Saturday, June 30, 2007

294 to 174: that's how much Congress hates our Pat

Here's what Government Executive dot com had to say about it all:
Democrats and Republicans teamed up, 249-174 to eliminate $125,000 for the "Home of the Perfect Christmas Tree" project. The money was requested by Rep. Patrick McHenry, R-N.C., who has rubbed a number of members the wrong way for his caustic criticism of earmarking practices. All other attempts to strip earmarks failed by roughly 3-to-1 margins.

Friday, June 29, 2007

Republicans cut McHenry's earmark!

Quick followup: The Hill has this in more detail. I'm too busy to read it right now. Might be that the cut's never passed. -Editor

Gee. Republicans can get embarrassed by their own hypocrisy. At least Arizona's Representative Flake was peeved enough to cut McHenry's Christmas Tree earmark for WNC's Mitchell county. Check this out from Crypt's blog at politico dot com:
Republican Rep. Jeff Flake of Arizona — with the help of plenty of Democrats — just screwed his GOP colleague Patrick McHenry out of earmarked money for a project in the latter's western North Carolina district.

It is the first amendment Flake has ever passed to strip money from the annual spending bills.

"Congressman Flake didn't think he'd bring down his first earmark with friendly fire," remarked his spokesman Matthew Specht.

Flake succeeded by winning over Democrats who usually vote against him. Rep. Barney Frank (D-Mass.) explained why he had made an exception in this case.

"It was resentment over his hypocrisy in leading the fight against earmarks and then offering one of lesser value," Frank said. "I think penalizing hypocrisy is a legitimate response in politics."

Many Democrats have a particular dislike for McHenry's biting floor speeches. Flake's amendment gave them an opportunity for revenge.
Looks like our Pat is embarrassing more than himself these days. I wonder how he's going to do in his own primary next year.

Thursday, June 28, 2007

Title Match

Everybody on TV is talking about the showdown between Elizabeth Edwards and Ann Coulter on MSNBC last night. I think Elizabeth did a great job while showing that you can have class and still participate in the political process. For years, I have been waiting for someone to tell Ann Coulter that what she does is not called for or journalistic. Hopefully, the message will get across this time.

The whole thing got me thinking about the role of political spouses. The Democratic spouses seem to be more and more involved every cycle. This year the big spouse stories have been: Elizabeth Edwards' cancer, Michelle Obama giving up her high-powered job, and of course, the possibility of a first gentleman. The question for me is how much should/does a political spouse affect the voters' decisions?

As an aside, Ann Coulter was in Charlotte just a few months ago for the Southern Evangelical Seminary program. I cannot imagine what she added to the spiritual discussion.

Cross posted at BlueNC.

Editor's note: I changed the post time on this for editorial reasons.

Hickory vet's funeral faces right-wing protest today

Just got this notice late about plans to disrupt the funeral of Army Specialist Ward Linder who died by roadside IED in Iraq June 19:
This message is coming late, but we've just confirmed that Westboro Baptist Church is planning a picket tomorrow in Hickory at the funeral service of Army Specialist Ward Linder who was killed while on duty in Iraq. Westboro Baptist Church is famous for their venomous anti-gay statements that include "God Hates Fags," "Thank God For Gay AIDS" and "Fags Destroy Nations" to name a few.

As many of you may remember, we received communication from Westboro Baptist Church's Pastor - Fred Phelps - when we attempted to organize an LGBT community center in Hickory. It is absolutely important that we not let Westboro Baptist Church have the last say in our hometown tomorrow. That's why I'm calling on you to get involved and help!

If you have some spare time in the morning around 9am, we need for you to join us at Faith Evangelical and Reformed United Church of Christ in Hickory. The address of the church is: 204 19th Ave. SW Hickory, NC 28602. Come with your signs of support for our troops and American flags. It is important that the minority communities come together to reject this evil group.

I can't figure out how to post the flyer but here are some choice tidbits cut and pasted:
WBC to picket memorial for Army Spc. Darryl W. Linder - at 9:15 a.m., Thur., June 28 - at Faith United Church
of Christ, 204 19th Ave. SW, Brookford, North Carolina.
God Himself Has Now Become America's Terrorist, Killing
and Maiming American Troops in Strange Lands for Fag Sins.
We've turned America
Over to fags;
They're coming home
In body bags.

Let's hope these messed up people do not interfere with the honor and respect due Specialist Linder and his family.

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Jason Deans: who is he?

A few weeks ago, McHenry campaign spokesman Jason Deans told reporters:
“This is the culmination of a three-year smear campaign against Congressman McHenry, his campaign workers and supporters,” said Jason Deans, a spokesman for McHenry’s political campaign. “This case is much like the Duke lacrosse case in that a politically motivated district attorney sought an indictment against a young man without even granting him an interview.”
What kind of individual person equates a case of voter fraud to a rape case? It's absurd.

Anyone know anything? Emails (using the clickable green EMAIL US at left) will be taken in confidence if requested.

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

McHenry's votes on government reform

According to On The Issues, Patrick McHenry voted:
  • YES on requiring lobbyist disclosure of bundled donations. (May 2007)

  • NO on granting Washington DC an Electoral vote & vote in Congress. (Apr 2007)

  • NO on protecting whistleblowers from employer recrimination. (Mar 2007)

  • YES on requiring photo ID for voting in federal elections. (Sep 2006)

  • YES on restricting independent grassroots political committees. (Apr 2006)

  • YES on prohibiting lawsuits about obesity against food providers. (Oct 2005)

  • YES on limiting attorney's fees in class action lawsuits. (Feb 2005)
So, our self-described conservative congressman wants it to be harder to vote (with no evidence that there is any voter fraud in this country except by his own house mate and employee.

And he thinks DC residents don't deserve representation in Congress.

Doesn't want whistle blowers protected but wants those poisoned by improper food handling to get off easily.

Wants to restrict grassroots organization (because Republicans have no grassroots except for people they lie to) and wants to limit fair business practices by attorneys so that poorer victims will never be able to recover the costs of being screwed by big corporations.

Nice guy.

Monday, June 25, 2007

Pat's all about transparency, NOT

"We need to lay clear this earmarks. We need to know what they are in the legislation so that the American people can judge for themselves the worthiness of the programs."

Crooks and Liars posted this short video over the weekend:

Yeah, I guess Avery County (among others) would have liked to know that over a hundred grand was up for Christmas tree subsidies, don't you think?

Enjoy these selected comments cut and pasted from the post at Crooks and Liars.

