Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Let's turn it around

Whining and complaining is for losers.

We all get frustrated, but now it's time to turn our complaints into action.

The fact is: Democrats in Western North Carolina know exactly how to win elections, even in counties where we're outnumbered by Republicans. We have a proven road map, created by Watauga County Democrats, and an excellent teacher who just drove the route. Pam Williamson is presenting a FREE on-line training about the secrets of Watauga County's success. It's called How to Build a County Party That Wins Elections, and you can take it this Sunday, March 4 at 7:00 p.m.

he best part? If you want to participate in the training, you don't even have to leave your house. It's held by telephone while you watch a presentation on your computer. The training lasts about an hour and a half. For simple registration instructions, email

In my book, any county that does not have someone take part in this training is a county that isn't really interested in winning.

Actions speak louder

[This is cross posted at Scrutiny Hooligans and as part of BlueNC's Women on Wednesdays project to encourage women in the blogosphere and in politics.]

Outnumbered by Republicans, North Carolina's Watauga County Democratic Party swept the ticket in 2006. Watauga was the only 5th-district county where Roger Sharpe defeated incumbent Representative Virginia Foxx. The irony: Representative Foxx calls Watauga home.

County Chair Diane Tilson attributes her party's success to many things. But she is most proud, not of their victories at the polls, but of their efforts to improve their community. Click on the one-minute video below to hear her explain how she wants her party's actions to speak louder than words:

Democrats started winning in Watauga several years before Diane got involved. According to her, the party had been developing organizational methods that work. But, most of all, Diane says, "They had amassed a wonderful group of volunteers."

What does she personally bring to the table? "I'm organized. I'm a part of a lot of the committees. I'm a real hands-on person . . . I'm a worker bee and that translates well to leadership." Most of all, she emphasizes the importance of listening as well as keeping people in the loop. "I try to be a good communicator . . . people are more willing to be involved in an organization when they feel like they are a part of it."

Click on the two-minute video below to hear Diane talk about how Watauga's Democrats win:

Before 2000, when a friend asked for her help, Diane's political history consisted of a a consistent voting history, and a short stint with the Young Democrats of Rowan County in the 70s. But once she got asked to help a candidate, she said, "You know what happens if you become involved in an organization and you're willing to work."

All that work, as well as her commitment to detail, keep her away from her family and the small construction business she runs with her son and her husband, Joe. What keeps her at it, she says, is her desire to "help make changes that I think need to happen."

In the shorter clip below, she talks about her slightly unconventional political history:

"Politics should always be local. Things that really matter to me and things that really matter to Watauga County . . . need to be handled by people who care about the county."

Watauga County Democratic Party

Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Old news . . . new location

Most of what I am going to say about Representative Pat is old news, but I think it is important to get it all out in this forum.

McHenry has been groomed for some time as the golden boy of the Republican Party. Why? So he can do all of their dirty work. The GOP sees the 10th District as being absolutely safe. If they do not have to worry about losing the seat the GOP can use McHenry to be their attack dog. Cases in point:

1. McHenry was the rep for the party during the Foley scandal. McHenry was given the strange and unrewarding job of telling the entire country that it was the Democrats fault that Mark Foley was chasing pages around the office.

2. McHenry can introduce (with a straight face) the minority bill of rights to protect the new Republican majority. When asked why this is appropriate now and not when the Dems were in the minority he can answer "Look, I'm a junior member," young McHenry protested. "I'm not beholden to what former congresses did." (Source: Washington Post, Jan 4, 2007, Column by Dana Milbank)

3. McHenry can run around screaming about the Speaker's airplane while the rest of Congress gets down to some real work.

This is what we have representing us in the 10th District. This is why we have to work hard to make a change.

Monday, February 26, 2007

What can a blog do?

Blogs can do much more than you can imagine. Most of all, what I love are the social networking opportunities. How many friends and allies can you meet in your pajamas, on your own time, long after they have left the conversation?

Blogs can entertain. We have some real jokers contributing (just look at the last two posts). Through humor and networking, blogs can uplift. At least a dozen people have told me how much my parody news videos from WNCNN gave them an inspiring laugh to start their long days of campaigning last fall.

Check out this latest from fan-favorite Mad Miss Mattie:

Also, and perhaps this is their most significant function: a good political blog can offer readers and writers outlets they would never otherwise have available to them. As to this blog, I'm asking that our stable of writers:
  1. Address unbalanced or false media reports in their local communities and our state,
  2. Report on the doings of our local, state, or federal legislators and the candidates who run against them,
  3. Comment on and/or investigate relevant issues that are or aren't being addressed by the media or our legislators, and
  4. Promote civic action to bring our views in front of the mainstream media, legislators, and anyone else we can think of.

