Thursday, January 31, 2008


"Leadership Malfunction in the 5th District." Click to view.

They're So Miserable, They Could Gloat

First saw the link to the Forbes article , "America's Most Miserable Cities," on Charlotte ranks 9th, behind...
1. Detroit
2. Stockton, Calif.
3. Flint, Mich.
4. NYC
5. Philadelphia
6. Chicago
7. Los Angeles
8. Modesto, Calif.

Well, at least Modesto is worse.

We're gonna hear howls of protest about this, from none so vociferously perhaps as the Pat McCrory campaign.

The Forbes formula for calculating "misery" includes scores for unemployment, personal tax rates, commute times, weather, crime, and "that toxic waste dump in your backyard." Some score well on weather (Los Angeles has a near-perfect climate) but are pulled waaay down by traffic or crime or SuperFund sites. You know.

Apparently, all those freakishly large banks can't buy you love.

28 and Counting

Rep. Tom Davis made it 28 yesterday ... 28 Republican Congressmen -- some of them in the top leadership -- who are giving up their seats in Congress rather than face the tide of history this November.

Davis was a "moderate" representing northern Virginia, the D.C. suburbs, which is strongly Democratic these days.

Only five Dems have announced their retirement, making the open-seat calculus very unfavorable for the Republican Party this year. (NYTimes piece on the situation here)

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Daniel Johnson Gets a Little Attention

Long profile article about Daniel Johnson in today's Charlotte Observer. Johnson is the chief Democratic challenger hoping to get the party's nod in May to run against NC-10 Congressman Pat McHenry in November. He's already shown impressive fundraising abilities and has attracted the interest of Washington party insiders.

"There's a lot of discontent in [the 10th] district, just as there is nationwide," Johnson told the Observer's Lisa Zagaroli.

He also said of Patty McHenry, "His style of politics is an old style of politics that people are tired of, which is to be divisive, and to not come up with solutions but to bicker about the problems, to continue the inertia that has kept Washington from solving any of those problems. [He] is a huge part of stirring up that partisan rancor in Congress."

McHenry's response (through his press secretary) was revealing -- "McHenry defends traditional family values" and "some Washington politicians don't like the fact that Congressman McHenry won't accept the broken status quo, and it's telling that someone would criticize him for that" -- since Johnson didn't say a word about "family values."

McHenry perhaps protests too much, especially since its his leading Republican challenger in the May primary who's been making comments about McHenry's (lack of) family values. Republican Lance Sigmon said of McHenry, "If people knew he did things ... they might find he is not the person they think he is."


Edwards Is Out

Well, I'll be deep-fried in peanut oil.

Politico had the first bulletin we saw.

Alas, Poor Mittens

With the Florida results, Congresswoman Virginia Foxx's Chosen One, Mitt Romney, is now a certified neo maxi zoom dweebie, no matter how much of his sons' inheritance he continues to spend. Pity.

With John McCain, the Democrats have a much tougher race ahead this fall. It could come down to a contest between The Old and The Young, depending on who the Democrats end up with. Or a contest between The Old, The Unelectable, and Ron Paul.

And all the North Carolina Democrats who've been moaning that it'll all be decided before our May primary, you might want to be keep your powder dry, 'cause North Carolina may very well be crucial in the delegate count after all.

Rush Limbaugh has been saying that John McCain as the nominee will be the death of the Republican Party. We could always pray that once in his career Limbaugh is right. But it's doubtful.

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Why Is This Man Smiling?

Yammer on. Nobody's listening.

Except maybe Madam Virginia Foxx, channeling a 15-year-old autograph hound crazy in love.

Foxx had her press release ready to go. Allow us to translate what Madam Teapot had to say:

My fellow Americans, until the Republicans took over Congress and George W. Bush took over the White House, most Americans did not know what an "earmark" was. Now I'm proud to say, the public is educated, having watched the Jack Abramoff and Duke Cunningham scandals evolve and a hundred other pay-to-play moments in recent history, and I know you'll appreciate our efforts to change things now that the dastardly Democrats are in control. At least appreciate our effort to sound pious.

Diane Hamby's Announcement of Candidacy

The sound quality is very poor, but if you're interested in seeing the other announced Democratic candidate in the NC-5 congressional primary, there's video of her here.

Roy Carter has been running since last summer.

Hamby's website is here.

Romney Ahead in Florida?

Public Policy Polling has new numbers up this a.m. showing Romney widening a lead over McCain in Florida's primary today.

Public Policy Polling accurately predicted the Obama landslide victory in the South Carolina Democratic primary, a hallmark distinction compared to other national polling outfits.

So, PPP, I'm counting on your not to break my heart here. Let alone Madam Virginia Foxx's!

Monday, January 28, 2008


"...the problem is not that Bill Clinton is Bubba but that he is Eddie Haskell -- smug, smarmy, self-absorbed."
--John F. Harris, Politico, 28 Jan. 2008

Get That Yapper on a Leash

Apparently, since Saturday, there's a consensus building, a sense among many Democrats that Bill Clinton had "injected himself clumsily into the race..." (NYTimes)

A brief sampling:

"I think his harsh style hurt Senator Clinton -- it polarized the campaign and polarized the electorate, and it also made it harder for Senator Clinton's positive message to break through." --Celinda Lake, a Democratic strategist and pollster who is not affiliated with any of the candidates.

