Friday, October 31, 2008

Forsyth Elections Board Psycho-Drama

The Forsyth County Board of Elections voted 2-1 this afternoon to extend early voting on Saturday until 5 p.m. The picture to the left is from today in the Forsyth County Government Center, where voters waited literally for hours to vote. Forsyth County has been a poster child for obstructionism, opening too few voting sites for one of the state's most populous counties and then initially signaling that it had no intention of extending hours tomorrow ... until the State Board of Elections threatened the three Forsyth board members with expulsion.

They voted 2-1, but that hardly sums up the drama.

The board chair, Democrat Eric Elliott, denounced the state Board of Elections for essentially doing its job in trying to ensure ballot access for all citizens. But as Elliott put it, the State Board of Elections was interfering in a process which Elliott clearly believes is his alone to dictate ... interfering and trying to intimidate the local board. Right!

The lone Republican on the Forsyth board, Jerry Jordan, denounced the state Board and called their requirement to extend voting hours "unconstitutional" and "un-American," but (get this) "then surprised people by voting in favor of the extension."

That man's got principles! Although it was "un-American" to extend voting hours, Jordan voted for the extension, because (he said) "GOP officials thought longer hours would help their party."

We've seen a lot of nakedness this political season, but Mr. Jordan's naked partisanship in voting for something he considers "un-American" is just too precious!

There needs to be a house-cleaning in the Forsyth County Board of Elections. You betcha.

Reagan's Chief of Staff Endorses Obama

In an interview with CNN's Fareed Zakaria, Ronald Reagan's White House Chief of Staff Ken Duberstein said he would vote for Barack Obama on Tuesday. Apparently, Colin Powell's endorsement of Obama was a deciding factor: "Well let's put it this way - I think Colin Powell's decision is in fact the good housekeeping seal of approval on Barack Obama."

The interview will air on CNN on Sunday afternoon.

Gold Star Mom Fires Back at Madam Foxx

Summer Lipford, the dead Iraq War soldier's mother featured in the Roy Carter campaign ad, has posted her response to Virginia Foxx on the W-S Journal article in which Foxx lied about being responsive to Lipford's pleas for help. Lipford's post:
Posted by (SummerLipford) on 10/30/2008 at 02:50 am.

I am pleased Roy Carter's campaign is not pulling the ad concerning Foxx's total disregard concerning the death of my son. There is nothing that can be done to correct what Foxx did or did not do for my family when Steven died, I cannot attend his Memorial Service at Ft Benning, due to the fact I was not considered his family because he had married before deployment to Iraq, which Foxx would have been aware of had she contacted my family when Steven died, I cannot forget the hurt that Steven was left on the belly of a plane for 5 hours,until after dark, because this administration was ashamed to allow flag draped caskets to be seen by the American people, that 30 minutes before his funeral I was told I may need pall bearers because the casualty officer was not sure the Honor Guard would be there on time to carry my son to his grave, that no government official, local or otherwise attended Stevens funeral or sent a representative or even contacted me, that I was lied to about the circumstances Steven died under and had to force the military myself to get a different version, not the truth, concerning his death.........and so many other hurtful things, far too many to mention, all could have been prevented by Foxx's intervention if only she had a staffer from her office contact me. Contacting me 10 weeks after his funeral with a form letter of condolence does not constitute her assistance, assistance not that I asked for, but begged for. I am not malicious, disgusting or dishonest, I had nothing to gain by telling my story, I am a mother who grieves everyday for my child and prays no other mother has to walk my path, no other mother has to live with the lack of concern and disrespect shown to my son and myself by Virginia Foxx As I have stated, none of this can change for me, but by electing Roy Carter I know it will not happen again.

Summer Lipford

This was the lead story last night on WXII News, something few voters in Watauga would have seen since Charter chose to delete Channel 12 from its line-up months (years?) ago.

Forsyth Board of Elections

The state Board of Elections ordered the 100 county boards of election to keep early-voting sites open for an extra four hours tomorrow unless local officials unanimously decided that it is unnecessary.

And what does the Forsyth board do? It says it will vote at noon on Saturday, just an hour before all the early voting sites are due to close. In other words, it might vote to extend voting hours only after there can be little or no public announcement.

That the Forsyth board is trying to suppress the vote is crystal clear. Why is the $64,000 question.

Or make that the $10,000 question, if you choose to listen to Rob Coffman, the county's elections director. Coffman works for the elections board, mind you. He is not in charge but is clearly a large part of the problem down there. He whined to the W-S Journal that the extended hours would probably cost about $10,000.

The Forsyth board never opened enough early voting sites for one of the most populous counties in the state and have shown a callous attitude all along toward ballot access for the citizenry.

Even as we were posting this item, breaking news came in that the State Board of Elections has ORDERED the Forsyth board to make a decision today.
...the state told the local elections board this morning that it must meet today at noon to act on extending the voting hours or else face the removal of one or more local elections board members by state action.

Sounds like a plan to us! Then fire the elections supervisor!
The local board has faced pressure in recent days to make more early voting sites available or otherwise make it possible for more people to vote early. However, the local elections board has declined to alter the voting arrangements.

By a 2-1 vote on Tuesday, the board decided against distributing a handout to voters reminding them that a straight-party vote does not cast a vote in the presidential race.

That Board chairman -- an alleged Democrat, mind you! -- needs to find new work, and his continued employment -- also, mind you! -- is entirely up to the local Forsyth Democratic Party.

Early Voting Hours Extended on Saturday

Just received this news ... that the Watauga County Board of Elections will extend Early Voting this coming Saturday (which is the last day for Early Voting) until 5 p.m. at one site only, the County Courthouse. The other four sites will close at 1 p.m., as previously scheduled.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

It Wasn't an Idle Threat

Kay Hagan is suing Elizabeth Dole for the she's-an-atheist TV ad, as she promised to do yesterday if the ad wasn't taken off the air. Dole responded, "Up yours," so Hagan says she's going to the law. She has 20 days to file the libel complaint, so we'll have to wait. It's the principle of the thing, no matter how the election is decided. Looks like defamation to us (though our law degree is a bit dusty), and Dole ought to pay the piper for that particular tune she chose to play.

In the meantime, Gary Pearce recaps political libel suits from the recent past in NC. In 1988, Jim Gardner beat Tony Rand for lieutenant governor. Rand later sued Gardner over an ad that associated Rand with drug dealers, and Rand apparently won a big settlement from Gardner. Pearce says "apparently" since the case was sealed as part of the settlement.

After the election of 2000, Attorney General Roy Cooper was accused of libeling an opponent. A suit resulted, but once again any settlement is shielded from public view

Following the election of 2002, Carolyn Grant filed a similar suit against Congressman Brad Miller following Miller's first win of his seat in the 13th Congressional Dist. Miller made accusations that Grant took $40,000 from her son's college fund to buy a car. According to the Fox News candidate profile of Miller, Grant was given the right to pursue the lawsuit, but she dropped it in 2006, not, according to Pearce, before Miller was forced to spend a lot of money defending himself.

Liddy Dole's Naked Desperation

The Charlotte Observer editorializes today that Liddy Dole's Kay-Hagan-doesn't-believe-in-God ad is "indecent." It is Dole's apparent attempt to get down to Jesse Helms's level of campaign rhetoric, says the Observer, which invokes Helms's infamous "white hands" ad against Harvey Gantt in 1990. Somewhere, the late Helms must be "smiling and cheering from the great beyond."

The ad, says the Observer, "is also a deliberate attempt by Dole's campaign not just to distort the truth, but to shatter Hagan's admirable record as an elder for more than a decade in Greensboro's First Presbyterian Church, as a Sunday School teacher and a volunteer in her church's fundraising campaigns, worship services and community service programs."

But here's the real question: if Dole's claim against her opponent is that Hagan doesn't believe in God and Liddy Dole DOES, we'd like very much to know what God sanctions this kind of lying. Would he be MAMMON?

Carter Wrenn, guru of NC conservative Republicans: "My guess is the next sound you may hear will be the roof falling in on Liddy Dole."

