Tuesday, July 31, 2007

McHenry video wanted

Town Halls scheduled:
Avery County (Aug. 13), Mitchell (Aug 14), Rutherford (Aug 15.) Gaston/Cleveland (Aug. 16), Lincoln (Aug 20), Catawba, (Aug 21), Iredell, (Aug 22), Burke (Aug. 23), and Caldwell (Aug 24).
Remember, most new still cameras have a video option. For low light and lower-quality cameras a tripod is highly recommended.

Here's some segments of Monday's virtual town hall:

Monday, July 30, 2007

"Town Hall" Part III: The Unanswered Questions

McHenry chose the questions himself, it seemed. He did admit to staffers reminders from time to time.

Sixty seven people took his live on-line poll. He never said how many people logged on.

He said several times that "there are so many questions coming in," but he took three from a Donald Rose of Lenoir and two from a Terry (or Kerry?) Sigmund of Hickory.

These are the questions people have reported that he didn't answer:

  • Five questions on the voter fraud indictment.
  • Why did you vote against House bill 3943 (an appropriations bill) which included $150,000 for the Hickory Engineering Center?
  • If you are so against earmarks, why did you try to cover-up your Mitchell County earmark request (when asked) and give other counties in your district a chance to receive that funding?
  • Do you still support oil drilling off the NC coast?

He completely avoided at least one question: When will Congress investigate and prosecute war profiteers like Halliburton? McHenry turned this into an attack on Congress, referring to his own institution as "they," instead of "we."

He also compared this Congress unfavorably to the Iraqi Congress, distanced himself from the President, and announced "real" town halls for the middle of August.

Avery County (Aug. 13), Mitchell (Aug 14), Rutherford (Aug 15.) Gaston/Cleveland (Aug. 16), Lincoln (Aug 20), Catawba, (Aug 21), Iredell, (Aug 22), Burke (Aug. 23), and Caldwell (Aug 24). Remember, most new still cameras have a video option. For low light and lower-quality cameras a tripod is highly recommended.

McHenry Town Hall Part II: The Recording

McHenry Town Hall: The Live Blog

From Screwy Hoolie at Scrutiny Hooligans

Screwy Hoolie says:
July 30th, 2007 at 7:41 pm

He says he wants to “modernize” FISA.

Screwy Hoolie says:
July 30th, 2007 at 7:47 pm

“Candace from Spruce Pine” says that Pat doing a great job!

What is your stand on earmarks? - asks some guy

“Some are useful, but most are not.”

“What are you going to do to stop the invasion of our nation by foreigners?”

Pat - “I’m going to show you a couple of slides later on”…”fighting against Amnesty”…”Passed a fence act to build the southern fence”…”focus on securing the border”…”internal enforcement”…”clean up the system by which people come to the Untied States legally”

Screwy Hoolie says:
July 30th, 2007 at 7:49 pm

“so-called hate crimes legislation…what it would say is this, “Your thoughts will determine your sentence”"

“I think this is a little odd. I voted against the legislation because I think it polices thought.”…”A minister reading from the pulpit…saying that homosexuality is against God’s Law. Let’s say someone heard this message…goes out and murders a homosexual. Not only could the murderer be charged but also the minister saying that hoosexuality is a sin.”

“It would have a destructive impact on our society”

Screwy Hoolie says:
July 30th, 2007 at 7:51 pm

“Linda Osbon from Hickory”: When will Congress investigate and prosecute war profiteers like Halliburton”

“Democrat House has done nothing but investigate”…”We’ve only passed 50-some pieces of legislation, most of which are issues of renaming federal buildings and post offices.”…”The Iraqi parliament has enacted more bills, yet people say the Iraq parliament is not functioning”

Pat? Where’s the answer?

Screwy Hoolie says:
July 30th, 2007 at 7:54 pm

Rough Pat:

The big disagreements I’ve had with this President:

- Trade
- Immigration (Bush wants amnesty, slow to build the fence)


From “interested voter”. Why should we give illegal immigrants stuff?

“If you don’t respect the law, you won’t respect the law once you’re here?” - Pat

Screwy Hoolie says:
July 30th, 2007 at 7:57 pm

Mary from Caldwell County: What can we do about the tainted products from China?

“Enormous military building, they’re taking an aggressive military stance against the world.”

“The reason I don’t think we should support importing drugs from other countries”


Screwy Hoolie says:
July 30th, 2007 at 8:00 pm

Phil Byrd from Spruce Pine: “Thank you for standing up for our conservative values.”


“What issues are most important to you right now?”

Then pops up a very cool, live interactive poll - Health Care is number one followed by immigration and gas prices. McHenry, therefore, talks about gas prices.

“I think you can go too far” - regarding environmental laws. We need more refineries and more exploration for gas. Look at oil shale. Look at long term solutions like hydrogen power.

