Tuesday, June 30, 2009

She's Got Balls

Apparently not satisfied with the heavy aroma already enwreathing her and her husband's exercise of power at N.C. State University, Mary Easley says she intends to cause a further stink by appealing her firing from that institution.

Thus keeping the whole sorry mess o' pottage bubbling on the stove.

She says she's aggrieved.

And she's got the attorney to prove it.

The Downside of Good Intentions

Todd, N.C., residents near the South Fork of the New River are suspicious of Boone and intend to defend their waters from any poachers. That's understandable. But blind opposition to Boone's permit request to draw a maximum of 4 million gallons a day from a river that's flowing at a rate of 50 or 60 million gallons a day may cause them to shoot wildly into their own foot.

The progressive mayor and Town Council of Boone wants to do more than the law requires. That is, they want permission from the state to put the water intake completely out of sight in the riverbed, and out of the way of recreational users of the river.

For no particular nor logical reason that we can discern, the Todd area citizens united to fight this project want that special permission defeated, so that Boone would have to follow the minimum standards of water intake and put the piping structure in full view on the banks of the river.

In other words, if the opposition wins, they lose, and they'll get an uglier facility.

Not that the facility itself is the issue for them. It's the very idea of any town government anywhere in the known universe taking their water. Which, again, is humanly understandable, given the acquisitive assumptions of the species, but ultimately rather silly and ... self-defeating.

Monday, June 29, 2009

Benefits of the Gospel

When hearing this tale, one just naturally meditates on the words of Jesus: "Verily I say unto you, That a rich man shall hardly enter into the kingdom of heaven" (Matt. 19:23, KJV).

Here's the outline:

Major evangelism industry big-wig builds $100 million per annum broadcasting empire in Charlotte, is subsequently lured to the South Carolina suburbs of Charlotte by $26 million in tax incentives, pays himself over $1.5 million per annum, and is building himself a $4 million playhouse in a gated community on the shores of Lake Keowee -- 9,000 square feet with a 2,000 square-foot screened porch. That's some mortification of the flesh! While this extravagance is still under construction, the big-wig begins trimming his pay-roll, laying people off, cutting salaries ... the mortification of other people's flesh!

Said media evangelism big-wig, when asked: appeals to donors are "based on the Bible" (which we think probably means that appeals to donors quote the Bible without necessarily following it).

The Chosen People

Here's an example of using your Christian status among The Saved as a trump card to save you from punishment, i.e. in this case, loss of job:

Gov. Mark Sanford (R-S.C.), on Friday:
I have been doing a lot of soul-searching on that front. What I find interesting is the story of David, and the way in which he fell mightily, he fell in very very significant ways. But then picked up the pieces and built from there.

Zachery Roth helpfully reminds us of the plot of David&Bathsheba:
As King of Israel and Judea, David saw Bathsheba in the bath (he was walking on the roof at the time, goes the story) and immediately had to have her. After getting her pregnant, he tried to conceal it by ordering her husband Uriah to return from war and sleep with Bathsheba, so that the baby would be thought of as Uriah's.

But Uriah preferred to remain at war. So David gave an order that Uriah should be abandoned in battle, ensuring his death. Then he married Bathsheba.

And he didn't even have to give up his kingship.

According to reporters who were present when Sanford compared himself to King David, the governor's cabinet exhibited "looks of nervousness and incredulity," so that immediately afterward, the Guv's office issued a written statement:
I remain committed to rebuilding the trust that has been committed to me over the next 18 months, and it is my hope that I am able to follow the example set by David in the Bible -- who after his fall from grace humbly refocused on the work at hand. By doing so, I will ultimately better serve in every area of my life, and I am committed to doing so.

Will someone please send this child to camp?

Friday, June 26, 2009

Dear Senator Hagan: Please don't mistake our lack of respect for a lack of interest.

You've emerged full-blown as THE major roadblock to a public option reform of national healthcare.

And your cryptic utterances are beginning to take on an Esperanto-esque "what did she mean by that?" It looks as though you're determined to defend for-profit insurance providers and other special interests while trying to sound sympathetic to the uninsured and to the bankrupted-by-medicine.

That act ain't gonna fly around here. Not with the people, though the big-business lobbies will probably be happy to bundle those checks together for you.

Blessed Are the Gun-Toters, For Theirs is the Paranoid Fantasy

A Kentucky Assembly of God Church is hosting a "bring-your-gun-to-Church" Sunday.

