Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Virginia Foxx's Standard Reply to Constituents

This is the second e-mail from Virginia Foxx to one of her constituents that has been forwarded to me, and they are virtually identical (so far as the boilerplate content), which of course indicates automation in the reply. Which is to say, Virginia Foxx doesn't have time for your sorry ass, and has one reply that fits all. To wit:
Dear __________:

Thank you for your email in support of [in opposition to] ___________. I appreciate your taking the time to share your concerns with me.

So far this Congress over 5,600 bills have been introduced and I have not had a chance to become familiar with _________. However, it is important to let you know that whether ________ comes to the House for a vote is completely in the hands of Speaker Pelosi and the Democrat majority. They control what we are allowed to vote on and the number of cosponsors has no impact. We have some bills with 300 cosponsors which the Speaker refuses to bring up for a vote. Rest assured I have duly noted your support for this legislation.

Please continue to contact me on any issues of concern. Thank you for visiting my award winning website, We update our site daily and it is a great resource to learn about constituent services, legislative updates and my work in Congress. I hope you will continue to utilize the website and let me know what you think about it.

Virginia Foxx
Member of Congress

The voter who shared this message with me this morning added this commentary to his forward:
This is so typical of what The Madam writes when one contacts her: first, I don't know what you are talking about. Second, I can't do anything about it anyway because Nancy Pelosi is in charge of making any laws. So I really have a great excuse to do nothing. Such a negative woman! Why should we return to office this kind of placeholder? This is a great reason why one should vote for Billy Kennedy!

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

An Upside to the 2nd Primary?

Not my usual line of thought, but Gary Pearce, with loads more experience in this venue, has a valid point.

Monday, June 28, 2010

More on the Soucek Smear of Goss

One of the accusations against Steve Goss in the Dan Soucek e-mail smear (printed in its entirety down-column) is that Senator Goss was "caught" billing his campaign $19,000 for mileage. The implication is that Mr. Goss did something criminal and, further, that he could not possibly have driven that much around his district.

Sen. Goss admitted that he had incorrectly filed for reimbursement in 2009 for campaign travel going back to 2006, because under N.C. rules he was supposed to claim the mileage reimbursement "when the expense is incurred." He made a mistake. But he did the travel. Here's his travel log going back to 2006.

The Dan Soucek e-mail smear isn't interested in these facts, of course. It's interested in wringing out innuendo, which is certainly the Christian thing to do in the alternative, holier-than-thou Universe of the Perverted Jesus inhabited by Mr. Soucek and his allies in the NC Republican Party.

Fact is, Sen. Goss has traveled more than 75,000 miles in his service to the 45th Dist. Yes. (Stuff that in your pipe, Mr. Soucek!) Sen. Goss has traveled and spoken and listened and helped solve problems and consulted with voters like no other senator in the N.C. General Assembly. He's arguably the hardest working member of that body.

Which sort of begs the question of Mr. Soucek, who wants to mock such hard work rather than acknowledge it as a virtue: "Just how much time are you going to be able to spend serving the people of the 45th Dist., Mr. Soucek, should we be unlucky enough to be saddled with your more than enlightened leadership?" How many miles are you willing to drive on your own (or anyone else's) dime, for a job that pays exactly $13,951 per annum?

Sunday, June 27, 2010

What Kind of a Christian Is Dan Soucek?

The garbage-hauling kind, evidently.

The intercepted e-mail below is going out from the NC Senate Republican Caucus to benefit Mr. Soucek, and it might conservatively be called a rotten smear of a good man. Mr. Soucek ought to disavow it, but he won't.
Dear Supporter,

I am writing to ask you to support Dan Soucek our candidate in Senate District 45.

Recent polling shows Dan tied with incumbent Democrat Senator, Steve Goss. Senator Goss is one of the top Republican targets in 2010.

Steve Goss is a perfect example of what's wrong with the Democrats in the State Senate. He runs around his district telling the voters that he is a conservative -- virtually a Jesse Helms -- but when he gets to Raleigh you'd have a hard time seeing a difference between Goss and Nancy Pelosi.

