Thursday, March 29, 2007

Larry Kissell, Chris Bowers, Stuart Rothenberg, Rep. Artur Davis: Big, Big News

You might have wondered what happened to Larry Kissell after November's election. We haven't been bringing much news out from North Carolina about him, so wanted to update you on all that has happened.

Larry Kissell immediately declared his intent to run again in 2008. He might have slowed down over winter holidays, but he hasn't missed a beat. He is already running like an old pro and is doing what he can to help other prospective congressional candidates in North Carolina.

This past weekend Larry and his staff attended the annual convention of the Young Democrats of North Carolina. A reception was held for him with DCCC recruitment chair, Rep. Artur Davis, Rep. Brad Miller, NCDP Chair Jerry Meek and Chris Bowers attending. A full post about the event is at BlueNC.

Those of you who paid attention to the campaign in '06 know that Rep. Artur Davis championed Larry's campaign and did what he could to help raise money and to bring attention to Larry at the DCCC. This year Rep. Davis is the recruitment chair at the DCCC, and he could be a very powerful friend for Larry to have. He is also a very kind and gracious man and if I know Larry like I think I do, Rep. Davis' personal support means more than DCCC gold. ( that sounds nice and it is true, but Larry durned well better be first wave of red to blue. Seriously.)

I mentioned Chris Bowers was at the reception. I was able to get a shot of Chris and Larry together and thoroughly enjoyed talking with Chris. (I mean it. I'm not just kissing up.) In my early blogging days I didn't always agree with Chris. I think it's the age difference. However, I kept coming back to MyDD and while I still don't always agree with him, I have a tremendous amount of respect for his opinion. For those of you who haven't met Chris, he is a genuinely nice guy and if I hadn't needed to get my 11-yr-old daughter home, I would have enjoyed talking his ear off at lunch.

This reception was so different from events of '06. I attended quite a few fundraisers for Larry. I even sponsored one that blogger, Working for Change had organized. There were some great events last cycle and there was almost always decent attendance, but the event on Saturday had an infectious energy that I don't remember from '06. People didn't write Larry off after the loss last year. They bought in. All the Kissell campaign has to do is harness that energy and Robin Hayes won't know what hit him.

I'm not the only one who feels that way. Congressman Artur Davis agrees and yesterday issued his personal endorsement of Larry's candidacy. In his announcement Davis had this to say:
“When you experience the enthusiasm that still exists for this humble and capable man,” said U.S. Representative Artur Davis,” you feel even more positive about what he accomplished in 2006 and what he will achieve in 2008.”

“Larry Kissell will be the next congressman for North Carolina's 8th District,” Davis said.
Now, if we can just get the other powers that be at the DCCC in line with Davis' way of thinking, Larry will have an advantage he didn't have last cycle. Political analyst Stuart Rothenberg might just be the answer.

In the '06 cycle, Rothenberg didn't give Kissell a snowball's chance on a warm day. He wasn't even on Rothenberg's radar. Here's a bit of what I wrote referencing just about the only quote you can find from Rothenberg on Larry Kissell.
Funk chooses to get an opinion on the race from a man who hasn't attended any events in the district, spoken with any of the people in the district, apparently hasn't taken a close look at any of the polls and can't possibly have read any of the brilliant pieces I've written on the race(heh). Funk gets this gem from Stu Rothenberg in reference to the wave that might sweep Democrats into office.
"for Kissell to beat Robin Hayes, it would have to be like the wave that destroyed Atlantis."
Ah, yes, Stu....Atlantis...wink, wink, nudge, nudge. Stuart Rothenberg apparently gets his education in history from Walt Disney movies and that doesn't give me much confidence that he's getting his information about North Carolina's 8th Congressional District from any more reliable a source. Rothenberg might be a respected pol, but he should be a little more responsible when tossing out his comments. He obviously hasn't looked beyond his nose at this race and his flippant comment shouldn't be given the respect or weight that a serious Rothenberg analysis deserves.
Yep. I was not a happy camper with old Stu last year. What does Rothenberg have to say this cycle? So glad you asked:
Go ahead and engrave Robin Hayes's name in stone on Democratic target lists.

:::big snip:::

...high school teacher Larry Kissell mounted a grassroots campaign and came just 329 votes shy of finally knocking off the congressman.

Even after gaining 30 seats last cycle, Democrats are kicking themselves for leaving this one on the table and are working early and often to help Kissell in his rematch bid.
He might not jump up and down in his excitement about Larry's candidacy like I do, but Rothenberg pays the Kissell camp some respect with his analysis of the race. He calls the campaign last cycle aggressive and spirited. He nods to the fact that Larry Kissell never gave up. Rothenberg also points out that:
"with a margin of less than 400 votes, nothing much has to change in order for Kissell to win."
Anyone paying attention knows that quite a bit has changed. Robin Hayes will be challenged now, not only on his trade votes - votes that have devastated the economic outlook of most counties in his district, but his war and war funding votes as well.

Larry Kissell was barely on anyone's radar in the '06 cycle. His candidacy was a success for the Netroots. He will win this cycle. The momentum he gained by the support of all the donors here and at DailyKos never died down. It has allowed him to hit the ground running and the energy building around his campaign locally is amazing. This will be a Netroots win even if Larry isn't a Netroots candidate in this cycle. We gave him the leg up and he's not wasting it.

Of course, DCCC support is not guaranteed and they will still be looking at fundraising numbers. Please give if you feel so inclined. There's only one thing left to say.

