Saturday, July 31, 2010

Judge Rules in Favor of Protecting Anonymity of Website Commenters

Interesting decision by a Gaston County Superior Court judge RE the privilege of a newspaper website NOT to cough up the identity or tracking info for an anonymous commenter on one of their news articles.

At the moment the confidentiality order seems to apply narrowly to print publications with a web presence, but the principle ought to apply generally across Right and Left Blogistan. Ought to.

We say that having been approached in the past by the SBI to give up info on certain anonymous posters to this site. In that instance, we had already deleted the comments as rank abuse and had no way to recover the IP addresses. Thank gawd.

Useful Info

As in "19 Simple Tricks You Need To Know" for Google searches.

Friday, July 30, 2010

Foxx: We Don't Need No Freakin' Reform of Off-Shore Drilling!

Congresswoman Virginia Foxx this afternoon voted against H.R. 3534, the Consolidated Land, Energy, and Aquatic Resources (CLEAR) Act, which is the most significant reform of the oil industry in, like, centuries.

The new law would (among other things):
require oil company CEOs to certify that their well designs are safe, that their blowout preventers have redundant systems for all foreseeable blowout scenarios and failure modes, and that the company can promptly control and stop a blowout if the blowout preventer and other well control measures fail.

set minimum standards for blowout preventers.

require that blowout preventers, well designs, and cementing programs and procedures be certified as safe by independent, third-party inspectors.

Who's a tool for the oil industry? Madam Foxx is a tool for the oil industry.

Congressional Republicans Willing To Kill Citizens for Partisanship

Because the James Zadroga 9/11 Health and Compensation Act required a two-thirds majority to pass the House yesterday, House Republicans were able to corral enough votes to defeat the bill. The law would have provided free health care to fire fighters and first responders affected during the 9/11 rescue and recovery. Many of those men and women are debilitated and literally dying from inhaling toxic air. But because Republicans would far rather deny the Democrats any successful legislation, they vote it down. Way to fight terrorism, Madam Foxx!

Then, to show that they're every bit as small-minded and mean as their House colleagues, Senate Republicans successfully filibustered a bill to aid small businesses with expanded loan programs and tax breaks.

These are the creatures who want the American people to put them back in charge.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Don't Ask, Don't Tell

Coal company executives say they plan to target certain Congressmen they deem hostile to coal, and following the Supreme Court decision in Citizens United v. FEC, corporations are unleashed. An International Coal Group VP, in a letter leaked to the Lexington Herald-Leader, wrote other coal executives: "With the Supreme Court ruling, we are in a position to be able to take corporate positions that were not previously available in allowing our voices to be heard." Allowing their voices to be heard, huh? Which is to say, allowing them to spend unlimited piles of cash smearing the lives and careers of Democrat Rep. Ben Chandler of Kentucky and Democrat Rep. Nick Rahall of West Virginia, just for starters.

From Politico:
The U.S. Chamber of Commerce has already vowed to invest $75 million in the mid-term elections. And health insurers are also planning to play big in November....

And what minority group in Congress, armed with the sure-fire knee-capper called the filibuster, refused this week to even allow discussion of a disclosure law "which would require corporations and interest groups to identify themselves when they sponsor political ads and, in the case of smaller organizations, to reveal their donors"?

If you guessed "the Republicans in the U.S. Senate," then DING DING DING, you are our winner.

Republicans are struttin' right now, assured in their belief that the American people will want to put American corporations in charge of every freakin' thing in the universe, with the Republicans as their willing toadies.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

How To Play Footsie

You have to go look for yourself:
CONTEST TIME! The first person who can guess which shoes in the photo below belong to [ESPN personality Erin] Andrews and which belong to Rep. Virginia Foxx (R-NC) wins a t-shirt.

Numbers for Your Coffee Hour

According to this Census study, and based on 2007 statistics (that is to say, based on numbers gathered prior to the 2008 Bush Crash), 18.2 percent of North Carolina's population, just over 1.45 million people, were without health care coverage. The highest county rate of uninsured is in Watauga at 26.6 percent.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Jordan Push-Polling Against Cullie Tarleton

Why do they always resort to this? Because they can't win on their own merits or virtues.

Jonathan Jordan, the Republican from Ashe County running against Cullie Tarleton, is polling in this district with this choice question: Would you be more or less inclined to vote for Cullie Tarleton if you knew he were an investment banker who had been charged with embezzlement?

