party was stronger after its local defeats in 2006. "There doesn't seem to be any local issues inspiring people enough to put themselves out there," Goff said, adding that some were content with the county's direction but others were opposed but didn't want to get involved this year. "In the end, I'd rather we not have candidates than those who didn't really want to run."

--Watauga Democrat, 25 July 2008

Republican Big Tent Gets Caught in Gale

The internecine strife among Republicans in the NC-11 has broken out into the public square.

First, Carl Mumpower, the Republican congressional candidate running against incumbent Democrat Heath Shuler, famously suspended his campaign until at least half the counties in his district pledged to salute his version of "values."

To which the Henderson County Republican Party has now replied, "Kiss our fat, hairy posteriors."

One of the more entertaining side-shows in North Carolina.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Madam Foxx'll Try Anything for a Buck

From Mombley's Musings:
...I spoke with a Congresswoman tonight. Representative Virginia Foxx, from North Carolina's 5th district called me this evening. (We are in the 4th district). She was doing fundraising, which I cannot help her with right now, but when I told her we had 9 children, she said we were doing our part to help our country. She then asked if we homeschool, which I replied, "Of course," and she was very pleased to hear that and told me her one and only child will home educate her 2 children ages 11 and 9 next year. Interesting stuff.

Anything to declare, Madam, about your support for public education? And why are you picking on poor Mombley for money?

NCAR Turning Dirty Harry

Laura Leslie has the best account we've seen of the coercion going on at the NC Association of Realtors (NCAR), the strong-arming of members to cough up another $75 in extra dough so that NCAR can stomp on any county government even considering a land transfer tax ("De-Listed?").

Apparently, some realtor members are resisting, and they're being treated to less than subtle threats for their resistance.

It's questionable ... the advice NCAR is passing out that the money, earmarked for political lobbying, can be written off as a business expense.

Quote of the Day

"If [John] McCain has to play a serious game in North Carolina, then something is going on that is not very good for John McCain."

--Ferrell Blount, former state GOP chairman from Pitt county who is advising the McCain campaign and hoping out loud that the Obama effort in the state is all a "feint"

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Another Subprime Loan

Four-foot-one-inch Congressman Patrick McHenry has loaned himself $175,000 to keep his campaign for reelection in the NC-10 on life-support.

"McHenry spokesman Brock McCleary said the loan shows the Cherryville Republican is 'willing to make a personal investment in his fight for good jobs and lower gas prices for North Carolina.' "

Say what?

That's a slippery slope the Lit'lest Angel has bravely stepped out on (just ask Hillary Clinton). But whatta ya gonna do? Fundraising goes dry, your opponent (Daniel Johnson) is coming on strong, scandal stalks you like a pregnant thought, key members of your own party in your own district hate your guts...

It's not the number of zeros on the check. It's how you spend the money, Congressman.

Whoa, Nellie

"Wachovia reports huge loss, will cut 10,750 jobs"

"Wachovia Corp. announced a whopping second quarter loss of $8.9 billion this morning"

"Wachovia announced this morning that it plans to cease making mortgages through third-party brokers"

"The change in strategy is part of a larger plan to rein in mortgage losses, which have been on the rise since Wachovia's $24 billion purchase of Golden West Financial Corp., a troubled California mortgage lender, in 2006"

Said Lanty Smith, the Wachovia board chairman, "...we at Wachovia accept responsibility"

We also accept our inflated salaries and whopping bonuses, he might have added.

Deluge Coming

Bob Hall of Democracy North Carolina is warning of voter gridlock in North Carolina come November 4 -- based on statewide voter registration growing to nearly 5.9 million as of last week. Hall is urging county boards of election to add more early voting sites and to have extra staff and voting machines ready for election day itself. Otherwise ... expect long lines and "a horrible traffic jam."

The Watauga County Board of Elections is ahead of the game. There will be five early voting sites in Watauga, instead of the usual two, and we understand that the one at the Boone mall will offer extended hours into the evening. Early voting will begin on Thursday, October 16.

Incidentally, "Democrats have added eight times as many voters as Republicans since the beginning of the year, Hall said. He noted that there are fewer registered Republicans today in 15 counties than in January, including Durham and Orange."