Go Larry, Go!

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Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Artur Davis Endorses Larry Kissell for Congress in '08

Congressman Artur Davis has announced his endorsement of Larry Kissell in North Carolina's 8th Congressional District.
After spending time with Larry Kissell and the people of North Carolina the weekend of March 23rd, the top recruiter for the ’08 congressional campaign cycle appreciated why Kissell came within 400 votes of becoming the next congressman for North Carolina’s 8th District.

“When you experience the enthusiasm that still exists for this humble and capable man,” said U.S. Representative Artur Davis,” you feel even more positive about what he accomplished in 2006 and what he will achieve in 2008.”

“Larry Kissell will be the next congressman for North Carolina's 8th District,” Davis said.
I had the pleasure of meeting Congressman Davis when he visited Charlotte last year to offer support for Larry and enjoyed seeing him again this past weekend. This is what I had to say when Rep. Davis and Rep. Watt both rallied a crowd of Kissell supporters last year.

Rep. Davis is a rising star himself. He first ran for office in 2000 and lost. He won when he ran again in 2002 and in his last primary won with 92% of the vote. General election challengers have been wise enough to steer clear. Rep. Davis serves on the judiciary and ways and means committees and is co-chair of the New Democrat Coalition.

Those of us frustrated with the selection process of the DCCC in the last cycle should take heart. Rep. Davis hints at why:
“There is no question that Larry is the strongest and best candidate to run in North Carolina 8. Sometimes it takes more than one shot to get it done, and I think Larry will this time,” Davis said.


“There were a number of close races last fall, but none more heartbreaking than Larry’s race. But because of his success, we will be looking for more Larry Kissells in other parts of the country this cycle – individuals who are of the people and who truly want to serve.

“That’s Larry Kissell, and that’s why we will be calling him Congressman Kissell in January 2009. [Emphasis my own.]
Rep. Artur Davis has been steadfast in his support of Larry Kissell. I believe him when he says he's looking for "individuals who are of the people." What an encouraging way to start out this cycle.

Good on ya, Congressman, good on ya.

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Sunday, March 25, 2007

Larry Kissell & Young Dems: Recipe for Success

Saturday March 24, signaled the beginning of the 2008 political season for Larry Kissell. Young Dems, College Dems and Teen Dems of North Carolina were there to help him kick it off. We all know Larry is running again. He put us out of our misery by declaring his intentions immediately after November's elections. He plans to spread the official word about his campaign throughout the district by attending each Democratic convention over the next month to make sure he meets at least 330 new Democrats and re-energizes those who have been with him from the beginning.

I did not have time on Saturday to attend the convention, but regret now that I didn't figure a way to make it happen. Thomas Brock will fill everyone in on the happenings of the day. I was disappointed I missed Ed Cone and Chris Bowers giving a presentation on the internet and political activism which is a session I know I would have enjoyed. As far as I'm concerned, this convention will be a must-attend each year. It was very energizing for the short time I was there to see the young(er) leaders in our party.

Now, for the reception for Larry. One word. Wow.

If you have ever held an event for a candidate you know the anxiety felt by organizers and supporters. Will anyone come? Will anyone donate? Do we have enough food/drinks? Do I look fat in these slacks? OK...well...maybe not that last one. As time for the event approaches, organizers can be gripped with fear as they ask, "what if nobody shows up!?". Every candidate I've ever supported has been through it and while the fundraisers I attended for Larry last year were well-stocked with supporters, I know there had to be some anxiety about this first one - especially with Artur Davis in attendance.

Not to worry. The suite was packed. At times we were shoulder-to-shoulder with people spilling out into the hall. I arrived a few minutes late thinking folks would be trickling in, but as Thomas (He introduces himself as Tom, but I've always known him as Thomas), Emily and I approached the room we could hear there was a party going on.

So much for getting there early. I tried, but was a few minutes late.

Happily, I didn't miss too much. I was delighted to see Congressman Artur Davis again. I didn't expect him to remember me from his visit to Charlotte last year where we struggled to fill the small room reserved at Veteran's Park. He seemed genuinely delighted at the turnout and even mentioned the difference in attendance at the two events. He stressed to me that we(Larry's fans) had "filled this hotel suite with supporters."

What can I say? Larry's a rock star. OK, OK, I'm just a wee bit biased. Seriously, though, Larry had plenty of fans there to show their support. What a great way to start off the '08 campaign.

Congressman Brad Miller was also there to show his support. He had the honor of introducing Congressman Artur Davis. Everybody here knows I'm an avid Brad Miller fan, but each time I see him I am struck by how funny he is. Emily was especially excited to meet him and when she put her hand out to shake his, Rep. Miller had to take her hand very gingerly. He was obviously nursing an injury and explained he had strained a finger. Heh heh, signing all those subpoena requests can be hard work, right?

There was one thing that stood out in what Rep. Miller said. He stressed in one comment that Artur Davis is sure he's found his man for the 8th. That's music to the ears of those of us who worked so hard over the last campaign season while the DCCC passed up on supporting Larry Kissell. Rep. Davis did what he could last year, but Rahm and company didn't move quickly enough to make the difference needed to win.

Rep. Artur Davis introduced Larry Kissell. It's obvious Davis is a fan and the enthusiastic crowd hopefully showed the Congressman that his support and loyalty are warranted. We will all help Larry to continue earning that support and I'm pretty sure that fact didn't slip by the Congressman.