"Voters don't like the idea of a co-presidency, and he became so high profile that he made people begin to see this as a possible co-presidency. It's even more problematic because she's a woman. It looks like she either needs him to fight the big battles for her, or she can't keep the big dog on the porch." --Linda L. Fowler, a professor of government at Dartmouth College, a Hillary Clinton advisor.

"He's got to [pull back]. The focus has got to get back on Hillary. For all that he cares about his wife, this has to be her election to win, and it's become too much about his role." --Charles B. Rangel (D-NY), a leading supporter of Hillary Clinton.

"I think it's not presidential, it's not in keeping with the image of a former president, and I'm frankly surprised that he is taking this approach. I think it is important for all of us to participate in a way that raises the level of debate and begins to focus on the things that the American people want us to be addressing. I think it's a disappointment for many Democrats." --Tom Daschle, former Senate Democratic leader and an Obama supporter.

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Sunday Smorgasbord

1. Thousands of racially and theologically diverse Baptists are meeting in Atlanta at something called the New Baptist Covenant Celebration, to demonstrate unity on issues such as ministry to the poor, environmental stewardship, and respect for religious diversity. Take that, Southern Baptist Convention!

2. Apparently, there's still a contest for Miss America. Who knew?

3. None of the leading Republican candidates for N.C. governor bothered to show up for a NAACP-sponsored candidate forum at a Durham Baptist church ... only Republican long shot Bob Orr came, along with Democrats Richard Moore, Beverly Perdue, and Dennis Nielsen, a retired Air Force colonel.

4. State Treasurer Richard Moore has kept pace with Lt. Gov. Bev Perdue in the fundraising game. In fact, Moore has a little more in the bank than Perdue does.

5. With reference to Charlotte Mayor Pat McCrory, late arrival to the Republican race for N.C. governor, does "centrist" equal "loser"? Well, yes, actually.

Sunday Whirl

So much to talk about in the wake of the South Carolina primary, some of it actually printable.

Unprintable is our frank opinion of Billary. Having participated in seeing to it that his wife was trounced in South Carolina, Bill decided to keep to his path on the low road. How to minimize Obama's win? Let's see. Ah, yes, compare Obama to Jesse Jackson. You see, South Carolina Democrats ... you voted for a giant LOSER!

The grin on your face didn't help, Bubba.

The emergence of the co-campaign of Bill & Hillary is one of the harder things to figure. These people are supposed to be so smart, no? Yet there's Hillary trying to pivot toward "change" while throwing out that weighty anchor of a troubled past (named Bill). How does she win, becalmed in all that old, deep silt?

Frank Rich sees the reemergence of Billary as one miracle of the two miracles that the Republicans will need to rewin the presidency this year. Hillary's putting Bill to the plow insures that everyone is reminded of what they didn't like about the 1990s, and she will unify the presently fragmented Republican Party like no one short of Satan himself. The other miracle would be the nomination of John McCain. Which is precisely why we're rooting so enthusiastically for Virginia Foxx's choice in Florida on Tuesday. You go, Mittens!

Obama's win in South Carolina was impressive. He got more votes yesterday than the total Democratic turnout in the primary of 2004 (and Democratic turnout in this primary far exceeded Republican turnout last week, in one of the most loyal Republican states in the Union). Only time -- now on a very short leash indeed -- will tell whether this win can change the dynamic on Super Tuesday. The S.C. rout will certainly help, plus perhaps Obama's new determination to stand up and get back on the offensive against Billary. No one watching Obama's acceptance speech in S.C. last night could miss how fundamentally angry he was, and it's a justified anger. The Clintons have evidently decided that the only way to beat him is to kill hope itself, to beat back the enthusiasms of the young, to strangle the very notion that people might reach across political chasms for mutual benefit.

The point is that the Clintons are angling for a 50% + 1 win in November in a two-person race or a 43% win (or even less) in a three-person race, and that would satisfy their peculiar ambitions: more divided government, more partisan paralyzing rancor.

Obama, on the other hand, could lead a landslide election for change.

John Edwards needs to bow out. He must have his reasons for soldiering on ... a determination to influence the party in a more populist direction, pure old stubborn pride, or angling for a prominent spot in somebody else's cabinet ... we don't know. We like him. We note that he got more of the white vote in S.C. than did Hillary, which means -- simplistically -- that he could help significantly to stop the Billary juggernaut ... if he quit and endorsed Obama. He's not going to, but he should.

Saturday, January 26, 2008

Republicans Consider Going Cold-Turkey

The spectacle of House Republicans taking a pledge to swear off "earmarks" reminds us of the drunk trying to prove he's sober by lying on the floor without holding on.

House Republicans are in their annual conference ("retreat" might be the more apt word) at the fabulous Greenbrier resort in White Sulphur Springs, W.Va., where the filthy rich have been going for more than a century to soak their hams in stinky water.

Republican congress critters have more cause than most for public repentance, though this bunch goes about it with such unearned self-righteousness that the possibility of actual enlightenment seems distant.

Apparently, the Republicans had a knock-down dragout of an argument about whether to swear off the crack-pipe. We know where Madam Virginia Foxx was positioned in that debate, since she's been proclaiming her born-again attitude toward earmarks all over the 5th Dist. The "Madam Teapot" nickname seems to have stuck.

