What Does $600,000 get you? Estonia


Or at least an ambassador position there. Ambassador positions, especially in countries that we do not care about, are typically given to big donors who want to either have a government sponsored vacation where they can break the local laws without repercussion or want to pad their resumes for a future run for office themselves. I am not outraged that Bush is playing this pay for play game but that Dave Phillips, a North Carolina businessman, had to donate $600,000 (to Republican causes) and be a chairman<

Raleigh and North Carolina's Chicken and Egg Problem



Raleigh in particular and North Carolina in general are seeing rapid growth the likes of which have been missing from these parts for a long time (North Carolina's historic growth has been more steady but slow). This increased growth is pushing the state and its capital city to crucial tipping points quicker than our leaders want to admit; however, the citizens of North Carolina are seeing the light. For instance, in a recent poll by WRAL of Triangle residents, Controlling Growth/congestion was the biggest problem that needs to be addressed.

The problem is that no one seems to do anything about it; and the biggest reason I see is the chicken/egg problem of the area. In the area of transportation, this can be described as the attitude that mass transit will not work because we do not have a dense enough population, but the population is sprawled in part because the area has lacked mass transit. Two conversations this week have brought this point to the forefront for me this week. Both prove that unless we solve the mental block that this problem presents, the area will never become a great metropolitan area.

Rep. Patrick McHenry - Designated Pit Bull


There's a report by Tim Whitmire of the Associated Press that Rep. Patrick McHenry, North Carolina's Representative from the 10th District, will be the designated Republican pit bull in the next Congress. Whitmire's report highlights McHenry's past role as the sharp point of the spear in attacking Rep. Cynthia McKinney of Georgia and claiming that the timing of Mark Foley's downfall was engineered by the Democrats.

McHenry, at 31, is both the House's youngest member and one of its most conservative. However, what really sets him apart is his enthusiasm for fierce outspoken partisanship (in other words, a Tom DeLay with a lot less milage.) Serving in one of North Carolina's most Republican districts he's in a position to slash and burn without complaint from his constituents.

Meet Michael Munger

I put on my hip waders tonight for a stroll through the dark alleys of John Locke Land and found a whole new sideshow being built in the circus. It's like the Man Who Ate His Brain and the Hall of Mirrors all rolled into one, with the official title: The Faculty Affiliate Network, a John Locke Foundation Project.

The list of "faculty" in this so-called network ranges from hard-core Pope Puppets like Roy Cordato, to ex-pols like Jim Martin, to a host of NCSU professors, to a few people from Duke. One of the Dukies, Mr. Michael Munger, is mounting a run for governor in the Libertarian Party in 2008.

Saturday Night Open Thread: How's Your Day?

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A picture and an open thread for the Christmas shoppers, the holiday partiers, the slavishly working on other projects during the weekend hours crowd, and the trolls. How'd you spend your day?

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Breaking: Bio-Brrrrr joins with stinkin' librul to make gummint bigger

Today on the deathbed of the Do-Nothing Congress, a last gasp echoed through the Capitol as Richard Burr climbed into bed with the villainous Senator from Massachusetts to create a new government bureaucracy.

WASHINGTON -- The U.S. Congress on Saturday passed a bill to improve U.S. preparedness for bioterrorism or other health crises, in part by accelerating development of new vaccines and drugs.

The bill, sponsored by Massachusetts Democrat Sen. Edward Kennedy and North Carolina Republican Sen. Richard Burr, was one of a number of bills passed by Congress before adjourning Saturday morning and sent to President George W. Bush.

Television Schnooze

I don't expect much from news in TV land, and my expectations are always fulfilled. Like today when WRAL-TV in Raleigh finally got around to a story blogs and newspapers have been covering for months. It's about Beverly Perdue and Richard Moore going head to head for the chance to live in the North Carolina Governor's mansion.

RALEIGH, N.C. -- Lt. Gov. Beverly Perdue hopes to crash the boys' club that has been the North Carolina Governor's Office in two years.

From Richard Caswell in 1776 to Gov. Mike Easley, all of the state's cheif [sic] executives have been men. But political observers say Perdue is well positioned to break that streak in 2008.

I'm all ears

This may be hard to believe, but I know more than a few Republicans personally. A couple of them are even good and honest people, despite their misguided political philosophies. Today one of those people (who had heard about BlueNC) said it seems like the whole political scene has become personal to me. He couldn't understand why I ridicule and attack Republican lawmakers and candidates so relentlessly, why I am so hostile.

I told him I would think about his concerns and respond. Here is what I have to say.

Dear Republican friend:

I'm afraid it is personal to me. Because over the past eight years, starting with the right wing feeding frenzy on President Clinton, Republicans have quite nearly destroyed my country. They have intentionally and maliciously divided this nation in pursuit of power. They have behaved without integrity. They have burdened our grandchildren with unending debt. They have allowed a corrupt administration to destroy America's standing in the world. And they have treated the minority party in Congress with scorn and disdain.

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Goodbye Charles Taylor, former Congressman

Western North Carolina celebrates today. The 109th "do-nothing" Congress is over and with it the Congressional career of Charles H. Taylor. Our 16-year nightmare of Taylor's scandals and failures has come to a close. We won't have Charles Taylor to kick around anymore, and it's only just and fitting that Scrutiny Hooligans pay our last respects to the man who inspired more political action than we'd ever undertaken before.

Goodbye Charles Taylor, and in the words of the immortal Lyle C. Rashorta, "without you none of this would have been possible... or necessary."

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Art Pope - Robin Hood in Reverse


Art Pope is controversial. I'd heard his name used in a context similar to Darth Vader while knowing only two things about him; that he is (A) very rich, and (B) spends his money on right wing causes throughout North Carolina.

Beyond that, I'll admit, I knew very little.

While only now have I done some research on the fellow, I'm sure most of those who traffic "BlueNC" are way ahead of me on this. However, for those as uninformed as I am there's an interesting article titled "The Knight of The Right" by Rob Christiansen which appeared in the N&O last January.

It's a good place to start if you want to do a quick study on the man and learn what motivates him. Although that question, even if you asked Pope himself, would be fairly easy to answer. What he wants can be boiled down very quickly to two things... lower taxes and less government.

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