One thing is a bit different this time around. Larry is running like the frontrunner out of the gate. He's already lending assistance to other prospective candidates. He and his staff wanted to make sure that two people who are considering a run for congress had a chance to meet Artur Davis. These two men were invited to attend yesterday. One is considering throwing his hat in to challenge Patrick McHenry and the other is our very own Marshall Adame.

Marshall's attendance is a story in and of itself. I was speaking with Steve Hudson from the Kissell staff and he mentioned a gentleman thinking of running in the 10th. (I'm not using his name since I have not spoken with him about publicizing his possible candidacy.) I mentioned Marshall's plan to challenge Walter Jones and since it was crunch time before the event, Steve asked me if I would contact Marshall. I emailed Marshall from his BlueNC contact info and immediately received a call from him.

Little did I know, Marshall was on a job in New Jersey. He knew this would be an important event so juggled some meetings and got on the road to North Carolina. The funny thing is, he and Thomas Brock had already exchanged emails and were planning to meet in April. We moved that meeting up a bit, I guess. Marshall is very genuine and friendly. He has a great attitude and seems to be realistic about what it will take to win.

As folks were trickling downstairs for lunch, I made my way to speak to Congressman Davis once again. I thanked him for his support and he turned it around to thank me effusively for everything we have done for Larry. I also had the opportunity to meet the minister at Larry's church and to see honorary BlueNC Woman, Tina Kissell. (I love Tina!)

Before leaving, Larry introduced me to Rep. Pricey Harrison and we chatted very briefly about blogging. She was a bit hesitant, but seems amenable to live-blogging. I'll see what I can do to make that happen.

The reception lasted about an hour after which folks headed downstairs to enjoy lunch. Emily and I hung around chatting with Hampton Dellinger and Chris Bowers for a little while. Each time I see, read about or hear from one of our candidates for Lt. Governor, I'm struck by how fortunate we are to have so many qualified leaders stepping up to run for LG.

Also, a brief note about Chris Bowers from MyDD. I didn't always agree with Chris in my early blogging days. However, over time, I've come to respect his opinion. I'm glad I had the chance to meet Chris. He's a very genuinely nice guy. He is considering attending Converge South. I encouraged him to come down. I think Converge South this year is going to be awesome and will be plugging it on BlueNC soon.

All in all, the reception was a huge success. I don't know how much money was raised and I'm not really sure that is what this event was about. I know fundraising is important, but so is raising the energy around a campaign to new levels. Take it from someone who attended her share of campaign events last season, this campaign is energized like I have never seen it before.

There's only one thing left to say:

Go Larry, Go!

[Photo Credits]
Photo #1 by Emily Muse - Congressman Brad Miller, Congressman Artur Davis, Larry Kissell
Photo #2 by Emily Muse - Larry Kissell with Congressman Artur Davis
Photo #3 by SD - Larry Kissell
Photo#4 by SD - Thomas Brock, Marshall Adame & Tony Park (Marshall's campaign manager)
Photo #5 by Becky Gomer - SD/Betsy Muse and Chris Bowers from MyDD

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Monday, March 19, 2007

Kissell and Young Dems at Koury Convention Center in Greensboro

Don't miss two important events this coming Saturday. The Young Democrats of North Carolina will be holding their 2007 Spring Convention in Greensboro with Artur Davis (remember him?) giving the keynote address.

Congressman Brad Miller and Congressman David Price with Larry Kissell

At noon on Saturday there will be a reception fundraiser for Larry Kissell. Tickets are $100 per couple or $50 per person. It will be held in the Koury Center, so will be convenient for conference attendees. I haven't confirmed if you must pay for the convention if you are just going to attend the Kissell reception, but I will check on this. If you can't attend, but would like to offer Larry early support, please visit his web site or go to Act Blue. This is my current page with Larry's new ActBlue account for '07/'08.

The Young Dem convention looks like it is going to be terrific and certainly worth attending. There are more dignitaries attending than I remember seeing at the North Carolina Democratic Convention last July. The basic entry fee is $25 if you are 35 or under or if you are a member of Senior Dems. Teen Dems attend for $20 and f you do not fall within these age groups your rate is $35. You may go here to purchase tickets or donate.

Congressman Artur Davis is the keynote speaker from Alabama's 7th District. He's an enthusiastic Larry Kissell supporter and campaigned for him in Charlotte and promoted him within the DCCC.

Congressman Brad Miller will also be attending as well as the following:

Lt Governor Beverly Perdue

State Treasurer Richard Moore

Judge Linda Stephen - NC Court of Appeals

State Senator Tony Foreist (Alamance, Caswell)

State Senator Steve Goss (Alexander, Ashe, Watauga, Wilkes)

State Senator Joe Sam Queen (Avery, Haywood, Madison, McDowell, Mitchell, Yancey)

State Rep. Maggie Jeffus (Guilford)

State Rep. William Brisson (Bladen, Cumberland)

State Rep. Grier Martin (Wake)

State Rep. Jim Harrell III (Alleghany, Surry)

State Rep Annie Mobley (Hertford)

State Rep Pricey Harrison (Guilford)

State Rep Larry Hall (Durham)

State Rep Ty Harrell (Wake)

State Rep. Ray Warren (Alexander)

State Rep Cullie Tarleton (Watuaga, Ashe)

Mayor Mike Cognac (Marvin, NC)

Mayor Pat Smathers (Canton, NC)

Mayor Keith Holliday (Greensboro, NC)

Town Council Member Eric Lindblade
(Newport, NC)

Mayor Pro-Tem Bernita Sims (High Point, NC)

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Wednesday, March 14, 2007

BlueNC Women on Wednesdays

It's the end of the work day at BlueNC and most of the posts are up for the second BlueNC Women on Wednesdays. We had a great group of submissions. Please head on over and read what our women delivered today for WoW.


