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Votes of Our Congressional Reps on Federal Funding for Stem Cell Research

Here are the votes on HR-3, The Stem Cell Research Enhancement Act.

The only vote that was previously undeclared was Heath Shuler's "NO" vote. The total votes were 253 votes "Yea," and 174 votes "No," which is 37 votes short of what it will take to override Bush's promised veto.

District 01 Butterfield, G K (D) - Yea
District 02 Etheridge, Bob (D) - Yea
District 03 Jones, Walter B Jr (R) - No
District 04 Price, David (D) - Yea
District 05 Foxx, Virginia (R) - No
District 06 Coble, Howard (R) - Yea
District 07 McIntyre, Mike (D) - No
District 08 Hayes, Robin (R) - No
District 09 Myrick, Sue (R) - No
District 10 McHenry, Patrick (R) - No
District 11 Shuler, Heath (D) - No

District 12 Watt, Melvin L (D) - Yea
District 13 Miller, Brad (D) - Yea

Open Thread: Miscellaneous Notes


In a survey printed in The Herald Sun, each member of North Carolina's congressional delegation was asked whether or not they supported George Bush's escalation of the war in Iraq. With the defection of Congressmen Howard Coble and Walter Jones, support even among Republicans is beginning to wane. What was particularly interesting, however, was Sen. Elizabeth Dole's remark which carefully avoided offering strong support for the increased troop commitment.

I am inclined to support the president's overall plan to make economic revitalization and reconstruction in Iraq a higher priority and to increase the U.S. troop presence to help the Iraqi government impose its authority, weaken the militias, and bolster reconstruction. As a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee... I want to know more details about the specific missions these men and women will perform, and how this new direction will get the job done, stabilize Iraq, and allow our troops in harm's way to return home.

Does that sound like a ringing endorsement to you?

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In The News & Observer there was a similar poll of how members of congress come down on the issue of federal support for embryonic stem cell research. Note that Rep. Mike McIntyre intends to vote once more against federal funding, but he avoided discussing his personal opinion. Instead the article specifies that...

McIntyre said in an interview last week that Democratic leaders know how important it is for members to be able to vote their constituents' needs. And McIntyre will vote against the measure again, his spokesman said Wednesday.

Looks like the citizens of his district made him do it. Poor man.

Third Time Not The Charm for Terrence Boyle



This morning, after two previous failed attempts at promotion to the federal appeals court, Federal District Judge Terrence Boyle of North Carolina smelled the coffee, and ordered tea instead. He submitted a letter to George Bush asking that his nomination be withdrawn.

He was among the four judges considered so extreme in their views by the previous congress that their appointments failed to earn consideration. With a landslide Democratic victory in the last election it became obvious that this congress was not about to try what previous congresses had found impossible.

According to Ralph Neas, president of "People for The American Way," Terence Boyle is "a judicial disaster... and his rulings reflect a judicial philosophy that is very damaging to the rights of average Americans."

Wake Forest And The Debate on Funding Stem Cell Research

There is an important development in the debate on federal support for stem cell research that has a North Carolina connection. Dr. Anthony Atala, head of Wake Forest's regenerative medicine institute, announced a breakthrough that suggests stem cells drawn from the amniotic fluid donated by pregnant women could be a substitute for many of the research purposes previously reserved for embryonic stem cells.

Until now the issue over stem cell research has centered almost exclusively on stem cells extracted from fertilized human eggs harvested from clinics that specialize in in vitro fertilization. The objection to the use of these fertilized eggs by both the religious right and the Catholic Church has been based upon their common belief that life begins at conception.

Open Thread: Miscellaneous Notes

Republican NC Senator Harris Blake said that his top priority in the next legislative session is to "...free the counties from the obligation of Medicaid costs." Is it cynical to wonder if Sen. Blake has an alternate method of funding in mind to cover these costs? Could he just be wanting to do away with Medicaid obligations?