Would you be more or less inclined to vote for Jonathan Jordan if you knew he was a sleazebag lawyer?

For the record, Cullie Tarleton was not an investment banker and has never been charged with anything. Plus he's a good man, which is something we can't say for Mr. Jordan.

Romney Slops the Hog

Mitt Romney, once and future presidential candidate and the most boring Republican on the planet, just gave $2,500 to Virginia Foxx, the charm-free battleax of the Republican right.

Romney gets his friends the old-fashioned way. He buys them.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Cutting Off the Pissing Contests

If you comment here, you're going to have to say something germane, or interesting, to get posted. The unending insults hurled back & forth are, above all, just plain boring and tend to drive away serious discussion.

Nuff said.

Why Is This Man Laughing?

Why? Because it's Samuel Alito, and it's HIS Supreme Court, bitch!

When Alito replaced Sandra Day O'Connor on the Court in 2006, he shifted the Supremes decisively to the right. Analysis by Adam Liptak shows that the Alito court has issued more pro-big business, more pro-Big Brother decisions at a rate unmatched since 1953.

Who remembers now that Alito was George W. Bush's second choice, after Harriet Miers crashed and burned, or rather after she got chucked on the funeral pyre by Bush's conservative puppet-masters?

Liptak points to a couple of key Alito-in-the-majority decisions that specifically trashed earlier precedents set by Sandra Day O'Connor: Citizens United v. FEC, which sold our elections system to the highest bidder; and Hudson v. Michigan, which ruled that armed agents of the government can storm your house, seize whatever evidence they find of anything, and use that evidence in court against you. The Hudson v. Michigan ruling strikes directly at the Fourth Amendment, which used to protect citizens against unreasonable searches and seizures.

Feeling his oats, Samuel Alito is. He's the dude who mouthed the words "not true" when President Obama dared criticize the Citizens United decision in his State of the Union address.

George Bush's lasting, poisonous legacy.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

There's Money in Jail

Sure, it's fine to have a brand new county prison like Ashe County's, but we're not so sure about the wisdom of bragging in public about how much money you're making by incarcerating prisoners from other counties.

Friday, July 23, 2010

Her Royal Highness Virginia Foxx

This item from "Heard on the Hill" in Roll Call (sorry: can't link to the whole article ... paid subscribers only):
[Our] tipster eyed the North Carolina Republican and some of her staff on Tuesday evening getting out of an elevator in the basement of the Longworth House Office Building. As Foxx exited, two lost-looking female interns entered the "Members Only" car. Foxx spoke up: "Whoa, where do you think you are going?" our spy says Foxx yelled. The interns turned and faced the Congresswoman, who told them: "This elevator is for Members only."

The interns, heads held low, left the scene. Meanwhile, Foxx continued to rant to her aides. "The things we have to put up with around here," Foxx remarked.

Oh the repugnant odor of mere citizens!

Added at 9:45 a.m.: Here's a link to a PDF of the complete item in Roll Call.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Okay, Let's Talk Propaganda, Madam Foxx

The following courtesy of the Tarheel Tribune, reporting on the GOP's attend to defund money for signs designating to the public local projects that are part of The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act:
"In North Carolina, the office of 5th District GOP Rep. Virginia Foxx has estimated that most of the signs in the Tar Heel State run $2,500. Foxx led the Republican debate on the bill when it was brought to the House floor July 14 as an amendment to H.R. 1722....

"During the floor debate, Republicans portrayed the signage as propaganda...."

Of course it's propaganda. So what's your point, Madam Foxx?

O you who send out hundreds of thousands of pieces of slick propaganda at taxpayer's expense under your free "franking" privileges as a member of the House of Reps. The last figures we saw showed that Madam Foxx sent more than 1.6 million pieces of mail in 2005 and 2006, and she hasn't slacked off a bit since then. In 2006 alone, Foxx sent 785,415 pieces of mail at a cost of $164,548.

So, yes, she's just sooo concerned about wasting taxpayer money on costly propaganda!

State Health Plan Overpaid Watauga Medical Center

If we're reading this audit report correctly, Watauga Medical Center was overpaid by the state employees health plan in the amount of $190,000+ over five years, was ordered by the Attorney General back in February to refund the money, and then renegotiated that refund settlement amount down to $10,000. (The portal into this flap supplied by "Under the Dome."

