Monday, August 30, 2010

Who Is Funding Jonathan Jordan?

Jonathan Jordan is the Ashe County lawyer running against Cullie Tarleton in the 93rd NC House District. He's a former staffer at the John Locke Foundation, the extreme right-wing umbrella org. funded by the Pope family to promote bad ideas like using state tax dollars to provide tax credits for home schooling, while calling for the complete abolishing of corporate taxes. They beat the drum for off-shore oil drilling. The John Locke Foundation is consistently hostile to alternative energy research like wind and solar and are part of the brigade that denies global climate change.

Anonymous manipulators have been push-polling for Mr. Jordan, smearing Cullie Tarleton with all sorts of baseless accusations. And now they've started with TV ads, paid for by a group calling itself "Real Jobs NC," which is, in fact, a group of right-wing high-rollers led by one Fred Eshelman, a Wilmington pharmaceutical executive, and including ... Art Pope. Natch!

Art Pope has been at work for some time trying to remake North Carolina in his own image. Now he's joined by Eshelman.

Greg Flynn has been following the money.

Jonathan Jordan is a made man who apparently thinks that Fred Eshelman and Art Pope can buy him a seat in the NC House by smearing the man who's already in that seat and who has served Ashe and Watauga counties well. That's offensive, on the face of it. As is the fact that Jordan's campaign is "stealth" all the way. There's no "Jonathan Jordan for NC House" website with issue positions, and if you go looking for where he stands, you'll be looking in vain.

There's just those anonymous phone calls smearing Cullie Tarleton and that TV spot paid for by Messrs. Eshelman and Pope to give us any insight into Mr. Jordan's character.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Holding Their Noses?

Asheville progressives debate the future of Congressman Heath Shuler.

It's a really dangerous thing to lose your base.

Saturday, August 28, 2010

"Think Crazy"

Gotta see this! BlueAmericaPAC, an independent group, has taken a keen interest in the 5th District race between Billy Kennedy and Madame Foxx. They chose only three "crazy, cruel, and ignorant" things she's done, out of hundreds they could have picked.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Former Head of Republican Nat'l Comm. Says He's Gay


And "is working to advance the cause of same-sex marriage." (NYTimes, this a.m.)


Mike Rogers, who outed Mehlman several years ago for being a flaming hypocrite for the reelection of El Presidente (remember his sorry ass?), said today that Mehlman can't be let off his past sins that benefitted right-wing Republicans so easily (all by way of Wonkette, who had a lengthy post today on all this sorry history:
So, how can Ken Mehlman redeem himself? I want to hear from Ken that he is sorry for being the architect of the 2004 Bush reelection campaign. I want to hear from Ken that he is sorry for his role in developing strategy that resulted in George W. Bush threatening to veto ENDA or any bill containing hate crimes laws. I want to hear from Ken that he is sorry for the pressing of two Federal Marriage Amendments as political tools. I want to hear from Ken that he is sorry for developing the 72-hour strategy, using homophobic churches to become political arms of the GOP before Election Day.

And those state marriage amendments. I want to hear him apologize for every one of those, too.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Same Old Tune, New Chorus

A little religiosity, a little Boone-bashing, a little boilerplate rhetoric ("government run by out-of-touch liberals," check!), a little outside agitation (a hired gun brought in from the ultra-right John Locke Foundation to 'splain it all), a spoonful of denial ("this is NOT a partisan issue," said the Republican MC), and a fair amount of unintentional irony -- that was the rally (a.k.a., "press conference") yesterday put on by the Tea Party Republicans in opposition to a county recreation center.

All the Republican candidates were there: Clerk of Court Wanda Howell, running for reelection: Nathan Miller, Vince Gable, and the ineffable David Blust, running for the County Commission: Dan Soucek, running for the NC House and picked to deliver The Prayer. Yep. Non-partisan all the way!

