Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Hump Day Smorasbord

Whaaa? Another Republican senator in the NC General Assembly, Southport's Bill Rabon, publicly queasy about mucking up the NC Constitution with a ban on gay marriage?

A new "Fire Renee Ellmers" Facebook page. Dyspepsia, thy name is Tea Party.

Heath Shuler's got that Blue Dog shuffle down pat.

It's official: NC GOP will use queerfear to try for a voter stampede in Nov. 2012. What fine human beings we have serving us in public office!

Monday, August 29, 2011

GOP to Constituents: Stifle Yourself!

We all know how allergic Congresswoman Virginia Foxx is to facing the voters in open town halls. She managed to get through the month-long Congressional recess without holding a single public meeting anywhere in the 5th Dist. where voters might question her values or comment on her ethics.

Talking Points Memo informs us this a.m. that this unavailability has become a national trend among Republican reps in Mugstomp-on-the-Potomac.

Blacklists, camera confiscations, pay-for-view events, showing up only when the crowd is guaranteed to be kissing their butts or writing out fat checks.

Courage of their convictions?

Sunday, August 28, 2011

The NC GOP to NC Towns & Cities

As if the new Republican majority in the NC General Assembly gave a fat rat's ass about the implications of their actions and the ultimate impact of their policies, but Rob Christensen is right:

The future of North Carolina's cities got a lot less bright because of Republican legislation in 2011.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Thom Tillis's "Jobs Jobs Jobs"

The closing of the Broyhill Inn and the loss of jobs there is only the tip of a big Republican iceberg.

Although the local school system managed to survive major job losses, because the county commissioners caved on additional funding (after they totally botched the quarter-cent sales tax increase), Appalachian State University is going to take it in the neck.

And who's going to lose those jobs? Support staff, mainly, the people who can least afford it.

And how many of them voted for Dan Soucek and Jonathan Jordan because they were served a big, steaming cup of tea and thought it would taste good?

Thom Tillis, the Republican Speaker of the NC House, campaigned on the main issue of "jobs, jobs, jobs." Too late we find out he meant "fewer jobs, lower-paying jobs, no jobs." One major state analyst, the NC Budget & Tax Center, is forecasting tens of thousands of new unemployed as a direct -- direct -- result of $4.6 billion in cuts in education, health care, public safety, and other services wrought by the wrongheadedness of the new Republican majority in the NC General Assembly.

Friday, August 26, 2011

Prevarication, noun

"Americans for Prosperity is a nonpartisan, issue-based policy organization and does not support or oppose candidates for public office."

--Dallas Woodhouse, NC State Dir., Americans for Prosperity

Hattip: Greg Flynn

For an outfit that had a fat finger in the effort to defeat both Sen. Steve Goss and Rep. Cullie Tarleton last year, that's a hell of a whopper.

Greg Flynn lays out the documentable $$. Both Jonathan Jordan and Dan Soucek are on that list ... twice.

Watching a Blue Dog Position Himself

Heath Shuler gave a speech to a business group in Asheville yesterday and apparently wants everyone to forget that he's a registered Democrat. He's certainly not gonna fight for Democratic values. "Compromise" is the word he used over and over.

Leading from behind.

Shades of Barack Obama.

The Republicans in the room loved the speech. They like seeing Democrats play Old Maid while they play poker.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

McHenry Draws a Primary Challenger

Ken Fortenberry, editor and publisher of news@norman, a community news site in Denver, N.C., has announced that he will challenge Congressman Patrick McHenry in the 2012 Republican primary.

Mr. Fortenberry is taking a populist approach, unlike McHenry's previous Republican opponents, who generally (and dependably) try to portray the incumbent as not conservative enough.

No such poppycock from Fortenberry, but rather this:
He decided to run for the House seat after a conversation with his son, who graduated from Appalachian State University in Boone about a year and a half ago. Many of the junior Fortenberry’s fellow grads were struggling to find work.

“Nobody is speaking up for real people and for the younger generation,” Fortenberry said. “I have an incredible fire in my belly to stand up and speak out from every rooftop I can find on behalf of the people of this district who need representation.”