Note to Self: Hire the Watauga Medical Center negotiators when ass is in crack.

Discrimination Gets Costly

While maintaining that it did nothing wrong, a rural school district in Mississippi has agreed to pay a settlement of $35,000 to a gay student it told could not attend the senior prom with her girlfriend. The school later canceled the senior prom altogether to prevent The Gay from contaminating the punch.

That school district (yeah, totally innocent) also agreed to pay the attorney's fees, which probably ain't chicken scratch.

If this whole episode wasn't already comical in the 21st Century, the continued insistence by school officials that they did nothing wrong, in light of their coughing up the damages, is HIGH-larious.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Thanks for Precisely Nothing, Sen. Burr!

During the last six weeks, some 20,000 unemployed North Carolinians were shit out of luck when their unemployment benefits simply ran out. Today, over the strenuous objections of Sen. Dick Burr, those unemployment benefits will be extended with the breaking of the Republican filibuster. Every Republican senator, save Olympia Snowe of Maine, voted along with Sen. Burr to deepen the misery of out-of-work citizens suffering through this economic collapse through no fault of their own.

Despite the fact that there are (on average) five applicants for every job opening, Biggus Dickus continued to blame the victims of unemployment for their own predicament.

Stop Islamic Homosexuals From Having Abortions ... Now!

Ah! To be street-protesting in Charlotte in July!

Especially such clear and present dangers!

Party of the Turnstile

It's as predictable as mildew in August. Republicans always want to limit ballot access.

Under attack by the GOP in Cumberland County ... early voting sites.

I recall sitting at a meeting of the Watauga County Board of Elections a few years back and hearing the Republican member of that board argue against polling sites on the ASU campus because of the greater risk of rape of elderly women.


If they could only limit voting to people who think exactly as they do, then the Republicans could win every time.

New Light on Twilight Time

Kinda HUGE news in this a.m.'s Winston-Salem Journal about brain-imaging technology that can detect the presence of a protein called amyloid in spinal fluid. Amyloid protein creates plaque in the brain, which is a symptom of Alzheimer's disease.

The newspaper is running a poll: "Would you want to be tested for Alzheimer's disease before any symptoms appear?" Because that's where this brain-imaging technology is headed ... early diagnosis of Alzheimer's.

What's the catch? There's no known cure for Alzheimer's (at the moment), so you might only be increasing your misery to know ten years out that you're inevitably going to lose your mind.

I voted "yes" in the poll. With no hesitation whatsoever.

Monday, July 19, 2010

The Anti-Avatar

The chain-smoking former LAPD cop, investigative journalist, and deep economic thinker Michael Ruppert ... the acerbic antidote to all the dreamy romanticism of James Cameron's Pandora.

Going from "Avatar" to "Collapse" on the ole DVD is enough to give one psychological whiplash, if not a complete, raging case of the willies.

Aside from predicting, accurately and pretty much to the year, the current financial collapse, Ruppert has exposed a goodly pile of what he calls the utter "bullshit" that the American public gulps by the spoonful. In this film, well before the Tea Party was a gleam in Sarah Palin's eye, he also 'splains the confused rage that gave rise to that movement and what the future holds.

Can't do better than quote Owen Gleiberman of Entertainment Weekly about how this film will work on your head: "You may want to dispute [Ruppert], but more than that you'll want to hear him, because what he says -- right or wrong, prophecy or paranoia -- takes up residence in your mind."

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Whole Lotta Water in Denial

Do we believe the Tea Party, whose leaders say that the only racism at Tea Party rallies is brought in by outside agitators, or our lying eyes?

It's Not Enough To Just Have a Gun. You Need To Wave It in the Air

The Tea Party will be throwing a rally at the Guilford Courthouse Battleground Park in Greensboro in August demanding that the government (a.k.a., the Enemy) restore the Constitution NOW! BYOG (bring your own gun). In fact, from what we're reading, a side-arm is pretty much expected on every attendee, sort of like a prom corsage (though less fragrant).

All that angry brandishing is meant to convey a message which would appear to be, "We're angry, and we're armed. Got a problem with that?"

How to win friends and influence people, Tea Party style.