Their gambit is to go cold turkey -- after the years they've spent in a dead drunk stupor of special-interest spending -- and then blame Democrats for everything. It's always worked in the past, right? Because, whereas members of Congress may be sots, the general public are evidently dolts, eager to be bamboozled.

Maybe not any more. Or maybe yes, still. But if the Republicans get religion, and if the Democrats prove answerable to peer pressure -- which we hope they are -- then we'll all be a little bit better served.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Obama: "I am a Christian, and I am a devout Christian"

Interviewed in Christianity Today.

Not that it will mean anything to the "Obama is a Muslim" e-mailers, because they don't read anything, not even their own forwarded crap.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

What's Behind Foxx's Sudden Conversion?

Madam Virginia Foxx has been piously proclaiming that she's found God RE the Congressional addiction to "earmarks." "I'll do no more earmarks forever," she says.

It's not just the embarrassment over a little teapot museum, either.

Turns out, it's the opening shot in a general Republican Congressional campaign ploy to tag the Democrats as earmarkers, while hoping the public doesn't notice the hypocrisy.

What hypocrisy? Why, between 1995 and 2005, the decade that Madam Foxx's party was running the U.S. House, the number of earmarks jumped from 3,000 to 15,000. Since the Democrats took over in 2007, that number has come down substantially (though not enough, granted).

Madam Foxx felt politically self-righteous enough that she could tell the Statesville Record & Landmark, evidently with a straight face, that "the fault in the highly-criticized [earmark] system lies with those on the other side of the aisle."

Pot, let me introduce you to Kettle.

Foxx is slavishly following the political game-plan laid out by her Minority Leader John A. Boehner (R-Ohio). She's a robot.

Landslide Hazards in Watauga County

Last night the North Carolina Geological Survey presented its maps and data for landslide hazards in Watauga County to the county Planning Board. The collective intake of breath at the highly detailed information might constitute a pregnant pause.

Watauga County is the second North Carolina county to be surveyed and mapped for potential landslide hazards. The first was Macon County, where some five people were killed in September 2004 along Peeks Creek when a massive chunk of Fishhawk Mountain let go and slid over two miles down the valley. That slide (“debris flow,” is the language the NCGS prefers) was directly caused by the passage of Hurricane Ivan overhead.

It was that same Ivan that caused several slides in Watauga County on the same date, particularly the house-destroying movement in the White Laurel subdivision.

These fatalities and property destruction in Macon and Watauga counties prompted the state legislature to fund the mapping of landslide hazards, starting with the two counties where the greatest losses occurred in 2004. Macon County received its hazardous slopes map in 2007.

So far, what has Macon County government done with those maps? Word is that they’ve essentially hidden them from the public. The Macon County Commission has evidently expressed fear that if they release the information of potential landslide hazards to the public, they might be sued ... because, you know, information just gets people upset (the truth sets the fees, so to speak). Go to the official Macon County website and look for any evidence that its slopes have been mapped and evaluated according to the best scientific evidence for life- and home-destroying potential. Go on. I dare you. You won’t find a word.

Question is ... what will Watauga County do with its information, some of which was summarized by the NCGS representative last night:

● There have been at least 2,253 landslides in Watauga County from 1940 to the present, verifiable from aerial photography and/or on-site inspection

● There were 14 landslide fatalities in 1940, primarily in the Stony Fork section of the county

● At least 32 structures (homes, barns) were damaged or destroyed in 1940

● 136 new structures (principally new homes) have been built on the landslide tracks of the 1940 events

● 8% of the county is covered by slope movement deposits (“debris fans”)

● 20% of the county is “high hazard” based on a Stability Index Map, which can be specific down to individual parcels of land

● 41% of the county lies within “potential landslide pathways”

In just that bare summary, there’s much to raise the small hairs on your nape, particularly the 136 new homes built in or on the landslide tracks of 1940 debris flows ... when the science strongly suggests that a slope that failed once in the past will fail again. That and the 20% of the county that is “high hazard” for landslides.

The 1940 slides – thousands of them – happened because of a hurricane, just as the 2004 slides did. But those 64 years between 1940 and 2004 are deceptive. The NCGS charts the incidence of devastating slope failures as predictably happening somewhere in the NC mountains every 22-29 years ... in other words, about once a generation ... and catastrophic slope failures do not require a hurricane (although they do require, evidently, massive rainfall).

The NC legislature is still considering a bill to require disclosure of hazardous slope conditions to potential land buyers and some minimum development standards. Watauga County has now been given highly specific information about the potential catastrophes lurking in its uneven ground.

What will Watauga County government do with that information?

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Sen. Ball o' Fire Bows Out

Get back in that Barcalounger, Bubba. You've worked hard enough.

Politico had the story. Such as it was.

Make an Idle Comment, Cause Yourself a Big Problem

Last week NC-10 Republican Congressman Pat McHenry made an off-hand comment during a media conference call that he welcomed all competitors and wanted to "debate the issues." He didn't, of course, mean that he wanted to hold a face-to-face debate with the likes of Air Force JAG officer Lance Sigmon, his challenger in the May Republican Primary, but Sigmon is now responding as though McHenry had personally issued a debate challenge in his specific direction.

