Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Virginia Foxx ... 'What, Me Worry?'

Asked yesterday, Are you worried that the markets are now tanking, after you voted against the financial rescue bill? Madam Virginia Foxx replied:

"No, I'm not. The market may be down, but the Constitution is up!"

Whatever that means.

Such blissful assurance from The Madam! No agonizing, no second-guessing, no visible nervousness, no discernible concern about the lives and finances of her constituents.

Said Ben Salt, spokesman for Roy Carter, the Madam's opponent in this election, "Foxx's blind belief in an unregulated, greed-is-good ideology that leaves no constructive role for government, combined with campaign contributions from the subprime mortgage industry, have seriously affected her judgment."

For specific instances of that (lack of) judgment at work, try these:
Foxx voted NO on HR 3915, "The Mortgage Reform and Anti-Predatory Lending Act," which would have established licensing and registration requirements for residential mortgage originators and would have provided certain minimum standards for consumer mortgage loans. The bill passed the House with bipartisan support 291-127. (Roll Call 1118, Nov. 15, 2007)

Foxx voted NO on HR 1252, the "Federal Gas Price Gouging Prevention Act," which also passed the House with bipartisan support 284-141. (Roll Call 404, May 23, 2007)

More recently, Foxx voted against HR 6853, a bill to establish the FBI's nationwide mortgage fraud coordinator and to address mortgage fraud. The bill passed with overwhelming bipartisan support 350-23. (Roll Call 618, Sept. 22, 2008)

Foxx, true to her species, has usually voted to protect the predators.

Monday, September 29, 2008

A Second N.C. Poll Puts Obama in Lead

It was Republican pollster Rassmussen last week that had Obama leading McCain by two points in N.C.

Today the Democratic polling shop of Public Policy Polling, a home-grown N.C. outfit, has Obama up by the same two points, with the tanking economy leading the way as the number one reason for the turn-around.

"Independents are moving toward Obama in droves," saith PPP. The economy moves them too, of course, but the kind of racist caricaturing of Obama that came to us today in three different e-mails -- Obama as a shoeshine hunched over a triumphantly grinning Sarah Palin's feet -- is not helping John McCain among the independents (who happen to be in large part the youngest members of the electorate and who have managed to get a few steps beyond this kind of gutter racism, unlike their elders).

Palin herself encouraged the racist attacks by referring to Obama as "Sambo" when he beat "that bitch Clinton" in the primaries.

Obama's leading McCain in N.C. polling actually seems to have something to do with Sarah Palin as a negative drag on McCain among Tarheels. The same PPP poll found that Palin's favorability rating went from +8 to -3 in North Carolina in three weeks, a negative shift of 11 points:
She is particularly unpopular with independents in North Carolina. 46% of them now say her selection makes them less likely to vote for John McCain compared to just 36% who say her spot on the ticket makes them more inclined to support him. Even among Republicans enthusiasm for her has dropped from 75% to 67%.

Buyers remorse.

Out of the Loop and Irrelevant

Just hours before members of his own party sent the financial bailout legislation down in flames, Sen. John McCain was in Columbus, Ohio, taking credit for making the deal happen. It's like, uh, nobody among the Republican House leadership bothered to tell their standard-bearer that the measure was going to fail ... as they surely had to know as early as last night.

Makes it clear that McCain's rushing to Washington last week was all part of a staged event so that he could take credit for the legislation. But ... oops. His own party let him down. Only 65 Republican members of the House voted for it. Some 95 Democrats voted against it.

They'll either write a better, fairer bill, or they'll watch the smoke rise over Wall Street a day or two and come back. At least half of my brain is glad they voted it down. The other half is rigid with terror.

Crap Sandwich

That's the term House Minority Leader John Boehner used to describe the financial rescue package, but he could have been speaking of any number of meals served up in the waning days of the failed Bush presidency.

Just this a.m. are headlines that would have attracted major fainting spells in any normal universe but which, under the present circumstances, get only yawns:

Citigroup Eats Wachovia Whole; Charlotte Can't Find Its Pulse

US Congress Passes $25 Billion Loan Guarantees to Fossils in Auto Industry

While her congressional leadership all prepare to munch on Bush's failure, Madam Foxx has been signaling furiously that she'll vote against the financial industry bailout. We think we'd join her in that. We think. Hard to know, since the wrong vote could actually be crucial in sending the whole she-bang into some bottomless tank.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Monkey Behavior and John McCain

Others, we discover this a.m., are also puzzling over John McCain's inability to make eye contact with Barack Obama last night during the first presidential debate. Josh Marshall links to Chris Matthews and Eugene Robinson discussing it last night on teevee, and Josh excerpts opinions from others, including a psychotherapist...
...he doesn't want to make eye contact because he is prone to losing control of his emotions if he deals directly with the other person, or, his anger masks fear and the eye contact may increase or substantiate the fear.

And (my favorite!) the animal behaviorist:
...I study monkey behavior -- low ranking monkeys don't look at high ranking monkeys.

As Arte Johnson used to say, "Verrry interestink!"

The First Debate

We will make an initial concession re: Barack Obama ... he's greatly improved as a debater. He held his own through a flurry of McCain jabs. But he's still too cerebral, too bloodless for our taste, and repeatedly let McCain's soft, unprotected underside go by without sinking teeth. We'd frankly like more killer instinct in our candidate. I counted seven different versions of "John is right" coming out of Obama's mouth.

Meanwhile, McNasty won on points. He dominated the stage. He also revealed, quite incidentally, a "tell" ... he couldn't look Obama in the eye. Couldn't do it. The one time we noticed McCain's eyes locking on Obama's, "the maverick" looked away quickly. Embarrassed? Why?

Obama SHOULD have said, "Look, if you're gonna say this shit about me, you better look me in the eye."

Obama did get better through the evening. He began to counter-punch effectively. Apparently, McCain's relentless attacks came across to many uncommitted voters as snide and condescending, since most of the instant polling we've seen gave the win to Obama. That's not the debate we watched, but who are we to argue with others' perceptions?

The Big Loser: Gov. Sarah Palin. The nit-wit running mate, who cannot form a coherent sentence unless it's written out for her, was nowhere to be seen last night, though Joe Biden was on every talking-head show there was. Palin has become the BubbleBoy of the McCain campaign. Every time she breaks the hermetic seal on her confinement, she reveals a noggin stuffed with insoluble cotton candy, the beauty queen who can't locate the U.S.A. on a world map.

As we almost got a cancellation on the first debate by a grandstanding McCain going to D.C. to save the day, wouldn't surprise us at all if there's a last-minute cancellation of Thursday's face-off between Palin and Biden. The pretext would be inventive, we bet.

Friday, September 26, 2008

He Shaved His Legs for This?

If there is a decided downturn today on Wall Street, John McCain owns it. It's his fault. Evidently, the market dropped 130 points in the first two minutes of trading, discouraged by Sen. McCain's race to put a monkey wrench into the agreement being worked out yesterday.

