Happy New Year
I only have one resolution for this year. I resolve to stay focused on my writing and to search the news for that one nugget that everyone else misses. I might not always find it, but I won't stop looking for it.
Sometimes leaning right... Usually leaning left... Always with an opinion
This is a long article, but is well worth the time it takes to read it. The credits list several contributors and it appears extensive research went into the piece. A free subscription may be required to read it.
After the group was formed in 1996, its director told the Internal Revenue Service that its goal was to advocate policies favorable for "economic growth and prosperity, social improvement, moral fitness, and the general well-being of the United States." DeLay, in a 1999 fundraising letter, called the group "a powerful nationwide organization dedicated to restoring our government to citizen control" by mobilizing grass-roots citizen support.
But the records show that the tiny U.S. Family Network, which never had more than one full-time staff member, spent comparatively little money on public advocacy or education projects. Although established as a nonprofit organization, it paid hundreds of thousands of dollars in fees to Buckham and his lobbying firm, Alexander Strategy Group.
"Giving counties less than five months to order, install and train poll workers on new mandated equipment could very well lead to serious problems on Election Day, and that outcome would certainly not instill the public’s confidence in our elections."
Catawba County's purchase of voting machines was bad for another reason. A study of the 2004 election data shows that Catawba County's switch to new the Hart Intercivic paperless voting coincides with jump in undervote rate of 40% - 130% higher than it was in 2000.
DESI is prepared to work closely with the North Carolina State Board of Elections (ÂSBEÂ) in drafting a modification to Session Law 2005-323 that meets the true intent of the legislature while at the same time imposing reasonable requirements on all vendors that are capable of being met, and which will allow DESI to continue to support its loyal customers in the State of North Carolina.Do we trust a vendor to rewrite a state law in order to tailor it around their product? While I don't think Diebold's intent is to deny North Carolinians of a fair and accurate election, I also don't think it's wise to allow them to help rewrite our laws to make life more convenient or profitable for them. This law was passed to protect the citizens of this state without regard to how inconvenient it might be to Diebold or any other company. Changing the law to suit Diebold or would set a dangerous precedent.
As a freshman in the minority party, Vinson held no illusions that his voice
would be heard in the General Assembly beyond local legislation for his
district. He did think that Republicans together could make enough noise to gain
attention, but "the leadership didn't rally the troops," he said.
"I expected to be isolated," he said, "but isolated more as a group."
So, in a red state the Republican leadership can't get their act together. The only thing Republicans tend to do as an organized activity in this state is attack Democrats. While I'll be the first to say that Jim Black has shown a gross lapse in judgment and needs to find a responsible candidate to fill his shoes, I'm not buying the GOP pushed story that he has broken the law. I'll be the first to admit it if I'm proven wrong.
The Observer has also written a piece on Larry Kissell, a social studies teacher who is running a grassroots campaign against Robin Hayes. I find it more than a bit interesting that in the online article the Observer doesn't put Kissell's name in the headline, however does give a name boost to Hayes. I have a degree in journalism and remember my basic instruction on writing headlines. Instead of "Man Launching Campaign to Unseat Hayes" why don't we shorten it to "Kissell to Run Against Hayes". It's much more concise. It takes up less space and uses less ink and it's more objective in that it mentions both names. I despise the way the Observer writers and editors insert their opinions into the news.
I haven't looked closely enough at Tim Dunn and Larry Kissell to make a comparison. Here is what I do know. Larry Kissell isn't reporting any cash on hand, Tim Dunn has raised about $50,000 and at the end of September Robin Hayes had over $500,000 cash on hand. Grassroots campaigning is nice and it can help win elections, but it takes hard cold cash to win an election in this district. Robin Hayes and the national GOP machine will bury any Democrat running with negative advertisements. Both men need to get busy raising money and they need to do it now.
Another bit of advice for the Kissell campaign. It's a bit too early for the negativity I'm seeing on different NC blogs. I won't repeat here what I'm seeing you claim in your comments about Tim Dunn, but I will tell you that too much negativity will be the kiss of death for your campaign if you start it too early. The 8th is marginally Republican, which means that if what you are saying is true, then Dunn has a better chance of beating Hayes than Kissell does. Republicans will see him as a more viable alternative to Hayes. Democrats on the national level will figure this out and throw their weight and money behind Dunn. You need to watch what you are putting out there and do a better job of tailoring your message. Otherwise you will find that the only people supporting Kissell are his students, his family and CAFTA the goat.
"For me, it's a fine balance between being a part of the team, so I can get things done back at home, and keeping my independence," Graham said.