We are not making this up.

Free Advertising for Foxx?

Visiting the homepage for The Appalachian Visitor Center, an advertisement-driven for-profit website, we were startled to be confronted by that all-too-familiar visage, giving her blessing to $$ tourism.

How many furriners, given The Madam's recent notoriety, might turn around their plans to come here, seeing who represents (?) us in Congress?

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Lights! Camera! Action!

We're generally not agreeable about government-funded corporate welfare. As a rule, it makes us dyspeptic. But this idea currently up in the N.C. General Assembly, has our full support.

According to the N.C. Film Office, in the past 27 years some 800 movies and 15 TV series have been filmed in our state, vastly enriching the local areas where they set up with jobs (temporary, but still), props, services, even the occasional trained dog. Having supplied props and furniture to both "The Winter People" (1989) and "The Last of the Mohicans" (1992), we loved to see "the movie people" coming. Generally, they paid cash.

Don't know what the current statistics are, but back in the mid-1990s North Carolina had risen to third among all the states for on-location movie production, behind California (duh) and New York. Third. There for a while we were experiencing a building boom of studio facilities. The best known and largest is in Wilmington, but they're scattered through the middle of the state too. That's infrastructure ... and jobs, lots of jobs. How many extras, weapons experts, horse wranglers were hired for just "The Last of the Mohicans"? Thousands. The ripple effects are pronounced. Our western mountains are still visited by people who were first stunned to see them represented in that Michael Mann movie.

In fact, it was the movies that put Hendersonville, Hickory Nut Gap, Bat Cave, and Chimney Rock on the map back before World War I. When I was actively researching Hollywood history, I was astounded to discover that film crews were flocking to Asheville and Hendersonville every summer beginning in 1910 to make dozens of "two-reelers" that were shown in the nickleodeons of New York, Philadelphia, and Boston. Hickory Nut Gap and Chimney Rock got utilized repeatedly as background for moonshiner and feud shoot-'em-ups as well as a series of movies about the Royal Canadian Mounted Police. Those silent films didn't create Asheville as a destination, but they certainly didn't hurt. Movie crews and troops of actors regularly monopolized the rooms at the Esmeralda Inn, that historic stopping-off place near Bat Cave that (alas) burned down (again!) a few years ago.

What's being proposed in the General Assembly is a very modest tax rebate, a far more productive investment, IMHO, that the millions offered Dell, Google, and various other corporate flim-flammers.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Odd Man, Out

So South Carolina Governor Mark Sanford's staff was just plain lying for him when they announced yesterday that he was on a hike.

Instead, he was in Buenos Aires without telling his wife and four kids.

"I wanted to do something exotic," Sanford told The State newspaper.

The "something exotic" that Sanford was doing turns out to be an Argentinian woman.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Watauga ... Most Under-Insured County in N.C.

According to the U.S. Census, in 2005 Watauga County had the highest percentage of uninsured people in the whole state of North Carolina ... some 31 percent (hat-tip: MEM). Some 49 other N.C. counties had over 20% of their residents uninsured. Those numbers are probably higher now.

Meanwhile, N.C. Senator Kay Hagan is dicking around with the future of the public health, trying her best to find a way to pump even more money into the gigantic boondoggle of the for-profit private insurance rip-off, while denying her constituents any true shot at basic health-care insurance reform.

Down the Primrose Path

That's George W. Bush in 2005, addressing the delegates to the Southern Baptist Convention, the wholly owned subsidiary of the national Republican Party.

That call & response cheerleading may be a contributing factor to why the Charlotte Observer says this a.m. that the Southern Baptists have awakened to a perceptible decline in their numbers. Writes Yonat Shimron:
Having pushed out moderates and liberals during its decades-long revolution, the convention, which gathers in Louisville, Ky., on Tuesday, is finding itself losing members and performing fewer baptisms.

Although the losses are not dramatic -- membership in the SBC fell by 38,482 people, about 0.2 percent, in 2008 -- they are particularly painful for a denomination whose singular reason for being is to make converts.

In other words, if you're a Baptist and not nailing new pelts to the cabin walls, you're certainly a failure if not something of a disgrace. At least that's what they used to tell us kids in Sunday School. (So I'd march right out and try -- unsuccessfully -- to convert my nearest neighbor, who bought her likker from my own bootlegging great-aunt. I never attempted to convert that aunt, given the odds ... and the personal hazard.)