Screwy Hoolie says:
July 30th, 2007 at 8:01 pm

Terry Sigmund from Hickory, “Don’t you think we could all just ride bicycles like some of the liberals suggest?”

This elicits a belly laugh from Pat.

Screwy Hoolie says:
July 30th, 2007 at 8:08 pm

The President has been hammered for a number of decisions he’s made. The Attorney General scandal and Iraq War have hurt Bush, then he blames a fatigue with Presidents in the latter parts of their terms.

Congress has a very low approval rating due to “massive tax increases” - Democrats haven’t addressed how we need more refineries.
- They’re producing massive new spending projects

Screwy Hoolie says:
July 30th, 2007 at 8:08 pm

Health Care is big economic issue -

We need more competition. Allow people to spend tax free for health insurance. Illegal Immigration, fences, internal enforcement.


- They’ve said they’re going to increase taxes
- I’m opposing tax increases
- Spending under the Democrats going up “close to 10%”.


Nuclear energy - “We need more”


Why not have a flat tax?

“I agree with you completely” - “Anything is better than what we currently have”

Screwy Hoolie says:
July 30th, 2007 at 8:13 pm

Pat warns us about honest to God open public meetings across the district in August.

He wants some “back and forth”.

Drama Queen says:
July 30th, 2007 at 8:21 pm

I recorded it on video and mp3 but the quality will be really bad. The mp3 seems okay.

Syntax, can you tell me how to post the mp3?

The video got interrupted twice and was really hard to focus until I got a tripod.

Drama Queen says:
July 30th, 2007 at 8:26 pm

yeah, screwy, he ducked the only good questions. On partisan politics and health care.

You get the idea that the district is about 90% republicans from the questions he chose to answer.

James Protzman “Democratic majority not Democrat”
It’s just shorthand for Democratic. Thank you for bringing that up.”

7:30 tonight it's Pat's internet "town hall"

7:30 is post time


Syntax just posted this at BlueNC

The virtual townhall is being hosted by a company called Meet With Congress. If you visit the main page, you'll see the following price schedule for their services:


* $899 per month with contract until 12/31/07
*Includes unlimited use of 100 seats simultaneously
* $1,199 per month with a month-to-month contract
* Includes unlimited use of 100 seats simultaneously
* $.10 per person/per minute over 100 filled seats.


* $0.16 per minute per person

Optional Webcam and Microphone: $50

I'm guessing that since this is "unprecedented", McHenry is just putting his, um, toes in the water to test it out and is going with the $0.16/minute/person rate. It may not seem like much $$$ at first, but if 100 people stay for an hour, that works out to $960. Doesn't that just want to make you get all of those old computers in your basement working again and connected to your router? :)

I hope someone can liveblog or even Screencast this...

I ditto his request. It seems many Hooligans have previous obligations, as do quite a few folks at BlueNC. I'm going to try to get there but it's quite likely I won't. So, I'm hoping we'll be able to see the town hall after it's gone up or someone can record it for us ?????

Sunday, July 29, 2007

Questions for Pat

Here's some submissions for McHenry's Monday night internet "town hall":

Are the telephonic and internet town halls intended as a substitute for live town halls in each county?

Why did you obstruct the military appropriations bill for the cause of transparency in Democratic earmarks then refuse to divulge your own (Republican) earmark for (heavily Republican) Mitchell County (an agricultural-related earmark that other North Carolina counties would have liked to have applied for)?

Since, by international law, the US is responsible for civilian deaths in Iraq and Afghanistan, could you please publish a count and list of names of the dead and wounded from those countries?

Why has your campaign spokesman trivialized the indictment of your staffer and roommate? Do you not take voter fraud seriously? Which laws are important to you? Are you in any way tied to any other ongoing voter fraud investigations.

Will you vote to withdraw the troops from Iraq as soon as possible? If not, why?

Could you tell me how many credit unions have privatized since your bill to make it easier for them to do so? And how much in profits have their managers realized from those privatizations?

Why kind of pressures were you under before Republicans lost their majority that made you say that it was a relief to be in the minority?

What questions do you have?

Saturday, July 28, 2007

McHenry in the gossip columns

This from Wonkette:
Saw Patrick McHenry at Cap City Brewery. Was dining with a married woman and is even shorter in person than he looks on tv…

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Why is Pat's blog written by no one from NC?

Check out Patrick McHenry -- 10th District North Carolina

Notice something about all the posts? They're written from people not living in North Carolina.