Fortenberry accuses McHenry of supporting banks and Wall Street powerbrokers at the expense of average Americans. The challenger said he would represent the working-class men and women of the district.

“I think this guy’s very vulnerable,” Fortenberry said. “People are angry. They’re frustrated.”


Who cares when one viper starts biting the other vipers?

Why, we suspect that every Sunday morning gasbag show will give the odious former vice president air time so he can hawk his get-even-with-everybody book this coming weekend.

Then, inevitably, following Cheney's new 15 minutes of fame, during which he will bash George Tenet, Colin Powell, Condoleezza Rice, and other co-conspirators in the 2nd Bush administration, we'll be treated to more endless blather from George Tenet, Colin Powell, Condoleezza Rice, and other co-conspirators, so they can defend themselves against Cheney.

Sigh. Who the freak cares about any of those versions of history?

Well, at least Jon Stewart will have some fresh material for cracking wise.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

The WataugaConservative Defines the Brown Menace

Blogger girds himself over at the WataugaConservative and tells us in no uncertain terms that he does not "romanticize the illegal aliens from Latin America" ... because he once lived there.

For the record, Mohamed Atta once lived here and did not end up romanticizing us. So much for the excuse of "I've lived there, so I know what I'm talking about." One takes one's biases across international borders as easily as carry-on luggage.

It's rare to see expressions of this kind uttered with such bland matter-of-factness -- moralistic and racial assessments of the "values" of others that have been weighed in the balance and found wanting. "Immigrants, illegal" (but not the legal variety too?) clearly don't measure up to the superior "values" of Mr. Blogger at Watauga Conservative.

The arrogance of that -- not to mention the chilling echoes of cultural superiority from, say, 1933 -- is fairly breathtaking. Show us your passport, indeed.

And then there's this:
"The bottom line is that in the past when aliens brought their values to this country, they came in such small waves, we could absorb them. Soon they learned what makes us prosper and they adopted our ways and language. This time they overwhelmed us so fast and stayed under the radar so long, that we can’t think of these illegal aliens the same as we did aliens in the past."
Mr. Blogger feels "overwhelmed" by something that he didn't notice until it was ... too late for self-protection? He's so unnerved that he can't think of "these" the same way. Which sorta begs a question.

This is cultural paranoia suitable for "Invasion of the Body Snatchers," the vastly superior original version from 1956.

Whatever it is, it's not something that I recognize as superior Americanism. Nor superior Christianity.

Goodbye, Broyhill Inn

Gee, thanks, Dan Soucek and Jonathan Jordan!

E-mail from Appalachian State University Chancellor Ken Peacock that's circulating on campus:
Dear Appalachian Faculty and Staff:


Interim Vice Chancellor for Business Affairs Greg Lovins has met with the staff at the Broyhill Inn and Conference Center. He shared that Appalachian’s budget reduction plan recommends eliminating all state funding for the facility. The Management Flexibility Reduction guidelines outlined in Section 9.6 of the State Budget specify that reducing state funding for centers and institutes should be a priority in order to protect “direct classroom services.” I have reviewed several operational models for the Broyhill. Though an extremely difficult decision, given the current funding situation, this action is prudent.

The plan is to convert the hotel portion of the facility to student housing and for the Office of Student Programs to manage the meeting space....

I understand there are questions about reservations and events scheduled at the Broyhill. Our intention is to honor these commitments through the end of the 2011 calendar year.

Thank you for your patience.

With Appalachian Pride,
Kenneth E. Peacock Chancellor

Monday, August 22, 2011

It's plain embarrassing that Democratic Senator Chuck Schumer attended this bonfire of the vanities (thanks, Progressive Pulse). And Martha Stewart!? Have you no shame?

Okay, it's the perfect venue for Martha, but for a Democratic politician to show just how beholden he is to such bread-butterers should be a matter of deep personal chagrin.

Like we said.

Republican Termites Eating Our House Down

Laura Leslie of WRAL attended an important but little known corner of North Carolina's state government, the state's Rules Review Commission, which is an important pressure point in the on-going corporate take-over of the Known Universe. The Rules Review Commission has the power to cripple environmental and public safety regs.

