Larry Kissell fo' Schizzle

Man, I must have been totally asleep at the switch last Friday, because I missed the announcement that Larry Kissell of Biscoe will be running for Robin Hayes's seat in Congress. Maybe I missed it because I have no idea who Larry Kissell is. In fact, I'm surprised to learn that there's a Biscoe, NC (population 1,700). But not only do I now know who Kissell is, I think I may kind of like him.

A former textile mill manager who started teaching high school social studies when his mill moved to Mexico (free trade much?), Kissell is making his first forray into politics a big one, but in a small town way. At his campaign debut, there were speeches by Kissell's former high school principal and some of Kissell's present students, and there was a goat named CAFTA (the very first campaign contribution). How can you not like this guy?

Foxx's Fealty Foreshadows Fall?

RealValues points out a Winston-Salem piece about Democratic chances of picking up some US House seats next fall. Here's what NCDP Chair Jerry Meek had to say aobut NC-5: "One thing voters don't want right now are elected officials who will toe the party line in Washington. That's what Virginia Foxx does." That's true, but there are many months before November 2006 in which that can change; with Foxx—as with Taylor and Hayes—the pressure must stay on.

More from the piece [emphasis mine]:

Rep. Rahm Emanuel, D-Ill., is the chairman of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee. It's his job to recruit candidates nationwide to run against Republican incumbents. He said he has talked with two prospective candidates to run against Foxx - including Winston-Salem Mayor Allen Joines.

How Do NC State Legislators Feel About Being Pushed Around?

I've posted several times now on Sue Myrick's grandstanding scheme to bully North Carolina, and pending further developments I should just let it go. But events conspire! Three NC State legislators and a high level staffer spoke to one of my classes today, and I got a chance to ask them about the situation.

Deborah Ross and Grier Martin, both Democratic members of the NC House representing parts of Wake County, sat on a panel with Republican Senator Richard Stevens (representing Cary) and Norma Mills, Chief of Staff for NC Senate President Pro Temp. Marc Basnight (D, Dare County). I asked them for their thoughts about the proposed legislation announced by Myrick, Foxx, Taylor, McHenry, and Jones that threatens to strip NC's federal highway dollars if the state doesn't change its driver's license policy. Nobody had good things to say.

Add Lying to the List

Johnny one-note here, back with more on 5 NC US House Representatives' plan to take over the role of the NC legislature and set diver's license policy for North Carolina. It turns out that in their mad rush to replace the NC State government Reps. Myrick and McHenry have been lying to the press. Links below:

The Charlotte Observer has the scoop:

Reps. Sue Myrick and Patrick McHenry made a few alarming statements last week during their news conference to promote legislation to fight illegal immigration in North Carolina.

Please, No More Republican "Recovery"

I was just browsing NC Policy Watch's website and came across this study by the NC Budget & Tax Center (PDF). I'll post a few facts and figures below the fold, but the quick summary is that North Carolinians aren't getting any richer while the world around us gets more expensive.

  • Half of all NC full time workers in 2000 made less than $24,246. Half of all NC full time workers in 2004 made less than... $24,246.
  • What would you do with $2,800? Don't think too hard, because chances are you don't have it to spare. The median household income fell $2,806 between 2000 and 2004. That's a drop from 91.4% of the national average to 88.5%. I guess our $2,800 is off in some other state.
  • The percentage of North Carolinians living in poverty rose from 13.2 to 15.1 between 2000 and 2004. 15.1% is about one in every seven people. With about 8 million people living in the state, 15.1% is about 1.2 million people. By comparison, the entire combined population of Greensboro, Winston-Salem, and High Point is about 1.3 million people.
  • 14.9% of families with children under the age of five years lived in poverty in 2000. In 2004 it was 21.2%. One of every five children under the age of 18 lives in poverty.
  • 14.1% of North Carolinians had no health insurance in 2000. By 2004, another 2.4% joined that group.
  • The average man in North Carolina earns less than his counterparts in each of the other southeastern states; the average woman fares better than only those in West Virginia and South Carolina.

There is also data suggesting that Raleigh is doing unusually well, with a median household income near $50,000. On the whole, however, North Carolinians are worse off than they were in 2000, and "the data suggest that recent trends are not temporary ones caused by the last recession." What does all this mean? I'm no economist, but it seems to me that in times like these, we desperately need a government that is tuned in to the concerns of the working class. The rich, I'm sure, will take care of themselves.

Unhinged Indeed!

After James's rant I was well reminded of why we must do better in 2006 and 2008, but I also needed something to break the tension. I found the comic relief I needed in a reactionary conservative essay on the topic of elementary school classroom supplies that, in fewer than 1,000 words, invokes Al Gore, Terri Schiavo, the Supreme Court's decision in Kelo v. New London, bolshevism, and brainwashing. The author manages to slip some advocacy of violence against teachers in there as well.

Dear Voter: Your Services are No Longer Required

Remember that naked power grab by NC's Republican US House members I warned you about? You know, the one where they circumvent the democratic process because they don't like the decisions we North Carolinians came up with on our own?

Five of North Carolina's seven Republican members of Congress want to cut off federal highway money to their state unless it makes it more difficult for illegal immigrants to get drivers licenses.


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