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Sunday, February 14, 2010

Blue Cross of N.C.: Pigs at the Trough 

Fact: The NC Department of Correction's spending on hospital care for prison inmates has been out of control over the past decade: it shot up from $17.5 million in 1999 to $55.8 million in 2009.

Fact: Last Aug. 5, the NC General Assembly passed its budget bill, which included a provision mandating that inmates treated at hospitals would be billed at the same rates as the State Health Plan for state workers and teachers, a reform that would have saved the state millions on hospital treatment for inmates.

Disgusting Fact: On the day that Gov. Perdue signed the budget law, state Democratic Sen. Tony Rand inserted language in a legislative housekeeping bill that effectively gutted the money-saving provision.

Really Disgusting Fact: It comes to light in an investigation by the Raleigh News & Observer (published today) that Blue Cross Blue Shield of N.C. was sending secret e-mails to Sen. Rand containing the language that he subsequently inserted to help that monopolistic health-insurance provider (so to speak) continue to rip off the state's taxpayers.

These are the same corporate tools who have gotten hysterical over the threat of actual health-insurance reform, like the "public option," and who have used the U.S. mails to induce their naive subscribers to put pressure on Sen. Kay Hagan and others not to do anything in Congress that might cause their cash cow to give less milk.

Non-profit corporation ... there's an oxymoron!

Tony Rand is now gone from the State Senate, pursued closely by the bears of prosecutorial retribution. Might his collusion with BC/BS of NC be added to the list of offenses, or was that perfectly legal in the way that only politicians could devise unethical string-pulling to be "perfectly legal"?

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Wednesday, February 03, 2010

Quacks Like a Duck 

Schmoozing with big-money lobbyists.

Just what we want to hear about our Democratic senators!


Monday, February 01, 2010

Foxx Won't Lift a Finger to Preserve the Blue Ridge Parkway 

The Blue Ridge Parkway is indisputably a major economic engine for the 5th Congressional District of North Carolina, as well as elsewhere. Almost 20 million visitors come every year and drive its two-lane blacktop and buy fuel, food, lodging, and the geegaws that gladden the tourist heart, generating almost $2.3 billion in revenue annually in North Carolina and Virginia.

Even conservative Republican Senator Dick Burr realizes its economic importance for his state. Burr has signed on as cosponsor with Sen. Kay Hagan of a 75th Parkway anniversary bill which would authorize the preservation (by purchase) of up to 50,000 acres of land along the Parkway route. Heath Shuler (NC-11) is a key sponsor of the House version of this bill.

Conspicuously missing from the House bill's list of co-sponsors are two who actually represent counties through which the Parkway passes ... Patrick McHenry (NC-10) and Virginia Foxx (NC-5).

Foxx's explanation is all rigid conservative ideology. She wouldn't spend a dime, not even to help her own constituents.

The Winston-Salem Journal scolds her in an editorial this a.m.: "...we can't afford to get behind on preserving the parkway. The recession is lifting, and resort property prices will soon resume their steady climb. We should have money for land ready so that orderly development can be balanced with preservation -- our responsibility to future generations."

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Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Well Okay Then 

Sen. Kay Hagan (D-N.C.) sez that the watered-down Insurance Conglomerate Protection Act of 2009/2010 is just all right with her, including the bribes paid to Sen. Ben Nelson of Nebraska, Sen. Mary Landrieu of Louisiana, and others not yet disclosed.

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Tuesday, November 03, 2009

Take That, Blue Cross NC! 

The latest Elon University poll found that 54% of North Carolinians support health insurance legislation that would include a public option. Some 41% said they would use a public option plan should one become available.

That latter number amounts to a huge razzberry directed at Blue Cross/Blue Shield of NC, which has spent a secret amount (the corp. won't say how much) sending out multiple propaganda pieces opposing health-care reform, the most recent featuring a postage-paid, pre-printed postcard opposing any public option reform that the recipient is supposed to sign and send to Sen. Kay Hagan. Many people have been altering those cards to reflect the feelings of a majority of North Carolinians (see above), like NC House Rep. Pricey Harrison. We heard about one guy who taped his edited card to a brick before sending it on through the postal system, which apparently is totally legal and costs Blue Cross of NC slightly more than 28 cents.