And the commission is now made up of free market fanatics appointed by the leaders of the Clown College in the General Assembly. According to Leslie's reporting, these new apparatchiks of the Corporate Coup were frustrated that they couldn't just wholesale substitute their pro-business judgments for the judgments of the Environmental Management Commission.

The Rules Review commission's lawyer was clearly embarrassed for their sake and tried to explain the law to them:
...the Rules Review Commission [said the lawyer] has to evaluate new rules according to a limited set of criteria set out in the Administrative Procedures Act [APA] – like whether the agency in question has the authority to make that rule, whether it’s clear and necessary, and whether the correct process was followed. “It can’t be ‘I don’t like that rule,’ or ‘it imposes too many requirements,’ or ‘it doesn’t impose enough requirements,’” [the lawyer] explained. “That’s up to the agency.” [The lawyer] told the new commissioners they have the right to reject his recommendations as counsel. “But you do have to act within the authority you have within the APA. You’re not supposed to substitute your expertise for that of the agency.”

This is only the beginning:
When Senate Bill 781, Regulatory Reform, takes effect October 1st, it'll be yet another new day. The legislation, vetoed by Gov. Bev Perdue but overridden by lawmakers, will severely limit new rulemaking, and will also apply to proposed regulations still in the pipeline.
It's going to lead to bad things in North Carolina -- more toxic pollution, more endangerment of citizens, more reckless disregard for the public health in the pursuit of profit.

Renee Ellmers, Going Foxx One Better

North Carolina Congresswoman Renee Ellmers has taken a page from Virginia Foxx's "Big Book of How To Avoid Facing the Voters" (Chapter 1: Don't Face the Voters) and one-upped it in a profitable way.

According to Politico, Ellmers, along with several of her now rather nervous conservative fellow Republicans in the U.S. House, are holding "pay-per-view" townhalls in order to limit admission to those true believers who have the money to squander on hearing the talking points of the day.

We're really shocked that Madam Foxx hasn't thought of this. (Foxx has stuck to the other main way to avoid confrontations: the fake "tele-townhall," where you have to call in, get screened, and maybe -- as in never -- get to pose a question.)

Ellmers has no -- as in NONE -- open townhall meetings scheduled in August during the Congressional recess. But you can pay $13 to attend a Fayetteville gathering to hear her blather on from the approved script. There is NO provision that we know of for people to come without paying the $13.

Natch! This is just carrying "privatization" to its logical conclusion and making it quite clear that you can, in this Republic, buy your congresswoman. You get what you pay for, and that ain't much.

Monday, August 15, 2011

The Billionaires and Wake Co. Schools

Important investigation of the intertwined activities of the notorious Koch brothers and Art Pope, Dark Overlord of North Carolina, and their deep involvement (mega $$, inspiration, and organizational support) in taking over the Wake County School Board in 2009.

They will do as much, and probably much much more, to hang on to that school board in this fall's elections. Believe it.

Not to mention next year's general elections. Art Pope owns the NC General Assembly, and most especially Sen. Dan Soucek and Rep. Jonathan Jordan, and he certainly intends to protect his sizable investment.

When you get a good milk cow, you don't give 'er up as long as she's making milk!

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Taller. Marginally more articulate. But with a similar arrogance, driven by a C- intellect and the bright idea that he's been chosen by God.


Saturday, August 13, 2011

How Long Are "We the People" Gonna Take This Crap?

The so-called Super (Dooper!) Congress, which was put in charge of the known universe by the simply awful debt ceiling debacle (sometimes called a "compromise" by people who clearly don't understand the definition of that word):

Democratic Senators:
Patty Murray of Washington
John Kerry of Massachusetts
Max Baucus of Montana

Republican Senators:
Jon Kyl of Arizona
Pat Toomey of Pennsylvania
Rob Portman of Ohio

Republican House members:
Jeb Hensarling of Texas
Dave Camp of Michigan
Fred Upton of Michigan

Democratic House members:
James Clyburn of South Carolina
Xavier Becerra of California
Chris Van Hollen of Maryland

"The committee must come up with $1.5 trillion or more in budget savings over the coming decade, enough to match increases in the government's ability to borrow enough money to pay its bills through the beginning of 2013. It requires a bipartisan majority of at least seven of the committee's 12 members to recommend legislation to be presented to the whole Congress for an up-or-down vote by Dec. 23. The select panel has until the day before Thanksgiving to complete its deliberations. There are powerful incentives for the Super Congress to reach agreement. Perhaps most important, if it fails to produce deficit savings of at least $1.2 trillion, or if the House or Senate votes down its recommendations, severe across-the-board spending cuts would trigger automatically. Additional pressure comes from the Standard & Poor's downgrading of the U.S. government's credit rating."