Watauga Early Voting Numbers

These are from yesterday, so they're moving up even as we type:

● about 14,500 Watauga citizens have voted so far at the county’s five Early Voting stations, with three days yet to go, as compared to roughly 10,000 for all of Early Voting in the 2004 Presidential election.

● some 5,311 had voted at the Appalachian State University student union Early Voting station.

● it is still conceivable that 20,000 Wataugans will have voted early by the close of Early Voting this Saturday at 1 p.m.

● breakdown by party affiliation of those 14,500
Democrats 5,600
Republicans 4,600
Unaffiliated 4,300

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Republican End-Game: Close Your Eyes and Swing Wild

The dangers of treating Joe the Plumber like a foreign policy expert. He gets totally embarrassed by (get this!) Shep Smith on Faux News.

Then there's Liddy Dole, trying to tag Kay Hagan as "godless." Mark Binker of the News & Record has the most complete coverage of Dole's last minute smear, noting that Hagan "is about as angry as I've ever heard her." Hagan is, fer gawd's sake, a Sunday school teacher at a Greensboro Presbyterian Church.

We predicted the GOP would go lower than we've ever seen them go before, but we wouldn't necessarily have predicted that Dole would be the leader of that particular slime crew.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Whack Job

First, a top McCain operative said that Sarah Palin behaved like a diva.

Now another McCain advisor is saying privately that she's a "whack job."

We think when the movie is made of the McCain/Palin conjoining, it could be titled "Fatal Attraction." With a moosehead in the stewpot rather than a bunny rabbit.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Signs of the Times

This one from North Vernon, Indiana, via Revolution in Jesusland.

Gordon has a huge slide show up at Scrutiny Hooligans from outside the Palin rally in Asheville yesterday. Our favorite sign seen in the crowd: "Sarah Palin ... After the Rapture, can I have your clothes?"

Our nephew got inside the auditorium for the Palin speech and was furiously texting "color" to family. He'd already voted early for Obama and a straight Democratic ticket. We suspect that a significant portion of that crowd in heavily Democratic Asheville wasn't exactly on Palin's side.

We Get an E-Mail from Junior Johnson

"My family and I have given this election a lot of thought," writes Junior in an e-mail received this a.m. He goes on:
Our country is in a rough spot, and we're going to need some serious change. There's only one candidate ready to deliver it -- and that's Barack Obama.

Every day I talk to someone else who's never voted for a Democrat, but now they're voting for Barack Obama. They realize that Barack understands what we're going through here in North Carolina. And they're ready for change.

So I've made up my mind, and I'm ready to get involved. I know that I could never have won a race without my pit crew, and I know Barack can't win this one without us.

When I talk to folks about why I support Barack, I just tell it like I see it.

There's been a lot thrown at him this election, and he's stayed calm, positive, and focused. I know a little something about how important it is to stay cool under pressure....

It goes on, but that's the gist. Extraordinary year that gets Junior Johnson out so publicly endorsing, first, Roy Carter for Congress and then Barack Obama for the White House.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Latest Early Voting Numbers (Statewide)

Turnout so far:
Dem 655,937 (55.02%)
Lib 624 (0.05%)
Rep 331,578 (27.81%)
Una 204,017 (17.11%)

Total Votes: 1,192,156 (out of a total of 6,202,721 of registered voters)

% of turnout so far: 19.22%

Differences from 2004 to 2008:
Democrat voting is up 6.42%
Republican voting is down 9.59%
Libertarian voting is negligible
Unaffiliated voting is up 3.21%

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Foxx's Re-Election Prospects Down-Graded by Cook Political Report

"All the signs of another big 'wave' election are apparent, and our current outlook is a gain of 23 to 28 seats for House Democrats," says a Congressional update on the non-partisan Cook Political Report. Among those Republican House members downgraded from "Solid Republican" to "Lean Republican" is Virginia Foxx's 5th Dist. seat.

What's the big deal, you ask? Cook measures movement. And the movement is currently very much against Foxx.

Dig deep, folks, and show Roy Carter some love.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Foxx: I'm Not Practicing McCarthyism ... No, Never!

Wanna see some furious backpedaling?

Accusing fellow Americans, particularly Democratic fellow Americans, of being "anti-American" or "unAmerican" or "pals of terrorists," etc. (ad infinitum) is the chosen trope this season of Republican politicians. Language that is then followed immediately by the rush to first lie about what they said and then to deny that they meant what they said. Witness Michelle Bachmann, Robin Hayes, and others ... who are now sliding down the electoral tube into oblivion (we trust).

Foxx joins that chorus this a.m.

Palin Swats at Fruit Flies

That desperate doofus Sarah Palin made her first "major policy address" this a.m., urging the federal government to fully fund the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) which would help the "early identification of a cognitive or other disorder, especially autism." Palin and her husband Todd have an autistic child.

If she had stopped at that, all would be well. But Palin cannot resist cheap-shot political attacks, even in "major policy addresses," so she also chose to mock the amount that Congress spends on earmarks and singled out one in particular: "Things like fruit fly research .... I kid you not."

Palin is blissfully unaware that scientific research with fruit flies has led to valuable discoveries that have boosted autism research, as a study at the University of North Carolina demonstrated last year:
[S]cientists at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill School of Medicine have shown that a protein called neurexin is required for ... nerve cell connections to form and function correctly.

The discovery, made in Drosophila fruit flies may lead to advances in understanding autism spectrum disorders, as recently, human neurexins have been identified as a genetic risk factor for autism.

I kid you not.

When your instinct is to attack attack attack, based on low information (always!), you certainly do end up wedged in our own narrow corners sometimes.

Barry Goldwater's Granddaughter Endorses Obama

The late arch-conservative Barry Goldwater's granddaughter, C.C. Goldwater, has endorsed Barack Obama. Goldwater ran for president in 1964 against Lyndon Johnson and is credited by many for launching the rightward lurch of the Republican Party that eventually turned them into the party of Karl Rove.

C.C. says that she's not alone among her large Republican family in supporting Obama. Her siblings and several cousins will also be voting for Obama. Most of them live in McCain's home state of Arizona.

Among the other things C.C. writes about John McCain, she takes on his rigid anti-abortion position and the issue of same-sex marriage:
My grandfather (Paka) would never suggest denying a woman's right to choose. My grandmother co-founded Planned Parenthood in Arizona in the 1930's, a cause my grandfather supported. I'm not sure about how he would feel about marriage rights based on same-sex orientation. I think he would feel that love and respect for ones privacy is what matters most and not the intolerance and poor judgment displayed by McCain over the years.

Ouch. And then this:
...the Republican brand has been tarnished in a shameless effort to gain votes and appeal to the lowest emotion, fear. Nothing about McCain, except for maybe a uniform, compares to the same ideology of what Goldwater stood for as a politician. The McCain/Palin plan is to appear diverse and inclusive, using women and minorities to push an agenda that makes us all financially vulnerable, fearful, and less safe.

Double ouch.

Two Charged in the Dead Bear Cub Incident

Marvin Caleb Williams, 20, and his younger brother Matthew Colton Williams, 18, both of Wilkes County and both students at Western Carolina University, have been charged with misdemeanors (disorderly conduct and a "wildlife act without a license or permit") in the bear cub dumping incident at the university late Sunday night.

The elder brother is a registered Republican in Wilkes County. The younger brother is registered "unaffiliated," also in Wilkes.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Forsyth Co. Board of Elections ... Stifling the Early Vote

Reading about Forsyth County's long lines for early voting, one realizes how really fortunate we in Watauga are with our local Board of Elections.

Since the beginning of early voting on Oct. 16, Forsyth, one of the largest counties in the state, has maintained only four early voting sites, two of them in the 12th Congressional Dist. and two in the 5th. Forsyth County accounts for some 38% of all the votes in the 5th District, and they provide only two early voting sites?!

Forsyth currently has the longest lines in the state and the fewest polling sites per capita.

The Forsyth Elections Board seems quite surly about it, too. They'll open more sites next week, they say, so in the meantime, wait in line over two hours or come back another day.

