Friday, May 31, 2019

The Bankruptcy of the Republican Party

And you can add to that the complete moral and ethical bankruptcy of Franklin Graham and much of the evangelical movement.

Thursday, May 30, 2019

Invitation to an Impeachment

Did you see Bob Mueller? He spoke about as clearly as a human being (who doesn't intend to be personally politicized) can speak: "Congress, it's your responsibility to deal with a lawless president."

"...if we had had confidence that the president clearly did not commit a crime, we would have said so."

So much for Twitterman's claim that the Mueller Report completely exonerated him. But you knew he was lying about that from the git-go, didn't you?

"And I will close by reiterating the central allegation of our indictments, that there were multiple, systematic efforts to interfere in our election. And that allegation deserves the attention of every American."

Vladimir Putin wanted Trump. Putin worked to get Trump. Putin got Trump. Trump was thrilled with the effort and the outcome, but he began to cover it all up as soon as the facts began to leak.

The House of Representatives has its mandate, underscored by Mueller yesterday: "It's your responsibility to do something." They're doing it. Multiple investigations. Multiple subpoenas. The truth will out. You can count on it. Whether it produces a formal impeachment before November 2020, or piles up a mountain of evidence of Trump's criminal contempt for our Constitution, there should be no voter in the dark about the character of the man in the White House.

Wednesday, May 29, 2019

Justin Amash Has Thrown Away the Scabbard

There's an old proverb I'm referencing: "He who draws his sword against his prince must throw away the scabbard."

At a packed town hall event yesterday in Grand Rapids, Republican Justin Amash (Michigan-3) got a standing ovation as he doubled- and tripled-down on his conclusion that Twitterman has committed multiple impeachable offenses. "My job is to protect the Constitution," Amash said to loud applause.

The 3rd Congressional District of Michigan is rated "solid Republican." The Cook Partisan Voter Index rates it as R+6, which means that in 2018 this district's voting results were 6 percentage points more Republican than the national average. Amash won this seat in the Tea Party wave of 2010, running as a tea partier, and he's easily held it ever since.

What did people expect at this town hall? A phalanx of Trumpists screaming at Amash for daring to oppose The Leader? Booing and hissing from Michigan Republicans who've all signed their loyalty pledge to Trump, probably in blood? That did not happen. Instead, Amash got applause and support for his courage for standing up for the rule of law.

Maybe Amash's bravery can become a thing in the Congressional Republican ranks? On second thought ... naw, ain't gonna happen. Those guys and gals are way too cowed now by Trump to stand up to him. We'd be almost satisfied if the ancient skill of reading got a refresher among Republicans, let alone the courage of calling out abusive power, greed, and lawlessness.

Accusing Justin Amash of being a RINO is just laughable. Accusing him of being "a loser," as Twitterman did, also defies logic, common sense, and a grasp on reality.

Tuesday, May 28, 2019

Deanna Ballard -- Going Full "Berger" On the Citizens of Surry County

Senator Deanna Ballard (District 45) belongs to the Republican Party. The Republican Party has always preached that local government knows best, is wisest, more frugal, and "Big-Brother" state and national governments need to quit imposing themselves on the wise citizens. That doctrine is preached and rarely followed, especially when some high-ranked Republican dudes attain great power and get to meddling.

So Watauga County State Senator Deanna Ballard has joined up with Phil Berger, president of the Republican Senate and no slouch when it comes to power-grabs, and introduced Senate Bill 674, which will force all school board elections in Surry County -- just Surry -- to become partisan in nature. Ds versus Rs. Meanwhile, for independent candidates ... too bad, so sad.

The great majority of school boards in the state are elected via non-partisan ballots, including the one in Watauga. (Surry County has three separate school boards, all of which have been heretofore elected on a non-partisan ballot.)

Ballard thinks -- if she's thought about it at all and isn't just Berger's puppet -- that school boards need a transfusion of the same bile and vitriol that is currently stripping the political paint off the two-party system. She either thinks that partisan labels and partisan marching orders and partisan doctrine imposed from above will be good for the governance of public school boards in Surry County -- but nowhere else in particular -- she either believes that, or she's Berger's dumb tool.