Monday, July 21, 2008

Analysis of What Went Wrong with Conservatism

Conservatives have been "cocooning," that's what. Encasing themselves in their own aromas of righteousness and letting nary a stray thought intrude into their crystalline palace.

Well, we got a glimpse of what was gestating inside that cocoon, and it wasn't a thousand years of Republican rule, charted by Karl Rove. Instead, out stepped something supposedly blessed by Saint Ronnie but looking a lot like Wilfred Brimley and sounding suspiciously like Jerry Falwell come again. Despite what happens in November, there's likely a revolution coming among conservatives, despite what the remnants of the Republican Party decide to do.

That's some of the insight offered by this profile piece and by Ed Cone's interview with Jon Henke, one of the founding bloggers of "The Next Right."

Common to both pieces is the largely unrecognized arrival on the cusp of power of the new libertarians, the younger "conservatives" who have no particular use for the old face of conservativism, the anti-abortion and anti-gay crusaders (nor do they have all that much tolerance for marijuana laws) and who particularly abhor the expansionist militarism of the neo-con wing of Republicanism.

More power to 'em.

Now if they can just figure out where to bury all the victims of laissez-faire economics, without drawing undue attention, they'll be on their way!

McCain, The Lesser Evil

Mullah James Dobson is -- surprise! -- deciding that maybe he was hasty in declaring from the heights of his own Mt. Horeb that he would never, not even if hell froze over, vote for John McCain, because McCain believed in stem-cell research and in taxing the rich in off-years, but Dobson is now suggesting that he's gonna change his mind, using the old lesser-of-two-evils rationalization so popular among squishy liberals everywhere.

So although President McCain will be harvesting baby parts to impart life everlasting to himself and his friends and although he'll also eventually be yelling at Mullah Dobson to get the f*** outta his face, President McCain will be far, far less horrendous that Barack Hussein Obama, the secret Muslim homosexual from hell.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Prophets Are Seldom Believed in Their Own Land

Nino Saviano, a North Carolina-based Republican political strategist, has a column in today's Asheville Citizen-Times with a warning headline: "GOP had better pay more attention to young voters." (Hat-tip: The Political Junkies)

Saviano is reading the right (that is, the left) tea-leaves ... that young voters are going to turn out in large numbers for Obama and, given the dismal baggage the label "Republican" carries with it, there's a very good chance that those young voters are going to vote straight Democratic tickets.

Writes Saviano,
With Obama as the Democratic nominee and [Ron] Paul out of the race, the youth vote in the November general election may be the most important group vote for the Tar Heel State. While no youth polls exist specifically for North Carolina, nationally Obama claims more than 50 percent support among the young, while McCain claims just above 35 percent.

Since 1992, split-ticket voting by some voter groups has characterized North Carolina and has led to the election of Republicans for president and U.S. senator on one hand, and a Democratic governor and state assembly on the other. In the 2004 election, voters in the 30-44 age group and self-identified suburbanites led the key split-ticket voting.

In November, the impact of a straight-party voting by the young may overshadow any traditional split-ticket voting by any other group. An unusually energizing presidential contest may result in a strong youth vote showing and young voters opting for a straight-party vote from president on downward. This may surprise many North Carolina candidates -- from congressional to statewide and legislative races, to county, city and school board races.

What he said.

One of the Least of These My Brother

The Matthew 25 Network -- "a community of Christians -- Catholic, Protestant, Pentecostal, and Evangelical -- inspired by the Gospel mandate to put our faith into action to care for our neighbor, especially the most vulnerable" -- has filed papers as a Federal Political Action Committee (PAC) "that works to elect and promote candidates who share our values through grassroots mobilization, raising our voices in the media, and paid advertising."

Matthew 25 Network has endorsed Barack Obama and is raising money for advertising on Christian radio.

They'll dealing with the lies about Obama, particularly popular among some congregations, by launching their own truth squad website ...

Well, they're obviously going to hell on jet skis.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Boone Town Council Appealing Templeton Ruling

The Boone Town Council voted -- unanimously -- Thursday night to go forward to the NC Court of Appeals challenging the Superior Court judge's ruling July 3 in the proposed Templeton medical clinic development on State Farm Road.