Charlotte Observer Maligns Male Koala

The Charlotte Observer's headline, "Koala's Mission: Just Mate" is an insult to male Koala's everywhere. It should be especially insulting to Great, the Koala who has now been labeled as having only sex on his mind. Imagine, a male who thinks of only sex!

The real kicker is, the headline doesn't follow the article. If you read the text you will find that Great indeed has other things on his mind that are more important than sex, like sitting in one place and eating.

Poor Koalas. Just can't get a break with the Observer intent on labeling males as sex-on-the-brain slugs who just want to sit around and eat.


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Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Love me some Larry Kissell

I've been playing around with some software. This is fun. Click to enlarge.

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Sue Myrick Loves her Some Ann Coulter

Over at BlueNC Gregflynn has a couple of posts up highlighting Sue Myrick's love for Ann Coulter. The first is Sue Myrick's Shrine to Ann Coulter.

I found Sue's blog last year, but haven't been back. I forgot about it in my zeal to keep Robin Hayes news front and center. Sues blog had a short life. She lacked consistency - a certain sticktuitiveness that blogging required. [In other words - you have to post more than five times in two years!]

Here are some comments from her introductory post:
Sue,you pledged that you would NOT vote for CAFTA. You signed your name to a letter to Pres. Bush stating that you were Not going to vote for CAFTA. You flat out lied to your constituents. You will not return phone calls or letters from me. My wife has worked in your office as a volunteer. We have supported you, since you got in office. This is how you treat people! Anyone reading this please go to to see how Sue operarates. Sue you rank just above Mel Watt, when it comes to voting on trade issues. You are a disgrace to my district. I am very sorry I voted for someone as dishonest as yourself. Please resign and let someone honorable have your seat. Former supporter

Posted by: David Baldwin | Tuesday, June 28, 2005 at 08:03 PM



I would like to know what, other than 3.5% tax cut as proposed in HR 1769 (and how does that affect the 66% of corporations which did not have to pay taxes anyway due to other "tax cuts" for corporations, you propose to due about our jobs leaving our shores.

Posted by: Roger Lewis | Wednesday, April 21, 2004 at 02:44 PM
From Sue Myrick Runs Cable TV Show we get this comment:
I wonder if Sue will talk about how she voted for many of the spending increases congress has decided to pass along to future generations?

Posted by: Frank | Saturday, March 20, 2004 at 01:47 AM
From a post about Sue supporting fiscal responsibility we get:
Sue Myrick may support lowering taxes but that is because she wants to borrow money in lieu of taxes. Which is essentially a tax on my generation because the sytem is not equipped to handle that much debt. If you want government programs and a strong military than it is your responsibility to pay taxes for them. END OF STORY!
Every politician in Washington talks tough out of both sides of their mouth. Check out these quotes from her website and you will see where I am coming from.

Posted by: young_activist | Thursday, April 13, 2006 at 11:52 AM
Young Activist was 15 when she wrote this comment to Sue Myrick last year. In other words, we have 15 year olds in this country with more fiscal sense than Sue Myrick. She should be embarrassed.

In the comments of the final post, which is about meeting Sara Evans - it's a real issue oriented blog, folks - we have this award winner:
I would just like to thank you for selling out our state by voting for CAFTA. I did receive your email of explanation and, as far as I'm concerned, you are delusional if you think this bill is actually going to help our state.

As for your gubanatorial hopes, I think you might want to rethink that dream. I will be doing everything in my power to convince my friends to vote AGAINST you.

Posted by: Margaret Koonts | Saturday, August 06, 2005 at 04:21 AM
That's right folks. Sue breaks promises. She lies. She embraces homophobes like Ann Coulter.


She might just have some FEC financial reporting issues. Check out Gregflynn's latest post.

PS.....Don't worry about these blog pages and comments disappearing after the Myrick camp finds out we're enjoying them so much. We've archived them. They aren't going anywhere.

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Monday, March 12, 2007

Kevin Siers Outdoes Himself

This cartoon is a must-see.

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Char-Meck Police Recorded Call - Missing Person

It's a little shocking to receive a phone call at 9:30 and see Char Meck Police in the caller ID field. It turned out to be a recorded call about a missing person in our area. I have to admit it. I like this new (?) tactic. Here's what I know:
A 73-year-old man named James Felder is missing in the area of Rebecca Run Drive near Concord Mills Mall. He is African American, 5'3" tall and was last seen wearing a black leather hat and a dark jacket. If you see Mr. Felder - or a man matching this description, please call 911.
I didn't have to wait for the evening news. I wasn't watching television or listening to the radio, so I wouldn't have seen this announcement anyway.

Someone play devil's advocate for me. What's wrong with the police using a robocall to get this type of alert out?

If you're driving around out this way, please keep you eyes peeled for Mr. Felder.

Update:The Charlotte Observer has a short announcement with a picture to help with identifying Mr. Felder. He is an alzheimer's patient.