Members of boards of elections are appointed by the local political parties, two by the Democratic Party and one by the Republican (because the governor is Democratic. Don't yell at me ... that's the way the NC law is written). Wouldn't surprise us in the least if early next year, and if Bev Perdue wins the governor's race, there'll be some fresh blood on the Forsyth Board of Elections. If Pat McCrory wins, there'll certainly be fresh blood, and early voting will become even more problematic. As it will in Watauga too.

The Western Carolina University Coverup

Recapping the facts as reported in the Asheville Citizen-Times (here, on Monday, and here, on Tuesday, and here, today):

1. Seven unidentified "students" at Western Carolina University, on a camping trip last weekend, discovered a dead bear cub that had either been shot in the head (because there was a lot of blood), as first reported, or hit by a car, as subsequent evidence suggests. (Your assumption, probably, given the subject matter, is that "students" means in this case male students, but not so fast there, Sparky. The university's precision in always subsequently saying "students" in official statements strongly suggests that at least one female was involved)

2. The seven frontierspersons took the dead bear cub, first to an off-campus party (where we're willing to take an oath on the phonebook that no alcohol was consumed) and then to the grand entrance to the campus, the roundabout in front of the Admin Bldg where a statue of the college mascot stands. They dumped the cub, partially dressed in two Obama campaign signs.

3. WCU maintenance workers discovered the decorated cub at approximately 7:30 a.m. Monday morning.

4. First word of the incident, with quotes from WCU police, hit the Citizen-Times website by 4:30 p.m. Monday afternoon. It's gone wider since then. By Tuesday, the police chief was referring inquiries to the University press office, and there was a clear and emerging difference of opinion between the campus police chief and the university's chancellor, who took over as teller of the "official" version of events.

5. The Dead Cub Story ... Version 1, The police chief's investigation:
a. the cub looked as though it had been shot in the head, "the best we can tell"

b. two Obama for President yard signs had been stapled together and "draped" over the cub's head; one of the signs had writing on duct tape attached, requesting that no one steal it

c. N.C. Wildlife Resources officials were contacted to remove the body and help in the investigation (since, although bear season has commenced in NC, it is illegal to kill bear cubs weighing less than 50 pounds and it's illegal to even possess a bear carcass without a hunting license)

d. campus police rather quickly identified the seven students; one or more of them gave statements that have filtered into the press:

I. they say they found the bear dead with a gunshot wound in the head while looking for firewood Saturday night during a camping trip

II. they say they put the bear in the back of a pickup truck

III. they say they took the bear with them to an off-campus party Sunday night

IV. they say that at the off-campus party the plan got hatched to dump the bear on campus

V. they say that en route to make the dump (later than 2 a.m. Monday morning), they took "random" political signs "in an effort to cover the head wound and prevent blood from spilling into the bed of the truck"

e. How the signs came to be stapled together to make a cap over the cub's head ... if the students answered that question, their answer is unknown to us

f. If their use for the Obama signs was purely to keep bear-blood off the truckbed, why would they allow the bear to lie on that truckbed for 24 hours, and display it at an off-campus soiree? Again, if the students answered that question, their answer is unrecorded

h. "the police chief offered no opinion on why the students would be concerned about blood in the back of the truck after the bear had been there for 24 hours"

i. on Monday, the police chief clearly indicated to the Citizen-Times reporter that the dumping was obviously political in nature. By Tuesday the police chief was ducking the press, although...

j. the police chief and the state wildlife officials plan to take the matter to the local District Attorney to see if criminal charges weren't warranted

6. The Dead Cub Story, Version Two, the WCU Chancellor's Tale:
First Draft: it was all a prank, heh. Not only a prank. A stoopid prank, and we're so ... relieved that it's just a stoopid prank without any political content whatsoever. The Obama signs ... pure "happenstance." "This is not politically motivated." No charges are being filed. Chancellor John W. Bardo scolded those who might make assumptions: "We should not jump to conclusions without first having all the facts."

Second Draft: We take this "act" verrrrry seriously. "It was wrong," regardless of motivation, which we do not know and probably never will know, because we decided yesterday that there was NO political content in the act, and we're not changing our position on that, and we're not even all that curious about why they did it. Motivation does not matter. And oh yeah, we were wrong when we said yesterday that the students put the bear cub in their truck right away. They didn't load the bear until after they returned home from their camping trip. Then they went back "to the woods" Sunday and refound the bear. The university is now "looking" into whether the students violated conduct rules.

7. Late-emerging factoid: one of the seven Frontier Scouts was evidently African-American. Slips out in the next to last paragraph of today's C-T article. Possibly explains a good deal about the university's total fumbling of this ball. Also suggests that there are other versions of The Dead Cub Story yet to be heard.

So much of this doesn't pass the smell test, starting with those wholly "random" Obama signs. Because we happen to know that Obama signs in Jackson County, N.C., are about as rare as they are in Watauga County, where McCain signs probably out-number Obama signs at least 3-1, and local political candidates' signs out-number both 10-1. If they needed something quick to protect their truckbed, it seems improbable in the extreme that not one but TWO Obama signs would be the first things to come to hand.

The discrepancies in how and where the cub was found also invite questions: "in the woods" would seem to go with shot in the head, which is what everyone believed at first, including apparently the students, but if the cub's head was crushed because it was hit by a vehicle, then "roadside" rather than "woods" would be indicated. Who goes back "into the woods" at night and finds a left-behind carcass?

They were drunk when they hatched the prank, which was a stupid prank. But when I was in college and did stupid pranks, like steal a "left-over" Christmas tree at approximately 2 a.m. on December 10, 1963, and take it to our dorm and decorate it in the spirit of the season, the college administration was not in the least interested in our worship of the Christ child but in our making restitution to the Christmas tree dealer.

Cover-ups make everything worse. Makes people wonder who these "students" were and who their parents are, and who might have lots of power and influence, and how many were ring-leaders and how many were followers.

It was a drunk and stupid prank. So what would constitute "restitution," or what would be appropriate punishment for theft of property and littering a carcass of a protected animal? We wouldn't recommend water-boarding, or even necessarily a dollar fine, but owning up and an apology might be called for. Huh?

Virginia Foxx Too: Democrats Are "Anti-American"

When last seen together, Rep. Virginia Foxx and Rep. Michelle Bachmann were arm-wrestling over who got to tongue George W. Bush (yes, that's Michelle Bachmann in the white, trying to elbow Foxx out of the way). Bachmann went on to her 15 minutes of unfortunate notoriety last Friday on Hard Ball, calling for the investigation of Democrats in Congress as unAmerican.

Virginia Foxx does not intend for Michelle Bachmann to outdo her on the labeling of Democrats at anti-American ... as documented in this Congressional Quarterly article. Foxx has just so far avoided any high-profile venue for her spewings.

But spewings they are.

Roy Carter needs our help.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

The Grudge

Sarah Palin was quite handy using her power as governor of Alaska in prosecuting a grudge against a former brother-in-law. She "unlawfully abused her power," according to an Alaska legislative panel's conclusion out this a.m. The panel is composed of ten Republican and four Democratic state legislators.

Apparently, she's also got a few similar ideas about how she'll run the U.S. Senate, according to what she told a third-grader, in answer to the question "What does the Vice President do?" "They're in charge of the U.S. Senate, so if they want to they can really get in there with the senators and make a lot of good policy changes...."

Well, no. The Constitution gives the Vice President the privilege of presiding over the Senate and casting a vote only in the case of a tie, but the Senate is run by the Majority Leader, armed with a rule book that would take a platoon of Jesuits to penetrate and understand.

Palin has other ideas. She seems to think that the federal government will yield to her magical power like the Alaskan state bureaucracy, or at least to the threats of violence posed by her hubby. (The report referenced above concluded that Todd Palin "has extraordinary access to the governor's office and her closest advisers. He used that access to try to get trooper Mike Wooten fired....")

At least, if she gets into that presiding chair in the U.S. Senate, she'll look ... well-dressed! Also in the news this a.m.: The Republican National Committee spent more than $150,000 "to clothe and accessorize" Palin, and that wouldn't be from Wal-Mart or Target, either, but from off the racks at Saks Fifth Avenue and Nieman Marcus and Bloomingdale's.

Nice duds, Governor! Way to demonstate how the GOP is conservative in managing its money!