Unintentional irony? A Watauga High student who is now a senior at the new high school did a good job echoing national conservative talking points, but he ended up complaining that the new school, which all of this bunch hates, needs to be even bigger. The student also urged Watauga young people to get their recreation at "free" places like Brookshire Park, which was hardly free, as it was also built by taxpayer funds (and very much in spite of the strong opposition of Deborah Greene).

Unintentional irony: David Blust, who knows a thing or three about bankruptcy, asked rhetorically, "Shouldn't government act the same as you do in your own business?"

The "press conference" part of this political rally featured only one question from the press: "If the county were not in debt and if these were not, as you say, hard economic times, would you then be in favor of building a county recreation center?" meaning, as I took it, "Would you EVER, UNDER ANY CIRCUMSTANCES, be in favor?" and to the best of my ability, I heard a pretty fumbling but nevertheless clear enough "NO!"

The president of the College Republicans, evidently trying to do his part to help the cause, stood up and complained that the college students only just arrived back in town and have only a few days to try to educate themselves before VOTING on the issue. But another student then asked David Blust if he still opposed the right of ASU students to vote in local elections. (Every ASU student has seen by now the famous video of Blust saying in an open forum on the ASU campus that students shouldn't have that right.) Blust was flabbergasted by the question, stumbled around incoherently with MC Hastings trying to rescue him from self-immolation ("This is a topic for another time"), and then attacked the student who asked the question: "Who put you up to that?" Deborah Greene also tried to rescue Blust but only nailed that coffin shut. She said, and in no uncertain terms, that ASU college students should be allowed to vote IF they planned to make Watauga their homes, presumably for eternity.

Well, okay then.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Stingy and Proud Of It

Some other Anon below posted that it's always rich Republicans who give the most to charity. Not at all true, according to studies compiled by the NYTimes:
For decades, surveys have shown that upper-income Americans [individuals earning over $200,000 and couples with revenues over $250,000] don't give away as much of their money as they might and are particularly undistinguished as givers when compared with the poor, who are strikingly generous. A number of other studies have shown that lower-income Americans give proportionally more of their incomes to charity than do upper-income Americans. In 2001, Independent Sector, a nonprofit organization focused on charitable giving, found that households earning less than $25,000 a year gave away an average of 4.2 percent of their incomes; those with earnings of more than $75,000 gave away 2.7 percent.

Because this was published in the NYTimes and not by, say, Fox News, we realize Anon and Brethren will once again chose the reality that most flatters their own view of the world.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

What Kind of Christian Is Franklin Graham?

Watauga County denizen and spokesperson for God Franklin Graham said on CNN Thursday night, "I think the president's problem is that he was born a Muslim, his father was a Muslim. The seed of Islam is passed through the father like the seed of Judaism is passed through the mother."

It's a pure mystification what he was actually saying, but in this particular instance the word "seed" would appear to be a synonym for "taint," as in "Taint no doubt that Obama ain't one of us."

There are echoes here of the "mark of Cain," the clear suggestion being that somewhere on Obama's carcass is a little crescent moon, embroidered in blood, and probably a scimitar too.

This is pure 19th century American racism, resurrecting itself by the intervention of the Hand of the Lord, which hath given unto the Reverend Graham the ability to trace the invisible "seed" and the curse of Cain (which any Old South preacher in approximately 1850 could confidently tell you was the black skin color of African slaves, which both explained their station in life and also conveniently justified that enslavement).

If The Very Righteous, Quite Extraordinary Reverend Graham can recognize "seeds" at 20 paces, he might catch a glimpse of the noxious ragweed in his own soul.

Friday, August 20, 2010

This Is Your Congresswoman on Steroids

Roger Clemens, indicted for lying to Congress about using steroids.

He did that lying to Congress in 2008, to a committee on which Virginia Foxx took a prominent (and howlingly embarrassing) public role, in effect suborning that perjury. You can refresh your memory of that whole clown-show here.

How ya like Roger Clemens now, Congresswoman?

What's In It For Me?