Anyway, reporter Shimron works the margins of the whole big problem of a major American religious organization getting itself so thoroughly associated with a now failed politics, and what the fall-out from that association might end up being.

The New Wind Generator at ASU

Went up on Friday. To get a sense of the scale, that's a man standing at the top of the tower.

Starting in 2004, the students at Appalachian State University have voted overwhelmingly to "tax" themselves $5 per student per semester to fund the Renewable Energy Initiative (REI), its mission "to reduce the environmental impact of Appalachian State University by replacing the university's existing sources of energy with cleaner forms of renewable energy...." Some 82% of students voting in 2004 supported the initiative. Last year 93% of students voted "yes!"

This wind generator is the latest installation on campus funded by that $5 assessment. Previous projects have included biodiesel/solar/photovoltaic projects, with more to come. This generator will produce an estimated 150,000 - 200,000 kilowatt hours annually, enough to power 10-15 homes. (Lots of technical background info at this REI page, including some very cool simulated movies of how the generator will look to a person driving up Rivers Street and a 360-degree fly-around of the site behind the Broyhill Inn.)

Friday, June 19, 2009

New N.C. Blog Has Roots in Foxx Country

Anne Schroeder Mullins, who blogs the "Shenanigans" column at Politico.com, was the one who outed the Virginia Foxx staffer who sent out a sort of open invitation to fellow Capitol Hill workers while her boss was away: "Office beers. on taxpayer time. you're welcome, fightin 5th district."

Now Mullins is reporting that the staffer "is back home in North Carolina" ("resigned" from Foxx's staff, she says) and has launched her own blog, "Political Prostitutes," where we've just spent some time grazing on the pique.

The main meme here is quite clear: everyone in Washington is a whore, and that includes politicians of both major parties and most of the press. There's a whole bunch of (actually rather vague) talk about screwing people and people getting screwed, coming and going. The former staffer writes up her own screwing by a supposed friend who sent the original problem text message to Mullins, and we can't help feeling sympathetic.

Time Stands Still Saturday Night

We had it marked on our calendar all year, but an e-mailed article from a friend reminded us this morning, and our pulse quickened involuntarily. The Summer Solstice arrives very very late Saturday night, actually at precisely 1:45 a.m. Sunday morning. That’s the precise moment that the Northern Hemisphere’s tilt toward the sun reaches its maximum stretch, seems to shudder from the tension in its deepest machinery like a diver on a bungee. The Solstice ushers in the longest day of continuous sunlight on June 21st but also begins the earth’s grinding tilt back toward our winter.

It was evidently a High Holy Day among the Druids, but the Incas, the Aztecs, the Chinese, and many other cultures noted the appearance of the sun on this day every year, that it seemed to stand still (“solstice” literally means “sun standing still”). Maybe it was the solstice when Joshua got his freak on: “Sun, stand thou still,” sez he, and according to Joshua 10, the sun obeyed.

But Joshua wanted more daylight so he could slaughter more Amorites. The sun stands still for us modern Druids for wholly benign sustenance ... so that we can knit lettuce, weave beets and onions, sew together our great cloaks of corn and beans and squash, hem ourselves up with potatoes.

We’ll be awake at 1:45 a.m. Sunday morning and in our garden, performing by the light of the fireflies the rites of thankfulness for the generosity of the good earth. (And, yes, this is how rumors of devil worship get started.)

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Who Does Sen. Hagan Represent?

The Wall Street Journal reports that our new Democratic Senator from North Carolina, Kay Hagan, owns at least $180,000 worth of investments in 20 different health-care companies.

So it was not a complete shock to learn yesterday that Hagan is a key hold-out on a "public option" plan in the health-care reform bill currently being crafted by the Senate Health, Education, Labor & Pensions (HELP) Committee. In the closed committee, Hagan is refusing the public option, which the insurance companies are dead set against because they don't want the competition. But when we called her office, her legislative aide said she hasn't taken a position on the legislation and was leaning toward the "co-op plan" being pushed by Sen. Kent Conrad. Pardon our French, but the co-op plan is a mirage, something meant to placate those of us who want the choice of a public option while protecting the projected profits of the big insurance companies. And this is what Kay Hagan says she favors?

