Sunday, August 31, 2008

Sunday Morning Spoor

Several readers have sent me the link to Mudflats, an Alaska blog written by an East coast native who's lived and worked in Alaska since 1991. This blogger offers more insider specifics on the curious case of the rise of Sarah Palin. First up: Palin's Big Lie that she opposed "the bridge to nowhere" earmark. T'ain't true. "Total fabrication," says Mudflats, who proceeds to offer the irrefutable evidence.

The giggling over Palin among the Sunday Morning Gasbags was under tight control, though the only talking head worth listening to, Republican operative Mike Murphy, who ran John McCain's campaign back in 2000, delivered the only opinion worth the combined hot air: Sarah Palin can make the religious right giddier than the prospect of themo-noookalar war with Russia, but if all she does is solidify McCain's base, she's done NOTHING toward winning this election.

The big giggle moment of the morning came when Cindy McCain said Sarah Palin had foreign policy cred on the basis of Alaska's being so close to both Russia and Canada, two of our most despicable socialist enemies, after Obama, of course. By this reasoning I consider myself an expert on oil and gas, since I grew up adjacent to the oil patch in Texas. Hell, all my uncles were roughnecks on oil rigs, so maybe I ought to be Secretary of Energy! George Stephanopoulos, bless his heart, kept a straight face throughout Cindy McCain's rap.

Under the topic heading ... The Things a Whore Has To Say and Do: A couple of weeks ago Karl Rove belittled Tim Kaine as a possible Democratic Veep pick on Face the Nation:
With all due respect again to Governor Kaine, he's been a governor for three years, he's been able but undistinguished. I don't think people could really name a big, important thing that he's done.

He was mayor of the 105th largest city in America. And again, with all due respect to Richmond, Virginia, it's smaller than Chula Vista, California; Aurora, Colorado; Mesa or Gilbert, Arizona; north Las Vegas or Henderson, Nevada. It's not a big town.

Oops. It takes a whore to swallow the big ones. Friday on Fox News -- and exhibiting absolutely no involuntary gag reflex -- Rove bragged about Sarah Palin:
She's a former mayor. She's the mayor of, I think, the second largest city in Alaska before she ran for governor.

For the record, Wasilla, Alaska, was not even the 10th largest city in Alaska. It's smaller than Chula Vista, Aurora, Mesa, Gilbert, North Las Vegas, and Henderson.

With all due respect.

Saturday, August 30, 2008

Denominational Inexactness

The Religion Blog at has been trying to determine Sarah Palin's professed religion, with mixed results. (HT: Brother Doc.) Consensus seems to be that she's Pentecostal but possibly just an ecstatic practitioner of non-denominationalism, though the Wall Street Journal, that most establishmentarian of Republican rags, says she's a Lutheran.

Meanwhile, John McCain is supposedly an Episcopalian (according to some sources) and a Baptist (according to others).

And the allegedly "Baptist" Virginia Foxx outs herself (again) in The Hill's Congress Blog as a Catholic, and not just ANY Catholic either, but one ready to call down the wrath of the Pope on fellow Catholic Nancy Pelosi's head for deviating from church doctrine on abortion. Which leads, naturally, to this...

FOOTNOTE: When the Madam ran for the NC Senate in 1994, she ran as pro-choice, which is why the local pro-choice group, 100 Women, contributed to her campaign. She lied. She's a liar. The truth is not in her.

The Runner-Up

The consensus this a.m. at Farmer's Market -- where I go for deep political analysis -- was that McCain's choice of Sarah Palin as his veep was an insult to women ... that he would think that Hillary voters would be magnetically and magically aligned with ANY woman despite her political agenda. "A clumsy political move" was one of the more printable reactions. Laughter was more common. Laughter and derision that McCain would so undercut his own campaign's attacks on Obama as "inexperienced."

One gentleman wanted to know why McCain didn't choose the WINNER of the Miss Alaska beauty pageant, instead of the runner-up.

Friday, August 29, 2008

That Was Quick

Let's see now. Palin was announced officially during the noon hour, and now there's already merchandise available commemorating "McSame & Failin'" ... hats, tote bags, coffee cups. (HT: MW)

Ain't free enterprise wonderful!

In other news, we learn from GOP battlebots that Palin/Failin' is a BRILLIANT choice, 'cause she'll induce former Hillary supporters to forget all about the reasons they supported Hillary and cause them to vote for McCain/McSame. Well, yes, IF they become zombies, or if somebody slips enough of them a good dose of roofies on votin' day. Then, by all means, stand by for a stampede among Hillary women for the McCain ticket.

We can certainly agree with Shyster (posting on another site somewhere in Right Blogistan) that at least Palin is a LOT hotter'n Biden. In those glasses (see down-column) she reminds us a little of an x-rated movie character from "Midnight Librarian."

Coach Carter Launches on TV

Coach Roy Carter has released his first TV ad. It doesn't name his opponent, Madam Foxx, but does offer an economic message.

McCain's Veep? is saying it's Sarah Palin. WHO? The Guv of Alaska ... apparently the only woman they could find who isn't pro-choice.

Apparently, McCain had been saying, "I need me a woman."

It turned out eventually to be "any woman."

The Republican brand is pretty damaged in Alaska these days, so it's so far unclear just how much Palin will help him win ... Alaska.

Her pick also subverts all that "lack of experience" mantra that the GOP wants to chant in the general direction of the Democratic ticket.

Strange pick ... if it turns out to be Palin. The only thing that makes sense about it is McCain's f*** you streak, directed particularly at Karl Rove, who was reportedly telling him he HAD to pick Romney. (Romney WOULD have been the smart choice, but who are we to quarrel with a total unknown?)

Republicans at the Podium in Denver

We were compulsively switching last night between Fox, MSNBC, and CNN, to catch the spin, but if you wanted to watch the actual convention, C-SPAN was the only place to be. Without C-SPAN we wouldn't have seen Ike's granddaughter Susan Eisenhower (pictured here), the most prominent Republican on hand to endorse Barack. (Text of her short speech is here)

The cable news networks may have shown a bit of her remarks, because she's, you know, kin to someone famous. They showed absolutely NONE of the short speeches by ordinary, non-famous Republicans from around the country who came to endorse Barack. Prominent among them -- and a strong presence in her own right -- was Pam Cash-Roper from Pittsboro, who admitted she had voted for Richard Nixon, Ronald Reagan, and George W. Bush twice. "But no more," she said. "I can't afford it."