A comment post down-column by Anonymous: "Why should I pay anything for someone else's recreation?"

Oh, I don't know ... maybe you'll get bit by that awful virus generosity and become (gasp!) civic-minded:
civic-minded (adjective) -- having, showing, or actively carrying out one's concern for the condition and affairs of one's community; public-spirited

Or maybe you'll review the "social contract" that built the greatness of the country from the Declaration of Independence forward, that we owe one another the advantages of community even if we personally chose to eat our bitter bread in strict isolation from our fellow citizens, hating every last one of them for having fun at our expense.

Or -- again, I don't know -- maybe you'll even come within hailing distance of the words of Jesus in the New Testament:
Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me. Matt. 25:40

H.L. Mencken defined "Puritanism" as "the haunting fear that someone, somewhere, may be happy." The Tea Party in America of 2010 seems like nothing so much as a gaggle of Puritans, absolutely obsessed that someone else may be enjoying the benefits of community, the fruits of the Social Contract, a banquet of Christian charity. Rather than that, they smell shit every waking hour, and it shows on their faces.

I've never been able to bring myself to resent paying taxes. It's obviously a deep moral flaw. I don't mind paying for schools, and better schools, and newer schools, even though I don't have children in them. I don't mind paying for public swimming pools or public gymnasiums, even though I'll never swim or shoot baskets in them. I don't mind, even, paying for the Medicare and Social Security that a large proportion of the Tea Party obviously draw on. I feel it's part of the tacit contract I share with my fellow citizens.

The "what's in it for me" crowd produces its fair share of political candidates, of course, and history shows that a sizable number of them, if they manage to get into "public service," mainly serve themselves. Virginia Foxx has doubled her own wealth during the three terms she's "served" in the U.S. House.

The Tea Party and its politicians are entitled to their views, of course, but if their views prevail, it'll be no country for old men, nor for old women either.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Goss & Tarleton Gain Headwaters Campaign Endorsement

Received this afternoon from our friend Dan Besse, who is both a Winston-Salem City Councilman and chair of the Headwaters Campaign:
...Whether you call him Senator Goss or Reverend Goss, Steve Goss (Senate District 45) is an individual seen by those who know him as so beyond reproach that he has been named the Senate Chair of the Joint Legislative Ethics Committee. That helps explain why a conservative mountain district has twice elected this moderate Democrat to represent them in Raleigh.

As both a legislator and a minister, Goss takes his responsibilities to his community seriously. As he explains, "In committee meetings I would often mention our senior citizens who should never have to make a choice between buying medication or food because of spiraling costs or lack of insurance coverage." Goss understands that his legislative mission includes addressing concerns ranging from unemployment, to the costs of fuel and electricity and the cost of a college education, to the well-being of our natural world.

State Representative Cullie Tarleton of Watauga County (House District 93) also puts a high value on educational and economic opportunity for all, and protection of our air, water, land, and public health. Among his leadership efforts, Tarleton was a primary House sponsor of the School Violence Prevention Act, which requires public schools to adopt strong policies against bullying and harassment, including bullying based on race, color, religion, ancestry, national origin, gender, sexual orientation, disability, or other factors. Tarleton's leadership posts include chairing House committees on water resources, commerce, and the environment.

Both Goss and Tarleton received high marks on the Conservation Council of North Carolina's 2009 environmental legislative scorecard. Together, they teamed up to add ecologically important tracts of mountain land to our state parks system.

For more information on these legislative leaders, and how to help their campaigns, go to


A little YouTube to cheer you up on a rainy Thursday.

Appropriate, actually, on the day after Fox News owner Rupert Murdoch announced he was giving $1 million to the Republican Party (well, actually the Republican Governors Association. But whatever). That tiny corporate donation was only the natural honey-chile of The Supremes decision in Citizens United v. FEC which promised to escalate the corporate domination of every American brain cell not already permanently addled by reality TV.