Next we can expect Blue Cross's $4-million-man, CEO Bob Greczyn, to claim that the high cost of his insurance is due to "socialists" in the state abusing his postage-paid propaganda.

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Thursday, October 29, 2009

Using Blue Cross's Dime 

It didn't take long for North Carolina citizens to figure out what to do with those Blue Cross NC postage-paid & pre-printed messages to Sen. Hagan opposing health-care reform. If you got one of those little pieces of propaganda, you might want to take a lesson in what to do with it.

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Thursday, September 17, 2009

The Allure of Corporate-Think 

Ezra Klein, on just one section of the Baucus health insurance bill unveiled yesterday (a.k.a., "The Insurance Industry Profit Protection and Enhancement Act of 2009"), language dealing with "employer mandates," a provision known as the "free rider":
It is not only the worst policy idea in the bill, but one of the worst policy ideas I've ever seen.

Meanwhile, Sen. Kay Hagan finds a lot to love in the Baucus dreck.

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Thursday, September 10, 2009

The Company She Keeps 

Sen. Kay Hagan was one of 16 Blue Dog Dems in the U.S. Senate summoned to the White House this p.m. for a meeting with President Obama (ABC is reporting).

Quite the list of frail reeds (and a few who ought to be ashamed to be clumped up with any kind of obstruction): Senators Mark Pryor and Blanche Lincoln of Arkansas, Mark Warner of Virginia, Jeanne Shaheen of New Hampshire, Mary Landrieu of Louisiana, Evan Bayh of Indiana, Claire McCaskill of Missouri, Tom Carper of Delaware, Arlen Specter of Pennsylvania, Mark Begich of Alaska, Mark Udall and Michael Bennet of Colorado, Ben Nelson of Nebraska, Bill Nelson of Florida, Kay Hagan of North Carolina, Herb Kohl of Wisconsin, and Independent Democrat Joe Lieberman of Connecticut.

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Friday, September 04, 2009

35th Richest Lawmaker in D.C. 

According to The Hill's "Rich List."

According to The Dome, "Most of her estimated $6.7 million worth is related to her interest in a Florida commercial real estate business owned by her father."

But a considerable chunk of her stock holdings are in "drug makers Pfizer and Genentech as well as Richmond, Va., based tobacco maker Altria and its subsidiary Philip Morris."


Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Cal Cunningham 

There's chatter this a.m. over at BlueNC about Cal Cunningham, who's obviously itching to get into the Democratic senatorial primary for a chance to face "Bank Panic Dick" Burr, the Invisible Senator, next year. A whole host of possible candidates -- including Cunningham, Elaine Marshall, Dennis Wicker, and Bob Etheridge -- are waiting for Sen. Robert Menendez, head of the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, to tap the DSCC's pick, since a lot of money and tactical support would come with the tapping. Coronation by the DSCC would also winnow the field pretty quickly.

We've had a chance to meet and hear Mr. Cunningham speak a couple of times recently, and we're impressed that he would take the fight to Burr and is probably best equipped to generate enthusiasm among that newest Democratic demographic, the 18-30 age group. He's honing his attack on Burr and drawing the necessary distinctions.

Chuck Schumer, head of the DSCC two years ago, picked Kay Hagan to run against Liddy Dole. Robert Menendez will do the picking this year. It's not necessarily the way we'd like to see our senatorial candidates picked, but that's the way it is. Period.

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Thursday, August 13, 2009

The Money That Endangers Democracy 

Hat-tip to James at BlueNC for publicizing the DemocracyNC study of "Healthcare and Insurance Campaign Contributions to North Carolina Members of Congress." Fifth Dist. Congresswoman Madam Doctor Virginia Foxx is among four NC reps who've taken in over $180,000 from the health industry, and we know the garbage that falls out of her mouth.