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

NC Early Voting

Early Voting in North Carolina, as of 9:30 a.m., 10/21/08:
Democrat: 270,216 (56.12%)
Libertarian: 232 (0.01%)
Republican: 131,813 (27.37%)
Unaffiliated: 79,206 (16.45%)

Total: 481,467 votes cast (out of 6,172,871 voters in NC)

% of turnout so far: 7.80%

Differences from 2004 to 2008:
Democratic voting is up 7.52%
Republican voting is down 10.03%
Libertarian voting is negligible
Unaffiliated voting is up 2.55%

Moral Equivalency, NC GOP-Style

Radio Girl Laura Leslie says that her reporting on the public hatefulness in Republican ranks (a reporter battered at a Sarah Palin rally in Elon, 30 tires slashed at an Obama rally in Fayetteville, a dead bear cub decorated with Obama signs and dumped off at Western Carolina University) has prompted an e-mail to her from Brent Woodcox, spokesman for the NC GOP, making the old "they do it too" argument as a way of excusing the nasty elements in his own party:
"It is a point worth making that idiocy is not solely characteristic of any one party. We all share the blame for the current political environment and we all share the responsibility of moving to a higher road."

Yeah, Mr. Woodcox, tell it to Robin Hayes, Michelle Bachmann, Nancy Pfotenhauer. Hell tell it to your vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin. Tell it to your standard-bearer John McCain, who defends his national robo-calling ("Obama is friends with terrorists") as a truthful and honorable thing to do. They're calling all of us who don't agree with the McCain/Palin ticket "anti-American," "socialist" (which we know really means "commie"), not "real Americans."

Radio Girl rightly says that name-calling on the Democratic side is hardly a moral equivalent to personal assault, property damage, and dead animals.

The "Real America" Is ... Ugly?

Rep. Robin Hayes, Republican representing the NC 8th Congressional district, has jumped on the "good America/bad America" dichotomy. Warming up the crowd in Concord, N.C., at a McCain rally on the morning of Oct. 18, Hayes said that "liberals hate real Americans that work and achieve and believe in God." (Gosh. Why on earth do we let these creatures -- "liberals" -- go on living?)

Taking their cues from such talk, a group of white people yelled insults at a group of black people lined up at a polling place for early voting in Fayetteville last Sunday. The Washington Times (yes, that newspaper) recorded video of the charming "real" Americans (and great big ole Christians to boot) and some of the junk they were shouting.

Yes, indeedy, this is the America we were all taught to honor and pledge allegiance to back in grade school and for the continuation of which our forefathers gave up their property and their lives.

From such, turn away.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Bear Found Dumped at WCU with Obama Signs

These people.
CULLOWHEE – A dead bear was found dumped this morning on the Western Carolina University campus, draped with a pair of Obama campaign signs, university police said.

Maintenance workers reported about 7:45 a.m. finding a 75-pound bear cub dumped at the roundabout near the Catamount statue at the entrance to campus, said Tom Johnson, chief of university police.

"It looked like it had been shot in the head as best we can tell. A couple of Obama campaign signs had been stapled together and stuck over its head," Johnson said.

University police called in N.C. Wildlife Resources officials to remove the body and help in the investigation. Bear season is currently under way in Western North Carolina.

"This is certainly unacceptable," Johnson said. "Someone was wanting to draw attention to the election. If we find out who they are, we'll make sure they'll get some attention themselves."

Asheville Citizen-Times

Obama, Hagan Expand N.C. Leads

Late-breaking news from Public Policy Polling. Here and here.

From the PPP press release:
Barack Obama is now out to his largest lead yet in a PPP survey of North Carolina, polling at 51% in the state compared to 44% for John McCain. Last week Obama's advantage was 49-46.

Independent voters continue to move toward Obama in droves. He now has a 51-33 lead with them. He's also now up to receiving 82% of the Democratic vote. Staying over the 80% threshold there would almost certainly ensure a victory in North Carolina.

McCain now leads among white voters just 55-39, an edge that's not nearly enough given Obama's 92-6 lead with black voters. George W. Bush won about two thirds of the white vote against both John Kerry and Al Gore in North Carolina....

In North Carolina's US Senate race challenger Kay Hagan continues to lead incumbent Elizabeth Dole, as she has now in PPP's last seven surveys of the race. Hagan's advantage is now up to 49-42. Hagan is annihilating Dole among suburban voters, 56-38. She's also shoring up her support with the key Democratic constituency of black voters, with whom she is now ahead 84-7, an improvement from 78-12 a week ago....

PPP surveyed 1,200 likely voters on October 18th and 19th. The survey's margin of error is +/- 2.8%....

Eastern North Carolina Takes the Cake

Welcome Wagon, eastern North Carolina style: Tires on at least 30 parked vehicles were slashed outside a Barack Obama rally in Fayetteville yesterday, mostly along Wilkes Road.

"This is an embarrassment to this city and to me as a citizen," said one resident of Wilkes Road, who said she saw a single mother with a toddler stranded after the vandalism.

Earlier in the day, Obama visited a local restaurant where one patron shouted, "Boo, socialist! Socialist! Get out of here!"

Elevating the discourse, natch! And displaying those superior Christian values.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Numbers From the First Two Days of Early Voting

Democrat: 174,578 (53.80%)
Libertarian: 141 (0.004%)
Republican: 93,135 (28.70%)
Unaffiliated: 56,632 (17.45%)
Total: 324,486 votes cast

Total: 6,172,871 voters in NC
% of turnout so far: 5.26%

Colin Powell Endorses Obama


McCain didn't pass the test posed by the current economic crisis.

McCain didn't pass the test posed by his own vice presidential choice.

McCain didn't pass the test of broadening the Republican base, rather than embarking on a William Ayers-fueled witch-hunt that can only narrow the party:
"...I've also been disappointed, frankly, by some of the approaches that Senator McCain has taken recently – or his campaign has – on issues that are not really central to the problems that the American people are worried about. This Bill Ayers situation that's been going on for weeks became something of a central point of the campaign, but Mr. McCain says that he's a watchdog of terrorists. Then why do we keep talking about him? And why do we have these robocalls going on around the country, trying to suggest that because of this very, very limited relationship that Senator Obama has had with Mr. Ayers, somehow Mr. Obama is tainted. What they're trying to connect him to is some kind of terrorist feelings. And I think that's inappropriate...."

Transcript here.

Here's an Idea: Let's Have Us a Witch-Hunt!

The Republican presidential campaign has taken a turn in the last month that makes me nostalgic for the 1960s in Texas. Formed in 1958 by an ex-candy maker, the John Birch Society believed fervently and spread the doctrine that its founder wrote, that "the traitors inside the U.S. government would betray the country's sovereignty to the United Nations for a collectivist New World Order managed by a one-world socialist government."

By 1960 I was a high school sophomore in a west Texas high school, scared to death of "the traitors inside the U.S. government" and convinced by Birch propaganda that some of my farmland teachers might be secret commies. When John Kennedy ran for president that year, I received pamphlets proving that he was actually the puppet of the Pope. Pope ... communists ... they were all the same to me ... foreign and dangerous for being unAmerican.

Later on in a west Texas Baptist college, I began to have thoughts myself that would have gotten me labeled "subversive" by the Birch society. On November 2, 1965, a man named Norman Morrison, a devout Quaker and father of three, used kerosene to burn himself to death outside the Pentagon as a protest against the Vietnam War. I was totally stunned by the TV news covering this horrific event and got myself to the library and read every national newspaper account I could get my hands on. Suddenly, what had seemed remote and beyond my control, took on a personal cost and real pain. I wrote an editorial in the college newspaper not so much praising Norman Morrison as wondering at the enormity of his personal sacrifice for principle, as though I (gulp) actually admired him.

A few months went by. One of my friends who worked part-time as a receptionist for a local dentist, who also happened to be a big commie-hunter for the Birch Society, pulled me aside and told me I should be worried because her boss had a file with my name on it, and inside the file was a clipping of my editorial. "These people are dangerous," she suggested.

