Thursday, December 20, 2007

McHorny's $3.25 mil haul belies his anti-earmark "crusade"

Two earmarks for $3.25 million.

That's what Pat McHorny wrote letters asking for this year while promoting himself as an anti-earmark crusader on the House floor:

"We need to lay clear these earmarks . . . so the American people can judge the worthiness of the programs and the money allocated to them."

And now he's saying he won't ever ask for an earmark, starting next year.

mommy lyingFrom the Winston Salem Journal:
This year Sen. Patrick McHenry, R-10th, has emerged as one of Congress’ most outspoken critics of earmarks. He also has pledged, starting next year, not to seek earmarks for new projects unless they had been authorized - but not yet paid for - by Congress
Click here to see his April letter for a $2,250,000 grant to a company called Mariner Containers in Granite Falls, NC. They are supposed to be making "Smart Containers" but so far they haven't made anything smarter than a plastic septic tank. I wonder what other companies would have liked to bid for this project? And would they have done the work better or cheaper?

Click here for his request for $1,000,000 to go to a Valdese, NC subsidiary of a French Corporation called Saft, which already had a $31 million contract to provide batteries to the US military. They hardly need a $1 million rebate. And the profit from this essentially no-bid contract goes to some wealthy Frenchmen? I'm sure 10th District constituents can appreciate that irony.

Yeah, Pat, it's obvious you are a true crusader against earmarks.

From the Winston Salem Journal, these are some other North Carolina earmarks:

❑ $1 million for “alternatives to transplantation” research at Wake Forest.

❑ $100,000 for “technology for rural schools.”

❑ $150,000 for electronic medical records at Alleghany Memorial Hospital.

❑ $500,000 for sewage and water infrastructure in Mount Airy.

❑ $376,000 for high-tech equipment for the Winston-Salem Police Department.

❑ $300,000 for biofuel research at Appalachian State University.

[Note that no traditional press has reported either of McHorny's earmarks.]

From The Crypt at in July when he was asked about a $129,000 Christmas Tree earmark that even fellow Republicans voted against.
"Look, the important thing is transparency and openness," McHenry said when asked about the earmark, which he confirmed that he had inserted into the bill. "I have never been opposed to directed spending."

McHenry added: "I just think that it's critical for members to know what they are voting on when a [spending] bill comes to the floor."
Now, Pat, I have to say you're right. Not knowing what is being voted on is a bad thing.

So we don't know why these two companies you like so much had to avoid the normal Pentagon procurement process. Is there some reason they otherwise wouldn't have gotten these contracts? Are there other American companies who would have done the work for less, or sooner or of a better quality? If not, why the end-around? Why the secrecy? You were right, Pat, that transparency is important. That would seem even more significant in regard to defense contracts where lives could be at stake.

And now the American people are left to wonder what are you hiding about your connection to these companies that inspired you to procure them millions in secret?

Crossposted at BlueNC and Scrutiny Hooligans. h/t Greg Flynn

UPDATE: It was announced as a grant in November on some kind of business community website called SwampFox where I can't access the author's profile . . . but the Sunlight Foundation lists it as an earmark so it did not go through the defense appropriations process like the SwampFox author, Jim Roberts, wants us to believe.

Apparently, the feds have basically funded this entire company from day one. This is from the Hickory Record a few years ago (I think)
After an uncertain year, a start-up business in Caldwell County has gained forward momentum courtesy of the US government.

The Department of Homeland Security's Advanced Research Projects Agency has awarded Granite Falls-based Mariner Container Corporation a $100,000 grant for the development of a "smart" container system. The Phase I Small Business Innovation Research grant is funding a feasibility study of Mariner's proposal to build high-tech, largely recyclable shipping containers that could be used for military and commercial purposes.

A Phase II grant, if awarded, will provide Mariner with up to $750,000 for the development of a prototype. Phase III is commercial application of the research and development, and in Mariner's case would likely include contracts with the Department of Defense and/or the Department of Homeland Security, said Mariner founder Rick Lampe. If Mariner gets to the third phase, it could also mean hundreds of new manufacturing jobs for the area.

Still no explanation why they can't go through the regular procurement process and why these people get to start a company on federal dollar.