This guy is an absolute opportunistic idiot. A child trying to please his daddy who will say anything to get ahead.
He is a nasty little wingnut.
McHenry & Putnam make my skin crawl because they're both pasty white, flabby, guys who think they're tough as nails! Ewwwwwwwwwww, they make me want to gag myself with a garden rake.
The money would double retail space available for a gift shop selling products - typically made by former factory workers whose plants have been shuttered

Well at least it's not for a bridge going to nowhere.
I really can't stand McHenry. Picture a College Republican thug with a Congressional seat and you've got him in a nutshell. The perfect little conservative storm trooper, all yelp and shit for brains. I still have found memories of his inane blather that the Dems were to blame for the Mark Foley mess. Or when Barney Frank verbally eviscerated him on the House floor (basically rubbing in his face the fact that the Dems control the House and he's nothing but a powerless yakker). He's always good to mock.
$129,000 of government money for a shop selling Christmas ornaments? Golly, I hope he can help fund the bake-sale to keep homeless busy will be a success too.

The money would double retail space available for a gift shop selling products - typically made by former factory workers whose plants have been shuttered

Well at least it's not for a bridge going to nowhere.
I don't like him on a lot of levels, but this doesn't seem awful to me. Here's my sniff test - if a Democrat was proposing this, would we howl? North Carolina a furniture making country, and a lot of that work is leaving the US. The skills used in furniture making could translate well into making ornaments, which (in case you have bought any in the last few years) are getting to be big ticket items. What the hell - why not?

Again, I think he's a wanker, but this isn't one to hold against him.
The guy is a craven hack on all talk shows, lies to his own constituents and votes against their interests. I'm sure he's got a bright future in the GOP.
If he were a Dem and the Publicans raked him over the coals for this, we would correctly see it as a petty partisan attack, and call them mean-spirited to boot, since this bill does in fact help the disadvantaged. We reduce our credibility by picking at nits.

Also, although it is very hypocritical of the Publicans to go after earmarks in the wake of Abramoff and the K Street Project, the stubborn fact remains that non-transparent earmarks ARE bad for democracy, and as Americans we should oppose poor Democratic governance with as much brio as poor Publican governance.
I think the point is that you have a guy in McHanry who will spew the party line about 'the invisible, free hand of markets' when factory jobs in his district are outsourced to China, but that he's still got to get people to vote for him, so he sets them up in a crafts shop (no doubt earning a fraction of what they formerly did) on the government dole. So much for the invisible free hand. And, of course, the fact that the government money is being used to make Christmas tree ornaments plays very well with the religious right.
I am not sticking up for McHenry. But most politicians on both sides of the aisle are hypocritical slimeballs, because political power is inherently corruptive. Whether it's the Publicans or the Dems that are feeding like pigs from the public trough, it's my money they're spending.

As a taxpayer, the issue of non-transparent earmarks is much more important than the hypocrisy of one Publican congressman. $129K is less than the cost of ONE up-armored Humvee!

The News that Isn't

So, the big presidential campaign news this week is that John Edwards used his role at in several non-profit anti-poverty agencies to further his political career. Somebody stop the presses, because this is news…Well not exactly.

When the one-term Senator left office in 2005 he was faced with a challenge…what to do with his life. Most people believed from that time that Edwards was going to be a presidential contender in 2008. He needed to do something in those years that would show that he is worthy of being our President. Instead of taking a stint on “Law and Order” Edwards worked to establish issue oriented agencies to take a leadership role in stopping the thing that he believes is the true scourge of our society…POVERTY.

Let’s get the negatives out of the way: John Edwards did travel at the expense of the organization. He has declined to disclose the identity of the donors (most non-profits do this to protect the privacy of the donor, an idea foreign to the world of politics). The NYTimes quotes former IRS sources stating that Edwards did not break any laws. None of the allegations constitute crimes or even abnormal behavior.

Now the positives:

"All of this was an effort to try to deal with the issue of poverty in America, which is the cause of my life," he said. "What I've been doing is not only significant and there's nothing wrong with it, it's something I'm very proud of. Everything we did was not only completely legal but we did a lot of good."

Edwards traveled to 10 college campuses helping to organize “Opportunity Rocks” chapters on those campuses. The chapters were to bring together students who wanted a chance to make a difference in their communities and facilitate those opportunities. The Center for Promise and Opportunity Foundation has given away $300,000 in scholarships and on track for $500,000 more. The CPO and Opportunity Rocks also recruited and helped fund trips for college students to help out the STILL Katrina ravaged New Orleans.

A few years ago I applied for a job with a non-profit. During the course of the interview the director explained that they were re-organizing the agency to comply with tax laws. They were previously only a 501(c)3, but they were also adding a 501(c)4 and a 527 so that they could accomplish all of their goals, but were run by the same person. As complicated as the tax code is, it is often true that many organizations must be created to reach one goal.

No one, least of me, would say that John Edwards was not running for President starting from the end of his Vice-Presidential bid. It’s just that, in the meantime, he “walked the walk” and worked to end poverty.

Cross posted at BlueNC.

Sunday, June 24, 2007

Thinking for themselves

What's on the mind of the next generation of (male) political thinkers?

I got a quick glimpse on Monday while taking part in a Democrat vs. Republican Q&A session at this year's American Legion TarHeel Boys' State. The gathering brings together rising high school seniors from across North Carolina for a week of civics-related activities and political discussion.

Many of the questions explored predicatable subjects for top high school students -- college loans, gas prices, support for charter schools, etc.

Two specific questions, however, give me hope for the future of our political system. High school seniors are apparently still able to think for themselves. The questions:
Do you agree that the war in Iraq can be defined as a war for oil?
Are you concerned that the idea of a national ID card is basically Big Brother trying to infringe on our freedoms and our civil rights?
The students are also thinking ahead to 2010 -- two questions focused on gerrymandering of state house and senate districts and how to come up with a fair system for drawing district lines (a real challenge that happens every 10 years).

Here's hoping they come up with a system we can all be happy with!

Friday, June 22, 2007

Merritt's Investigation

Republican state auditor Les Merritt and the loyal Bushies in the Justice Department tried this week to scuttle plans to make it easier to vote in North Carolina. Merritt claimed to have uncovered "sensitive information" that legislators would need before approving a bill to allow same-day registration and voting, a measure the GOP fears might favor Democrats in the next election. It turns out that Merritt's "information" was just a bunch of math errors -- hardly a reassuring performance by the state's top bookkeeper.

