Happy Holidays and a reminder about how important our time on Earth truly is

As I prepare to go to Congress and celebrate the holidays with my family I want each of you to know how much I appreciate each of you for the interest you have shown not only in winning back North Carolina's Eighth District, but for the active interest you take in our Democracy each and every day of the year. I hope you all realize the importance of your actions and the huge contribution you make as you spend your precious time campaigning and keeping the important issues of the day on the forefront.

Open thread: Christmas eve

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THE NIGHT BEFORE CHRISTMAS

'Twas the night before Christmas, when all through the house
Not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse;
The stockings were hung by the chimney with care,
In hopes that St. Nicholas soon would be there;
The children were nestled all snug in their beds,
While visions of sugar-plums danced in their heads.

Are they lying?

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Lately I've been wondering how groups of people on different sides of issues can come to such dramatically different conclusions about the direction of public policy. In many cases, those differences appear to be grounded in honest disagreements. That's how I see the abortion issue, for example, where personal beliefs dominate the political landscape like so many hair-trigger land mines.

In other areas, the differences seem more rooted in deep philosophical divisions where honesty gets caught in the cross fire. That's what's happening in the continuing debate about global climate change, where free-market fundamentalists looking for free-market solutions are cooking the scientific books in pursuit of an ideological agenda. We need look no farther than the Journal of the John Locke Puppetshow to see the phenomenon in action. Today's edition features an ad for another seedy little free-market tank called the Heartland Institute.

The Great Banking Scam, brought to you by our Democratic Congress

The more I learn about how the banking industry is screwing taxpayers by siphoning off TARP funds, the madder I get. For example, we discovered today that more than $1.6 billion of those funds have gone to executive compensation at major financial institutions. It is truly mind-boggling that this crappy legislation was rammed through Congress by a Democratic majority earlier this year.

Offshore drilling charade: you can play too!

Under the Dome (thank you) reports today that the deadline is being extended for public comment on Virginia's plans to exploit the continental shelf for oil, part of the Big Energy Get Richer scheme that will have the added benefit of accelerating global climate change.

Eyeblink

Occasionally when I can't get started on something I HAVE to write, I will just start writing something else and let the process work itself out until words are flowing readily, even for the tedious writing someone is paying me to do. Last night I did that, while thinking of the family Christmas party I was not attending, and I came up with the passage below. Not sure if it's poetry or prose. Maybe it's not either, but I thought it worth posting and inviting comment on. You can comment on my writing, or on the subject matter, or on your own experiences. Feel free.

See below the fold...

Buying influence cheap?

O-No! today wraps up yet another sorry saga of abuse of power by nasty little men here in North Carolina. This particular story chronicles the mind-boggling reign of one Eddie Carroll Thomas.

Thomas had "long-standing and widespread" influence over personnel decisions in one of the state Division of Motor Vehicles' largest sections -- Driver and Vehicle Services.

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