I did worry. I was a junior in college, a very religiously conservative son of the soil who cared deeply what people thought. If they came and asked me, "Are you now or have you ever been a member of the Communist Party," I would of course answer no, but national experience had already taught me that in a country divided against itself, a denial was only taken as evidence of lying. The more you said you WEREN'T something, the more you obviously WERE.

We seem to have arrived at the 1960s again, led there by accusations of "palling around with terrorists" among other noxious insinuations. Behold the pattern as it has now gelled:

1. October 5, 2008, in Loudon County, Va., John McCain's brother Joe referred to Arlington and Alexandria in Northern Virginia as "communist country." He quickly apologized and called the remark a joke. At the time he said it, however, it was no joke, and he only apologized because the comment made it into the press.

2. On Oct. 16, 2008, vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin, at a private fundraiser in Greensboro, N.C., made a point of mentioning that she loved to visit the "pro-America" areas of the country, of which North Carolina is apparently one. "No word on which states she views as unpatriotic."

3. This last Friday night, Oct. 17, 2008, in an appearance on Hard Ball with Chris Matthews, Congresswoman Michelle Bachmann (R-Minn.) escalated the assault on Barack Obama's supposed lack of American-ness -- he in fact has, according to Bachmann, anti-American views and values, and furthermore the press corps needs to expose which members of the U.S. Congress may be unAmerican, and by the way, American college campuses are just chock-a-block full of professors who hate America. Here are the relevant exchanges between Bachmann and Matthews:
REP. BACHMANN: ...Most Americans, Chris, are wild about America, and they're very concerned to have a president who doesn't share those values.... Absolutely. I'm very concerned that he may have anti-American views. That's what the American people are concerned about. That's why they want to know what his answers are....

MR. MATTHEWS: Sarah Palin was around today talking about pro- American parts of America, and assuming there's other non-parts of the country. What parts of America would you say are anti-American? What parts of this country?

REP. BACHMANN: Well, I would say that people who hold anti- American views. I don't think it's geography. I think it's people who don't like America, who detest America. And on college campuses, a Ward Churchill, another college campus, a Bill Ayers, you find people who hate America. And unfortunately, some of these people have positions teaching in institutions of higher learning. But you'll find them in all walks of life all throughout America.... I think the people that Barack Obama has been associating with are anti-American, by and large, the people who are radical leftists. That's the real question about Barack Obama -- Saul Alinsky, one of his teachers, you might say, out of the Chicago area; Tony Rezko, who is an associate also.

MR. MATTHEWS: He's a leftist? I thought he was a business guy.

REP. BACHMANN: These are very concerning figures that are in Barack Obama's past.

MR. MATTHEWS: I thought Tony Rezko was some business guy. I didn't know he was a leftist, anti-American guy.... How many Congress people, members of Congress, do you think are in that anti-American crowd you described? How many Congress people do you serve with? I mean, it's 435 members of Congress.

REP. BACHMANN: Right now --

MR. MATTHEWS: How many are anti-American in the Congress right now that you serve with?

REP. BACHMANN: You'd have to ask them, Chris. I'm focusing on Barack Obama and the people that he's been associating with. And I'm very worried about --

MR. MATTHEWS: But do you suspect that a lot of people you serve with --

REP. BACHMANN: -- their anti-American nature.... What I would say -- what I would say is that the news media should do a penetrating expose and take a look. I wish they would. I wish the American media would take a great look at the views of the people in Congress and find out, are they pro-America or anti-America? I think people would love to see an expose like that.

4. October 18, 2008, also on MSNBC, Nancy Pfotenhauer, a top aide to John McCain, argued that despite polling and all appearances to the contrary notwithstanding, her boss has a strong chance of winning Virginia because of his support in "real Virginia," that part of the downstate far removed in distance and political philosophy from the more liberal northern part of the state, what Joe McCain called the "communist" part.

Evidently, I have once again achieved the distinction of being a bad American, not a real American, an American who could safely be knocked to the ground at a Sarah Palin rally, while the knocker-down is applauded for his superior American-ness. (Judge for yourself the glee of those who were glad that Greensboro News & Record reporter Joe Killian got kicked down ... by some of the reader responses on that link.)

The McCain/Palin campaign can claim all it wants that it is not encouraging an atmosphere of fear and violence. The evidence speaks volumes.

Friday, October 17, 2008

We Need New Representation in Congress

"Every year the Humane Society Legislative Fund creates a federal Humane Scorecard to give you a snapshot of the animal protection issues considered by the U.S. Congress. The Humane Scorecard lets you see if your legislators are voting or taking action to help protect animals. The scorecard tracks key votes as well as cosponsorship of important pro-animal bills."

Madam Foxx's score this year (out of 100, with 100 being the bestest) ... 8.


The scoring of all members of Congress on the relevant bills ... here.

And the Madam had the unmitigated gall to show up this year at the local Humane Society Fur Ball and try to claim the mantle of kindness!

Swing State Project: Carter Has Overtaken Foxx

We saw this very effective video yesterday: "A Goldstar Mom, Ignored by Virginia Foxx." Best political spot we've seen in a long time, especially one aimed at The Madam.

Swing State Project reports that new polling shows Coach Roy Carter pulling ahead of Foxx in Surry and Allegheny counties.

Why won't the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee take some notice of Carter and the valiant race he's run against The Madam?

McHenry Loses a Debate -- With a H.S. Student

Little Patty McHenry (R-Munchkinville) was visiting a high school history class at the Pine Lake Preparatory School in Iredell County when he got taken down by a 16-year-old.

In an Advanced Placement history class, junior Ben Napper wanted to know how McHenry was going to deal with a probable Democratic sweep of the White House and both chambers of congress. McHenry showed his displeasure with the question by jokingly trying to step on the boy's toes.

Then Napper wanted to know how McHenry felt about non-discrimination and equal pay in the workplace.

When McHenry answered he was for equality, the student asked, "Then how do you defend your vote against it?"

According to the Record & Landmark reporter, Napper was likely referring to two bills McHenry voted against in 2007, the Sexual Orientation Employment Nondiscrimination Act and the Equal Pay Bill.

"I'm not against equal pay," McHenry said. "It's about how you achieve equal pay."

Gosh. Don't you achieve equal pay by paying equally? Is there some other way? But the rest of Napper's trouncing of McHenry didn't make it into the article. Though the reporter ventured this conclusion: "...if [McHenry] makes another trip to the new charter school campus again, he may want to restrict his tour to the art or music classes."

Because artistic types can't think logically? Or can't recognize a charlatan when they see one?

Reporter Assaulted at Palin Rally

Wednesday, at Elon.

Joe Killian, working for the Greensboro News & Record, kicked in the back of the leg by a large bearded man decked out in lots of Palin regalia.

Mark Binker, in yesterday's N&R:
What I don't expect is for some troglodyte at a campaign rally to decide that the proper way to express his frustration with Democrats, Barack Obama or the "left-wing liberal media" is to commit assault on a colleague.

Joe Killian's own account here.

Back to Mark Binker, who's actually restrained in asking the following question of Republican leaders:
After today I'm wondering - and this is just wondering at this point - whether Republicans aren't in some respect giving their supporters license for this sort of crap. If the story you peddle is that your guys are the good guys and all those who stand against them are the bad guys, and the "liberal media" is in that second column, might there be a message there – even if it is one that is misconstrued and carried to a stupid extreme in some cases?

Republicans are losing it. Just check out Jim Goff's column in yesterday's High Country Press, in which he can't restrain himself from alluding to the middle name that Barack Obama's parents gave him, which apparently means that Obama is obviously and eternally connected to terrorists. Because -- hey! -- the monikers our parents hang on us, through no fault of our own, actually DO indicate huge moral and patriotic failure. Right? (The Goff essay may be on-line, but we can't find it.)

Shame on Jim Goff, who is allegedly an educated man.

Thursday, October 16, 2008


Scene from an early-voting poll site on the campus of UNC-Charlotte today. Winston-Salem also reported a line when the polls opened there at 8 a.m.

In Boone, somewhere over 500 voted today. Don't have the exact numbers yet, but they're unprecedented.

Early voting doesn't start on the ASU campus until Monday.

More Political Haiku

We have a master of the form in Watauga County!