Did you know that Rep. David Price is co-chair of the Democratic Party committee that establishes the calendar for presidential primaries? Price is quoted in The New York Sun as saying that California could move its primary up to February 5th without running afoul of party rules.

June Atkinson With Nothing To Do



Remember June Atkinson? She was the Democratic candidate in 2004 for State Superintendent of Public Instruction. You might also remember she won that election, but her opponent, a Republican creature named Bill Fletcher, contested her victory and mounted a long drawn out legal fight.

The election was close, but the decision was clear. Never-the-less, Fletcher refused to give up and the battle through the courts cost both political parties a fortune and prevented June Atkinson from taking office until late in 2005.

You might assume all of that would be frustration enough for someone like Dr. Atkinson who has terrific qualifications and a strong desire to serve. After all, she campaigned all across the state and enjoyed high hopes for her aggressive agenda to improve the schools.

Mathew Gross - Web Maven to John Edwards


In today's Greensboro News-Record is a nice profile of Mathew Gross, the internet guru for the John Edwards' campaign. Those of us who are refugees from Howard Dean's roller coaster quest of 2004 remember Mathew's efforts fondly. For many of us, if not most, our first substantial contact with the Howard Dean campaign came through the now legendary web presence that Mathew invented.

Back before Gov. Dean announced his high octane opposition to the war, and his intention to evict the "current occupant" from 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, Mathew was a riverboat guide in Moab, Utah. Equal parts outrage and irrational idealism caused him to drive 2,300 miles non-stop to the front door of Dean's campaign headquarters in Burlington, Vermont.

What's The Truth in The Charlotte Observer?



According to The Charlotte Observer, the state's budget forecast has gone from optimistic and rosy to absolutely desperate in the space of eleven days.

First let me give you the good news as we once knew it. That version was reported on December 26th in an article by J. Andrew Curliss entitled "N.C. Tax Income Exceeding Plan, Commitments Loom: Easley purposefully used conservative collection figure"...

Nearing the halfway point of the state's budget year, it appears the government will bring in more money from taxes and fees than it had planned....

Receipts in the state's general fund budget were $130 million to $160 million ahead of the forecast over the first five months of the fiscal year, when about $7.1 billion was due to be collected, according to a legislative research budget report.

Curliss goes on to offer one tiny bit of caution when he reports that Rep. Jim Crawford, one of the legislature's chief budget writers, says that while the news that collections are ahead of pace is promising, there are no signs that the income will cover all of the predicted deficit.

"Gotcha" Journalism and Heath Shuler



There is a game in politics with the sole purpose of generating conflict. It's a game so effective at making sparks fly, and setting politicians up for certain failure, that the media loves to play it as well.

After all, no story attracts more attention than one that caresses the picture of a car wreck, with fire everywhere, dozens dead and injured, a drunk stumbling from the scene. Many political writers gauge their success by how close their work mimics the report of that car wreck. Barbara Barrett, Washington corespondent for The News & Observer is one of them.

So exactly what is this game designed to produce a wreck? It's setting up a false dichotomy in which a politician has only two choices, each of which makes absolutely no sense and both of which lead to political disaster. For instance, on any given issue the politician d'jour is faced with this binary choice...

Conservatives Arise!


An announcement that appears in the Greenville Daily Reflector's community news section...

Dole adviser to speak

Jonathan Brooks, senior adviser to Sen. Elizabeth Dole, will speak at Conservatives, Arise! Political Action Committee at 6:30 p.m. Jan. 16 at the Riverside Steak Bar, 2301 Stantonsburg Road (across from Doctors' Park). Brooks, a political strategist, will give a power point presentation on the results of the November election and how and why the voters voted as they did across the country. For more information, call Joe Sturz at 321-8838.

Everyone interested in a deft demonstration of self-justification combined with an explanation of how the obvious isn't really so is invited to attend. Please note: No questions regarding Sen. Dole's belly flop while chairing the National Republican Senatorial Committee will be invited.

("Conservatives Arise!"... doesn't that sound like something to say over a tomb?)

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