Friday, March 30, 2007

Karl Rove coming to Western North Carolina!

Mark your calendars. In a move of obvious and excessive desperation, the Republicans of the 11th District are scraping the bottom of the political barrel and dragging disgraced (and disgusting) political hack extraordinaire Karl Rove to their convention April 28. West Henderson High School.

And, for some bizarre reason, they tapped WNCNN's Mad Miss Mattie to make the announcement. I'm shocked. Check it out. She's disgusting.

Thursday, March 29, 2007

Church campaign manager joins Hackney's staff

Our own Thomas Doyle, who worked so tirelessly down in the Morganton HQ for Walt Church's successful reelection to the house, has joined the staff of new House Speaker Joe Hackney.

Thomas' job title is assistant for special projects. We'll be sure to interview him soon about his experiences.

He's originally from the coast so his time in Morganton was a somewhat of a culture-shock. (You know, white slaw instead of red.) Last I heard he was "meeting all kinds of amazing people." Congratulations, Thomas!

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

NC air quality second worst in country

Thanks to the AsheVillein for this write-up:

The North Carolina Public Interest Research Group released a study this week which places North Carolina second, behind Ohio, for the highest level of power plant pollutants released into the air in 2004. Come on, Progress. Come on Duke. We can do better. Number 2 is the first loser, right guys?

The 65-page report is long on detail and begins,
Every day in America, industrial facilities release millions of pounds of toxic substances into the nation’s air and water. Many Americans – especially those who live in close proximity to industrial facilities –harbor deep concern about how those toxic releases may affect their health.
Harbor deep concern about those toxic releases affecting their health. Go figure. I mean, it's not like we have County Commissioners and power companies making secret deals to build just such industrial facilities upwind from cities... oh, wait, here in Buncombe County we do. And it is not like industry would lie about their ambitions and facts about their pollution... oh wait, they do that too.

I guess then we should harbor deep concern then.

Of course, it could be worse, it can always be worse. We could be in Texas, where G. W. Bush had more time to mess things up than he has in the rest of the USA.

Okay, you say, we also are not as bad as Louisiana, South Carolina, and Alabama, but is that a goal to which we wish to aspire?

The report also breaks out the North Carolina data by itself. I have just begun going over it and will be back later with an update.

This is gonna hurt some people's careers.

Monday, March 26, 2007

What is Going On?

I want to know what is going on in the counties of the 10th District. The early movement into the Presidential Campaign has a lot of political activity going on many levels. Are there any counties recruiting for seats they know will be open in 2008? Do you have any ideas about finding new, exciting candidates? Please, help bring me up to speed so I can know which races to watch for '08!!

Sunday, March 25, 2007

County Conventions next month (updated twice)

Below is the information provided by the North Carolina Democratic Party on upcoming county conventions in the 10th Congressional district. Click on any name to email.

Note: the new time for Catawba County is 2 p.m. Cleveland County's is at noon.

Avery County: TBA

Burke County: April 21, 1 p.m. (eat at noon) at the Cooperative Extension Building off of Enola Road, (above the Sheriff's department) Morganton. Contact: Jess Crowder, 828-397-6388

Caldwell County: April 21, 11 a.m., City/County office Building, Lenoir. (BBQ lunch to follow.) Contact: Steve Potter, 828-758-9806

Catawba County: April 21, NEW TIME: 2 p.m., 1924 Courthouse, Newton. Contact: Dan Green, 828-324-4943

Cleveland County: April 21, 12 noon, at the Cleveland County Office Building Auditorium, 130 S. Post Rd., Shelby. Contact: Betsy Wells, 704-739-1545.

Gaston County: April 14, 10 a.m. at the Department of Social Services Building (across from the courthouse), Gastonia. Contact Mel Black,: 704-435-0753.

Iredell County: April 14, 1 p.m. at the Hall of Justice, 201 E. Water St., Statesville. Contact: Gene Mahaffey, 704-592-5521. Speaker: Dan Besse, candidate for Lt. Governor

Lincoln County: April 14, 10 a.m., Lincoln County Democratic Headquarters in Lincolnton, Contact: Patsy Black, 704-483-3908.

Mitchell County: April 14, 9:30 a.m. Mitchell County Board of Education, School Road, Ledger, Contact: Doug Sudduth, 828-688-2399.

Rutherford County: April 21, 10 a.m. at Party Headquarters, 142 W. Main, Forest City. Contact: Keith Price, 828-248-1638.

Saturday, March 24, 2007

Tune in, turn on, strategize

If you were the Democratic Party, eager to win back the White House, where would you aim your expenditures of time and money? Does it make sense to write off an entire region of the country – OUR region?

