Nice Work If You Can Get It

Ryan Teague Beckwith wrote over at Under the Dome about Fred Smith's jet and other items in the financial disclosure form Smith filed with the State Ethics Commission. There are a couple of things you won't find there that are worth a look.

The disclosure form, filed March 15th, presents a statement of economic interest as of December 31st of 2006. Since then Fred has been busy. He closed out his Senate campaign account "Friends of Fred Smith", repaying himself $66,455 in loans and forgiving his campaign $362,624.15 in loans. The loans to his campaign are not listed either as assets or liabilities on his Statement of Economic Interest.

What a difference a year makes

A little over a year ago, I had the opportunity to interview my friend and neighbor Congressman David Price. I was especially curious about the trials and tribulations of serving in the minority in the US House of Representatives. Needless to say, he wasn't all that thrilled about being under the thumb of Republican arrogance and corruption.

What a difference a year makes.

Immigration....reform?

A group of Democratic and Republic Senators, working with the Bush administration criminals cabinet, came up with a bipartisan plan on immigration that Ted Kennedy believes Bush will sign. The logjam was broken when:

The key breakthrough came when negotiators struck a bargain on a so-called "point system" that would for the first time prioritize immigrants' education and skill-level over family connections in deciding how to award green cards.

So, Republicans get what they've always wanted. They kick out the mothers and fathers of kids born here in the U.S. unless they are highly skilled. At the same time, if you have an education and are highly skilled you can become a documented citizen, which means you won't WANT to work the jobs that undocumented immigrants work.
So, the agreement is to screw the unskilled laborer and their families, and to grant citizenship to skilled laborers.

The proposed agreement would allow illegal immigrants to come forward and obtain a "Z visa" and - after paying fees and a $5,000 fine and returning to their home countries - ultimately get on track for permanent residency, which could take between eight and 13 years.

They could come forward right away to claim a probationary card that would let them live and work legally in the U.S., but could not begin the path to permanent residency or citizenship until border security improvements and a high-tech worker identification program were completed.

Riiiiiiight. Come forward, pay $5,000, go back to your country of origin, apply for a "probationary card" to come back to the US and we'll let you back in sport (wink, wink, nudge, nudge, say no more, say no more).

Why do I feel like the Democratic Party just got punk'd?

Breaking: Republicans try procedural end run to bring marriage amendment to vote

Just received an alert from EqualityNC about this...

Our wingnuts here will not quit. House Bill 493 is back and the Republicans in the North Carolina General Assembly are trying to bring it to a floor vote next week by using a procedural end-run to recall the anti-gay amendment  from the Rules Committee.  (N&O):

House Republicans say they will attempt a procedural maneuver to bring up a proposed constitutional amendment barring same-sex marriage. The bill, which has more than 60 co-sponsors, has been sitting in the House Rules Committee for months. House rules say 72 of the 120 members would have to agree to take up the measure to pull the bill out of the committee and onto the floor. A similar three-fifths majority of the members in the House and the Senate would be required to put the amendment on the ballot for the November election.

Mr. Speaker

Dear Speaker Hackney.

It's been a while since I last wrote to you - back before you were elected Speaker. From all I can see, you are doing an admirable job for the most part, navigating the swirling waters of North Carolina state politics with grace and honor. As well you should. You set the bar high in your opening speech as Speaker, when you said:

I come here today with the greatest respect for this North Carolina House of Representatives, and the people who come here to serve in it:

There is no place in this State where public servants are more in tune with the citizens of North Carolina, than in this chamber.

There is no place in this State where the issues of government and politics are better or more fully debated, than in this chamber.

There is no place in this State where the interests of the less fortunate of our citizens are better represented, than in this chamber.

Republican Death Wish

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The evil doings of Pat McHenry and his band of merry men are symptomatic of a larger self-destructive frenzy going on in the Republican party these days. Apparently unable to control their darker selves, they have pushed the limits of decency and integrity on every front. Today's vote in the Senate to continue to fund Bush's war in Iraq is but the latest piece of evidence that the Grand Old Party has lost its soul. Rather than acknowledge their catastrophic leadership failure, they have voted to "stay the course" in a train that is running hell-bent over a cliff.

Sue Myrick's New Bank - or "Pay Day Don't Always Come on Friday"

Rep Sue Myrick (R-NC) decided to pull her account from Bank of America since BOA's new credit card was illegal immigrant friendly. In hopes of scoring political points, Myrick said she would move her funds to Wachovia Bank, based out of Charlotte NC. Patriotic, right? Not so fast Sue - your new bank is sending thousands of NC jobs to India. This is not likely to win the hearts and minds of your constituents who wind up jobless. The jobless still get to vote, and so do their friends.

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