"I'm more than willing to accept his offer," Sigmon said, struggling unsuccessfully to suppress a sarcastic grin.

The Hickory Daily Record immediately tried to get hold of McHenry to confirm a debate schedule -- Sigmon wants three different debates, spread out over the 10th Dist. -- and for some strange, unexplained reason, McHenry proved unreachable.

We suspect he'll remain unreachable on this particular issue. Until he's publicly cornered and then shamed into it ... sort of like Madam Foxx was in 2006 when she initially refused to even discuss a debate with Roger Sharp.

Intercepted Drought Info

An e-mail circulating from state House member Larry M. Bell lists Blowing Rock and Boone as third and fourth, respectively, on a statewide list of the 30 most drought-vulnerable municipal water supplies.

Rep. Bell is on the Joint Select Committee on the Agricultural Drought Response. He also reports that Ryan Boyles, the state climatologist and director of the State Climate Office at North Carolina State University, says the state will need 22 to 30 inches over the next six months to make "a substantial drought recovery." Writes Bell, "That's at least 2 inches above normal at a time when weather patterns show there is a high likelihood of below-normal precipitation through winter and spring."

Rut roh.

With snow on the ground and some recent rain before that, some have been lulled unwisely into thinking that the drought must be over. It's only getting started.

This week, Governor Easley has put the water system managers from the 30 most vulnerable communities on notice that they need to act now to make sure they will have adequate water for another possibly dry summer. He called on these communities to establish connections to other water supplies (way to go, Boone & ASU!) and to conduct water audits, as well as consider pricing adjustments to reduce use.

The complete list of the 30 most vulnerable water systems:
1. Bessemer City
2. Black Mountain
3. Blowing Rock
4. Boone
5. Cherryville
6. Cleveland County Sanitary District
7. Durham
8. Eden
9. Goldsboro
10. Hendersonville
11. High Point
12. Johnston County
13. King
14. Lenoir
15. Mars Hill
16. Marshall
17. Monroe
18. Morganton
19. Newton
20. Raleigh
21. Randleman
22. Robbinsville
23. Rocky Mount
24. Shelby
25. Siler City
26. Smithfield
27. Tryon
28. Valdese
29. Woodfin Sanitary Water/Sewer District
30. Yadkinville

Monday, January 21, 2008

Bring Back the Thumb Screws!

Via Ed Cone, we found this quite remarkable Wall Street Journal article on the movement in some evangelical circles to enforce church discipline by means of handcuffs if necessary:
...some conservative Protestant pastors [want] to bring back church discipline, an ancient practice in which suspected sinners are privately confronted and then publicly castigated and excommunicated if they refuse to repent. While many Christians find such practices outdated, pastors in large and small churches across the country are expelling members for offenses ranging from adultery and theft to gossiping, skipping service and criticizing church leaders.

Hmmm. Who will be left to worship, we wonder, if every gossip, every active adulterer, let alone every private tippler or shop-lifter gets shunned out the church-house doors? And what about those who criticize "church leaders"? When I was a kid, nit-picking the pastor's sermon over Sunday afternoon fried chicken was a sacred obligation. Take that away, and what have you got left?

Otherwise this movement supplies some much-needed clarity on how the Puritan States of America might actually operate should we be blessed with (finally!) theocracy.

Mayor Godlyman in Florida

We are, naturally, rooting for Giuliani in Florida a week from tomorrow and note with glee that he is now pandering to the evangelicals: "My belief in God and reliance on His guidance is at the core of who I am."

Time out while we ... BWAAA HA HA HA.

Naturally, New Yawkers know from fakery when it comes to Rudy: "Do You Recognize This Man?" (And who are Floridians but New Yawkers with a tan.) So Giuliani may go begging in Florida. Though we hope not.

Saturday, January 19, 2008

Romney Wins Nevada!

Another step closer to heading the Republican ticket with Madam Virginia Foxx!

Friday, January 18, 2008

Who Benefits?

According to David Dalton, the Virginia Foxx-engineered congressional earmark for a new 135-acre Yadkin County dam and reservoir is NOT about people needing household water during this drought but all about Foxx's eagerness to please big developers who want to build along the U.S. 421/U.S. 601 corridors.

Shoulda known.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

The Sofa Effect

Okay, we're surprised about this. We thought that turn-out in the Iowa caucuses and in the New Hampshire primary was way up for both Democrats and Independents and for Republicans too. That was our impression from TV commentators at the time.

But no. Turn-out for Democrats and Independents was way up, and turn-out for Republicans in the first three states where candidates "aggressively campaigned" was down. "All told, 1.2 million voted in the Republican races in Iowa, New Hampshire and Michigan. In 2000, the number was 1.6 million." What percentage drop is that? Who does math?

Jim VandeHei and John F. Harris write about "the sofa effect" in the Republican Party this year. It's having a ripple effect: fundraising is way down, candidate recruitment is paltry, "brand" enthusiasm has flatlined.

Here's perhaps the most damaging ripple: 10 percent of Republican House members have already announced their retirements, with more sure to come.