Ronald Reagan once said the 9 scariest words in the English language were, "I'm from the government and I'm here to help." These days the 10 scariest words are, "I'm a Republican and I'm here to fix your government." (Just ask the victims of Katrina, or the people of Iraq, or our veterans...) Kudos to state elections director Gary Bartlett and the General Assembly for keeping them from fixing our elections process too.

Will we find what really went on here? It definitely "merits" investigation.

Santa's little hypocrite

Too, too cute. After all his bitchin' and moanin' about earmarks in the last two weeks, our dear Pat got outed. He wasn't really against earmarks themselves, he says. He just wanted everyone to know what they were voting for. But if he wanted people to know what they were voting for why didn't he mention his personal earmark of $129,000 for a Christmas Tree store in Mitchell County?

Commenters from all over are having a jolly ole time with Santa's little hypocrite:

This is from Brandon English at The Stakeholder:
Congressman Patrick McHenry is sort of like that little dog in your neighbors' yard that yaps at you every time you pass by. He’s notorious for his temper tantrums on the House floor that he thinks scores him political points but really just annoys everybody.

Yesterday, he learned what goes around comes around.

After McHenry whined and whined and whined about earmarks last week, new transparency rules adopted by the Democratic Majority forced McHenry to disclose his own earmarks – including $129,000 in taxpayer money for a Christmas tree.

In the spirit of the season, the DCCC carolers give you:

Congressman Patrick McHenry’s $129,000 Christmas Tree Pork Carol
(Sung to the tune of O Christmas Tree)

O McHenry,
O McHenry,
How steadfast your hypocrisy!

You pitch a fit on the House floor,
But Christmas trees you do adore.

O McHenry,
O McHenry,
How steadfast your hypocrisy!
Myrtle Beach Online:
The money that McHenry got would double retail space available for a gift shop selling products - typically made by former factory workers whose plants have been shuttered - such as Christmas tree ornaments, handmade soaps and pottery.

McHenry is a vocal conservative and burr in the side of Democrats running the House. He's not popular with some Republicans; a senior GOP member of the Appropriations Committee pointed McHenry's earmark out to reporters, calling it "interesting."
The Crypt at Politico dot com:
When asked about the earmark, McHenry doesn't like to use the word pork. The North Carolina Republican prefers the term "directed spending," and he said this request is perfectly defensible, even though Democrats have been quietly chuckling about it since it was unveiled as part of the Financial Services spending bill earlier today.

"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."

So for McHenry, pork is OK, as long as you know what pork you're voting on. Got that? Thanks.

Here's some background from McHenry's own site about the project called "The Home of the Perfect Christmas Tree." I wonder what the Christmas Tree and Nurserymen's Association in neighboring Avery County (also represented by McHenry) thinks about all this.

McHenry lectures president

Now, our Pat thinks he's an expert on the Middle East. Who knew?

This from the News & Observer:
WASHINGTON - With public support for the Iraq war plummeting and conditions in Iraq remaining dire, some Charlotte-area Republican lawmakers say President Bush needs a better message to the nation.
. . .
Rep. Patrick McHenry, a Cherryville Republican, said the president should have characterized the challenge as a "war against Islamic extremists" instead of a war on terrorism.

"Terrorism is merely a tactic. Islamic extremists are the ones actively targeting Americans because they loathe our culture, laws and freedoms," McHenry said.

"Certainly, the president has made mistakes in handling the Iraq war, but his end goal is clear and correct -- we must fight the extremists where they are. Fighting them in Iraq and Afghanistan is far better than fighting them here."

" . . . his goal is clear and correct" Wow. Don't know anyone who isn't on the bush gravy train who thought the understaffed surge would work or that the understaffed surge is working. But I guess Patrick knows something that the rest of America (and the military leaders) don't. Like how to stick his head up his you-know-what and spout the party line: "our president knows what he's doing . . . he just doesn't know how to talk about it." Yeah, that's the ticket.

Of course and no mention that the problem is that none of these people were in Iraq before we invaded, before Rumsfeld decided to send in less than half the troops all the real experts knew we would need. I don't see what was correct about that. But water under the bridge at this point.

Monday, June 18, 2007

Pat's whining earmark hypocrisy

He used bureaucratic tactics to screw around with the Homeland Security legislation, but now that Democrats are releasing their list of earmark requests, our classy representative in Congress has flipped a daring 180, refusing to release his own!

Rahm Emanuel and others released a detailed list of their earmark requests, but not our Pat. And as cowardly as always, he had his spokesman Aaron Latham make the typically whiny excuses: “We release information on requests when the Appropriations Committee completes the bill-drafting process and there is something tangible and in print."

He tried for a harder hit here: “The Democrats took it on the chin last week — and this week, they’re trying to play political rope-a-dope. It’s interesting that they want to rehash a fight they’ve already lost."

I think the person who lost a political fight (rope-a-dope or not) was dear old Pat. See Congressman Tim Ryan take him on in this great video I posted over the weekend (below) If you didn't read it then, you really should at least check out the last minute.

You know, our wonderfully contradictory Pat said nothing about earmarks when Republicans were in power, but now that Democrats are in charge, he's all over it. More here from The Hill:

Some of last week’s most outspoken critics of Democrats’ earmark proposal aren’t so open about their own requests. Reps. Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.), Virginia Foxx (R-N.C.) and Patrick McHenry (R-N.C.) were among the leaders of the effort to criticize Democrats for keeping earmarks secret and refusing to allow the projects to be challenged on the floor.

“Let’s have a way to evaluate those earmarks. Our constituents deserve to know before that vote takes place rather than after that bill comes out of conference committee,” Blackburn said.

But they had already turned down requests from newspaper reporters in their home states for a list of the earmarks they were requesting.

. . .

A McHenry spokesman echoed Blackburn’s claims and said his boss didn’t release his earmark request because of a “long-standing” practice among the North Carolina delegation to “avoid confusion.”

Yeah, right. To avoid "confusion." That's even funnier than the rope-a-dope line.

So, not only did our Pat say nothing about Republican earmarks last year and the year before. He's refusing to discuss his own earmarks right now.

Posted in slightly different form at NC Politico, BlueNC, and Scrutiny Hooligans.

Sunday, June 17, 2007

Tim Ryan takes on our Pat

Now we understand clearly, Mr. Speaker, that our friends on the other side of the aisle have had a difficult time governing the country, that doesn't mean they have to impede us from doing it.

h/t Screwy Hoolie

McHenry mentor Rove to be investigated for politicizing the gub-mint

Big shock, I know.