As important as Fox News is already -- the official-unofficial propaganda arm of the GOP -- this is only the tip of a menacing block of floating ice that will sink any ship it brushes. The Republican Governors Assn. had already collected $1.48 million from the Michigan Chamber of Commerce and another $1 million from the head of Koch Industries, a huge chemical conglomerate headquartered in Wichita, Kan.

I will not be able to applaud when Democrats start mining the same veins of corporate ore. I'll understand why, but I won't applaud it.

American electoral democracy ... sunk by big money.

Let Us Now Praise Famous Republicans

At his press conference yesterday afternoon, Watauga County Commission Chair Jim Deal named some prominent local Republicans who agree with him about the wisdom of passing the referendum to raise local sales taxes by 1/4th of a penny: Joe Miller, Dale Greene, Rob Holton, Kenneth Wilcox.

In this current context of Tea Party extremism, that mention by Jim Deal suddenly redefined those gentlemen as "moderate" Republicans. Believing that one of the noble activities of government is to increase the public's ownership of infrastructure which enhances the lives of the people through education and recreation has become official heresy to the Watauga GOP. So we guess that as of approximately 4:45 p.m. yesterday afternoon, Miller, Greene, Holton, and Wilcox are now officially heretics.

Men like Miller, Greene, Holton, and Wilcox don't run the local Republican Party. The people currently running it owe their allegiance to the kind-hearted philosophy of Virginia Foxx, though they appear to be taking their actual local marching orders from tea partiers and from one government-hater in particular. All the energy roused up against the 1/4th of a penny hike in sales taxes is due to the organizing and agitating talents of Deborah Greene, who for whatever reasons changed her party affiliation on March 22nd of this year from "Republican" to "Unaffiliated." It is somewhat paradoxical that the longest running Energizer bunny behind the local GOP is actually not now a registered Republican. (Oh right: the Tea Party "is not a partisan movement." Got it!)

The anti-tax forces also owe David Blust as a prime organizer, and he's very much a face of the local Republican Party (as well as the face of the local Tea Party -- so much for that non-partisan claim). Commission Chair Deal mentioned Blust's name twice yesterday during his press conference. It was Blust who essentially got tagged with the "misinformation, legitimate questions, wild rumors, and outright lies" that Mr. Deal said were being deliberately bandied about in an effort to sink any possibility of a county recreation center and an eastern community center in the Deep Gap area. Blust (for the record) also opposed and voted against the new high school when he had an opportunity to do something constructive for the citizens (and actual power as a County Commissioner in 2005 and 2006), and he was, incidentally, also deeply involved in the attempted Templeton takeover of the Boone Town Council in 2007.

In other words, Blust has quite the reactionary record to run on this year, as he tries to rewarm that seat on the County Commission. He thinks loud opposition to building the infrastructure of Watauga is his ticket back into office.

Mr. Deal spent a good deal of time yesterday correcting the misinformation, unfounded rumors, and outright lies of the David Blust/Deborah Greene anti-tax insurgency, and he did a clear and concise job of it. Not that half the audience was even listening. They were mentally preparing their own verbal rejoinders, accusations, and slogans to hurl back, and when Mr. Deal did not give them that formal opportunity, they shouted and stomped their feet anyway and cried that it wasn't fair that a press conference called by Mr. Deal did not include opportunities for them to proclaim their own reality.

Watauga Democrat account of the press conference is here. A much more detailed account is on GoBlueRidge.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

"What Am I Doing About Jobs? Next Question"

Well, at least he holds townhall meetings open to all the residents of the 10th Congressional District.

Unlike Madam Foxx, who is mainly running around other districts of NC raising money for other Republicans.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Democrat In Name Only

Not that we ever thought Patrick McHenry was vulnerable this year in the NC-10.

But, ah, the spectacle of Jeff Gregory.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Inside the Green Zone

The Matt Damon Iraq-War political thriller "Green Zone" turned out to be an inadvertent corollary to "The Most Dangerous Man in America," so far as the American progressive belief goes that if an awful government secret can just be gotten to the New York Times, all will be well. Or at least better.