This morning on C-SPAN, Rep. Jeb Hensarling of Texas, a Republican member of the Budget Committee, relentlessly attacked Democrats as the cause of all that is wrong with government over-spending. He used earmarks as one prime example, and in searching about for an outrageous example of earmarking, he came up with the Teapot Museum in Sparta, N.C. Apparently, he either didn't know or didn't care that his example was an earmark by a fellow Republican, Madam Virginia Foxx.

With allies like this, you scarcely need enemies!

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

War Is Good When You Don't Have To Think About It

The things that fall out of our Fifth District Congresswoman's mouth!

Today in the Statesville Record & Landmark: "As long as people can go on with their everyday business and are free to talk about war but don't have to think about war or worry about war, I think that's a good thing."

Translation: It's gonna be a lot better for the Republican Party generally, and for me specifically, if the Iraq War retreats to page 14.

Foxx's deep thinking on the economy: "She said all the talk about the nation going broke is much ado about nothing and the federal government would actually be operating at a surplus 'if the Democrats would cut a lot of the spending not related to the war.' "

Put those two pieces of appalling sapience together: It's an excellent thing for Americans not to think about all the money that's going to a war that it's also good they're not thinking about. Because NOT THINKING is next to Godliness.

And we had thought the Madam Foxx quotes from yesterday couldn't be topped! You know, this:
When it was Foxx's turn to tell the crowd about herself, she started by saying that she had tried to get to a meeting of eWomenNetwork for three years. She delighted the small group with stories about owning a nursery and landscaping business with her husband since 1975. "I've led two lives," Foxx said. "I still have my own chain saw." In another story that connected her to the rest of the group, she told about finally getting time to clean her house during the holidays. "Women in Congress have the same concerns as all women have," she said.

Sometimes trying to negotiate the ironies is like paddling in Jello.

Come Again?

Mike Huckabee, yesterday in Michigan:

"I have opponents in this race who do not want to change the Constitution. But I believe it's a lot easier to change the Constitution than it would be to change the word of the living God. And that's what we need to do is amend the Constitution so it's in God's standards rather than trying to change God's standards so it lines up with some contemporary view of how we treat each other and how we treat the family."

We hear that stuff about "let's change the Constitution" every time the Republican fringe gets within shouting distance of winning any election. Hell, for that matter we hear it every time the Republican mainstream gets close.

This is the stuff of nightmare.

What Madam Foxx Wants...

It's what Madam Foxx should get, we say.

So we found ourselves sitting up in bed and applauding Mitt Romney at 5 a.m. this morning when NPR clicked on, and we learned that the Governor of Massachusetts had won the Republican primary in Michigan. Way to go, Mittens!

One (small) step closer to being Virginia Foxx's head-of-ticket teammate this fall, an alliance we could have only dreamt about a few short months ago.

There is still, however, the small matter of South Carolina this Saturday....

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

McCrory Decides To Be a Loser

Pat McCrory, the Republican tax-and-spend Mayor of Charlotte, finally made it official today: he's running for governor in an already crowded field.

If he could make it through the Republican primary, he'd be a credible threat to either Bev Perdue or Richard Moore. But he can't win the primary. No, probably not.

Everyone was waiting to see if he would attempt to remake himself as an arch conservative today, sort of like Mitt Romney tried to do on the national scene, but apparently McCrory didn't take that bait. Tom Jensen has one take on the "messaging" contained in McCrory's announcement, and we don't see one word about illegal immigration or cutting corporate taxes. Even more symbolically telling was the presence of ex-Gov. and ex-Boone resident Jim Holshouser, who introduced McCrory. Holshouser was the last moderate Republican to occupy the governor's mansion.

It will take another moderate to get there again. But how is McCrory gonna do it when he's got this sort of opinion rife among Republican Party regulars? And his chief rival for the Republican nomination, state Senator Fred Smith, will begin to unload on him as a notorious Charlotte "liberal." Mark our words.

We asked one of the best Democratic political analysts whether we shouldn't be worried about McCrory. "Naw, the Republicans down east will never go for him," came the answer. No, but maybe he'll elevate the debate a little bit above the usual red-meat talking-points (God, gays, and guns) so popular among Republican Y-chromosome holders.

Roy Carter Event in Boone

Fifth District Congressional candidate Roy Carter -- and virtually his entire family -- were at the Fairfield Inn in Boone Sunday afternoon for a fundraiser. The event was crowded, festive, and apparently very successful. (We can testify that the action in the scrum around the food table was elbow-to-eye competitive.) Carter campaign officials said that slightly over 100 people attended.

We couldn't help noticing several Republicans in the crowd, a couple of them quite well known in eleemosynary circles. The increasing loss of her base has become Madam Foxx's problem in Watauga County, at least, where people know her best. May explain a wholly new conciliatory tone on her part in her latest e-mailed newsletter ... in which she actually has less-than-hateful things to say about the Democratic majority in the U.S. House.

What's the old saying about changing a tiger's stripes?

Anglico at BlueNC offers these choice razzberries to Madam Foxx's fake "bipartisanship."

Monday, January 14, 2008

Memo to Conservative Republicans: FREEZE!

Who decided this was National Declare Conservatism Dead Week? Somehow we missed getting that memo, but we want to celebrate these national holidays as much as the next guy.