Thursday, July 26, 2007 5:06 PM GMT
A.M. NEWS: McHenry plans virtual Town Hall meeting
WWW.SHELBYSTAR.COM writes: "U.S. Rep. Patrick McHenry of Cherryville plans to hold a "Virtual Town Hall" meeting starting at 7:30 p.m. Monday, his office announced."
Read Full Story at WWW.SHELBYSTAR.COMPosted by Theodore Richardson from Sioux Falls, SD
Thursday, July 26, 2007 3:45 AM GMT
Democrats NOT Fiscally Responsible
Patrick McHenry?s (RN.C.) district. Rep. Jim Matheson (D-Utah) last year supported 14 of 19 of Flake?s challenges. This year, Matheson has supported only ...
Read More
Posted by Melanie Rodriguez from Ann Arbor, MI
Tuesday, July 24, 2007 2:35 AM GMT
Campaigns helped by lawmakers own PACs
I heard about this and just found this story.
"Patrick McHenry, the sophomore Republican from Cherryville. Last year, MC PAC spent more than $5000 on a golf fundraiser at the Grandfather Mountain Country ..."
Full Text
Posted by Todd Paul from Irvine, CA
Thursday, July 19, 2007 11:14 AM GMT
House Members Battle Over Pork
Nathan wrote:
I came across this post today and thought I would pass it along.
"WASHINGTON - The House killed The Perfect Christmas Tree. When Rep. Patrick McHenry, R-N.C., asked for federal tax dollars to expand a commercial development in rural western North Carolina known as the Home of the Perfect Christmas Tree, the House turned him down flat."
Would anyone care to comment on this?
Read More Here
Posted by Nathan Blake from Oceanside, CA
Thursday, July 19, 2007 10:25 AM GMT
4th UPDATE:Bernanke:Fed To Propose Ban On Some Mtge Practices
WASHINGTON -(Dow Jones)- U.S. Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke said Wednesday the central bank would likely propose banning certain mortgage practices across the lending industry to bolster its consumer protection efforts.
Read More
Posted by Alex Baldwin from Miramar, FL
Thursday, July 19, 2007 8:24 AM GMT
Few Dems back Flake?s challenge
My research with Donna lead me to this.
"Just two Democrats, Reps. Chris Carney (Pa.) and Jim Cooper (Tenn.), supported a Tuesday challenge to Rep. John Murtha?s (D-Pa.) so-called $1 million ?mystery? earmark."
Read more
Posted by Maria Stephens from Coral Springs, FL
Wednesday, July 18, 2007 9:43 PM GMT
House axes Perfect Christmas Tree - Winston
My research with Ida lead me to this.
"Patrick McHenry, R-10th, asked for federal tax money to expand a commercial development in rural Western North Carolina known as the Home of the Perfect ..."
Read more
Posted by Margaret Nelson from Columbia, SC
Wednesday, July 18, 2007 7:13 PM GMT
Drug officials visit to NC draw criticism
Clara Wrote: Here's one for you - "Patrick McHenry and Charles Taylor in their home districts in August. The meetings, each with local sheriffs, were held behind closed doors but highlighted ..."
Read story here
Posted by Clara Mathis from Orlando, FL
Wednesday, July 18, 2007 8:26 AM GMT
Drug czars visit questioned
Zachary wrote:
I came across this post Wednesday.
"A visit from the White House drug czar to western North Carolina last year has raised questions in a congressional investigation into the politicization of the national drug policy office."
Would anyone care to comment?
Read More Here
Posted by Zachary Hicks from Santa Rosa, CA

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Get ready to ask Pat the tough questions

McHenry plans to take questions from the internet, that is, live blog on Monday, July 30. Check out his website. Instructions from his website say to click on the bannera t 7:30 p.m. I think we should go in advance, don' t you?

So be thinking about questions . . . .

McHenry calls Democrats "burdened by their gluttony"

On Go Blue Ridge dot net Laruen Ohnesorge writes:
Through an article in yesterday’s Washington Times, Avery County Representative Patrick McHenry predicted an impending government shutdown.
However, I did a search of the Washington Times and found no mention of McHenry. Just in case, I checked the Post and nothing there either. But perhaps it's not in an online version.
McHenry wrote that in 1995, a “newly anointed Congressional majority seeking to assert its power… had a head-on collision with a president in desperate search for political relevance after a crushing electoral defeat.” The result? According to McHenry, the outcome was a government shutdown. Twelve years later, McHenry sees parallels, saying President George W. Bush has drawn a “line in the sand,” promising to veto any spending bill that exceeds his administration’s request. Bush has been using what McHenry calls “the veto pen,” and according to McHenry, Democrats, who know he will use the pen, send him legislation anyway, including a timeline for leaving Iraq. McHenry called last November’s election results “a clear mandate… against wasteful spending in Washington,” and concludes by saying a repeat of 1995 could be what Republicans need to “ensure voters understand we heard them loud and clear.”

