Astroturf Campaign Goes After Freshman Democrats

Driving this morning, I was listening to the radio when I heard the oddest ad. It was an attack ad against Democratic Representative Heath Shuler, for supporting "union bosses" against the will of the people. What was odd, was that it was airing during the Stephanie Miller Show on Air America radio affiliate 880 AM the Revolution. It was an obvious astroturf campaign just from the tone of the ad, and at the end it said it was sponsored by "The Coalition For A Democratic Workplace". Irony is one of the right-wings favorite tools when naming front groups.

Doing a bit of research, I learned that the spokesflack for the group is Todd Harris, who worked in communications for McCain 2000, and for Jeb Bush's re-election campaign in Florida in 2002. His lobbying firm DC Navigators is an all GOP shop.

Larry Kissell 2008, Kick Off Tour Goes Into High Gear

Last week, I told you about my announcement at the Young Democrats of NC convention, the support of DCCC Recruitment Chair Congressman Artur Davis, the first of the 330 voters who'll make the difference in '08, and my upcoming tour of the single District that the Netroots and National Party alike have adopted as America's top Red-to-Blue opportunity - North Carolina's amazing 8th.

I'd like to take a minute now to talk about upcoming County Conventions I'll be attending over the next two weeks, the forthcoming visit of former DCCC Chair Congressman Rahm Emanuel, and the next of the 330 voters that either couldn't vote, didn't vote (but wish they had) or voted for my opponent and now regret it given the closest election in 2006. Meet Kevin from Cabarrus County, the second of the 330 voters that will make the difference in 2008.

Environmental Faux

The John Locke Foundation loves the free market, except when it comes to the free market of ideas. They love to control the partisan message and that control is being eroded by the blogosphere as John Hood tentatively acknowledged. He bemoans:

that many people no longer have … opportunities to see people exchange very different ideas about life, religion, and politics in a respectful and thoughtful manner.

even as the John Locke Foundation’s own “LockerRoom” blog is self-referential and insulated from comments, to use Hood's words,

impoverished by insularity and circularity.

Now the John Locke Foundation has taken that "insularity and circularity" to new depths with an unattributed blog called Not content with spreading disinformation through named sources the John Locke Foundation has switched to anonymous channels.

Action Update: The Mental Health Crisis Is Here

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at PhotobucketYour emails and phone calls are working. I talked to nearly twenty Representatives and Senators today and found them all quite interested in listening. Rep. Verla Insko, an honest-to-God leader in this fight, had 210 messages in her inbox by 1pm, and she, along with the other legislators are prepared to find a solution to the crisis wrought by Carmen Hooker-Odom's ruinous decision.

The mental health system has been unstable since it was unmoored under the 2001 reform legislation. As private businesses work to create a sustainable infrastructure, they are repeatedly thrown into crisis by the state's decision. Let's remember that the consultant hired by the state recommended a five-year period of stability to foster innovation and build infrastructure.

Taking Action on Global Warming (listen live at 9am Thursday)

A few weeks ago I live blogged here on BlueNC. One of the hot topics was the possibility of a renewable energy portfolio standard (REPS) in North Carolina. REPS would require utilities in our state to get a certain percentage of energy from renewable energy sources. Reps. Pricey Harrison, Jim Harrell, Carolyn Justice and I introduced a bill (HB77) that will do just that, along with some energy conservation measures. Sen. Charlie Albertson has filed a similar bill in the Senate.

Thursday morning at 9am we're holding a press conference

The Asphalt King . . . Working Hard

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

It must be nice to have your own personal newspaper to write puff pieces about your campaign for governor. Which is exactly with Fred Smith has in the Goldsboro New Argus. A newspaper that just loooooooooooves the Asphalt King and everything he stands for.

State Sen. Fred Smith, R-Johnston, is campaigning for governor, but that doesn't mean he is ignoring his duties in the Senate. "I think I'm meeting the needs of the people in my district," he said Tuesday after leading a devotional at the Tuesday Morning Men's Prayer Breakfast at Wilber's. "It just requires long days, but that comes with the territory. I'm working hard to be a good senator in the 12th senatorial district." And, he continued, while it can be difficult for a Republican to be effective in the Democrat-controlled General Assembly, he's doing his best.

Miller v. Dole?

Jim Morrill at the Charlotte Observer got the scoop on this one.

A Democratic congressman from Raleigh said today that he's weighing a 2008 U.S. Senate run, making him the first potential challenger to Republican Sen. Elizabeth Dole. U.S. Rep. Brad Miller, 53, said he's discussed the race with party officials in Washington and now plans to consult with friends in North Carolina.

"I don't plan to play Hamlet," Miller said. "I plan to get a sense of the lay of the land and make a decision."

Despite early speculation to the contrary, Dole, 70, has said she plans to run for a second term. Last week, she announced that her campaign had raised $1.7 million in the first three months of the year.

Call to Action: Save our Mental Health System (Fire Odom)

UPDATE: Screwy here. I've been hard at it all day, and your emails and phone calls are working. The heat is rising, and tomorrow's protest in Raleigh will be covered by all the major media outlets. Please come to the protest, organized by NAMI (National Alliance for the Mentally Ill) and NCAC. I'll have more once the day is done. Thanks to everyone who's taken the time to make our voices heard.

Call To ActionTomorrow at 11 a.m. we need bodies to gather at the Governor's office, 116 W. Jones St. State Capital in Raleigh. Signs saying "Save Our System" and "Fire Odom" would be appropriate.

As of this afternoon, not one Western North Carolina mental health care provider has figured out a way to stay in business under the recent (and retroactive) fee cuts. Appalachian Counseling and Families Together, two of the three major service providers for the region are planning to shut down.

The best way to help is call Health and Human Services Secretary Carmen Hooker Odom or Alan Dobson, Director of the Division of Medial Assistance, both at 919-733-4534. Or call Governor Easley at 919-733-4240

See yesterday's post for background information on the NC Mental Health Reform or go below the fold.


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