We'll summarize the arguments in the appeal when those documents become available.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

A group of investors in various Ginn projects, including Laurelmor in Watauga County, are banding together for a possible class action lawsuit. They offer news links and ... a blog (gulp).

Virginia Foxx ... Very Good at Not Listening

Virginia Foxx writes on The Hill's Congress Blog that she came into a meeting of the Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, but they were discussing the lawlessness of the Bush administration (refusing to turn over documents about illegal activity and stuff). So she stuck her fingers in her ears and ran from the room, because "I did not want to have to listen to the comments."

Sounds familiar, like the time she turned her back on a big crowd in Boone rather than take questions. "La-la-la-la-la, I can't heeear you!"

"The Bush administration is going to be gone really soon, it just seems like it is beating a dead horse," writes Madam Foxx, using the same rationale Republicans benevolently bestowed on the likes of Bill Clinton for getting his pipes snaked. "Why would we want to beat a dead horse?" Or, in the case of El Presidente, a dead stump.

Especially when only a war was started and maintained under false representations, and American citizens were spied on illegally, and federal prosecutors were fired for refusing to pursue politically motivated prosecutions.

Because, as Republicans, what's yesterday got to do with today, or for gawd's sake, TOMORROW? You want us to climb into the WAY-BACK MACHINE? It'll all be over soon, so just relax. That's the Republican philosophy.

The Corruption of Big Money

"...Bush is akin to the Captain of the Titanic, except that before putting wealthy Republicans on the lifeboats, he takes all the valuables from the passengers who will be left to drown."
--The Political Junkies, commenting on the Bush plan to bail out Fannie & Freddie

And this: "To rescue Fannie and Freddie is the ultimate implementation of socialism for the rich and the well connected."

Then this: "As with the bailout of Bear Stearns Co., corporate interests and stockholders get the benefit of taxpayer dollars propping up insolvent companies or limiting their stock losses. For the average American who is facing a home foreclosure, Republicans merely call them 'irresponsible,' and leave them to lose their homes."

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

NC Senate Updates

Somebody in charge -- who? -- decided that the ban on photography from the Senate gallery was inappropriate. So the sign prohibiting photographs was removed last night. Good.

North Carolina homophobes bulldozed the NC Senate into delaying -- killing? -- the anti-bullying legislation because it mentioned sexual orientation as one of the causes of bullying. Bad.

Foxx Gets Award for Active Mouth

We promise we're not making this up: the House Republican Conference, in an effort to boost the flagging morale of its soon to be smaller minority, has made up awards for pointless, endless gum-flapping on the House floor, and it gave one of those highly coveted awards to none other than Virginia Anne Foxx (NC-5).

Groused one Republican member, who evidently didn't get an award, "The idea that people who are in the House of Representatives need to give each other awards for talking bullshit, and that’s really what it is.... What kind of a party is that?"

"Foxx said she does what she can. 'The good Lord has given me limited talents, so I believe in using the ones he gave me,' said Foxx. 'I get positive feedback from my constituents when they see me on the floor.' "

Being seen on TV reading a script that runneth over with approved talking-points is what it's all about, though being seen at public events in your own district where citizens can ask questions ... not so much.

"Erick Erickson, who writes for the conservative blog RedState, was unimpressed by the caucus incentive program. 'Isn't [speaking on the floor] what they're supposed to do?' he asked. 'Maybe if we stopped being so lame and stopped doing stuff like this — stopped thinking of ways to self-reward ourselves — and actually did something, we'd be having better success this year.' "

Each of the honorees received (also NOT making this up) a commemorative oil can .... 40-weight, no doubt. Because they're an oily bunch? No, really, what IS the significance of that trophy?

The World Turned Upside Down

Good Gawd, ya'll. Virginia Foxx voted to over-ride El Presidente's veto of the Medicare Improvements for Patients and Providers Act.

Going all soft and squishy in her 65th year?

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Bully Boy

If you can't beat up a kid 'cause he's queer, what's this state coming to? asked Bill Brooks, executive director of the North Carolina Family Policy Council. Brooks was yelling (GOOD GAWD ALMIGHTY!) about the anti-bullying bill up for a vote in the NC legislature today.