The Senator comes roaring back to Washington, crying, "I'll fix it! I'll fix it!" and then sits mute through the White House conference, offering precisely zero, while the House Republicans bail out of an agreement that Senate Republicans, Senate Democrats, and the White House had basically agreed on (it was NOT the Paulson plan, which was dead as a doornail approximately 15 minutes after it was proposed).

Some House Republicans are apparently now comfortable taking the whole country down to prove a point: "According to one GOP lawmaker, some House Republicans are saying privately that they'd rather 'let the markets crash' than sign on to a massive bailout. 'For the sake of the altar of the free market system, do you accept a Great Depression?' the member asked."

Unless this is all just a giant fake-out meant to save John McCain's candidacy. Maybe it's all just a set-up so that today McCain could pretend to get the House Republicans in line, who were in line already all along but pretended otherwise. Now wouldn't that be something if McCain could ride triumphantly into Oxford, Mississippi, as the conquering hero who saved the American economy from complete collapse?

It was perfectly clear yesterday at the White House pow-wow that McCain had no plan of his own, other than grandstanding for the photo-ops. Meanwhile, the impression of the man as dangerously erratic sinks deeper into the American psyche.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Obama Now Leading McCain in N.C.

Scott Rasmussen, founder of the Rasmussen Reports polling firm, was also co-founder of ESPN and an evangelical Christian to boot and is generally regarded as a "Republican pollster." His polling company is also credited as one of the most accurate during the 2004 presidential election and the 2006 mid-term elections.


Rasmussen just released a North Carolina poll showing Obama with a two-point lead over McCain.

I've taken a solemn vow not to get distracted by polls, but this is a head-turner.

It Wasn't a Frickin' Stream!

As John McCain was using the financial crisis as a means to save his mortgaged candidacy, and decided to air-drop himself into the negotiations, El Presidente graciously invited both candidates and a host of Congressional leaders in this afternoon to share in the disgrace of his presidency.

For those many voters who told us in 2004 that, although they thought George W. was a bald-faced liar and multitudinously inept, they were afraid "to change horses in the middle of the stream," we wonder how they're feeling now that El Presidente has ridden us into the deep blue sea.

Thrown us into the drink and then announced that we'd have to pay MUCH more for a life preserver and that we needed to pay for it RIGHT NOW.

Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson's original demands of Congress are posted in their entirety here, for your amazement and edification. Be sure to get a load especially of the notorious Section 8, titled "Review," which runs one whole sentence, to wit:
Decisions by the Secretary pursuant to the authority of this Act are non-reviewable and committed to agency discretion, and may not be reviewed by any court of law or any administrative agency.

That's the Bush administration in a nutshell.


Sen. Chris Dodd's counter legislation is also posted here, but we understand that it's been tinkered with further in consultation with U.S. House leaders, so this isn't the final version being discussed this afternoon at the Booby-Hatch (a.k.a., White House).

John McCain's grandstanding about all of this is just this side of pathetic. We're supposed to get BACK on this particular horse/elephant? Gee thanks, but this time I think I'll walk.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Obama and Biden (both!) in Greensboro Saturday

My, that was quick! Barack Obama will be back in North Carolina this Saturday in Greensboro, this time with V.P. running mate Joe Biden.

The event on Washington Street, in front of the Depot in downtown Greensboro, is free and open to the public, and no ticket is required (though the campaign is asking for people to register ahead of time here). Gates will open at 10 a.m. Rally will start at 12:15 p.m.

Anyone doubting that Obama intends to WIN North Carolina?

Presidential Polls: None the Wiser?

This just came to our in-box from TechPresident, seeming to confirm what many of us had suspected about the accuracy of polling this year as the pollsters try to figure out who's gonna show up:
Cell-Only Young Voters Lean Obama: You don't have to follow polls that closely to know of the fears that cell phones threaten to kick the leg out of modern surveying. A new Pew Research Center study finds that while among all voters, modeling off of land lines to capture the leanings of the mobile-only crowd is a satisfactory approximate. But, there's a "but" -- when it comes to those under 30, the gap between land and air widens considerably. Pew found that while 39% of sub-30 registered voters reached by land line are backing McCain, just 27% of cell-only voters lean his way. On the other side of the aisle, the trend goes the other way: just over half of land line voters under 30 are Obama fans, but that number jumps to 62% when the sample is limited to those who only use a mobile phone. If young people turn out in force on election day, those nuances might be multiplied enough to have serious impact on who becomes the next President. But our polls might be none the wiser.

Losing Focuses the Mind

The big-time Raleigh Republican political consultant firm of Fetzer-Stephens says it's getting out of the politics business after November 4th. The fact that they're Liddy Dole's campaign advisors and that she's been on a straight downward track in her try for reelection might have something to do with it. If Liddy Dole is beaten by Kay Hagan, it'll be one of the larger earthquakes in N.C. history.

Fetzer-Stephens' stepping back from politics might also have something to do with another of their recent clients ... Bill Graham's campaign for governor in the Republican primary earlier this year. Graham finished third.

Fetzer-Stephens plans to move into pet adoptions, specializing in kitty-cats.

The Hot (Warm?) Breath of the Law

Maybe there's potential job growth in one sector of our economy at least ... forensic accountants.

We learn this a.m. that the F.B.I. is investigating the American International Group (AIG), Freddie Mac, Fannie Mae, Lehman Bros., IndyMac Bancorp Inc., and Countrywide Financial Corp. for accounting fraud, insider trading, and failure to disclose the value of mortgage-related securities and other investments. In fact, F.B.I. Director Robert Mueller admits that he's got 24 large financial firms under investigation.

'Bout time.

But this news does raise another, related issue. The Bush administration wants Congress to donate up to $1 trillion to this bunch of thieves for their worthless paper "securities"? Boggles the mind.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

The Consequences of Memory

"There really was a wolf here! The flock has scattered! I cried out, 'Wolf!' Why didn't you come?"

An old man tried to comfort the boy as they walked back to the village.

"We'll help you look for the lost sheep in the morning," he said, putting his arm around the youth. "Nobody believes a liar ... even when he is telling the truth!"
--"The Boy Who Cried Wolf"

Reading congressional reaction to the Bush administration's attempt to scare our reps. into agreeing to El Presidente's latest attempt at a massive power grab (a.k.a., the Paulson plan to spend $800 billion hauling Wall Street's nuts out of the brazier), we are strongly reminded of the cautionary tale from kindergarten days, the ending of which is copied above as a life lesson. Our Little Boy in the White House has cried "wolf!" several times too many.

Virginia Foxx (who should know a wolf when she sees one) objected strenuously to the $85 billion bailout of AIG last week, but Foxx says now she's not sure how she'll vote on the $700 billion. If she reads her own quote in the press, surely she'll vote against it: "looks like a blank check with no accountability. Taxpayers deserve better." You betcha, Congresswoman. (Must be a blue moon tonight, since I'm agreeing with The Madam.)