All of these people -- from BOTH parties -- are bought off by special interests of various stripes -- big business, labor unions, and lobbyists -- with big business decidedly holding the edge in $$. You can see in detail just how badly at The Center for Public Integrity, which has assembled financial profiles on all 12.

An Associated Press analysis published in Forbes shows that the 12 have collectively received "more than $3 million total during the past five years in donations from political committees with ties to defense contractors, health care providers and labor unions."

Who owns the heaviest thumbs pressing down on the Supers? Reuters reports that it's "the mammoth healthcare and defense industries," who have already shown over many years and through much legislation (Medicare Part D, anyone? Or take your pick of useless and unneeded military hardware contracts) just how fast they can make Congress dance on the ends of their strings.

And how they do dance! According to The Hill, "mere hours" after being appointed to the Supers, Rep. Xavier Becerra (D-Calif.) was announced as the guest of honor at a Capitol Hill "fete" (major fundraiser) in his honor by the Investment Company Institute, "which according to public records has already spent $2.4 million lobbying Congress this year."

Republican Jeb Hensarling's largest donor is an accounting firm (KPMG) that "specializes in tax loopholes; it recently paid $456 million in fines, restitution, and penalties for providing shady advice that saved its wealthy clients billions in taxes but put the nation further in the hole" (hattip: DemocracyNC).

Congress is a certified whorehouse. How can our democracy survive the effing promiscuity of it all?

Friday, August 12, 2011

Michele's Survival Requires Rick's Extermination

An item in "Under the Dome" caught our eye. Bob Harris, an apparatchik of the old Jesse Helms machine and evidently an acolyte of "Freedom for Light Bulbs But Not for Women" Michele Bachmann, has founded an "independent campaign expenditure" fund to preemptively bash the dickens out of Texas Gov. (and HUGE JESUS-LOVER) Rick Perry (or "Parry").

His org is called "Keep Conservatives United," and he sez he intends to display Perry (or "Parry") in the political nude, so to speak, so you fans of Perry/Parry in the audience may want to wear your 3-D glasses.

Everyone in the Ames, Iowa, debate last night seemed just as pleased as fishhouse punch to have Rick coming in to the race, especially Ron Paul who opined that the more establishment candidates, the better for him, though we doubt he needs any more contrast to stand out substantially from the wallpaper (a.k.a., Mitt Romney).

Speaking of Romney, his grin-and-bear-it indulgence of the tantrums being thrown on every side of him last night strikes us as the thinnest of disguises. But we are glad to have him on the record from the Iowa State Fair: "Corporations are people, bitches, so suck it!"

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Patrick McHenry Gets an Earful

My, my, my.

Congressman Patrick McHenry comes home to his dependably brain-dead Republican district, but he finds out that he isn't exactly the Golden Boy of Conservatism he thought he was and that people are actually paying attention to him and his pals in Congress.

BTW: We're still waiting for that institutional coward, Madam Virginia Foxx, to hold her own open town hall event in Watauga County, or in any county.

Renee Elmers, Teacher's Pet

And here we were, thinking that the woman who upset seven-term Democratic incumbent Bob Etheridge in the NC-2 by 1,489 votes, was a true believer in Tea Party principles.

Turns out, Renee Elmers is a company suck. The evidence is in a profile provided by the NYTimes:
...Her willingness to join the leadership, rather than beat up on it, is something that Tea Party groups in her state have begun to notice. Mrs. Ellmers understands their chagrin because she has been there.

“There is just a lot of mistrust Americans have for ‘those people in Washington,’ ” she said, adding with a laugh, “and now I am one of those people in Washington.”