I mean, what's next? Brooks asked. The anti-bullying statute could be used to file lawsuits and eventually be used to insert sexual orientation into other state laws, and who knows? Pretty soon you have gay people putting their gayness all over door handles and on school desks, instead of keeping it all in a closet. Some of our best friends and allies are in closets.

If sexual orientation is enacted into North Carolina law through HB 1366, said Brooks, it will serve as the basis for affirming deviant sexual behaviors throughout our state. Good Gawd, man. We don't wanna be forced into raising money by scaring people 'bout gay cooties turning up in their drinking water, or in the U.S. House.

If being bullied in school was good enough for those little nancies back in 1950, it's still good enough for them today! Why do you guys want to mess with the natural order?

Mighty Close to Home

Wachovia, on the sick and injured list.

Monday, July 14, 2008

Agree to Republican Values, Or This Kitten Gets It!

No, seriously, Carl Mumpower (which is a GREAT name, particularly in this instance), the Republican candidate running against incumbent Democrat Heath Shuler in the NC-11, has suspended his campaign until Republican leaders in the counties in his district pledge to support Republican values.

Okay, okay, he says he'll resume his campaign if HALF the counties pledge to support Republican values.

The Asheville Citizen-Times has the only slightly less loopy details here.

Mumpower ("Just Say Shuuuush to Power!") is particularly pissed that fellow Republican Liddy Dole recently voted to override President Bush's veto of the Farm Bill. In June, Mumpower said he would support impeachment of President Bush over "the illegal immigration problem."

And you thought the silly season was long over!

Let Us Stuff Hog Feces into That Loophole

The Winston-Salem Journal editorializes today on "the malignant tumor" (the hog industry) that reappeared last week in Raleigh, bamboozling the NC Senate into passing legislation giving the swine industry "the license ... to destroy the quality of life for all around them."

It smells to high heaven.

The NC House can stop this lapse of good sense. So can the Guv.

Nearer, My Assault Rifle, To Thee

Seeing the crowds, he went up on the mountain, and when he sat down his disciples came to him. And he opened his mouth and taught them, saying:

"Blessed are the low on ammunition, for theirs is the corner gun store.

"Blessed are those who scorn, for they shall have liberals.

"Blessed are the cliques, for they will inherit the militias.

"Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for assault rifles, for Windsor Hills Baptist Church shall satisfy them, though not necessarily this year."

The Church Militant: "For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places, which means we need our teenagers to be packing some serious heat."

After Jesus comes, they're gonna miss not having anyone around worth shooting.

Weather Continues Fine, With Good Visibility

Apparently, if you've got enough political mojo, you can find an economist to predict whatever you want predicted, which perhaps accounts for all that continuing willful belief out there that the economy is actually just hunky-dory, and if we say or (heaven forbid!) THINK differently, we're WHINERS or off our friggin rockers, so we're not supposing here that the economic analysts cited below are any more infallible than the Bush Team of Certified Geniuses, but still. Some smart people think we're in deep doo-doo and that Republican economic policies are largely to blame, starting with their deregulation of the mortgage industry.

John Mauldin, for example. He seems to have predicted the housing bubble back in 2005, and now he's predicting the largest credit contraction in DECADES (he uses all caps too), based on projections that there are another $1.6 TRILLION in bank losses (world-wide) yet to come, "four times official estimates and enough to pose a grave risk to the financial system."

In other words, IndyMac in California and Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac are the tip of a very large iceberg.

Large and unpredictable enough to cause Treasury Secretary Paulson to say last Thursday that "no bank is too big to fail. That is for public consumption." Large and unpredictable enough even to cause John McCain to change his tune, abandoning Republican boilerplate gospel (no government intervention), which he was still spouting in May, to his blind staggers of last Thursday following Secretary Paulson's dire warning: "Give us government bailouts. Please!"

"And, by the way, please put me and my slavish adherence to Bushonomics in charge of your economic futures. I promise to be as sunnily clueness as our last schmo."

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Iredell County, Less Republican?