It was gratifying to see North Carolina represented by a nurse with a strong voice, a clear vision, and a sense of personal history intersecting with national destiny. She was one of the highlights of Thursday night.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

GOP: Convention Interruptus?

Republicans consider postponing their convention next week because of the hurricane.

Gosh. Now they're calling Barack Obama "the hurricane"?

Oh, you mean there's an actual storm drawing a bull's-eye on the Gulf coast?

Does this perhaps indicate, incidentally, that God has a sense of humor? Or might the Republicans consider fingering as the culprit the preacher who said he was praying fervently for God to send buckets of rain down on Obama's outdoor acceptance speech tonight? Maybe God heard but was feeling ironic.

Not only are Republicans now on the wrong side of history. They're on the wrong side of the weather.

Easley Steps Up

Not ONLY does The Guv show up in Denver, he actually seems to be enjoying himself! According to the N&O, he's given more than 20 media interviews. He's also had the temerity to stand up against the hoax of off-shore oil drilling:
Easley expressed skepticism about the value of drilling for oil off North Carolina's coast.

He said the oil companies already have 38 million acres off the Gulf Coast where they are not drilling. He said drilling off the North Carolina coast had the potential to provide six months' worth of oil for the U.S.

"This is not a solution," Easley said. "This is a slogan."

No One Is Better Than You

My mother's creed is the American creed: No one is better than you. You are everyone's equal, and everyone is equal to you.

My parents taught us to live our faith, and treasure our family. We learned the dignity of work, and we were told that anyone can make it if they try.

That was America's promise. For those of us who grew up in middle-class neighborhoods like Scranton and Wilmington, that was the American dream and we knew it.

But today that American dream feels as if it's slowly slipping away. I don't need to tell you that. You feel it every single day in your own lives.

The above, excerpted from Joe Biden's acceptance speech last night in Denver. Biden, one of the poorest members of the super-exclusive club of US senators, had one of the best family-values moments of the year as he paid tribute to his mother, Catherine Eugenia Finnegan Biden. Catherine Biden's wonderful face, with those sharp bright eyes, is forever sealed in memory now. That IS the face of America, and those values honored by Joe Biden are American values.

The Myth of a Maverick

To those who still believe in the myth of a maverick instead of the reality of a politician, let's compare Senator McCain to candidate McCain.

Candidate McCain now supports the wartime tax cuts that Senator McCain once denounced as immoral. Candidate McCain criticizes Senator McCain's own climate change bill. Candidate McCain says he would now vote against the immigration bill that Senator McCain wrote. Are you kidding? Talk about being for it before you're against it.

Before he ever debates Barack Obama, John McCain should finish the debate with himself. And what's more, Senator McCain, who once railed against the smears of Karl Rove when he was the target, has morphed into candidate McCain who is using the same "Rove" tactics and the same "Rove" staff to repeat the same old politics of fear and smear.

The above, excerpted from John Kerry's speech in Denver last night

Economic Contraction

A single lot in Tesoro Preserve, a Ginn Company luxury development in Port St. Lucie, Florida, which was originally purchased for $245,150, sold last night at an absolute auction for a whopping $53,900, which includes the buyer's premium. (HT: Craig) From
Tesoro is often referred to as Port St. Lucie's most upscale community. It boasts an Arnold Palmer Signature golf course and a luxurious 100,000 square foot plus clubhouse. As in other Ginn communities, buyers bought at the top of the market. Property values have declined and many owners are upside down with their lenders.

The Ginn Company has its own financial problems. Tesoro, along with three other Ginn developments (Quail West in Naples, Ginn sur Mer in the Bahamas, and Laurelmor near Boone, NC.) are subject to a Credit Suisse first and second lien debt, has been in default since July 1, 2008. The total debt is $675 million. Ginn reportedly still owns about 600 home sites in Tesoro.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Thank You, Bill Clinton

Our nation is in trouble on two fronts: The American Dream is under siege at home, and America's leadership in the world has been weakened.

Middle class and low-income Americans are hurting, with incomes declining; job losses, poverty and inequality rising; mortgage foreclosures and credit card debt increasing; health care coverage disappearing; and a big spike in the cost of food, utilities, and gasoline.

Our position in the world has been weakened by too much unilateralism and too little cooperation; a perilous dependence on imported oil; a refusal to lead on global warming; a growing indebtedness and a dependence on foreign lenders; a severely burdened military; a backsliding on global non-proliferation and arms control agreements; and a failure to consistently use the power of diplomacy, from the Middle East to Africa to Latin America to Central and Eastern Europe.

Barack Obama is ready to lead America and restore American leadership in the world. Ready to preserve, protect, and defend the Constitution of the United States. Barack Obama is ready to be President of the United States.

He will work for an America with more partners and fewer adversaries. He will rebuild our frayed alliances and revitalize the international institutions which help to share the costs of the world's problems and to leverage our power and influence. He will put us back in the forefront of the world's fight to reduce nuclear, chemical, and biological weapons and to stop global warming. He will continue and enhance our nation's global leadership in an area in which I am deeply involved, the fight against AIDS, TB and malaria, including a renewal of the battle against HIV/AIDS here at home. He will choose diplomacy first and military force as a last resort. But in a world troubled by terror; by trafficking in weapons, drugs and people; by human rights abuses; by other threats to our security, our interests, and our values, when he cannot convert adversaries into partners, he will stand up to them.

People the world over have always been more impressed by the power of our example than by the example of our power.

Look at the example the Republicans have set: American workers have given us consistently rising productivity. They've worked harder and produced more. What did they get in return? Declining wages, less than 1/4 as many new jobs as in the previous eight years, smaller health care and pension benefits, rising poverty and the biggest increase in income inequality since the 1920s. American families by the millions are struggling with soaring health care costs and declining coverage.

Are these the family values the Republicans are so proud of? What about the military families pushed to the breaking point by unprecedented multiple deployments? What about the assault on science and the defense of torture? What about the war on unions and the unlimited favors for the well connected? What about Katrina and cronyism?