Other N.C. members of both House and Senate are expressing something steelier than mere skepticism. Let's hope their resistance spreads like a virus through Congress:
"I'm not willing to vote for $700 billion to save an industry that comes out just as crooked on the other end. I want real reforms." --Rep. Brad Miller (NC-13)

"Lots of people were asking 'Will there be something in this package for people who are trying to pay off their mortgages but having trouble, and not just people on Wall Street?' " --Rep. Mel Watt (NC-12)

"I just don't like the idea of these corporations, who made all these mistakes, all of a sudden saying, 'OK, Mr. Taxpayer, it's time for you to bail us out. [The Bush administration has] tried to panic the American people." --Walter Jones (NC-3)

"I don't think those advocating for the rescue have fully made their case. I have very serious concerns that this proposal could leave taxpayers holding the bag." --Sen. Elizabeth Dole

"Ultimately, my responsibility is to the American taxpayer, who will be the underwriter of this dramatic proposal." --Rep. Patrick McHenry (NC-10)

Okay, we're reading that the Bushies are compromising on some things, but greater over-sight and accountability...? Dunno. Who does?

Thing is, we can recognize an attempted stampede when we see one, a stampede caused by Grade-A known liars.

John McCain, Getting the Jump on Halloween

"John McCain Loses His Head." That's the title on George Will's column today -- George Will?

A few of the adjectives Will applies to Senator McNasty:





Bottomline: John McCain is unsuited for the presidency. Saith Brother Will.

Monday, September 22, 2008


Some new numbers to conjure with:
1. More than 504,000 voters registered between Jan. 1 and Sept. 1 in North Carolina. Nearly half are Democrats, and unaffiliated voters outnumber Republicans.

2. More than a third, 175,000, are ages 18-24.

3. African-Americans make up 153,000, or 30 percent. About 21 percent of the state's population is black.

4. Democrats are out-registering Republicans in some western North Carolina counties heretofore dominated by the GOP, including Henderson, Transylvania, Polk and Watauga.

5. But it's "unaffiliated" that is the most popular choice for new voters in all four of those counties — as well as in Cherokee, Clay, Macon, McDowell and Swain counties.

6. The GOP is the top party affiliation for new voters in just two WNC counties, Mitchell and Avery.

Source: Asheville Citizen-Times

Sez Carter Wrenn, conservative guru and Jesse Helms operative, "I don't know that you can yet say it's a realignment, but you can sure say it looks like one..."

Sunday, September 21, 2008

1.4 Trillion

That's the projected cost to taxpayers, adding up what we've already spent on Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, AIG, and the new $700 billion Congress is being stampeded into passing before anyone thinks too hard and long about what we're doing.

So how do you like Republican Socialism? It's different from other socialisms. It's Trickle-Down. Bailouts for the already rich mis-managers of financial institutions with apparently no strings attached. Even foreign banks get some love but not the individual homeowner with an adjustable rate mortgage.

All of this has made John McCain hop faster and higher than a frog on a griddle. If the man ever did have a set of core principles, they're dust today. Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson has seen to that. McCain was Mr. Deregulator on Monday. He's not that today, or at least not in public.

But back to that $700 billion (maybe more) they're asking us to give to the Bush administration, which couldn't manage the aftermath of a hurricane (make that two hurricanes, if you've checked in on Texas lately) and which invaded a country we didn't need to invade on false pretenses. They don't want Congress asking too many questions about this bailout. They don't want us citizens to worry.

What, me worry?

In Charlotte, Right Now ... 'Overwhelming Turnout'

Charlotte Observer, observing.

At 1 p.m. workers were moving back barriers to accommodate the "overwhelming" turnout. At 11:45 a.m., the crowd was already stretching from the gate at 4th and South Caldwell streets, down South Caldwell to Interstate 277. "The gates opened at 11 a.m., but the lines are moving slowly."

Part of what Obama said about McCain-on-the-financial-crisis:
"Because while I certainly don't fault Senator McCain for all of the problems we're facing right now, I do fault the economic philosophy he's followed during his 26 years in Washington. It's a philosophy that says it's okay to turn a blind eye to practices that reward financial manipulation instead of sound business decisions. It's a philosophy that says even common-sense regulations are unnecessary and unwise..."

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Brokeback Presidency

El Presidente will be in Greensboro on Sept. 30th for a fundraiser for John McCain, and we can't help noticing the quick exit from his general vicinity of any Republican running in a tight race. Like Liddy Dole, who's already said (cough, cough) that she's planning an aneurysm that day or needs to be at her home in Washington, D.C., on the 30th to pet the cat and pull a dead leaf off the ivy.

But apparently, the 30% of Americans who still approve of George W. Bush mostly live in North Carolina (and some 65% of that 30% live in Blowing Rock!).

Watching El Presidente's (non) performance this past week during the financial market meltdown certainly identifies him as an intellectual partner to McCain. It must be a proud moment for both of them, presiding over the nationalization of private debt. The apotheosis of Conservatism.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

What ARE They Hiding?

One stonewall after another.

The Bush presidency squared.

WSJ on McCain: "Un-Presidential"

The Wall Street Journal this a.m. rips the sheet with John McCain, to wit:

McCain doesn't understand what's happening on Wall Street.

He's scapegoating Christopher Cox, the chairman of the Securities and Exchange Commission: "...this assault on Mr. Cox is both false and deeply unfair. It's also un-Presidential."

"Mr. McCain is sounding like a candidate searching for a political foil rather than a genuine solution. He'll never beat Mr. Obama by running as an angry populist like Al Gore, circa 2000."


Obama in Charlotte Sunday

For a rally, in downtown Charlotte on 4th Street between S. Davidson Street and S. McDowell. Crowd starts gathering at 11 a.m. Event, which is free and open to the public, kicks off at 1 p.m. Tickets are NOT required; however an RSVP is strongly encouraged: http://nc.barackobama.com/CharlotteChange.

Madam Foxx Makes 'The Daily Show' ... AGAIN

On the segment "Drill Pickle." From last night, approximately 1.20 mins. in.

McCain Does/Does Not Support Ending Mountaintop Removal

Take yer pick. "I do," sez he, at a townhall meeting yesterday in Orlando, when asked if he supported an end to the economically and ecologically destructive practice of mountaintop removal coal mining in Appalachia.

But, oops. The McCain campaign, realizing how many of its big donors are profiting from the destruction of Appalachia, immediately denied that their candidate had ever said he favored ending the practice. That's what they told the Charleston Gazette:
McCain's campaign initially denied that the candidate favored an end to mountaintop removal, but backed off that when confronted with video of his remarks during an appearance Monday in Orlando, Fla.

These senior moments are piling up on McCain, who yesterday also got all huffy about NATO ally Spain and was apparently willing to go to war with Zapatero.

McCain needs to up his dosage of fish oil. Immediately.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Clueless John

The word is that if John McCain becomes president, Phil Gramm becomes Secretary of the Treasury. Considering that Gramm, when he was a U.S. senator representing Texas, wrote much of the deregulation that has reaped us this current financial whirlwind, that's certainly a rosy scenario to look forward to.