Not a scientific poll by any means but still an interesting sampling of Iredell County voters in Statesville, Mooresville, and Troutman. The reporter felt surprised enough by the outcome to write in her lede, "If a survey conducted ... this week is any indication, John McCain's presidential campaign might be in big trouble."

"Big trouble" partly because Iredell County went for El Presidente Bush by 68 percent in Aught Four (and might again -- who knows?), but the man/woman-on-the-street sampling of the Statesville Record & Landmark found McCain only breaking dead even.

NC Senate Gripped by YouTube Dread?

Adam Searing over at The Progressive Pulse thinks that he personally might be the reason for a new sign that went up on the visitors' gallery door at the NC Senate chamber in Raleigh this past week (photo courtesy of the same site) ... "PICTURE TAKING IN THE GALLERY IS PROHIBITED."

Writes Searing, "A short video I did a few weeks ago criticizing the Senate for attempting to close NC's affordable children's health insurance program included some footage of [a certain] type of oration," which is to say, oration that was sometimes fact-challenged, maddeningly complacent, and occasionally tinged by personal prejudices.

Searing continues, "I understand the fears of the Senate. The thought that anyone might be held to account for what they actually say is terrifying, especially if they feel what they say is taken out of context. Unfortunately, explaining what you said and what you meant to the people back home is just part of the job of being a politician."

A job that the Senate leaders obviously don't relish.

We note that some readers of Searing's post are calling for civil disobedience in the face of this new, wholly arbitrary "rule," a course of action we would devoutly endorse. Let a thousand YouTubes bloom!

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Anyone Up for Dominoes?

If this news doesn't make your throat go a little dry, you've maybe drunk more of the George-Bush-Virginia-Foxx economic Kool-Aid than is necessarily good for you.
"The federal government took control of Pasadena-based IndyMac Bank on Friday in what regulators called the second-largest bank failure in U.S. history."

Yep, "defaulted mortgages" cited as the prime cause.

T-Men also are standing by this weekend to take over Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, which together hold almost half of the nation's mortgage debt.

IndyMac is the fifth FDIC-insured failure of the year. No one expects it to be the last.

Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) blamed (in part) Bush administration regulators for allowing IndyMac to run out of control; Bushies and IndyMac executives blamed Schumer for prompting a run on the bank. It's always nice to have someone else to blame.

Friday, July 11, 2008

The Politics of Fear

"Spying on Americans without warrants or judicial approval is an abuse of government power - and that's exactly what this [FISA Amendments Act of 2008] allows. The ACLU will not sit by and let this evisceration of the Fourth Amendment go unchallenged. Electronic surveillance must be conducted in a constitutional manner that affords the greatest possible protection for individual privacy and free speech rights. The new wiretapping law fails to provide fundamental safeguards that the Constitution unambiguously requires."

--ACLU Executive Director Anthony D. Romero, announcing the lawsuit filed to block implementation of the FISA Amendments Act

The FISA Amendments Act of 2008, passed by Senate Democrats on Wednesday and signed by President Bush yesterday, not only legalizes the secret warrantless surveillance program the president approved in late 2001, but it also gives the government new spying powers, including the power to conduct dragnet surveillance of Americans' international communications.

Gutless Democrats, who voted for this abomination:
Baucus of Montana
Bayh of Indiana
Carper of Delaware
Casey of Pennsylvania
Conrad of North Dakota
Feinstein of California
Inouye of Hawaii
Johnson of South Dakota
Kohl of Wisconsin
Landrieu of Louisiana
Lincoln of Arkansas
McCaskill of Missouri
Mikulski of Maryland
Nelson of Florida
Nelson of Nebraska
Obama of Illinois
Pryor of Arkansas
Rockefeller of West Virginia
Salazar of Colorado
Webb of Virginia
Whitehouse of Rhode Island

We've already expressed our anger with the winning Democratic presidential nominee. We note that all the other Democratic senators who ran for president this year voted against this assault on our Constitution ... Clinton, Biden, Dodd, and the nominee of 2004, John Kerry.

We're giving what money we have to give to the ACLU. At least they're willing to stand up for freedoms guaranteed by the Constitution.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Bonkers, We're Going

"Home foreclosures in North Carolina increased 78 percent in June..."