Think Progress has a good write-up on it. It's probably too much to hope that Pat himself is implicated. But he learned at this man's feet. So, we should all probably be on the lookout for similar activities on Pat's part.

Eighteen agencies have been asked by the Office of Special Counsel to preserve electronic information dating back to January 2001 as part of its governmentwide investigation into alleged violations of the law that limits political activity in federal agencies.

The OSC task force investigating the claims has asked agencies, including the General Services Administration, to preserve all e-mail records, calendar information, phone logs and hard drives going back to the beginning of the Bush administration. The task force is headed by deputy OSC special counsel James Byrne.

After all, Rove has been behind the making of all kinds of allegations of voter fraud while the only indictment on voter fraud has been a protege of our dear Pat's . . .

Saturday, June 16, 2007

100 amendments to squelch homeland security

That's how McHenry and his Republican cohorts tried to interfere with fellow NC Congressman David Price's homeland security appropriations.

From the News and Observer. You really should follow the link and read the whole article but I've cut and pasted some tidbits here:

Hours of late-night debates. Parliamentary shiftiness. A last-minute rush of votes on the House floor.

. . .

Days of partisan gridlock clogged progress on the bill this week, as Republicans slammed Democrats with words and parliamentary stall tactics over their new treatment of earmark transparency. Twice, the House stayed at work until 2 a.m.

. . .

Democrats had pledged to bring more transparency to earmarks, which are specific spending projects requested by members and tied to congressional districts. But party leaders also said they would not insert earmarks until spending bills were through the House and Senate and headed for closed-door conferences.

So outraged Republicans stymied House proceedings.

Republican members repeatedly extended the debate and called for time-consuming votes.

The arguments continued Wednesday and then overnight Thursday, including several speeches from GOP Reps. Patrick McHenry and Virginia Foxx of North Carolina. Republicans submitted more than 100 amendments.

. . .

In the end, the House passed, by a 258-150 vote Friday morning, the Homeland Security spending bill -- all $36.3 billion of it -- that has been Price's project since January.

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Why blogs count

I'll quote from the Republicans new primer (written, says The Politico, to help Senate candidates avoid another "macaca" snafu):
Hire at least one staff member, but hopefully three, to lasso the wild Web. Basically, the Internet can't be a payroll afterthought. Campaigns must have people who constantly update the website, manage postings on YouTube and MySpace, and monitor the hundreds, if not thousands, of chattering bloggers.
And get this:
The NRSC has hired two press secretaries for blogger outreach, and an in-house Web designer and video producer to assist campaigns. The committee also built a production studio in its basement for candidates to cut Web ads and trained campaign aides.
Obviously my career opportunities would expand exponentially if every Democratic candidate had the funding to hire two or three bloggers and vloggers (video bloggers). But we all know that's not going to happen at least in the short term here in the 10th.

Still, Pat go Bye Bye is our little way of keeping some kind of advantage over Republicans in this district. Why? Because Republicans can't do this. They just can't. They stifle dissent. Just look how they are treating the few Republicans brave enough to say that Patrick McHenry is not what he pretends to be. They could never support an uncensored forum of free-flowing ideas.

Here's some more advice from Republicans to their candidates:
"Every campaign should film their candidate and record his/her every move at any event that is open to the public," the guide states. "Campaigns should also remind their candidate that they should assume there is a camera on them at all times and act accordingly. It is also recommended that campaigns film their opponents' public events as well."
That's us. That's what we can do. Many still cameras now take video. But we can also post audio recordings so you don't have to have fancy equipment. However, I can't be everywhere. As I wrote yesterday, I can't do it without support from each county.

If you can't do it, find someone in your county who can. Encourage them. Contact me using the EMAIL US link on the left column.

Blogs like this one give Democrats a clear advantage over Republicans in the 2008 election. When news breaks, we all know the local press slants Republican. Monkeywrencher wrote about the Gaston paper's appalling coverage. The Charlotte Observer recently wrote a glowing puff piece about him, ignoring significant facts, presenting McHenry's public relations bullshit as if his staff had done the so-called "research." There are times when this blog is the only forum in the entire country covering the truth about McHenry.

But we don't have to focus on the negative. We are here to support candidates we can believe in. Again, advice intended for Republican candidates holds even more true for Democrats:
Make blogs your first point of contact. It used to be that campaigns checked in with newspaper reporters, then everybody else. Now, friendly blogs should be the first point of contact. (The NRSC bumped the mainstream media to step eight on its nine-step plan for communicating the campaign's message to the public.)
I'd love for Democrats in the district to start interviews with incumbents who plan to run in 2008 and candidates who have already announced. How great would it be to post these interviews. The candidates can link to us or even cut and paste our work to their site (with attribution, of course!).

But, as I keep saying. I can't do it without your help! Email us using the link in the upper left. You don't have to write much. You can just write a sentence and send me a link to the appropriate article. You don't have to limit yourself to the 10th district. National commentary would be appropriate. But let's move this website to the next level. Let's have more voices from the 10th participating. Why not email me right now. It won't cost you anything. And it's very satisfying to participate in making your community a better place (all while you sit in your home, perhaps in your pajamas, listening to your favorite tunes . . . )

Participation satisfies your soul much more than complaining!

McHenry (again) uses procedural rules to screw around on the House floor*

According to the Winston-Salem Journal, dear old Pat is at it again:
A handful of Republicans, including [Virginia] Foxx [R-5th] and Rep. Patrick McHenry, R-10th, have used procedural maneuvers to block consideration of the $36 billion Homeland Security bill.
North Carolina Democrat David Price isn't taking it from his little neighbor:
Rep. David Price, D-4th, is the chairman of the appropriations subcommittee on homeland security. It’s his bill that Republicans are trying to block. He said that there will “probably not” be any earmarks in this bill when all the details are finished, and that Republicans are playing politics with important legislation.

“I think it is very poor, even reckless, judgment on the part of right-wing Republicans to delay this bill … just for their political purposes,” Price said.

He added that the bill, which continued to be debated late into last night, needed to be passed now because Congress has the other appropriations bills to address this summer.
The procedural shenanigans is supposedly for a good cause. Republicans want to stop the earmark process they say Democrats pledged to end. Interesting how Republicans want to end earmarks right after they spend 6 years personally benefiting from them in the reelection game.

I applaud Ginny and Pat's interest in ending earmarks and expect them not to accept one thin dime for their districts if they ever are in the position to receive them.