"Green Zone" is a highly fictionalized (and percussively directed by "Bourne Supremacy" / "Bourne Ultimatum" genius director Paul Greenglass) version of a very powerful non-fiction book, "Imperial Life Inside the Emerald City: Inside Iraq's Green Zone" by Washington Post reporter Rajiv Chandrasekaran. The Matt Damon character is based on the real-life soldier who led the US search for WMD, Monty Gonzalez, who, of course, finds no WMD.

In the "Green Zone" movie, the gung-ho searcher for WMD becomes first suspicious of cooked intel and then an overt exposer of lying liars in the Pentagon and the Bush administration, and then the heroic whistle-blower who exposes everything to the New York Times. Which, of course, is what led to the American public putting a stop to the Bush War, once they knew the truth of how we were manipulated.

As if!

We're still there, and probably half the American public willfully believe that Saddam masterminded 9/11.

While "Green Zone" is totally watchable and wholly timely (featuring as it does a woman reporter based very obviously on Judith Miller, the NYTimes -- ahem -- writer who willingly pedaled the Bush administration's cooked-up propaganda on WMD), its heroic message about perilous whistle-blowing rings hollow, given the reality of the last seven years.

Whereas the example of Daniel Ellsberg, O my brethren, still inspires.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

In Praise of Daniel Ellsberg

Watched the new(ish) documentary, "The Most Dangerous Man in America: Daniel Ellsberg and the Pentagon Papers," and I was deeply absorbed by the presentation of that whole Vietnam War & Richard Nixon history, perhaps because I lived through it and had forgotten some of those hair-raising details or didn't know other facts at all nor how they fit the overall tapestry of government's lying us into another devastating (and pointless) war.

It took three Democratic presidents (Harry S. Truman, John F. Kennedy, and Lyndon Johnson) and one Republican (Ike) to produce, maintain, and expand the initial tissue of lies that got us bogged down in Southeast Asia. It took a final Republican president, Richard M. Nixon, to practically drive us over the edge. At one point, Nixon is heard on those infamous "White House tapes" saying to Henry Kissinger that he wanted all the Vietnam dikes bombed -- "That'll drown 200,000, right?" -- and then saying he wanted a good-sized nuclear bomb in the center of Hanoi as an option. Kissinger is heard demurring: "I don't know if that would be a good idea, Mr. President," and Nixon taunting him back, "You don't like the idea of nuclear bombs, Henry?" At another point on those tapes, Nixon practically pounds the table: "I don't give a good goddamn about civilian deaths."

Aside from the obvious lesson of American history, that an executive who's exempted himself from checks and balances is a rouge elephant capable of pulling down the whole temple of democracy, there are two other indelible lessons in "The Most Dangerous Man in America":
1. It's possible to change. Daniel Ellsberg himself went from war apologist and Pentagon insider, who actually fed material to Secretary of Defense Robert McNamara which McNamara used to convince Johnson to escalate the bombing of North Vietnam, to the most successful whistle-blower in American history.

2. A single man can do much to change history, if he has access to information and is willing to suffer whatever consequences come. Ellsberg reached that moment when he met a young draft resistor who said he was prepared to go to jail. That simple declaration by a "nobody" American college student changed Daniel Ellsberg's life.

Those are lessons I like.

Daniel Ellsberg is by no means the only such brave American we can celebrate. He just happens to have been sitting on 7,000 pages of top secret truth that the American people didn't know and needed to know. I think of others, most instantly of Ollie Combs, the Knott County, Ky., woman who sat down in front of a bulldozer and refused to budge, because the dozer's owner was planning to strip mine the ridge directly above her fragile homeplace. Or for a more recent example, I think of the four Connecticut public librarians who refused to cooperate with the USA Patriot Act in surrendering records of patrons' book-borrowing records.