"Haiku in English," sez Wikipedia, "usually appear in three lines, to equate to the Japanese haiku's three metrical phrases" of 5, 7, and 5 beats.

Today's second entry:
McCain's base is split:
Rich dread the market’s rupture;
Right hails the rapture.

When I offered to put the first one of these little gems up on this site, the author said he was willing to be known by his actual name. I argued that he might NOT, since he would be subjected to abuse from the non-haiku-loving readers of this site. Not accustomed to political blogs, he nevertheless acquiesced to my advice and then submitted the following:
Shield folks on the blog.
You would get abuse in spades,
If people knew your name.


McCain, smelling rout,
asserts his Wright to sniff the Ayers.
Are ACORNs falling?


John McCain, Get Some Counseling, Please!

Agita: Heartburn, acid indigestion, an upset stomach or, by extension, a general feeling of upset.

John McCain had a ripe case of agita last night. Gave us all the fidgets.

McCain: Don't gimme that "health of the mother crap!"


McCain: I had to go sleazy because Obama wouldn't do dozens of town-halls with me.

McCain: "Angry and hurting -- c'est moi!"

While the senator was basically proving that his court-ordered class in anger management had been less than successful, what were we to make of his man-crush on Joe the Plumber?

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Our Mailbag Floweth Over

Just this week has brought a plethora -- a PLETHORA, we tell you! -- of political mail, some of which deserves actual reading:

1. Today, a letter from John McCain: "Dear Friend, We've reached a critical juncture in the campaign...."

Surely you jest, Sir. An actual "critical juncture"?

"...I would not ask for your help if the circumstances were not so dire," John continues.

We know. We've been actually paying attention. Sarah Palin turned out to be a bit of a problem, right? and that Christopher Buckley endorsement of Obama was a bit of a slap.

But still, Senator, you're trying to get big bucks out of us and you don't even use the adjective "liberal" once? Not ONCE?? Just how desperate are you, anyway? And you don't even want the money yourself. You want me to send it to ... the Republican National Committee? Death by proxy?

2. Speaking of ambiguous gestures, one of our pieces (actually, we got two, which doesn't speak well about the GOP's wasteful habits) was from that selfsame Republican National Committee ... a four-color, four-page item headlined "AMERICA, The Land That I Love" ... at which point we have to turn the page to discover that Barack Obama will take away "our traditional American values." Then on the third panel, it quotes the National Journal, the very publication that yesterday accepted the resignation of Christopher Buckley for endorsing Barack Obama, because of his love of America. Ooooh. Damn inconvenient irony, that!

3. "Meet Jerry Butler," suggests a third piece, its message of friendly neighbor-over-the-fence introduction undercut somewhat by that big off-putting photo of the candidate. Eighty percent of success is good lighting, we've always heard.

4. The biggest, the glossiest four-color, four-page piece comes from The Madam, with multiple photographs of Virginia Foxx wedging herself into family reunion shots with lots of creeped-out children. If the goal here is to try to humanize the inhuman, we're afraid it doesn't quite work. While the people she's pictured with seem secure in their ordinary reality, Madam Foxx stares down the camera like a tensed up puma, waiting to spring.

5. Another big glossy mailing attacking Barack Obama, from the Republican National Committee. Looks like they've got plenty of money, John.

6. Dan Soucek, posing in his military uniform. Interesting special pleading, that. "Paid for by Soucek for NC House."

7. "Republican Dan Soucek: Proudly Pro-Life." "Paid for by the North Carolina Republican State Executive Committee."

8. through 13. Attack pieces against U.S. Senate candidate Kay Hagan (and suddenly, true political desperation has an outline). Heavy involvement here by outside groups. Three of these five pieces were paid for by the Associated Builders and Contractors Free Enterprise Alliance. One of their pieces is proud of Elizabeth Dole because she'll drill for oil everywhere immediately. The other claims that North Carolina has the highest tax burden in the Southeast and blames the patently pro-business Kay Hagan for that. (That first claim is just pure buffalo dust; the second, laughable.) The third uses "ENOUGH IS ENOUGH!" as though Kay Hagan were the Washington insider rather than Elizabeth Dole. The last two anti-Hagan pieces came from Freedom's Watch, which, according to Wikipedia, was formed in 2007 primarily to support the Bush administration and especially the Bush administration's policy in Iraq. Apparently, Kay Hagan is a threat to the Bush legacy.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Dewey Estes and the Real Woman

EAST FERGUSON, N.C. (AP) – The cancellation of an expected Sarah Palin campaign rally on the campus of Appalachian State University has left a Caldwell County Republican not only bitterly disappointed but also holding an expensive bag.

When news that Palin might come to the ASU campus tomorrow for a massive campaign rally leaked out from secret contacts between the McCain campaign and the ASU Student Government Association, Caldwell County gun dealer and Republican precinct chair Dewey Estes got busy organizing a special demonstration of affection for Palin that he hoped would involve scores of Palin enthusiasts and also attract national media attention.

In anticipation of the rally, Estes purchased 12 gross (144) inflatable female sex dolls, all with lots of brunette hair, and was planning to hand these out at the Palin rally to men to wave from the crowd. “We thought it would be a real tribute to a real woman. We just wanted to show the world how we felt about our Sarah,” Estes said.

“Hell, I would have even volunteered to blow them all up,” Estes said.

Estes was also planning to add extra real lipstick to each inflatable doll. But then the bottom dropped out of his plan: the McCain campaign discovered that ASU students would be leaving on Wednesday for Fall Break, so the rally was canceled.

Estes’ frustration at not being able to present a colorful tribute to Palin is nothing compared to his frustration at being stuck with 144 inflatable sex dolls. “Make that 143,” said Estes. “I ruined one of them with an acetylene torch. My bad. The others are still in their boxes. Maybe I’ll have a yard sale and donate the money to the Palin campaign.”

Monday, October 13, 2008

Nothing Could Be Finer Than To Be in Carolina ... in the Morrrn-ning!

Does that look like a deer in our headlights, or what?

Best McCain quote, maybe of the millenium: "My friends, we've got them just where we want them."

John McCain, bless his heart. First, he filches "change" from Obama. Now he's stolen "comeback kid" from Bill Clinton. Has the man had an original thought all year?

What he can't seem to transcend are the hateful trajectories of his own campaign. Outside the Wilmington rally today, a sign was posted attacking Obama. "NO BAMA!" it read, and it showed side-by-side images of Obama, Osama bin Laden, and Thomas Wright, the former African-American state legislator from Wilmington who was expelled from the legislature because of financial corruption. Blacks and terrorists are sooo hard to tell apart.

Christopher Buckley Endorses Obama

Christopher, son of William F. Buckley, founder of the conservative Bible, "National Review," to be precise. Via Kevin Drum's blog at Mother Jones:
"My colleague, the superb and very dishy Kathleen Parker, recently wrote ... that Sarah Palin is an embarrassment, and a dangerous one at that. She's not exactly alone. New York Times columnist David Brooks, who began his career at National Review, just called Governor Palin 'a cancer on the Republican Party.'

"As for Kathleen, she has to date received 12,000 (quite literally) foam-at-the-mouth hate-emails. One correspondent, if that's quite the right word, suggested that Kathleen's mother should have aborted her and tossed the fetus into a Dumpster. There's Socratic dialogue for you. Dear Pup [Dad Buckley] once said to me sighfully after a right-winger who fancied himself a WFB protégé had said something transcendently and provocatively cretinous, 'You know, I've spent my entire life time separating the Right from the kooks.' Well, the dear man did his best. At any rate, I don't have the kidney at the moment for 12,000 emails saying how good it is he's no longer alive to see his Judas of a son endorse for the presidency a covert Muslim who pals around with the Weather Underground. So, you're reading it here first."

When icons of the conservative movement are not only drawing back from the McCain/Palin ticket, but publicly endorsing Obama/Biden, you do indeed have an early warning of a landslide.

Dean Smith Endorses Barack Obama

Lengendary UNC basketball coach Dean Smith (along with his wife Linnea) has endorsed Barack Obama in an e-mailing many received yesterday.
"There is a point in every contest when sitting on the sidelines is not an option. That is why Linnea and I are writing to urge you to join Barack Obama's campaign for President.