But Sen. Dick Burr is the grand champion money-raker from these particular special interests. He's banked $1,674,101, "or almost three times the $630,949 raised by number two, Rep. Sue Myrick (R-Charlotte)."

All the North Carolina Republicans in Congress oppose health-care reform (with the possible exception of Walter Jones), and they will of course deny that these outrageous mounds of health-industry cash have anything to do with their attitudes. We believe 'em, right?

We expect Republican elected officials to side always with the rich and powerful. More disturbing are the $$ some of our Democrats are swallowing, particularly Sen. Kay Hagan and 11th Dist. Congressman Heath Shuler. Both tend to the "blue" end of the spectrum and have at various times expressed longing to protect the interests of big insurance monopolies.

As for Rep. Jones of the NC-3, he's a special (admirable) case (though we doubt very seriously that he'll ever vote for a final health-reform bill):
Of the twelve NC members of Congress in office during 2004-2008, Rep. Walter B. Jones Jr. (R-Farmville) got the least amount from the pharmaceutical industry -- a total of only $7,000 over three campaigns. Jones is also the only Republican from North Carolina who voted for requiring Medicare to use its purchasing power to negotiate lower drug prices, for encouraging the use of generics, and for allowing the import of FDA-approved prescription drugs.

Rep. Jones says the perceived relationship between votes and campaign money damages "public trust" in Congress. In fact, he is the main Republican sponsor of the Fair Elections Now Act (HR-1826), which would provide a public campaign option in Congressional elections, similar to the program now in place for appellate court judges in North Carolina. At a hearing on the legislation in July, Rep. Jones used the drug industry's political clout as the example of why reform is needed.

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Friday, July 31, 2009

Hagan Gets Over Her Case of the Willies? 

Sez she's definitely on board with a guaranteed public insurance option that would compete with private insurance companies.

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Tuesday, July 28, 2009

What Senators Dodd & Hagan Have in Common (Other Than Uncommonly Good Health Insurance) 

Both senators are receiving really marvelous mega-$$ support from Big Pharma, the drug industry's lobbying arm (the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America, or PhRMA for short). According to today's NYTimes, Dodd...
has not only benefited from the hundreds of thousands of dollars in advertisement courtesy of the pharmaceutical industry and Families U.S.A., a health-care advocacy group the industry teamed up with. But a few weeks ago, Mr. Dodd attended a $1,500-a-plate campaign fund-raiser sponsored by lobbyists representing U.S. Oncology, a provider of cancer drugs and services.

Dodd chairs the key health committee in the Senate that has already written its version of health-care reform, a bill which contains a public option.

Kay Hagan sits on this committee. She's received the same fawning support from PhRMA, with TV ads the group has paid for in N.C. praising her.

Doesn't make us feel any better about our chances, when the chips are finally down, of getting a consumer-friendly vote out of either senator.

We all knew that Congress was being bought & paid for by Big Business well before the reform of insurance industry practices was a gleam in Barack Obama's eye. They've bought key members of both parties. Sen. Dick Burr was schmoozing the same creeps last night. Ordinary working-class citizens can't get into such meetings. They're for the Big Boys only, and for the politicians they buy. Like, say, the effing Blue Dog Democrats.

We deserve this sorry state of affairs if we put up with this sorry state of affairs. I'm about past the point where I'm willing to put up with it, especially from elected representatives I might have considered philosophical allies.

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Thursday, July 16, 2009

The Face of the Opposition 

Powerful article by Bob Geary about some of the North Carolina people who went to Washington last month and confronted Sen. Kay Hagan about her waffling on the need for a "public option" for health insurance in any so-called "reform" bill. Gives insight into the reaction of community activists in the Durham region to hearing Rahm Emanuel say that maybe a public option wasn't necessary. That's non-negotiable, community organizers in the Triangle told White House ambassadors. People are tired of high-costs, of obscene insurance company profits, of people losing their insurance for "pre-existing conditions."

People are sick and tired of the deniers -- those who poo-poo the idea of millions upon millions of Americans who are uninsured -- and whose every response to reform is to scream "socialism," as though that word contained any content whatsoever beyond its apparent power as a club to beat down the already sick.

