My Pizza Guy Ricky

When I first moved back to North Carolina last January, my wife and I started frequenting the same pizza place pretty regularly. It's attached to an Italian Restaurant, no delivery or anything but a good place to get a slice. Anyway, as time went by I got to know the fella behind the counter, Enrique or Ricky. Now, I'm not saying that my neighborhood is snotty, but it's not the kind of place where everyone is going to chit-chat with the illegal working behind the counter. Me, I'm blue-collar, reformed white trash through and through - so Ricky and I get along just fine.

I was talking to him tonight and it got me thinking. See, Ricky has a wife and three kids in Mexico that he sends money to every month. He hasn't seen his kids in almost three years, because he's illegal, and they live outside the US. Here's the interesting part, Ricky is one of the many illegal aliens that uses an Individual Tax Identification Numbers to pay taxes.

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.

Democrats Have Uphill Battle in N.C.'s 8th District

The Charlotte Observer has a piece this morning that makes the future of North Carolina's 8th Congressional District appear bleak. The financial numbers aren't looking good for Democrats Tim Dunn and Larry Kissell.

According to the FECinfo data compiled by the Observer, Robin Hayes had $733,837 in the bank as of 12/31/05. Tim Dunn had $47,118 and Larry Kissell had $3,653. It's a good thing the numbers don't tell the whole story.

Dunn and Kissell are running against each other in a primary. This means that the money will leave the campaign as quickly as it is coming in. I haven't seen anything by Tim Dunn that is out locally yet, but Larry Kissell is running a traditional grassroots campaign with a twist. He has also reached out to the netroots for support.

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.

Major Newspaper Contact Info

Let's see if this will work now....

The News & Observer (Raleigh and surrounding areas)
215 South McDowell Street
P.O. Box 191Raleigh, NC 27602
(919) 829-4500

Link for newsroom feedback: https://miva.nando.com/contact_us/newsroom_feedback.html
Link for phone numbers for N & O staff: http://www.newsobserver.com/450/story/177389.html

Letters to the Editor:

"We've got sort of this survival-of-the-fittest mentality that's going on"

The Winston-Salem Journal: bad communication, misplaced priorities, lack of low-income housing, and tight budgets result in NC mental patients being dropped off at homeless shelters with nothing but a bottle of pills.

[Shelter] managers are not trained in counseling psychiatric patients, and there are no staff members to dispense residents' medications or remind them when to take their drugs, she said. Patients who are in crisis are simply picked up by the police.

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?"

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