Walter Jones Better Watch his Back

This man is running for his seat in '08:
Being Brave is something that most of the worlds population are doing just about everyday of their lives. Some to a greater degree than others, but then, bravery is a big word with lots of room.

When I was in Iraq, in 2003, as the CPA Airport Director of Basrah International Airport there were about 400 Iraqi airport employees who officially worked on the airport. Two of those employees worked in my office.

One served as my secretary and the other as bookkeeper. They were young women in their twenties who, before our arrival, had never even seen an American, let alone worked for one. They were bright, highly educated, friendly, spoke English and their clerical skills were beyond reproach. Both were filled with enthusiasm and the desire to learn as much as they could about the new job and about the foreigners, British and American, who had come to rescue them from the clutches of Saddam Hussain.


Being very worried for her safety and the safety of her well known father, I told her to stay home for a week or two, with pay, until things cooled down. To my surprise, she refused and continued to come to work. When I asked her why, she said;

“Mr. Marshall, if they are going to kill me they will do it if I am at home, or if I am at work. If I am to die, I will die standing. I will die as a free Iraqi Christian woman”.

Until that moment, I really did not understand the real life bravery of these people. Summed up in the words of my secretary was the day to day “life and death” reality of the people of Basrah and probably of Iraq.

About two months after that incident a knock came to the front door at the home of the twenty-one year old female clerk, Janet, who worked in my office. With her ten year old little sister at her side they answered the door and were met by a volley of bullets from a Shia militia AK47. Both were killed instantly.

My secretary came to work the very next day.


I will always pray for the people of Iraq, but I will forever love and respect the people of Basrah. When I left Iraq in August of 2006 I brought a piece of Basrah, Iraq home with me. Airport security would not have found it. It is hidden in my heart.

Marshall is blogging at BlueNC on a regular basis. Friendly, intelligent, passionate. Yeah.....Walter Jones had better watch his back.

The story excerpted above can be found here.
Other writings by Marshall Adame can be found at this link.

Here's a little more about him:
Marshall is a retired US Marine Vietnam veteran who became an Aviation Management/Logistics consultant in 1992.

Marshall worked in the Kuwait recovery of 1992-93.

He the Senior Aviation Logistics Manager for Kaman Aerospace in Egypt US Government programs for four years.

Marshall was in Iraq from mid-2003 until late-2006 where:

In 2003 he was the US Coalition Airport Director for Basrah Int'l Airport in Iraq.

In 2004 he was VP for Aviation Development with The Sandi Group Int’l, Iraq.

In 2005 Marshall was a Department of State US Advisor to the Iraqi Ministry of Interior and with the Provincial Reconstruction Teams (PRT) where he was on the staff of the National Coordination Team (NCT) in Baghdad.

Marshall returned to the USA in September 2006 and is currently on staff as a Senior Analyst for a DOD project.

Marshall and his wife Becky (3rd grade teacher) have been married for 37 years and have four children, Paul, Veronica, William and Benjamin, and eleven grandchildren.

Their sons William and Benjamin, served in Iraq in the US Army. William was wounded in action on July 2nd 2006.

Marshall and Becky reside in Jacksonville North Carolina.

Note: Marshall Adame is a likely 2008 Democratic candidate for Congress in NC and is a supporter of John Edwards for President.

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Who Else is Blogging?

It's been a several days since I left the comfy confines of our little community here in search of fresh opinions from bloggers outside our little circle. Before I introduce the new (to me) bloggers I've found out on the web, let me give you African American Political Pundit's new web address. He deleted his old site after transferring his archives. His new home is here.

Through AAPPundit I found Anderson@Large. Faye Anderson is a citizen journalist and freelance writer with considerable credits. Her background bio can be found here. She has mastered the art of saying a lot in a small amount of space. I need to study her technique. :) I didn't get to spend more than ten minutes on her site, but I will visit often. She is an active writer. My favortie post on her front page is titled, "Race Matters". She starts:
The recently released American Community Survey Report shows that black folks are moving on up. African Americans are closing the racial gap in educational attainment, household income and homeownership.

Still, race matters.
Far too many people think that laws prohibiting discrimination are all we need to address discrimination. Probably everybody here at BlueNC knows that isn't the case. Great links in this piece. Give Faye a visit. I guarantee you'll learn something.

For those of us who still feel a good deal of loathing for all things Newt Gingrich, The Field Negro has this gem up from Saturday.
Let's get this out of the way right now; everyone has skeletons in their closet. Hey, it's the American way. After all, how can you seriously "pursue happiness" if there ain't a few skeletons here and there? So unless you are Amish, up for saint hood, or you were born in a manger in a town called Bethlehem, I am guessing you have done some sh** in your life that you are not very proud of.

Which brings me to my friends in the rethuglican party. I think I could tolerate these guys a little more if they weren't such hypocrites. All that preaching about moral virtues and finger pointing at the unholy secular progressives as well as the rest of us heathens, tends to get really old with me, especially if you have some skeletons dancing in your closet your damn self. Take Newt Gingrich for example, the man who led the rethuglican charge to impeach the first black President while all the time getting his freak on with his own little mistress on the side. Now now Newt, that's not nice, pointing your finger at Bill's little indiscretion, and doing who knows what while tucked safely away in your closet. Oh if those closet walls could talk huh Newt.
Please follow the above link. This post is worth it. If you're like me, you will read the entire front page and have a hard time staying away from archives. I have too much to do today, but this site is worth adding to your list of must-reads.