If Hagan is going to be the clod in the health-reform churn, she'll have to answer to the N.C. voters who put her in that office. So far, we're not impressed by her instincts, which seem awfully solicitous of insurance CEOs.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Miniaturizing the Future

The excerpt below was written by a Republican Party operative in Buncombe County about Republican prospects in the upcoming Asheville municipal elections. It was published on Scrutiny Hooligans, our favorite Asheville blog. It's an insider's analysis of the GOP's "branding" problems in the more urbanized areas of western North Carolina and might, in the short run, make its author unwelcome at Republican Party gatherings:
...the Buncombe County Republican Party has been characterized over the last several years more by its own infighting and proving itself relatively ineffective at get-out-the-vote efforts (GoTV). Although a recent influx of younger libertarians to the GOP are an exception, Republican activists are much older than their Democratic counterparts, and tend to consider party involvement more as a social outlet for its own sake rather than as a vehicle for political action. Republicans (social conservatives, particularly) also tend to be more isolated from the cultural life of downtown Asheville, many holding it in open contempt.

There is a virulent strain of isolationism and bigotry in the local Republican Party. The primary "issue" around which the base coalesces is a visceral fear of immigration, legal and otherwise and those fears are used for propaganda purposes by many Republican officials (though, arguably, it has largely backfired). Conservatives, especially, feel that their traditional way of life is threatened by what they see as an "invasion" by immigrants from the south and rapidly changing cultural mores regarding tolerance of homosexuality.

Republicans also lag far behind progressives in the effective utilization of modern technology, especially in the area of social networking tools. No comparable infrastructure exists in the GOP, and what efforts have been accomplished in terms of technology, it is more gloss than substance.

Since 2006, the local GOP has been crippled by intraparty ideological battles (between its social conservative and libertarian factions) and a recent spate of unviable candidates -- from the perennial to the polarizing to the incompetent. All this has had a marginalizing effect on moderate Republicans and has seriously hampered the Republican Party's local fundraising abilities.

The situation shows no signs of improving for the local GOP as the two factions have made peace, at least ostensibly. Ron Paul supporters, who several years ago planned to take over local Republican organizations, have been successful in Buncombe County, with the entire apparatus now controlled by them. Several self-annointed "principled" and socially conservative spokesmen for the local GOP continue to have a stranglehold on the dialogue, continuing to alienate and divide the party.

It should be noted that a grassroots effort has been undertaken in Buncombe County over the last few months under the auspices of the "Tea Party" movement, largely in protest of what they see as "socialist" bailouts, higher tax rates, and President Obama's expansion of government. While ostensibly "non-partisan," it has been largely a movement organized by local libertarians and Republicans and has tapped in to an undercurrent of Republican resentment at recent electoral defeat....

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

More Stoopid Racists

Apparently, that small, mainly Southern political party known as "Republicans" intends to cement its racist bona fides one e-mail/tweet at a time.

We need to start naming these people: Sherri Goforth, an executive assistant for Tennessee State Rep. Diane Black (R-Gallatin) ... sorry only that she got caught.

And Mike Green, another brilliant GOP "operative" in South Carolina (is there something in the water?), but at least Green finally apologized after being outed.

That Republican "re-branding" is going very well, no?

The Winston-Salem Baseball Stadium Boondoggle

Shades of the Tweetsie bailout.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Holy Association

Photos of Boone mover-and-shaker Franklin Graham, posing with new NCGOP Chair Tom Fetzer and Franklin's father Billy Graham, were used by Fetzer at the Republican State Convention on Saturday to convey the unmistakable impression that he was endorsed by the Graham family.

Stoopid Racist Tricks

Another reason to boycott The Bog to our south.

Saturday, June 13, 2009


Just flipped around on all 5,000 cable channels, and we could not find anyone broadcasting anything from Iran, where all hell's breaking loose among young people looking for their own Obama moment.

The pics we have seen are astounding. One dreads another Tiananmen Square. But how are the mullahs going to hold their power otherwise, when they're being unmasked by official election returns that defy logic.

Nobody's buying it. And young Iranians are taking to the streets in mass outrage.

More power to 'em.

The Undead Elect the Ungay to Lead Them

It's Tom Fetzer for chair of the Republican Party of North Carolina.

According to Katy's Conservative Corner:
Party unity has been achieved. A big relief has filled the room and your blogger is especially happy. Not necessarily at the outcome, though that did go in her favor, but over the fact that this long, often dirty, race is over. We've all said things we've regretted and its thankfully time to move forward and get on with the job of electing Republicans!