America can do better than that. And Barack Obama will.

on the two great questions of this election, how to rebuild the American Dream and how to restore America's leadership in the world, John McCain still embraces the extreme philosophy which has defined his party for more than 25 years, a philosophy we never had a real chance to see in action until 2001, when the Republicans finally gained control of both the White House and Congress. Then we saw what would happen to America if the policies they had talked about for decades were implemented.

They took us from record surpluses to an exploding national debt; from over 22 million new jobs down to 5 million; from an increase in working family incomes of $7,500 to a decline of more than $2,000; from almost 8 million Americans moving out of poverty to more than 5 and a half million falling into poverty - and millions more losing their health insurance.

Now, in spite of all the evidence, John McCain is promising more of the same.

The Republican Party actually wants us to reward them for the last eight years by giving them four more. Let's send them a message that will echo from the Rockies all across America: Thanks, but no thanks.

Selections above from the text of Bill Clinton's Denver speech minutes ago

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Hagan Pulls Ahead of Dole in Senate Race

Public Policy Polling credits the "Liddy Dole is 93" ads paid for by the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee.

You can expect Liddy to counter-punch. She still has a pile o' cash approximately as high as an elephant's eye.

The Democratic Convention, According to Fox News

Michelle Obama gave a weak and ineffective keynote speech at the National Democratic Convention last night, if we consider the carnage and not just the pretty words. The initial sign of trouble came when Hillary Clinton supporters began retching on the convention floor. Some said it was from radiation, but we haven’t been able to confirm that. (We’re also told that the speech curdled milk two counties away, and the moon glowed red.) Although Ms. Obama was trying to soften her image, about five minutes into her speech she transformed without warning into a 30-foot tall steel Decepticon and began stomping Clinton delegates throughout the vast Pepsi Center, hurling folding chairs and sound equipment at the ceiling, rumbling with a metallic voice, “Get Whitey! Get Whitey!” There were almost no survivors.

In other news, John McCain is still a prisoner of war.

Who You Gonna Call?

A group of "traditionalist conservatives" have started an on-line petition against Sen. John McCain because he's a "globalist," which, we reckon, means he believes in a round earth or something and hates insufficiently both legal and illegal immigrants. And by the way, both McCain and Barack Obama "are guilty of treason."

"Because the two main-party candidates are unacceptable, we pledge not to vote or to vote third party this November."

Looks like Zippy the Pinhead will be getting a few votes after all.

Monday, August 25, 2008

Rich, Slutty Celebrity Endorses McCain

In order to save American from the Anti-Christ, Louise Ciccone (a.k.a. Madonna) makes fair to endorse John McCain for president in her new concert tour, "Sticky and Sweet."

Sticky for McCain, sweet for Obama, who needed some spread-eagled, fatuous politicking by Madonna to bring celebrity-equity to 2008.

Britney Spears, who famously endorsed George W. Bush while smacking double-bubble, is yet to be heard from.

You Might Be an Elitist (4)...

...if your wife's $100 million of inherited dough puts you in the top 100th of the top one percent of the nation's wealthiest people. John McCain's joke that $5 million might make you rich was setting a low threshold indeed for the 15,000 Americans in his money bracket, but not for the rest of us 301 million lower-income slobs. McCain's tax plan "delivers by far the biggest boost to the average incomes of the richest households; Obama's plan does the opposite. McCain really does double-down on Bushonomics, which takes the inequities inherent in today's market outcomes, and injects them with a dose of steroids" ("Why McCain's Wealth Matters").

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Foxx, A Protected Species at Humane Society 'Fur Ball'

Fifth Dist. Congresswoman Virginia Foxx was given a platform to speak and be admired at the local Watauga County Fur Ball last night in Boone, this despite the fact that the Madam was one of only 39 members of Congress who voted against the Animal Fighting Prohibition Enforcement Act last year, legislation enthusiastically endorsed by the Humane Society of the United States, the parent organization of the local animal protection group. The law was overwhelmingly approved by both houses of Congress and signed into law by George W. Bush.

" 'Animal fighting is a barbaric and inhumane practice, and it is fitting and appropriate that we now have a national policy condemning and criminalizing this form of organized animal cruelty,' states Wayne Pacelle, president and CEO of The Humane Society of the United States, which has led the national battle against animal fighting and been the primary advocate for this federal legislation."

Only Foxx and Robin Hayes, of the North Carolina Congressional delegation, voted against the legislation.

If the United States is freer today of cock and dogfighting operations, it's not Madam Foxx's fault, and her vote is either irrelevant or unknown to the partiers at the Fur Ball.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Foxx Gets an 'F' on Middle-Class Issues gave Congresswoman Virginia Foxx a flat 'F' on her first two terms in Congress, for votes on issues of importance to the middle class, and currently rates her at 25% on her unfinished third term in Congress, on 20 different pieces of legislation that rates as important for the "squeezed" middle class. (HT: TL's letter in today's W-S Journal)

You Might Be an Elitist (3)...

...if your brother Joe tries to explain away your vagueness about how many homes you own by blaming the way you were brought up as kids: "The person who took care of all the business was my mother," Joe McCain said. "My father had no idea about the family business, what oil leases he owned in Oklahoma."

An underachieving elitist, by the way: Joe McCain bragged that his brother finished fifth from the bottom of his class at the Naval Academy.

"By the way, that's a McCain tradition," he said. "My father and grandfather, both four-star admirals, and they graduated in the bottom fourth of their class, too."

Friday, August 22, 2008

You Might Be an Elitist (2)...

...if it takes a nine-car motorcade to get you to the local Starbucks for a vente cappuccino (source: LATimes, 3rd graph from the end).

You Might Be an Elitist...

...if Robin Leach, host of "Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous," becomes your chief defender two days after you can't remember how many houses you own.

Leach told the Los Angeles Times that "he isn't really surprised at McCain's odd memory lapse, given the complex lives that the super-rich lead."

"He probably was confused as to which homes are in his name, his wife's name, or corporate names," said Leach, trying his best to be helpful. Leach also said that McCain "tends to answer questions very rapidly without thinking of the correct answers. ... I would call it honest confusion."


The Next Question for McCain: How Many Servants Do You Have?