People with lots of money are very pleased with their health-care. People like Congresswoman Virginia Foxx. She has the best health insurance money can buy and pays precious little for it. We subsidize it for her. She's got it for the rest of her life, along with her family.

Meanwhile, Foxx blithely denies the statistics on the uninsured. She was in a college class at Gardner-Webb's satellite campus in Statesville in March 2008 when she told the students that she didn't believe in universal health care. A nursing student asked, "Then what are you in favor of?"

This was Foxx's response, as reported in the Statesville newspaper (the article is no longer on-line, but we grabbed the quote at the time here:
...Foxx said that the number of Americans without health insurance was typically given as 47 million.

She broke that number down by saying one-third of it was made up of illegal immigrants, one-third was of those who were uninsured for only a portion of the year but not all of it, and one-third was of people who have access to insurance "but choose not to take it."

"Choose or can't afford?" another student asked.

Foxx compared health insurance to homeowner's or automobile insurance and said health insurance was initially designed for "catastrophic" events and "not for maintenance."

"A huge portion of health insurance funds go into the last 18 months of a person's life," Foxx said.

What do we make of that?

1. She's a grade-A, Olympic-size denier. The only uninsured Americans in Madam Foxx's world-view choose to be that way. Or else they're illegal immigrants and deserve to be run over in the road.

2. If you cut off your hand (a "catastrophic" event), you maybe deserve a little health insurance. But not if you have, say, adult-onset diabetes. Health insurance should not be "for maintenance." Unless it's for her and her family.

3. Old, sick people ... what a drag.

What to do about health-care reform in America? For Madam Foxx, the answer is always the easiest one: zilch. Because nothing whatsoever is wrong in the world beyond the tip of her nose.

Sen. Hagan did vote for the bill passed out of the Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee yesterday, which contains health insurance coverage for nearly all Americans. And is now bragging about her vote. Good for her.

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Thursday, July 09, 2009

Blue Cross ... Bad Dog! 

We, like 96% of North Carolinians, are insured by Blue Cross/Blue Shield. They have a virtual monopoly on insurance coverage in the state.

They are totally in bed with Madam Foxx and the rest of her ilk in trying to bamboozle the public that any competition (remember that good ole American principle?) would not only be bad for their profit margins specifically but bad for Americanism and God and unadulterated apple pie generally!

Senator Kay Hagan is inclined to listen to Blue Cross executives more than to the rest of us, unfortunately.

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Tuesday, July 07, 2009

Pharmaceutical Industry Loves Itself Some Sen. Hagan 

Senator Kay Hagan has gotten herself into a big soupy stew, sending conflicting and unclear messages about her support/lack of support for a public option in health-care reform. Adam Searing at The Progressive Pulse runs it all down.

As of Friday, we had thought that Sen. Hagan was on-board with a public option. But then the pharmaceutical industry starting running TV spots in N.C. praising her stand on health-care reform. Big Pharma wouldn't do that if Hagan were sincerely supporting a public option, which Big Pharma decidedly does not.

Something doesn't compute here.

And all this doubt about Hagan ain't helping her with her base. Not a whit.

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Thursday, July 02, 2009

Sen. Hagan Now Backing a Public Option? 

Betsy Muse at BlueNC is reporting that the Senate Health, Education, Labor & Pensions Committee has a draft bill, that it contains "a healthy public option," and that Sen. Kay Hagan has signed on to it.

Perhaps all those phone calls really helped.

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Friday, June 26, 2009

Dear Senator Hagan: Please don't mistake our lack of respect for a lack of interest.

You've emerged full-blown as THE major roadblock to a public option reform of national healthcare.

And your cryptic utterances are beginning to take on an Esperanto-esque "what did she mean by that?" It looks as though you're determined to defend for-profit insurance providers and other special interests while trying to sound sympathetic to the uninsured and to the bankrupted-by-medicine.

That act ain't gonna fly around here. Not with the people, though the big-business lobbies will probably be happy to bundle those checks together for you.