Watching Sen. McCain flounder about for the last two or three days is truly akin to watching a scuttled ship go down. The sinking has taken considerably longer to achieve:

1. November 2005: Sen. McCain told the Wall Street Journal, "I'm going to be honest: I know a lot less about economics than I do about military and foreign policy issues. I still need to be educated." His hoped-for "education" is complicated by the tension between his plans to continue many of the economic policies of the unpopular incumbent Republican president he hopes to succeed, and his pledges to improve the American economy and shake up Washington.

2. January 2008: at one of the early Republican debates: Sen. McCain argued that Americans were better off than they were eight years ago.

3. By summer 2008: Sen. McCain had released an advertisement that said "we're worse off than we were four years ago." (What happened to those other four years is a deep mystery, and already we've got the beginnings of a migraine!)

4. July 2008: Sen. McCain's top economic adviser, Phil Gramm, has a public tantrum, says that the United States is only in a "mental recession" and has become "a nation of whiners."

5. Monday morning, this week: Sen. McCain says, as he has many times before, that the fundamentals of the economy are "strong," even as Lehman Bros. was filing for bankruptcy, etc.

6. Monday afternoon: the McCain campaign, realizing that their candidate had just stepped off into very deep water, begins lunging for driftwood, tries to explain away McCain's remarks by saying he was referring to the American people as fundamentally strong.

7. By Tuesday a.m.: Sen. McCain appears on all the network & cable morning shows, treading water furiously. He begins calling the current economic situation "a total crisis," denounces "greed" on Wall Street and in Washington, and calls for a commission to study the problems. (Sorry: When Republicans want to study something, it means they intend to DO nothing. Our migraine is now blinding.)

8. By Tuesday p.m.: the McCain campaign has produced a new advertisement asserting that his experience and leadership were necessary in a "time of crisis." Part of the rationale for that claim is supposedly McCain's chairmanship (years ago) of the Senate Commerce Committee, which oversees telecommunications as well as aviation and trade but NOT banking, financial markets, housing, or insurance -- the prime sources of the current crisis.

9. Also Tuesday p.m.: in the increasingly frantic attempt to make McCain seem less clueless, one of his financial advisers loudly proclaims to reporters that McCain was responsible for the development of the Blackberry.

10. By Tuesday night: the McCain senior staff disavows the Blackberry claim -- "obviously a boneheaded joke."

Please, God, make it stop.

Top McCain-Palin official Carly Fiorina said yesterday that neither John McCain nor Sarah Palin is capable of running an American company. Today, McCain campaign officials say we won't be seeing Carly Fiorina on TV any more for awhile.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Unpacking the Soucek Push-Poll

The Soucek push-poll asks voters, "Would you be more or less likely to vote for Cullie Tarleton if you knew...

"...he voted for the Home Transfer Tax?"
Fact: Cullie Tarleton did no such thing. He voted for the 2007 state budget which contained a provision to allow county commissioners to put the question to county voters. Apparently, to Soucek, allowing the voters to decide this matter is a grave sin

"...he voted against a high-risk health insurance pool?"
Fact: Cullie Tarleton actually co-sponsored the bill (H 265) that established the High Risk Insurance pool

"...he supports wind turbines on ridge tops?"
Fact: Cullie Tarleton came out against wind turbines on our mountain ridges when the Utilities Commission was considering a proposal to put some 28 or 29 400-foot tall turbines in Ashe County

"...he has been accused of pork barrel spending, to wit, getting money for the Ashe Airport runway extension when some guy in Raleigh says the money could be spent on other projects?"
Fact: This question defines the sleazy in push-polling (as opposed to just blatant lying: see above). "Would you be more or less likely to vote for John McCain if you knew that someone had accused him of having an illegitimate black baby?" Gosh, you can always find a "someone" (even if you have to invent him) to accuse a faithful public servant of something awful. But Cullie Tarleton is actually proud of being able to get funding for the Ashe County airport, and if you ask around in Ashe County, you're not going to find many over there who consider it contemptible.

Apparently, in Dan Soucek's world, running for public office gives you license to lie.

Monday, September 15, 2008

The Soucek Push Poll

Have received a much closer transcript of the Soucek poll from someone who was taking careful notes throughout, and with all due deference to the Poly Sci Prof who posted a comment on the thread below, it IS a classic push-poll meant to taint the waters:
The poll is being done by Fallon Public Opinion Research out of Columbus, Oh.

Questions are:

-Is our community going in the wrong or right direction?

-What's the most important issue - roads, crime, cost of living, managing housing and growth, improving business, lowering taxes?

-Do you approve of the job the legislature is doing?

-Do you have a favorable or unfavorable opinion of Easley, Cannon, Soucek, Tarleton?

-If election was today, would you vote McCain or Obama?

-If voting today, would you vote for Tarleton/Soucek/Cannon?

- More or less likely to vote for Tarleton if you knew:
He's a retired broadcaster?

Voted for the Home Transfer Tax?

Was the member of the Bd of Dir on a failed S & L that was fined by the feds?

Voted against a hi-risk health insurance pool?

Supports wind turbines on ridge tops?

Was a member of a committee studying how to reduce the high school drop out rate?

Is the incumbent?

Has been accused of pork-barrel spending, to wit, getting money for the Ashe Airport runway extension when some guy in Raleigh says the money could be spent on other projects?

-More or less likely to vote for Soucek if you knew:

He's a helicopter pilot and graduated from West Point?

Opposes the land transfer tax?

Is a small business owner?

Works for Franklin Graham's Samaritan's Purse?

(The questions stopped when I said "less" to that one, even though there were clearly more questions!)

-Do I consider myself a Dem/Repub/Something else?

-Then the same question a second time: If the election were today, would you vote for Tarleton/Souchek/Cannon?

Dan Soucek Is Push-Polling

Now Republican candidate Dan Soucek is jumping on the push-poll "solution": When your campaign is going nowhere, pick up the telephone and start lying.

Many Democrats have gotten a call from an outfit that claims to be non-partisan but is obviously pushing Dan Soucek against incumbent state Rep. Cullie Tarleton. The main points:

1. Dan is some kind of war hero. Since when did graduating from West Point make you a war hero, when you were never in any war zone?

2. The big lie: Soucek’s push-poll claims that Cullie Tarleton voted for a land transfer tax. Cullie Tarleton never voted for a land transfer tax. He voted for the budget in 2007 that contained a provision that county commissions could put the land transfer tax on the ballot and let the people decide if they wanted it. Jerry Butler used this same lie against Steve Goss in his own push-polling.

3. Another big lie: Soucek’s push-poll claims that Cullie Tarleton was investigated by the Feds for a failed Savings & Loan. The truth: Tarleton was long ago on the board of a Savings & Loan but was never investigated for anything.

Dan Soucek is following the same sleazy path taken by dentist Jerry Butler with this underhanded, fundamentally dishonest means of campaigning. Both Soucek and Butler are following the lead of their presidential candidate, who now doesn’t seem to know the truth from increasingly desperate fictions.

Joe Biden in Charlotte


"I could walk from here to Greensboro," he said. "I wouldn't run into one person who thought we'd made economic progress unless I ran into John McCain."

He forgot Virginia Foxx entirely.