“It appears likely the Democrats,” he wrote, “… burdened by their gluttony- will hand Republicans that opportunity.”
Yeah, right. Burdened by gluttony. How can that be? This is the most obstructionist minority in history. So what is this gluttony the Democrats have, Pat? Certainly not the gluttony to pay 14 billion dollars a month for a war Americans never needed. Certainly not the gluttony to amass a 1.4-million-dollar war chest to run against someone who raised only 20 thousand? What's all this about gluttony, Pat?

Local folks highlighted in national press

The Nation just wrote about WNC as an example of Howard Dean's 50-state strategy. They highlighted the successes of Watauga County (and Chair Diane Tilson) and Polk (and Chair Margaret Johnson) and Heath Shuler and our own Mark Hufford.

They even mentioned my own post about Margaret at BlueNC

Here's the link. Check it out!

Now, let's work to have the 10th be North Carolina's next success story!

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Pat's PAC pays for Pat

The Charlotte Observer has uncovered a nice little scam. Politicans, like our dear Pat, start up PACs, get solicit hefty donations through those oh-so-noble-sounding organizations. Then donate the money to . . . guess who? Themselves.
Here's more of the story:
Political action committees allow money to be raised from the same sources, as well as from others who have already maxed out in giving to their regular campaign funds. It also allows them to give more money to their colleagues.

One of the newest ones, formed in 2006, is the More Conservatives PAC of Rep. Patrick McHenry, the sophomore Republican from Cherryville.

Last year, MC PAC spent more than $5,000 on a golf fundraiser at the Grandfather Mountain Country Club and the Eseeola Lodge in Linville.
It's not just a Republican deal.
Among the contributions in the last year to Rep. Mel Watt's committee, called Motivating Energetic Leadership, were $5,000 from Wachovia and $5,000 from a health care company called DaVita. The Charlotte Democrat's MEL PAC gave $5,000 to Larry Kissell, the Biscoe teacher who tried to unseat Hayes last year.
But the Republicans are all over the concept:
Hayes has his own ROBIN PAC, short for Reinforcing Our Beliefs in North Carolina.

Other leadership PACs by Carolina lawmakers include Sharp Pencil, by Rep. Howard Coble, a Republican from Greensboro; Leadership Circle, by Sen. Elizabeth Dole, R-NC; Next Century Fund by Sen. Richard Burr, R-NC; MINT PAC by Sen. James DeMint, R-SC; and Fund for America's Future, by Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-SC. Off and On the Hill

Monday, July 23, 2007

Club Fed has no pool

That's what they call this training center I'm visiting. And, after getting past the security guy with a gun strapped to his thigh, I searched everywhere for a pool. But I finally found an unmarked dirt trail that led down to the river. No one else was there but a great blue heron. Oh, and these two:

It's officially called the National Conservation Training Center. I'm a guest of Mr. D.Q., who's here with a bunch of Wildlife Refuge managers and leaders of their associated "friend's groups." It's outside Sheperdstown, WV (near Harper's Ferry). Beautiful place, deer everywhere. And they're really into conservation and recycling and gorgeous rugs and mission furniture and photos of every conservationist you haven't heard of.

I'm in Aldo Leopold lodge. (He founded the Wilderness Society, which is why there is the Linville Gorge Wilderness Area, among others.) There are a lot of Ranger Ricks and Ritas here but I like the guy that drove from California, because he gets stripped every time he flies. He had a Fish and Wildlife Service badge on one shoulder of his cami jacket and an Earth First (no compromise) badge on the other.

And there's great food here. But the trail to the river is not only unmarked and even hidden. Of course, the deer probably appreciate that. And perhaps that's what it's all about.

Sunday, July 22, 2007

McHenry website rated lowest in NC delegation

In the Sunlight Foundation's survey of Congressional websites, Patrick McHenry rates an unimpressive 16 percent. The average score was 29. The foundation considered a rating of 40 as "passing." The survey included the following questions (McHenry had only the two noted in brackets):
A list or a link to bills the member has sponsored or co-sponsored.
394 member sites have this

The name(s) of the committee(s) and subcommittee(s) on which the member serves.
465 member sites have this [including McHenry]

Links to the Web sites of the committee(s) on which the member serves.
360 member sites have this

Statements or links to statements inserted into the congressional record by the member.
250 member sites have this

A page or email address to contact the member electronically.
532 member sites have this [inlcuding McHenry]

Personal Financial Disclosure (which lists the member’s assets and sources of income)
0 member sites have this

Member/Officer Reimbursed Travel Expense Disclosure (filed when a third party pays for a member or staffer's junket)
0 member sites have this

Expenses charged to the Member Representational Allowance (for Representatives) or the Official Office Expense Allowance (for Senators)
0 member sites have this

Information on franked mail, including copies of letters and cost of sending them.
0 member sites have this

A public calendar with the member's schedule, including attendees and subjects of meetings.
6 member sites have this