We had to read that sentence twice to make sure we weren't hallucinating.

But, of course, it's all just a mental disorder. To make anything sinister out of that statistic is not only crazy but probably unpatriotic.

Forgive us. We need a padded cell.

Doctor Gramm and Nurse Foxx will no doubt serve us herbal tea and Graham crackers. And talk us back into the bright, spangly pleasure-dome of the Bush economy.

How to Win an Election: Tell the People They're Crazy

If you think the economy's bad ... you have a mental disorder. So saith ex-Senator from Texas Phil Gramm, Senator McCain's top economic advisor.

But compared to our own congresswoman Madam Virginia Foxx, Gramm is an amateur psychologist-come-lately. Madam Foxx has been lecturing us since she got into Congress that we just need to stop complaining and ADMIT that the Bush economy is very close to PERFECTION:
With sustained job growth, falling deficits, low interest rates and a booming housing market, America's economy is robust and getting even stronger.
--Virginia Foxx, in the recent past

That's what SHE said. Among many other pronouncements refracted through her rosy spectacles.

Here's what she really thinks about the actual struggles of actual people in the seventh year of the Littlest Angel: she voted NO on regulating the subprime mortgage industry.

But as soon as Sen. Gramm gets us some psychotropic drugs, we'll promise to stop thinking gloomy thoughts about the Bush economy. Or start living in a ditch and eating wallpaper, whichever comes first.

'A Watauga Conservative' Goes Rancid

The smug, hermetically sealed dome of silliness that characterizes Right Blogostan has arrived in Watauga County. Someone posting anonymously as "Republican Proud" is peddling the fake Maureen Dowd column about how Barack Obama is supposedly raising big campaign contributions from Muslim moneybags in the Middle East.

The "Dowd column," we repeat, is a made-up slanderous lie. Anyone looking for, oh, five minutes could have determined that.

Except someone hooked by his own prejudices, and flattered to have those prejudices stroked into purring self-satisfaction by the apparent agreement of "liberal" Maureen Dowd at the New York Times.

Hooked and flopping on the deck, eyes bulging from lack of oxygen.

The amazing, embarrassing circle-jerk that is the local Watauga Republican Party.

Bad Swine Legislation Passes the NC Senate

Everywhere we look we see Democrats falling like dominoes to the selfish interests of huge corporations.

McCain: Social Security, "An Absolute Disgrace"

Yeah, he said it.

And then repeated the point on CNN, despite the furious backpedaling of his spokesmen.

Wednesday, July 09, 2008

Starting to Wear Purple

The newest Zogby International Poll has both the Carolinas and Virginia painted purple. BOTH Carolinas? Why, yes.

You can spend some quality time with the map, as it's interactive.

Sunday, July 06, 2008

Saturday, July 05, 2008

Carolina On His Mind

Barack Obama will visit a Charlotte middle school on Monday.

Friday, July 04, 2008

Good Day for a Parade

On the Watauga County Democratic Party float at today's Boone July 4th Parade.

Thanks, Gayle.

Micky D's Turns Gay

Well, it IS Independence Day, after all.

You NEVER see Ronald McDonald on a date with a woman. It's true. We always thought the outfit was a trifle ... flamboyant.

The American Family Association (AFA) has announced a boycott of McDonald's because some Vice President in Charge of Charbroiling is serving on the Board of Directors of the National Gay & Lesbian Chamber of Commerce.

So now they have their own Chamber of Commerce? Cool.

The AFA (otherwise known as the Rev. Donald Wildmon of Buttlump, Ala.) "has a long history of silly, offensive boycotts against, among others, Wal-Mart (for selling Brokeback Mountain DVDs), Ford Motor Company (for advertising in gay-friendly publications), and the American Girl dolls (because the maker contributed to a youth organization that was pro-choice and supported the acceptance of lesbians). In 2005, it called off its unsuccessful nine-year boycott of Disney (for its 'embrace of the homosexual lifestyle')."

Americans can be SO nuts.

And simultaneously so immune to the whims of Rev. Wildmon and the AFA.