For that last item, I will give you some primo examples:

On the statewide progressive blog, BlueNC, a doctor who writes as Robert P. has led an email campaign of support for Rep. Verla Insko's universal health plan known as Health Care for All. I emailed all of our state representatives, using a script Robert provided. So far, six have responded in person; one through a staff member. None of them were from the tenth district. I'll keep you informed.

On Scrutiny Hooligans, Screwy Hoolie is leading a valiant fight against a proposed oil-burning plant just outside Asheville. Three county commissioners (one democratic) met in private with the builders, Progress Energy. These three said they'd done nothing wrong because there was no quorum. Even with overwhelming public disapproval of the project, the other two commissioners (both democratic) voted for it. Through his blog, Screwy is encouraging protests of all kinds from phoning the local government fraud hotline to educational forums and email and phone campaigns.

Also, at BlueNC, a co-founder who writes under the nom de plume, Anglico, has taken exception to the Navy's proposed outlying landing field (OLF) in Washington County, NC. You can click on the link to read all about it. The main point is that even the Navy's own consultants and pilots expect that planes will crash, service men and women will die needlessly.

The first time the Navy proposed the site, it was shot down in court (2003). Under the new rules to fight "terrorism," the Navy has revived the reckless and ridiculous plan. I guess having pilots killed, losing $57 million jets, destroying a wildlife habitat, and the local community's way of life makes sense to them. Of course, there are other landing field sites in North Carolina that would work just as well. The problem: Navy admirals would have to take a longer helicopter ride twice a month.

Because Anglico has inspired his readers to write emails, make phone calls, and ask the right questions . . . Governor Easley, Lt. Governor Perdue, and several congressman are now on the record opposing the plan.

Those are only three examples. One day I'll tell you how another BlueNC blogger almost single-handedly raised $75,000 for a long-shot Congressional candidate who came within a few hundred votes of upsetting an incumbent. Have you heard the name Larry Kissell?

What would happen if we found our own Larry Kissell? What would happen if a blogger with that kind of passion and savvy moved to this district? Well guess what, race car fans? . . . we've already achieved the latter. The Southern Dem is moving to Lincoln County. Click on the link, go to her blog and tell her how much we want her help to replace Pat McHenry with someone like Larry Kissell in 2008.

The hits keep on comin'

Another contender for our banner. This one is from the AsheVillein.

Maybe we need to rotate. These are all so good.

Sunday, February 25, 2007

What do you think?

Here's a candidate for our "masthead," from one of WNCNN's finest. (What's the blogger word for masthead? Top panel? Banner?)

I like the color. (Big surprise.) I think maybe Pat himself should be graphicized. Looking at his real photo everyday might make me ill. I like the knuckle-dragging element.

What do you think?

Friday, February 23, 2007

How Pat McHenry rates

For those of you who don't know much about North Carolina's 10th district representative, don't rely on my opinion. For your illumination, I've checked out some of the most prestigious organizations in the country to see how they rate him based on voting record.

According to Project Vote Smart, Pat McHenry rates a zero, zilch, nada, zippo from the DAV, the Humane Society, the NEA, Defenders of Wildlife, National Committee for an Effective Congress, American Immigration Lawyers, Service Employees International Union, American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees, the Alliance for Retied Americans, NARAL, Planned Parenthood, and the Leadership Council on Civil Rights.

The Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America gave him a grade of F.

But don't despair. He's received a hundred, a perfect score, or a grade of A from the Family Research Council, the American Conservative Union, National Right to Life Committee, the NRA, the American Land Rights Coalition, the National Federation of Independent Business, the U.S. Border Control (whoever they are), and the National Sand and Gravel Association.

Okay, so that list ain't so long. Well, a score over 75 is average or above, so I'll list those who gave him marks at least that high: the National Association of Wheat Growers, Americans for Tax Reform, the Business-Industry Political Action Committee, and my personal favorite, the good ol' U.S. Chamber of Congress. Remember the U.S. Chamber of Commerce? Those are the folks who endorsed Russian bidnessman, unindicted bank fraud co-conspirator, and 11th district neighbor, Charles Taylor, year after miserable, corrupt year.

And, just to be fair, I'll list all the organizations that gave Pat a score of 25 or below: the United Auto Workers, International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers, American Federation of Government Employees, the United Electrical, Radio, and Machine Workers, the NAACP, the Drug Policy Alliance, the League of Conservation Voters, the Children's Defense Fund, the American Public Health Association, and he can't even please Republicans for Environmental Protection, who gave him score of 8.