"All this stuff about how we're gonna raise your taxes – that's a bunch of malarky," he said.

According to FactCheck.org, Obama would cut taxes for middle-income taxpayers and increase rates only for those with family incomes above $250,000, or individuals with incomes above $200,000.


The Big Lesson of the Bush years: the bigger you are, the faster you circle the drain.

John "I know a lot less about economics" McCain has a plan for plugging the drain? How about Sarah "In what respect, Charlie?" Palin?

But, then, neither does Obama. Nobody has a plan (though we suspect a whole bunch of guys and gals with eye shades are getting headaches over it about now).

The question that we would direct in John McCain's general direction: Why would we want the economics philosophy that has dug this gapping hole back in charge of everything for another four years?

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Alaska Is, uh, Divided on Palin

Get a load of the crowds at the "Alaska Women Reject Palin" rally in Anchorage this morning. This pic and many more are posted at Mudflats, along with a wide-eyed account of the rally, which is apparently unprecedented in Alaska. According to the Mudflats blogger, if you get 25 people out for something, you're considered a big success.

Then take a look at the pics of the competing Welcome Home Sarah Palin rally.

Whatever else these images have to say about Sarah Palin, they certainly affirm that not everyone in Alaska is thrilled with her sudden elevation to the presidency.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

John McCain ... Serial Liar

Don Sipple, a Republican advertising strategist, voiced his concern that John McCain's current lying approach in paid advertising could backfire:
"Any campaign that is taking liberty with the truth and does it in a serial manner will end up paying for it in the end," he said. "But it's very unbecoming to a political figure like John McCain whose flag was planted long ago in ground that was about 'straight talk' and integrity."

After McCain's appearance on "The View" yesterday, during which he puffed up like a self-inflating bladder at the suggestion that he was lying about his opponent, the Obama campaign issued this strong statement:
In running the sleaziest campaign since South Carolina in 2000 and standing by completely debunked lies on national television, it's clear that John McCain would rather lose his integrity than lose an election.

Not that strongly worded statements count for a hill of overcooked beans.

Friday, September 12, 2008

The Madam Loves Her Some Big Oil Companies

On May 23, 2007, Virginia Foxx voted NO on HR 1252, The Federal Price Gouging Prevention Act. The bi-partisan bill passed the House by an overwhelming margin, 284-141. All seven Democrats in the North Carolina delegation voted for the bill, as did three Republicans, including 6th District Representative Howard Coble. Virginia Foxx voted AGAINST a federal law that would protect motorists from being fleeced at the pump.

That becomes more than pertinent today as station owners across the 5th Congressional Dist. jacked up prices AHEAD OF an expected shortage caused by hurricane Ike.

Foxx's challenger Roy Carter issued a press statement this p.m.:
"My opponent has spent weeks in Washington clamoring for more attention on drilling, instead of coming back to the district for constituent services like the other members of Congress," said Carter. "But when given a choice between defending the interests of the average citizen versus the interests of the oil companies, Foxx votes with Big Oil every single time."

She knows who butters her ample slice of bread!

Thursday, September 11, 2008

McNasty Is Scum

Worse than Rovian. You can find this piece of filth on the InnerTubes, but I'm not going to link to it here.

The man went from an admirable U.S. Navy aviator to an intermittently admirable U.S. politician and now has fully morphed into a full-time, grade Z a-hole.

Congratulations, Senator, on your magnificent achievement. You've dismantled your reputation and disrobed your honor in two short weeks.

The Libertarian Is Telling the Truth in N.C.

Mike Munger (gotta love that pic!) is the Libertarian running for N.C. governor, but he isn't invited to participate in the debates between Bev Perdue and Whatisname. In the most recent of those debates Tuesday night, Whatisname chanted the orthodox Republican mantra of "drill, baby, drill!" and the Democrat acted like a long-tailed cat in a room full of rocking chairs, which is what Democrats are doing these days when off-shore drilling comes up (which it does approximately on the hour).

Mike Munger, excluded (we repeat) from the debate, e-mailed his critique of this charade:
The offshore oil drilling "issue" is a gimmick. There will no effect, zero, on prices in N.C. The governor of N.C. needs to work to make sure that HIGH prices have the economic benefit of encouraging the development of alternative energy sources.

Gosh. A man running for office who dares to tell the truth.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Oh, Sweeeet! Those Michigan Republicans!

Another reason "Republican" has become synonymous with "Heartless Bastard" (from the Michigan Messenger):
"The chairman of the Republican Party in Macomb County Michigan, a key swing county in a key swing state, is planning to use a list of foreclosed homes to block people from voting in the upcoming election .... 'We will have a list of foreclosed homes and will make sure people aren't voting from those addresses,' [said] party chairman James Carabelli...." (HT: SR)

Because -- hey! -- people who lose their homes must be dumb, over-extended Democrats or at the very least black.

Extra added irony bonus for this:
[Republican presidential candidate John] McCain's regional headquarters [in Macomb] are housed in the office building of foreclosure specialists Trott & Trott. The firm's founder, David A. Trott, has given at least $23,000 to McCain's campaign and raised between $100,000 and $250,000 for the Republican nominee.

It's just too good ... to be able to suppress the vote and profit off human misery from the same location.

Ralph Stanley Endorses Obama

Inroads in Appalachia, by gawd!

Plus there was Obama live on Channels 5 and 11 yesterday at a town hall gathering in Lebanon, Va., deep in the coalfields.

Before the town hall meeting, he made an unscheduled stop on Abingdon's main drag. At the Pop Ellis Soda Shoppe & Grill he had a vanilla shake (ahem) and got to buddy up with "Big Daddy" Don Garlits, the 76-year-old "father of drag racing." The very Republican Garlits warmed up to Obama appreciably, without committing his vote:
I'm kind of concerned for him [Obama] and John McCain, because they've both got a tough row to hoe. I do lean Republican, and Obama did vote against the war – but Republicans don't do everything right.

Master of understatement, that Big Daddy Garlits!

Palin Might Cost McCain Florida

Ed Koch, the Jewish ex-mayor of New York City, has endorsed Obama, primarily because Sarah Palin "scares the hell out of me." Considering Koch, that's a lotta hell to scare!

Palin's out-of-the-mainstream religion has something to do with the fright, and the fact that she sat in her church in Alaska and listened to David Brickner, the executive director of Jews for Jesus, who described terrorist attacks on Israelis as God's "judgment of unbelief" on Jews who haven't embraced Christianity. For the record, Sarah Palin didn't get up and walk out of the church when Brickner said those things, nor did she later disavow them.

There's a certain whiff of coercion and subterfuge in Mr. Brickner's campaign to convert the Jews ... that ought to alarm the Jews. Tolerant Christians too. Not to mention that moral equivalency Brickner wants to establish between terrorist attacks and failing to pray to Jesus.

Palin may be winning McCain the rural parts of America, but she's potentially losing him Florida.