That’s the topic of a debate that will air Sunday at 7 p.m. on Winston-Salem’s NPR affiliate, WFDD 88.5 FM. Tune in or jump online and get the live streaming audio of the 90-minute debate at

Crux of the arguments:

Tom Schaller, author of the book Whistling Past Dixie, argues that in the past several cycles, expenditures in the South have not paid off – notably Kerry in VA and TN and Gore in WV and TN. Focusing entirely on other regions, especially the West, is a winning strategy.

Bob Moser, writer for The Nation magazine and author of its article “The Way Down South,” argues that the Democratic Party is being transformed and reconfigured in the South and we are making progress; Howard Dean’s organizational model is paying off, as proven by our U.S. Senate win in Virginia.

Delmas Parker, NCDP Second Vice-Chair, (pictured with NCDP Chair Jerry Meek) argues that we are seriously cracking the nut right here in NC. We’ve reorganized and energized the Party and our victories in Republican Western NC in ’06 are a harbinger of success.

Read how events conspired through BlueNC to set up the debate

Friday, March 23, 2007

A class act

Hearing Thursday’s news about Elizabeth Edwards immediately took me back to November 2003 when I learned firsthand what a wonderful person she is.

With two vanloads of volunteers, mostly from Western NC, we were enroute to New Hampshire to spend a week knocking doors and phoning voters in advance of the nation’s first primary. We stopped overnight in Arlington, VA and got up early to hand out Edwards literature to Virginians before continuing on our way. It was snowing hard.

We knew it was a longshot, but we had requested that Elizabeth Edwards meet us bright and early outside a subway stop to join us for two hours greeting commuters (and potential voters in the February Virginia primary). We got an aide’s call that the Senator’s wife was stuck in their snowy driveway and might or might not make it.

But sure enough, a half hour later there she was, having apparently shoveled her car out herself. “I wasn’t going to miss a group of North Carolinians up here for a visit,” she said, “especially on their way to New Hampshire.” She spent the next hour and a half as cold as we were, greeting with a smile the often-surly subway riders.

When we ran low on literature, I distinctly remember her digging into a nearby trashcan, where lots of people had immediately ditched the fliers. “I don’t normally rummage through trashcans,” she said, “but these are still perfectly good.” Then she handed the same fliers out again, to more surly commuters.

Elizabeth Edwards is a class act, with a huge heart, tremendous intelligence, and lots of moxie. In my current role with the Party I can’t favor candidates in primaries. But I’ve seen nothing about favoring their spouses. I vote for Elizabeth Edwards and always will.

Photos by Pat Crawford.

Thursday, March 22, 2007

Letter from Senator Edwards

Elizabeth and I are so grateful for your prayers and wishes. Your support means a great deal to us during this difficult time.

As you may have heard, yesterday we found out that Elizabeth's breast cancer is back, but confined mainly to her bones. Although this isn't the news we wanted to hear, we are very optimistic. Having been through many struggles together in the past, we know that the key is to keep your head up, keep moving and be strong. And that's exactly what we intend to do.

Elizabeth and I have been married for nearly 30 years and we will be in this every step of the way together. We will keep a positive attitude and always look for the silver lining—that's what we do.

Although the cancer is no longer curable, it is treatable, and many patients in similar circumstances have lived full, energetic lives. We expect nothing less for Elizabeth. She expects to do all the things next week that she did last week.

Our campaign goes on and it goes on strongly. We are so proud of the campaign we are running—a campaign based on ideas and reaching out to people. This campaign is not about me or Elizabeth—it's about all the people we have met these past few years and people like them all across America and the world—people worried about feeding and clothing their kids; people without health care; people facing hardships overseas.

Both of us are committed to this campaign. We're committed to this cause and we're committed to changing this country we love so much.

Thank you again for your support and for standing with us.

John Edwards

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Thank You Pat McHenry

Today we have reason to be pleased and proud that we have sent Pat McHenry to Congress!

Only his world-class sanctimonosity would have inspired this wonderful speech by Pennsylvania Congressman Jack Murtha:
When I hear someone stand here sanctimoniously saying: "We're gonna fight this out . . . " We're not fighting at all. It's the troops who are doing the fighting. The families are doing the sacrificing. A very small proportion of the families in this country are doing the sacrificing. That's why I get so upset when they stand here sanctimoniously saying "we're fighting this thing." It's the troops who are doing the fighting, not the members of Congress.
Click here for the video. You'll have to listen to Pat's initial comments like:
I am proud that the majority of this house will stand to fight and win this war.
But, it's well worth the slog through a minute or so of debate-school hand gesturing to get to Murtha's response. Good job, Pat! Thank you.

Monday, March 19, 2007

Spruce Pine IS a screwed up place

Last week, Spruce Pine Ingles Customer Service Manager Teddy Willis told yours truly that the decision to keep the movie, Borat, from its video rental department was "probably" a decision from corporate. But, gee, golly, I just found out that, oh no, it wasn't.