The final visit for today (Yes, I spent too much time playing and reading at other blogs) was to This is a group blog and the name doesn't quite say it all. The writers of the site are professors and I believe are all African American. What the name doesn't tell you is they are all lawyers. Now, if you're like me, that lawyer thing can send you running but this blog is worth a visit. There are several different regular contributors as well as guest writers.

I didn't get to sample a post from each writer, because time is at a premium today, but the front page includes Cherokee Expel Black Cherokee, On Barack: An Open Letter and Kicking Joe out of the Party. In "Kicking Joe Out", Terry Smith has this to say:
Yes, Democrats would lose their majority in the Senate if Lieberman leaves, but here again is the reality: the current Democratic majority in the Senate is too narrow to accomplish much, and anything it does accomplish is likely to be vetoed by a lame-duck but ideologically stubborn President Bush.

When southern Dixicrats like Senator Richard Shelby of Alabama left the Democratic Party to become a Republican in the 1990s, he was merely moving to the party that best fit his voting behavior. For Lieberman, the war in Iraq is a litmus test of his own making. The Party should call his bluff.
Amen. I couldn't have said it better myself. Actually, I haven't said it better myself.

One of the things I've discovered is there simply aren't enough hours in the day to read all of the really good blogs that are being published. I'm trying to check back in on all those I've highlighted at least once a week. Give the above blogs a visit and tell me what you think.

NAFTA Highway

I haven't had a chance to do much with this story, but African American Political Pundit has a piece on it with an interesting perspective. Give him a visit. He's been busy with a move from his old site.


Walter Reed Atrocities Nothing Compared to Salisbury VA Hospital

Walter Reed might have had mold, water damage and other depressing problems, but unexplained deaths, undiagnosed fatal illnesses, manipulated records? According to the Charlotte Observer:
U.S. Rep. Mel Watt called Friday for a review of "suspicious deaths" at the Charlotte area's main veterans' hospital after learning of a federal report that concluded some surgical care was "marginal at best."

Two other N.C. members of Congress said they were disturbed by the report and will talk with House colleagues about how to proceed.

The 2005 report, obtained this week by the Observer, found doctors and nurses at the Hefner VA Medical Center in Salisbury were poorly trained, cut corners on treatment, manipulated records and didn't talk enough with patients and families.
That's right. The report is from 2005. It was lost somewhere in government channels.

For more news about and for veterans from the perspective of veterans, check in on BlueNC. It appears there are quite a few veterans who are regular writers and commenters. Anglico is proposing a Veteran's Day set aside for veterans to post diaries and have them front-paged. I think it's a wonderful idea and it brought several lurkers out into the open. Obviously, others agree with me.....or I agree with them.

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Wednesday, March 07, 2007

Diminishing Economic Prospects for Rural North Carolina

The numbers are in and the story they tell isn't pretty for the hundreds of thousands of men and women who have traditionally served as the backbone for North Carolina's workforce.

According to a recent assessment from the North Carolina Commission on Workforce Development the demand for "middle" jobs, those jobs that provide a family-sustaining wage without rquiring a formal education, has seen a serious reduction and job growth is concentrated in urban areas. The "State of the North Carolina Workforce" report does not assign blame, but does confirm what many of us already knew. It isn't a pretty picture for rural workers and the future isn't looking much brighter.

There are eight key trends that are outlined in the executive summary of the report. Over the next couple of weeks I will go through this report in detail. Today, I would simply like to highlight the key trends.
• Many of North Carolina’s traditional manufacturing industries continue to shed jobs as part of an on-going economic transition.
"On-going economic transition" sounds benign but refers to the outsourcing of America's jobs to cheaper foreign labor sources. The culprits are the numerous free trade agreements pushed by Bush and passed by the Republican Congress over the past several years. These free trade agreements have also been supported by many Democrats.