Buried at the end of a article ("McCain Family Owns Eight Properties") is this further (quite telling) detail:

"The McCains increased their budget for household employees from $184,000 in 2006 to $273,000 in 2007, according to John McCain's tax returns."

Let's assume that maybe the McCains are paying an average living wage of, say, $50,000 a head. That would give them basically 5 1/2 butlers and upstairs maids. But if they were more penurious and paid an average of, say, $25,000 a head, they could easily have over ten servants.

The man who wants to continue the Bush tax cuts to the wealthy. Got it!

Another 'No Confidence' Vote

When Carter Wrenn calls Condi Rice an incompetent ninny and declares that the Bush administration is wholly lacking in credibility ... the bottom really is dropping out.

Ralph Reed To the Rescue!

Way to get even further off-message, Sen. McCain! Have the disgraced Ralph Reed go on C-SPAN this a.m. and declare that no one is interested in how rich you are.

Who is Ralph Reed and why is his opinion important?

Are we talking the disgraced former head of the Christian Coalition? The man who subsequently ran for lieutenant governor of Georgia in 2006 but was soundly defeated in the Republican primary after his connections to Jack Abramoff came out? (Well, hey, one of his earliest paid jobs was as an intern for Abramoff, so you've got to expect a few friendly crumbs to eventually fall from the table!) The Ralph Reed who first got his name in the papers in 1983 while he was a student at the University of Georgia? He got his butt fired off the student paper for plagiarizing a column attacking Gandhi (of all people) and sorta set the standard for the kind of sleaze that has characterized him ever since.

The Ralph Reed who earlier this month hosted a fundraiser for John McCain, in a double-bid to get closer to potential power while trying to induce the public to forget all the past scandals?

Yes, him.

He told us this a.m. on C-SPAN that McCain's failure to grasp economic realities, either his own or anybody else's, was just not something that the American people were interested in.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

How Many Homes Does John McCain Have?

He sez he doesn't know, sez he'll have to have a staff member (the "assistant in charge of counting John McCain's residences") get back to us about the number. Might be a dozen. Might be "only seven." Consensus among some amateur McCain house counters is that he owns at least ten. 'Course, most of 'em are really Cindy's, cause she's richer'n sin. Not that McCain doesn't have a lot of money on his own. All of which does help 'splain McCain's answer to Rev. Rick Warren's question, "Define 'rich'," and McCain ventured this wild guess: How about $5 million?

One of the privileges of the super-rich is that they don't have to count.

Fodder for John McCain's Military Draft

The Young Voters Index found that in North Carolina 200,000 young citizens between the ages of 18 and 25 still haven't registered to vote. That amounts to 23 percent of that age group ... unregistered, unengaged, too cool for school.

President McCain Would Bring Back the Draft?

All that saber-rattling, 100-years-in-Iraq talk, follow Bin Laden to the gates of hell braggadocio WOULD seem to point to the need to reinstate the military draft, and John McCain signaled yesterday that the draft is exactly where he'd push the nation if he's elected president.

A woman in the audience at a McCain town-hall meeting in Las Cruces, N.M., said, very logically, "If we don't reenact the draft, I don't think we'll have anyone to chase Bin Laden to the gates of hell."

And McCain responded, "Ma'am, let me say that I don't disagree with anything you said."

To which, Jon Soltz, Iraq War veteran and chairman of, said, very logically, "At least Senator McCain is being honest. A vote for him is a vote for the draft. Period. Unless Senator McCain radically changes his worldview, there would be a draft to implement his plans."

This is news. So far, the McCain campaign has not issued any denials.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Patrick McHenry Can't Draw a Crowd

And this was an advertised town-hall meeting in Hickory.

It's tough trying to fake an interest in alternative fuels along with a first-grader's awareness of environmental dangers while simultaneously adhering to Republican doctrine that the past eight years with two oil men in the White House have yielded us a viable vision of the future, rather than the damned Mulligan stew we're currently boiling in.

One attendee had the effrontery to suggest lowering the national speed limit, at which McHenry jumped back like he'd been offered a devil-on-a-stick.

You can try, but you won't get that boy off the Republican hymnal of "drill drill drill."

Now That the Voting’s Over...

The Watauga County Board of Elections was loudly criticized for scheduling the liquor-by-the-drink vote yesterday. They were accused of conspiring to deprive Appalachian State University students of their rights, because the BOE set the date of the liquor election "a full week before classes resume at Appalachian." David Mofford, the president of the ASU Student Government Association (who is incidentally registered to vote in Catawba County), was particularly colorful: " not allow students their right to vote is nothing short of a deprivation of democracy."

Whoa, dude. The BOE acted according to the law. How did it "not allow students their right to vote"? When an ASU student registers to vote in Watauga County, that student is declaring Watauga County his/her legal residence for voting purposes, and it's that voter's responsibility to deal with any inconveniences attendant on a special election date. There are a couple of legal remedies: request an absentee ballot, take advantage of more than two weeks of early voting, or make sure you're "home" on election day. The rest of us registered voters take care of these details, rescheduling vacations, writing in for an absentee ballot, setting the alarm clock.

In other words, grow up.

For students to yell "deprivation of democracy" because they've, uh, "gone home" for the summer waves a red flag about where "home" really is and furthermore sounds like whining, because it is whining, and gives aid and comfort to those people who don't want students voting at all. The Supreme Court settled the issue of where students may declare residence for purposes of voting, though the local Republican Party has a permanent case of indigestion over it. Students crying over the "inconvenience" of a special election date gives ammunition to those who really would disenfranchise you, especially in a year when Barack Obama is running.

Having said that, the people pushing for liquor by the drink were not at all confident in the outcome yesterday, which is why they too criticized the BOE for the chosen date of the election. They thought they might need the student vote. The BOE actually did them a favor, since with the referendum passing easily – and without major student involvement – their victory is much less open to the carping and backbiting that would have followed a student-fueled voter turn-out. If you catch my drift.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Wets Win Boone Liquor Vote a blow-out.

1,106 for liquor
408 against

Berry Berry Contrary

The N.C. Department of Labor's mandate: protect the "health, safety and general well-being" of more than 4 million workers in the state.