And why just Surry County? If it's such a good thing to do and not just a naked, clumsy, embarrassingly obvious power-grab imposed on the citizens of that one northern-tier North Carolina county? Why?

The three separate school boards in Surry -- representing Elkin City Schools, Mount Airy City Schools, and Surry County Schools -- held a first-time-ever joint meeting in April, together signing a resolution to “oppose any legislation changing the manner of election of any one or more of these boards of education from nonpartisan to partisan.” The Elkin city commission passed a similar resolution.

Deanna Ballard wants to impose not just the state on Surry County, but the machinery of partisan witch-hunting. Just what public education needs!

Monday, May 27, 2019

How To Know Your Aspiring Tyrant

Ian McKellen, playing Richard III in a movie

Shakespeare’s Richard III brilliantly develops the personality features of the aspiring tyrant ... the limitless self-regard, the law-breaking, the pleasure in inflicting pain, the compulsive desire to dominate. He is pathologically narcissistic and supremely arrogant. He has a grotesque sense of entitlement, never doubting that he can do whatever he chooses. He loves to bark orders and to watch underlings scurry to carry them out. He expects absolute loyalty, but he is incapable of gratitude. The feelings of others mean nothing to him. He has no natural grace, no sense of shared humanity, no decency.

He is not merely indifferent to the law; he hates it and takes pleasure in breaking it. He hates it because it gets in his way and because it stands for a notion of the public good that he holds in contempt. He divides the world into winners and losers. The winners arouse his regard insofar as he can use them for his own ends; the losers arouse only his scorn. The public good is something only losers like to talk about. What he likes to talk about is winning.

He has always had wealth: he was born into it and makes ample use of it. But though he enjoys having what money can get him, it is not what most excites him. What excites him is the joy of domination. He is a bully. Easily enraged, he strikes out at anyone who stands in his way. He enjoys seeing others cringe, tremble, or wince with pain. He is gifted at detecting weakness and deft at mockery and insult. These skills attract followers who are drawn to the same cruel delight, even if they cannot have it to his unmatched degree. Though they know that he is dangerous, the followers help him advance to his goal, which is the possession of supreme power.

-- Stephen Greenblatt, Tyrant: Shakespeare on Politics, published by W.W. Norton, 2018, pages 53-54

Messin' With Sasquatch

Nancy Pelosi “hit on something that is core to [Trump's] con. His whole life is about the cover-up. He has covered up his academic record, his health reports, his dalliances with women, his finances, his family history. Even while he was saying he was the most transparent president in history, his Treasury secretary was across town telling Congress, ‘I’m not giving you the president’s tax returns.’ "

--Tim O'Brien, author of TrumpNation: The Art of Being the Donald, quoted by Maureen Dowd


Everything That Rises Must Converge

Some Democrats are upset -- or at least antsy-pantsy -- that Nancy Pelosi isn't charging ahead on impeachment. But we're watching her and see her strategy, and we appreciate the explanation of that strategy that our friend Evan Hurst published last Thursday:
Do you see how she's fucking with his mind? She's pretty sure -- and we're pretty sure she's right -- that Trump wants nothing more right now than for the House Democrats to hop, skip and bumblefuck into a speedy impeachment, so that it can quickly go to the current Senate before things get too much worse for Trump, Mitch McConnell can throw a show trial, it'll lose, and then the GOP can hit the 2020 campaign running before the end of 2019. 
Whereas Pelosi seems to be saying, "No, Donald, we're sorry. We're not handing you that ... yet. We're going to let alllllllllll these investigations get really nasty and let you lose in court a whole bunch more, and we're going to look at your taxes and your weird foreign money stuff and see who really owns your ass, and we're going to put every person you know in a chair in front of the appropriate House committee, and if they don't show up, they'll be held in contempt, maybe even under Congress's power of inherent contempt, and they'll be fined $25,000 a day, and then you'll lose some more in court over THAT ... and once we have ALL THE FACTS in our hands, well ... WHO KNOWS WHAT WE MIGHT DO?"