A list of earmarks sponsored by the member.
6 member sites have this

Information on a member's interventions with or correspondence to regulatory agencies?
1 member sites have this
Results are from March 2007. Here are the scores of the rest of the North Carolina delegation:

Butterfield, G K (D) 32%
Coble, Howard (R) 24%
Etheridge, Bob (D) 24%
Foxx, Virginia (R) 24%
Hayes, Robin (R) 24%
Jones, Walter B Jr (R) 32%
McHenry, Patrick (R) 16%
McIntyre, Mike (D) 40%
Miller, Brad (D) 40%
Myrick, Sue (R) 24%
Price, David (D) 24%
Shuler, Heath (D) 16%
Watt, Melvin L (D) 32%


Burr, Richard (R) 24%
Dole, Elizabeth (R) 40%

Friday, July 20, 2007

Meet the Sunlight Foundation

The Sunlight Foundation is doing all they can to make the public information about our Congressmen available to us in formats we can use.

Check 'em out. http://www.sunlightfoundation.com/
and bookmark 'em or sign up for their ethics blog or press releases.

I found out about 'em as I researched Patrick McHenry and earmarks. They are all over earmark reform (real reform, not Patty's version). They have some cool interactive maps showing where all the earmarks are going (sometimes the congressman of the location receiving the earmark is not the congressman who asked for it. The foundation has an ongoing project (in conjunction with many other great organizations where they list the earmarks and are asking for volunteers to call their congressman and ask if specific earmark requests came from his/her office.

But there's lots of other cool stuff on the site. They have a wonderful page called Insanely Useful Websites, where you can find all that's available on any Congressman or woman.

If you want to know what's really going on, bypass the media and use the Sunlight Foundation to guide you to the facts.

Thursday, July 19, 2007

This is sad, but occasionally I feel compelled to mention other points of view

While we've all been enjoying Republican Jeff Flake's (R-AZ) smack-down of our Pat's earmark hypocrisy (for which Mitchell county took an undeserved jab), there is some truth to McHenry's point. Yeah, it's sad.

It's true that Republicans have really made earmarking a fine art of ripping off the public. But McHenry's self-serving insincere point has merit. Of course there should be transparency. And while Representataive Flake managed to point out our Pat's hypocrisy, there were dozens of earmarks (the 11th sure got it's share, more on that later) that didn't draw any attention.

And, more sadly, when Flake questioned congressman Murtha's one million dollar mystery earmark, according to the Hill, which of course only covered McHenry's side of the earmark story only two democrats voted against it:
In fact, several Democrats who regularly voted last year for amendments to strip earmarks out of bills are now voting against similar challenges.

Prior to last year’s election, two Democrats, Cooper and Rep. Melissa Bean (Ill.), voted for all 19 of Flake’s anti-earmark amendments. This year, Cooper has supported all 15 of the amendments; while Bean has supported just one of the amendments, the effort to prevent money from being spent on the Home of the Perfect Christmas Tree, a project in Rep. Patrick McHenry’s (R-N.C.) district.

Rep. Jim Matheson (D-Utah) last year supported 14 of 19 of Flake’s challenges. This year, Matheson has supported only the challenge to McHenry’s earmark.

Democratic Reps. Earl Blumenauer (Ore.), Barney Frank (Mass.) and Gene Taylor (Miss.) each supported five earmark challenges last year. This year, the same Democrats have supported only the effort against McHenry’s request.
Calls to Bean’s and Matheson’s offices were not returned.

Of course, they voted against earmarks when they were from the bloated Republican budget. Democrats traditionally do a much better budgeting job. Even though I can't say I agree with the lack of transparency, I'm not sure the Democratic earmarks are as ugly as the Republican ones. For example, the 11th district earmarks were for schools and hospitals, not roads to nowhere or in exchange for bribes.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Drug Czar visit to Lenoir for Pat under investigation

Hat tip to Blue South for this in the Charlotte Observer

A visit from the White House drug czar to western North Carolina last year has raised questions in a congressional investigation into the politicization of the national drug policy office.

Drug czar John Walters met with GOP Reps. Patrick McHenry and Charles Taylor in their home districts in August, reports Barb Barrett.

The meetings, each with local sheriffs, were held behind closed doors but highlighted in local newspapers at the time. According to a memo and e-mails obtained by a House oversight committee, the visits appeared to be part of a larger program to have officials from the Office of National Drug Control Policy visit districts of vulnerable GOP members of Congress.

what I wrote at the time about the "pseudo press conference."

And here's what Democratic Carsner had to say back then:
“If he wants to promote himself as dedicated to ending production of methamphetamines, why did he vote to cut in half federal funding for local law enforcement?” Carsner asked. “His approach is short-sighted and irresponsible.”

Wooo hooo. I love a Democratic Congress. Wish they would do more but this is excellent.