*Let's not forget his fun with Barney where he tried his darnedest (but failed miserably) to use procedure to point out something he thought we all should know about American Samoa.

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

It's time for YOU to participate

I started this blog several months ago, hoping that I would have a contributor from every county. There are a few individuals who have contributed once or twice a month. But that's not enough. This is NOT Drama Queen's blog. It's the blog for progressives of the 10th Congressional District.

Here's just a few ideas:
You can comment on a news item in your county or neighborhood, whether it's mentioned in your local rag or not. We'd like to hear what's going on. We'd like to hear your opinion.

You can arrange an interview with a newsmaker, on tape or not (I'll help with the recording if you need it). You can write a written report or I can help you edit the video or post it unedited.

You can comment on the news coverage in your district. Is it fair and balanced? If not, what would you like to see changed.

You can comment on Pat McHenry's voting record, public stances, campaign promises.

You can comment on the actions or inactions of any elected official, supportive or not, Republican or Democrat.

You can send items of interest about your precinct, county or district party activities (or suggestions).

You can photoshop something funny, or ironic, or draw a cartoon.

Or maybe there's something I haven't written here that you're thinking of . . .

You can contribute anonymously, click on EMAIL US in the left column. Create a Google account. I'll never know who you are. Tell me what you'd like to use as your name to post or I'll just use the word anonymous. You can just your regular email account and tell me your name but still be anonymous. Or you can have me post it in your name.
This site is getting lots of hits each day. But that will not continue unless there is fresh content from a variety of sources. And I'm not going to continue to post something every day. I've gotten this started. It's time for YOU to help it continue.

It's up to you, 10th District progressives. I've started a good thing but I can't make a community happen without your help. So, stop being uncooperatively shy. Step up to the plate and make a good thing great.

Monday, June 11, 2007

The real story of voter fraud

While Pat's former roomie and staffer stands accused of illegally registering to vote, it's very, very interesting that of all the people in the whole wide world to be obsessed with voter fraud, we find one gentleman whom Pat admires above all others: Karl Rove.

WASHINGTON—It is time to stop referring to the “fired U.S attorneys scandal” by that misnomer, and call it what it is: a White House-coordinated effort to use the vast powers of the Justice Department to swing elections to Republicans.

This is no botched personnel switch. It is not even a political spat between the fired U.S. attorneys and Bush administration officials who deemed some of them insufficiently zealous in promoting the department’s law enforcement priorities. Connect the dots and you see an insidious effort to corrupt the American electoral system. It’s Watergate without the break-in or the bagmen.

The emerging picture is one in which widespread Republican claims of “voter fraud”—unsubstantiated in virtually every case examined closely by law enforcement officials, local journalists, state elections officials and academics—were used to stymie Democratic-leaning voter registration groups and create a taint around Democrats. The Justice Department’s own statistics show that only a handful of people were convicted of voting illegally since it began a “voter integrity” initiative in 2002. Its top election crimes official, a career prosecutor, has told the U.S. Election Assistance Commission that the proportion of “legitimate to illegitimate claims of fraud” hasn’t changed.

The “voter fraud” claims that White House political adviser Karl Rove promoted before last year’s congressional elections were in battleground states such as New Mexico, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin with closely contested races. He also has complained about alleged fraud in hotly competitive states such as Washington, Florida and Missouri. Curiously, states where elections often are decided by wide margins—New York, for instance—don’t turn up on his lists.
According to McClatchy::
WASHINGTON - Only weeks before last year's pivotal midterm elections, the White House urged the Justice Department to pursue voter-fraud allegations against Democrats in three battleground states, a high-ranking Justice official has told congressional investigators.

In two instances in October 2006, President Bush's political adviser, Karl Rove, or his deputies passed the allegations on to Attorney General Alberto Gonzales' then-chief of staff, Kyle Sampson.

Sampson tapped Gonzales aide Matthew Friedrich, who'd just left his post as chief of staff of the criminal division. In the first case, Friedrich agreed to find out whether Justice officials knew of "rampant" voter fraud or "lax" enforcement in parts of New Mexico, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin, and report back.
Here's the research on the likelihood that Karl's concerns about voter fraud are justifiable:

The Fraud about "Voter Fraud"

In an effort to downplay charges that the Bush administration engaged in blatant political manipulation of the Justice Department in firing eight U.S. Attorneys for failing to be adequately “loyal Bushies,” right-wing activists have posited that the reason these federal prosecutors were fired was that they failed to prosecute or investigate rampant voter fraud. Attorney General Gonzales claimed, “The president recalls hearing complaints about election fraud not being vigorously prosecuted.” However, the facts demonstrate that the dismissed prosecutors diligently investigated claims of fraud, and found no evidence to prosecute any crimes. Indeed, the evidence, including statements from Republicans and administration officials, indicates that voter fraud is not a significant problem in our elections.

In 2002, the Bush Justice Department launched the “Voting Access and Integrity Initiative,” which directed Justice Department attorneys, including those in the U.S. Attorneys’ offices, to prioritize investigations of alleged voter fraud. Despite being a top priority, the initiative resulted in only 24 convictions for illegally voting nationwide from 2002 to 2005, compared to the hundreds of millions of votes cast during that period. Republican former U.S. Attorneys and other Justice Department officials agree:

* Former U.S. Attorney John McKay of Washington stated that he conducted a “very active” review of allegations of voter fraud in the 2004 gubernatorial election in Washington, and testified under oath that “there was no evidence of voter fraud or election fraud.” When the Republican Party in Washington brought its own suit regarding this election, the judge rejected every claim, stating that he found no evidence of fraud.
* The long-time director of the Justice Department’s Election Crimes Branch, Craig Donsanto, concurred with McKay that no federal crimes had been committed in that election. Furthermore, he has stated that “the number of election fraud related complaints has not gone up since 2002.”
* Former U.S. Attorney David Iglesias of New Mexico, who was one of only two U.S. Attorneys to start a voter fraud task force in 2004, stated that, “After reviewing more than 100 complaints of voter fraud, I felt there was one possible case that should be prosecuted federally. … As much as I wanted to prosecute the case, I could not overcome evidentiary problems. The Justice Department and the F.B.I. did not disagree with my decision in the end not to prosecute.”
* Even FBI Director Robert Mueller concurs. At a Senate hearing on March 27, 2007, Senator Charles Schumer asked, “Since 2001, have there been any FBI investigations related to election fraud which you believe should have resulted in an indictment but did not?” Mueller responded, “Not to my knowledge … and nothing has come to my level.”