You're hiding something, dear Patty.


Tuesday, December 18, 2007

McHorny PR piece backfires

Every time Pat has some bad press, say that his popularity is plummeting, our Pat McHorny has a great record of getting some major publications to print cutesy puff pieces about how he really isn't a nasty hypocrite (say, over earmarks) or really isn't all that connected to his staffer's voter fraud or that didn't have anything to do with the half dozen irregularities in his financial disclosures.

Insiders say his recent popularity plummet coincides with the publication of information to back the previous rumors that Pat is not, shall we say, living his life with the family values of his campaign rhetoric. So, we shouldn't be all that surprised that The Hill stepped up to the media-whore-for-Republicans plate by printing this nauseating crap about House Cloak Room rumors of a girlfriend.

But really, folks, they must be getting pretty damn desperate. His potential fiance, Congresswoman Mary Fallin, just reminded everyone of what a lightweight he is:
“There’s a slight problem. He’s much, much younger than me. He’s 32, no? And I’m in my 50s. He’s a sweet man. I don’t think it’s going to happen. I think it was boredom in the Cloak Room.”
Like anyone believes he's sweet! That's rich. Or maybe she thinks his lame attempts to attack Barney Frank and others on the House floor are more like a puppy dog trying to be a pit bull and failing miserably.

And over at BlogActive, Mike Rogers probably got more hits reminding readers of the relevant evidence that he's not all that interested, at least not in an evangelically approved marriage.
I wonder if Representative Fallin knows that Pat owned a house in DC with another man... I also wonder if she knew his North Carolina home was a hostel for young men...
Oops. That puff piece kind of backfired, eh, Pat?

Jesus' General outs our Pat

If you've never met the General, then you're in for a treat. And what a better place to start than his recent post that mentions our Pat along with "Heckuva Job" Brownie, Scooter "Pardoned Traitor" Libby and other well-known, unlikeable, and deviant Republicans like David Vitter and Rush Limbaugh.

Perfect for the job

Condi Rice's choice of Manuel Miranda to serve as Director of the Office of Legislative Statecraft at the U.S. Embassy in Iraq was absolutely inspired. Who better to teach Iraq's fledgling legislators the principles of democracy than the man, who while serving as a top Republican aid, hacked into the Senate Democratic Caucuses computers and stole over 4000 sensitive documents?

But I guess I shouldn't be surprised. Our Leader and his minions seem almost infallible when it comes to picking the perfect person for for any given job. The choices of Bernie Karik to serve as Interim Minister of Interior of Iraq and Hans von Spakovsky to run the FEC were just as insired as the Miranda pick.

I wonder what other great picks Our Leader and the gang have in store for us. It might be fun for us to do a few predictions. I'll list mine below and you can add to them in the comments.

Duke Cunningham to head the Pentagon's Office of Procurement.

James Inhofe as Chairmain of the President's Council on Science.

Michael "Heck of a Job" Brown to run FEMA (again)

David Vitter as Director of the Office of Abstinence Education.

Rush Limbaugh to run the Drug Enforcement Agency.

Scooter Libby to serve as the CIA's Deputy Director for Counterintelligence.

Patrick McHenry to chair the Presidents Council on Marriage.
Gee, I wonder what the General finds so hypocritical about McHorny and marriage?????

And since I've copied the General's entire post here, I think it's only fair that I direct you to some of his other posts (and encourage you to donate).

Here's a few of my favorites:

The General on Mitt Romney's teary piety.

On Manly men and family values. On Censorship.

Monday, December 17, 2007

Keeter DUI postponed to February

Giving me more opportunities to post this lovely photo.

McHenry Deputy District Director Brett Keeter blew a point one three on Labor Day weekend and twice his court date has been rescheduled.

Mark your calendars for February 5, 2008, morning session. Room 3B.

Arraigned Offenses for Case Number: 2007014558 CR
Arraigned Defendant Name: KEETER, JAMES, BRETT
County: GASTON
Court Date: 02/05/2008
Session: AM
Court Room: 003B

Offense Code Description Statute
5405 Traffic DRIVING WHILE IMPAIRED 20-138.1
4477 Infraction FAIL TO DIM HEADLAMPS 20-181
9955 Traffic CIVIL REVOCATION DR LIC (30) 20-16.5

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Pat's popularity plummeting

From Public Policy Polling: An eight-point drop since August, head-to-head Patrick McHenry vs Daniel Johnson went from McHenry up 47-32 in August to 39-32 now.