Senate, House, DCCC hit PGBB

There's more on other pages but this one was the most impressive:

Monday, July 16, 2007


CNN will host the next Democratic Presidential Debate on July 23rd. The network is urging viewers to submit video questions via YouTube. A blogger for Slate Magazine is blasting CNN for ruining the best part of the YouTube experience...the freedom of expression. Most YouTube videos gain their popularity by popular vote, but the debate questions will be screened by the CNN producers. The Slate blogger argues that the debate would be better if the videos were taken as a whole and not filtered. Question...would you rather see a debate (like we usually do) where the questions are pretty well known and rehearsed in advance or one where the public can introduce new and different topics (with the fear that the questions will turn into a series of questions about which only 3 people in this country care about the answer)? Is there a better option in the middle?

WaPo pimps for Pat

WaPo today printed Novak's inaccurate account of earmark history, promoting Pat as a martyred hero of some imaginary Republican fight for transparency.

The formerly respected media outlet then posted an astonishing vapid interview. Who's paying them to print such crap? Or is their reputation so shot, they don't need a high price to make up for the nonexistent loss of integrity.

The Center for American Progress' Scott Lilly sums up the earmark story this way:
The great conservative spin machine that stretches from the White House Press Room across the various right-wing think tanks to Fox News and dozens of conservative columnists and talk show hosts has amassed an impressive list of accomplishments over the years. But none of the efforts by this vast echo chamber is more impressive than the recent attempt to reshape the Bush White House and their allies in Congress as opponents of the practice of placing earmarks in federal spending legislation.

Here's Bob's insipid lies:
McHenry's $129,000 earmark would have promoted tourism in economically distressed Mitchell County. The new Democratic majority's leadership, which routinely supports earmarks, cracked the whip against this one, apparently in the spirit of political revenge. A conservative firebrand, McHenry had immobilized the House and humiliated the Democrats by leading GOP parliamentary maneuvers to force transparency regarding earmarks, previously hidden by both parties.

But it was nice of the Washington Post's Sleuth to mention us in the second paragraph. Too bad she didn't ask about his stand on credit unions, or the voter fraud indictment of his former staff member/housemate. If they wanted to be so gossipy, why didn't they ask about his preference for young men or allegations of providing alcohol to minors at a political event in Catawba. Here's a sample:
As feisty as he is small (he's 5 feet 3 inches or something; he doesn't measure), McHenry is one of his party's chief attack dogs on the House floor, generally raising hell and employing whatever parliamentary tactic he can to obstruct the Democratic majority's legislation.

The baby of five children and the youngest member of Congress, McHenry was born to be precocious. His high visibility and tenacious scrappiness have earned him plenty of liberal detractors (hence a Web site called Pat Go Bye-Bye Web site and a Washington Monthly cover story comparing him to Tom DeLay and Karl Rove.) But he has also gotten buckets of praise and support from his elder fellow conservatives.

The best moment comes with the questions about his lovelife:
Sleuth: Do you have time for dating? What's it like being a 31-year-old single guy in the House?

McHenry: [Laughter] I try to make time for that. It's just difficult with the schedule and everything else. I'm, uh, just trying to, I'm still trying to find the right girl. And I think in all due time it'll work out.

Sleuth: And is there a certain set of criteria you're looking for?

McHenry: Sure.

Sleuth: What is it?

McHenry: A number of things. [Laughter]

Sleuth: Just give me a little example. Does she have to like NASCAR? I hear you're a big NASCAR fan.

McHenry: Well, look, half the NASCAR teams are in my district. Dale Earnhardt Jr. is a constituent. Dale Jarrett. So I don't know, you don't really have a litmus test on that. I think when you meet the right girl, you know. At least that's what all my friends tell me.

I'd like to know where we're supposed to be finding the liberal media bias I keep hearing so much about.

Saturday, July 14, 2007

The true history of earmarks

From the Center for American Progress, a chunk of a much larger piece by Scott Lilly:
Congressional Republicans have spent hours and hours on the House floor this year decrying earmarks, but they have spent far more time back in their offices crafting letters to ask for them. Republican Congressman Patrick McHenry of North Carolina led an effort that held up appropriations for the Department of Homeland Security for nearly a week to protest earmarking. “I'm very proud of the actions that my conservative friends are taking on this House floor to hold the Democrats accountable for their slush fund, their secret earmarks and their pork-barrel projects,” he boasted. “And I urge the body to move in the conservative direction.”

The following week it was revealed that McHenry had written the Appropriations Committee in April requesting funding for the “Home of the Perfect Christmas Tree Project.” It was one of more than 10,000 requests sent to that committee by members of his party.

