Saturday, February 28, 2009

N.C. -- Enabler of Mountaintop Coal Mining

Rep. Pricey Harrison of Greensboro has filed a bill in the N.C. House to ban N.C. power companies from buying coal obtained via mountaintop removal mining, by far the worst and most destructive form of strip mining. Sen. Steve Goss of Watauga has filed the same bill in the N.C. Senate.

Duke Power and other power suppliers in the state are yelping like scalded dogs, since strip-mined coal from West Virginia and Kentucky is generally cheaper than coal from deep mines. Yelping like scalded dogs and simultaneously threatening members of the General Assembly with unspeakable retribution.

But here's the point: though North Carolina has no coal mined from mountaintop removal operations, it's the second largest consumer in the country (behind Georgia) of strip-mined coal. And that's shameful.

Porn Nation

An assistant professor of business administration at the Harvard Business School talked one of the top-ten vendors of online "adult entertainment" (a.k.a., porn) into sharing certain anonymous information about where the bucks for paid nakedness were being spent. The porn company shared the zip codes "associated with all credit card subscriptions" for online porn with the researcher. You can guess what's coming here, right?
Subscriptions are slightly more prevalent in states that have enacted conservative legislation on sexuality .... In the 27 states where "defense of marriage" amendments have been adopted (making same-sex marriage, and/or civil unions unconstitutional), subscriptions to this adult entertainment are weakly more prevalent than in other states....

Those who were prone to referring to their own "red-state" areas as "the real America" back during last year's campaign will want to stake a good deal of their current reputations on the researcher's use of that adverb weakly in that last sentence. Otherwise, there's not a lot to be proud of here, O ye of the Bible Belt.
...subscriptions are also more prevalent in states where surveys indicate conservative positions on religion, gender roles, and sexuality. In states where more people agree that "Even today miracles are performed by the power of God" and "I never doubt the existence of God," there are more subscriptions to this service. Subscriptions are also more prevalent in states where more people agree that "I have old-fashioned values about family and marriage" and "AIDS might be God's punishment for immoral sexual behavior."

This adds evidence to our longstanding assumption that the person railing the loudest about other people's sins is very likely more guilty of that sin than the people he's pointing the finger at. And the bigots screaming about gays are themselves signaling some powerfully frightening private urges.

We're particularly amused that Utah, possibly the reddest state in the Union, has the highest precentage of porn subscriptions per thousand people in the whole country. Apparently, Utah's "redness" is more than just a political inclination.

FOOTNOTE: HT: C.D. The full report, "Red Light States: Who Buys Online Adult Entertainment?" can be read here (pdf file).

Friday, February 27, 2009

Bobby Jindal, Public Liar

Turns out that Bobby Jindal totally made up the centerpiece story he told last Tuesday night on nationwide TV. He said that while Hurricane Katrina raged, he stood shoulder-to-shoulder with a Louisiana sheriff and shouted down the niggling bureaucrats of the Bush administration, which led directly to the saving of lives in the flooding.

Only, he didn't do any of that. Instead, he heard about the sheriff yelling at FEMA officials and simply put himself into the action and made himself into an on-the-spot hero. It's called fiction in polite circles. It's called a baldfaced lie to make yourself look good in our household.

Governor Jindal, kiss your bright political future goodbye.

Signs and Wonders

Buncombe County Schools say they may have to lay off 55 teachers, and Asheville City Schools another seven, if the threatened cuts in state aid to education are carried through. Unclear, still, how the Obama stimulus might alleviate such educational gore.

Meanwhile, about $100 million of stimulus money targeted at housing problems (rehabilitations, new construction of affordable housing, etc.) is beginning to flow into N.C. Most of this money will be available to local governments as block grants.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Hypocrite of the Day

Rep. Sue Myrick managed to get tens of millions of $$ in earmarks into the omnibus spending bill just passed by the U.S. House, and then piously turned around and voted against it, like most of her Republican brethren and sistren.

Most of the Myrick earmarks -- some $20 million -- will go to expand Charlotte's light-rail system.

It's one thing to oppose spending on principle. It's quite another thing to lard up a bill with stuff your constituents will enjoy while knowing the bill will surely pass without your support.

It's a whole new benchmark in hypocrisy!

