Nice Job, Heath! Now, About those Roads

Nancy Pelosi and her Democratic steering committee members have made an excellent decision in placing Heath Shuler on the Transportation and Infrastruction Committee.

Anyone who either grew up in North Carolina or has lived here for any time knows that one of our major issues is and always has been roads. Heath Shuler will be in a position to possibly bring us some help. OK, I know this committee deals with so much more than roads, but it was the first thing I thought about when I saw the announcement.

I may be showing that I just don't know how these things work. I don't think I'm talking about pork, because I know some transportation projects are funded with pork. I guess, I'm assuming that when states/cities are looking for federal aide for roads projects, this is the committee that makes the decisions about which project gets their funding. It's encouraging to think that our state might not have to fight so hard to get its fair share.

CJ Report: Hardball Live from Chapel Hill with Senator and Mrs. Edwards

First, there was a a lot of confusion about Robert's brown sweater, so I'm going to clear up that order of business, right now! ;) It really wasn't "brown" but light tan.

Now that we have “brown sweater” mystery cleared up…

As many of you already know, I’m an Edwards supporter, so I attend a lot of events in North Carolina where Senator or Mrs. Edwards will be appearing. In fact, I vlogged one of the campaign events Edwards did for Shuler and the event where Edwards stumped for Kissell. But, I hadn’t really planned on going to the Hardball event until I got a call letting me know that there were a few VIP tickets available for bloggers. VIP tickets for bloggers? Hmmm…that was something I thought I shouldn’t pass up, but reinforce with the Edwards’ camp that we, bloggers, are ready to take our place at the table.

Dole Goes Under the Knife

The Charlotte Observer is reporting that Senator Elizabeth Dole has had surgery, and no, it isn't to nip and tuck those pesky wrinkles. Nor was it to fix the zipper in the back of her head.

Elizabeth Dole has had one of her hips replaced and could possibly be ready to report to work when everyone else in the Senate does on January 4, 2007.

I realize this surgery is getting more and more common, but my grandmother had one of her hips replaced a few years ago and has had a difficult recovery. She is a bit older than Dole now, but was about the same age when she had the surgery.

Senator Dole might be in a bit better health overall than my grandmother was, but if her recovery goes as slowly, Dole could face a difficult re-election.

How to con friends and influence people

The John Locke Foundation and Freedomworks are orchestrating an imminent media flurry of Bill Graham friendly anti-tax snow-jobs over a non-issue by claiming that an "option" to tax will result in a $1 billion tax hike. They are hoping to get a lot of mileage from a 4-page "report", replete with "ifs", "mights", "coulds" and "woulds"..

Dick Armey himself sent this FreedomWorks alert out Monday Dec 11th:

My fellow freedom-loving friends, I have an urgent message for you. Legislators in Raleigh are planning a new $1 billion tax hike for North Carolina. As our friends at the John Locke Foundation have pointed out in a new study, “Their scheme would take one cent from the 2.5-cent local sales tax and give it to the state. In exchange, the state would give local governments the option to raise the sales tax rate by another cent.”

Poor Puppetmaster

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I admit it. I'm starting to feel sorry for Puppetmaster Pope. Things have gotten so bad that he's had to write a whole durn column in the News and Observer to explain why the mean old faculty at NCSU should want this "dirty money" and stop saying he's profoundly anti-democratic. His self defense is robust:

There is no factual basis for this. The hard-earned funds the Pope Foundation has received from my family and our company represent earnings from decades of general merchandise retailing in North Carolina and beyond that have provided thousands of jobs and served millions of satisfied customers. Rather than being "anti-democratic," I have served the state as an elected public official. As a legislator I have voted for billions of dollars in education funding, including for scarce public dollars for repairing or replacing outdated and often-hazardous engineering facilities at N.C. State. I have voted against state budgets that did not fund the state's priorities and in fact led to shortfalls and forced reversions of university funds in the middle of the academic year.

Black Won't Run


Greg Flynn caught this first, but I'm posting it as a whole entry because it really is cause for celebration. Here's the story.

Embattled state House Speaker Jim Black said Tuesday night he will not seek another term as speaker, ending an eight-year tenure as the top official in the state House.

"I've been speaker for four terms," Black told The Associated Press. "This is, again, not about me. I don't have any need for me to be speaker forever."

Black said he has no plans now to step aside from his Mecklenburg County legislative seat, and dismissed the suggestion he decided against seeking another term as speaker because he is worried about a possible federal indictment. For more than a year, a federal grand jury has looked into the Democrat's campaign finances and his connections to the lottery and video poker industries.

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Splish splash

Talk to my few friends and they will tell you I am an extreme and unapologetic hermit. I work from home, travel on business only under duress, and prefer the company of my keyboard to the company of carbon-based life forms. Which means it is a rare occasion when I get out and about in the public arena. Tonight was one of those times. My company had its Christmas party in Raleigh, so I decided to go over early and drop in to the holiday festivities at the North Carolina Democratic Party headquarters.

The event was a fine affair by any standard. Everyone was upbeat and enthusiastic, and Jerry Meek received plenty of applause, both for the quality and brevity of his comments. Wine and beer were flowing and there was more glad-handing than you could shake a stick at.

Walter Jones Intervenes in Duke Case

The Winston-Salem Journal is reporting that Congressman Walter Jones has requested the assistance of US Attorney General Alberto Gonzales in determining whether Mike Nifong has violated the civil rights of the Duke lacrosse players accused of rape.

According to the Journal:

GOP Rep. Walter Jones wants the U.S. Department of Justice to investigate whether the district attorney prosecuting three Duke University lacrosse players charged with rape has violated their civil rights.

More below the fold...

College Hardball Tour with Chris Matthews


Keep your eyes and ears peeled, as I'll be in the audience for the taping of Hardball with Chris Matthews - with Special Guest John Edwards. Seems that Chris Matthews will be back from whatever vacation/illness kept him from doing the last tour stop.

Is John Edwards running for president? That's just one tough question Hardball host Chris Matthews will ask the former vice presidential nominee at the College Tour on Tuesday, Dec. 12, at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

The event will be held at Memorial Hall and this will be my first chance to visit since the renovations. Can't wait to see what it looks like and get a sense of the environment. The $64,000 question is, of course, will he announce. The later emails I received suggested the addition of Mrs. Elizabeth Edwards to the show, so hang around to catch her as well.

The show will air live at 5pm on MSNBC and the taped version will be on at 7pm.

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