First this a.m., we ran across the report of George Will's remarks to the John Locke Foundations ("be afraid, conservatives, be very afraid!"). Then here comes Jonah Goldberg, who seems to have gotten to be an Important Conservative Pundit mainly by being the son of Lucianne Goldberg, who famously induced Linda Tripp (or John Goodman ... I forget which) to secretly tape-record her conversations with Monica Lewinsky. But I digress.

Goldberg was out yesterday in the WashPost with a jeremiad about the rapidly declining futures of American conservatism specifically and of the Republican Party generally.

Goldberg has (to our eyes) the novel prescription for conservative Republicans of ... DO ABSOLUTELY NOTHING: "The traditional conservative believes that if you don't have a good idea for what an elephant should be doing, the best course is to encourage it to do nothing at all. Alas, the chorus shouting, 'Don't just do something, stand there!' shrinks by the day."

Now, that does call for a celebratory drink. And maybe I'll pop open that other can of Pringles.

Mr. Pecksniff Counts the Odds

The always rollicking George Will threw ice water all over hundreds of conservatives at the John Locke Foundation's 18th anniversary celebration last Thursday night in Charlotte. (The Carolina Journal has the full report here.)

'Pears that Will joins Madam Foxx in supporting Romney for president and joins her, too, in being virtually alone in North Carolina in that support. His takes on the other leading Republican candidates make for Monday morning hilarity:

McCain's an "acquired taste." Sort of like fish paste.

Huckabee? "...Republicans are decreasingly competitive outside the South. This is why some of us find Gov. Huckabee so alarming, in addition to his alarming views. [If nominated] he would reinforce the image of the Republican Party as a Southern party with almost a religious test -- certainly a religious pretension -- that a good many people all over the country, including in the South, find disturbing."

Who will the Democrats nominate? Will thinks it'll be Obama. And he clearly thinks that Obama will win the presidency.

Saturday, January 12, 2008

This Man's a Blatant Liar

Laura Leslie nails Republican candidate for NC governor Bill Graham for telling outlandish falsehoods in his recent debate with fellow candidates Fred Smith and Bob Orr.

Graham claimed that N.C. has experienced "a 1500% increase in Hispanic illegal aliens" coming into the state since 1990. The Pew Hispanic Center puts the figure at 284 percent.

Graham claimed that taxes in N.C. have gone up 91 percent in the last ten years. Even the tax-loathing John Locke Foundation says the rate of increase has been 8.2 percent.

Graham claimed, "North Carolina's roads are the 47th worst in the country." The truthful number would have been 31st.

Not just little fibs. Big, jaw-dropping whoppers.


I actually watched Thursday night's Republican presidential debate -- and taped it too -- thinking that I'd probably write something about it, but then the moment passed, sort of like pellagra (eat enough vegetables, cereals, and high-protein foods, and it will get better).

Two of the highlights of Thursday's debate -- no, three -- were as follows:

1. When's the last time you saw a presidential debate preceded by a rendition of the national anthem featuring a whole platoon of country Barbies singing backup to South Carolina's "official country music ambassador" Calvin Gilmore? Who, you say? That's "Calvin" as in Coolidge. And what does it take to become an "official country music ambassador" anyway? Oddest thing, though, was that the whole over-produced musical rendition was PRE-RECORDED.

2. Ron Paul was UNLEASHED.

3. So was Fred Thompson, who took every opportunity to verbally stomp Mike Huckabee, even though it's a little more effective to go on the attack without constantly referring to your notes.

The Thompson-Huckabee tiff has extended into the hours and days following the Myrtle Beach event, with the two Southern pols continuing to get "shut-yo-filthy-mouth" personal with each other. The best moment came yesterday when Thompson accused Huckabee of not being as poor as Thompson was growing up. "Why, I was twice the white trash you ever even DREAMED of being," Thompson screamed before slamming the screen door so hard the cat knocked over the clabber jar.

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Yammering On

The Dome reminds us this a.m. that Madam Virginia Foxx ranks 6th -- out of 435 members of Congress -- for the amount of mail she sends into her 5th Congressional District ... 785,415 pieces of mail last year, costing $164,548 (here, scroll down). Frankly, my dear, we'd prefer a little more pork in this district and a little less empty promotional fluff in our mailboxes ... given our druthers, that is.

Wednesday, January 09, 2008

Ron Paul 's Past

James Kirchik in The New Republic rips the mask off this ugly mug and finds an even uglier one:
"[W]hoever actually wrote them, the newsletters I saw all had one thing in common: They were published under a banner containing [Ron] Paul's name, and the articles (except for one special edition of a newsletter that contained the byline of another writer) seem designed to create the impression that they were written by him -- and reflected his views. What they reveal are decades worth of obsession with conspiracies, sympathy for the right-wing militia movement, and deeply held bigotry against blacks, Jews, and gays. In short, they suggest that Ron Paul is not the plain-speaking antiwar activist his supporters believe they are backing -- but rather a member in good standing of some of the oldest and ugliest traditions in American politics."

Ron Paul eats crow about it on his own website:
"When I was out of Congress and practicing medicine full-time, a newsletter was published under my name that I did not edit. Several writers contributed to the product. For over a decade, I have publicly taken moral responsibility for not paying closer attention to what went out under my name."

But seems like, for over a decade, he must have approved of what went out under his name, which makes his non-denial denial just plain lame.