David Hoyle Sneers at the Unemployed

One of the most powerful men in the N.C. General Assembly, Democrat David Hoyle, is sometimes more obnoxiously patrician than ... your average rich Republican. According to Rob Schofield, Hoyle was loudly signaling his disdain yesterday for anything in President Obama's stimulus package that doesn't enrich the Paving Lobby. Questioning a provision that will allow for the hiring of additional child-care workers (jobs, Senator?), Hoyle asked sarcastically, "What's that? Babysitting for people who lost their jobs?"


Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Anti-Gay Bills in the NC General Assembly

Bills were filed (yet again) in the NC House and Senate (both) for an amendment to our state constitution to deny marriage to same-sex couples, which is already illegal under state law anyway. This particular piece of nonsense comes back every session, introduced by Republican tools who have nothing better to do than carry water for the Christian Right and try to stir up the latent hatreds of the under-educated. Because, Lord knows, the holy matrimonies of man-woman couples will be disastrously devalued if gay people are allowed the same right.

Not to worry. Mark Binker, who wrote the article linked above, notes on his blog that Marc Basnight has assigned the bill in the NC Senate to the Ways & Means Committee, which hasn't met since 2001 and which seems highly unlikely to leap into action for this particular piece of soiled linen.

Speaker of the House Joe Hackney has a similar attitude about this kind of right-wing extremism.

This anti-gay bill is going nowhere.

Rush Limbaugh, The Real Loser Last Night

Because Rush has been grooming Gov. Bobby Jindal as his own personal dittohead, Jindal's trainwreck last night in responding to President Obama had Limbaugh in something of a lather today on his radio blabfest.

Is this cosmic irony, or what? That the "I hope Obama fails" yakker is forced to defend the disastrous performance of the governor of Louisiana, whom Limbaugh has touted as "the next Ronald Reagan."

Governor Tone-Deaf Takes the Stage

Bobby Jindal, the Great Non-White Hope of the Republican Party, decided to remind us all of the ineptness of the Bush administration during the Katrina aftermath by way of making a few points:

1. The Republican Party has lost the trust of the American people, deservedly so

2. Therefore, you should trust us

Governor Jindal had previously pasted an inadequate fig-leaf over his own hypocrisy: he said he would not accept part of the Obama stimulus money for Louisiana -- about 1 percent of it -- while taking the rest of those "irresponsible, wasteful, ridiculous" billions. We want Bobby Jindal to have the courage of his convictions. We want him to reject ALL of that irresponsible, wasteful, and ridiculous stimulus money. Otherwise, we'll conclude that he's actually the Captain Renault of the Republican Party (shocked that there's gambling going on at Rick's) rather than the voice of a reborn political party imbued with virtue and truth.

Because, see, some $175 billion of federal money has been spent in Louisiana since Katrina, which somehow, by some right-wing voodoo, is supposed to prove that the federal government is just evil.

Someone on cable TV referred to Jindal as "Governor Buzz-Kill." Someone on the blogs last night hung this title on his rebuttal of President Obama: "You're On Your Own, America."

Maybe they should have picked Sarah Palin.

Did you see Supreme Court Associate Justice Samuel Alito greet the president in the well of the House prior to the speech? Whoa! If body language were toxic, Alito killed every furry animal on Capitol Hill last night.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

The Unbearable Lightness of Virginia Foxx

Screwing her puss up into that perpetual scowl of the Right-Wing Republican Beset by a Democratic President, Virginia Foxx clicks her tongue in advance of President Obama's speech tonight:
...she hopes that Obama will avoid such words as "crisis" or "catastrophe" when talking about the state of the economy.

"We keep hearing it's a catastrophe, a crisis, it's all negative. I fear that his continual talking down of the economy down is really doing damage, because people won't spend. They're scared to," she said.

Because, ya see, the downness of the economy is all a function of Democrats talking about the reality of the economy. It's just that simple. There's no history to consider here, nothing to remember about the Republican administration of the last eight years. Just President Obama saying those dangerous, hateful, totally consequential words.