"There are pivotal moments in history when the right decision by a nation can change its course for the better -- opening up new paths before us and providing future generations with opportunities that we had not thought possible. This coming election provides one of those moments. Linnea and I believe Barack Obama is the right leader at this critical juncture. I have written that when coaching a team, you must be prepared to make changes to meet new challenges and obstacles. We must be prepared to do the same as a nation. Now, it is the United States that needs a change in direction... and a change in leadership...."

He means to add one more to those 879 career wins.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Virginia Foxx, Still Dodging Accountability

Fifth Dist. Congresswoman Virginia Foxx released her full "debate schedule." One is a whole hour at an Ashe County middle school during the middle of the day, and the second is for 30 minutes on Triad Today hosted by her buddy, conservative columnist Jim Longworth.

One very obvious thing wrong with this schedule of severe heavy-lifting: neither venue will allow any questions from regular citizens, and they are obviously designed to be anything BUT debates. One not so obvious thing wrong: Foxx released this schedule without bothering to seek and receive the cooperation of her opponent, Coach Roy Carter. According to Carter campaign manager Ryan Eller, the Foxx people have NEVER contacted the Carter campaign about these so-called "debates."

Carter counter-proposed a series of town-hall meetings across the district, wrote a letter to Foxx inviting her to participate in any or all of them, and hand-delivered the letter to Foxx's Boone office on Thursday.

Foxx's aide Todd Poole answered Carter's proposal in a pouting letter, saying that a member of Congress has just too many important obligations to show up (where regular citizens might ask her questions). Ryan Eller countered that since Congress is in recess, Foxx ought to be freed up sufficiently to demonstrate the barest commitment to an open discusssion of issues and her voting record.

Foxx deserves a lesson in democracy. And maybe she thinks it's coming, considering the way she's now raising money. She told one woman who is now supporting Carter, "I'm really scared. My polling is telling me that this election is going to be close, and I need all of the last minute help I can get."

Poor-mouthing, a Virginia Foxx speciality.

John McCain: Obama Is Not An Arab

John McCain, bless his heart (which must have grown three sizes since yesterday)! He painted himself into a corner at his own rallies by promoting the Obama-hangs-out-with-terrorists trope. His followers got so vile in their outbursts that McCain was finally forced to defend his opponent as an honorable American who is not, incidentally, an Arab. And got booed by his own supporters for saying so. (The video is all over the Inter-Webs, but here's one source to it.)

Standing up, finally, against the extremists whose rage he's responsible for pumping up. It's a hell of a position to be in as a candidate.

Does he feel he now must attempt to salvage at least a tatter of his former honor? It's about too late. And how will his conservative supporters react? And will Sarah Palin go on with her attacks? Because, hey! McCain needs her a whole hell of a lot more than she needs him, to hear Rush Limbaugh and Pat Buchanan tell it.

Maybe there's been a presidential election as warped as this one, but we don't remember it.

Friday, October 10, 2008


Even as Wachovia, the fourth-largest bank in the country, was announcing some $9 billion in losses and was cutting over 11,000 jobs and turning down most loan requests, it was also lending the National Republican Congressional Committee (NRCC) $8 million to try to save GOP gonads in the upcoming elections. Facing South has the details.

The timing of this Wachovia loan to the NRCC raises obvious questions. At the same time that Wachovia had cut off loans to some 1,000 colleges and while it was in the middle of "precarious and bitterly-contested buyout negotiations" involving federal guarantees to cover billions of $$ in losses ... it doles out money for partisan political activity.

This is an especially troubling loan because the NRCC has been wracked with scandal. It borrowed $9 million from Wachovia in 2006. It has been revealed that the NRCC's Treasurer, Christopher Ward, embezzled as much as $725,000 from the org. "Among other misdeeds, to cover up his tracks Ward and the NRCC submitted forged audit reports to Wachovia in 2006 to obtain their loan." Before the Ward embezzlement came to light, the NRCC had failed to conduct an independent audit of its activities since 2003.

And so it goes.

I Am Appalachian

Photograph purloined from Revolution in Jesusland, shot in southern Ohio.

Micah 6:8, incidentally, from the King James Version: "He hath shewed thee, O man, what is good; and what doth the LORD require of thee, but to do justly, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with thy God?"

On the Precipice of Panic

Conservative columnist David Brooks writes today about what's happened to the Republican Party. It's now succeeded in driving away educated people. The symbol of its success in narrowing its base even further is Sarah Palin, the low-information candidate for low-information voters.

"Low-information" is a euphemism for people who instantly believe the latest e-mail that says Obama was raised a Muslim with the explicit mission of lying low until he can become president and confiscate all our Bibles and turn our public schools into Madrassas.

They are rapidly degenerating into an angry mob at McCain/Palin rallies, reflecting "a party on the precipice of panic," according to Jonathan Martin.

The shouts of "kill the terrorist" have alarmed thinking Republicans. In the Jonathan Martin article, he quotes John Weaver, John McCain's former top strategist:
"People need to understand, for moral reasons and the protection of our civil society, the differences with Senator Obama are ideological, based on clear differences on policy and a lack of experience compared to Senator McCain. And from a purely practical political vantage point, please find me a swing voter, an undecided independent, or a torn female voter that finds an angry mob mentality attractive. Senator Obama is a classic liberal with an outdated economic agenda. We should take that agenda on in a robust manner. As a party we should not and must not stand by as the small amount of haters in our society question whether he is as American as the rest of us. Shame on them and shame on us if we allow this to take hold."

Too late there, Mr. Weaver. There are many low-information voters, apparently, who simply CANNOT be for someone politically unless they simultaneously HATE someone else.

Thursday, October 09, 2008

Ugly Is As Ugly Does

Both Sarah Palin and John McCain are playing with a particularly dangerous form of fire, going out of their way to incite their partisan crowds to nasty out-bursts against the press and against Barack Obama, the sleeper-cell Antichrist Muslim who hates America and deserves to die because he's obviously a terrorist.

Sarah Palin, especially, seems to relish the fury she incites.

Washington Post reporter Dana Milbank has described the ugliness and the intimidation, here and here.

But you can see as well as hear the nastiness at the heart of many a Palin cheering section in this video footage shot at a Palin rally in Pennsylvania.

Disenfranchising Students in Virginia

Some North Carolina wag in the 19th century, familiar with the sometimes inherent snobbery of both Virginia and South Carolina, referred to our state as "a vale of humility between two mountains of conceit."

In Virginia's case, 134 county voter registrars know exactly what sort of people should be allowed to vote. College students very often do not pass the test. In a state with 161 colleges and 483,159 students, the conceit of the registrars is patently unconstitutional.

We had already heard about the Montgomery County registrar, Randall Wertz, who issued official warnings to Virginia Tech students in Blacksburg that, by registering, "you have declared your independence from your parents and can no longer be claimed as a dependent on their income tax filings .... If you have a scholarship attached to your former residence, you could lose this funding." The first statement is just an outright lie: the right to vote has absolutely nothing to do with being a dependent on your parents' IRS forms, and the second statement seems to give away its own falsity with that strategically placed verb "could." You could also learn to fly off the roof of your dorm.

Worse is Juanita Pitchford, the registrar for Fredericksburg, where the University of Mary Washington is located. Pitchford, the most blueblood of Virginia registrars, requires that all students interview with her before registering, "so she can decide on a case-by-case basis whether they can vote."

Are you kidding me? No, evidently not. Reminds us of the situation in Boone 40 years ago, when virtually the only bank writing mortgages for houses required an interview with a bank officer whose first question probed which church you were a member of.

The Supreme Court in 1979 settled the issue of student registration and voting rights. A college student may register and vote where he/she is in school, even if the place of residence is a dorm with Green Day blasting out of every room.

Students in North Carolina, thank God, are not being harassed like students in Virginia. That will change if Pat McCrory is elected governor and the Republican Party takes over control of our 100 county boards of election. There will be little or no accommodation of students.

You betcha.