Looking for a logo, and we've got a good start

To the left, you'll find Pat go bye-bye's first artistic contribution. And may I say it's a fine one, from AsheVillein at BlueNC. Of course, it doesn't quite go with our color scheme (which is based on our wonderful representative's rumored sexual orientation.)

Below, you'll find some calls for minor assistance for Pat go bye-bye, and for several other projects we have in mind for this site and other North Carolina political projects. If you can help us, leave a comment. Once I figure out how to post an email address, you can contact us that way.

CALL FOR GRAPHIC ARTIST/PHOTOSHOP WIZARD: Pat Go Bye bye is looking for a logo, something with Pat McHenry's inflated head getting the boot, perhaps? I guess a donkey doing the kicking is called for but not mandatory.

CALL FOR TECHNICAL HELP: Nothing too major. We need a calendar for Pat Go Bye-Bye. We could just enter items as a new list along the side from soonest to farthest. But, it would be nice if people could click on the feature and enter their own items. Maybe that's not possible unless they are registered to post? It's a blogspot website.

CALL FOR NC LINKS: Let us know if you want the site to link to your blog or website.

CALL FOR UNRELATED LOGO/DESIGN: Also needed, a logo that would illustrate a series of on-line articles about political women from WNC. The title, "Women of the West." So it would have a cowboy theme (or not.) The first of the series will feature five women from all over WNC but future articles will probably be about clusters of 3 or 4 women from Watauga and Buncombe.

CALL FOR LIDDY DOLE PHOTOSHOPPED SILLINESS: She's never in North Carolina. She's travelled her fewer times than Hillary goes to New York. She's documented as putting her husband's future career ahead of the safety of our blood supply as head of the Red Cross in the 90s. She's catering to an Air Force plan to put Admiral's comfort ahead of pilot safety (and the fate of zillions of migrating birds and local farmers). And then there's the hair. What's there not to satire?

[This was cross-posted yesterday in slightly different form at Scrutiny Hooligans and BlueNC.]

Thursday, February 22, 2007

Be on the lookout for

Thank you so much for starting a blog for our district. We really need an outlet to reach the Dems that are looking for an opportunity to engage. I hope that people all over the district will join us. We have some big goals in 2008, and I am ready to get started.

McHenry has had his chance to show us what he can do, and so far I am unimpressed. It is with great anticipation that I look all around me for someone new to fill that role. Everyday I make a mental list of those people I know who might be willing and able to make a real run at the 10th District seat. It is not enough for us to think they are a great candidate, they also have to want it. So far, that person has not presented her/himself. I hope that with this blog we can get people all over the district talking and coming up with potential candidates...not only for congress, but for all offices.

People all over the state have said for a long time that the western part of North Carolina will never be Democratic again. Obviously, that cannot be true...look at what the 11th District has done...elected Democrat Heath Shuler. And Watauga County has become almost entirely Democratic. There are people left in the west who want to see the R's lose their power and we can work together to make a change.

Welcome, everyone, to the only blog representing the 10th District.

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Welcome, neighbors of the 10th district

I used to have my name printed here. But I've gotten so many strange phone calls, I've edited this post to delete my name.

Hello. I've lived in Burke County for the past two years. I moved here to Jonas Ridge after spending 16 wonderful years in North Carolina's 11th district. When I'm not on the computer, I hike in the Linville Gorge Wilderness area or take a short trip down to Upper Creek falls.

I started this blog mainly because it's criminal that this glorious place is being represented in Congress by a megalomaniacal political operative who clearly does not have our children's best interests at heart. I don't like that my state senator, who disrespects gays, ran unopposed. I don't like that the Art Pope financial empire has targeted my state representative, Walt Church.

I propose that we start discussing what kind of candidates we want to promote against those in office right now who do not truly represent our values. As well, I propose we discuss strategies to support the candidates who do.

Once I figure out how to do it, I also plan to post a calendar of relevant events in the district. I'm depending on readers and allies to keep it up to date. And, of course, we'll add contact info for our representatives and local media and anything else we think of and have the time to do.

So, let me know what you think. Let me know if you have events you'd like other Democrats and Progressives to know about. This blog is not intended to be a personal one. It's completely dependent on the community of readers and writers as to what it will become. So, join me! And we'll do our best to improve the political situation for the party that understands the responsibilities, not just the privileges, that come with power.