Then immediately noting that many of the supporters of Fetzer's chief rival, Pope Foundation minion Chad Adams, were taking their defeat hard:
Sadly, many Adams delegates are filing out.

Perhaps they weren't quite as sad for saying things they regretted. We dunno.

Friday, June 12, 2009

Republicans Vote for E-Mail

On the first half-day of their state convention, North Carolina Republicans took an hour sniffing up on this new-fangled way to communicate, called (we hear) "e-mail," and decided reluctantly that it might be all right to send out party info via that means.

The U.S. Postal Service promptly collapsed.


No doubt about it: Democrats win the NC House and Senate, but the General Assembly cowers before the Religious Right.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

The Rise & Fall of Terry McAuliffe

The Mr. Motor Mouth of the 2008 Democratic Presidential primaries got stomped badly yesterday in the Virginia Democratic primary for governor, losing to former state senator Creigh Deeds.

And Public Policy Polling, our very active Raleigh outfit, gets bragging rights for pretty much nailing the outcome.

McAuliffe, for all his famous fundraising skills and indefatigable happy-talk, just doesn't wear well. We certainly got more than adequately chafed by his constant presence on cable news last February, March, and April, ignoring reality for the sake of Hillary.

Tuesday, June 09, 2009

Templeton Lawsuit Against Town of Boone Dismissed

It happened back on May 25, but the judge didn't sign his order to make it official until today.

The Jeff Templeton lawsuit against the Town of Boone, challenging the constitutionality of the town's steep-slope development regs, was thrown out by Superior Court Judge Joseph N. Crosswhite (who's a Republican, incidentally) for failing to set out "facts or legal claims which showed any potentially valid basis under state law or the constitution."

This was the second lawsuit filed by Boone attorney Charlie Clement on behalf of Templeton to try to strike down the ordinances. The first attempt was voluntarily withdrawn by Clement in December 2006 just before it was to be heard in court, a move sometimes regarded as an admission of "I have no case."

West Virginia Saved from "Scalia Justice"

An important decision regarding the buying of judges was handed down yesterday by the U.S. Supremes in a 5-4 decision. Because the case involved the influence of Big Coal in the state of West Virginia, I've been following it for years and can only applaud the decision and note that Justices Scalia, Roberts, Thomas, and Alito (the minority in the decision) think it's perfectly all right to buy yourself a judge, if you've got the cash, and that the bought judge is perfectly within his rights to rule in your favor when the time comes.

Here's the background: Several small mining companies sued A.T. Massey Coal Company, alleging that Massey's chief executive, Don L. Blankenship, the Boss Hogg of the West Virginia coal industry, had used fraud to drive the small companies out of business. The plaintiffs won a $50 million jury verdict in 2002, which Blankenship appealed to the state's Supreme Court, where he lost in a 3-2 decision. Whereupon Blankenship found himself a lawyer willing to be his candidate in the next election, running against the state's Chief Justice, who cast the deciding vote against him, and spent $3 million in 2004 to defeat the Chief Justice and install his own guy, who promptly supplied the third vote in reversing the previous decision. Got that?

Which developments, ruled the five-judge majority on the U.S. Supremes yesterday, violate the Constitution's due-process clause. They've sent the case back to the West Virginia Supreme Court and ordered the Blankenship-bought chief justice to recuse himself from any further involvement.

Judge Scalia, who himself knows a thing or two about buddying up with Dick Cheney and then ruling in his favor, was particularly outraged that the majority on the court thinks it can "right all wrongs and repair all imperfections through the Constitution." That's the guy who helped appoint our president in 2000.

Shuler: A Thousand Times No

According to the Hendersonville Times-News, Heath Shuler will stay in the U.S. House:
"I am not running for Senate. I am not running for Senate. I am not running for Senate. I have said that a thousand times, and I don't know why they keep coming up [with the idea]. Of course they keep coming up and running polls."

The "they" who keep the rumor alive that Shuler has Senate ambitions includes Shuler's own chief of staff, who appears to be largely responsible for resurrecting the notion. Maybe he'll stop now.

Monday, June 08, 2009

Catching up, which is difficult these days: The Board of Trustees at NC State University met this afternoon and fired Mary Easley from her $170,000 per annum job.

And e-mails obtained by the N&O reveal that Gov. Mike Easley had been personally involved in getting her the job back in 2005.