Cherie Berry's purpose in life, as the current N.C. Secretary of Labor: help N.C. businesses avoid the "burdens" of protecting the health, safety, and general well-being of more than 4 million workers.

And she has the gall to brag to business leaders that she stood up to the Charlotte Observer's investigative series on malfeasance in the Department of Labor: "I stood firm and took the heat from The Charlotte Observer."

Mary Fant Donnan, who wants to actually carry out the mandated functions of the department, is running against Berry this fall.

Monday, August 18, 2008

What the Boone Area Planning Commission Ought to Say

To Appalachian State University, seeking another rezoning so it can build a development that will impact another residential area of the town of Boone...

The planning commissioners ought to say:

Sorry, but we won't be rezoning any more properties until there's a town-gown master plan, a master plan which ASU promised it would work on in cooperation with the town.

Instead of a master plan that both town and university can agree on and adhere to we get more ad hoc, spur of the moment demands for major changes that catch neighborhoods off-guard and create situations that clearly benefit one party only.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Obama Town Hall Meeting in Raleigh Tuesday

Free and open to the public, but tickets are required and available through Obama HDQs in Raleigh or Cary.

McHenry, Stumping

Bite-sized Congressman Patrick McHenry met with a wildly bored group of pre-teens and some of their parents yesterday in a Hickory park and told them about what was happening in Washington, D.C., omitting presumably the night-life, the bar scene, the fund-raising, and the vote-counting, but at least the congressman is holding advertised and open events for his constituents, which is a far cry ahead of his fellow Republican Madam Foxx, who has become one of the most inaccessible, unresponsive, and unaccountable members of Congress.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Night Comes to the Constitution

The George W. Bush adminstration, those paragons of fabrication, want to enshrine their expansions of executive power into accepted law and practice, for the greater comfort of their successors in the presidency, especially the power to spy on us citizens and to build dossiers and to cook up great big stews of suspicion and paranoia based on secret intel.

So El Presidente, through his most excellent Justice Department, has published for comment a plan to "make it easier for state and local police to collect intelligence about Americans, share the sensitive data with federal agencies and retain it for at least 10 years."

As we wade ever deeper into the weeds of this lying, torturing, secretive Bush Deuce administration, our abilities are frankly waning to even be shocked yet again at their blatant defilement of the Constitution. The American people are generally just exhausted too, maybe, and not acquiescing in the rewriting of our founding documents (as one might suppose from the collective silence, as the Bush/Cheney/Scalia Police State encroaches on more and more of our American landscape).

What's the point of screaming ourselves hoarse when the general election is in sight that can wipe these criminals and their crimes into the dust of history?

Friday, August 15, 2008

Young Evangelicals and the Wandering Eye

Lengthy, in-depth profile in today's WashPost of "a growing group of young born-again Christians" who are questioning the received faith that no evangelical can be a Democrat, much less vote for a Democrat.

Questioning the iron-clad assumptions (prejudices?) of their fathers' generation seems epidemic among today's young believers, particularly considering where the old faith in George W. Bush has landed the nation.

One of the young Christians interviewed for the article said, "...if Republicans can develop an aggressive platform on issues like poverty and the environment, they can reverse the erosion of their evangelical base."

Big IF, that. It's just not a part of Republican DNA to actually follow Christ, to sup with beggars and prostitutes (unless someone else is paying). So much easier to play the pharisee and point the finger at bad people's sins and thank God loudly that they are not as other men are.

Puncturing the McCain Trial Balloon

As expected, Sen. John McCain's statement that he would consider a pro-choice running mate was met with reasoned discussion among single-issue voters, and the mullahs of the Right all agreed almost instantly that it sounded like a splendid idea to them. Not.

"It absolutely floored me," said Phil Burress, head of the Ohio-based Citizens for Community Values. "It would doom him in Ohio .... That choice will end his bid for the presidency and spell defeat for other Republican candidates."

That's some of what they said in public.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Liddy Dole Is 93

Well, dammit, it IS funny. Which is generally the first requirement for going viral.

McCain Goes All Wobbly on Abortion

Talk about sending a message! After John McCain told The Weekly Standard yesterday that he would be open to a pro-choice running mate, Mullah James Dobson was last seen rising over Colorado Springs as a tiny but fully toxic mushroom cloud.

What, an approver of baby murder for Vice President of the United States on the Republican Party ticket????

Now maybe John McCain is perfecting the old head feint himself and intends to pick Bobby Jindal to cast out our national demons (well, at least the ones on the coasts), or just possibly he really is signaling that he'll pick Tom Ridge, the pro-choice ex-guv of Pennsylvania, or -- better! -- Joe Lieberman. We can always hope.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

The Common Good?

The GAO (Government Accountability Office, the investigative arm of Congress) reports that two out of every three U.S. corporations (and there are 1.3 million American corporations) paid absolutely no federal income tax from 1998 through 2005.

Will This Nightmare Ever Be Over?

"Where there is enough evidence to charge someone with a crime, we vigorously prosecute. But not every wrong, or even every violation of the law, is a crime."

--Bush Attorney General Michael B. Mukasey, yesterday, speaking before the American Bar Assoc. in Manhattan

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Straightening the Teeth

Congresswoman Virginia Foxx hosted a fundraiser last Saturday for State Senate candidate Jerry Butler at the Hound Ears clubhouse, and why wouldn't she raise money for the man who wants the seat she once warmed in the state legislature? No word in the article about how much they raised for Butler, who's been forced to loan his own campaign $36,000, according to campaign finance filings at the State Board of Elections. Third Quarter campaign finance reports are not due in Raleigh until Oct. 27th, so we'll have to wait until then to see how much Madam Foxx and the other pooh-bahs forked over to the Boone dentist.

We've been looking a little more closely into the disciplinary consent order handed down against Butler in 1990 by the North Carolina State Board of Dental Examiners, the document that suspended Butler's license to practice dentistry for 30 days and imposed a two-year probationary licensing period following that (Butler's primary opponent used this license suspension against him last spring). The order required Butler to publish an ad once a month for six months, "in a newspaper of general circulation in Watauga County," stating "I am NOT an orthodontist."