Thursday, July 03, 2008

Shifts Big or Small, Depending

The Cook Political Report has downgraded a couple of dozen "solid Republican" House districts to "likely Republican" and advises its subscribers, "While it's not likely that a majority of the races moved from 'Solid' to 'Likely' Republican will become competitive by November, the poor national climate for the GOP and the DCCC's unprecedented financial edge makes even very difficult districts for Democrats worth keeping tabs on."

Patrick McHenry is on the list in North Carolina, showing movement toward his challenger Daniel Johnson.

The complete list:
AL-03 Mike Rogers Solid Republican to Likely Republican
CA-46 Dana Rohrabacher Solid Republican to Likely Republican
FL-08 Ric Keller Likely Republican to Lean Republican
FL-09 Gus Bilirakis Solid Republican to Likely Republican
FL-18 Ileana Ros-Lehtinen Solid Republican to Likely Republican
FL-21 Lincoln Diaz-Balart Likely Republican to Lean Republican
ID-01 Bill Sali Solid Republican to Likely Republican
IN-03 Mark Souder Solid Republican to Likely Republican
IA-04 Tom Latham Solid Republican to Likely Republican
KY-02 OPEN (Lewis) Solid Republican to Likely Republican
MN-02 John Kline Solid Republican to Likely Republican
NE-02 Lee Terry Solid Republican to Likely Republican
NV-02 Dean Heller Solid Republican to Likely Republican
NJ-05 Scott Garrett Solid Republican to Likely Republican
NY-13 OPEN (Fossella) Toss Up to Lean Democratic
NY-25 OPEN (Walsh) Toss Up to Lean Democratic
NC-10 Patrick McHenry Solid Republican to Likely Republican
OH-07 OPEN (Hobson) Solid Republican to Likely Republican
PA-03 Phil English Likely Republican to Lean Republican
PA-05 OPEN (Peterson) Solid Republican to Likely Republican
PA-11 Paul Kanjorksi Likely Democratic to Lean Democratic
PA-15 Charlie Dent Solid Republican to Likely Republican
TX-07 John Culberson Solid Republican to Likely Republican
TX-10 Michael McCaul Solid Republican to Likely Republican
VA-05 Virgil Goode Solid Republican to Likely Republican
VA-10 Frank Wolf Solid Republican to Likely Republican
WV-02 Shelley Moore Capito Likely Republican to Lean Republican
WY-AL OPEN (Cubin) Solid Republican to Likely Republican

Big Shifts

1. NYTimes profiles the demographic change now underway in American higher education, as the old lefty-pinko-commie crowd of the 1960s begins to retire from faculties across the country ... replaced by new faculty who weren't even born when Nixon gave up the presidency. Look for college campuses to return to the somnambulance of the 1950s.

2. The Guv's wife Mary Easley gets a $79,700 pay raise from N.C. State University this week. So guess who's buying lunch.

3. North Carolina's two Catholic bishops say they're uniting to set up a lobbying effort in the NC legislature for Catholic issues. They're upset that that NC House passed a bill permitting stem cell research under limited circumstances last summer.

Wednesday, July 02, 2008

McCain, About to Blow a Fuse

ABC News reporter David Wright, traveling with McCain in Colombia, asked the candidate to explain how his Vietnam experience prepared him for the Presidency.

"McCain became visibly angry .... 'Please,' he said, recoiling back in his seat in distaste at the very question."

McCain had to be rescued by his personal body servant Sen. Lindsey Graham (apparently Joe Liebermann was not available).

We're beginning to get it: John McCain is a house of cards built on his ace, "I was a prisoner of war." If the ace has no particular value for governing the country, he collapses.

The New Subtlety?

"You cannot be blatantly racist anymore."

--Andra Gillespie, Emory University political scientist, talking about candidates' needing to play on people's fears and biases while being more "subtle"

Gillespie said politicians now use tactics described by Princeton University political scientist Tali Mendelberg as "implicit priming."

"You're basically winking as you say 'antibusing' or 'law and order' -- or 'welfare queens' as Ronald Reagan did in the 1980s," Gillespie said. "If you can sort of tap into those internal prejudices ... you can have the same effect as if you straight up use the N-word."

Yeah, "Obama's a homosexual anti-Christ Muslim who's gonna sell your granny into white slavery" is the quintessence of subtle.