Tom Fetzer Can Chew the Leg Off an Oak Table

Former Raleigh Mayor Tom Fetzer and current candidate to take over the NC GOP (who is, incidentally, still not gay) decided to prove to delegates to the Republican state convention next weekend that he can produce attack ads better'n any other candidate up for chair of the state party.

He's got the formula down: ignore current real problems and go the Republicans-are-morally-superior route.

NC State Chancellor Is Out

Hard on the heels of the N&O's article (referenced below) about dubious pay-outs to the resigning NCSU provost, NCSU Chancellor James L. Oblinger has resigned his position this a.m. He's now admitting, in effect, that he lied to the public about some details regarding the hiring of Mary Easley, not to mention the "sweetening" the provost got with his resignation.

In other words, there's a lotta crockery getting smashed in Raleigh.

She'd Be the Instant Front-Runner

Elaine Marshall, North Carolina's excellent Secretary of State, sez she's not ruling out a run for U.S. Senate against Dick Burr.

"It's on my radar screen," Marshall said. "I have not excluded myself from that."

She'd have the name recognition, not to mention the political moxie, to dominate the projected rivals who have been mentioned so far.

Hanging with the Easleys

The costs of cozying up to former Gov. Mike Easley and his wife Mary just keep going up. Even the costs of resigning because you were so cozy with them.

Take former North Carolina State University Provost Larry Nielsen for example, he who hired Mary Easley for a high-profile, cobbled-together position at NC State and then upped her salary by 88 percent last summer. He recently resigned when the whole deal began to get the attention of the federal prosecutor and a grand jury.

The N&O has now unearthed a deal that the NC State Chancellor made with Nielsen hours before his resignation to pay Nielsen $310,255 in extra pay above his faculty salary. And then the Chancellor set about covering that up.

Gosh, is anyone else thinking hush money?

The N&O is also digging into what exactly Mary Easley was doing for that 88 percent raise. So far ... doesn't look like much. But when you're hired because you're married to someone powerful, sometimes your main job is carting around that big name.

Friday, June 05, 2009

The Pitfalls of Ambition

We don't have a dog in that fight, but we had to wonder why 11th Dist. Congressman Heath Shuler waded so confidently into the rebellion in Sri Lanka. What little we know about that mess doesn't make us want to embrace the Sri Lankan government more, nor the rebel Tamil Tigers for that matter, but there was Heath congratulating the Sri Lankan government for defeating "terrorists," as though that would be the final word on the matter. And doing it on the Sri Lankans' dime, which looks so much like becoming a propaganda tool for hire.

Just on the face of it.

Now, according to the Citizen-Times, others a good deal more knowledgeable are saying Shuler was had.

The question remains: why did he dive into this murky pool in the first place? Scrutiny Hooligans in Asheville think he was trying to manufacture some "foreign relations credentials" so that he can seem weighty when he reverses himself and decides to run against Dick Burr for the U.S. Senate.

The only "weight" we see in this is the ham-fisted decision to rah-rah for a government with a lot of blood on its hands.

Thursday, June 04, 2009

Cal Cunningham

We've been hearing his name come up RE a potential Democratic candidate to challenge Dick Burr's reelection.

Every time we see the name, we ask, "Cal who?"

Today, Cunningham gets a nod from former state Democratic Party Chair Jerry Meek, in Roll Call. "He's got an excellent profile in terms of his biography," Meek said. "He's perceived as being a little bit more liberal than, say, Mike McIntyre and Heath Shuler."

O-kaaay. You have our attention.

Thumbnail biography: Cunningham's a lawyer and former state senator who served in the Iraq War and is currently part of the Army Reserve Judge Advocate General Corps.

Longer take: "From 2007 to 2008, he was on active duty in Iraq, where he worked as a military prosecutor as part of a team that prosecuted U.S. Department of Defense contractors on such charges as assault and illegal gun shipments. He was awarded the Bronze Star for his work in Iraq and in 2009 received the Gen. Douglas MacArthur award for leadership. While still in law school, he campaigned for the state senate, winning an open seat in November of 2000. He served on all three Senate committees on education and as vice chairman of the Senate judiciary committee. After redistricting in 2002, Cunningham declined to run for re-election after he found himself in a mostly Republican district. In 2004, he joined the Winston-Salem office of 'white-shoe law firm' Kilpatrick Stockton, handling commercial litigation."