The requirement of the ad stating the negative about Butler's qualifications to straighten teeth followed on three separate illegal advertisements by Butler that he WAS an orthodontist and could fit little Susie or Johnnie with braces. According to the "Findings of Fact" in the consent order of 1990, Butler first advertised himself as an orthodontist in 1982, in the Boone telephone directory. Since Butler "has never been qualified under the Board's rules to advertise as a specialist in orthodontics," he was ordered to print a retraction of the telephone directory listing in the local newspaper and to "discontinue the advertisements in future editions of the directory."

Well, Butler did discontinue advertising himself illegally in the telephone directory for a while. Instead, in 1987 he advertised as an orthodontist in the "Big Wednesday" edition of the Watauga Democrat. He was told to "stop it" by the Dental Board. So in 1990 he went back to the classified section of the local telephone book and advertised again as an orthodontist. At which point the Dental Board had had enough and lowered the boom, such as it was.

Butler now wants to be our state senator, kicking out Steve Goss, one of the hardest working members of the state legislature in this or in any other state. Butler wants to achieve this goal (and Madam Foxx is helping him) by running against Goss in somewhat the same way he practiced orthodontics.

That is to say, dishonestly.

Monday, August 11, 2008

The Rapture Is Temporarily On Hold

Tim LaHaye and Jerry B. Jenkins, authors of the mega-selling "Left Behind" series of books, which flatter the prejudices of millions of Christians while reveling in the imagined death and destruction of millions of human beings, have bestowed their wisdom on the world yet again and declared that Obama is NOT the Antichrist. That astounding pronouncement, from atop a mountain of money earned for some of the worst prose this side of James Fenimore Cooper, will predictably receive less attention among the superstitious than did the original LaHaye and Jenkins fiction.

H.L. Mencken, who beat the rest of us to hell decades ago, is possibly smiling amidst the divine napalm: "There's no underestimating the taste of the American public."

Wal-Mart Buys In On N.C. State Government

Wal-Mart Corp., which has heretofore been content to concentrate on national politics, warning its store managers to warn its workers that Obama is the Antichrist, has evidently decided that it needs also to buy favor among a few state legislators too, just to be on the safe side.

The company's PAC has given some $54,000 so far this election cycle to N.C. politicians. A partial list:
* Hugh Holliman, D, Lexington, $1,000
* Nelson Cole, D, Reidsville, $500
* Harold Brubaker, R, Asheboro, $250
* Jerry Tillman, R, Archdale, $1,000
* Kay Hagan, D, Greensboro, $250
* Phil Berger, R, Eden, $500
* Roy Cooper, D, attorney general candidate, $1,000
* Janey Cowell, D, state treasurer candidate, $500
* Pat McCrory, R, candidate for governor, $3,500

Saturday, August 09, 2008

Virginia Foxx ... Bounty Hunter

Madam Foxx has been an avid and shameless advocate for Big Oil, accepting thousands in campaign contributions from the likes of Exxon-Mobil and diving in whole-hog to support Big Oil's profit-driven campaign to expand offshore drilling.

The Madam has been active among the corps of Big Oil's most loyal toadies in the little side-show ("drill now, drill everywhere") staged on the House floor after it adjourned last week. Visitors are not allowed on the floor of the House while it's in session, but House members can bring in guests when the House is in recess, so the Big Oil rump session filled the seats with hootin' and hollerin' tourists who were somewhat bewildered to be invited in but delighted to be in the middle of a "scene."

Our representative, Virginia Foxx, was evidently trolling the halls of Congress looking for warm bodies to bring in -- extra bonus if they happened to be Republican warm bodies -- and she proved an avid bounty-hunter. She jumped up on an intern from Sen. John Warner's office, who was leading a tour of the Capitol for some of the Senator's admirers, and essentially dragged him and his tour group into the House chamber as her "guests." The intern was delighted, the "guests" apparently got off hoo-hawing at the super-dignified behavior of the congresspersons screaming without microphones. The intern wrote up the experience and got it posted on a local news blog at The Roanoke Times (HT: JK).

If the Madam is up there manhandling interns and dragooning innocent visitors into the Big Circus for More Oil Profits, we can be relieved that she isn't driving our mountain roads at approximately twice the speed limit. Stay there and posture! There's a practically unlimited supply of interns and tourists.

Friday, August 08, 2008

Fellow Republicans Say Jerry Butler Lied

Back before the May 6th Republican primary between Jerry Butler and Dwight Shook (which Butler won), Shook sent out a postcard attacking Butler as a documented liar.

The message side of the card (pictured here) contained this text (reproduced below if you can't quite make it out):
Dr. Jerry Butler had his dental license SUSPENDED for Phony Advertising. THAT'S RIGHT. The NC Board of Dental Examiners ruled that Butler violated State Law when he admitted that he falsely advertised himself as an orthodontist on three separate occasions over an eight year period.*

*NC State Board of Dental Examiners Consent Order, 9/21/90


Paid for by Dwight Shook for NC Senate

The campaign finance disclosure reports filed by the Dwight Shook campaign reveal that the heavy-lifters among NC Senate Republicans were backing the Shook campaign against Jerry Butler. In the first quarter filing, Republican Senate top-dog Phil Berger gave Shook $2,000, as did the deputy Republican leader in the Senate Tom Apodaca. Republican senators Peter S. Brunstetter, a Winston-Salem lawyer, and Dr. James Forrester, representing Gaston, Iredell, and Lincoln counties, gave Shook $2,000 and $1,000, respectively. The second quarter filing shows that both Tom Apodaca and Peter Brunstetter each gave Shook another $1,500.

Apparently, the Senate Republican leadership was just that desperate to save themselves the embarrassment of a Jerry Butler candidacy.

Not that Dwight Shook was any great shakes either. While Butler was losing his home county of Watauga to Shook on May 6, Shook was losing his home county of Alexander to Butler. Apparently, neither candidate got much respect from his home turf.

Butler is now turning the dishonesty that Shook warned primary voters about against Sen. Steve Goss, an ordained Baptist minister who has earned great respect in his first term in Raleigh for his hard work and responsiveness to his constituents.

Sorry, Shook did win Alexander County. I looked at the wrong line.

Republican Incumbent Kicked Out

Just over the line in Tennessee's 1st congressional district, which includes Johnson City, a Republican moderate, Johnson City Mayor Phil Roe, defeated the one-term Republican incumbent David Davis in yesterday's primary. That's Roe on the left, Davis on the right, with the queasy shit-eating grin.