McHenry's approval rating went from 53 to 43 against Johnson's steady 32.

McHenry's reelect numbers against Johnson went from 55/34 to 45/36.

Bottom line: McHenry's popularity is falling. Daniel Johnson's in good position to take the seat even before people know anything about him.

Support Daniel Johnson for Congress here.

Donate through ActBlue.

PPP's press release:

New Poll Shows McHenry’s Popularity Sliding

Raleigh, N.C. – A new survey by Public Policy Polling shows Democratic challenger Daniel Johnson within striking district of incumbent Patrick McHenry in North Carolina’s 10th District.

When respondents were given a description of Johnson, McHenry led him by a margin of only 39-32%. It is highly unusual for an incumbent to poll below 40%, particularly for a Republican congressman in a district as historically GOP leaning as the North Carolina 10th.

The poll also showed McHenry’s approval rating plummeting from a Public Policy Polling survey performed on behalf of the North Carolina Democratic Party in August. His approval is down to 43% in this week’s poll after registering at 53% in the August poll.

Additionally, while 55% of respondents to the August poll said they would vote to reelect McHenry only 45% of those surveyed this week said they would. “It’s clear that voters in the 10th Congressional District are having their doubts about Patrick McHenry,” said Dean Debnam, President of Public Policy Polling. “Daniel Johnson could be an extremely strong challenger next fall if he can effectively capitalize on the ambivalence that many folks in his district are having about Patrick McHenry,” said Debnam.

PPP surveyed 779 likely 10th District general election voters on December 11th. The survey has a margin of error of ± 3.5%. Other factors, such as refusal to be interviewed and weighting, may introduce additional error that is more difficult to quantify.

Complete poll can be found at

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

McHenry, McHorny or . . . McMEANY

Pat wants blacks to serve longer sentences than whites. That was the reason for the recent US Supreme Court's decision to allow judges not to follow the drug sentencing guidelines. And it's the same reason for the US Sentencing Commission's decision to allow those convicted on crack cocaine (who on average received 50 percent longer sentences than those convincted with powder) to be released early.

Like a crack user is more dangerous than a rapist? They were two good decisions. But Pat doesn't understand much about life or he doesn't care if he loses the black voter. Or the compassionate voter. Or the intelligent voter.

And he seems to think that judges are so stupid that because of this ruling they will all of a sudden allow violent criminals out on the streets of WNC.

"Yesterday, Congressman Patrick McHenry (R-NC-10) issued the following statement in response to the U.S. Sentencing Commission’s decision to give retroactive leniency to convicted crack cocaine abusers and dealers.....

'The bottom line is this decision will let over 500 convicted criminals loose on the streets of Western North Carolina, and, frankly, that is unacceptable,' said Congressman McHenry. 'The Commission’s decision defies basic common sense, and poses a serious threat to public safety.' "

Here's what one law professor had to say:

I suppose, were this congressman to get a guest spot on Grey's Anatomy, he might get the moniker "McMeany."

My "basic common sense" tells me that the federal judges in North Carolina and nationwide will, as the USSC urges, give special attention to public safety issues before letting too many dangerous criminals loose on the streets.

More broadly, this visceral reaction to crack retroactivity spotlights the serious possibility that some members of Congress might make a serious effort to undo the USSC's work yesterday before it becomes effective in March 2008.

Thursday, December 6, 2007

McHenry arranges secret Blackwater meeting

This is an Republican Study Committee email informing Congressmen of a private Hill meeting with Blackwater CEO Erik Prince from The Politico:
"As you may know, Mr. Erik Prince, founder and CEO of Blackwater USA testified before the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee in October. His company has been under intense scrutiny by Congress, government agencies, and the media regarding contracts and actions in Iraq. Not only has Mr. Prince personally been targeted by partisan warfare repeatedly over the past months, but the use of contracting throughout the government has been under attack by Congress.

