Jim Black Hits the Fan

What will we see in statewide politics this year? Looks like a healthy dose of Jim Black bashing. It started here:

ASHEVILLE — Republicans on Monday showed support for party candidates and pledged to root out corruption in state politics.

Nearly 100 people attended the Lincoln-Reagan Day reception and dinner at Asheville’s Crest Center, the biggest annual fundraising event for the Buncombe County Republican Party.

Past dinners have raised $7,000 to $10,000. George Keller, chairman of the Buncome County Republican Party, said he could not say how much the event raised Monday.

More Bush Smoke and Mirrors

If you can stand more deception from the Bush administration (or even if you cannot but like reading about it) there is a great article here:

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The Energy Department said it has come up with $5 million to immediately restore jobs cut at a renewable energy laboratory President George W. Bush will visit on Tuesday, avoiding a potentially embarrassing moment as the president promotes his energy plan.

Drilling for Oil Off the North Carolina Coast

We have been discussing the assault on our national forests on this site for the last week, but there is another attack on the environment of North Carolina being launched in the Federal Legislature. The N&O chronicles the attempts to open the Atlantic Coast to oil drilling for the first time since the 80's:

"I would say that on the East Coast, North Carolina is the most vulnerable state in this equation," said Richard Charter, co-chairman of the National Outer Continental Shelf Coalition, a collection of conservationists, fishing groups and local governments.

David Sedaris on Middle-Class Art Collecting in Raleigh, NC

Very amusing. Link below the quote.

As for the others, the Edna Hibels and Stephen Whites, they were the sort whose work was advertised in ARTnews rather than Artforum, their paintings and lithographs “proudly shown” alongside wind chimes at places with names like the Screeching Gull, or Desert Sunsets, galleries almost always located in a vacation spot. I tried pointing this out to my parents, but they wouldn’t hear it. Maybe today my art-history teacher drew a blank on Bradlington, but after his liver gave out she’d sure as hell know who he was. “That’s the way it works sometimes,” my father said. “The artist is only appreciated after he’s dead. Look at van Gogh!”

North Carolina Shoulders Larger Burden of The War

This is a old article but i felt it was worthy! Dan
SPECIAL INSTITUTE REPORT: North Carolina Shoulders Larger Share of War BurdenChris KrommInstitute for Southern StudiesJuly 28, 2005(The following was released the day President Bush gave a speech before 700 soldiers at Fort Bragg in North Carolina)DURHAM, N.C. – As President George W. Bush prepares to issue an address in Fort Bragg, N.C. tonight to shore up flagging public support for the Iraq war, a new analysis by the Institute for Southern Studies finds that North Carolina is shouldering a disproportionate burden of the war’s costs in fallen troops.“North Carolina takes pride in being the country’s ‘most military-friendly state,’” said Chris Kromm, director of the non-profit, non-partisan Institute. “Unfortunately, our analysis shows that soldiers deploying from North Carolina – as well as their families and military communities – have paid dearly for the association.” Among the findings drawn from news reports and Department of Defense data:* Of the over 1,930 U.S. troops that have been killed in Iraq and Afghanistan, more than 230 have been based in North Carolina – over 12% of the nation's war fatalities, or nearly one out of eight U.S. soldiers killed overseas.* Over 100 Army soldiers and 120 Marines from North Carolina bases have died in the two conflicts. Thirty-five of the troops that have died in Iraq were born in North Carolina.* Over 2,200 of the Army’s 82nd Airborne, based at Fort Bragg, are deployed in Iraq and Afghanistan. The division has seen over 40 soldiers killed and 450 injured in the two wars.* North Carolina has sent one of the largest detachments of National Guard troops to Iraq: deployment peaked at 6,000 in January 2005, the largest mobilization for the state since World War II. With the recent return of the National Guard’s 30th Heavy Separate Brigade, the deployment now stands at 2,700.* The North Carolina presence in Iraq will remain significant for the foreseeable future: The Pentagon recently announced that 7,500 to 8,000 members of Fort Bragg’s 18th Airborne Corps will be deployed early next year to take over day-to-day operations in Iraq. They will replace the 3rd Corps from Fort Hood, Texas in directing the Multinational Corps-Iraq. In addition, part of the 82nd Airborne’s 2nd Brigade is slated to deploy to Afghanistan in May.North Carolina’s close military ties reflect a pattern seen throughout the Southern U.S. A 2002 study by the Institute for Southern Studies found that 42% of U.S. troops were born in 13 Southern states, and 56% were housed at military bases in the region.This has led North Carolina and the South to be disproportionately dependent on a military presence. A Military Impact Study conducted by East Carolina University in 2004 found that over 333,300 jobs are tied directly to the military, and four percent of the population is here because of the military presence in the state. The military has an $18 billion economic impact on the state – over 6% of the state’s gross product.The military’s driving role in North Carolina politics and economics is unlikely to change anytime soon. The Pentagon’s proposed base closure and re-alignment plan announced this May, while including changes at several N.C. bases, would have little net effect on the state’s military stature. The plan calls for an expansion of 4,325 personnel at Fort Bragg, which is balanced by a recommendation to cut 4,145 positions at Pope Air Force Base.“When the Pentagon announced in May that it planned to close some 180 installations, the story nationwide was one of gloom and doom,” says Kromm. “But the South’s role as a military stronghold will continue -- and in many states, it will grow."An Institute analysis of the base realignment plan in May 2005 found that 13 Southern states stand to gain over 15,000 base personnel under the proposal, and five of the 10 states whose military presence will grow the most under the plan are located in the South. http://southernstudies.org/facingsouth/2005/06/north-carolina-suffering-more-from-war.asp