It was a close vote and an earthquake in the Tennessee Republican Party. According to the N&O, "Roe ran a TV ad accusing Davis of selling out to 'Big Oil' by accepting money from industry PACs and backing legislation supporting offshore drilling."

Wait! You mean a Republican won in east Tennessee by running AGAINST offshore drilling?! Hear that, Madam Foxx? Roe's platform emphasized "people not politics." Most interesting, because Foxx's challenger Roy Carter's platform is "People Above Politics."

According to the Johnson City Press, Davis had refused to debate Roe. Though both candidates live in Johnson City, Roe beat Davis in Washington County by 1,000 votes.

Prostituting Yourself for a Bus Ride

The gaff-a-minute nuthouse crew otherwise known as the John McCain campaign has devised a point-rewards system for the denizens of Right Blogistan for posting positive comments about John McCain on recommended websites, because -- hey! -- nothing wins votes like canned and insincere political talking points posted in hostile environments.

No mention of extra points for trashing Obama as an America-hating Muslim at the same time.

The goodies being doled out to willing whores is impressive indeed...
a book autographed by John McCain (not necessarily one written by him?)

preferred seating at campaign events

a ride on the Straight-Talk Express

As utterly attractive a prize as unreadable books may be, or gymnasium folding chairs or diesel fumes at dawn, we're a little underwhelmed by the rewards offered for selling our integrity, let alone our self-respect. What, no T-shirt? No tacky coffee mug? No weekend in the Paris Hilton, with continental breakfast?

For the lexicographically minded, this practice is called "AstroTurf": "Like the fake grass for which the practice is named, such AstroTurf messages look as though they come from the grass roots but are ersatz."

Thursday, August 07, 2008

Virginia Foxx, Self-Medicating

Madam Foxx has sent out another e-mail (soon to be a column, no doubt, in a thrice-weekly newspaper near you), trying to work up a show of concern over the high cost of American health care. Some excerpts:

"While the high price of gasoline is the major issue on the minds of most Americans, another prevalent topic of discussion is healthcare."
See, I can too pander and chew gum at the same time.

"Americans have a right to expect access to affordable, high quality, patient centered health care. That does not have to mean a one-size-fits-all plan run by clipboard-wielding Washington bureaucrats or a program for seniors which denies them choice of physicians."
People should just stop whining. When I was poor, we couldn't even afford aspirin.

"The two major factors behind these rising [health-care] costs are government-run programs and employer provided insurance."
One time I was caught in a bear trap. I had to chew my own foot off. But I reattached it myself, with some dental floss and a knitting needle.

"And we should also work to ensure that low-income children are insured."
Like the man said: yadda yadda yadda.

"One potential solution is to level the health insurance playing field and reduce the government's intrusion into healthcare."
I've also performed open-heart surgery on myself.

"We live in an economy where more and more people regularly switch jobs."
When I was two years old, I moved myself from New York to North Carolina. Nobody helped me. But I don't dwell on the past.

Local Candidate Conducting 'Push Polling'

A "push poll" is a manipulation of voters via telephone, masquerading as a legitimate opinion poll. It' AIN'T an opinion poll and it AIN'T legitimate. The most famous instance of nasty push-polling was used by Karl Rove in 2000 in South Carolina against John McCain (remember him?) ... "Would it change your mind if you knew that John McCain had fathered an illegitimate black child? Answer 'yes' or 'no,' and try not to drool."

Local Boone dentist Jerry Butler is running against state Sen. Steve Goss in Dist. 45. Butler is conducting a push poll against Goss. We already have two sources on this and expect more.

The distortion we focus on this morning has to do with the land transfer tax option that the state legislature granted to counties. We stress the word option. Goss voted to give counties the option of passing a land-transfer tax. The Butler push-poll, however, is asking this question (wording is obviously approximate): "Would your opinion of Goss change if you knew he voted for a new tax of up to $1,000 when a homeowner sold their home?"

Goss never voted for a new tax. He voted to give local governments the right to ask their citizens if they thought the buying and selling of expensive second-home real estate in their counties might be a source of revenue for those counties, which are frequently expected to provide various services to those developments, from new schools to water/sewer hookups to sheriff protection.

A push poll is inherently a LIE ... masked as an innocent question. So what does that make Jerry Butler?

Wednesday, August 06, 2008

Liddy Dole, "The Obvious Choice for VP"

You never know what'll come out of the Left Coast. (Tofu on the grill, for example, was a total surprise.) This professor of political science at UCLA writes today in the LATimes that Liddy Dole is (seriously) "the obvious choice" for McCain's vice president ... precisely because she would be approximately 103 years old by the end of the McCain presidency and hence not a viable candidate to succeed The Oldest President Ev-ah, and, besides, we need to return the vice presidency to "the black hole" it traditionally was, and who better to accomplish the pinnacle of mediocrity than Elizabeth Dole?

We like this guy's reasoning (and definitely want some of what he's been smoking) and would welcome the spectacle of Liddy Dole's running simultaneously for both her Senate seat and as John McCain's handmaiden.

You couldn't buy entertainment like that on Pay-Per-View.

'Solvency Be Darned'

From the Radio Girl, yesterday:

The Local Government Commission approved hundreds of millions of dollars in debt issues and state government loans today -- everything from a 14M parking garage in Raleigh to scads of millions for water and sewer all over the state. But as always, it's the smaller line items that make the best stories.

Today's best item had to be the Tweetsie Railroad project. It's an NC landmark that's probably been losing money since it opened back in the 1950s. Turns out Tweetsie Railroad doesn't own all the land under its tracks. A couple of lots connected to the park are leased, and the two owners apparently decided they didn't want to re-up.

After protracted negotiations, the lots' owners convinced Watauga County to seek state help to buy the lots outright -- at 130% of their appraised value, no less -- and then lease them back to the park for a pittance, turning a nice profit for the owners while keeping Tweetsie running, solvency be darned, for at least one more generation of Western NC kids.

Tuesday, August 05, 2008

Deadman's Curve

"Obviously, these are not good numbers for the party to be looking at."