The Newland Ingles, just one county away (a county even more Republican than Spruce Pine's Mitchell), has twenty copies and they are renting like proverbial hotcakes. According to the the Newland Ingles video counter employee, no one has complained. So, when the Spruce Pine Ingles manager decided not to provide the movie for its customers, it makes me wonder why.

If you've followed my previous posts on this subject, you know that in Spruce Pine I originally tried to rent Borat. I was told Ingles didn't carry it because it was too controversial).

When I returned the substitute movie, Babel, I sought out a manager to let them know that Babel had showed a masturbating, murdering child and that they may want to develop a little consistency in the censorship department. That's when Teddy told me that the decision was "probably" a corporate one. I've been too busy during business hours to call Ingles corporate headquarters but I did some shopping this evening at the Newland branch, only to discover that Mr. Teddy was shockingly mistaken.

So, what the hell could be so "controversial" about Borat? Naked men wrestling? Or is it that scene in a Virginia rodeo when Borat lets everyone know what the world thinks of America's so-called "War on Terror?"

Did Teddy deliberately lie about it? I don't know. I can only report that as I questioned him about it, his eyes never met mine.

I haven't had the chance to call Ingles corporate headquarters or touch base with dear Teddy, I can't wait to have a chat with official spokespeople for both entities. The Newland folk hadn't heard anything about Ingles putting the nix on the silly but fascinating movie. So, gee, Teddy "probably" made some kind of mistake when talking to me.

What do you think he'll say when I ask the Spruce Pine manager about his decision to censor Borat but make money off of Babel?

Democratic Strategy Debate Tuesday at Wake

Wake Forest's debate guru, also known as DemonDeac at BlueNC, has set up a great debate Tuesday over in Winston.

He's calling it Southern surrender versus Southern Strategy. NCDP's own Delmas Parker has told me that he's on the side of Southern Strategy. Don't know where these other guys stand. Here's the basic info:

Tommorrow night, March 20 at 7p.m., at Wake Forest University Tom Schaller will debate Bob Moser on the question of the Democratic Party's strategy towards the South. The debate will be held in Room 1312 of the Worrell Professional Center and respondents include yours truly and Delmas Parker, second vice chair of the NC Democratic Party, along with David Coates, politics professor at Wake Forest.

He's especially looking for live bloggers so if you're free check it out!

Sunday, March 18, 2007

Weekend Update

In future weekends, this will be the time where we, the staff at PatGoByeBye, will post the happenings for each county. For today, simply enjoy this Bill Maher clip talking about Republicans and gay hypocrisy:

If you would like your county's events posted here please email us
with your posts. We already have info for Cleveland, Gaston, and Burke counties but I would love to hear from everyone else.

Thursday, March 15, 2007

Caldwell County's Google deal:
Did it violate the spirit of open meetings laws?

Columnist Melanie Sill quoted Woodrow Wilson a couple of weeks ago in the Raleigh News and Observer:
The very fact that so much in politics is done in the dark, behind closed doors, promotes suspicion. Everybody knows that corruption thrives in secret places, and avoids public places, and we believe it a fair presumption that secrecy means impropriety.

Sill was pimping the N&O's North Carolina Open Government Coalition conference today at Elon College. I'm for open. I don't trust much done in secret. But in some cases, North Carolina law allows for private meetings. In her column Sill refers to our own Caldwell County's Google negotiations:

We need more attention paid in our state to decisions made in secret involving public agencies and money. Case in point: The Google deal.

To recap, Google recently won tax incentives worth up to $260 million over 30 years in exchange for building a 200-job computer center in western North Carolina. State and local officials negotiated the deal behind closed doors under exemptions to the North Carolina Open Meetings Law.

The N&O's Jonathan B. Cox obtained public records as soon as they were available and told people what Google sought and gained and how the incentives stacked up.

Some North Carolinians think the Google incentives were necessary and agree with negotiating the deal secretly. Others find either the incentives or the private negotiations outrageous.

So, someone from Caldwell County let us know what Caldwell residents think of these secret meetings. Were they appropriate and useful or did they just provide for a situation under which local officials could sell the farm without public input or comment?

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Nancy Fish credits inclusion for Haywood's big win

Two years ago Nancy Fish was elected Haywood County Democratic Party chair at a county convention that was split almost evenly.

In the 2004 election Democrats lost the congressional race 55% to 45%. Hometown state Senator Joe Sam Queen lost his election (NC Senate district 47, which includes several other counties). He won in Haywood by 18 points, not enough to overcome the rest of the counties in his district.

Election day, 2006, in Haywood County the Democratic Party had swept the ticket.

Congressman Heath Shuler defeated Charles Taylor in Haywood by by 56 to 44. And NC Senator Joe Sam beat incumbent Republican Keith Presnell by a whopping 30 points to go on and take back the senate seat he'd lost two years before.

What happened? When asked that question Nancy Fish replies, "Inclusion. Inclusion. Inclusion." She said it simply and repeatedly, "We found something for everyone to do." Click below to listen.