In other words, she's going to make him bleed out slowly (figuratively, of course!), and then when it's time, it will be time. Do you see how she's doing that?
We see how she's doing that.

Sunday, May 26, 2019

The GOP Wants More Women in Congress? "Bah Humbug," Says Leigh Brown

Leigh Brown, the Republican real estate magnate who got a lot of press (including on this blog) running in the recent NC-9 Republican primary, and ended up finishing a distant fourth to bathroom monitor Dan Bishop, has some stuff to say about how the national GOP sez it wants more women in Congress but how the machinery of the party did not support her -- after encouraging her to run in the first place.

Brown uses the term "ghosted" about the politicos who encouraged her to run and then disappeared when she actually ran. (The Urban Dictionary defines "ghosted" as that moment when someone you love and put your trust in just disappears):
“That's a little frustrating to have initial conversations and then follow up and be ghosted,” Brown said in an interview with POLITICO. “I put my real estate business on hold. I've dinged my own reputation in order to put myself forward as a public servant, and then you find out exactly how lonely it is to run for office.”
'Pears now that those Republicans who want more women in Congress are pinning their hopes on Joan Perry who is facing Greg Murphy in a run-off primary in NC-3 (the Walter Jones seat). Perry is a big anti-abortion pro forced breeding Republican pediatrician who had big-dollar support from the Susan B. Anthony List as well as Winning for Women Action Fund (WFW AF), a Super PAC focused on electing more conservative women to office.

With a woman like Joan Perry, who needs Virginia Foxx?

Wednesday, May 22, 2019

We'll Be Watching the Governor's Race in Kentucky This Fall

Andy Beshear
Kentucky's Attorney General Andy Beshear won the Democratic primary yesterday and will face incumbent Republican Governor Matt Bevin, who also won his primary yesterday but not by much (52% of the vote). Bevin is "deeply unpopular," and Beshear is the son of the governor who immediately preceded Bevin in office, Steve Beshear.

Kentucky is one of just three states that will be choosing governors in 2019 (including Louisiana and Mississippi).

Bevin is unpopular because of his efforts to cripple the Affordable Care Act and for pushing through cuts to public pensions for teachers and other government employees. Beshear ran his campaign as a defender of public pensions, education funding, and health care access -- those "dinner table issues" that helped Democrats take back the House last year.

Beshear had two opponents in the primary. Adam Edelen, a former state auditor who has become a solar-energy entrepreneur, ran to Beshear's left and got about 27% of the vote. Rocky Adkins from the Eastern Kentucky mountains ran as a social conservative, opposed to abortion rights and a protector of the coal industry. Adkins finished second with 33% behind Beshear's 38%.

If I were a Kentucky voter, I would probably have voted for Edelen, but I'm eager to see Beshear beat Bevin this November.

Sunday, May 19, 2019

Whaaa! A Republican Who Not Only CAN Read But Who Did Read!

Rep. Justin Amash, a very conservative Republican who represents the 3rd District of Michigan, read the Mueller report -- all of it as redacted by A.G. Barr -- and made this string of comments below on Twitter yesterday. Beginning about 24 hours ago, Amash wrote what amounts to what surely will become an historical document -- a declaration of logic and principle now missing from the makeup of (pretty much) all other Republican members of Congress (Lindsey Graham, we're especially looking at you).

You've probably seen the 1st comment in this string, but have you read the whole? And can you appreciate the fortitude it took to write it?
Here are my principal conclusions: 1. Attorney General Barr has deliberately misrepresented Mueller’s report. 2. President Trump has engaged in impeachable conduct. 3. Partisanship has eroded our system of checks and balances. 4. Few members of Congress have read the report.

I offer these conclusions only after having read Mueller’s redacted report carefully and completely, having read or watched pertinent statements and testimony, and having discussed this matter with my staff, who thoroughly reviewed materials and provided me with further analysis.

Barr’s misrepresentations are significant but often subtle, frequently taking the form of sleight-of-hand qualifications or logical fallacies, which he hopes people will not notice.