--Former Republican Congressman Dick Armey, on registration trends in 26 states ... away from the Republican brand

In 26 states and the District of Columbia where voter registration data by party are available, a study of those data by the New York Times reveals that since 2004 the total number of registered Democrats increased by net 214,656, while the number of Republicans fell by 1,407,971. While Democratic registrations increased in 15 states since 2004, the "independent" or "unaffiliated" designations swelled even more. Republican registrations grew in Louisiana, Oklahoma, and Kentucky -- very slightly -- which makes those three states fairly unique states of mind.

" 'This is very suggestive that there is a fundamental change going on in the electorate,' said Michael P. McDonald, a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution and an associate professor of political science at George Mason University who has studied voting patterns."

Where is North Carolina in this study? Although Democratic registrations have shot up statewide, North Carolina, along with Arizona and Colorado, has seen huge bumps in "unaffiliated" registrations, so that "nonpartisan voters essentially constitute a third party." That's actually been the case in Watauga County for some time now, where Republicans outnumber Democrats by a significant margin but where unaffiliated voters hold the balance of power. They have not been tilting toward the Republican Party for the last several election cycles.

Current voter registration by party in Watauga County:
Democrat 12,777
Republican 14,354
Libertarian 9
Unaffiliated 11,510

Statewide totals:
Democrat 2,669,616
Republican 1,937,735
Libertarian 512
Unaffiliated 1,282,698

Monday, August 04, 2008

Foxx Will Attend Republican Convention

...according to Lisa Zagaroli, while Liddy Dole, Sue Myrick, Robin Hayes, and Howard Coble are staying far away.

Perhaps the Madam figgers she'll have a cleared aisle for getting El Presidente in one of her arm-locks, in order to swap saliva with him, since so many of her fellow Republicans have decided to avoid him. At least in public.

Yes, this is what we're talking about.

Sunday, August 03, 2008

What Are the Sunday Morning Gas-Bags Saying?

The Sunday morning gas-bags have had their say, and the consensus is in: comparing Barack Obama to Paris Hilton and Britney Spears (not to mention Charlton Heston playing Moses) has worked, Obama is mortally wounded, his poll numbers have come down, the country emphatically does NOT want a president who looks good, can think on his feet, can complete whole sentences that actually have subjects and verbs, can draw the admiration of foreign nations and former allies. We definitely wouldn't want a president like THAT!

Apparently, fleeting images of Paris and Britney (not to mention Charlton Heston) have inspired Americans to yearn instead for John McCain, because a confused old man who can't get his facts straight, who knows war and can keep us gainfully employed in one (or maybe several more) forever, who has an unpredictable and volcanic temper, who will continue the policies of George W. Bush because thinking up new directions would spell trouble with the hard-right of his own party ... is just exactly the kind of homunculus we need as president of the United States.

'Course, we in the South – a.k.a., the Republican base – know what the Paris/Britney (not to forget Heston) TV ads were really all about.

"Beware of Obama, 'cause he's an Uppity Negro."

Those ads were not about convincing anyone of McCain's better qualifications for president. Those ads were about convincing the Republican base that McCain is as willing to go as low as their hearts desire, which is pretty durn low. And, O my brethren, hasn't the Republican base (mainly in the South) displayed a little more confidence in its stride this week?

"Get that Uppity Negro!"

That is ... IF you believe the Gallup Poll.

Which we don't (and which, incidentally, George Will signaled this a.m. he didn't either). Gallup's track record? Just ask President Thomas E. Dewey (that's him pictured above). Is any current poll adequately calculating the impact of new voters, those without land-lines, those who haven't voted in presidential elections previously but who will vote this year? George Will said he doubted it and also said that there's a great possibility that Obama is much farther ahead in this race than any pollster has been able to measure or predict. Wonder what those unheard-from potential voters think of comparing Obama to Paris & Britney & Heston (who?).

Saturday, August 02, 2008

Ranked 93rd in the Senate for Effectiveness

The first hit on Liddy Dole, doled out by the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee.

Forty years in Washington? Really? And has WHAT to show for it (other than a fabulous Watergate apartment)?

Laurelmor ... Flaming Crash?

Bobby Ginn, the big-time wheeler-dealer behind the Laurelmor development in Watauga County, is facing, according to this a.m.'s W-S Journal, "cash-flow problems now and dealing with a number of lawsuits."

That's on the way to pointing out that the 30-day grace period Ginn's creditors had given him to make good on payments on loans ... has now expired, with principal and interest payments way past due. Standard & Poor's has downgraded the Ginn company to a "D" rating. D stands for Default.

"The lack of a loan agreement means that the Ginn companies 'will have to make difficult decisions relating to its management and oversight of four properties,' " one of which is Laurelmor.

"Difficult decisions"? Does that not sound like the pilot just before bailing out of a plane headed into a mountain?

Friday, August 01, 2008

Did Our Reality Check Bounce?

It appears that the rest of the nation is finally catching up with North Carolina ... in joblessness, that is. Headline this a.m.: "Jobless rate rises to 4-year high of 5.7 percent."

'Course, North Carolina has already broken 6 percent, putting us 13th from the top in joblessness (or is it the bottom?).

Things are even worse around these parts, especially in Winston-Salem and the Triad, where the unemployment rate hit 6.4 percent in June, the worst showing in five years, or in other words, equally bad to another bad year in the George W. Bush presidency.

Now, tell us again why we should vote Republican this year? Because John McSame has promised to continue, extend, and perfect that policies we're now living under?

Wal-Mart Corp. Fears the Scary Black Man

Wal-Mart, the biggest corporation in this particular universe or in any other, has been caught threatening its store managers that if they know what’s best for them, they’d better be putting pressure on their store workers to vote against Barack Obama this fall, or else workers will be unionizing and demanding better wages and – gasp! – benefits, and then Wal-Mart will be forced to start firing people, because treating employees fairly can lead to all sorts of negative consequences and is – after all – unamerican in the extreme, which is what Barack Obama and the Democrats are – unamerican and extreme – and Wal-Mart is scared – SCARED, we said – enough to order (make that ... “suggest”) that its 400 million employees nationwide better think twice about voting Democratic this fall.

Wal-Mart may even be forced to give an even larger portion of its profits to John McCain and his running mates on the Republican Party ticket.