Paul Donahue, former Henderson County Chair (and retired Congressional chief of staff) presided over the county convention two years ago. He said, "Nancy's strength is her tenacity. She'll move slowly and she'll move cautiously. But she won't back off. She knows exactly where she wants to go. She's just smart enough to make sure the majority is with her before she moves forward."

Apparently, the majority was with her November 7th. Click to listen to Nancy talk about election day:

"We made a difference for Heath but Joe Sam was the one we put on top. And [NC Senator] John Snow didn't win in our precincts but we closed the gap" compared to the '04 election. In fact, according to the current North Carolina Board of Election website, Snow did win in Haywood County on his way to reelection in the 50th NC Senate district.

Nancy is native to Haywood, but after attending Appalachian and Vanderbilt's Peabody College of Education, she settled to teach in Madison and Buncombe counties. She wasn't active in politics until free from family obligations in 1995 when she found a place for herself in the Madison County Democratic Women. She eventually moved to Buncombe County and was elected to the state Democratic Women's executive board, chairing the state convention in Asheville.

"If not for Democratic women, she said, she probably "would never have gotten as involved. It was a stepping stone. It gave me confidence." Watching Nancy Fish now, it's hard to believe she ever needed any confidence boost.

Haywood County election results

2006 Charles H. Taylor 8,745 Votes
Heath Shuler 11,208 Votes

2004 Charles H. Taylor 14,514 Votes
Patsy Keever 11,822 Votes

Joe Sam Queen 11,434 Votes
Keith Presnell 6,446 Votes

Joe Sam Queen 13,394 Votes
Keith Presnell 9,253 Votes

John Snow 1,497 Votes
Ken McKim 1,111 Votes

John Snow 1,636 Votes
Ben Lamm 47 Votes
Bob Carpenter 1,705 Votes

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Let's keep our issues in the spotlight

In every community, we need to constantly be putting out our Democratic message.

If we want to win elections, Democrats need to write letters to the editor, post on blogs, call radio talk shows, speak at meetings, speak to our neighbors, refresh our bumper stickers, speak up every chance we get. It’s free. It’s easy. And if we don’t do it, we lose the war of words.

Republicans own all the major media outlets. But they don’t have the majority and they don’t have common sense on their side. We can totally sway public opinion, but we can’t do it without communicating publicly and repeatedly to our potential voters. It doesn’t take lots of words, just a few of the right ones.

On gas prices: Skyrocketing gas prices – what should we expect with an oilman as President?

On veterans: Supporting our troops means providing body armor and appropriate medical care. Not making up reasons to go to war.

On the CIA leak scandal:
When will Bush put national security ahead of smear tactics and politics as usual?

For a letter to the editor, you don’t have to reinvent the wheel or do a ton or research. The national party has a research tool that allows you to compose and send a well-reasoned letter in no time. Click through the various current topics, pick a few key facts, add a personal comment or two, and you’re done. Click on this link to the letter-builder.

Let us know when your letter appears and we’ll report on it right here on Pat Go ByeBye.

Sunday, March 11, 2007

Opportunities, Opportunities, Opportunities

Over the last several years I have become very involved in my local Democratic Party. It seems that I have talked to several people recently who want to become more active, but don't know anyone in the party or how to even start. Well, it is a great time of the year to jump in!!!

During the month of April there is a one week period (covering two Saturdays) for every county to hold its county convention. The dates this year are April 14th through the 21st. I have only been to the Cleveland County Conventions, but I bet they all have some things in common. The main purpose of this meeting will be to elect new officers. Of course, if you are just getting started in the party you might not want to run, but there are many other opportunities. The county convention is the one time in the year you get all of the local dems together. It is a great opportunity to meet like minded people and find out what your local party is up to. Just by speaking up you can influence the type of issues the party tackles or the local projects the party takes on.

In Cleveland County we usually have an auxiliary group selling hot dogs as a fundraiser, and we have an annual cake sale. The cake sale has received some repute in the state because our cakes go for some big bucks (let me give a big shout out to the bakers of the Cleveland County Democratic Party). The cake auction usually gets some competitive spirits rolling and the spirit of the crowd is boisterous.

The county convention is also a great place to meet your local leadership. Maybe you will run across a State House Member, or you local County Commissioner. It is a great time to give them a pat on the back or to tell them what is really bothering you with the government.

To find out more about the schedule contact your local party chair.

No matter what your personal agenda is the county convention is an opportunity to meet new folks and join in the decision making process. I hope everyone will find their meeting and make a point to attend!

Enjoy this video treat on me . . .

While I'm off in gator-land celebrating my 25th anniversary, I just thought you'd relish this oldie-but-goodie "McHenry fights Foley-gate" video.

You'll want to know this from
There are no dictionary entries for fact point, but fact, point are spelled correctly.