If anybody fully rational thought this guy had a chance in hell of getting anywhere in these presidential primaries, there would be a good deal more attention to these writings, these sentiments, these rejections of the American melting pot.

Madam Foxx, Relentlessly 'On Message'

"It's all the Democrats' fault," saith Madam Virginia Foxx, in an interview with the Statesville Record & Landmark. She means the "ear-marking" process of "pork" production for Congressional districts, something she's indulged in (more tea, my dear?) but about which she's all self-righteous today. She blames the Democrats while conveniently ignoring that Congress was under the control of her own Party, starting in January of 1995, pretty continuously until January of 2007 (with a couple of brief blips in the Senate), during which time Congressional spending generally (let alone ear-marks specifically) soared into the blessed stratosphere.

Foxx is sooo accustomed to dishing shit and calling it meat stew. Why? Because too many people in her district swallow it.

Tuesday, January 08, 2008

Dispatches from New Hampshire

Voters lining up "out the door" to vote in several cities in New Hampshire.

Despicable push-polling meant to benefit Huckabee happening at the last minute (natch!).

This Granite State Republican worries most that the presidential candidate for his party will "see the war through": " matter who wins, we'll be in pretty good shape to make the case against the Democrat leading into next November's vote. Any one of our guys, save Ron Paul, will be a formidable candidate when compared against whoever the Democrats ultimately pick to be their standardbearer." Save Ron Paul? Oh, yeah, he's anti-war and therefore won't see the war through.

Blue Hampshire says that a vote today for any Republican would be an endorsement of the last seven years of Cheney/Bush. Yea, verily.

Monday, January 07, 2008

"Don't Wake Me ... I'm Stumping"

News picked up at "S.C. Politics Today":
Thompson to embark on 11-day S.C. bus tour

Republican presidential hopeful Fred Thompson will be in S.C. Tuesday to begin an 11-day bus tour of the state.

Bus tour delayed slightly while campaign aides install a new "Presidential" style BarcaLounger.

So the rumors that Thompson would make the tour folded over a plain wire clothes-hanger were completely unfounded. (And ambiguity is so difficult to sloganize!)

Madam Foxx: 'Quit Whining, You Poor Slobs!'

On the radio in Wilkes County, NC-10 Congresswoman Virginia Foxx channels Little Mary Sunshine about the U.S. economy and scolds El Presidente mildly for "over-reacting" to the foreclosure/bankruptcy crisis. "We're just doin' great," saith the multi-millionaire Madam. And by the way, there's apparently a ginormous distinction to be made between applications for bankruptcy and actual bankruptcies. Sort of like the distinction between diagnoses of cancer and actual cancer deaths. Which is evidently meant to reassure us.

Sunday, January 06, 2008

Another Democrat Wants To Take on Foxx

Looks like there'll be a primary for Democrats wanting the privilege to run against Congresswoman Virginia Foxx this fall. Former Iredell County Commissioner Diane Hamby says she's planning to run.

Roy Carter has already been active as a candidate for months now.

The primary will be May 6th.

Saturday, January 05, 2008

Things We Wouldn't Know Without the MSM

The Mainstream Media, bless their hearts. Without their ever-vigilant eye, we wouldn't even know that...

1. John McCain's fourth-place finish in Iowa, behind the semi-comatose Fred Thompson, was actually THE BIG SLING-SHOT WIN THAT WILL PROPEL HIM TO VICTORY IN NEW HAMPSHIRE AND THE REPUBLICAN NOMINATION!!! Jamison Foser does the analysis and names names, Chris Frickin Matthews very prominently at the head of the queue.

2. Evangelicals were counted at the Republican caucuses in Iowa but not at the Democratic caucuses, because, hey! Republicans OWN evangelicals, right?

3. The MSM has decided and proclaimed Huckabee a "populist," when his "fair tax" scheme would be somewhere to the right of Ronald Reagan's economic policies, shifting even more of the tax burden onto lower-wage earners who have to spend a greater percentage of their incomes on the necessities of life.

Friday, January 04, 2008

"The Things He Did"

Lance Sigmon, newest Republican candidate for the NC-10 Congressional seat currently held by Patrick McHenry, has got an itch he clearly intends to scratch and in public. From coverage of yesterday's declaration of candidacy by Mr. Sigmon:
"I am not happy with the representation we are getting from Mr. McHenry. And if people knew he did things ... they might find he is not the person they think he is."

We call this Sleaze Interruptus. "If people knew he did WHAT things"? Would any of them involve a Dyson vacuum and talc?

Oh, this NC-10 Republican primary is gonna be dirtier than Vernon Robinson's accusing Virginia Foxx of being a nympho-lesbo-killer-abortionist in Aught-Four.

ADDED: Oops ... here's the newspaper source for the quote above.

Reshuffling the Deck

We've been out of pocket since early this morning, so we're way behind in the Iowa spin, but at least two things picked up from various network gasbags last night hang in our minds:

1. Obama out-polled Hillary among women over-all but especially among younger women.

2. The youth vote jumped up like a goosed cat. One in five Iowa caucus-goers was under age 30 -- about twice as many as typically vote in early presidential nomination events. (Over-all turnout in Iowa swelled to 239,000, nearly double the record of 124,000 just four years ago.)