There are a lot more, going all the way back to John Peter Zenger. We need to remember them. We need to celebrate their bravery. This documentary film about Daniel Ellsberg does that.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Dan Soucek, Getting Nastier By the Day

A commenter on a thread somewhere below, after my denunciation of Dan Soucek for push-polling against Sen. Steve Goss, posted this:
"Anyone who has ever met Dan Soucek knows that he doesn't participate in smear campaigns."

Tonight, I get this e-mail from a resident of Deep Gap:
"I just thought I would let you know that I was the recipient of an ugly push poll from somebody against Steve Goss (I can only figure it was either the RNC or the Soucek campaign itself). You know how these things go. How do you feel about Obama, Hagen, Purdue, etc.? When I said I had no opinion on Steve Goss, then they asked whether I would be more or less likely to vote for Steve Goss if I had heard the following things -- and then the questions turned increasingly nasty. Would I be more or less likely to vote for him if I knew he supported wasteful spending in Washington, etc. After the second of these I told the woman, 'This is a push poll. You are not asking me legitimate questions. You're reciting Republican talking points!' She said, 'No, these are just statements.' After rehashing the Goss mileage thing [and see this] (in as derogatory language as possible) the next question was would I be more likely to support Steve Goss if I heard he had supported legislation to parole early rapists and murderers, I said, 'Ok, that's enough.' And hung up. I went to Soucek's campaign web site to complain and call on him to denounce these kinds of dirty tricks campaign tactics, but he
doesn't have a place to contact him or an email, so I left it in a comment (which I am sure will be deleted). Soucek should take a stand against these kinds of behaviors. That is, if he's not funding them himself."

Dear earlier Anonymous poster on WataugaWatch: He's either funding this push poll himself, which makes him a sleaze, or he's benefitting from someone else's funding of it, which makes him a lying sleaze. Take your pick.

He can claim he's the biggest Christian ever in this neck of the woods, but these actions proclaim him otherwise, and nakedly, to the world. He's an embarrassment to this county, to his church, and especially to his party.

Monday, August 09, 2010

There Is No End to Virginia Foxx's Heartlessness

Here's a congressional vote by Madam Foxx that we missed on July 29:

She's never more "Virginia Foxx-like" than when she's voting with an abject minority on an issue that even her own Republican caucus mainly supports. In this case, the "Senior Financial Empowerment Act," legislation aimed at protecting seniors targetted by fraudsters and financial criminals. According to the Federal Trade Commission, nearly one in five seniors are defrauded each year.

Too damn bad! sez Madam Foxx and 78 of her closest bosom buddies in the Republican caucus. A total of 79 Republicans (and two obscure Democrats) voted against the bill. Even that Oompa-Loompa Patrick McHenry from the NC-10 voted FOR it!

Virginia Foxx is famous in my household for having once said (while she was in the NC Senate), "The worst thing we can do is to get government involved in solving problems." That goes for providing information about companies with a track record of defrauding elderly people to those seniors' children or care givers. It's a modest fix for a crime wave that nets some $2.6 billion a year from unsuspecting and sometimes befuddled older citizens, and it involves zero government spending.

Who could be against such a thing ... except Madam Virginia Foxx, the New Queen of Mean.

The reason we missed this vote is that it happened on the same day that Madam Foxx even more egregiously voted against the "James Zadroga 9/11 Health and Compensation Act," which would have given free health care to the first responders and rescue workers at Ground Zero on 9/11. One more cruel vote in Congress distracts us from the first cruel vote.

What a peach of a human being this woman is!

Me and Patricia Neal

Paul Newman got to her first.

I was a senior in high school when they filmed "Hud" 50 miles from my home in the Panhandle of Texas. I didn't know who Patricia Neal was. She had made her name in Hollywood in the late 1940s and early '50s, while I was still playing with toy trucks, but we all knew who Paul Newman was. Two friends and I climbed in a car and got ourselves up to Claude, Texas, in the naive belief that we'd be able to walk right up to where they were filming and get Paul Newman's autograph. Never occurred to us that Patricia Neal was also a worthy target for fan boys.