The “Spin Machine” has also succeeded in obscuring the fact that significant progress has been made by the new congressional majority in cleaning up the process by which earmarks are awarded. These include new rules adopted at the beginning of this Congress that:

* Prohibited members of Congress from using earmarks to reward or punish other members for their votes on matters before the House.

* Require disclosure of the name and address of any intended recipient, the purpose of the earmark, and whether the member has a financial interest in the organization or entity receiving the earmark or would otherwise benefit personally from the inclusion of the earmark.

* Require that all matters before a conference committee (including earmarks) must be subject to full and open debate and that a final version of a conference report must be voted on by a meeting open to all members of the conference committee, and that no item (including earmarks) may be added to the legislation after the conference committee has adjourned.

In addition, the new Congress took the following actions:

* Completely excluded all earmarks from the nine fiscal year 2007 appropriation bills that were enacted in January 2007

* Agreed to cut the amount of funding provided for earmarks in each of the fiscal year 2008 appropriation bills by 50 percent below the levels contained in the appropriation bills passed by the last Congress.

* Established a policy requiring the publication by the Government Printing Office of all letters requesting earmarks included in an appropriation bill prior to floor consideration of the bill.

An important additional reform attempted by the new Congress could not be implemented in the current fiscal year but is likely to be implemented next year. That reform would restore greater scrutiny of requested earmarks before their inclusion in appropriation bills.

The proposed reform would end the recent practice of Appropriation Subcommittees moving toward a policy of granting members a certain amount of money within each bill that they can use for what ever projects they deem to be appropriate. In many instances there is little vetting or review of these proposed earmarks by anyone other than the member who requested them and his immediate staff.

The Appropriations Committee had to postpone their plan to return to a system in which proposed earmarks are subjected to a review by committee staff as well as by the agency personnel managing the earmarked funds. This reform was postponed because of time constraints created by a delay in the deadline for submitting earmark requests and the need to move the appropriation bills in a timely manner. There will, however, be additional review of the earmarks already included in the bills before they are finally agreed to in conference committee.

The Appropriations Committee plans a much more complete review of all requested earmarks next year before any are included in the 2009 appropriation bills.

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Thank you, Bob Novak, kind of

Novak[Photo from TPMMuckraker]

Bob Novak is my hero. What a muckraker! I thank the Lord he's all over Patrick McHenry's earmark hypocrisy. The "kind of" refers to his complete disdain when he writes this week that "no one -- and we mean absolutely no one" reported Patrick McHenry's latest spanking (and this time by his own kind, 249-174):
Meanwhile, events during the last week of June demonstrated that the celebrated transparency in the House is a sham. Amendments to strike transparent earmarks are brought up for a floor vote, they are overwhelmingly defeated and the news media completely ignore the story. Searches of Lexis-Nexis and Google News suggest that no one -- and we mean absolutely no one -- has picked up on the story of Rep. Patrick McHenry (R-N.C.) and the embarrassing fight he lost to keep an earmark in his district.

Now, I know, I know, he was only bringing it up to daintily point out that the Democrats are not doing as good of a job as he obviously wants them to do. (Isn't his idealism cute!) But it was just so adorable of him to use the words "Patrick McHenry" and "embarrassment" in the same sentence that I'll forgive him for being so blogodensious, and so tremendously hypocritical in his criticism on one party's comparatively minor failings in comparison to the party he so blindly (and so profitably) supports.

And if absolutely no one picked up on it, how did he find out about it? Did he read about it here or here or here or here or here or here? Oops, I forgot all those media outlets don't exist. He must have been right there in the gallery of Congress to witness the smackdown.

Oh, P.S., Mr Novak, I scrolled down to your comments on Al Franken. Why does he "claim" to have raised 1.9 million while his Republican opponent "announces" his and the primary candidate "declares?"

Novak notices Pat

Bob Novak searched Google News and Lexis and discovered that no mainstream media wrote a word about Pat's earmark embarrassment. But he clearly thinks if it's not covered by the mainstream media, it's not been "picked up." Maybe he's right. What do you think? here's what he said:
Meanwhile, events during the last week of June demonstrated that the celebrated transparency in the House is a sham. Amendments to strike transparent earmarks are brought up for a floor vote, they are overwhelmingly defeated and the news media completely ignore the story. Searches of Lexis-Nexis and Google News suggest that no one -- and we mean absolutely no one -- has picked up on the story of Rep. Patrick McHenry (R-N.C.) and the embarrassing fight he lost to keep an earmark in his district.

I guess Crooks and Liars, and Government Executive dot com and the Lakeland Florida Ledger and Human Events dot com, and the Hill and yours truly are "no one -- and we mean absolutely no one"!

Monday, July 9, 2007

More earmark fallout for Pat

From Lakeland Florida's Ledger:

Garland: To U.S. Rep. Jeff Flake, R-Ariz., for winning his first victory in the House by ridding a spending bill of a wasteful pork-barrel project. Flake offered an amendment in late June to remove a $129,000 congressional earmark for an economic development initiative titled, "The Home of the Perfect Christmas Tree."