Under our Constitution, the president “shall be removed from Office on Impeachment for, and Conviction of, Treason, Bribery, or other high Crimes and Misdemeanors.” While “high Crimes and Misdemeanors” is not defined, the context implies conduct that violates the public trust.

Contrary to Barr’s portrayal, Mueller’s report reveals that President Trump engaged in specific actions and a pattern of behavior that meet the threshold for impeachment.

In fact, Mueller’s report identifies multiple examples of conduct satisfying all the elements of obstruction of justice, and undoubtedly any person who is not the president of the United States would be indicted based on such evidence.

Impeachment, which is a special form of indictment, does not even require probable cause that a crime (e.g., obstruction of justice) has been committed; it simply requires a finding that an official has engaged in careless, abusive, corrupt, or otherwise dishonorable conduct.

While impeachment should be undertaken only in extraordinary circumstances, the risk we face in an environment of extreme partisanship is not that Congress will employ it as a remedy too often but rather that Congress will employ it so rarely that it cannot deter misconduct.
Those who haven't read the Mueller Report have no right to attack Rep. Amash's conclusions, especially the Non-Reader in Chief. (You haven't read it either, have you, Virginia Foxx?)

Twitterman went full schoolyard bully this morning, calling Amash a "loser" and "a total lightweight who opposes me and some of our great Republican ideas and policies just for the sake of getting his name out there through controversy." No attempt in that juvenile rejoinder to dispute Amash's logic and his understanding of the Constitution.

"Amash, who has been described as the 'new Ron Paul' due to his Libertarian beliefs, has broken ranks with the Republican party before — and especially against Mr. Trump, whom he did not endorse in 2016. Earlier this year, he was one of 14 Republican representatives who tried to override Mr. Trump's veto over an emergency declaration for the border wall. In March, Amash did not rule out running for president as a Libertarian in 2020." [Caroline Linton]

Saturday, May 18, 2019

No-Appreciation-for-Irony Department

Republicans are clutching their pearls that Kim Strach, the 2013 Republican appointment as Exec. Director of the SBOE, was replaced by a Democrat.

Yes, it was a partisan move.

But if there's one group that lost its right to complain about partisan appointments, it's North Carolina Republicans, who -- give all of us a break! -- can go sit on tacks.

Preferably out of ear-shot.

Friday, May 17, 2019

Republican Richard Hudson (NC-8) Has a Democratic Opponent

Richard Hudson
Congressman Richard Hudson (R), who has represented the 8th Congressional District of North Carolina since the election of 2012, is pretty much a swamp creature. He's been hanging around Washington, DeeCee, and particularly Capitol Hill as a congressional staffer, for many years. He even did a term in hell as Congresswoman Virginia Foxx's chief of staff before moving on to other congressional offices and holding the bag for other congressmen. He knows how the place works -- or doesn't -- and that you go along to get a leg up.

Hudson worked for the now arrested and disgraced Robin Hayes when Hayes was the congressman from the 8th district. Hudson had moved on to DeeCee when Hayes was defeated by Democrat Larry Kissell in 2008. Hudson returned to North Carolina to oust Kissell in 2012. So the worm turns.

Hudson's association with Robin Hayes glows like a neon of his swampiness. Hudson also took lots of money from billionaire Greg Lindberg, the man behind Hayes's arrest for attempted bribery.
Among those associated with the congressman, the largest recipient of money from Lindberg was a joint fundraising committee affiliated with Hudson — the Hudson Freedom Fund. According to campaign finance reports, that group received donations of $44,300 and $33,900 from Lindberg in December [2018] and January [2019], respectively. [Josh Bergeron, Salisbury Post]
Scott Huffman
Hudson gave $15,000 of that to charities benefitting soldiers at Fort Bragg: "The GOP lawmaker says he didn't do anything wrong, but just wants to avoid the appearance of any impropriety" (Politico). The appearance lingers, as does the aroma of influence peddling.

Hudson already has a Democratic challenger in Scott Huffman, who tried once before in 2018 but lost the Democratic primary to ultimate candidate Frank McNeill, who took almost 45% of the vote against Hudson last year. Huffman is a Navy veteran and owner of a "technology business." His greater community involvement has come from founding and leading Indivisible Charlotte.