Madam Foxx was one with the Bush administration in denying that any problems even existed, as the Republicans deregulated us into this current house of cards. Then when she and her fellow foxes could no longer deny the obvious, her solution was to do nothing. Absolutely nothing. She'd offer to pray for us. She'd use her right knee for Catholic prayers and her left for Baptist ones. What she would NOT do was use her vote for anything remotely helpful to the struggling citizens of the Fifth District.

Monday, February 23, 2009

Meet Senator Bunning, Undertaker

Republicans have excelled in the recent past at medical diagnoses (see Schiavo, Terri). But Sen. Jim Bunning (Mummy-Ky.) has seriously bumped that particular skill onto a whole new level in confidently giving Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg a nine-month deadline for getting herself into a coffin.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Changes to NC Annexation Laws

The N&O features a fairly insignificant article -- with a significant sidebar -- today on the howling of Republicans and of property-rights-over-all Constitutionalists that reform is needed for NC's laws allowing cities to involuntarily annex adjacent and overtaken neighborhoods.

Here's the money (from the sidebar):

The legislature has a menu of options if members decide to address the controversies over involuntary annexation.

MORATORIUM: Bills have already been filed to delay annexation in specific counties. A statewide moratorium cleared the House but died in the Senate last year.

REFERENDUM: Supporters of this option say that people have a right to determine their own fate and therefore should be allowed to vote on whether they are annexed into a city or town.

REVISE ANNEXATION PROCEDURES: This option has the most support in the legislature. The idea is to change the law to require cities and towns to give property owners more time and ways to react to an annexation proposal. Options include giving property owners more time to challenge an annexation and giving a commission the power to review annexations.

If I were an NC city administrator, and considering the lack of steel currently in the General Assembly, I think I could live with the last option (which, incidentally, "has the most support in the legislature"). But I'd also expect that moratorium while Option 3 gets written as legislation. Wouldn't you?

It would be a bad move to strangle North Carolina's vibrant little (and big) cities. But that's where this anti-annexation movement will arrive eventually. (And by the way, I idolize Thomas Jefferson a good deal MORE, I wager, than the people quoting him right now.)

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Virginia Foxx, Banner Elk Barbie

That's Madam Foxx on the far left (hee), in the white (natch).

The impish work of Hysterical Raisins, who put the heads of some favorite Republican women in the U.S. House on an array of Barbie dolls.

You can discover the names of the others by following the link.

Kay Hagan Shows Courage

Kay Hagan was the subject of a N.C. Republican Party mailing in 2008 attacking her for refusing to back a constitutional amendment to ban gay marriage.

In a more-or-less tit-for-tat response to that attack, Sen. Hagan has made state history by agreeing to headline a fundraiser tonight in Charlotte for the Human Rights Campaign of the Carolinas, the leading gay-rights org.

Hagan is the first state-wide elected Democrat to have the cojones to show up for this event (in its 14th year) and risk the inevitable gay cooties that are sure to follow. Sen. John Edwards wouldn't attend. No Democratic governor, no Democratic lieutenant governor, no Democratic Anybody would dare risk the bigots' wrath. Until Kay Hagan.

We didn't support the senator in the primary. We support her now.

Lowe's Goes Slow

Hardware-and-lumber mega-giant Lowe's Corp. is freezing executive salaries ("all vice presidents and above") and reducing raises for everyone else. In a housing-market collapse, you'd pretty much expect housing-construction and home-improvement businesses to crash out, wouldn't you?

"Right now, shoppers are avoiding big-ticket, professional renovation projects that propelled the recent boom, and it's unclear whether sales in that category will ever return to the level of a few years ago."

But, so far Lowe's is doing slightly better than its (larger) chief competitor Home Depot.

Friday, February 20, 2009

When Situational Ethics Happen to the Morally Superior

Hyper-conservative Carolina Politics advises S.C. Gov. Mark Sanford to just take the Obama stimulus money already. Because, better the money gets spent in South Carolina than in some less savory state.

By Gawd, they do believe in evolution in the Palmetto Bug State!

Local Schools to Benefit from the Obama Stimulus

North Carolina schools stand to get some $2 billion from President Obama's stimulus plan, the N&O is reporting. Most of the money would go to teacher salaries and keeping positions funded against projected layoffs. The rest would go to zero-interest loans for school renovations. It's unclear from this report whether any of the construction money could be allotted for new school construction. College students of modest means will also benefit, with increases to Pell grants and work-study programs.