Their line-up of announced speakers includes that paragon of Republican electability Vernon Robinson, who ran against Virginia Foxx in the 2004 primary and called her a lesbo-loving liberal. Other scheduled speakers include the Republican congressional candidates in the 4th and in the 13th districts, along with (this is odd) one June Griffin, who is running for Governor of Tennessee.

Prominently invited (though apparently playing coy, maybe waiting for the mention of big bucks in pay) is failed governor of Alaska, Sarah Palin. We know she's got a gun.

Interestingly, no currently sitting Republican Congressional incumbent is on that illustrious list of dignataries. You know what they say, guys ... no guts, no glory.

Friday, July 16, 2010

Does Foxx Care? Does a Bear Make Doo-Doo in a Toto Neorest 600 Toilet?

Saul Friedman, yesterday:
I nearly forgot to include among the stupid or dumb death panel liars and nuts, Rep. Virginia Foxx, R., N.C., who seems like a benign grandma, until she speaks. On the hate crimes legislation, passed as a result of the beating death of a gay man, Matthew Shepard, Foxx voted against it and said that reports that he was beaten because he was gay was "a hoax that continues to be used as an excuse for passing hate crime bills." Shepard's mother heard that piece of cruelty in the gallery.

In September of 2005, Foxx was one of 11 members of Congress to vote against a $51 million aid package, supported by George W. Bush, for victims of Katrina. And she was one of 33 Republicans to vote against an extension of the 1964 Voting Rights Act. But her fame rests with her opposition to the health care reforms, which will make insurance, like the kind Foxx and other lawmakers have, more affordable for an estimated 40 million people who are uninsured.

But last July, Foxx said, "There are no Americans who don't have health care." Echoing Bush's assertion that people can always go to emergency rooms, she added, "Everybody in this country has access to health care. We do have 7.5 million Americans who want to purchase health insurance who cannot afford it." And in a floor speech, she took the death panels lie to this absurd conclusion: "I believe we have more to fear from the potential of that bill passing than we do from any terrorist right now in any country .... The [health reform bill] will put seniors in a position of being put to death by their government." Unfortunately, one of the dimmer lights in the U.S. Senate, Charles Grassley, R., Iowa, joined in on that stupidity. The Institute of Medicine says that 18,000 to 22,000 deaths, including some of Foxx's constituents, are recorded each year among those who are uninsured. Does Foxx care?

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Birds With Two Right Wings

Virginia Foxx, posing with Pat Boone in the Capitol this morning.

Pat Boone ... who last year compared liberalism to the "black, filthy cells" of cancer.

Pat Boone ... who this year described "homosexual activists" protesting Proposition 8 in California as "sexual jihadists" every bit as dangerous as the Muslim extremists who killed people indiscriminantly in Mumbai.

Pat Boone ... who campaigned for Republican Ernie Fletcher in the 2007 Kentucky gubernatorial election by charging that Democratic candidate Steve Beshear would support "every homosexual cause" -- "Now do you want a governor who'd like Kentucky to be another San Francisco?"

[What is it they say about these aging male beauty queens with an anti-gay fetish? Oh, yeah, right!]

This is the sort of celeb that Virginia Foxx can match, quote for quote.

Until We’re All Blue in the Face

I resisted "Avatar" last winter. Wouldn't shell out the bucks to go see it on the big screen. And applauded when "The Hurt Locker" beat it out for Best Picture. Mainly because I'm sick of CGI, "computer-generated imagery." CGI in movies strikes me as a fundamental gyp, fakery that leaves honest, adult story-telling behind for the sake of teenage thrills and debilitating fantasy. Shorthand: I'm old.

Finally ran out of anything else to gawk at, so we watched "Avatar" (minus the 3-D, thank goodness, and don't get me started on that newest fad).

Okay, I was impressed by the "Avatar" landscape and was moved emotionally by the story.

Even though the ending was pure romantic hogwash. No indigenous race/culture is going to beat the military-industrial complex. Planet-killing is our destiny now, and I'm afraid that Mother worship and the binding of our feely threads of being with the feely threads of life around us ain't gonna defeat superior fire-power (and if you don't know what I'm talking about, it's because you haven't seen the movie).