3. I'm feeling John Edwards' pain today. I'm NOT feeling Ms. Inevitability's pain.

4. Kudos to Biden and Dodd for being gentlemen of substance, for adding their voices to the early debates, and for bowing out gracefully.

5. What's Bill Richardson thinking? They ain't gonna be no surge.

6. If a black man can win lily-white Iowa ... we got us a race here!

7. The Republican side just gets more delightfully entertaining by the day! We got us TWO races here!

Thursday, January 03, 2008

Early Reports from Iowa

Apparently, there's record turn-out for the Democratic caucuses (not so much for the Republicans), and it's "chaotic." Get 600 Democrats in a room and start counting heads and see how quickly you turn to straight Vodka! But that's okay. You hang in there, Iowa! We'd love to be a part of that chaotic democracy in action!

With only 26% of precincts reporting, it's a dead heat for the Big Three Dems, and the Repubs are being totally predictable too, with Huckabee and Romney vying for the lead.

The Case of the Curious Shrinking Candidate

In a season when you're likely to read a lot of very strange wisdom on any given day, John Mercurio's observation about how Hillary Clinton closed out her Iowa campaign deserves some sort of prize for Weird Observation of the Day:
Clinton has done something curious, but strategically wise, in the closing days: She's virtually disappeared. Fully aware that her support climbs when she lowers her profile, Clinton has worked hard to make sure she's not the main story.

Well, here's an idea: Following this logic, if Hillary totally disappeared for, like, four months -- went to the beach on Antigua, say -- wouldn't that be, like, guaranteeing her nomination?

Risky perhaps, but, hey! we're up for it!

Little Patty McHenry's Primary Opponent

Meet Lance Sigmon, Air Force JAG officer who'll be challenging Patrick McHenry in the NC-10 Congressional Republican primary on May 6th.

Did you say Lance? Like in "open an incision, lance a boil"?

The boil in question, incumbent Congressman Patrick McHenry, will have to be spending some of that million dollars he's amassed to fight off this primary challenger, and if he can fight off that challenger (not a foregone conclusion, by any means), he'll still be facing this other ex-military challenger in November. All in all, 2008 is shaping up as a rough row for McHenry to hoe.

Curious ... that Lance Sigmon's web site does not contain the word 'Republican' anywhere, though reading through his issues will give you a good case of that dependable conservative Republican vertigo. Lotsa God, lotsa lowering of taxes, lotsa missionary positioning with one woman and one man in Holy Matrimony.

And thereby, naturally, comes the subtle attack on McHenry, plus these carefully chosen words on Sigmon's homepage: "There is no room for unethical behavior or advancement of self-interests." Oh snap!

Wednesday, January 02, 2008


Belief Net has a fun new feature, the "God-o-Meter," which attempts to keep track of who's Jehovah's BFF among presidential contenders THIS WEEK. It should come as no surprise that Mike Huckabee among the Republicans rings the God-o-Meter bell loudest today and wins himself a Jesus Carnival Kewpie doll, maybe particularly for deciding to follow that still, small voice that whispered in his ear that trashing Mitt Romney as fundamentally dishonest was just NOT the Christian thing to do ("but first," saith Saint Huckabee, "let me show you this terrible ad that I'm NOT going to show you," pushing his halo back with a relaxed slouch that reflects his corn-fed all-American likeability).

Meanwhile, on the Devil's Own End of Belief Net's God-o-Meter we're delighted to find both Ron Paul (who recently predicted that fascism would arrive in America carrying a cross) and Fred I-Don't-Attend-Church-Regularly Thompson, the last best hope of non-Pauleroid conservatives and role model for lecherous old men everywhere.

Closest-to-God on the Democratic side may surprise you but shouldn't, since you KNOW how focused on Allah those madrassahs tend to be!

Hard Workers

When I was ten on the High Plains of West Texas, I declared jihad on red ants.

I ransacked my father's toolshed and came up with a can of naphtha and almost a full half-gallon of oil-based white exterior paint. These I wanted to mix together before pouring them into the portal of a red ant den near the southwest corner of the vegetable garden. I found the galvanized bucket my father used to feed the chickens and poured the paint, followed by the naphtha, into it and mixed it together with a foot-long screwdriver I extracted from his toolbox. I poured my concoction on the ants, which killed some of them. It was plain to see.

Encouraged, and with my blood up, I got into my brother's stash of colognes and after-shave lotions and used them all to further dilute the white paint, which was quickly coagulating on the hard dirt around the red ant den. Then I decided to call in the air force and firebomb the den, tossing large lit kitchen matches onto my chemical and paint stew. The whole mess erupted with flames the color of mint, including the discarded bucket and screwdriver, both white with naphtha-ized paint, and before I knew it the whole prairie was burning. The wall of flames were moving with a fluid skip toward the chicken house when I ran inside for help.

The next morning I was still confined to my quarters when I overheard my parents at the breakfast table. "Well, at least he's a hard worker," my mother said, and chuckled. My mother was the most Christian woman I've ever known, and she seriously practiced the rule that it was her duty to say something nice about everyone.

Which is the only explanation we can come up with for the Jefferson Post's editorial yesterday saying that, well, Madam Virginia Foxx is, sum total, a hard worker.