Mrs. Ellmers said that before she arrived here, she believed Mr. Boehner and his cohorts were not standing up to Democrats. “When I got here I realized that wasn’t the case at all,” she said. “I was told he wasn’t conservative. He is conservative. And that’s what I tell other people in our discussion.” ...

The scales have fallen from her eyes. Renee Ellmers sees the light! And it's shining out of John Boehner's alimentary canal.

Tuesday, August 09, 2011

Time To Burn a Few Heretics?

Some evangelical Christians, at least the ones with an education in science (which is admittedly a shrinking cohort), are publicly saying that a literal interpretation of Genesis is just not possible. John Schneider, for example, who taught theology at Calvin College in Michigan until recently and now says, "There was no historical Adam and Eve, no serpent, no apple, no fall that toppled man from a state of innocence."

Comical as it may seem, such dawnings, based on evolutionary evidence, are moments of stark bravery for conservative Christians.

But it you lose the famous apple brunch in the Garden of Eden, say many Southern Baptists, you lose the whole shooting match. Unacceptable -- in fact, damnable -- which is why much of contemporary science is simply taboo to conservatives. They'd rather take us all to hell-on-earth than admit that the foundations of their theology are fairy tales.

Monday, August 08, 2011

Big Storm in a Little Puddle

For those of you who may be interested in the (officially suppressed) uproar going on in the government of Ashe County ... there's this. (Hattip: J.L.)

Thank You, Soucek & Jordan!

The closing of the local Legal Aid office in Boone can be laid directly at your feet. Heck of a job, Danny and Johnny!

But since it's only poor people who get served, it's perfectly okay.

The rich can still hire their mouth-pieces just fine.

I Need New Drapes, Bee-Yotch!

Why is this man smiling?

Because he's spending tens of thousands of taxpayer $$ to renovate and refurbish his Congressional office while screaming about every dollar in the Federal budget not going to him & his pals.

"The federal government has grown to an unsustainable level, and we can't be scared to cut programs that benefit a select few when the health of our economy hangs in the balance," McHenry wrote in a recent newspaper column, bragging about his support of "Cut, Cap, & Balance." (Thanks, Charlotte Observer.)

The Mood on the Left

With the national Republican Party lashed to the twin pillars of the Teahadists and the Fundamentalists, ready to bring the temple down on their own heads (as well as everyone else’s), and with the national Democratic Party in total collapse, gotta love the fighting spirit behind The Donner Party, whose theme-song appears to be Aerosmith’s “Eat the Rich.”

When the Center cannot hold, things fall apart, and what rough beast slouches toward Bethlehem to be born?

Defiant comedy is replacing political discourse, which seems fair enough. The Donner Party’s platform:
About: We will literally eat each other before we give an inch!

Description: The Donner Party is a dog who can bark at a pine cone for nine days and not get tired!

● Tax the rich at 100%

● Federally funded, partial birth abortions at the drive-thru of McDonald's

● Janeane Garofalo must be on the $50 bill!

● No new guns may be produced; Want one? Pry it from someone's cold dead hands

● Not only must gay history be taught in public schools, but gay math as well

● Jesus was just a guy & if you so much as thank him for a touchdown, the state will take your children

● Free college, healthcare & 6 weeks paid vacation for ALL!

Friday, August 05, 2011

Forecast:: Heavy Fog With Voter Suppression

How badly do the Koch billionaires and their Koch toadies want the Wisconsin recall elections to go their way?

Stephen Colbert knows how badly.

And if this isn't a foretaste of what we have to look forward to in North Carolina and across the nation, then we're very inept weathermen (hattip: PLW).

Billionaires Reward Thom Tillis

For his outstanding service in the corporate takeover of North Carolina, Republican Speaker of the NC House Thom Tillis received a hunk of shiny metal in New Orleans yesterday at the Koch Brothers' American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) conference.

Laura Leslie has the story and a photo.

Thursday, August 04, 2011

NC House GOP Off to Kiss Koch

Mark Binker has uncovered the names of the 30 Republican members of the NC House (and the two Democrats, both members of the Five Goobers) who are off this week to attend the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) conference in New Orleans.