Transcript thanks to

MCHENRY: The question remains, though: What person, group or political entity had these nasty instant messages and possessed the e-mails in order to solicit this story? And in a partisan environment like we’re in right now in Washington, four weeks out from a national election, that question must be asked.

BLITZER: So what you’re suggesting — and correct me if I’m wrong, because you’ve been doing this for the last few days — that Democrats are behind the timing of the release of this information? Is that your accusation?

MCHENRY: Well, look, all the fact points lead to one question: Did Rahm Emanuel or Nancy Pelosi have any involvement on the strategic or tactical level? This morning on “This Week with George Stephanopoulos,” the question was asked of Rahm Emanuel. His reaction was he did not see the instant messages or e-mails. He repeatedly said, he did not see. I’ve asked him to testify under oath to assure the American people that he was not involved in this issue in any way, shape or form.

BLITZER: Do you have any evidence at all that Democrats or others might have been behind the timing of this scandal?

MCHENRY: Look, let’s be honest…

BLITZER: Do you have any evidence to back that charge up?

MCHENRY: No, no, actually, if the Democrats had any issue with saying this, putting all the facts out on the table, they would say, certainly, I’ll testify under oath that I had no involvement in it. They’ve said no.

BLITZER: Well, you don’t have any evidence, though, right?

MCHENRY: Well, look at the fact points.

BLITZER: Yes or no, do you have any evidence, Congressman?

MCHENRY: Do you have any evidence that they weren’t involved?

BLITZER: I’m just asking if you’re just throwing out an accusation or if you have any hard evidence.

MCHENRY: No. It’s a question, Wolf. The question remains, were they involved? And if they were not involved, they need to say clearly. And it’s a question. It’s not an accusation.

Saturday, March 10, 2007

What makes us Democrats?

Actions speak louder than words. And when positive actions have the Democratic name attached, they can turn doubters into Democratic voters.

In Western North Carolina, the counties that have been most successful at electing Democrats are also counties where Democrats take the lead in social action. It’s about putting the Democratic brand on the work that we normally do anyway.

If you haven’t seen it yet, take a quick listen to Diane Tilson in Watauga County as she describes how they turned their county from red to blue. Democrats now hold a 5-0 majority on their county commission – Watauga Democrats carried their entire slate in 2006.

It all started with a few simple words: “I’m here on behalf of the Democratic Party.” They said it when they volunteered at the library book sale; at a community litter clean-up; as they fixed up a childrens’ playground; as they delivered meals-on-wheels. Eventually they also wore bright shirts with the slogan “Democratic Pride – we’re on your side.” People noticed the Democrats helping out and when it came time to vote, they remembered Democrats at the ballot box.

Obviously that’s not all it takes to win elections, but when we make the effort to back talk with action, our words carry a lot more credibility.

Friday, March 9, 2007

Spruce Pine used clothes update:
DQ is on the case

I'm all over the used clothes situation in Spruce Pine. The other day, I went to every second hand store in downtown, all four of them. Two of 'em are run by the same people. Their proceeds go to help abused women. They have a trailer they hide behind a building. They separate the unsellable clothes by wool, cotton, etc and they say it gets recycled.

The third one has no idea what to do. They had piles of clothes in plastic bags all over the floor. It was hard to get around.

Then I went to the one that throws away their unsellable used clothes. I spoke to a paid employee, Martha Gordon. Their proceeds go to feeding the hungry and helping with the heating bills for people with low incomes. She told me that they used to have a trailer in the parking lot. She said the town manager, Richard Canipe, won't let them park it there anymore. "He didn't like the way it looked." She pointed out a scar on a nearby hillside, covered in riprap. "And that looks good?" Martha's pretty funny. (But, she declined to be videotaped. Darn.)

Richard Canipe is not only the Spruce Pine town manager. He is currently treasurer and recent past president of the Spruce Pine Main Street Board. He told me that Martha is mistaken about looks of the trailer. He said it was taking up four or more parking spaces in a city lot. Since they fill up on weekends, according to Mr. Canipe, the town council voted to have the trailer removed.

Mr. Canipe made it very clear that no action on his part was anything other than what he was directed to do by the town council. He told me at least four times. "This is not representing my personal opinion, you understand." Speaking for himself, he did wonder (extensively) how people who donated the clothes felt about them being sliced up and destroyed. He sounded very concerned about the feelings of those who had donated the clothing. I assured him that as a citizen journalist I would be all over it.

Then, Mr. Canipe told me all about the grant they're getting from the Clean Water Fund to explore the concept of extending their really nice walking path along the river. "Spruce Pine has two things going for it. One, a railroad and two, a river, right through downtown." He says he envisions the place becoming an artist colony, some kind of tourist attraction.

I went back to Martha and relayed Mr. Canipe's concern for the used clothes as well as his assertion that the parking spaces were desperately needed. She showed me where the trailer had taken up only two spaces. She also pointed out that it takes three men to collect cardboard boxes every Monday and Thursday morning. I'm not sure what this has to do with used clothes but she sounded pretty pissed.