Virtually every academic study of voter fraud concludes that it is not close to being a substantial problem, if it exists at all. For instance, in states where alleged voter fraud was used as the justification for restrictive voter ID requirements, the supporters of voter ID have made the following admissions:

* The State of Indiana, and its Republican Secretary of State Todd Rokita, in defending the state’s voter ID law in court documents, admitted that it could not find one single instance of voter impersonation fraud in the history of the state. Indiana Democratic Party v. Rokita, 2006 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 20321 (S.D. Ind. 2006).
* The Republican Governor of Missouri, who had formerly been the Secretary of State (and run Missouri’s elections), admitted that elections in Missouri were “fraud-free,” before unsuccessfully defending the restrictive voter ID laws in court. Weinschenk v. Missouri, 203 S.W.3d 201 (Mo. 2006). Missouri’s current Secretary of State agrees, noting in a recent report that “As in previous elections, the absence of reports of voting impersonation or voting fraud in the 2006 election in Missouri was notable.”
* The State of Arizona and its counties, in defending their restrictive voter registration laws and voter ID laws, admitted that, of the over 2.7 million registered voters in Arizona, not one had been convicted of registering to vote illegally, and not one instance of voting by an ineligible non-citizen had led to a conviction.

This is the legal testimony of those who have the greatest incentive, and the greatest obligation (in order to justify the burdensome restrictions they impose on voters), to prove the existence of real fraud. And yet, they cannot prove it exists.
Here's what Karl wanted done to "combat" this "outbreak" of voter fraud Karl was thinking up in his head:
More evidence emerges every day that the myth of widespread ‘voter fraud’ was cooked up by Republican strategists (Do you smell a Rove?) as an excuse to pass restrictive measures like voter ID laws that disenfranchise eligible voters in vulnerable communities - voters who, quite frankly, are not likely to vote overwhelmingly Republican (minorities, the poor, the disabled, students and the elderly).

Let's review:

* Policies that erect barriers to voting.

* The politicization of the Justice Department’s voting rights section,

* The pressuring of U.S. attorneys to investigate civic organizations and campaigns that register voters in poor and minority communities,

*The subsequent firing of several U.S. attorneys who refused to engage in the voter fraud witch hunt.

All of these are part of a plan to keep certain voters from the polls and make sure the playing field is unevenly skewed to the Republicans’ advantage in 2008.

Voter suppression: political operatives associated with the Bush administration, led by Karl Rove, are the best in the biz. And they have used government agencies to turn it into a national, coordinated effort since they came into power. Attorney General Gonzales has been a primary enabler (cleaning up the DOJ is critical to ensuring fair elections). But even fired U.S. Attorney David Iglesias of New Mexico said of the firing scandal, “I think all roads lead to Rove.”

Short of the president and vice president themselves, Karl Rove is about as high up in the Bush administration as you can go. Who else in the White House was involved, not only with the U.S. attorney firings, but with the ongoing concerted effort to fix elections via disenfranchisement and the misuse of the Justice Department? This is a question we must keep asking – for the health of our democracy, those involved must be held accountable.
Now, doesn't it look really funny that the only "real" voter fraud was taking place in the district and race where Rove's little buddy, Pat, won by less than a hundred votes?

Sunday, June 10, 2007

Meet for success

We've all been to meetings where the discussion goes in circles, where there's no apparent agenda, or where things just drag on and on and on. With so many new people getting involved in the Party, it's a great time to consider how to keep new volunteers excited about our work.

My number one rule is: NO BORING, POINTLESS MEETINGS!

If we as Party leaders expect success, we have to respect everyone who's getting involved in our cause. That means respecting their time by running efficient meetings. Here are a few tips -- let's hear yours.

1. Always have a written agenda and enough copies for everyone. Stick firmly to the topics on the agenda; any new business can be discussed if there is time, or can be tabled until the next meeting.

2. Have a firm start time and end time for the meeting. Start on time, not ten minutes after the start time. Unless there's an emergency, end when you say you will. Stay afterwards to socialize if you care to, but end the business meeting on time.

3. As the leader, arrive early to open up and set up the space. Delegate food or drinks to someone and make sure the refreshments are ready before the start time.

4. At the end of the meeting, review who has agreed to do what. Remind everyone what commitments they have made and give everyone a time frame to complete their tasks. Set a date and time for the next meeting.

These guidelines may seem simplistic, but disrespecting someone's time is a sure way to lose volunteers.

What meeting guidelines am I forgetting?

Friday, June 8, 2007

Meet Reggie Longcrier, community leader

This is the first in a series of interviews with community leaders in the 10th district. This interview was conducted by Brandon Greeson.

Pastor Reggie Longcrier, of the Exodus Missionary Outreach Church, of Hickory. You may know of his work through the Exodus Homes Mission project. In this video he talks about his faith and how it relates to the judgment of lesbians, gays, transgendered, and bisexual.

It's an interview I couldn't get enough of. For the those who want to read instead of listen, here's some of the highlights:
We accept all people in our church, gays, lesbians, bisexuals, transgendered people. To discriminate against people who are of a different sexual orientation, different than the majority of us, is to destroy the very essence of what we believe.

When we say that God is love and he loves us unconditionally, and those of us who desire to follow Christ faithfully are known by how we love one another -- for a church or a congregation to reflect a unified prejudice is not of that type of love.

And so, as for me and my church, as for me and my house, we choose to live out our Jesus by respected and accepting other people regardless of their sexual orientation.

Here's great advice for all of us on any issue:
Get to know people better of a different sexual orientation, you know, rather than make frivolous judgments from afar and point fingers.

Do the scriptures support discrimination?
It goes back to people just reading just the surface of the scriptures and not reading the story behind the story. They get the scriptures misconstrued.

Being black, we have been victims of that same prejudice, saying that we were cursed and it was scriptures that was being used to say that, to put down women in the church. It was scripture that was being used.

We've long evolved from that type of thinking, as we read the scriptures. And then, as we know people. People, more or less, feel what they don't understand. And again, it goes back to getting to know, daring to get to know people that are of a different sexual orientation than we are.

As a wedge tactic to divert congregations from all the good work (in Jesus' name) they could be doing:
There are weightier matters such as racial discrimination and economic oppression and things of that ilk have been our problems. For us to get on the bandwagon of bashing gays and lesbians is to sorta like muddy the waters or taint what the real underlying issues are.