Goss has voted for over $1 billion in new taxes. During his campaigns he plays up his background as an ordained minister but in Raleigh he's refused to sponsor a constitutional amendment banning gay marriage in North Carolina even after promising to do so. And after getting caught billing his campaign $19,000 for mileage -- enough to drive around the world at the equator -- over four months he had the gall to sponsor an "Ethics Reform" bill.

Every dollar Dan raises will go towards funding advertising and get out the vote efforts to achieve victory in November.

We are asking you, one of our most loyal online supporters, to make a generous contribution to Dan's campaign before the June 30th campaign reporting deadline.

Dan's campaign needs to sell another 103 tickets to his June 29th fundraising raffle. Here are a few ways you can help:

Dan is hosting a reception and raffle on June 29th in Blowing Rock, NC. Tickets are $100 and the grand prize is a trip for two with Templeton Tours valued at $8,000! You don't have to be present to win.

If you'd like to contribute by check, please make checks payable to Soucek for NC Senate and mail them to PO BOX 2573, Boone, NC 27607.

Thank you for your continued support of Republican efforts to win a State Senate Majority; we cannot win a Republican Majority without your help.

Heather Dickson
Finance Director, NC Republican Senate Caucus

PS: Please help Dan reach his fundraising goal by donating any amount you can afford.

Let's see: Pelosi and gay marriage. That's the sum total of issues that this bunch is willing to pin on the heroic Mr. Soucek's puffed-out chest.

Fer Gawd's sake, can't these people deal with anything that remotely touches the economic realities of the working people of the 45th Senatorial District?

And by the way: we're still waiting to learn what business it is that "businessman" Dan Soucek practices. Other than smear tactics.

Friday, June 25, 2010

Unity and Disunity

Me likee the slide show of the Democratic senatorial unity rally on Wednesday in Raleigh following Elaine Marshall's decisive 2nd primary win.

Compare and contrast with Machine Gun Tim D'Annunzio's attitude toward the man who beat him in the Republican 2nd primary in the NC-8 and toward the Republican Party generally (not to mention the godless Democrats!). Apparently, the apocalypse is upon us.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Elaine Marshall Surges Against Burr

Rasmussen polling -- Rasmussen! -- finds that Elaine Marshall got a big bounce from that awful, hideous, wasteful 2nd primary. She is now dead even with Sen. Dick Burr. Whaaa?

Dick Burr's got all that money. But sometimes buckets of money can seem like exactly what they are ... proof that a politician is bought & paid for.

Sez Rasmussen:
Another concern for Burr is that incumbents who earn less than 50% of the vote at this stage of a campaign are considered politically vulnerable, and no incumbent has been reelected to the seat [Burr] holds since 1968. The incumbent may benefit, however, from the fact that the political environment is very difficult for Democrats this year.

That last point is a pretty blunt instrument, Mr. Pollster, when the actual "political environment" might more accurately said to be "very difficult" for incumbents. Most of whom are Democrats, granted. But not in the case of North Carolina's senior senator.

Just sayin'.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

2nd Primary

Cal Cunningham lost to Elaine Marshall. No surprise.

Machine Gun Tim D'Annunzio lost to Harold Johnson. No surprise.

But Bernie Reeves lost to Bill Randall in the NC-13 Republican run-off, which was something of a surprise to those of us who read Carter Wrenn. Wrenn, who was a major synapse in Jesse Helms's brain trust, had been railing against Randall as a fake, a man who plagiarized and fluffed his resume. We knew Randall as the dude who suggested that the Deepwater Horizon disaster was planned by Barack Obama and BP. Randall was the darling of religious conservatives and tea partiers.

If Carter Wrenn represents in any way the old Republican establishment in NC, then the Tea Party defeated the Republican establishment yesterday in giving Bill Randall the nod to go up against incumbent Congressman Brad Miller in November.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Fritter Fest

Thank Gawd it's over today, this monumental waste of time, energy, and money.

