Good morning, Grier

It's been a busy BlueNC week. We closed out February with the first-ever Women on Wednesdays, and a record 13,008 unique visitors for the shortest month of the year. We got the scoop on "new rules" for the NC House, and today we have a second-term representative, Grier Martin, stopping by to answer your questions. He's a primary sponsor on the Renewable Portfolio Standards bill, and is intensely interested in veterans affairs and family issues.

He should be online around 8, so keep your eyes peeled and your questions coming. We'll have him for about an hour.

Happy Friday, everyone.

Candidates and Blogging

Same thing at Kos

As some of you may or may not know, I occupy a fairly unique position in the political world. Just like most of you I am obsessed by politics. I would estimate that in a normal week I spend 75 plus percent of my time involved in something political. This ranges from blogging to reading the newspaper to going to my classes in political science to lying in bed (is insomnia genetic?).

However, I said that I occupy a UNIQUE position from the rest of you. And I think that I do. I spend a large amount of time blogging, in between my real life activities. However, my real life activity is what seperates me. You see, when I log off I go to work, and when I go to work I stay in politics.

When people ask me what career I am going into when I graduate I have one answer. Campaigns. You see, I have only had one job in my entire life not connected to politics, and that was a temp job I only did for one month. I not only live and breathe politics, I wouldnt be able to eat without politics.

Consequently, I see most issues from both a campaign side and from a blog side.

Open thread: Grier Martin Warm-up Edition

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As I mentioned on Monday, we'll have the privilege of live-blogging with Grier Martin tomorrow morning (Friday) starting around 8 or 8:30. We can talk about anything you want - but hopefully we'll spend some time on the Renewable Portfolio Standards and veterans affairs here in North Carolina.

There are a bunch of questions over on the original announcement thread, and I'll plan to drag some of them over here to keep the ball rolling. Hope you can join us.

Charlotte 14-yr-old Quoted in Paper Calls McHenry Childish

Their sentiments ran from sympathy to outrage when asked about the Pelosi Plane issue that was inflated by GOP whiners like Adam Putnam, Fl-12 and Patrick McHenry, NC-10. The Mecklenburg and Stanly County teens who responded were almost all male and almost all sympathetic to the travel needs of Nancy Pelosi.

The Charlotte Observer has made my day with this piece in the editorial section. Let me give you a taste of what was said, but you do need to follow the link and read them all. This will look like a long quote, but it is only small snippets from some of the students.

Q. Speaker of the House of Representatives Nancy Pelosi, the first woman speaker, was criticized recently for requesting access to an Air Force transport plane. Former Speaker Dennis Hastert flew in a military jet as well for security reasons. The speaker of the House is third in line for the presidency. The transport is a bigger plane than Hastert's though and critics, including North Carolina's Rep. Patrick McHenry, called the request a luxury and environmentally bad. But the House sergeant-at-arms, who helps oversee security for the House, suggested that flying nonstop would be the safest way home to California for Pelosi. That non-stop flight requires a bigger plane. The White House has called the controversy much ado about nothing. Pelosi said she is "happy to ride commercial if the plane provided doesn't go coast to coast." Some have called the controversy sexist, noting that Pelosi deserves the same consideration that the male Hastert got. But critics persist, saying Pelosi wants a larger plane to fly cronies and top political donors. What do you think?

Please follow below the fold....

What's up with Mr. Mike?

Mike Easley is a puzzlement to me. He seems to not much like the business of governing very much, and he enjoys politicking even less. One one hand, he came out stronger than anyone against the Site C OLF, and on the other hand, he seems oblivious to the state's miserable record of capital punishment. It's hard to know what motivates him, and I always find myself surprised by his actions.

Which is the exact response I have to his plan to develop a state office building on an incredibly valuable tract of land in Raleigh. The story's all over the tubes, and it's not attracting much support from leaders in his own party - as well it shouldn't.

Some of Gov. Mike Easley's fellow Democrats aren't supporting his proposal to build an office complex on the campus of a state mental hospital.


No Child, Voter, Worker, or District Left Behind

Friends, I have so much to share and so little time to do so, I thought I'd just pop in during my break and post an update on the the little campaign that could, thanks in no small part to BlueNC.

If you know anything about my 2006 campaign, you know we broke the mold, broke the rules, made our own support, and just about won in spite of all the odds.

So knowing me and the fact that I'm a school teacher now after 27 years in textiles, you shouldn't be surprised that when the DCCC invited me to DC this week to meet with them about 2008 I had to speak my mind, and I did.

It's not a big deal, because no one is paying attention.

This just in:

Army Copter Makes 'Hard Landing' in Iraq

BAGHDAD, Iraq -- A U.S. Army helicopter made a "hard landing" in northern Iraq on Thursday, but the military said the problem was mechanical and not the result of hostile fire.

Last week, ground fire forced a Black Hawk helicopter to make an emergency landing north of Baghdad, the military said. At least eight other U.S. helicopters have crashed or been brought down by hostile fire in Iraq this year.

On Thursday, two pilots were injured and evacuated to an American military hospital in Kirkuk, about 180 miles north of Baghdad, the military said in a statement. There was no word on the extent of the pilots' injuries.

The helicopter, an OH-58 Kiowa, is mostly used in surveillance and some light combat missions.

Why is this non-story (mechanical problems) a story? Below the fold.

Is Onslow Commissioner Joe McLaughlin a Pope Puppet?

In the latest edition of Onslow County Commissioner Joe McLaughlin's "Onslow Board of Commissioners Update" (McLaughlin's self-written newsletter on BOC activities), he plays up his relationships with the John Locke Foundation, John Hood (the Locke Foundation's director) and Arthur Pope, benefactor of the John Locke Foundation and president of Variety Wholesalers, Inc.

Says McLaughlin about John Hood and the John Locke Foundation staff:

John and his talented staff have done a magnificent job illuminating corruption in Raleigh and advancing conservative themes. We are fortunate to have them.

Just ignore the man behind the curtain

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Stagemanager Hood must have had an easy time writing today's column over at the JLF Puppetshow. He's calling for all sorts of legislative and electoral reforms. The problem is, he's been scooped by Speaker Joe Hackney who has already declared that the issues Hood's writing about will become the House Rules.

So instead of actually adding value to the discussion, Hood trolls in the dirty waters still swirling around Jim Black, who has been fully discredited and will likely end up in jail for his transgressions. But that doesn't stop the Stagemanger from stomping his feet and pounding his fists as though he has something meaningful to say.

To regain the public trust, and to set right at least some of what has gone so horribly wrong, state policymakers must be forthright, resolute, and bold. They should recognize that corruption has tainted past legislative action, and that in the future their work will be judged not simply by the intended ends but by whether the means used to enact the legislation were just.

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