I told her of my concern for the amount of work it took to shred the clothes versus the amount it would take to haul it down the street three blocks. She assured me destroying the clothes (and hauling them out to the dumpster) was no problem. "Oh, we just use a big ol' butcher's knife." She said she thought it was too much work to haul the clothes down to the trailer that belongs to the first store. "And they get paid by the pound. We'd have to figure that out." Apparently, that was an insurmountable obstacle, the figuring out. She didn't seem to understand that I was delicately probing (as only I can delicately probe) the concept that not throwing things away has some benefit in and of itself.

QUICK UPDATE on the Borat/Babel Ingles controversy: Customer Service Supervisor Teddy somebody said, "Prob'ly decision's from corp'rate." He didn't care that Babel had children killing and masturbating. He didn't care that Borat had been banned for political reasons.

NEXT STEPS: Call Ingles corporate headquarters. Call the director of the used clothes outlet. Get the minutes of the meeting where the trailer decision was made. We'll get all this cleared up in no time. Drama Queen is all over these injustices in Spruce Pine, North Carolina. You can depend on it. If something doesn't break soon (and if they're not too busy) WNCNN will have to send in its crack team of investigative reporters.

Thursday, March 8, 2007

Time to either support these dudes
. . . or plan to remove them

Okay, we did it for our state senators, all Republican, so it's only fair to go after these sad representatives who call themselves Democrats: Walt Church, Bob England, and Ray Warren have signed up to co-sponsor a bill to amend the North Carolina constitution to discriminate against gays.

Do Church, England, and Warren really feel that it's important to spend their time adding to the existing laws that already discriminate against our neighbors, family members, and friends? Or, is it that they consider themselves so unsupported by their local Democratic parties that they feel the need to cave in to ridiculously obvious fundamentalist wedge tactics?

Hey folks, it's up to us (yes, you and me) to let them know they don't need to play these sick games. Either we support them, that is, we do the phone calling and door-to-door canvassing that wins elections. Or, we find candidates who have more courage and/or higher standards.

Don't be afraid to let them know how you feel. On the other hand, don't hold back from committing to either support or replace them when the next election cycle comes around.

Walt Church - (Burke) Email:

Dr. Bob England (Cleveland, Rutherford) Email:

Ray Warren (Catawba, Alexander) Email:

Here's some of the Charlotte Observer's write-up of the situation:
Buoyed by the recent passage of similar legislation in seven states, several thousand people rallied Tuesday to urge lawmakers to let them vote on a constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage. . . .

Supporters of the idea said citizens shouldn't be denied a chance to vote to change the N.C. Constitution to allow marriage only between a man and a woman.

Democratic leaders have declined to take up similar questions over the past three years, saying no changes in state law are needed and that more important issues should take precedence.
State law says that a valid marriage is one "created by the consent of a male and female person." A 1996 law also states that North Carolina doesn't recognize gay marriages performed in other states.

Given the conservative makeup of both the state Supreme Court and the U.S. Supreme Court, judicial action to overturn North Carolina's marriage laws is unlikely, said William Marshall, a professor at the UNC Chapel Hill law school.

Senate leader Marc Basnight and House Speaker Joe Hackney, D-Orange, say no changes are needed to current law. "I don't know why we would spend time on that," Hackney said Tuesday.

Tuesday, March 6, 2007

Exclusive must-see WNCNN interview with Elizabeth Dole

WNCNN's Johnny Joe Rockslide is back with an exclusive interview at the home of North Carolina's own senior senator, Elizabeth Dole.

For background on Johnny Joe's questions, you might want to check out this BlueNC post by Blue South, Where does Elizabeth Dole Live? He's done extensive research in to Dole's residency. Here's a relevant exerpt:
I started with, where I discovered that she and Bob own property in many states. She owns 118.91 acres in Johnson City Kansas, valued at over a million dollars. She owns a condo with her brother in Florida. In Salisbury the only thing she owns is a “28.47% ownership interest” in a real estate development. This “ownership interest” has a value of between 250 and 500 thousand dollars. She receives rent from this property.

I then checked on her voter registration, discovering her voting address is 712 S Fulton St, Salisbury, NC. What is interesting about this is that Bob Dole is not registered to vote in the state of North Carolina. He is however, registered to vote in Kansas. In fact, the same day that Elizabeth was voting in person in North Carolina in an effort to become a Senator, her husband was in Kansas, voting in person there. How many married couples do you know that are not divorced, not separated, and yet live in different houses?

My next stop was the Rowan County Register of Deeds. Elizabeth Dole apparently owns the home where she is registered to vote. The home has a value for tax assessment purposes of just under $321,000. I am glad that she managed to actually buy a home in North Carolina. But I wonder about how much time she spends there.