He has a website, a very active Twitter feed, and a Facebook group.

Thursday, May 16, 2019

Bishop Exploits McCready's Cardboard Persona

That was some killer politics in Charlotte yesterday, with Republican Dan Bishop playing off a cardboard cutout of Dan McCready. Effective politics.

McCready better get himself in the game. He needs to be firing bullets himself, rather than dodging them.

Wednesday, May 15, 2019

So It's 'Bathroom' Dan Bishop v. Dan McCready

Dan Bishop
State Senator Dan Bishop, author of the notorious "bathroom bill" that earned North Carolina so much spectacular press, won the Republican primary outright yesterday in the NC-9 special election, avoiding a run-off with Boss Hogg impersonator Stony Rushing and real estate PAC-funded Leigh Brown.

Bishop has a Chapel Hill law degree and a full legal career behind him. He served two terms in the House before opting to run for the Senate seat in 2016 when incumbent Bob Rucho gave it up.

Bishop's known in Raleigh as abrasive (obnoxious?). He's best known for the bathroom bill, as chief sponsor and main author. The passage of HB2 led to a national boycott of North Carolina by major employers, conventions, sporting events, and entertainment figures. According to RealFactsNC, "Bishop has been unrepentant." He even sought to criminalize peaceful protests with a five-year minimum sentence after former Gov. McCrory got chased down the street by LGBT protesters at the Trump inauguration. Bishop had faced protests too, and he was fed up. (Can you spell a-u-t-h-o-r-i-t-a-r-i-a-n?)
Dan McCready

Bishop fingers the usual suspects behind all his troubles: "There is a hostile media and a special interest or two that are interested in creating controversy instead of prosperity for all of North Carolina.” If people would only just shut the hell up about being discriminated against!

In late March of 2017, the General Assembly passed a compromise retreat that repealed most of HB2, and Governor Cooper signed it, but Dan Bishop lashed the compromise on the Senate floor. “This bill is at best a punt. At worst it is a betrayal of principle,” Bishop argued. The Senate passed the compromise anyway, 32-16.

Meanwhile, Democrat Dan McCready has had time to raise money. He had no primary, and he's already well known from his close second-place finish to Rev. Mark Harris last November (before that election was thrown out for fraud). I've had my doubts about McCready, and disappointments with his lack of fortitude (ex-Marine!). With Bishop now the official opponent, they're coming after McCready as Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez's BFF and a "socialist rubberstamp." McCready should laugh in their face, but he'll probably cringe.

The election vote will be September 10.

So -- yep! -- Dan Bishop comes out swinging at McCready's own campaign office in Charlotte today, accusing him of being a closet socialist, etc. When is McCready gonna show some Marine resolve and clean this clown's clock? He's gotta stop flinching.

Saturday, May 11, 2019

Kim Strach Will Be Replaced at State Board of Elections on Monday

Gov. Pat McCrory appointed a new Republican-dominated Board of Elections after his election in 2012, and that Republican board chose Kim Strach as the new SBOE Executive Director, replacing Gary Bartlett who had held the job for many years. Like any Democratic blogger worth his bile, I was suspicious of Kim Strach and paid close attention to her decisions. I have to admit now, with a newly ascendant Democratic Board of Elections moving irrevocably toward replacing her on Monday, that she's been a good executive director.