Monday, June 21, 2010


We get our Northern Hemisphere winter and summer from the wobbling of the earth on its axis, the tilting of the earth's halves toward and away from the sun. The moments when the tilt shifts back the opposite direction have always carried heavy significance for the human race. The exact measurement of those moments is why Stonehenge was built. It's why the celebration of Jesus' birth got placed on the old Roman calendar at the Winter Solstice.

The Northern Hemisphere reached its maximum tilt toward the sun this morning at 7:28 a.m. At 7:29 it had begun to tilt back toward what will ultimately give us (dare we say it?) ... winter.

I was in my garden at 7:28 to feel the earth move.

Now I'm going to go plant a tree.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

The Palmetto Bug Is Just a Giant Cockroach

Apparently, the good ole boys just don't like Nikki Haley, the Mark Sanford disciple now locked in a 2nd primary run-off of her own to be the next Republican governor of South Carolina.

All those accusations of infidelity didn't do the trick. So the male Republican establishment in S.C. is trotting out a platoon of other disqualifiers, like that she's a secret practitioner of the Sikh religion. (Incidentally, the only Sikhs I have personally known were in mass attendance at one of the last pro-choice rallies I attended in Washington, D.C. So, if Nikki Haley is a secret Sikh, that may mean she's secretly also pro-choice?)

Don't tell Sarah Palin. Palin has endorsed Haley. 'Course, Palin also endorsed getting a bunch of Dutch dike-builders down to the Gulf to fix that leak problem. (Sarah doesn't remember a lot from school, but she remembers that "finger in the dike" story!)

Some of those Republican ole boys in South Carolina say they may support the Democratic candidate for governor if Nikki Haley wins her 2nd primary. Anything can and probably will happen south of the border.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Dog Bites Congresswoman

NC-5 Congresswoman Virginia A. Foxx was forced to leave the Blue Ridge Electric Membership Corporation in West Jefferson last Saturday because her dog bit her.

As of Tuesday, the dog was still in seclusion and refusing to talk to the press.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Rand Paul on Mountaintop Removal: 'No Biggie'

The "purity" of Rand Paul's libertarianism leads him into the blind alley of letting industry and other "property owners" do whatever they damn well please for a profit. The "permit process" for mountaintop coal mining should be made easier. Government shouldn't be taxing the profits from coal extraction. And this tone-deaf gem: "I don't think anybody's going to be missing a hill or two here and there."

The thought process that came up with that summation on the devastation wrought by Big Coal is basically amoral. "I don't care what is destroyed as long as someone's making a profit."

Friday, June 11, 2010

oh ouch

The very sharp Laura Leslie of North Carolina Public Radio and Isaac Hunter's Tavern was particularly pointed late last night following the Elaine Marshall/Cal Cunningham senatorial candidate debate on WRAL:
The only thing I learned from tonight's Dem Senate debate is that neither candidate is ready for prime time yet.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Retweeting Tea Party Hot Air

This "Tea Farty" site will liberate your inner 10-year-old, who (guaranteed!) can't get enough of gas-passing jokes. The actual tweets of the anti-government, anti-Obama tea partiers (with bad spelling and mysterious syntax intact) gave us the only chuckles of the morning.

Chew That Bone!

Strong editorial in the Gaston Gazette blasting state Sen. Don East (R-Surry) and other Republicans in the state Senate for trying to introduce a version of the Arizona anti-immigration law into North Carolina:
"We shouldn't waste our time or efforts debating an unconstitutional law."

Republicans and their wedge issues!

Congresswoman Virginia Foxx waded happily in the muck of her own hypocrisy about Hispanic immigration on Tuesday at her tele-town hall, enough so that Keith Olbermann featured her last night on his "Worst Persons in the World" segment. Think Progress this a.m. offered even more detail on the encouragement Foxx gave the immigrant-haters.

Foxx and her husband built their nursery and landscaping business with immigrant labor. Would she like to open her books on whether they were all legal immigrants? Would she like to swear up and down that she hasn't benefited personally from the Federal government's lax enforcement?