And there's an attempt to divide the church as we know it, you understand, and get off the weightier matters that consume everyday human life, the ongoing apartheid in Africa, the discrimination here, the war in Iraq. These are things we should be looking at, if we want to be outraged about something, if we want to get good and made at something. There are other issues much weightier than to discriminate against who should be in the church or who should get married.

Wednesday, June 6, 2007

McHenry calls for investigation into CIA intelligence leaks (this time)

Still hasn't said a word about Scooter or the illegal Plame outing

ABC News is reporting that McHenry is leading a group of GOP congressmen all bent out of shape, calling for
an investigation into "the release of sensitive information" in a recent ABC News report on CIA covert activities against Iran.

In a carefully worded request, seven House GOP lawmakers led by Rep. Patrick McHenry, R-N.C., asked the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee to "look into the releasing of sensitive information and its impact on the security of our nation, the performance of our government agencies, and the viability of our diplomatic relationships overseas."

Citing an ABC News story last month about a White House-authorized "non-lethal" operation against the Islamic Republic of Iran, the septet asserted, "We have an obligation to ensure the offenders are held accountable."
And I'm sure they were just as concerned over the release of Valerie Plame's identity as a covert CIA operative as retaliation for her husband's refuting of the administration's false intelligence that led us into the Iraq War.

I bet they were relieved when Vice President Cheney's Chief of Staff Scooter Libby was sentenced to 30 months in the hoosgow this week, too. They're such concerned folk, those oh-so-patriotic Republicans, all about protecting this country from the untimely release of information that would harm their political allies, I mean the public.

Water Wars: Concord plans to make money by increasing Valdese shortages

Anyone notice this piece of bidness last week?
Water park developer eyeing Fort Mill, Concord, N.C., for resort
Now we know why Concord and Kannapolis want Catawba River water . . . it's the money, stupid. Who cares about the shortages their fun-times water park could be impose on upper Catawba cities and towns. Hey, we want it, we'll take it. You don't need to wash your car.

And it's another example of excellence in reporting when you read how the Charlotte area news folks didn't mention that the water from the water park might mean draw downs of recreational lakes upriver, much less actual household water restrictions.

So Concord folks and Charlotte folks are hearing all this happy news of a water park to play in and to make money off of while Morganton and Valdese folks are reading (and thinking) things like this:
“They can’t sustain growth from their own basin, so they come to ours,” says Jeff Morse, Valdese town manager. “Those are unfair rules of the game because now we have to curtail our development.”

Morse said if the area doesn’t see significant rain in the next 30 days, Valdese will implement voluntary water restrictions. That means asking people to cut back on car washing and lawn watering.

If it stays dry for 60 days, Valdese could implement mandatory restrictions. And Cabarrus County could still siphon 10 million gallons a day, said Morse.

Morganton Mayor Mel Cohen said a proposed water park should end all negations.

“I can’t imagine commissioners allowing our water to be used for that kind of project,” Cohen said.
Here's the kind of thing Charlotte/Concord folks are reading, this one's from
Cabarrus County economic developers are recommending incentives worth $2.7 million to help entice a Wisconsin developer to pick Concord for its $100 million indoor water park and hotel resort.

Great Wolf Resorts has filed concept plans with Concord for a 37-acre site off Weddington and Old Holland Roads near Speedway Boulevard. The company said it is several months away from finalizing a location for its Great Wolf Lodge, but is committed to building in the Charlotte region.

Great Wolf also is considering Fort Mill, S.C., a person familiar with the plans said, although nothing has been filed there. The company hopes to start construction in the Charlotte region late this year.

. . .

Although many Cabarrus incentives have covered three or four years, the EDC is proposing a five-year deal for Great Wolf, with a rebate of 85 percent of their county property taxes. County taxes would total an estimated $3.15 million over that period.

'We are trying to be as competitive as we can possibly be,' Cox said. 'This is a home run for any community.'
Yeah, perhaps for any community that has the water legitimately.

The Catawba River water basin transfer was approved by the NC Environmental Management Commission but is now under appeal. For more background check out this great compilation of articles in the Hickory Record about the transfer, a removal of 22 million gallons of water from the Catawba for Concord and Kannapolis.

Here's Joe Sam Queen's Senate bill 1421 that would make the water basin transfer approval process more just with drought and safe-yield provisions.

Water Commission members and contact info.

City of Hickory Interbasin Transfer Information webpage

Division of Water Resources Interbasin transfer information

Tuesday, June 5, 2007

Charlotte Observer gives the love to Pat -- why?

Today's Charlotte Observer has a long puff piece about Patrick McHenry by Lisa Zagaroli that leaves me wondering how much he or Campaign Chair Spokesman Jason Deans paid her.

Running less than a month after his former staff and roomie Michael Aaron Lay was indicted for voter fraud, it's obviously designed to address the fact that local Republicans don't like him. Since that embarrassing indictment, the McHenry folks have been very busy painting the investigation "political."

That's why the timing (and flattering nature) of the article is so suspicious. Everyone involved in the investigation from the original accusers to both investigating district attorneys are Republican, so their defense that it's political obviously needed more help. Cue Ms. Zagaroli to the rescue!

Not only is the piece long and full of flattering quotes from supporters. Zagaroli does not bother to quote either district attorney who both happen to be Republicans who donated to his campaign. She only quotes McHenry saying his political enemies are using this "ethical law student" and "good Christian" "in order to attack me."

Here's the quote she used to support her not-so-underlying theme:
"The bad blood is truly unbelievable," says Jeff Lominac of Conover, a Republican activist in Catawba County who helped out on McHenry's campaign and remains a fan. "Some of the established people in the county still run the party, and they don't like Patrick. The bottom line is they're still mad about 2004.
Lisa cleverly buys right into McHenry's favorite statistic about himself, that he's the youngest member of congress. This time it's the secondary reason for the internal political attacks that are victimizing his poor indicted former roomie and staffer.
"I think a lot of people take him the wrong way because he is young and he took something they wanted."
"Take him the wrong way." When he's advocating a military strike on Iran When he's ridiculing the speaker of the house for needing a larger plane to go a thousand more miles, when he's comes this close toblaming the democrats for the Foley's abuse of young men, it's hard to misinterpret him. I don't think anyone "takes" McHenry "the wrong way." Nice of Lisa to choose that quote, however. Don't you think someone should check her recent finances?

Here's more of that insipid and thinly veiled crapola of an argument:
McHenry thinks he understands why his antagonists are so mad.