The election in November 2006 may have brought a new balance of power to this issue, but is it too late to undo the damage these free trade agreements have already caused to rural areas of North Carolina? What corrective action should be taken by national, state and local governments as well as chambers of commerce and local business leaders? Do we repeal free trade agreements or do we curtail passing future trade agreements until the damage is assessed and corrective action is taken?
• North Carolina’s traditional “middle jobs”—those that paid a family-sustaining wage and required minimal formal education or training—are disappearing as part of this transition.
Here is further proof, in black and white that there is a war on middle income earners. The current increases in minimum wage will not solve the problems caused by the loss of middle wage jobs. There is a big difference between a minimum wage and a living wage. Most official definitions of "living wage" I find put it at 120% to 130% of the federal poverty line for a family of four. With the poverty line around $19,000/year in North Carolina, that puts the living wage around $25,000 for a family of four. Just how far does a family of four go on $25,000/year? Will this pay medical bills, dental, vision, food, clothing, housing, savings or provide for a college education for the kids? How do we make sure our economic growth brings along as many minimum and living wage workers as possible?
• New job creation is concentrating in certain fast-growing metropolitan areas.
For those of us who live in these metropolitan areas this might seem like good news, but the growth in population that follows the growth in the job market is providing its own challenges in areas like transportation, housing and education. Of course, these issues are preferable to the alternative reality that many of our rural communities are facing.
• Many areas of North Carolina are not prospering from the economic transformation.
In the past election we heard quite a bit about some of the rural communities included in NC's 8th Congressional District. Some of these areas lose so much of their tax base after a major mill closing that it isn't just the workers but the town itself that suffers. What can we do in the immediate future to help these areas prepare to attract new business?
• The future prosperity of all North Carolinians depends on achieving higher educational attainment levels for all citizens.
The new jobs coming to North Carolina require a better educated workforce. While the education level attained for the average North Carolinian has increased over the past 15 years, we still trail the nation. This will have to change for North Carolina to continue to attract high-tech businesses and for these businesses to hire workers currently living in the state. How will our financially stressed rural workforce and those living at or below the poverty level afford to send their children to college so they can participate in the economic growth of North Carolina?
• Impending baby-boom retirements will exacerbate an emerging skills gap among experienced, skilled workers.
This tells us which age group a large concentration of our highly skilled workers is in. Will we have the workforce needed to sustain current and future economic growth in 10, 15, 20 years? How do we plan for this?
• High-skill in-migrants will help fill part, but not all, of this skills gap.
Currently, the United States is not very selective about the people allowed to migrate to the United States however highly skilled migrants account for a fairly high percentage of successful businesses. According to a study at Duke (via Contacto Magazine):
"Immigrant entrepreneurs founded 25.3 percent of the U.S. engineering and technology companies established in the past decade...... What's more, foreign nationals -- those living in the United States who are not citizens -- contributed to an estimated 24.2 percent of international patent applications in 2006."
What does this mean for the immigration process? Do we fast-track those with certain skills or advanced degrees? Do we worry about whether that's fair to the huddling masses?
• Low-skill in-migrants present both opportunities and challenges in meeting the state’s workforce needs.
If the middle income jobs are a thing of the past, will there be greater competition for the lower income jobs if we allow the current level of unskilled migrant workers to continue? What other stresses does that put on our economy? Does the good outweigh the bad? I'm not talking about what is humane or fair to those in our country illegally. What is the economic impact? What does it mean for the future economy of North Carolina? Can we meet the needs of our legal citizens if the current level of those here illegally remains constant or increases?

Obviously, I don't have all the answers, but I hope to interview the men and women who do. I have put together interview questions that I will email to as many elected officials and prospective elected officials as I can. I have already contacted a few and they seem eager to join in the conversation. I have been researching each of these trends and will address each in detail. Look for the first installment on free trade early next week.

Tuesday, March 06, 2007

Exclusive Interview with Liddy Dole - WNCNN

This is hilarious. The good folks at WNCNN have landed an interview with the Empty Wig herself. This was originally posted at BlueNC.

Maggots on the Mall in Raleigh

Gregflynn has an excellent post with pictures of the homophobic crowd in Raleigh marching to keep marriage between one man and one a time. Apparently at least one thinks marrying a dog is preferrable to marrying some humans. Head on over to BlueNC to see coverage of the Frigid Fidelity Fundies in Raleigh.

Saturday, March 03, 2007

Kick-Ass Women and their Kick-Ass Blogs

This past week I promised a discussion of and links to women bloggers. There's this little thing called time that keeps slipping on by and I'm just getting around to it. I'm sorry if you've been waiting by your computer, refreshing every few seconds to see what SD has to say about women and blogging. (He he he ha ha ha - I really do have a firm grasp on reality!)

I tried to set myself a time limit after spending over six hours lost in reading blogs written by African Americans and American Indians. My time limit didn't work. I realize I won't be able to do this every day, but there are some amazing blogs written by extraordinary, ordinary people - all skin colors, genders, ethnicities.

For today's collection, I skipped going to Blogher and headed straight for our own NC Blog Index. Shame on you if you haven't been checking out our own blogroll. The great thing about the NC Blog Index is people can add their own blog to the list. They don't need an invitation, just the desire to register for the site and add their name to the list.

The newest addition to the NC Blog Index just happens to be written by a woman. She has been registered here for over two months as nctodc. The name of her blog is Ripples of Hope. She is from North Carolina and lives in D.C. "All Wet" was written in July of '05 and has a great response to Ken Mehlman's apology for the Southern Strategy.

While she lives in D.C. nctodc writes about North Carolina Politics. This entry, on the NC Governor's race is very interesting. It begins:
It’s not often that I agree with Chuck Todd and John Mercurio’s opinions on Hotline TV, so last week when Mercurio mentioned North Carolina as a possible bright spot for the Republican Party” in 2008, I didn’t think much of it–they’re wrong a lot.

But then, Nathan Gonzales, political editor of the Rothenberg Political Report included North Carolina’s governorship on its watchlist for ‘08. Now admittedly, the Rothenberg Report isn’t at all authoritative in its conclusion, but it, combined with John Mercurio’s statements, gives me pause.

For fear that someone without knowledge of the Old North State, might actually take them seriously, let me offer this simple retort: it ain’t gonna happen.
She has great insight on NC politics, interned for Edwards in '04 and has positive things to say about Obama. Oh....and she likes ACC basketball.

I don't have to say too much about the next visit on the blogroll. Drama Queen takes care of that for us. However, I will encourage you to check the 10th District blog, Pat go bye-bye as frequently as you can. Stop in and leave a few comments and send the link to your friends.

DQ has started something that is sure to catch on big, so make sure she knows if/when you see anything about Patty McLapDog. (Thanks Working for Change!) Don't miss this post by micandacam, who has registered here at BlueNC under that same userid. It's a nice summary of McLapDog's accomplishments. heh heh

Another BlueNC community member, Carolina Girl, has an individual blog titled, Citizen Journalist Review. This site is very easy to navigate. It's relatively young and CG is doing a nice job. The content is heavy on John Edwards, because (as we all should know by now) Carolina Girl is an Edwards supporter. Head on over and scroll through the categories on the right. She also has non-JRE content like this post on NC's environment.