The Rancid Truth

The McCain campaign is launching the "The Palin Truth Squad," which, considering the source, we assume is meant to counter criticisms of Palin rather than tell the truth about Palin's distortions of her record. But never mind. Look at who's number nine of this dubious list:
• Former Governor Jane Swift (R-MA)
• Governor Linda Lingle (R-HI)
• Lt. Governor Sean Parnell, (R-AK)
• Congresswoman Michele Bachmann (R-MN)
• Congressman Marsha Blackburn (R-TN)
• Congresswoman Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV)
• Congresswoman Thelma Drake (R-VA)
• Congresswoman Mary Fallin (R-OK)
• Congresswoman Virginia Foxx (R-NC)
• Congresswoman Kay Granger (R-TX)
• Congresswoman Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-WA)
• Congresswoman Candice Miller (R-MI)
• Congresswoman Sue Myrick (R-FL)
• Congresswoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL)
• Congresswoman Heather Wilson (R-NM)
• Jo Ann Davidson, RNC Co-Chair
• Rosario Marin, Former U.S. Treasurer
• Meg Stapleton, Former Aide To Governor Palin
• Kristan Cole, Lifelong Friend Of Governor Palin

Virginia Foxx ... on a TRUTH SQUAD???


Virginia I'm-a-Catholic-in-Washington-but-a-Baptist-in-North-Carolina Foxx? The Madam Foxx, who took money and ran in 1994 for the N.C. Senate as a pro-choice woman who supported the right of gay couples to adopt and who is now marching in the Republican robot army as an extreme hard-liner on abortion and gays? The woman whose dishonest antics on the local scene are the stuff of legend?

Yes, THAT Virginia Foxx.

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

Getting the N.C. House On-Camera

Watauga County's own Cullie Tarleton has been appointed to lead a committee looking into the feasibility of putting all sessions of the N.C. House on TV.

Tarleton is a valuable resource. He's a former senior vice president and general manager for WBTV, WBT Radio and WCCB TV and a former member of the board of directors for the National Association of Broadcasters.

Now, about the N.C. Senate...

The Bush McCain Economy?

Reynolds American Inc. is cutting 16 percent of its workforce in Winston-Salem, some 570 jobs.

Some Alaskan Homes Are Like the Holiday Inn

In Alaska, where the same party has been in power for, like, eons, you apparently expect a little corruption from your public officials, but even in Alaska this is bound to raise a few eyebrows.
Gov. Sarah Palin has billed taxpayers for 312 nights spent in her own home during her first 19 months in office, charging a "per diem" allowance intended to cover meals and incidental expenses while traveling on state business.

Apparently, it's kind of an accepted practice among Alaskan politicians, but still ... paying yourself to live at home?

Plus Palin charged a great deal of travel to the state for her kids and husband:
...during the [previous governor] Murkowski years, that practice was questioned, and the state attorney general's office produced an opinion saying laws then in effect required reimbursement for spousal travel.

Who was it who caused a mini-uproar among N.C. Republicans for traveling on the state's dime to Europe? Oh yeah, Mary Easley. Republicans called it corruption. Unjustified, it certainly was. Unjustified, unwise, and frankly, imperial.

Monday, September 08, 2008

Madam Foxx, Sweating It

She must be scared. She just called Roy Carter "a radical environmentalist" in an "urgent" fundraising e-mail message.

Like anybody is gonna believe that kind of hysterical labeling.

Those who live in glass houses might beware of throwing these particular stones. The Madam's current ratings from some relevant environmental orgs.:
League of Conservation Voters rates her at 10%

Republicans for Environmental Protection rates her at 7%

Environment America rates her at 8%

Gosh, anyone the least bit concerned about global warming would be "a radical environmentalist" in this woman's opinion.

College students need to know about this voting record.

Charlie Gibson ... "Self-Gelded"

About the hopes that ABC News's Charles Gibson might actually ask Sarah Palin some substantive questions ... Josh Marshall says don't get your hopes up. Gibson has already "gelded" himself to get the interview.

Montgomery Co., Va., Voter Registrar Tries to Keep Students From Registering

It happens somewhere in this country every election cycle ... some local voting official, alarmed that college students might actually take their voting rights seriously, issues a stern warning that IF college students register in his/her county, they're be subjected to waterboarding or something worse.

The Montgomery County registrar, seeing a huge uptick in registration by Virginia Tech students, issued a press release threatening students that they might no longer be claimed as dependents on their parents' tax returns -- "a statement the Internal Revenue Service says is incorrect" -- or that they could lose scholarships or coverage under their parents' car and health insurance, another whopper.

Let's get this straight: a 1979 Supreme Court decision determined that college students can register and vote wherever they're going to school. End of story.

There are no dire consequences to choosing to exercise this right.

Republicans Hate Celebrities

...except when they have one on their presidential ticket. Sarah Palin meets the requirement for being a celebrity: she's famous for being famous.

But Palin has evidently encountered diminishing returns from her snubbing of the press -- Mike Allen of Politico says "McCain officials could see her reticence was feeding the narrative of her being unprepared for the job" -- so she's agreed to an interview with ABC News's Charles Gibson "later this week."

We assume Palin's handlers picked Gibson cause he's a creampuff. We'll see.

We have a few additional questions we'd like to ask her, in addition to the ones already raised here in previous posts down-column.

1. One of her "qualifications" that the McCain people are trumpeting is Palin's supposed energy expertise. But when the disgraced former Alaska governor Frank Murkowski appointed her to the Oil and Gas Commission in 2003, the Fairbanks Daily News-Miner criticized her qualifications (like, "non-existent") and called the appointment a "political reward" (editorial, 20 Feb. 2003).

2. Palin was repeatedly criticized by the Wasilla newspaper, the Frontiersman, for political cronyism ... firing fully competent city employees and replacing them with her own operatives. "We see a woman who has long-since surrendered her ideals to a political machine," wrote the Frontiersman on 2 July 1997.

3. She lied. "Mayor Palin fails to have a firm grasp of something very simple: the truth." (Frontiersman editorial)

4. Palin used taxpayer resources for her unsuccessful 2002 race for Alaska Lt. Gov. Palin used city employees, telephones, computers, and fax machines for campaign fundraising and production of campaign literature. On her candidate registration form, she used her city hall fax number and mayoral e-mail address. Records show that Wasilla city property was used to contact supporters, donors, and media contacts and to purchase advertising (Anchorage Daily News 21 July 2006).

5. Palin can't handle criticism. "Wasilla is led by a woman who will tolerate no one who questions her actions or her authority" (Frontiersman, 7 March 1997). She fired the police chief, the museum director, and the librarian (later rehired after swearing fealty), and forced the planning director and public works supervisor to resign. After she fired the police chief, one finalist to replace him withdrew his application because he said "it looked more like a political appointment than a law enforcement decision" (Frontiersman, 19 March 1997).

Sources: The Book on Sarah Palin

Sunday, September 07, 2008

Palin: Libertarian on Everything But Women's Rights

If John McCain is elected president on November 4, Sarah Palin could become president in precisely four and a half months. When's the last time you remember a presumptive president being kept in seclusion because any question about her record, her preparation, her competence is considered "sexist"? Because the news media is not allowed to question her, it falls to ordinary citizens.