Oh, I criticized her for her failure to stop the appointment of Matt Snyder as local director of the Watauga BOE, and I was doubtful she could be wholly independent from her aggressively partisan husband, lawyer Phil Strach (the independence of George Conway from his aggressively partisan wife Kellyanne Conway has rewritten that template), but Kim Strach has shown plenty of even-handedness and even political courage in many matters I have followed since 2013 (the following list not in any chronological order):
The detailing of inappropriate behavior by SBOE member Paul Foley, shortly before Mr. Foley got removed from the board. 
The schooling of UNC System General Counsel Thomas Shanahan on what the college "attestation" form required for certifying student IDs for the purposes of voting. 
Her refusal to allow Stacey C. "Four" Eggers, working remotely through his brother Luke Eggers as chair of the Watauga BOE, to combine the Boone 1, Boone 2, and Boone 3 precincts into one mega-precinct with a polling location at the Agricultural Conference Center. 
Her overruling of Watauga BOE Chair Bill Aceto in the November 2017 municipal elections, when Aceto wanted the Boone 2 polling place at the Legends nightclub. Strach said it had to be in the Student Union. 
Her conduct throughout the investigation into balloting fraud in the NC-9 and her examination of witnesses at the February hearing this year.
When Governor Roy Cooper finally regained control of the SBOE, it was an inevitability that Strach would be replaced as executive director, and the news is out this morning that the Democrats on the SBOE will make that move in a teleconference Monday morning.

I'm conflicted about that, given Strach's strong record of performance, and I hope the Democratic majority choose a replacement with professional credentials and no whiff of partisan odor. Nothing less would be acceptable.

Thursday, May 09, 2019

We're Skeptical But Also Prepared to Be Amazed by Sen. Richard Burr

For the first time a subpoena has been issued to a member of the Trump family, to Don Junior, by Senator Richard Burr's Intelligence Committee. Burr's already announced he will not be running for reelection in 2022 when his term ends. He perhaps feels a little freer to exercise those atrophied personal integrity muscles.

Because ... evidently (and according to the Mueller Report) Don Junior lied to Senator Burr's staff when he appeared for an interview last year, lied about the June 2016 Trump Tower meeting with the Russians. According to the reporting of Ashley Parker et al., "...the Intelligence Committee has been trying to schedule a second interview with Trump Jr. for weeks, according to people familiar with the negotiations .... As negotiations over Trump Jr.’s testimony dragged on, committee Chairman Richard Burr (R-N.C.) became increasingly frustrated and believed that Trump Jr. was defying the committee’s authority and not honoring his original agreement...."

Increasingly frustrated and pissed enough to issue a subpoena to the Crown Prince. Impressive.

Tuesday, May 07, 2019

Thom Tillis Draws a Primary Challenger. Oh My!

The Raleigh News and Observer (specifically, Brian Murphy) broke the news yesterday that Raleigh businessman Garland Tucker III, senior fellow at the John Locke Foundation, and author of "Conservative Heroes: Jefferson to Reagan," filed paperwork to run in the March 2020 Republican primary against incumbent Senator Thom Tillis. Of note: Carter Wrenn, conservative strategist who was at Jesse Helms's elbow for decades, has signed on to advise the Tucker campaign.

Here's where it gets immediately intriguing: Tillis instantly attacked Tucker as an "anti-Trump activist." Bold words there, Senator, from the man who opposed Trump for his position on immigration, protecting the special counsel, and Trump’s national emergency declaration. (Murphy does point out that Tillis has voted with Trump 94.7 percent of the time. But still.)

Tucker does look pretty anti-Trump, and the Tillis people are fanning that coal:
Tillis’s team pointed to a 2016 News & Observer column in which Tucker said he was begrudgingly voting for Trump, whose nomination he had “stoutly resisted” during the primary. 
“Trump is a twice-divorced, self-acknowledged adulterer who has, in the course of this campaign, uttered some of the most unkind, disgusting comments ever made by any American politician,” Tucker wrote in the piece. “Sadly, Clinton offers no personal moral superiority.” 
In May 2015, Tucker hosted a 250-person luncheon in his backyard for then-Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker’s campaign for the Republican presidential nod.
Tucker's hiring of Carter Wrenn is another signal of anti-Trumpism, as Wrenn has made no secret on his blog of his disdain for Twitterman. And Wrenn efficiently drilled his stubby finger into Tillis's weak spot: "...Tillis is a Washington politician, who talks a good game, but when you look at how he votes, it doesn’t match up,” Wrenn told a reporter from The Hill. “He has his finger to the air and he flip flops” on the issues.

At the moment no big name Democrat has announced a campaign for the Tillis seat. We hope that changes. And soon.