"White-shoe law firm"? ... Wikipedia sez it's "a phrase used to describe the leading professional services firms in America, particularly firms that have been in existence for more than a century and represent Fortune 500 companies."

Cal Cunningham ... a potential rising star in North Carolina, with a striking personal resume. We're all ears: "I'm having conversations with friends and fellow Democrats," Cunningham said on Wednesday. "We're taking a very close and very serious look at this race."

All of this above set off by "Under the Dome."

Wednesday, June 03, 2009

Graham County Needs a New School Board

In 2006 the Graham County School Board passed a rule mandating random drug-testing of its 250 school employees, including teachers, administrators, secretaries, and school lunch ladies. Any employee found to have a "detectable amount" of an illegal drug or alcohol in his or her body would receive a reprimand and a one-time chance to enter and successfully complete a rehabilitation program.

A teacher, along with the North Carolina Association of Educators, sued the Graham County School Board over the testing policy, contending it violated the state constitution's guarantee against unreasonable search and seizure. A Graham County Superior Court judge ruled in favor of the school board.

Yesterday, however, a three-judge panel of the N.C. Court of Appeals ruled unanimously that the drug-testing violated the state constitution, reversing the lower court.

Today Doug Clark delves into the background of this case, particularly the depositions of Graham County School Board members that were submitted to the Appeals Court.


They should've buried the whole idea out behind the school board building by the light of the moon, rather than receive this public spanking.

At least one other N.C. county has a random drug-testing policy (for school athletes), which this commentator thinks is equally unconstitutional.

Tom Fetzer, Still Not Gay


Legal precedent, not on his side: "The N.C. Court of Appeals ruled in 1994 that falsely claiming someone is gay or bisexual is not libelous on its face."

Tuesday, June 02, 2009

If We Worked for the Madam, We'd Want to Stay Drunk Too

Hat tip to Betsy Muse for catching this bit of behavior among Virginia Foxx's House staff last week, originally reported by Politico:
...But it seems the gaffe-prone Foxx may be rubbing off on her scheduler, Courtney Coble.

It's no secret that CapHill staff members drink beer in their offices occasionally -- holding office parties and hall happy hours, depending. Fine. And last week was recess, so, in essence, it was a slow week for staffers stuck in D.C. Fine again. But Coble inexplicably took to her Gmail account and curiously posted this brazen update, bragging: "Office beers. on taxpayer time. you're welcome, fightin 5th district."

The rest of Betsy's post includes other samples of Courtney Coble's twittering insipidness. She certainly seems well fitted to the congress critter she serves. As does Aaron Whitener, the new (ghost-writing?) head of the Watauga County Republican Party.

The American Taliban

Not just in Afghanistan are people judged sinners by fanatics and brutally executed with the approval of the mullahs.

Mullah Randall Terry of Operation Rescue, the fringe lunatics who not only want to ban abortion as an option for any woman under any circumstances but also don't countenance birth control either, could scarcely contain his glee that one of his unstable followers assassinated Dr. George Tiller at the Reformation Lutheran Church in Wichita, Kansas, on Sunday.

Wichita, Kansas, also happens to be the national HDQs of Operation Rescue.

Not only in Kansas, of course, is the Gospel of Christ twisted into a nasty, hard little knot of hatred and violence. But currently Kansas has a lot of 'splaining to do.

Monday, June 01, 2009

Watauga GOP Swallows Own Tongue

The question of the fictitious authorship ("G. Oliver Parsons") of a now-notorious Watauga Democrat column submitted by the local Republican Party is addressed by the editor of that newspaper in today's edition:
Concerning the existence of recent Watauga County Republican Party column writer G. Oliver Parsons, two attempts were made to contact local party chairman Aaron Whitener to confirm Parsons’ identity. Whitener did not respond to either attempt....

Silence breeds.

The editor further explains that although the identities of writers of letters to the editor are always checked by newspaper staff, they did not feel they needed to confirm the existence of a writer whose work was being submitted by one of the two major political parties.

Live and learn.

The Foxx-dominated era of the local GOP is now well underway.

Joe the Plumber

Coffee spurted out my nose this morning when I heard Joe Scarborough say, in all seriousness:
Conservatives have always loathed ideology.

Joe wants desperately these days to be an intellectual, and Lesson One appears to be "Rewrite History." We should take up a collection and send this child to camp.