Wednesday, October 08, 2008

The Lower Depths

McNasty couldn't bring himself to even look at Barack Obama during the first debate. During the second one, he looked at him and then referred to him over his shoulder and with the jab of his elbow as "That one."

The way you might refer to a broken chair that a guest shouldn't sit in. Or to a 1977 Impala that ceased to run in the early '90s. "That one." The contempt was cold and clammy.

But what do you expect? How should Sleazy McSleazealot refer to an America-hating terrorist in our midst? That's the image of Obama that McCain and Pom-Pom Palin are frantically constructing before crowds eager to pick up the vibe and scream sympathetically "Kill him!" All to Palin's evident approbation.

This is where McCain has taken himself. This is where he's willing to take the country. This is a formerly respected U.S. Senator who has not much left but his fury and his spite. Yes, that one on the right.

Monday, October 06, 2008

Will This Come Up in the Debate Tomorrow?

Wall Street Journal, today:
John McCain would pay for his health plan with major reductions to Medicare and Medicaid, a top aide said, in a move that independent analysts estimate could result in cuts of $1.3 trillion over 10 years to the government programs.

The Republican presidential nominee has said little about the proposed cuts, but they are needed to keep his health-care plan "budget neutral," as he has promised. The McCain campaign hasn't given a specific figure for the cuts, but didn't dispute the analysts' estimate.

This will be ever so popular, and we can't wait for Sarah Palin to explain it.

Michigan to McCain: Don't Let the Door Hit Ya!

Apparently, leading lights in the Michigan Republican Party were among the last to learn that McCain/Palin was officially pulling its campaign out of the state.

Said Jack Waldvogel, Chairman of the Emmet County GOP: "If you are going to end visits to the state by McCain/Palin, do it. Just don't formally announce that you are 'pulling out' of Michigan, and then come back two days later asking the base core of support to 'keep working.' What a slap in the face to all the thousands of people who have been energized by the addition of Sarah Palin to the ticket. I've been involved in County Party politics and organization for 40 years, and this is the biggest dumbass stunt I have ever seen."

Waldvogel was finished: "He has given up on our State? What a total and complete crock of crap. Again, I think McCain owes the Republicans and the People of Michigan a HUGE APOLOGY. SOON!"

Obama in Asheville Yesterday

The Asheville Citizen-Times says there were 28,000 people there. Many were from Watauga County, including Bricca Sweet, who spoke to the crowd as one of North Carolina's original Obama "organizing fellows." (Bricca's personal essay about why she switched her party affiliation from the Republican to Democratic party was published in last Friday's Watauga Democrat.)

The Citizen-Times article speculates on the Obama effect on western N.C., which has been dependably Republican (except for Watauga and Buncombe and sometimes Jackson counties). The writer notes that the past habit of North Carolina statewide Democratic candidates to be on the opposite side of the state when a Democratic presidential candidate drops by seems to have flipped this year ("Democrats whose names will be below Obama's on the ballot want to be seen at his rallies").

"I think the perception is that [Obama] is really helping, amazing as it is," said Gary Pearce, Democratic analyst and formerly political guru to Gov. Jim Hunt.

Hugh McColl Endorses Obama

We hear from Charlotteans that the city is abuzz today over the public endorsement of Barack Obama by former NCNB CEO and Bank of America Chair Hugh McColl, credited by some as the man who put Charlotte in the forefront of the financial services industry. (HT: DJ)

Navy-pilot McCain might wince at this particular sentence in the McColl statement: "Through the years that I've been a businessman and before that an officer in the Marine Corps, I saw what qualities make effective leaders. I see them in Obama: a sharp intellect, stiff spine and steady hand." Ouch.

McColl goes on: "Obama's economic plans will restore market confidence and provide a blueprint for a better future. His pragmatic, intelligent economic plan will stop our financial slide and restore the expansion and confidence we knew in the 1990s. Obama's tax relief plans for small businesses and the middle class should provide much-needed economic stimulus."

Meanwhile, John McCain means to stop these falling dominoes nationally with ... what? Sarah Palin going negative?

Friday, October 03, 2008

Obama Will Hold Rally in Asheville Sunday

2 p.m. at Memorial Stadium, Asheville High School. The event is free and open to the public, no ticket required, but the Obama campaign is encouraging advance registration online.

More info here, along with a discussion of Obama's lopsided fundraising lead over McCain in western North Carolina.

The Bosses Get a Clue

Last week a film crew from the National Rifle Association showed up at the Consol Blacksville #2 Mine in Monongalia County, West Virginia, and started cornering miners, trying to get some of them to speak out against Barak Obama.

This was not received well by the miners.

"This was a surprise visit," explained United Mine Workers Safety Chairman Eric Greathouse, "and a lot of the miners felt this was a direct slap in the face of the union because they were trying to coerce our people into saying things against Barack Obama."

"Consol doesn't let anybody on their property -- never," said Safety Committee Member Mark Dorsey, "and for them to let the NRA come on the property and solicit our membership was totally uncalled for. We made our endorsement to our political process, and we didn't bother them, and they shouldn't be harassing our membership over this."

Some 440 miners expressed their disapproval by failing to show up for work on Monday of this week, taking what's called a "Memorial Day," instead of going to work.

'So Extremely Dangerous To Consider': A Found Poem

Hey, can I call you Joe?
A good barometer here,
As we try to figure out has this been a good time or a bad time,
The barometer there, I think, is going to be resounding.
I've joined this team that is a team of mavericks,
Not having that proof for the American people
To know that his commitment, too, is, you know,
Put the partisanship, put the special interests aside,
And get down to getting business done for the people of America.

Darn right.

Again, John McCain and I,
That commitment that we have made,
And we're going to follow through on that,
Getting rid of that corruption,
Also, though, is let's commit ourselves,
Joe Six Pack, hockey moms,
We need also to not get ourselves in debt,
To learn a heck of a lot of good lessons.

Darn right.

I may not answer the questions
That either the moderator or you want to hear.

Patriotic is saying, government, you know,
You're not always the solution,
And kind of undo in my own area of expertise,
And that's energy.

How long have I been at this, like five weeks?
There has been more and more revelation
Made aware now to Americans,
The mortgage-lenders, too,
Who were starting to really kind of rear that head of abuse.
I want to talk about, again, my record on energy
Versus your ticket's energy ticket, also.
I'm not one to attribute every man --
Activity of man to the changes in the climate.
There is something to be said also for man's activities.
The chant is "drill, baby, drill."

You know, I am tolerant.
I'm being as straight up with Americans as I can
In my non-support for anything
But a traditional definition of marriage.

It was the General Petraeus and al Qaeda,
But that it was a central war on terror is in Iraq,
An armed, nuclear armed especially Iran
Is so extremely dangerous to consider.

There's a time, too,
When Americans are going to say,
"Enough is enough with your ticket,"
On constantly looking backwards,
And pointing fingers,
And doing the blame game.
There have been huge blunders in the war.
There have been huge blunders throughout this administration.
Positive change is coming, though,
But change is coming.

Nuclear weaponry, of course,
Would be the be all, end all
Of just too many people in too many parts of our planet.

Say it ain't so, Joe,
There you go again pointing backwards again.
Now doggone it, let's look ahead
And tell Americans what we have
To plan to do for them in the future.

You mentioned education and I'm glad you did.
I know education you are passionate about
With your wife being a teacher for 30 years,
And God bless her. Her reward is in heaven, right?
Education credit in America
Has been in some sense in some of our states
Just accepted to be a little bit lax.

I'm thankful the Constitution would allow
More authority given to the vice president
If that vice president so chose to exert it.
John McCain's maverick position that he's in,
That's really prompt up to and indicated by the supporters,
And we have not got to allow the partisanship.

I like being able to answer these tough questions
Without the filter, even,
Of the mainstream media
Kind of telling viewers what they've just heard.

You betcha.

[All direct quotes from the transcript of the Biden-Palin debate, 2 Oct. 2008]

Thursday, October 02, 2008

Obama Will Camp Out in Western N.C.

... this Sunday and Monday ... at an undisclosed location "near Asheville" ... in preparation for his second debate with John McCain.

Then he'll hop on over to Nashville for Tuesday night's debate at Belmont University.