Or would she just like to go on stirring up that vitriol while sitting on her fat fortune, made on the backs of laborers who would do pretty much anything for the chance to earn a living?

Wednesday, June 09, 2010

The Obama Effect

Someone handed me an advertisement clipped from one of our Watauga County newspapers (not sure which one), picturing T-shirts promoting the "Watauga County Militia" on the front, with stylized mtns and the slogan "FAITH, FAMILY, FREEDOM," with this quotation attributed to Thomas Jefferson on the back: "Resistance to Tyrants is Obedience to God."

Available at Adam's Hardware in Vilas.

In black only (natch).

Foxx: "Send a Giant Sponge on Big Ships to the BP Spill"

Congresswoman Virginia Foxx's fake tele-town hall last night was really pretty BORE-ring (how much ass-kissing can you listen to before it begins to sound, well, forced?) but was nevertheless revealing in its own way.

1. Don't blame Virginia Foxx for anything, bitch! You could almost hear it in her voice, the "Whew! Thank Gawd the Republicans are totally out of power and can lay everything off on the Democrats!"

2. She has her wedge issue lined up: illegal immigrants. Look for a lot of scapegoating of Mexicans (and one can't help wondering how Foxx's housekeeper feels about that, let alone all those guys that helped build her nursery and landscaping business over the years).

3. She promises that all the Obama legislation can be repealed and that the Republicans have MUCH better plans for reforming health care (though not necessarily Wall Street, which after all is made up of RICH PEOPLE, who are Foxx's true constituency).

The only really interesting moment came when Ron Fitzwater, top dog at the Ashe County Mountain Times, got through to ask what Congressional Republicans were proposing should be done about the BP oil disaster. I believe that Foxx actually commenced sputtering. In essence, her response was that Congressional Republicans weren't proposing anything because, you know, Republicans have no power because damn Democrats run everything, and if there were any solution, perhaps it would manifest itself to Madam Foxx before her word diarrhea ran its course, but (and suddenly, there it was, the perfect solution) ... WHY DIDN'T OBAMA SEND A BUNCH OF BIG SHIPS DOWN THERE RIGHT AWAY AND SOP UP ALL THAT OIL???

She really said that.

The esteemed Republican representative from the 5th District of North Carolina has passed over into the land of Looney Tunes, where giant sponges can soak up entire bodies of water or where a floppy-eared mutt can simply drop a big boulder on a spewing oil pipe.

In the actual reality-based universe, scientific estimates (those NOT offered by the flacks at British Petroleum) range from 1.68 million gallons per day (the low-ball possibility) upwards to 4.2 million gallons per day.

So, sure, Madam Foxx, Obama's GOT to have "big ships" and suitably huge sopper-uppers to take care of that little problem down there in the Gulf. Yup, it's all Obama's fault. The Republicans and their program of laissez-faire economics and no regulation have absolutely nothing whatsoever to do with any of this.

We got it.

We 'specially got YOU, Madam, who wouldn't even vote to help out the victims of Katrina (and likely wouldn't vote for enormous sponges, either). You keep smoking that crack pipe.

Tuesday, June 08, 2010

Rand Paul, Call Your Office

Ah yes! Unfettered free market capitalism will solve all our problems! No government regs needed:
"A series of internal investigations over the past decade warned senior BP managers that the company repeatedly disregarded safety and environmental rules and risked a serious accident if it did not change its ways...."

Put your libertarianism where the sun don't shine (which is approximately the same place from whence BP oil is gushing into the Gulf).

D'Annunzio Going Down, Flailing

Republican Congressional candidate Tim D'Annunzio in the NC-8 has sued. Not Tom Fetzer, chair of the NC GOP, who said recently that Tim was unfit for any office at any level. No, D'Annunzio sued his rival in the June 22 run-off, Harold Johnson.

For defamation.

Defaming a defamer. Now there's a trick.

Monday, June 07, 2010

Duke Energy and Economics

Who was it who joked that an accountant is someone who knows the cost of everything and the value of nothing?