In doing a little more searching, I found this article from 2005. It turns out that said home in Salisbury was bought after Christmas in 2001. Why does that matter? Well it turns out she voted in November of 2001. You see, this house was actually the home of her mother since 1937. In fact, Mrs. Hanford was still living in the house up until her untimely death, in 2004, at the age of 102.

. . .

The claim by her campaign in 2001 was that the home was owned by Elizabeth Dole. Apparently, though, the home was sold to her only after she decided to run for Senate. The home was sold to her by her mother, who continued to live in the home, it being her residence after all.

In fact, as of today, Elizabeth Dole’s mailing address on official Rowan County documents is still listed as the Watergate hotel. Why is that important? Because from everything I can see Elizabeth Dole still lives in the same place she has lived for 40 years. Washington DC.

Crossposted at BlueNC and Scrutiny Hooligans

Monday, March 5, 2007

I'm worried about Spruce Pine

Hey, what's up in Mitchell County?

I've been there twice in the past week and I'm starting to worry. Of course, we all know the region is acclaimed for its hot female bikers, I mean, all those amazing minerals. And its great legacy of country music, the scenic beauty and the (well-worth-a-visit) Penland crafts school. It's a cultural treasure house, right?

So, you can imagine how shocked and concerned I felt when I heard this rumor about one of the local used clothing stores. You know, the kind that takes all kinds of used items to sell and the proceeds go to help animals or those in need? In this particular case, I'd heard that they throw away the items they can't sell. Right into the dumpster!

Last week, I went to the establishment in question and bought a few items (including some amazing used wigs. More on that later). And I chatted with the nice Christian lady behind the counter, who assured me that not only did they indeed throw away the clothes, they go so far as to cut them up. "If we don't slit the clothes, we come in the next day and there's a mess in the parking lot. People rummage through the dumpster and leave 'em all over. We spend half the mornin' cleanin' up . . ."

I won't give names and addresses (or phone numbers) until I've confirmed the story. But, according to my sources, there used to be a tractor-trailer in said parking lot where the unbought clothes would get picked up. But now, I'm told, "the county won't let us," because it doesn't look nice.

I know Mitchell County is overwhelmingly Christian (and, dare I say, Republican). I can't imagine a true Christian would advocate destroying clothes rather than getting them to people who could use them (at no cost to anyone . . .) I'll have to investigate further. Rest assured, I'm on the case.

Then there's the movie situation. I'll have to do more research on this one, too. It seems that the Ingles grocery in Spruce Pine doesn't carry the movie, Borat. "It's too controversial," said the woman behind the counter (with a giggle.)

So, we rented Babel. Well, Babel has children masturbating and killing people, blood everywhere. There's a teenaged girl licking her dentist (without his permission), and getting naked repeatedly (and not for laughs).

So, this is okay with the Spruce Pine Ingles but the sophomoric (and quite entertaining) Borat isn't? I'm thinkin' it's that scene at the rodeo where he sings a new version of the national anthem. You know, about how America is terrorizing the world with our so-called "war on terror." Maybe, that's what makes Borat too controversial. Because I know that nudity can't be the problem, since masturbating children and sexually aggressive nude teenagers are just fine.

I obviously need to ask some questions here. Maybe it's all Ingles and not just the Spruce Pine one.

Still, I'm worried about Spruce Pine. I'll keep you posted.

Sunday, March 4, 2007

Any comments?

Want to start blogging? Best way to start is by posting comments. So, comment away, potential bloggers . . .

Saturday, March 3, 2007

Equality for NC

Do you live in Iredell, Gaston, or Lincoln counties? Do you know your state senator, James Forrester, is the primary sponsor of Senate bill 13, which is hate legislation?

How about residents of Burke or Caldwell? Catawba or Iredell? Jim Jacumin, Austin Allran, Fletcher Hartsell, Jr. are co-sponsors.

They are trucking in anti-gay activists from all over the country to Raleigh Tuesday, March 6th to tell us why we're ungodly if we support civil rights for all.

Don't worry, though, a group called Equality NC plans to "turn lemons into lemonade" and turn the rally into a fundraiser for equal rights. Read more about that below.

My point here at Pat Go Bye-Bye: let's do the same. Let's turn lemons into lemonade. Why are our legislators so obsessed with sexuality? Are Allran, Forrester, Hartsell and Jacumin doing things to improve education, help alleviate poverty, improve the economy, what else? Copy the email address below and tell your Senator that you disapprove of this bill and that you want him to spend his time working for a bill like Representative Verla Insko's Health Care for All. Tell them whatever you'd like them to do. That would be at least a start in the right direction.

And, while you're at it, be thinking about 2008. We can also turn lemons into by using this as motivation to find the wonderful candidates (we know you're out there) who can run against these hate-filled senators.