The earmark was put in the bill by Rep. Patrick McHenry, R-N.C., and would have been used in Mitchell County, where employment has been drastically reduced by the closing of textile mills and furniture factories. The money would have doubled retail space for a gift shop where former factory workers sell products they've made - such as Christmas tree ornaments, handmade soap and pottery.

Yes, it's a worthwhile program. But does it belong in the federal budget, put there without committee hearings or debate? Flake didn't think so, and proposed the amendment to the 2008 Financial Services and General Government Appropriations Act. The final vote to remove the earmark passed, 249-174.

Last year, Flake proposed nearly 20 amendments to remove earmarks from bills. All his efforts were unceremoniously defeated.

Friday, July 6, 2007

McHenry losing face among more Republicans

Great analysis of McHenry's falling star in the Republican heavens at a right-wing site Human Events dot com:
The message was clear: Any member who opposes our corrupt system of favors and earmarks becomes persona non grata with the appropriations committee and his pork-barreling colleagues. It is, naturally, out of the question for such an uncooperative member to get his own earmarks. McHenry was humiliated but given a lesson on congressional power.
Here's more:

Earmarks: As the immigration bill in the Senate dominated the headlines, a fierce and nasty personal battle over earmarks had erupted on the House side. The message in the death of one particular earmark was that congressmen love their pork -- fight against our system and you don't get to participate.

1. Rep. Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.), as has become his custom, had proposed a series of amendments striking earmarks from the Interior and Financial Services appropriations bills. Each of these failed miserably, garnering at most around 100 votes. Flake's amendments to eliminate funding for subsidies to Washington's Barracks Row, "business incubators" in various regions, an urban planning center, a conference center and an airport commission, among others, lost by a huge margins.

2. But one anti-earmark amendment succeeded. The member punished for his fight against earmarks was Rep. Patrick McHenry (R-N.C.), a young conservative firebrand in his second term representing a district in Western North Carolina. McHenry had sealed the deal for himself with his fight to make earmarks more transparent, but he headed to the House floor to defend from one of Flake's amendments a $129,000 grant to the Perfect Christmas Tree project in Mitchell County, North Carolina.

3.Flake, stating openly that he expected this earmark-killing amendment to be defeated like all the others, acknowledged the poor economic conditions in Mitchell County, but held firm that need for federal intervention was dubious. "If this project is [already] successful, does it still need taxpayer assistance?" McHenry spoke of First Lady Laura Bush's support for the program, even adding to the record a feel-good USA Today piece about the Home of the Perfect Christmas Tree Initiative.

4. Financial Services Chairman Jose Serrano (D-N.Y.) was full of irony when he rose in support of McHenry's earmark, chiding him for finally finding an earmark he liked. Serrano said that he realized that McHenry was attempting to help his struggling district. But Serrano's tongue-in-cheek support did little good for McHenry or the other North Carolina congressmen defending the Perfect Christmas Tree. It took McHenry very much by surprise when Flake's amendment passed by a large margin, 249 to 174, with support from more than 140 Democrats who had never previously dreamed of voting against any earmark.

5.The message was clear: Any member who opposes our corrupt system of favors and earmarks becomes persona non grata with the appropriations committee and his pork-barreling colleagues. It is, naturally, out of the question for such an uncooperative member to get his own earmarks. McHenry was humiliated but given a lesson on congressional power.

Thursday, July 5, 2007

Lay arraigment postponed

From the Charlotte Observer:
Gaston County

Arraignment of former McHenry worker continued


Michael Aaron Lay, the former campaign worker for Rep. Patrick McHenry who was indicted on two counts of election fraud, appeared in court Monday. Lay's arraignment in Gaston County Superior Court was continued to Aug. 6 to give his attorney, Thom Goolsby, time to review the prosecution's files on the case, which he received Monday, Goolsby said.In May, a grand jury indicted Lay, 26, because of questions about whether he had legal residence in North Carolina when he registered to vote and cast a ballot in McHenry's primary election. McHenry, R-N.C. and from Cherryville, prevailed in a contentious GOP runoff by about 85 votes and went on to become, at 29, the youngest member of Congress.

Goolsby has denied the charges against Lay.

Lay, who graduated from the University of Tennessee law school in May, is living in Raleigh and working on Bill Graham's gubernatorial campaign. -- amy rainey

Sunday, July 1, 2007

Slow week

This week will probably be slow news-wise. It will definitely slack off here at Pat Go Bye Bye. I'll be off-line from today through Thursday so I'm leaving it up to monkeywrencher and micandacam to pick up the slack! Or, take a vacation, too!

See you after the 4th!