What is ALEC? It's the secretive, Koch-funded clearinghouse for state legislation that -- surprise! -- helps immensely in the Billionaire's Coup that has taken our federal government and is taking, one by one, all the state governments. The photo voter ID bill, for just one example, emanated directly from ALEC and was introduced and pushed by Republicans in several state assemblies and most especially in ours.

The 30 Republicans going this week to eat steak and get their orders from The Matrix:
Marilyn Avila
Jeff Barnhart
Hugh Blackwell
Jamie Boles
William Brawley
Harold Brubaker
Rayne Brown
Justin Burr
Bill Cook
Dale Folwell
Kelly Hastings
Mike Hager
Craig Horn
Julia Howard
Linda Johnson
Stephen LaRoque
David Lewis
Darrell McCormick
Chuck McGrady
Tim Moffitt
Tim Moore
Tom Murry
Ruth Samuelson
Paul “Skip” Stam
Mike Stone
Fred Steen
Sarah Stevens
Thom Tillis
John Torbett
Harry Warren

The two Democrats (both of whom played patty-cake with the Republicans in the veto overrides last month):
Bill Brisson
Bill Owens

Among other contributions ALEC has evidently suggested to the new Republican majority in the General Assembly is the idea for gutting environmental regulations.

Wednesday, August 03, 2011

Buncombe County Also Gets Screwed by General Assembly

Mecklenburg and Guildford are not the only counties that the new Republican majority in the NC General Assembly decided to micromanage to their benefit.

Buncombe County Republican representative Tim Moffitt has managed to impose his will on the voters by manipulating a "local bill" through the General Assembly that he thinks will give him a Republican majority on the Buncombe County Commission ... just like in the Mecklenburg and the Guildford County cases.

Gordon Smith at Scrutiny Hooligans has the whole sordid story.

Champion Hypocrite of the Day

Republican state Rep. Stephen LaRoque, who represents Kinston in the General Assembly and who is a BIG hater of the federal government and the waste of taxpayer's money, is himself slopping at the federal trough.

Chris Fitzsimon has the story:
He’s earned up to $195,000 a year heading the two small economic development organizations—the East Carolina Development Company and Piedmont Development Company—and used the non-profits to loan some of the public funds to his close associates and political allies.

Past board members say they were kept in the dark about his pay. “I was not aware that he was compensated at all,” said CeCe Hudson, a former board member from Sampson County. “I don’t think there’s anything wrong with being compensated fairly, but there’s a line.”

LaRoque, now in a leadership position at the N.C. General Assembly, refused to answer questions about the management of his non-profits.

Tuesday, August 02, 2011

NC Charter Schools: No Access to County Capital Funds

Interesting decision handed down today:
RALEIGH -- North Carolina's Court of Appeals is telling charter schools seeking taxpayer money to buy and maintain their buildings and buses to take it up with lawmakers.

The appeals court ruled Tuesday that state lawmakers intended for charter schools to use their own resources to provide classrooms. The court said the alternative schools aren't entitled to the capital funds that other public schools get....

How They Voted in the NC Delegation

On the Billionaire Coup Act of 2011, a.k.a., Debt Ceiling and Deficit Reduction Surrender:

Democrat Heath Shuler voted yes
Republican Howard Coble voted yes
Republican Renee Ellmers voted yes
Republican Virginia Foxx voted yes
Republican Patrick McHenry voted yes
Republican Sue Myrick voted yes

Republican Walter Jones voted no
Democrat G.K. Butterfield voted no
Democrat Larry Kissell voted no
"Democrat" Mike McIntyre voted no
Democrat Brad Miller voted no
Democrat David Price voted no
Democrat Mel Watt voted no

Monday, August 01, 2011

Newly Discovered Constitutional Clauses

Article I – The Legislative Branch
Section 8 – Powers of Congress

...The Congress shall have power to create a Super-Congress of appointed members to gut the social contract when such gutting is negotiated by the President but where there is disagreement within Congress sufficient to thwart the Presidential negotiation, all things being unequal.



What Will Manning Do?

Judge Howard Manning's recent court ruling on the Republican's NC budget has been flagrantly and stupendously ignored.

What usually flows from defying a judge's order?