Our own county commissioners have certainly listed the new high school and other infrastructure needs as candidates for some of that money. The news yesterday of a coming budget shortfall in Watauga makes the Obama stimulus all the more important.

If and when that money flows, Congresswoman Virginia Foxx can gnash her teeth, since she fought it every step of the way and has not ceased to bitch and moan.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Hypocrite of the Day

Republican Gov. Mark Sanford of South Carolina says he just hates the socialism and all, but he'll take the Obama stimulus money, because being against the plan "doesn't preclude taking the money."

Insert your own joke here.

Billmon Explains It All

In a piece titled "Chocolate Covered Cotton," Billmon, of the late lamented Whiskey Bar blog, takes a deep breath and with electrifying clarity and razor wit explains the history of the financial bubble that is still bursting all over the American economy -- and the world's house of cards. As a former financial services journalist and a regular at the Davos World Economic Forums, Billmon has more reserves of knowledge and insight than your average Fox News bimbo (and more than your average MSNBC gasbag, as well).

Might want to pour yourself a stiff drink before you start reading.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Time for Foxx to Put Up or Shut Up

Late yesterday afternoon Dan Besse posted this wholly reasonable suggestion on BlueNC:
Every elected representative who rails against the stimulus as fundamentally a bad idea should be expected to file an opt-out bill on behalf of his or her district. Under the opt-out, no infrastructure funds, no education funds, no broadband money, etc., from the stimulus-funded programs would be used in his/her district.

With Rep. Virginia Foxx taking every opportunity to fog-horn her utter disgust with President Obama and his economic stimulus, it's time for her to have the courage of her convictions and actually do what Dan suggests ... DEMAND that the 5th Dist. is waaay too American, too patriotic, too Godly to accept any of the president's ill-gotten funds.

To sit silently by ... why, Foxx might as well have voted for the stimulus.

All she has to do is follow the lead of Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal, who yesterday said he intends to sniff every single dollar of the $4 billion that his state was due to receive, to make sure the wrong people hadn't handled it. That is the right thing to do, if you're a conservative extremist who believes in casting out demons and federal dollars with equal fervor.

We expect Gov. Mark Sanford of South Em-Effing Carolina to do likewise, to gather the hem of his cloak up tightly 'gainst his thighs, to wave off the Obama stimulus, and to pray to God to save his state from all such intrusions of Northern Aggression.

Madam Foxx should be so brave, or at least as intellectually consistent as her incessant carping.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Rowan County Seized by Queer Fear

Last night the Rowan County Commission, evidently bored with county budgets and the managing of county departments, staged a circus for the benefit of bigots and voted unanimously (including the votes of two Democratic commissioners) to ask the state legislature to pursue "a constitutional amendment declaring marriage between a man and woman the only legally recognized union."

And a good ole gay-bashin' time was had by all!

Amazingly, given the atmosphere of hellfire and brimstone, an equal number of people spoke against the resolution, some quite eloquently (and futilely). One man said the civil rights of a minority should never be decided by a majority vote. (Apparently, the commissioners had never heard that novel tenet of democracy.) A retired minister called the resolution unnecessary because the state already defines marriage as the union of a man and a woman. He added that homosexuals are being vilified and discriminated against. Lina Drinkard of Salisbury said, "This is an inappropriate topic for county commissioners." She added that the board is "dividing the citizens of Rowan County. This is not good leadership." William "Bill" Stanback talked about his daughter, a lesbian who has a divinity degree and married her companion of 25 years on Valentine's Day. Stanback said he was proud of his daughter, but he was not proud of the commissioners. "This is not the thing to do," Stanback said. "We elected you to run Rowan County. This is not within your appointed duties."

Not within their appointed duties, but the Rowan Commissioners were bent on satisfying the prejudices of the loving Christians who carried signs outside the County Administrative Bldg. condemning homosexuals to everlasting damnation.

According to Matt Comer, during the public comment Garland Faw of Truth Temple Baptist Church quoted Leviticus 20:13, about the "abomination" of homosexual love, but Pastor Faw omitted the rest of the verse which called for homosexuals to be put to death. Because -- hey! -- we don't want to get caught reading all of Leviticus too literally, right, Pastor?