We never did find the dusty location where they were filming on that particular day. We really didn't have a clue where to look. We drove around aimlessly for awhile, rubbernecking like crazy to see any vestige of Hollywood. Claude, Texas, was essentially a courthouse fronted on four sides by run-down stores, and bisected by a four-lane connecting Amarillo to the greener pastures of Dallas-Fort Worth. Nothing to see. Nothing to do but go get hamburgers and fries and malteds at the Lone Texan drive-in.

Many years later -- decades, actually -- I began to catch up with the early Patricia Neal in movies like "The Fountainhead" and "The Day the Earth Stood Still" and "Bright Leaf," which was a thinly disguised depiction of the rapacious Duke family of North Carolina's tobacco industry.

Soon after filming "Hud" in 1962, Patricia Neal suffered a series of strokes that she struggled back from, learning to talk again and act on screen again. She gave us the indelible first Ma Walton on TV in the first incarnation of John Boy's mom, in "The Homecoming: A Christmas Story" in 1971, for my money her most powerful character ever.

Patricia Neal died yesterday at the ripe age of 84. She was a brave and accomplished woman.

Friday, August 06, 2010

Someone Should Ask Virginia Foxx

Madam Foxx will be speaking to the Yadkinville Rotary Club on the morning of August 24th. Some of those good people in the business community of Yadkin County might ask her why she was one of only 32 members of the House of Representatives to vote against H.R. 3854 ("Small Business Financing and Investment Act of 2009"), legislation designed to help small businesses obtain federal micro-loans, government contracts and export assistance. At the bill's center is a $30 billion program for community banks to extend loans to small businesses, since the Big Banks aren't doing it. The N.C. Bankers Assn., that notorious nest of socialists, supports the bill.

It passed the House last October, with Foxx voting NO. It's now stuck in the Senate, where Sen. Dick Burr and the rest of the Republicans are acting like the total dicks they are.

Other provisions in the law would increase amounts of Small Business Administration loans, leverage $1 billion in export capital, offer tax breaks for investments and startup costs, and give temporary funding for rural exports.

These are all things that would help small businesses in North Carolina, where the unemployment rates are still over 10 percent. But Foxx is much more interested in seeing small business turn to dust for the sake of partisanship.

It's virtually guaranteed that no one at the Rotary Club meeting in Yadkinville later this month will (1) know anything about her actual voting record or (2) get their puckered lips off the Madam's dainty ass long enough to challenge her abyssmal record.

Thursday, August 05, 2010

Robeson County Passes Quarter-Cent Sales Tax Increase

On Tuesday of this week.

The vote was marred by the public utterance of one of the Robeson County Commissioners afterward. Commissioner Oxendine (a Democrat, incidentally) said he was proud of the vote because it shifted part of the tax burden onto illegal immigrants. We're not making that up. His actual quote: "I'm really happy it passed. I think it will also move some of the tax burden onto immigrants in our county. They come in and use our services and don't pay anything. [Raising the sales tax] is a way for them to pay us back."

Good Gawd, man! You might think such things, but saying them out loud is just ... gross.

Also factually inaccurate. Immigrants, whether legal or illegal, already pay the exact same sales and consumption taxes that the rest of us do. The U.S. Social Security Administration has estimated that three quarters of undocumented immigrants pay payroll taxes. They contribute $6-7 billion in Social Security funds that they will never be able to claim.

But never mind such facts when a petty local politician can score gratuitous political points by scapegoating them.

Wednesday, August 04, 2010

Party Like It's 2002!

Deborah Greene was last heard from in this county in a major way as a leader of the R.I.D. group (as in RID Ourselves of a New High School), who tried every body block they could think of to prevent the building of the new high school (officially opened by The Guv in a ribbon-cutting ceremony last Friday, despite Ms. Greene's best efforts). Before that, in her "No Zoning" crusade of 2001-2002, she rocked another hobby horse that lent itself to creative scare tactics.

