Larry Kissell's First Official Act has Bipartisan Appeal

Larry Kissell has decided on his first act as a congressman. He has pledged to decline the pay increase that went into effect during the final days of the 110th Congress.

Congressman-elect Kissell has signed on as a co-sponsor of H.R. 5087, a bill sponsored by Rep. Ron Paul of Texas that will revoke the $4,700 COLA increase for members of the U.S. House. According to the Congressman-elect Kissell:

During these difficult economic times, it just isn't right for Congress to give itself a pay increase while so many people are struggling to make ends meet, and so many others are out of work altogether. Most people work for years at a time without a pay raise, and most people in our district right now are just trying to hang on. It is a time of belt tightening for all of us, Congress included.

The pay increase is automatic unless a bill is passed revoking it. If the bill doesn't pass Kissell has pledged to refuse or donate the pay increase.

Pundits on parade

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Rick Martinez just loves all the progress we've made in our trillion dollar war in Iraq and wants to see the same in Afghanistan. For a guy who fancies himself a friend of the military, he doesn't seem to know jack about war.

In an op-ed piece, David Price says the US should do something about Gaza, though it's not entirely clear what.

C-SPAN to carry swearing in ceremonies live at noon

Can't be in D.C. today? Don't worry, at noon you have your choice of viewing the Senate swearing in ceremony on C-Span2 or the House swearing in ceremony on C-Span. Both are being carried live and I will be taping both for viewing later in the day. Also on C-Span at 3:00 p.m. today we can see the mock swearing in ceremonies when the members of the U.S. House and their families pose with Nancy Pelosi for a more personal experience.

Watching it on television might be a little anti-climactic, but we'll do the best we can to toss some confetti in the air and pop the cork on a fine bottle of champagne. (OK...so maybe I'll only be serving Diet Pepsi Max, water or coffee, but we'll have something to celebrate with at noon.)

Free pass for GOP state House member with DWI

From my humble perch, it distresses me that the NC House Democratic caucus missed a great opportunity in 2008 when they did not field a candidate against Representative Phillip Frye in House District 84 (in the mountains).

Rep. Frye was charged with DWI in Dec 2007.

See: http://projects.newsobserver.com/under_the_dome/frye_charged_with_dwi

He filed for reelection anyway in early 2008, but no one filed against him.

I realize that this generally GOP mountain district is not in the top tier on the Dem+ list. However, Judge Doug McCullough was tossed from the NC Court of Appeals handily by Cheri Beasley after his encounter with drunk driving.

Union Co. Kissell Supporter Organizes Big Trip to D.C.

Earlier this morning a bus took off from Union County, NC carrying a large group of 8th District Larry Kissell supporters. The trip was organized by Nancy Rorie, President of Democratic Women of Union County. I sure wish I was on that bus.

The group includes volunteers, fundraisers, local party officials, reporters and some Kissell family members. Nancy started work immediately after the election to put this trip together. She's known for making things happen here in Union County, so it was a foregone conclusion that the trip would be a success.

More below the fold....

End of Holiday Open Thread


Here is an eye-opener to start your Monday.

In 2002, four intrepid researchers filed a Freedom of Information Act. But they weren't looking for information on Guantanamo or revelations from Cheney's lair. All they wanted was the FDA's drug analysis data. Taxpayer funded research. They got it. The studies examined were conducted between 1987 and 1999 andcovered Prozac, Paxil, Zoloft, Celexa, Serzone, and Effexor. They found, on average, that placebos were 80 percent as effective as the drugs.

Dealing With State Government Online

Recently I considered "less ranting" for possible inclusion on a list of New Year's Resolutions. I am going to adopt Dan's already broken "stop sleeping late" resolution, at least until tomorrow anyway. But going rantless or even "rant-lite" is going to have to wait until at least a year from now, because I've got a rant that's been building since early last year, and previous mini-rants on this subject haven't sufficiently scratched my rant itch. For those familiar with earlier rants, I'll do the freshest rant first, so you can avoid any rerun rants.

2008: It was a long and exciting year

BlueNC kicked off 2008 with a live blog with Larry Kissell. Almost one year later to the day, Larry Kissell will be sworn in as a United States congressman. After three long years and a lot of hard work we all helped Larry Kissell make it to Washington. Less than a week after his live blog at BlueNC, SEIU announced polling results showing Larry Kissell ahead of Robin Hayes in the polls.

Unsung Heroes: The Nature Conservancy in North Carolina

North Carolina's Coastal Plain is an enigma to most of us. Vast stretches of flat nothingness to traverse on our way to the beaches. But that nothingness is actually an incredible and precious world of wonder and diversity, and it may be one of the first casualties of our lack of foresight in our continued addiction to fossil fuels.

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