County government in Rowan has gone completely loony-tunes.

Foxx's Fanaticism

So there's Madam Virginia Foxx handing out quotes to Scott Nicholson in the Watauga Democrat about President Obama's economic stimulus plan, repeating the Rush Limbaugh talking points as though she had thought them up herself. What she actually reveals, however, is a truly morbid hope for American failure. We assume all her disdain for the president's attempt to get our economy moving again will prevent her from taking credit for any federal spending projects that get started in her 5th District. We'll be watching for those grand nuggets of hypocrisy.

Meanwhile, Republican governors, who perhaps understand a tad more about reality, not to mention economic policy, are supporting the president. Not just Charlie Crist of Florida and Arnold Schwarzenegger in California but also the Republican governors of Connecticut and Vermont. According to the NYTimes, "Other Republican [governors] would have signed on ... but for party pressure in their states."

Last week, Madam Foxx told an interviewer that she couldn't think of one thing about the president's stimulus plan that she approved of. It's extremism like that which got our nation into this mess (this Republican economy), and it's extremism like that which sensible, pragmatic Republican governors want no part of.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Grade Inflation: UNC's Embarrassing Little Secret

Does this sound right to you: 82 percent of all undergraduate students at UNC-Chapel Hill are either "excellent" or "above average," judging from the grades they were given during the fall semester of 2007. Some 82 percent of the grades given to all undergraduates that semester were As or Bs. According to the study of grading done by a UNC economics professor, more A grades were given than any other mark.

Erskine Bowles says he's going to look into it.

Good luck with that! Grade inflation is NOT a UNC-Chapel Hill problem. It's a universal problem in all of American education, and it's not new. I knew professors 40 years ago who couldn't bear to make distinctions between levels of achievement in learning, so everyone got an A. Inability to discern outstanding achievement from mere coasting might, in the best of all possible worlds, disqualify a person from being a teacher.

A little more research might reveal that grade inflation really got its oomph when student evaluations of teachers became popular, and public, and hence a way for students to take their revenge on "hard graders." Popularity among the teaching ranks is like popularity anywhere else: it drives the marketplace.

Or we could just blame it all on the 1960s.

Friday, February 13, 2009

Joseph Cao, Cowed

Just before our Earthlink connection went totally kaput yesterday, I had found this item about the new Republican congressman from Louisiana, Joseph Cao, containing the news that Cao was probably going to break Republican ranks and vote for the stimulus bill.

Remember the GOP's moment of ecstasy last December when Anh "Joseph" Cao beat William Jefferson to become the Republican Party's only gin-you-wine non-white Congressman?

"The Time Is Cao!" gushed Republican Minority Leader John Boehner.

But by the time we got our Earthlink service back late last night, we learned that Cao voted with the rest of his "do nothing and hope for the best" caucus. We can only imagine the thuggish "persuasion" Cao was treated to by way of making him toe the party line.

Or he could always say he had a "conversion" experience. We hear those are popular.

Dick Burr Targeted by DSCC

The Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, led by New Jersey's Robert Menendez, is targeting NC's Dick Burr for defeat in 2010. No surprise that, with the powerful mojo of Kay Hagan's "impossible" defeat of super-celeb Liddy Dole last November still percolating.

There's going to be heavy pressure on Attorney General Roy Cooper to step up. Heath Shuler's prospects seem far less bright ever since he joined House Republicans in opposing the Obama stimulus bill.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Runaway Bride

Sen. Judd Gregg is sorta the Tom Daschle of the Republican Party ... melting down when the heat's on.

They say he's been hammered relentlessly as a traitor by fellow Republicans.

They say he himself sought the office.

"I said yes. That was my mistake," said Gregg. Maybe Rush Limbaugh told him the wedding was off.

We find ourselves agreeing with Kos: Why not appoint an effing Democrat?


We don't know if Noam Scheiber is correct in his analysis, but we can always hope:
For weeks now, Obama has soared above the fray -- inviting dour-looking Republicans to the White House for cookies and patiently hearing them out on Capitol Hill. Once again, the Republicans have exploited this stance, notching a series of tactical victories, like their unanimous no-vote in the House last week. And, once again, liberals have panicked .... But complaints ... miss what's been accomplished these last few weeks: Obama has completely defined the stimulus narrative on his own terms. To the average voter, Obama has been earnest and conciliatory while the Republicans have been cynical, self-serving, and puerile. Which, if the past is any guide, is precisely the moment he'll start playing hardball.