She's baaack!

And going ballistic like it was 2002. What's got her all het up is the proposed quarter-cent hike in the sales tax. Un-shy in her opportunism, she's grabbed the "Tea Party" label to promote herself as our savior from unfair taxation. She's started her own Political Action Committee (PAC) and is soliciting money for print ads, bumperstickers -- the whole hyped-up, morally outraged, politically indignant schmeer.

All over 1/4 of a single cent more in sales tax.

It's the principle of the thing, though. Clearly.

If you give her PAC $50 or more to help memorialize her anti-tax crusade, you'll also have to divulge your name, address, employer, etc. for Ms. Greene's PAC filing reports. Just for comparison's sake, if the quarter-cent hike in sales taxes passes, you'll have to spend some $20,000 in retail purchases to add up $50 more in local sales tax.

Me? It'll take me many moons of frenzied retail buying to pay out that extra $50 in increased sales taxes, and I think I'd prefer it go to infrastructure improvements in Watauga County than to Ms. Greene's PAC.

Tuesday, August 03, 2010

"Ragtime" at Lees-McRae Summer Theatre

If you don't know this already, the Lees-McRae College Summer Theatre is one of our greatest cultural resources in these here mountains, a professional operation run by Janet Speer since the mid-1980s to the great delight and edification of anyone fortunate enough to see one of her genius productions.

We saw her mounting of "Ragtime" last night, which was quite the condensed history lesson of America in the first decades of the 20th century, told by a sterling cast with music supplied by a really hot combo of piano, clarinet, bassoon, violin, and percussion. It ain't your typical junior high history lesson, either, dealing frankly with race, immigration, class privilege, and radical labor organizing. Not many musicals give you both the socialist firebrand Emma Goldman and the racial accommodationist Booker T. Washington in the same cast of characters!

The production runs through Friday (for tickets, phone 828-898-8709). If you manage to grab tickets, get yourself there early, as there are no reserved seats. Last night, it was pretty much standing room only in that auditorium.

The Summer Theatre usually runs three (and occasionally four) shows every summer, but this year "Ragtime" is the only production. A sign of these economic times. Lees-McRae College appears unable to subsidize the theater this year as in years past, and next summer's schedule depends entirely on how well "Ragtime" does this week.

It would be a pluperfect shame to lose this bright and shining resource.

Monday, August 02, 2010

Watauga GOP Shows How It's the Party of the "Little People"

The Watauga County Republican Party will host former legitimate journalist and now born-again Fox propagandist Bernard (Bernie) Goldberg at the outrageously over-priced Broyhill Inn for a ritual seance during which Goldberg will see "liberal elites" in all the Broyhill woodwork, busily munching the oak and taking over America, and Congresswoman Virginia Foxx will bring news that allowing the Bush tax cuts on the 2% of America’s richest to expire will lead to homosexual nuptials and the gnashing of gold-filled teeth and the probable selling off of 3rd and 4th vacation homes just to make payments on the 2nd yacht, and how can the "real" America withstand such blood-sucking socialism? Huh? How can it ever?

Sunday, August 01, 2010

Kissell, Shuler, and McIntyre Get a Warm Reception

The main action yesterday at the state Democratic convention in Fayetteville -- or at least the most interesting -- swirled around a resolution put forward on the convention floor "to condemn" U.S. Reps. Mike McIntyre of Lumberton, Larry Kissell of Biscoe, and Heath Shuler of Haywood County "for their votes against health care reform."


The leadership of the state party were apparently fit to be tied.

Following heated debate, the resolution got watered down to asking the three congressmen to please please please don't vote with the Republicans in the future to repeal the health care reform. Andrew Whalen, the executive director of the state party, put on his best game face: "I think the fact that the resolution was amended and then passed shows the party is to work together to get Democrats elected. It demonstrates we are the big-tent party...." Blah, blah, blah.

Wish we had us a few Anthony Weiners in North Carolina ... instead of what we have.