The plot of "Avatar" is pure hokum, straight out of 1930s Johnny Weismuller Tarzan movies, wherein greedy gold hunters exploited the natives for wealth and finally got their comeuppance from stampeding elephants, etc. The greedy human impulses of 1936 got exhiliratingly defeated by Nature and the Natural Man (we know him by his loincloth and his faithful companion Cheetah). Just like in "Avatar."

I admit to the power of that tale as a fantasy. And wish to God it could be true.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Miracle at Chimney Rock

Watching the flight of peregrine falcons can make a grown adult a little weak in the knees. Their incredible swiftness -- they've been clocked at speeds over 200 mph in a dive -- make them the fastest creatures on earth, and quite efficient predators.

They've also been recently removed from the U.S. Endangered Species List, though North Carolina still lists them as Endangered.

A little less endangered at Chimney Rock State Park this year, as park officials have announced that a nesting pair have successfully fledged two younglings at the park, a male and a female. Since the reintroduction of peregrines at Chimney Rock in 1984, this is only the second pair of chicks that have been successfully raised by a nesting pair.

And that's big news.

Monday, July 12, 2010

A Credit to His Species

State Sen. Jim Jacumin of Burke & Caldwell counties (pictured left, posing in his General Assembly office), only has the best interests of his constituents at heart, so his current raging case of queer fear is nothing more than a humanitarian's desire to save The People from The Gay.

In an article in today's Hickory Daily Record about the recent gay marriage in Iowa of a prominent Caldwell County furniture designer and manufacturer, Sen. Jacumin, who co-sponsored two recent bills proposing constitutional bans in NC on gay marriage, fiercely defended the freedom of heterosexual white men to run You Know Who out of the state:
Should same-sex marriage be allowed, "all of a sudden the building block of the family is destroyed," Jacumin said.

He thinks the measure would lead to more same-sex marriages and more homosexuals in the state, and says that would signal the end of the family since only a man and a woman can reproduce.

Apparently, though we have no proof, a man and a woman produced Sen. Jacumin.

Hmmm. A tsunami of Gay washing across North Carolina's borders! New BFFs for all those Baptist church organists! Sen. Jacumin has seen the future, and it has turned his heart to stone!

(This year there is a more than credible challenger for Sen. Jacumin's seat in the state senate, Beth Jones. The voters of Burke and Caldwell counties have an opportunity to put an actual human being into that General Assembly chair.)

Sunday, July 11, 2010

100 Years Later, the Real Mark Twain Emerges

Big news in American letters ... the unexpurgated autobiography of Mark Twain is being published by the University of California Press in three volumes.

You know what "unexpurgated" means, right? All the naughty bits are back in.

In the case of Mark Twain's autobiography, the naughty bits are passionate political and social observations, which (bless his heart) Mark Twain's original editor thought too radical for tender, late-Victorian ears. Mark Twain's daughter Clara, who lived until 1962, also had a big hand in keeping the real man sanitized for public consumption.

Compare Mark Twain's opposition to the Spanish-American war to Ron Paul's opposition to the Iraqi/Afghanistan wars. From the NYTimes review of Volume 1:
Twain's opposition to incipient imperialism and American military intervention in Cuba and the Philippines ... were well known even in his own time. But the uncensored autobiography makes it clear that those feelings ran very deep and includes remarks that, if made today in the context of Iraq or Afghanistan, would probably lead the right wing to question the patriotism of this most American of American writers.

In a passage removed by [the author's first editor], Twain excoriates "the iniquitous Cuban-Spanish War" and Gen. Leonard Wood's "mephitic record" as governor general in Havana. In writing about an attack on a tribal group in the Philippines, Twain refers to American troops as "our uniformed assassins" [whoa] and describes their killing of "six hundred helpless and weaponless savages" as "a long and happy picnic with nothing to do but sit in comfort and fire the Golden Rule into those people down there and imagine letters to write home to the admiring families, and pile glory upon glory."

"Mephitic"? New word for me. It means "foul-smelling," which pretty much sums up a government and a culture that comes to depend on conquest for its economic well being and its self-image as only the bestest God-blessed people on earth.

Compare Mark Twain also to a progressive populist of 2010:
He is similarly unsparing about the plutocrats and Wall Street luminaries of his day, who he argued had destroyed the innate generosity of Americans and replaced it with greed and selfishness. "The world believes that the elder Rockefeller is worth a billion dollars," Twain observes. "He pays taxes on two million and a half."