Fighting Crime in South Carolina

So you're a college kid in South Carolina who just happens to know Olympic gold medalist Michael Phelps, and may have burned one with the champion swimmer, and it's Saturday, and suddenly a dozen cops kick in the front door -- kick in -- with guns drawn -- guns freakin' drawn -- and then manage to find a few grams of marijuana, so now you're in jail being grilled about whether you smoked dope with Michael Phelps. " 'Were you at the party with Michael Phelps? Did you see him using marijuana?' It was all about Michael Phelps."

Dude, you're in South em-effing Carolina.

A former solicitor for Richland and Kershaw counties, now representing the student, said that in his entire legal career he had "never seen a search warrant executed for simple possession of marijuana."

And it's not just one pot-smoking college student offending the high morals of South Carolina. The article in The State newspaper says that a total of at least eight students have been arrested, and went to jail, so that the good name of the Palmetto Bug State would not lie besmirched by the likes of Michael Phelps.

Quote of the Day

"That is wrong on such a gut level."

--Austin Hall, looking at pictures of West Virginia mountains scarred by mountaintop removal coal mining (quoted here)

Tarleton Named To Head New Water Resources Committee

Speaker of the NC House Joe Hackney has named Rep. Cullie Tarleton of Watauga to head a new committee that is a direct result of last summer's major drought. Tarleton will head a new panel on "Water Resources and Infrastructure," which will take perhaps the first comprehensive statewide look at where the water will come from for future long-term economic development.

Radio Girl Laura Leslie has an audio interview with Tarleton about the new assignment posted on Isaac Hunter's Tavern here (scroll down).

RINO Virus

"Off with their heads!" is being screamed all over Right Blogtopia about senators Susan Collins, Olympia Snowe, and Arlen Specter, the three Republicans who gave President Obama his filibuster-busting majority on the stimulus bill.

Here is just one example among a legion, this one by that great hypocrite Dickie Morris.

As we've offered before, we'll gladly hold the parkas of any devout Republicans who want to organize a public stoning.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Adieu, Alas

Kathleen McFadden, reporter and editor at the High Country Press, has been laid off. This is her last week at the paper. As one of the best reporters we've had in Watauga County for many a year, we're very sorry to see her go.

Mysteries of the Organism

Many people have been buzzing about the five questions put to Congresswoman Virginia Foxx, and her five highly interesting answers. (Her best non sequitur: "I love butter.") Chris Fitzsimon drops his jaw over the third question and Foxx's answer:
Q: You also joined every Republican in voting against the $819 billion economic recovery package that just passed the House, arguing that most of the spending programs would not immediately create jobs. Were any of the spending programs worthwhile?

A: Not that I can recall. There is a possibility that some of the infrastructure spending on roads and bridges could create jobs, but a lot of the money will not be spent for years.

Nothing is good about Obama's priorities ... that she can recall. That's no mystery. The Number One goal for U.S. House Republicans, and particularly the extreme conservatives, is hoping for Obama's failure. Praying to Almighty God that Obama's ship sinks. And if you're cheering for all hands to be lost in the deep blue sea, of course you don't confuse your druthers by finding even one passenger on that boat worthy of a life jacket.

Foxx's total, 100% opposition to Obama, and to government itself, is NOT the mystery today. Our open questions go back a bit in history. We're still puzzled by:

1. A year ago, Congresswoman Foxx led House Republicans in defending Roger Clemens from accusations that he had benefitted from performance enhancing steroids, etc. Why? Why would she hang herself out on such a slim possibility? (This question gains salience in the last 24 hours from the admission of A-Rod, another steroid denier, confessing his sin.)

2. Why were Republican conservatives so opposed to delaying the transition from analog to digital TV signals? A few days ago, there was Madam Foxx leading the floor debate against extending the transition from this month to June, which was done to accommodate mainly poor and rural TV watchers who have either not gotten the message that their TV reception may be disrupted or don't understand what's about to happen. Why would Republicans oppose that? We're NOT asking why Virginia Foxx would relish leading the floor debate against it, because this woman loves something even more than butter ... getting her mug on TV.

