James's blog

Pigs have wings

I'm shocked, shocked I tell you, to discover I have a shred of agreement with Johnny Be Hood over at the Carolina Journal. Mr. Hood apparently doesn't approve of the shady back-roominess swirling around Speaker Jim Black . . . and I personally have called on Black to resign his leadership position immediately. Just goes to show you, anything is possible.

But here's the real question for Hood: If shady dealings are cause for alarm in the North Carolina legislature, shouldn't they be cause for alarm everywhere? And shouldn't the elected officials involved be called on to step down?

Impeachment . . . the best litmus test?

In a stunning display of common ground, conservative wingers and liberal wackos alike are concluding that George Bush just might have broken the law with his domestic spying scheme. Cities all across America are calling for accountability. Because only way to get to the bottom of it is to investigate Bush's actions thoroughly and objectively.

Yet many of North Carolina's Congressional representatives don't seem bothered by the fact that the President may be breaking laws. And that bothers me tremendously.

So dear representatives . . . here is the question of the day: Do you want to find out if Bush broke the law . . . or not?

Mark and John

I've had two big days. Last night I was at a meeting where John Edwards spoke. Tonight I enjoyed the company of Mark Warner. I have gotten a glimpse of the new face of the Democratic Party . . . and I like it a lot. These guys are focused on competence and integrity, results and resolve. Grounded in an honest understanding of real people's lives, they are working hard to build the common ground that unites us.

That's what BlueNC is about too.

As we countdown to November 7 - exactly nine months from today - I am more inspired and excited than I've been in years. It is a privilege to be on this journey with all of you.

Wonder of wonders

Dear John Hood.

Imagine my surprise today to discover you're defending George Bush and his wire-tapping scheme for domestic spying.

In the domestic-spying case, I tend to side with the Bush administration, albeit warily. As I understand it, no one doubts that the president has the inherent right as commander-in-chief to assign personnel to spy on the nation’s enemies abroad without obtaining a court’s permission. It would be absurd to suggest that the president can order a terrorist killed but can’t order his phone tapped. The difficulty lies when a suspect communicates with someone within the United States. I think the world of modern communication makes it impractical to operate as if Sarah were still operating the switchboard in Mayberry.

So you're going to have a baby!

Dearest North Carolina.

I hate to break it to you like this in a blog, but I have important news. We're pregnant. That's right, friends. We. Are. Pregnant.

On November 7th, exactly nine months from tomorrow, we will deliver a new Senate and a new House of Representatives into this chaotic world. On that day, as we make that one final and exhausting push toward parenthood, Boards of Elections all across our state will start counting ballots to determine who gets to control the next United States Congress.

So here's some advice. Let's stop drinking and smoking and clean up our acts. Let's get focused and stay focused . . . unless we want to give birth to another Republican monstrosity.

Dear Congressman Watt:

I know you're taking a wait and see attitude on this issue, but you might want to reconsider whether you think Dear Leader broke the law with his illegal wiretapping scheme. Especially now that this unlikely fellow seems to disagree with you. I know he's only the chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee and all, but he might just have a point.

Sen. Arlen Specter, whose committee has scheduled hearings Monday on the National Security Agency program, said he believes the administration violated a 1978 law specifically calling for a secretive court to consider and approve such monitoring. Specter, R-Pa., said he might consider subpoenas for administration documents that would detail its legal justification for the program.

Testing my resolve

Just when I'm working on being Mr. Nice Guy, Steve Ford at the N&O comes along with a column today and ruins everything. His effusive and lame defense of our Imperial Presidency is astonishing . . . and downright sad.

How disgusted am I? Let me count the ways.

1. Creepy. I won't debase our pages by recounting most of his sorry prose. Suffice it to say: waste of paper and ink. You'll have to follow the link if you want the whole story.

2. Uninformed. "President Bush's anti-terrorism electronic surveillance program -- the one that's being roasted as warrantless, domestic wiretapping -- is supposed to be targeted against people suspected of having some link to al-Qaeda. But given the size and acuity of the NSA's electronic ears, wouldn't a conversation with someone overseas in which bin Laden's name cropped up be likely to get the eavesdroppers' attention?"

Energy progress

I'm hearing much that is encouraging from the progressive grassroots in North Carolina. This latest resolution on our state's energy future is one of many positive signs. It is sensible, practical, careful and thoughtful (as distinguished from Dear Leader's ridiculously flip-flopping rhetoric).

Here's the resolution itself:

2006 North Carolina Energy Future Resolution

Whereas North Carolina is at a critical energy crossroads,

And whereas applications for the construction of new nuclear and coal generating plants are being submitted,

And whereas comprehensive energy conservation and efficiency policies can potentially reduce or replace the need for new nuclear and coal generating plants,

First, do no harm

You have to laugh when lieutenants in Art Pope's right-wing militia start getting philosophical. This latest from one of the clones reveals hypocrisy taken to new heights.

The subject in this case is property rights. And before we dive in, let me say that I generally agree with the wingers on some key issues here. Standing in for John Hood today, Daren Bakst writes:

This is a critical time for private property rights in North Carolina. The work the committee does now could affect North Carolinians for generations to come. If the committee members do cause harm and make mistakes, it is much better that they err on the side of protecting individual rights than ensuring that government has necessary power.

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