Duke Energy's request of coal jobbers to tell them the relative costs of coal derived from deep mines vs. coal taken from the rape of mountaintop-removal mining is being read by some as a hopeful sign, that perhaps Duke Energy is taking steps to rid itself of collusion in the environmental devastation of Central Appalachia.

The cynic in us sez, "Naw. They're just looking for collaboration that indeed strip-mined coal is the cheapest way to go."

Friday, June 04, 2010

Fetzer Scalded

Tea partiers picketed state Republican Party HDQs in Raleigh yesterday, protesting Chair Tom Fetzer's intervention in the 2nd primary run-off between Machine Gun Tim D'Annunzio and Blown Dry Harold Johnson.

Angry voters with signs, marching up and down outside the dignified corporate offices of a major political faction? That's a scene we might expect more at Democratic Party HDQs!

Thursday, June 03, 2010

Sorry To See Him Go

Republican voters of the NC-8 congressional district, meet Toast. Toast, say goodbye to the Republican voters of the NC-8.

The 2nd primary on June 22nd ... merely a foregone conclusion.


The letter to the Watauga Democrat, "Taste the Tea Party Yourself" (also available on Facebook), is signed by someone selling a spiked beveridge, purporting to be just another regular citizen who never had much interest in politics until "the growing overreach of the federal government and interference with our constitutional liberties" inspired the letter-writer to get involved, apparently for the first time in her life. She went to the Boone tea party, and she amazed even herself by climbing onto a bus with other regular folks and traveling to Washington, D.C., to participate in the big Obama-Is-a-Nazi dust-up on 9/12, promoted by Glenn Beck and Fox News.

By now we've become used to the lock-step vagueness of those "constitutional liberties" that are supposedly being ripped from us, but the letter-writer's pose of prior political innocence proves to be something of a masquerade. The author is a registered Republican who votes in every Republican primary and even in second primaries. She's been very politically engaged for years, according to her voting history available from the State Board of Elections.

Not that there's anything wrong with that. Glad to see a committed partisan who never misses an election, including that 2nd primary between Foxx & Robinson in 2004.

But don't try to sell me a bill of goods that the tea party movement isn't a Republican Party opportunity to gin up the juices of the anti-Obama mob, for fun and profit.

The apparent need of tea party organizers to hide their Republican partisan goals says more about the current rattiness of the Republican "brand" than it does about the true fears and faiths of truly "regular Americans."

The Obvious Corruption of Our Political System

And Sen. Richard Burr (R-N.C.) is in the middle of it.

Halliburton ups the flow of cash into the pockets of politicians, the very elected senators et al. charged with the task of investigating who did what in the Deep Horizon catastrophe.

Has bribery ever been more open on the world stage?

Tuesday, June 01, 2010

A photo taken Sunday in Jackson Square in New Orleans.

May we expect a BP SLAPP suit for "defamation"?

Getting Sued For Speaking Out

Can't help thinking that the Supreme Court decision in Citizens United v. FEC last year has helped unleash a newly aggressive attitude in some of the business community that intends not to put up with any criticism of their ethical malpractice.

One nearby case in point is the SLAPP suit against citizens down in Weaverville protesting a proposed cement plant.

More such cases emerged today. A rising junior at Western Michigan University got his legally parked car towed from his place of residence by a local towing company, which already had, incidentally, a bad rating from the Better Business Bureau for just such illegal towings, and the student still had to pay $118 to get his car back, and he subsequently vented his anger and frustration by starting a Facebook group, "Kalamazoo Residents against T&J Towing," which quickly ballooned to 800 members with their own tales to share of towing abuse, for which offense the original student got slapped with a lawsuit by T&J Towing for "defamation."

To review: SLAPP = "strategic lawsuit against public participation."

These suits rarely succeed in court, but they achieve the "strategic" goal of the company. They completely drain the resources of the poor schlub who's been sued. And send a warning to others who might speak out.

Turns out there's legislation moving in the U.S. Congress to protect citizens' rights against SLAPP suits. Wonder how Madam Foxx will vote on it, if it ever gets a vote. She doesn't have a history of voting for anything other than business interests.