Sunday, February 08, 2009

They're Going to Need a Bigger Boat

Apparently, it's official: Rush Limbaugh is now the head of the Republican Party.

Let the strutting begin: "Obama is obviously more frightened of me than he is Mitch McConnell. He's more frightened of me, than he is of, say, John Boehner, which doesn't say much about our party."

Polling of independent voters, however, suggests that Limbaugh could be Obama's greatest asset: "He motivates a core Republican, who is a very important part of the Republican coalition, and we need those guys to be interested and active," said Jan van Lohuizen, a GOP strategist in Washington. "But it's not enough. The Republican Party has shrunk and it needs to be expanding."

But when you've got Limbaugh and his ego, you've got an army right there!

Across the board, Limbaugh's unfavorable ratings are about twice his favorables. So keep him at his golden microphone, Republicans. Him, and your chief economics advisor, Joe the Plumber.

Newt Gingrich, Sob Sister

The things one learns from the Sunday morning gasbags!

First, we hear George Will say the greatest thing that President Obama has done -- really, an act of sheer statesmanship -- is to remove the "buy American" provisions in the stimulus plan.

Less than an hour later, some senator from Arizona (McCain, I think his name was) said that it's just plu-perfect AWFUL that the bill has a "buy American" provision in it.

One of these two gentlemen is right and the other is lost somewhere in the space-time continuum.

But the best yuck of the morning came out of the mouth of Newt Gingrich on ABC's "This Week." Newt was alarmed -- perhaps even a little saddened, in that smug, self-serving way of his -- about the "partisanship" that has reinvaded Washington, all because President Obama thinks that it was Republican policies that got us into this mess. It's just a fact: Newt's shit don't stink.

And, oh yes, via the new chair of the Republican National Committee Michael Steele: a government-created job is not actually a job. It's really more of a social indiscretion, like paying your sister $37,000 out of campaign funds for work she didn't actually do.

Thursday, February 05, 2009

Others Notice Our Madam Foxx

From Ohio, after watching the two-minute morning House speeches on C-SPAN:
Virginia Foxx (NC-5th-R): She talked about the out of control national debt and how the stimulus plan would only make it worse. If my memory serves me correctly, Foxx was a boot-licker for the Bush administration. She helped the Bush administration build that national debt. When Bush came into office, there was a surplus. Now, after the Bush wars and deregulation of the banking industry, our national debt is tremendous and our country is teetering on the brink of a depression, but Foxx would rather do nothing to help. Foxx is a twerp. (I thought of other words but I did not want to put them here.) Unemployment Rate in North Carolina: 8.7% (Ohio 15th)

Yes, our Madam Foxx was George W. Bush's snuggle-bunny, and, no, she doesn't intend for government to lift a finger.

And thanks for noticing, Ohio.

Madam Foxx, Milking It

According to Politico, the National Republican Congressional Committee intends to take the seat formerly held by New York's newest (appointed) Democratic senator, Kirsten Gillibrand. Gillibrand's former House seat in upstate New York offers the GOP its best chance of a pick-up in that otherwise deeply blue state.

Entrenched House Republicans are therefore being leaned on to pony up for the Republican running in a special election for that seat.

Buried in that Politico story is this paragraph:
NRCC Chairman Pete Sessions hailed Virginia Rep. Virginia Foxx as a fundraising maestro, and announced that he was dedicating a suite at NRCC headquarters in her name. Foxx, Sessions noted in the meeting, raised $250,000 more than she was expected to last election cycle. She did this by calling donors individually from the NRCC, not -- as most members do -- by cutting a check from her reelection account.

The woman evidently enjoys getting on the phone and making cold calls for cash. Which is what it takes to get a suite "dedicated" to you.

Dick Burr Has a Hacking Cough

By way of Public Policy Polling, who got the analysis from The King of the Polling Nerds, Nate Silver, NC Sen. Dick Burr, who voted FOR George W. Bush's Big Bank Giveaway but who can't countenance President Obama's economic stimulus, is waaay out there in his opposition to the new president, especially given that Obama carried NC: "Burr has been the least cooperative of any Senator whose state did give its electoral votes to the President."

