Poor Puppetmaster

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I admit it. I'm starting to feel sorry for Puppetmaster Pope. Things have gotten so bad that he's had to write a whole durn column in the News and Observer to explain why the mean old faculty at NCSU should want this "dirty money" and stop saying he's profoundly anti-democratic. His self defense is robust:

There is no factual basis for this. The hard-earned funds the Pope Foundation has received from my family and our company represent earnings from decades of general merchandise retailing in North Carolina and beyond that have provided thousands of jobs and served millions of satisfied customers. Rather than being "anti-democratic," I have served the state as an elected public official. As a legislator I have voted for billions of dollars in education funding, including for scarce public dollars for repairing or replacing outdated and often-hazardous engineering facilities at N.C. State. I have voted against state budgets that did not fund the state's priorities and in fact led to shortfalls and forced reversions of university funds in the middle of the academic year.

Black Won't Run


Greg Flynn caught this first, but I'm posting it as a whole entry because it really is cause for celebration. Here's the story.

Embattled state House Speaker Jim Black said Tuesday night he will not seek another term as speaker, ending an eight-year tenure as the top official in the state House.

"I've been speaker for four terms," Black told The Associated Press. "This is, again, not about me. I don't have any need for me to be speaker forever."

Black said he has no plans now to step aside from his Mecklenburg County legislative seat, and dismissed the suggestion he decided against seeking another term as speaker because he is worried about a possible federal indictment. For more than a year, a federal grand jury has looked into the Democrat's campaign finances and his connections to the lottery and video poker industries.

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Splish splash

Talk to my few friends and they will tell you I am an extreme and unapologetic hermit. I work from home, travel on business only under duress, and prefer the company of my keyboard to the company of carbon-based life forms. Which means it is a rare occasion when I get out and about in the public arena. Tonight was one of those times. My company had its Christmas party in Raleigh, so I decided to go over early and drop in to the holiday festivities at the North Carolina Democratic Party headquarters.

The event was a fine affair by any standard. Everyone was upbeat and enthusiastic, and Jerry Meek received plenty of applause, both for the quality and brevity of his comments. Wine and beer were flowing and there was more glad-handing than you could shake a stick at.

Walter Jones Intervenes in Duke Case

The Winston-Salem Journal is reporting that Congressman Walter Jones has requested the assistance of US Attorney General Alberto Gonzales in determining whether Mike Nifong has violated the civil rights of the Duke lacrosse players accused of rape.

According to the Journal:

GOP Rep. Walter Jones wants the U.S. Department of Justice to investigate whether the district attorney prosecuting three Duke University lacrosse players charged with rape has violated their civil rights.

More below the fold...

College Hardball Tour with Chris Matthews


Keep your eyes and ears peeled, as I'll be in the audience for the taping of Hardball with Chris Matthews - with Special Guest John Edwards. Seems that Chris Matthews will be back from whatever vacation/illness kept him from doing the last tour stop.

Is John Edwards running for president? That's just one tough question Hardball host Chris Matthews will ask the former vice presidential nominee at the College Tour on Tuesday, Dec. 12, at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

The event will be held at Memorial Hall and this will be my first chance to visit since the renovations. Can't wait to see what it looks like and get a sense of the environment. The $64,000 question is, of course, will he announce. The later emails I received suggested the addition of Mrs. Elizabeth Edwards to the show, so hang around to catch her as well.

The show will air live at 5pm on MSNBC and the taped version will be on at 7pm.

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Morgan Challenges NC SBOE Decision

Momo is at work, but took the time to point out an article in this morning's Pilot. It deserves our full attention.

Remember watching the coverage of the SBOE meeting where Morgan challenged the contributions made by Art Pope's Variety Stores to the 527 he used to send mailers intended to oust Morgan?

More below the fold...

Tough Decisions

Our new Democratic congress isn't yet seated and a slight aroma of corruption is wafting through the halls of the congressional office buildings. This time, though it isn't coming from the Republicans.

Yes, it's the same two men who were under investigation before November's elections, Alan Mollohan and William Jefferson.

According to The Hill:

If incoming Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and fellow leaders decide to keep Jefferson off Ways and Means, they could open themselves to charges of following a double standard by allowing Mollohan to become chairman of an Appropriations subcommittee, as he is now poised to do.

Top Democrats are dealing with questions regarding what to do about Jefferson and Mollohan at the same time that they must decide how to reward lawmakers who have raised tens of thousands of dollars for the party but find themselves with less seniority than stingier colleagues on subcommittees.

No final decisions have been made, but it seems to me that either both get their committees/subcommittees, or both do not.

Please follow below the fold...

Surprise, surprise

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As one of the top reporters for the News and Observer, SURELY David Ranii could find a more credible source than Pope Puppet John Hood for his otherwise informative story about the very smart idea to create earned income tax credits for the working poor here in North Carolina.

I wonder if he actually talked to Hood, or if he just went back into the N&O's archive of Free Market Fantasy Hits to come up with this gem:

"I don't see a justification for an earned-income tax credit," said John Hood, president of the conservative John Locke Foundation. The federal earned-income tax credit, he said, has led to significant fraudulent claims. "I'd hate to see that replicated in North Carolina," Hood said.

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