North Carolina Still Does Not Like Bush

I missed this poll concluded on 2/13 from SurveyUSA while I was out sick. However, I felt that everyone in North Carolina needed a little heart warming following the cold weekend.

Do you approve or disapprove of the job George W. Bush is doing as President?

The result: 43% do and 53 % do not. This can only be good news coming into the Congressional elections. Watuaga Watch hopes it is enough to sink Virginia Foxx.

Buyers Lining Up for National Forest Sale-a-Thon

The Asheville Citizen-Times is doing a great job of covering the proposed sale of National Forest land in North Carolina. More on that below the fold. This photo, taken in the Pisgah National Forest, is used here with the permission of Flickr user Kuranes (blog):

Here's the latest Citizen-Times story on the park sale. In sidebars, they provide a photo from one of the tracts up for grabs, a graphic showing the location of the tracts in the Pisgah and Nantahala National Forests, a list of tracts by county (including size), and a list of proposed proceeds by county. They asked Charles Taylor for a comment, but his office said they'd need to look at the specific proposal first. That's kind of like sitting in front of an oncoming train and saying you're going to wait for a possible damage assessment before moving. It's going to be bad, Chuck.

Investigate Charles Taylor

If you agree then mail or e-mail to Justice Dept.

Request to Investigate Ethics & Business Dealings of Congressman Charles H. Taylor
Dear Sir,
As the hardworking people of the 11th Congressional District to demand accountability of Congressman Charles Taylor!
"Whereas, N.C. 11th Dist. Congressman Charles Taylor was first elected in 1990. Ever since, his lack of integrity has landed him in one scandal after another. That Charles Taylor’s business dealings make Tom DeLay’s look ethical by comparison. Whereas Tom DeLay got some free trips and didn’t file proper paperwork, Charles Taylor has personally profited for years from illegal and questionable business practices. If he ever had any, he left his mountain values at the door. Charles Taylor owns a bank—the Blue Ridge Savings Bank—in which the top official, bank president Hayes Martin, who was also Taylor’s campaign treasurer, pleaded guilty to fraud and money laundering for making illegal loans. The beneficiary of the illegal $1.3 million loan was Charles Cagle, 11th District Republican Chair and a Taylor friend and campaign contributor. Cagle also pleaded guilty. Their sworn court testimony showed that Taylor micromanages all operations at the bank and was in full knowledge of the illegal loans. Yet Taylor successfully thwarted any investigation of himself. Jackson County was even forced to garnish Taylor’s congressional wages in order to collect back taxes. And this was for one of the wealthiest Members of Congress! Taylor’s shady banking practices aren’t restricted to the United States. Taylor owns a bank in Russia where his business partner is a former KGB General. Russian newspapers report that Taylor may be fleecing the Russians as well, with interest rates as high as 60%! Congressman Taylor’s financial disclosure forms appear to lack complete and detailed information on his Russian banking interests including the Columbus Investment Company, of which the KGB general is also a partner. "Whereas, Taylor has, to date, refused to give back or donate the $2,250 he received from Republican super-lobbyist and admitted felon, Jack Abramoff. If he is not going to give back the tainted cash or donate it to charity. North Carolina lost more than 34,000 jobs due to NAFTA – a trade deal similar to the CAFTA agreement. [H. Res. 3045, Vote #443, 7/28/05] forceing WNC Furniture Plants to now work on reduced schedules as a large ammount of that trade already goes to China. Taylor could put that Abramoff money toward a trip to Russia so that he can continue to oversee the Russian business deals he puts ahead of North Carolina families.

Mr.Taylor,You stuck it to the retirees again & the Vets!!!

Mr. Charles Taylor, Sir, As a veteran and a lifelong Democrat and a PROUD Heath Shuler supporter I must ask you. Sir, DO YOU HAVE NO ETHICS? DO YOU HAVE NO MORALS? I personally dont think so! The Proposed Changes to TRICARE Benefit for veterans & Retirees is part of your doing! I notice you are but one of many Congressmen who do not show any Military credit in your Bio. But You claim to be a Great Veterans Advocate! Sir, I must ask ,Is that the reason a 11th District Veteran Took his Life in the Asheville VA a week or so ago??? Every veteran who ever wore the uniform has the right to VA Health Care yet they get turned away! Sir, In a non -offenseve way, I ask you to bestraight forward with all of the veterans of the 11th District. Sir,It is a Vet thing, If you were in the military then eather produce a DD-214 & DD-215 or shut up about what youve done for veterans! I supposose you do know what those forms are dont you? Well, Im not telling you! Or did you just do as V.P. Cheney did and took a deferment while othr brave Carolina sons died in Vietnam? I just wanted my fellow veterans to see your TRICARE Budget. Oh, What's the worst you ca do to me? Send me to Nam or Iraq? NADA

This is the end result of Charles Taylor & Why We Need Heath Shuler!