While advocating the power of the State to force women to give birth, Palin is very supportive of the consumption of alcohol. While mayor of Wasilla in 1996, Palin opposed a city ordinance that would have required bars and liquor stores to close at 2:30 a.m. on weekdays (3:00 a.m. on weekends) and stay closed until 8:00 a.m. At that time – and still? – Alaska state law allowed bars and liquor stores to stay open until 5:00 a.m. (Wasilla Frontiersman, 28 Aug. 1996).

(She took her stand on open bars shortly before receiving campaign contributions from local bar owners: "Within two weeks of her vote, the Mug-Shot contributed $200 and Wasilla Bar $500 to Palin's campaign for mayor" – Wasilla Frontiersman, 13 Dec. 1996.)

In 2001, when a law was introduced in the Alaska state legislature to limit the open hours of bars and liquor stores, Palin signed a resolution opposing it (Wasilla City Council resolution 01-07, 26 Feb. 2001).

Because the chief of police in Wasilla supported restricting bar hours as a way to combat alcohol-related traffic accidents, and because he opposed Palin's administrative policy allowing citizens to carry firearms in city hall and the library, the chief of police supported Palin's opponent in her reelection campaign for mayor of Wasilla. After Palin won, she fired the police chief. She eventually hired as his replacement a new chief who boasted that he had no interest in limiting bar hours, because "I don't think the answer to crime is restricting people's freedom more and more" (Anchorage Daily News, 28 March 1997; Frontiersman, 4 July 1997).

And by the way: Palin admitted in 2006 in she had smoked pot: "Palin said she has smoked marijuana – remember, it was legal under state law, she said, even if illegal under U.S. law – but says she didn't like it and doesn't smoke it now. 'I can't claim a Bill Clinton and say that I never inhaled' " (Anchorage Daily News, 6 Aug. 2006).

Sources: The Book on Sarah Palin

Palin Used Public Money To Fund Anti-Abortion Group

The McCain campaign is so sure of its judgment in picking Sarah Palin for veep that they're keeping her away from the press until she feels "comfortable." So it falls to individual citizens to go digging.

While mayor of Wasilla, Sarah Palin approved giving $2,354 of the city’s money appropriated through the Alaska Revenue Sharing fund to the Valley Crisis Pregnancy Center, a militant anti-abortion "counseling service" (Ordinance 97-23, 14 April 1997). While Palin was on the board of Valley Hospital, another more substantial grant was given to the same anti-abortion group (Anchorage Daily News, 28 Dec. 1999).

Palin is on the record multiple times opposing the rights of women to abortion. She has consistently defined herself as a hard-line social conservative who opposes abortion even in cases of rape or incest. In 2006 she said she supported an amendment to the Alaska Constitution denying any right to an abortion (Alaska Family Council Voter Guide, 22 Aug. 2006). She sent an e-mail to the Alaska Right to Life Board saying she was "as pro-life as any candidate can be" (Anchorage Daily News, 6 Aug. 2006).

The Anchorage Daily News described Palin's stance as "extreme" (Editorial, 24 Aug. 2006).

Sources: The Book on Sarah Palin

Saturday, September 06, 2008

Another Unwelcome Ripple

We're beginning to figger out the Republican philosophy for handling the U.S. economy: privatize profits while socializing losses. As in ... Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. Seems ever more likely that we taxpayers will be saddled with the losses from bad management, while the CEOs and their fellow suits make off with the profits.

But immediately after reading about Fannie and Freddie and little Hankie Paulson, the Bush administration treasury secretary, and their mutual benefit tea party, we also noticed this warning note about the Dell manufacturing plant in Winston-Salem.

The Wall Street Journal is saying that Dell may sell the plant just three years after the corporation received more than $6.5 million in city incentives and nearly $1.2 million in county incentives. There's something called a "claw-back clause" in the incentive deal that would force the company (supposedly) to pay back up-front incentives if it sells or closes the plant before Oct. 2010. If it closes or sells the plant between 2010 and 2015, it's liable for only half the incentives.

That's if Dell decides to honor the contract. A company that needs to downsize as badly as the W-S Journal suggests it does might find ways to get outta town scot free. Isn't that why they have lawyers?

What's up with Dell's cash-flow?
The plant and the employees ... are on the wrong side of an industrywide trend toward slowing desktop sales and surging notebook sales as the price of notebooks continues to fall. Dell has said repeatedly that it has no plans to assemble notebooks at the Forsyth plant, citing much lower production costs overseas.

Friday, September 05, 2008

The Book on Sarah Palin

...is here. Over 60 pages of heavily researched, thoroughly footnoted vetting carried out in 2006 by the Alaska Democratic Party.

It's too late for me today to begin delving into this exhaustive material, but tomorrow ... tomorrow.

For this -- and for so much else! -- our great thanks to the Alaskan blogger at Mudflats. (For example, Mudflats has new posts about the Palin book-banning gambit at Wasilla Public Library and her apparent plan to go into seclusion back in her home state until September 11th.)

N.C. Republicans for Obama

N.C. Republicans for Obama launched just yesterday, but already there are over 200 in-state Republicans who've signed the petition, including a small handful from Boone. You can join the group here. HT: Under the Dome

Some New Vocabulary

palin, adj., disappointing; used for emotional lows following unusual states of euphoria

vet, vb., 1. to ignore; to overlook negative reality in search of euphoria; 2. to scrub clean following revelations; 3. to chase a horse once it's left the barn

mccainment, noun, an emotional blockade based on claims of superior patriotism; a preemptive disablement of criticism; also, erratic behavior

situational morals, noun, adjustments made to belief systems based on political necessity (see: Republican Party)

uppity, adj., daring to come in the front door if the back door is locked

Stonewall Palin

The gutsy Anchorage Daily News says Sarah Palin is stonewalling the investigation into the firing of Alaska's Public Safety Commissioner Walt Monegan and calls on her to come clean.

"It's time for the subpoenas," the editors write.


People have been asking me why I haven't written anything about McCain's speech last night. Well, I thought for once I would be polite, turn away in silence from the gawdawfulest speech I've seen in some time. It was positively painful to sit through. I was embarrassed for the poor man.

Now I've said something.

Junior Johnson Endorses Roy Carter for Congress


As endorsements go, this one's fairly significant in the 5th Dist.

And by the way, recent polling shows the Carter-Foxx match-up the closest Congressional district race in the state of North Carolina, according to Tom Jensen at Public Policy Polling.

Thursday, September 04, 2008

The Palin Delivered the Down Payment, But How About the Principal?

She did a great job. She hauled a great big ole slab of red moose meat into the Xcel Center in St. Paul and threw it out for the hungry wolves. She solidified the base of the Republican Party.

'Course, solidifying the base early in September kinda highlights the problem McCain has, doesn't it? Forget the swing voters! Let's go get all those anti-choice, anti-environment, anti-gay culture warriors on board. To hell with everyone else.

But the questions about Palin remain. Eventually, maybe, her McCain palace guard will allow her in front of the press.