Here's speculation from Cliff Schecter:
Weirdness. This came from The Hill website, but before I could link it, the link disappeared.
Here's more that Schecter had lifted from The Hill before the link vanished:
The event appears to be exclusive.

The Republican Study Committee, specifically McHenry, Reps. Mike Pence (R-Ind.) and Jeb Hensarling (R-Texas), initiated this special meeting because "some of our members thought it would be good to be exposed directly to the issues involving Blackwater instead of reading about them second- and third-hand in the newspaper," said a GOP aide.

The aide added that Prince would fly into Washington specifically for this meeting.

From the quoted Hill paragraphs Schecter posted, McHenry has already been identified. It's easy to get the impression he was the main instigator.

What's going on with you and Blackwater, Pat? Something you didn't want us to know?

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Allran has primary challenger

Catawba's State Senator Austin Allran attracts competition like blood in the water attracts sharks. They sense his weakness. After all, there's no need to do opposition research. No one has to make the effort to attack him. They just have to remind people that he's the reason the roads they travel every day are so damn bad.

From the Hickory Record:
Catawba County Board of Commissioners Chairwoman Kitty Barnes said she will challenge N.C. Sen. Austin Allran in the May Republican primary. Allran’s district comprises all of Catawba County and a northern section of Iredell County. . . . Barnes is past president of the North Carolina Association of County Commissioners. She also served on the Catawba County Board of Education from 1986 to 1998.

Here's a little insight into Catawba Republican politics:
Other Republicans also described the decision as unexpected.

N.C. Rep. Mark Hilton believes the race will add to the bitterness within the party still lingering from the 2004 congressional race between Patrick McHenry and Catawba County Sheriff David Huffman.

“This is not helping when you’ve got an incumbent in Allran being challenged by another elected official. It can’t help the current situation. I think this will further divide our party,” Hilton said.

One of Barnes’ fellow commissioners, Barbara Beatty, didn’t know of the move until a phone call Tuesday.

“It will certainly be an interesting race,” she said.

Someone's in for a sad moment. Except for a judicial election Allran lost in 1978, neither Barnes nor Allran has lost an election before or since.

Monday, December 3, 2007

Christmas with Pat and George

From CharO:

A new holiday tradition

Rep. Patrick McHenry is planning his "first annual" Christmas dinner.The Dec. 17 fundraiser at the Holiday Inn Select in Hickory costs $100 per couple. To attend a private reception beforehand with former Gov. Jim Martin, "patrons" pay $250 per couple, "sponsors" pay $500 per couple, and "hosts" pay $1,000 per couple.

N.C. musicians play White House

Jeff Perks has played piano while folks have prayed, dined and cruised.

Now the Denver, N.C., resident gets to show his talent for guests strolling through the White House.

Perks is one of the musical entertainers selected to perform at a series of receptions hosted by President Bush and first lady Laura Bush.

Perks is scheduled to play Dec. 19-20 at two holiday open houses for invited guests.

He describes his songs as "elegant dinner type music."

Perks got a piano performance degree at the University of South Carolina and lived in Charlotte between 1991 and 2002 while playing at venues such as the Providence Baptist Church and the now-closed Bravo restaurant.

He left for four years to play on Carnival Cruise Lines ships.

Back in the area for the last year and a half, he can be heard at Denver United Methodist Church, the East Lincoln Community Chorus, and the Speedway Club at Lowe's Motor Speedway. He also teaches piano to children and adults and has seven CDs.

Perks, 45, says he played his first wedding when he was 13, and he got the White House gig through a more recent matrimonial event. An assistant to Laura Bush was singing at a wedding where he was the accompanist.

"I'll be playing holiday favorites," he said. "They said you can play anything you want as long as it is all holiday music."

On tap are classics like "Home for Christmas" and "Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas."

Perks isn't the only Carolinian on the White House list of entertainers.

The 4 Bows String Quartet from Mooresville was scheduled to play Saturday. Others on tap include the Sherwood Forest Elementary Songsters from Winston-Salem on Tuesday,

Angela Ballard and Charlie Tipton from Iron Station on Saturday, the UNC Asheville Chamber Singers on Dec. 19, and 4 For One from Lincolnton on Dec. 21.