The final blog for today's roundup is also found on our NC Blog Index. Commentaries by Cynthia is not a purely political blog, but is very nicely written and a fun blog to read through. Do scroll down below her initial statement and family collage for newer content. The top date threw me off - thought maybe the blog hadn't been updated, but it has. If you scroll through the pages you will find that Cynthia has written a book and writes a monthly column. Her BlueNC userid is Cynthia Elle.

I promise to do this as often as I can find the time. Just a quick highlight and link. It's fun, but very time consuming. There are so many good blogs out there it's hard to tear myself away to get back to my own writing.

Happy Saturday, Y'all!


Thursday, March 01, 2007

Charlotte 14-yr-old Quoted in Paper Calls McHenry Childish

Their sentiments ran from sympathy to outrage when asked about the Pelosi Plane issue that was inflated by GOP whiners like Adam Putnam, Fl-12 and Patrick McHenry, NC-10. The Mecklenburg and Stanly County teens who responded were almost all male and almost all sympathetic to the travel needs of Nancy Pelosi.

The Charlotte Observer has made my day with this piece in the editorial section. Let me give you a taste of what was said, but you do need to follow the link and read them all. This will look like a long quote, but it is only small snippets from some of the students.
Q. Speaker of the House of Representatives Nancy Pelosi, the first woman speaker, was criticized recently for requesting access to an Air Force transport plane. Former Speaker Dennis Hastert flew in a military jet as well for security reasons. The speaker of the House is third in line for the presidency. The transport is a bigger plane than Hastert's though and critics, including North Carolina's Rep. Patrick McHenry, called the request a luxury and environmentally bad. But the House sergeant-at-arms, who helps oversee security for the House, suggested that flying nonstop would be the safest way home to California for Pelosi. That non-stop flight requires a bigger plane. The White House has called the controversy much ado about nothing. Pelosi said she is "happy to ride commercial if the plane provided doesn't go coast to coast." Some have called the controversy sexist, noting that Pelosi deserves the same consideration that the male Hastert got. But critics persist, saying Pelosi wants a larger plane to fly cronies and top political donors. What do you think?

Bryan Grossman, 20, UNC Chapel Hill: I find it comical that a man such as Rep. Patrick Mchenry would suggest something of that nature. .........Shouldn't a representative from North Carolina talk about North Carolina? Shouldn't he be talking about corruption within his own party that caused Republican seats to be lost in an election? Shouldn't he talk about a war that his party was responsible for directing?.........

Alex Li, 17, Charlotte Latin School, Charlotte: I think that Pelosi has every right to request safe passage home, even if that means riding in an Air Force transport plane. If the sergeant-at arms believes that flying nonstop is the safest way home, then there shouldn't be much of an argument. ........Any criticism that she receives is either from sexists or from Republicans.......

Julie Flanagan, 16, home-schooled, Charlotte: Frankly, I am a little upset that we are pouring this much time into such a non-important question. ............

Jacob Keady, 12, Marvin Ridge Middle School, Waxhaw: I think speaker Pelosi should have accesss to a larger plane, only for security purposes. .........The reason I think she is being criticized is because she is a Democrat. Of course, she could be being critized because she is a woman. Belive it or not, sexism has been in the United States since it's birth. [SD - He's 12 people....this kid is freaking 12 years old!]

Khevna Desai, 14, School of Math, Engineering, Technology, and Science @ Olympic High, Charlotte: Former speaker of the house Dennis Hasert flew in the military jet for security reasons. His plane was smaller because he needed transportation from Illinois, to Washington D.C. Pelosi needs a bigger plane because it has been found necessary for security reasons, to fly non-stop. Rep. Patrick McHenry is being childish instead of concentrating on more important matters. The criticism is misguided. If the critics have such a problem with the matter, instead of stirring up controversy they should talk to those in charge of her transportation and security. I think that Pelosi is being criticized because she is a woman, and a Democrat.

Peter Thao, 15, North Stanly High School, New London: If the House Sergeant-at-Arms office wants Nancy Pelosi to take a military plane, then why can't she take the C-32 plane? She said she would be happy to take a commercial plane, but the House Sergeant-at-arms office keeps urging her to take a military plane............

Evan Heilig, 14, North Stanly High School, New London: I do think that Nancy Pelosi should be able to have the Air Force transport to take her to California. I think that people are just being sexist, and they just need to back off. Mrs. Pelosi has got a really stressful job and one of the most important jobs at that. This is a new age, and I believe that women should have the right to have just as much as men. Mrs. Pelosi works just as hard as any other person with that job, so she should be able to have the rewards that come with it.

Believe it or not, there's quite a bit more. A large majority of the kids seemed to understand the issue as it was presented and a couple had knowledge beyond that presented in the question posed by the Observer.

Sure, there are some grammar and spelling problems, but more importantly it seems that these kids have a better grasp of this issue than most adults - including most of the reporters who acted as stenographers for the whining wingnuts in Washington.

Please head on over to the Observer and enjoy reading the responses. There are only a couple that appeared to be written by kool-aid kids and that's with a large number of responses from heavily Republican Stanly County.

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