1. What exactly is her opinion about the Iraq War. One minute she says it's a "task from God" and the next (after her own son gets called up?) it's apparently a "war over energy sources" (i.e., oil?). In March she was far off the McCain reservation: "I want to know that we have an exit plan in place."

2. When is she going to come clean about her actual record on pork-barrel spending? She SUPPORTED the "bridge to nowhere" during her 2006 campaign for governor (here). She didn't decide to oppose the bridge until AFTER Congress killed the earmark and it became a national embarrassment. As mayor of Wasilla, she hired a private lobbyist, sought, and eventually received $27 million in earmarks from the federal government.

3. She denies man-made global warming, and as governor she is suing the federal government to lift the protected species status of polar bears. In 2007 she illegally established a $150 bounty per animal on "fly-by wolf hunting," which was soon overturned by a state court.

4. Speaking to the Wasilla Assembly of God church in June, Palin said it was clearly "God's will" that a $30 billion national gas pipeline project be built.

5. She believes in teaching creationism in public schools.

6. She opposes abortion even in cases of rape or incest, slashed state funding to help teenage mothers, and advocates abstinence-only sex-education programs. In other words, she has the gall to declare that her own daughter's "choice" to have a baby is nobody's business but wants us to elect her so that she can empower the federal government to remove most such choices from other women.

7. Palin cheered on the Alaska Independence Party, which advocates for secession of the state from the federal union.

That's just a bare START on some issues and areas of concern that deserve a few questions, followed by a few answers.

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

Palin Used Eminent Domain to Seize Private Property

How much is the hard right willing to swallow to stay in love with The Palin?

As mayor of Wasilla, she used eminent domain powers to seize land for the city's sports complex, and that seizure is now costing local taxpayers over $1 million in a judgment against it ... not counting what was initially paid and all the legal costs. The total cost is expected to go over $2 million.

A Junior-League Dictator

We learn the following about Sarah Palin as a city official of Wasilla, Alaska:
1. Sarah Palin first ran for mayor in 1996 as a 32-year-old. Though town council races are officially non-partisan, Palin brought Republican wedge politics to the race, particularly anti-abortion flyers and claims about her own (superior) Christianity against an incumbent mayor who had been raised a Lutheran but who was also not "a church-going guy." The local Republican Party ran ads for Palin, and she won.

2. She was very pro-development as mayor, bringing in big box stores, a $15 million sports complex (paid for with taxpayer money), and the small town of 5,000 grew rapidly.

3. Her first months in office as mayor were "so jarring — and so alienating — that an effort was made to force a recall." About 100 people attended a meeting to discuss organizing a recall vote, but the idea was later dropped.

4. At first she was hot to censor and even ban some books from the city library. She approached the librarian. The librarian resisted. Mayor Palin backed off the censorship idea but fired the librarian. An uproar over the firing caused Palin to reinstate the librarian (who soon left the area).

5. Palin forced the resignations of town employees who had publicly backed the former mayor -- "something virtually unheard of in Wasilla in past elections. The public works director, city planner, museum director and others were forced out. The police chief, Irl Stambaugh, was later fired outright."

6. Palin issued "a surprise edict: No employee was to talk to the news media without her permission."

7. In her second term as mayor, she pushed through a half-cent raise in the local sales tax to pay for the $15 million sports complex.

8. Palin had campaigned promising to cut her own full-time salary. She did reduce it from about $68,000 to about $64,000, but she also hired a city administrator, adding his salary to the payroll. Result: a net increase in city salaries.

9. When Palin completed her second and final term in 2002, her stepmother-in-law, Faye Palin, ran to succeed her. Faye Palin supported abortion rights and was registered as unaffiliated, not Republican. So Palin threw her weight behind another woman in the race, a religious conservative, who won.

Fiscal Conservative?

A Wasilla resident who has known Palin since 1992 has written up her assessment of the mayor (full, long text here). A brief excerpt:
During her mayoral administration most of the actual work of running this small city was turned over to an administrator. She had been pushed to hire this administrator by party power-brokers after she had gotten herself into some trouble over precipitous firings which had given rise to a recall campaign.

Sarah campaigned in Wasilla as a "fiscal conservative." During her 6 years as Mayor, she increased general government expenditures by over 33%. During those same 6 years the amount of taxes collected by the City increased by 38%. This was during a period of low inflation (1996-2002). She reduced progressive property taxes and increased a regressive sales tax which taxed even food. The tax cuts that she promoted benefited large corporate property owners way more than they benefited residents.

The huge increases in tax revenues during her mayoral administration weren't enough to fund everything on her wish list though. Borrowed money was needed, too. She inherited a city with zero debt, but left it with indebtedness of over $22 million....

Earlier this year in her capacity as governor of Alaska, Palin used her line-item veto to slash funding for a state program benefiting teen mothers in need of a place to live.


Tuesday, September 02, 2008

Big Tentism

Ex-presidential candidate Ron Paul won't be allowed to address the Republican National Convention, and Paul himself says that John McCain apparently wants to keep him off the convention floor.

However, The Palin said earlier this year that she found Paul way cool. But that's nothing: as recently as a month ago, The Palin was also agreeing with the Obama energy plan. (HT: LO)

'The First Dude' of Alaska

Another Alaska blog -- this one by a former state legislator -- with a good deal of info about Todd Palin's influence on state government.

Not that there's anything wrong with that.

Monday, September 01, 2008

Northern Exposure

Just as we were learning to type "abstinence-only programs obviously really work," and before we could even begin to look into the obvious comforts of blaming God for global-warming, The Palin lawyers up. Yikes! Too many new developments in too short a time.

We can't even begin to keep up any more with which version of reality we're supposed to believe. And what does the verb "to vet" actually mean?

One thing, though, is (fer shore!) proven beyond any shadow of a doubt: John McCain is one hell of a decision-maker.

Meanwhile, the readership of the only blog north of 60 degrees of latitude, "Mudflats," has just jumped 1,000 percent, cause this blogger knows a whole lot about The Palin. As only a fellow Alaskan could.

Labor Day

This holiday began a lot longer ago than you may think. The Central Labor Union of New York, an early confederation of workers, help the first parade and picnic of laborers in New York on the first Monday in September in 1882. A machinist named Matthew Maguire, later the secretary of Local 344 of the International Association of Machinists in Paterson, N.J., is credited with proposing the holiday.

By 1884 the First-Monday-in-September parade in New York had grown exponentially. By the first Monday in September 1885, Labor Day was being celebrated by workingmen in many industrialized cities across the country.

In 1887, Oregon, Colorado, New York, Massachusetts, and New Jersey recognized Labor Day as state holidays. Other states followed. Then in 1894, the U.S. Congress passed a law recognizing Labor Day as an official national holiday.

Classic Labor Day celebrations have always included a street parade of union members "to exhibit to the public the strength and esprit de corps of the trade and labor organizations of the community, followed by a festival for the recreation and amusement of the workers and their families."

While the holiday became identified with the Democratic Party, in Newport, Rhode Island, and other watering holes of the super-rich, Labor Day became a boundary marker after which it was considered unfashionable to wear summer whites.

To each his own.