Durhams writes a nice profile piece on a man who deserves the positive attention. Graham is not only busy in Raleigh, he continues to make his presence known in Mecklenburg County. He drove Patsy Kinsey around to the polls on primary election day for a few hours and probably helped other candidates. He also attended the oath of office ceremony for the new Charlotte City Council on December 5th. I'm sure Graham continues to support his community in many ways that I'm not personally aware of. It's good to see that he remains a positive force at home while providing leadership in Raleigh.
We need more men and women in Raleigh and Washington who are there to lead rather than just play politics.
Republicans, he said, "are just trying to change the subject from other issues that they don't want to talk about. "When the Republicans on the county commission and the Republicans up here start operating in tandem on an issue, you know there's something political going on."
Today in the New York Times, Mel Watt once again indicates that he isn't fooled by the politics. It seems the White House has finally opened its doors to some leaders in the black community after shutting them out the entire first term. Watt was among a group of black leaders attending a gathering at the White House on Dec. 7. Watt's answers to questions show that he is optimistic, but skeptical.
Asked whether he though the White House was making a genuine effort to repair efforts with black leaders, Mr. Watt said: "I don't know if it's real or not. I do think it's desirable. I don't know if it's sincere. I haven't seen anything in their policies that suggest that it is anything but a public relations move. "
Mel Watt is not impressed with a trip to the White House and he isn't fooled by the feeble attempts of the President to look like he actually cares about the black community. Watt's leadership in Congress and the Black Congressional Caucus will be important in the 2006 elections as the GOP continues to try and bring black voters into its fold.
The GOP team working with the White House to win confirmation of conservative Supreme Court nominee Samuel Alito is putting out a warning to Alito's Democratic critics: Question his ethics and character at your own peril. In their sights: Sens. Edward Kennedy and Joe Biden. "We're absolutely prepared to have an ethics debate with Teddy Kennedy," says one insider who mentioned the "C" word: Chappaquiddick.
Now, I'll be the last person to defend Ted Kennedy and his actions as a young man. He received similar showers of favoritism like that shown to another silver spooner in Washington, George W. Bush. Someone always seemed to be bailing these rich young men out of trouble.
I guess if they want to go back that far we should make sure we dig back 36 years on all members of Congress. We should especially revisit the behavior of the President in his drug and alcohol days. Or maybe we should revisit his Air National Guard Days and truly get to the bottom of that story.
The Alito supporter isn't quoted by name, so we can't just dig into his past. We will have to check up on everyone. We should start with Alito's most ardent supporters and move down the line. I wonder, though, why the supporter wasn't quoted by name. Do you think maybe he knows that threatening to expose new or rehash 35+ year old ethics questions in the current climate in Washington might be just plain stupid?
Ted Kennedy has weathered many political bumps and bruises. If they don't have anything new to throw at him, I'm confident he can weather having the same old crap tossed his way.
Matt Stoller at Mydd.com has more.
"That's how John Murtha talks. He never says he's against the war, he says that having American troops in that region is making things worse. And that's based on the facts that he got, from the military.
Don't wear your anti-war attitude on your sleave; it's a pragmatic thing. Then when right-wingers say that they are for the war, they will look like mindless ideologues."
If you read my first piece on Myrick you will notice similarities between this rant and that one. Well, not much has changed since then. I've decided that I will keep ranting about Myrick's votes on immigration each time she gets herself in the newspaper headlines on this issue. Today, she was in the Charlotte Observer. Today she is here.
Sue, it's the war stupid.
"But this is something of a magnitude that's more intense than anything I've seen before," he said of the investigation. "Most criminal lawyers say 'No comment' or 'I'm not going to talk about it.' And I think that works well. But it does not work well in a high-profile Washington investigation, where your goals are much more ambitious and much broader than just keeping your client out of jail."
What are these ambitious and much broader goals? If he isn't just trying to keep Rove out of jail what is he trying to do? Is he helping Rove cover for someone else? Is he protecting Bush or Cheney? I don't think saving Rove's reputation would qualify as being more ambitious or broader than staying out of jail. Rove is, after all, just a puppeteer for the President. (So, maybe he's the head puppeteer.)
I guess I'm having a hard time understanding why so few North Carolina Democrats found the courage to stand behind Jack Murtha. With the lack of success in Iraq and the revelation that the administration lied when promoting their war you would think that intelligent beings would understand that the facts aren't the same. It is OK to take a different stance on the war. The only thing to fear is a Rovian style attack and no one has stood up to this better than Jack Murtha. Take your cue from him.
When the facts surrounding a situation change it is wise to reconsider your position. So far, only a few have taken advantage of this opportunity. The push for withdrawal is gaining momentum and as it gains strength it will be interesting to see who leads and who follows.