Gunny Freedom, a poster on the thread linked above, sez "Burr is a failure because he is a partisan hack."

Wednesday, February 04, 2009

Earthquake in Avery County

Avery County PASSED the first successful Land Transfer Tax initiative in the state yesterday! Avery County, where they have to truck a Democrat into Newland once a year (usually on the Fourth of July), just to remember what one looks like, passes an enabling referendum for a voluntary new tax on the transfer of properties.

Now, the vote was howlingly close ... 1,434 for to 1,409 against ... but still.

The North Carolina Association of Realtors had fought against it HARD. The John Locke Foundation had mocked the argument that the tax would help local education.

But yet it passed.

'Course, holding the election in the dead of winter might have helped a little, with all those rich Republican second-home owners far far away, marinating in suntan oil.

Daschle Won't Be Missed

Sen. Tom Daschle spent ten years as the leader of Senate Democrats. We thought he was a mighty ineffective leader. He was repeatedly rolled by his Republican counterpart, and by El Presidente (remember him?). Some time early in this decade I found myself writing a letter to every other Democratic senator, begging them to put someone in as their leader who would STAND UP AND FIGHT.

Daschle's withdrawal yesterday as President Obama's nominee for Health & Human Services secretary is perfectly representative of the man's instincts ... never mind his tax liabilities, which were serious enough.

The upside is that President Obama is taking the blame for the vetting process. When's the last time you heard an American president say, "My fault"?

Tuesday, February 03, 2009

Groundhog Day 2009

Congresswoman Virginia Foxx has issued a new pronouncement. We read it, so you don't have to (but if you must, there's the link).

"It's stimulus time again."

It's not safe to sit down just any old where!


"Congress just passed an $825 billion so-called 'stimulus plan.' "

Dear Lord, pleasepleasepleaseplease don't let me utter the name "O-ba-ma."


"This is appalling."

Must. Make. Whatisname. Fail


"Haven't we heard this before?"

A-one, a-two, all together now:
"Who cares about the clouds when we're together?
Just sing a song and think 'bout sunny weather ...
Happy trails, toooo you! ..."


"The megabank bailout plan that shoveled $700 billion in taxpayer money into banks with zero oversight and accountability was rushed through Congress in a panic."

George W. Bush should go to his room without supper. Forever.


"Folks, this is the definition of a pork fest."

But, ya know, I still get Christmas cards from Tom DeLay, bless his heart.


"There is a time and a place to discuss the merits of additional funding for federal programs."

Like, maybe, never, bee-yotches?

Sunday, February 01, 2009

Mummies Don't Believe in Evolution

The Gallup Poll found that two-thirds of Republicans don't believe in evolution. Big surprise, that. But worse, that same Gallup poll, in June 2007, found that 49 percent of those surveyed said they believed in evolution while 48 percent said they didn't. Thanks, GOP, for the creeping moss of anti-science and stupidity.

For example, the chairman of the Texas State Board of Education, a freakin' DENTIST, thinks the earth and all its creatures are no more than 10,000 years old. This single man has it within his grasp to set back science education in all Texas public education by, oh, a hundred years. The Republican Guv of Texas, Rick Perry, would support that move.

Lousy-anna is even worse off already. Its State Board of Public Stupidity already allows "science" teachers to introduce "Intelligent Design" materials into classrooms. St. Paul said on several occasions to Christ's disciples, "I would not have you ignorant." The educational bureaucrats of Texas and Lousy-anna are apparently willing to exactly reverse that wish.

Most Republican Guvs Favor Stimulus Bill

Duh. Even Sarah "I Read Everything" Palin has her hand out in D.C.

The funnest to watch, however, are the doctrinaire conservatives who lust after the money but who don't want to be caught lusting after the money ... like Haley Barbour of Missis-slappi: "Yes, we need some help and we appreciate the help. But I don't know about the details and the strings attached to tell you if I'll take all of it or not."

Or, better, Bobby Jindal of Lousy-anna, who says he would have voted against the bill in the House but will (yep) TAKE THE FREAKIN' money. Didn't Madam Foxx say something almost identical?

We call this h.y.p.o.c.r.i.s.y. Of the political sort.