Monday, May 06, 2019

Virginia Foxx Does Stand-Up Comedy in Mount Airy

So Virginia Foxx showed up at Riverside Park in Mount Airy on Saturday for Kidsfest, grabbed a microphone, and did a set of pure comedy:

All my life I have been a strong environmentalist, she announced to guffaws.

People will tell you right now, I go out of my way... Yeah, for free food at the buffet, a heckler added.

I recycle. Doesn't that make me an environmentalist?

“The Paris climate accord doesn’t do anything to move us in the right direction globally," Foxx said, having just come from Washington where she voted with the rest of the Republicans to uphold Trump's decision to withdraw from the accord.

Now that's funny.

Thursday, May 02, 2019

Even Donny Lambeth Knows When To Take His Hand Off a Hot Stove

Donny Lambeth
NC House Rep. Donny Lambeth (R-Forsyth) has withdrawn his "local bill" that would have remapped Winston-Salem's city council districts ... obviously, to eliminate some undesirables, mainly black women and Dan Besse, the Democrat who ran against Lambeth for the NC House last fall:
The new [city council] wards created in the Lambeth bill would have placed three black council members in one ward. The ward plan would have also placed Council Member Dan Besse, who ran against Lambeth in 2018, into a ward with Robert Clark, the council's only Republican. [Wesley Young]
 Lambeth apparently reached a compromise folded like a cheap suit in negotiations with Winston-Salem Mayor Allen Joines, agreeing to a "study commission" (to be named by Joines, I kid you not!) to determine if there's any real need to change the mapping of Winston-Salem's city council districts.

That's what I call a giant cave.

And a good thing too (though we would have enjoyed the campaign against Lambeth in 2020, based on his Winston-Salem meddling).

Sen. Deanna Ballard Wants to Unleash Digital Billboards in North Carolina

The billboard industry in North Carolina has tried at least three times in recent years to get massive new power to override local laws and local governments and put their massive signs pretty much anywhere they want to. They're trying again this year with simultaneous bills in NC House (H645) and Senate (S534), "Revisions to Outdoor Advertising."

The industry's revisions (and have no second thoughts about who wrote or dictated the language of this bill) will allow more tree cutting around billboards, force taxpayers to pay billboard companies more to remove existing signs for public works projects, and allow billboards to be relocated from one part of a community to another even if local ordinances prohibit them. Worst of all, the bill will unleash a new scourge, digital billboards, the garish lighted eyesores the industry wants to replace their old billboards with.

Talk about distracted driving.

Sen. Deanna Ballard of Watauga is a secondary sponsor of the Senate bill. You gotta ask yourself, on those occasions when Sen. Ballard is pushing some new law, what's in it for Franklin Graham? Dunno. Why is unleashing the billboard industry -- to override existing municipal laws -- of such burning interest to Deanna Ballard?

Wednesday, May 01, 2019

The Wrong Man Won the Democratic Primary in the NC-3 Special Election, But On the Other Hand, Who Cares?

Allen Thomas
Allen Thomas won the Democratic primary yesterday in the NC-3 special election with slightly over 50% of the vote over his nearest rival, ex-Marine fighter pilot Richard Bew. I was pulling for Bew. Since filing for office, Thomas, who's a strongly pro-business Democrat, has been tarred by a bad audit report on the North Carolina Global TransPark. He was executive director of the TransPark during the period of the audit but stepped down to run for this office.

Oh well. The NC-3 has never been considered anything but "safe Republican."

Naturally, with 17 Republicans running in their primary yesterday, there was bound to be a run-off on July 9th. Two medical doctors finished 1st and 2nd in that primary, with 22.54% and 15.44 percent of the vote respectively -- Dr. Greg Murphy of Greenville, a currently serving member of the NC House, and Dr. Joan Perry of Kinston. They'll face off in a second primary.

Perry is a big anti-abortion pro forced breeding Republican pediatrician who had big-dollar support from the Susan B. Anthony List as well as Winning for Women Action Fund (WFW AF), a Super PAC focused on electing more conservative women to office. She'll probably lose to Murphy in the 2nd primary.

I confess that I have lost all interest in this particular special election.