Better to Scrap Needless Congressmen & Senator's than to Neglect Promises to Veterans!
By Danny Siler-Post 192
Graham Co. Veterans Advocate
I like to go to the Washington Post & Military .com to read the collum By Joe Gallaway, the reporter of "We were Soldiers Fame". As a Veterans Advocate I assist Veterans in filing for Health Benifits & Compensation. I have been seeing a trend of late when I go to the VA in Asheville. More & more Veterans are being ,what is a VA term, "Farmed Out". This means they are send to private Doctors elsewhere. I also know of veterans ,some local who have had to enter priviate hospitals eaither at their own expense or on Medicare! Things such as these are not the reason the VA System was created, It was created for those who have borne the battle. As Joe Gallaway commented,There are always costs in a war, human costs and hardware costs, and as we draw close to beginning the fourth year of our operations in Iraq it's time to tally those costs one more time. Each time you go back to the VA it seems you always see someone different in a wheelchair or with a missing limb. It is time for our Current Congressmen & Women & Senators and those in the Cabnet level post to get up out of their collective chairs and act! I found a very interesting that veterans of 20-30 years service to their country who were told they did their job well and have TRICARE and some even ofer to allow billing of private insurance are turned away. Each veteran who ever served his/her country should be able to go into a VA Hospital for help and not be told that in retirement they make too much income! I found a Knight-Ridder 2004 VA Database that is basied on the Winston-Salem Claims office. Seem's that when I looked at the other Regions N.C. was about on level with the NATIONAL LEVEL! From that study here is what is found. Each list the NC average and the U.S. Level. Tell your Representives, You are tired of the Neglect of our North Carolina and Nations Veterans. Tell them, "No VA Funding-No Vote"! These numbers speak for them selves.Error rate on benefit rating -NC 13% / US 13% ,Percentage of cases granted-NC 77%/US 80% , Average monthly disability payment-NC $777-US$701 ,Percentage of veterans waiting 1 year or more for a decision-NC16%-US 19%, Veterans Waiting On Appeals-NC 21%-US 19% ,Veterans satisfied with the process-NC 60%-US 59% , Veterans who said claim handled 'fairly'- NC 50%-US 54%, Veterans who appealed decision-NC50%-US 54%, Veterans who appealed decision-NC 19%-US 20% , Veterans who said VA 'not at all helpful'-NC 7%-US 7%. Looking futher into the current situation you will find more supriseing evidence. When you look at it you have to agree that it basically represents the ,"Get them in, Talk to them 10 minnutes,Dope them up really good and Get them out the door ASAP! Please dont misunderstand me, I support and am loyal to my country and the Military! But the current treatment of Veterans is not right as as long as the current administration see's fit to keep us in Iraq & Afganistain the numbers will only go up! And quoteing from a Washington Post comment, As the incomming number go's up the number of current enrollees will be forced out the door. Every Veteran deserves his/her fair share and it is time for the current polititions on Capital Hill to come to their senses on this issues. Asheville VAMC has a new addition. I have personally been told face to face from providers that one F-NP has care of 800 patients while a Physicians Assistant has care of some 500 patients! Is this right ,NO! Doe's the goverment need to fix the system? YES! Here are some other figures that will shock you! Here's a profile of the VA region headquartered in Winston-Salem, NC. Enough is Enough! If we cannot get the system fixed then it is time to elcet leaders who can!Adjustment disorder-NC 671-U.S.18,096 - Bipolar disorder -NC 300 - US8,359 -Dementia associated with brain trauma NC545 -US 13,408- Dysthymic disorder (depression - NC286 - US 9,016 -Generalized anxiety disorder -NC2,011 -US79,042 --Major depressive disorder -NC 1,335 - US 36,057 - Post-traumatic stress disorder -NC 8,874 -US242,507- Schizophrenia-NC420 - US 18,962 - Schizophrenia, residual type -NC 274- US 9,311 -Schizophrenic reaction, paranoid type -NC 901- US 33,170 - Diabetes-NC9,499 -US191,518 - Flatfoot, acquired-NC 3,170 -US 85,687 Hemorrhoids -NC 5,217 -US 138,421 - Hypertensive vascular disease -NC 10,722 -US 226,549 -Intervertebral disc syndrome (back injury)-NC 7,155 -US 138,361- Knee injury -NC 10,716 -US 259,498 Limited motion of the ankle -NC 5,216 -US 109,823 -Lumbosacral strain (back injury- NC 8,874 -US 199,694Scars, disfiguring-NC3,009 -US 99,508 ,Tinnitus (ringing in the ears) -NC10,626 -US 327,397

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