This is stuff that was cut out of the original publication of the Autobiography in 1924 and in subsequent censored editions. Makes him sound like a contemporary of 2010, not a fossil from a century ago.

Mark Twain's "Letters from the Earth," a series of stories about the state of organized religion on earth purportedly written by Satan himself, was published in 1960 (with daughter Clara's reluctant blessing, incidentally), and Mark Twain's hilarious critique of the pious became my great secret reading while I was a freshman at Wayland Baptist College in West Texas. Subversion of the self-righteous was always Mark Twain's great contribution to our American literature.

Potentially, an Even Bigger Disaster for the American People

To wit ... the loss of journalism, the demise of the newspaper industry, the disappearance of investigative minds that ask sometimes obvious but oh-so-necessary questions: "What did you just decide behind those closed doors?" "Who gave you all that money?" "Who's been tickling your ribs and diddling your nether regions?"

Laura Leslie, who works the hallways of the NC State Capitol for lowly Public Radio and may be the best reporter on state government that we've got, just wrote on her blog a pretty devastating jeremiad about the current sorry state of journalism in our state. She says that when she started covering the General Assembly, there were 20 in the press corps, all jostling each other for the bragging rights of getting the story first of what was really going on. This year, at the wee-morning-hour adjournment of the General Assembly, there were only eight reporters present. That's not good for our democracy. It may be ever bit as bad as The Supremes' recent official unleashing of the Kraken of Corporate America.

The NC General Assembly bears watching. But so do all local governments in North Carolina, maybe even more desperately, because many small-town newspapers are much more into stroking local egos than they are into turning over rocks and seeing what scurries away. Somebody might get mad. It's been some years since we could depend on a blow-by-blow public accounting of what went down at every meeting of every governing body in Watauga, from the County Commission to town councils. When nobody watches -- and washes all that dirty linen in public -- then democracy suffers.

Friday, July 09, 2010

O Brave New World!

Happy times ahead for democracy in North Carolina! This, a baneful bellwether, from "Under the Dome":
One of the last bills the legislature may tackle this session is the state's response to the U.S. Supreme Court decision in the Citizens United case.

In that case, the court struck down federal prohibitions on election speech by corporations and labor unions. The state's election law currently bans election expenditures by corporations.

The bill would strike the lines in state law that prohibit election expenditures by corporations and establishes disclosure and reporting rules for fundraising and expenses in those cases.

Sample "disclosure" under the Supreme Court's unleashing of Big Business: "This government brought to you by MobilExxonUPSWalmart. Just lie back and relax!"

Tuesday, July 06, 2010


A letter posted on-line at the Watauga Democrat today from Tommy Adams ("We Need Leadership") makes this claim about half-way through about the BP oil disaster in the Gulf:
"The White House sees this crisis as a political opportunity and is committed to exploiting it for all its worth."

Excuse me? Who is trying to exploit this disaster as "a political opportunity"?

Could it be Tommy Adams, listed currently on the North Carolina Republican Party website as "Assistant Secretary" of the statewide GOP?

There seems to be a lot of LUV for this disaster from the likes of Rush Limbaugh, who suggested that maybe President Obama had the BP well blown-up deliberately; or from Texas Congressman Joe Barton, who said he was "ashamed" of the White House, lamenting that the Prez was "shaking down" BP; or from Congresswoman Michele Bachmann, who called the $20-billion compensation escrow fund agreed to by BP a "redistribution-of-wealth" socialist plot; or from failed Alaska governor Sarah Palin, who demanded that the feds call in the Dutch to build a dike; or from Republican Minority Leader in the House John Boehner, who first said that U.S. taxpayers should pay for the clean-up but retracted that in favor of saying that BP must pay all the costs but will not allow his Republican troops in the House to vote on lifting the federal liability cap.

Who's playing politics, Mr. Adams?

And what would Republicans support so far as action goes, anyway? Effective regulation and oversight? Noooo. They hate government.

But they sure as hell are enjoying the benefits of this particular disaster. Hope it brings down this president, if possible, if the massive unemployment and their refusal to lift a hand to help the unemployed doesn't do it first.

The (New) Scream

Monday, July 05, 2010

Foxx Reacts: Eek, The Gay!

At the Boone Independence Day Parade on Saturday. Photo by Lauren Ohnesorge, for the Watauga Democrat.