"I didn't wait in line," he says of his decision to run for Congress before others thought he was ready. "There's sometimes this notion in politics that whoever's waiting the longest for a certain office deserves it. I've never abided by that concept. Democracy works."
And promoting their lame line of reasoning twice wasn't enough for Lisa. I think the Observer really needs to look into her checking account for a recent large deposit:
As the youngest of five children, Rep. Patrick McHenry learned that taking on his elders was the only path to getting what he wanted.

"I had to grab for my food against my older brothers and sisters," the Cherryville Republican says laughing. "It's a natural part of my personality and upbringing. Get in there and fight for what you believe in."
Here's their analysis of McHenry's character:
Dependably polite -- he opens doors, greets the U.S. Capitol police officers, hugs his waitress -- McHenry sports a traditional look on his not-many-inches- over-5-foot frame, blazers and cuffed pants, and wire-rimmed glasses framing a mostly gray head of hair that belies his youth.
"Dependably polite?" See any of the vids from television on YouTube and you tell me what you think of his manners. Zagaroli consistently chooses the most flattering aspects of anything McHenry has said or done:
He's a reliable Republican in most cases, but he notes that he's been willing to buck President Bush on two major issues -- the Central American Free Trade Agreement and versions of immigration reform he calls "amnesty with makeup."
Now in his second term, the conservative McHenry has proved unafraid of challenging the new Democratic leadership. He nips at House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., he tries to outwit parliamentary proficient Rep. Barney Frank, D-Mass.,
McHenry got noticed for drawing attention to the taxpayer-financed airplane afforded to Pelosi as leader of the House. In a floor speech in February, he began, "Our speaker loves to fly, and it shows," and he went on to suggest that her jet of choice would contribute to the global warming problem she has so bemoaned.

"He was the one who was first able to say it in a way that had impact. ... It came across in a funny way," says Danielle Doane, director of House relations for the Heritage Foundation, a conservative think tank in Washington.
"Big Mac. He's got lots of spunk. He raises issues that need to be raised. He will defend his position enthusiastically, but with proper decorum and dignity."

REP. ROBIN HAYES, R-N.C., of Concord
Not every word of the article is flattering:
"To be a bomb-thrower, you have to be able to hit your target. He's not strategic. He has contributed to an impression in which people are often dismissive of him, almost at the outset."

But, for the most part, it's an embarrassment to the Charlotte Observer. It's a suspiciously timed, one-sided puff piece, a disservice to the citizens of the Tenth District.

Monday, June 4, 2007

Supposedly conservative McHenry spends our tax money on self-promotion

Not nearly as much as Virginia Foxx but it's pretty extensive. Does anyone really believe this isn't a publicly funded incumbent protection campaign expenditure?

From the Winston-Salem Journal:
House members of the North Carolina congressional delegation spent more than $1 million of taxpayer money on bulk mailings to constituents during the last Congress. Some sent thousands of pieces of mail and others sent none, according to congressional records.

The practice, known as franking, allows members of Congress to send communication to constituents, with the member's signature on the envelope, in place of a stamp.

. . .

According to Public Citizen, a national consumer watch-dog group, the average amount spent by House members is $55,000.

Sunday, June 3, 2007

Off and running . . .

Saturday’s Training Day gave our Western county Democratic parties a good jump start to charge them up for the next elections.

Seven of the ten tenth district counties sent officers, as well as 14 other Western counties. Party leaders absorbed pointers on strategic planning, volunteer recruitment and management, community outreach, internet communications, media strategies, strategic partnerships, candidate recruitment, and fundraising.

Here’s a glimpse at NCDP 1st Vice Chair Dannie Montgomery -- stressing the importance of inspiring volunteers and spurring them to effective action:

At the conclusion of the training, one county chair said the day reminded him of “trying to take a drink of water from a firehose,” because there was so much information. Now there’s time to sift through the notes from the day, and the accompanying county chair manuals, and build our parties.

Several participants told me the best thing about the training day was hearing ideas from other county parties – “best practices” that they can replicate. That type of information sharing needs to take place on a regular basis at our monthly district meetings.

With the fresh information jump-start, and an introduction to the resources available, now it’s time for strategic planning to build our parties into well-oiled political machines geared for success.

Friday, June 1, 2007

NC GOP convention: got $260 to spare?

And that doesn't include gas or lodging or the open bar everyone is going to need to survive all the complaining about the 2006 election losses.

And the top treat of the whole event is a speech Saturday night by whiny little Pat McHenry. For that kind of money, I wonder if they're offering a vomitorium.

Here's more info, according to the Stanly News and Press:
Workshops will include political training sessions, business training sessions and general sessions.

The political session will include voter vault training, GOPAC training and starting and building a strong Republican club.

The business sessions will include debate on the platform, resolutions, plan of organization and the election of the State Chairman and Vice Chairman.

Friday evening from 7-9, Robert M. Duncan, chairman of the Republican National Committee and U.S. Rep Robin Hayes, R-Concord will be the featured guest speakers at a dinner banquet.

Congresswoman Sue Myrick will be the featured speaker at Saturday’s luncheon and Congressman Patrick McHenry will be the evening banquet speaker.

Sunday morning, there will be a prayer breakfast, where Judge John Tyson of the N.C. Court of Appeals will speak.

To attend all sessions and events, the cost is $260, or sessions are $50 each, evening banquets are $75 each and the luncheon and breakfast are $30 each.

McHenry on immigration plan: "ugly"

According to the Charlotte Observer, here's what McHenry had to say about the current proposed immigration compromise plan:
"The Senate's proposal is nothing more than amnesty wearing make-up -- it's easier to look at, but just as ugly underneath."
NC Senator Dole:
"I recognize that immigration reform is urgently needed, but I cannot support the current bill considered in the Senate because it creates a new path to citizenship for those here illegally."
NC Senator Burr:
"I voted in favor of a procedural motion to move to debate on the immigration reform proposal. I will be monitoring the amendment process very closely as the debate unfolds over the coming weeks."
Here's what some other North Carolina represenetatives said:
Rep Sue Myrick, R-Charlotte: "I think it's a slap in the face to the 4 million in our country legally who are already in the system awaiting citizenship."

Rep. Robin Hayes, R-Concord: "The Senate proposal includes a provision, which I am against, to allow illegal immigrants to purchase legal immigration status for $5,000."
Local views (left and right) on immigration: Scrutiny Hooligans, BlueNC, Federation for American Immigration Reform, NPR debate.

Overview at Latest WaPo article. Lou Dobbs.