Tuesday, July 01, 2008

Web Movements

From techPresident's Daily Digest:
...the group on that has been calling on Barack Obama to vote against a surveillance bill that includes retroactive immunity for the telecom companies, has accrued about 3,000 members since this time yesterday, putting it on pace to be the single largest group on the campaign's social-networking site by Thursday. With 7,200 members right now, it's currently in 4th place and trailing the ambitiously named "1,000,000 Americans for Obama" by about two thousand members. Wired's Ryan Singel has more. At what point, if any, does the Obama campaign take public notice of the group? At what point does the "group" not care, as long as its success draws attention to the anti-FISA fight?

Madam Gas Pump Tells a Joke

What would we do for comedy without an e-mail from Madam Foxx?

This a.m. our comedienne in Mugstomp-on-the-Potomac scolds us that we’ve GOT to reduce our dependence on oil, and she has the sure-fire solution: GET MORE DEPENDENT ON OIL, by letting those humanitarians in Big Oil drill off all our coasts (and behind the sofa, if need be), and soon alternative energies will magically appear, but not until Big Oil sells our natural resources back to us at inflated prices and leverages all the patents to alternative energy solutions so they can sell that to us too.

It’s not enough, those undrilled 68 million acres of federal land that Big Oil already holds drilling rights to. Corporate America has a bigger appetite. And our best interests in the deepest recesses of their microscopic hearts.

Thank gawd Madam Foxx has volunteered to fight for the beast.

Dan Besse has written an excellent letter to the editor (as found on BlueNC):
To the editor:

Pat McCrory has just called millions of North Carolinians "hypocrites."

According to the Raleigh News & Observer (6/30/08), McCrory said that anyone who drives daily and opposes drilling [off North Carolina's coast] is "hypocritical."

In McCrory's view, it doesn't matter whether you drive an efficient car or even a hybrid vehicle. He doesn't care whether you cut back on driving by taking the bus or a bike or a carpool where possible. To him, it makes no difference whether you already use ethanol or biodiesel in your vehicle, or actively support development of biofuels so that you can. It doesn't matter that you don't control where the oil companies drill for oil or from whom they buy it.

If you aren't willing to jeopardize our coast and our fisheries and tourism industries in order to increase Big Oil's profits, then McCrory says you're a hypocrite.

Pat McCrory owes an immediate apology to the people of North Carolina.

General Clark Was Right

So there was Bob Schieffer baiting Gen. Wesley Clark on CBS's "Face the Nation" Sunday morning:
Bob Schieffer: Well you, you went so far as to say that you thought John McCain was, quote, and these are your words, "untested and untried," and I must say I, I had to read that twice, because you're talking about somebody who was a prisoner of war. He was a squadron commander of the largest squadron in the Navy. He's been on the Senate Armed Services Committee for lo these many years. How can you say that John McCain is untested and untried? General?

To which Wesley Clark replied:
GENERAL WESLEY CLARK: Because in the matters of national security policy making, it's a matter of understanding risk. It's a matter of gauging your opponents, and it's a matter of being held accountable. John McCain's never done any of that in his official positions. I certainly honor his service as a prisoner of war. He was a hero to me and to hundreds of thousands and millions of others in Armed Forces as a prisoner of war. He has been a voice on the Senate Armed Services Committee, and he has traveled all over the world. But he hasn't held executive responsibility. That large squadron in Air-- in the Navy that he commanded, it wasn't a wartime squadron. He hasn't been there and ordered the bombs to fall. He hasn't seen what it's like when diplomats come in and say, "I don't know whether we're going to be able to get this point through or not. Do you want to take the risk? What about your reputation? How do we handle it?"

If we can read English, Gen. Clark said

1. He honors McCain's service as a prisoner of war
2. McCain is a hero to hundreds and thousands and millions
3. That doesn't automatically confer on him the ability to be president

Which is demonstrably, irrefutably, and transcendentally true.

The only way this can be used to question anyone's patriotism is to demand that the plain honest truth must not be spoken near any candidate wrapped in a bloody flag. The whole flap has mainly served to underline that John McCain really doesn't have much to offer beyond the aura of victim.