Sunday, July 04, 2010

Goss Answers the Soucek Smear

Via e-mail on Friday, while we were out of pocket, from the Reelect Senator Steve Goss campaign, responding to this:
Just the Truth!
We sometime find that when a candidate runs for office and has no good ideas of his own, he turns to a tactic of using smears and innuendo, in the hope that voters will believe at least some of it. That's what is happening in 2010 in a June fundraising letter sent out by the Finance Director of the NC Republican Party on behalf of my opponent. While I realize that my opponent was running a deficit in his campaign as of last quarter's election finance report (a spending pattern I adamantly oppose in Raleigh), I do not believe his debt justifies this kind of underhanded politicking.

My Opponent has charged:
"Goss has voted for over $1 billion in new taxes."

The Truth:
He is referring to a temporary increase in revenues that helped keep tens of thousands of teachers, Teacher Assistants, and state employees working in North Carolina. Does this mean my opponent wanted these working people fired? In fact, I am working with the legislative Finance Team on a plan that will modernize NC's antiquated tax system so it is more fair for everyone.

My Opponent has charged:
"[Goss] refused to sponsor a constitutional amendment banning gay marriage in North Carolina even after promising to do so."

The Truth:
The truth is I have sponsored every bill that I have promised to sponsor. And in fact, I was honored to receive the Legislative Award for protecting families and marriages. Most voters know that gay marriage is already illegal in North Carolina; perhaps it's because he moved here from New Jersey, but it's unfortunate that my opponent does not know North Carolina Law.

My Opponent has charged:
"[And] after getting caught billing his campaign $19,000 for mileage -- enough to drive around the world at the equator -- over four months he had the gall to sponsor an 'Ethics Reform' bill."

The Truth:
I was actually obeying the letter of the law in reporting in detail expenses incurred meeting constituents throughout the district. The amount reimbursed was for 35,000-miles dating from 2006 to 2009. The 45th District includes Alexander, Ashe, Watauga and Wilkes counties -- and that involves a fair amount of driving. I kept a detailed log of my mileage, which is public record. According to the state elections office, I could have reported the mileage in each quarter as a loan to my campaign, but I waited and reported it when the campaign had the money to pay me back. Gary Bartlett, the executive director of the State Board of Elections, said publicly that "there is no question it [the reimbursement] is allowed under the law." Bartlett also explained, "This [reporting errors among candidates] happens a lot. This involves a lot of money because it covers a longer period of time" (Wilkes Journal Patriot, September 28, 2009). Truth is, I have traveled over 75,000 miles (and I can prove it), and won the Sunshine Award for having one of the most open campaigns in the legislature.

Friday, July 02, 2010

With Logic Like This

The Tea Party is a congregation of confusion. The gathering in the Food Lion parking lot yesterday in Boone (as documented in 91 photos by Lauren K. Ohnesorge) was big on dissatisfaction with all government and thick with Social Security recipients and people benefitting pretty directly from Medicare. Take it all away, they were saying. Take every last vestige of it away.

No they weren't. They weren't saying that at all. They were saying stop all spending that doesn't directly benefit me and my immediate family. Ah, human nature, you wiggly little worm!

Favorite documented illogic: Said a Tea Partier to Ms. Ohnesorge:
I truly believe that if [deep-water oil drilling] weren't a political football, maybe most of that wouldn't have been spilled out already .... I think there are means available to us internationally that we just haven't utilized and it's just horrible, horrible. That spill could happen anywhere ... but now to take away the ability of those people down there to make a living by putting the moratorium on drilling, why? First order of business, stop the doggone leak.

1. It's debate that leads to disastrous oil blow-outs. Has nothing to do with corporate mismanagement or colluding corruption in the regulatory agency charged with overseeing the management. But Tea Partiers are opposed to all government regulation, so...?

2. Ah, the phantom foreign fix for this leak, the unseen but knowable solution that Sarah Palin said was out there. Because Tea Partiers love to rely on foreigners.

3. Damn a moratorium on more deep-water drilling! Just because we've recently proved that the worst can happen and that there is no easy fix for it, and perhaps no fix at all, we should keep allowing deep-water drilling. That's freedom, baby!

4. The government can't do anything right. The government should stop the leak immediately. It's easy. And hardly contradictory at all.

Let's give the government to people who hate the government! Yeah, that's the ticket!