Fred Smith's Snow Job

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One of the remarkable things about politics is how easily a hot steaming pile of malarkey passes for substance. Take Fred Smith (please), whose recent campaign stop in Greenville brought into sharp focus how bereft of ideas the man is really is. Not only that, he's also...how can I say this politely...a liar.

While the campaign bus painted with his face meanders across the state, N.C. Sen. Fred Smith is drawing a straight line in his bid to be governor. On one side of that line is state government, which "liberal Democrats" believe is the state's strength, he said Tuesday night at J.H. Rose High School.

I daresay I know quite a few more "liberal Democrats" than Mr. Smith ever will, and I can tell you without equivocation that NONE of them believe government is the state's strength, whatever the hell that means. We simply believe that government has a legitimate role in fostering the common good and helping those in need. And apparently, Fred Smith believes that too. Why else would he have raked in $43 million in state highway contracts last year alone? Fred Smith is a master at slopping at the public trough, even as he lambastes the mean ol' government for even existing.

Even Less Merit

It's a common practice for state officials to use the privileges of their offices to promote themselves and their ambitions. We've seen plenty of it on both sides of the aisle over the past couple of years, but that doesn't make it right. Yet no matter how much of that shady behavior you've witnessed in the past, there's something about the way Less Merit does it that will rankle even the most cynical soul.

The Dome has the story, which broke as a result of Leslie launching a new website to tell North Carolina citizens that he's (cough, cough) doing his job of tracking down fraud, waste and abuse.

The problem with Leslie's approach is that it doesn't even begin to pass the smell test of having an arm's length distance from his political ambitions. Specifically, the new site includes a freakin' BIOGRAPHY of the two-faced watchdog himself - and it reads like a campaign commercial with an open HTML tag!

Les, a native and lifelong resident of North Carolina, was born & raised on a farm in rural Sampson County. He went on to attend North Carolina State University, earning degrees in both Economics and Accounting. Les is a Certified Public Accountant (CPA) and Certified Financial Planner (CFP). Prior to being elected State Auditor, he served as president of Merritt, Petway, Mills & Hockaday, an accounting and auditing firm with offices in Zebulon and Raleigh.

Les and his wife, Cheryl, live in the Town of Zebulon in eastern Wake County. He has served as president of the Zebulon Elementary School PTA, the Zebulon Rotary Club and the Zebulon Lions Club and as a director with the Zebulon Chamber of Commerce. Les and Cheryl Merritt are members of Zebulon Baptist Church and have two adult children, Dale and Brooke.

Etheridge to Vote for S-CHIP

I just received the below press release from my congressman, Rep. Etheridge, and he is going to vote for S-CHIP. What a great turn of events. Congrats to everyone who wrote, called, emailed, and railed. Here is the press release:

Etheridge to Vote for S-CHIP Veto Override

WASHINGTON – U.S. Rep. Bob Etheridge (D-Lillington) today announced that he will vote to override the President’s veto of H.R. 976, the Children's Health Insurance Program Reauthorization Act of 2007. Etheridge strongly supports the State Children’s Health Insurance Program, but voted against the legislation on September 24 because it would be funded by a 61-cent tobacco tax increase.

BREAKING NEWS: 8th Congressional District to Host January 2008 NCDP State Executive Committee meeting!

Having 800+ Democratic activists, candidates, campaign supporters, and media land in the heart of the 8th Congressional District will not only send strong signals to Robin Hayes that he should pack his bags to leave Washington. ...

Sign here

The Nation has a short article reporting the names of US House members who have signed a letter saying "NO" to George Bush's request for more funding for the US occupation of Iraq.

The essential document in the current Iraq debate is a letter of commitment, now endorsed by 89 members of the House, that says the signers "will only support appropriating additional funds for U.S. military operations in Iraq during FY08 and beyond for the protection and safe redeployment of U.S. troops out of Iraq before the end of President Bush's term in office."

I don't expect guys like Shuler, McIntyre or Etheridge to give a damn that We the People want our armed forces redeployed out of Iraq, so I won't even bother questioning their pathetic positions. But I do want to know why David Price and Brad Miller are willing to go along with Bush's murderous game. Only Congressmen Butterfield and Watt have signed the letter.

PS So much for Walter Jones and his bullshit happy-talk about ending the war.


One hour

I spent one hour yesterday talking with Jim Neal in his home. We mostly talked about life. And here's what I learned.

On family. Jim Neal raised his two sons as a single parent for 15 or so years. I met one of his sons, who is a bright and warm young man. It was clear that both father and son adore each other. As a person who myself was a single parent for many years, I know what it takes to do what he's done. That should tell you all you need to know about Jim Neal's family values.

Fresh Clean Open Thread

What's going on in your back yard?

It's campaign season locally. I'm having a hard time getting into it. The realtor's association has anti home and land tax signs up. Local Republican government wants the transfer tax, but no telling how the voters will go. I have a lot to learn about Union County politics.

Does anyone else have the transfer tax on the ballot? Anyone? Everyone?

Larry Kissell holds his own in 3rd Q fundraising, Robin Hayes loses ground

First let me say right from the start that I would love to have seen Larry Kissell bring in $500,000 this quarter. He brought in a little over $80,000 to put toward 2008 and he brought in almost $30,000 to pay off debt from last cycle's efforts. Kissell raised over $110,000 and he did not lose ground, he did not go into debt, he's well ahead of where he was this quarter last cycle and his poll numbers are kicking ass.

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