Thanks to Pam Spaulding for pointing out the planned alternative productive activities and for keeping the BlueNC statewide progressive community aware of this unconstitutional legislation.
Our friends at the far right, radical Christian organizations Called2Action and Return America, "a new Christian organization in North Carolina," are planning a rally for THIS TUESDAY, MARCH 6, at the NC General Assembly to support their anti-gay, anti-marriage state constitutional amendment.

Let's turn lemons into lemonade once again. Make your pledge today to give 25, 50, 75 cents, or a dollar to Equality North Carolina for every minute this rally of hate and bigotry goes on. When we did this last year, we raised $12,000. Let's see if we can raise even more this year!

To make your pledge by the time the rally starts on Tuesday at 11 AM, simply choose your amount per minute and email Shawn Long with it at When the rally starts, we'll count up the minutes, then send you a follow-up email with your total and payment information.

Be sure to visit the websites of Called2Action ( and Return America ( to get a better idea of what we're up against.

Here's more to chew on:
Their agenda is not only anti-LGBT, but also anti-woman, anti-diversity, anti-people. Return for America does credit the "homosexual advocacy group" Equality NC with holding back the marriage amendment for the past three years, and we thank them for that!

With your help, every minute of their divisive rhetoric will support our continuing partnership with people like you to make North Carolina a more tolerant place.

Email sponsor Forrester at

Email co-sponsor Allred at

Email co-sponsor Hartsell at

Email co-sponsor Jacumin at

Friday, March 2, 2007

Meet Mad Miss Mattie

Those of us at Pat Go Bye-Bye feel the need to give equal time to the supporters of our duly-elected Congressman.

(If you haven't already met her, you'll just have to forgive her atrocious styling and obnoxious voice. She means well, I think.)

For background on Pat's run-in with Barney Frank, check this out:

Thursday, March 1, 2007

Charlotte 14-year-old calls McHenry childish

Written by The Southern Dem and crossposted from BlueNC

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?

Bryan Grossman, 20, UNC Chapel Hill: I find it comical that a man such as Rep. Patrick McHenry would suggest something of that nature . . . Shouldn't a representative from North Carolina talk about North Carolina? Shouldn't he be talking about corruption within his own party that caused Republican seats to be lost in an election? Shouldn't he talk about a war that his party was responsible for directing? . . .

Alex Li, 17, Charlotte Latin School, Charlotte: I think that Pelosi has every right to request safe passage home, even if that means riding in an Air Force transport plane. If the sergeant-at arms believes that flying nonstop is the safest way home, then there shouldn't be much of an argument . . . Any criticism that she receives is either from sexists or from Republicans . . .

Julie Flanagan, 16, home-schooled, Charlotte: Frankly, I am a little upset that we are pouring this much time into such a non-important question . . .

Jacob Keady, 12, Marvin Ridge Middle School, Waxhaw: I think speaker Pelosi should have accesss to a larger plane, only for security purposes . . . The reason I think she is being criticized is because she is a Democrat. Of course, she could be being critized because she is a woman. Belive it or not, sexism has been in the United States since it's birth. [SD - He's 12 people . . . this kid is freaking 12 years old!]

Khevna Desai, 14, School of Math, Engineering, Technology, and Science @ Olympic High, Charlotte: Former speaker of the house Dennis Hastert flew in the military jet for security reasons. His plane was smaller because he needed transportation from Illinois, to Washington D.C. Pelosi needs a bigger plane because it has been found necessary for security reasons, to fly non-stop. Rep. Patrick McHenry is being childish instead of concentrating on more important matters. The criticism is misguided. If the critics have such a problem with the matter, instead of stirring up controversy they should talk to those in charge of her transportation and security. I think that Pelosi is being criticized because she is a woman, and a Democrat.

Peter Thao, 15, North Stanly High School, New London: If the House Sergeant-at-Arms office wants Nancy Pelosi to take a military plane, then why can't she take the C-32 plane? She said she would be happy to take a commercial plane, but the House Sergeant-at-arms office keeps urging her to take a military plane . . .

Evan Heilig, 14, North Stanly High School, New London: I do think that Nancy Pelosi should be able to have the Air Force transport to take her to California. I think that people are just being sexist, and they just need to back off. Mrs. Pelosi has got a really stressful job and one of the most important jobs at that. This is a new age, and I believe that women should have the right to have just as much as men. Mrs. Pelosi works just as hard as any other person with that job, so she should be able to have the rewards that come with it.

Believe it or not, there's quite a bit more. A large majority of the kids seemed to understand the issue as it was presented and a couple had knowledge beyond that presented in the question posed by the Observer.

Sure, there are some grammar and spelling problems, but more importantly it seems that these kids have a better grasp of this issue than most adults - including most of the reporters who acted as stenographers for the whining wingnuts in Washington.

Please head on over to the Observer and enjoy reading the responses. There are only a couple that appeared to be written by kool-aid kids and that's with a large number of responses from heavily Republican Stanly County.