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Monday, June 22, 2009

Watauga ... Most Under-Insured County in N.C. 

According to the U.S. Census, in 2005 Watauga County had the highest percentage of uninsured people in the whole state of North Carolina ... some 31 percent (hat-tip: MEM). Some 49 other N.C. counties had over 20% of their residents uninsured. Those numbers are probably higher now.

Meanwhile, N.C. Senator Kay Hagan is dicking around with the future of the public health, trying her best to find a way to pump even more money into the gigantic boondoggle of the for-profit private insurance rip-off, while denying her constituents any true shot at basic health-care insurance reform.

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Thursday, June 18, 2009

Who Does Sen. Hagan Represent? 

The Wall Street Journal reports that our new Democratic Senator from North Carolina, Kay Hagan, owns at least $180,000 worth of investments in 20 different health-care companies.

So it was not a complete shock to learn yesterday that Hagan is a key hold-out on a "public option" plan in the health-care reform bill currently being crafted by the Senate Health, Education, Labor & Pensions (HELP) Committee. In the closed committee, Hagan is refusing the public option, which the insurance companies are dead set against because they don't want the competition. But when we called her office, her legislative aide said she hasn't taken a position on the legislation and was leaning toward the "co-op plan" being pushed by Sen. Kent Conrad. Pardon our French, but the co-op plan is a mirage, something meant to placate those of us who want the choice of a public option while protecting the projected profits of the big insurance companies. And this is what Kay Hagan says she favors?

If Hagan is going to be the clod in the health-reform churn, she'll have to answer to the N.C. voters who put her in that office. So far, we're not impressed by her instincts, which seem awfully solicitous of insurance CEOs.

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Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Impeccable Logic 

Via Mark Binker's N&R reporter's blog, we learn that the reason our new Senator Kay Hagan is opposing the bill that will allow the Federal Drug Administration to regulate tobacco products is because people already know how dangerous tobacco products are.


Saith the senator, "We need to have FDA focus on monitoring our food, our drug safety, rather than taking on a product that I think people know is inherently unsafe."

Okay. If it's inherently unsafe, no need to regulate it, right?

Would that logic also apply, Senator, to heroin, say, or to a certain hallucinogenic salvia that the N.C. Senate intends to ban? Or to 12-year-olds getting their hands on vodka?

The actual logic behind her political decision might have a good deal more to do with not bucking a huge (and ruthless) N.C. industry, which peddles (incidentally) an inherently unsafe product.

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Monday, April 06, 2009

Kay Hagan's Gut 

Kay Hagan's Declaration of Independence last week (as quoted by the N&O): "I'm Kay Hagan, and I vote the way I think people in North Carolina would want. But more than that, I vote according to my gut."

Prior to that, her gut was telling her to sound perhaps a little more abrupt than absolutely necessary. She told an audience of journalists at Elon that President Obama's deficit spending, as projected by the Congressional Budget Office, was "completely unsustainable and unacceptable."

We don't think that was the way the people in North Carolina would want her to speak and act. We think that was the way Sen. Evan Bayh, self-anointed leader of the Senate Blue Dogs, wanted her to speak and act.

And after all that in-yer-face-Obama talk, Hagan voted yes on final passage of the Senate version of Obama's "unsustainable and unacceptable" budget. In fact, and according to the N&O's reckoning, Hagan has voted yes on every major Obama initiative so far.

Such Evan-Bayh-courting on the one hand, and such voting on the other, might tend over time to convince some of the voters that you're basically a trifling politician.

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Wednesday, April 01, 2009

Tony di Santi Advising Hagan 

Kay Hagan's high-profile advisory group for recommending presidential appointments to the federal bench in N.C. includes Watauga County attorney Tony di Santi of Blowing Rock.

Hagan's advisory group will make recommendations for appointments to vacancies among U.S. attorneys (N.C. has three), federal judgeships, and members of the Fourth Circuit of Appeals. Hagan will funnel her recommendations to President Obama, who will make the ultimate decisions for appointment. Appointments have to be confirmed by the U.S. Senate.

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Sunday, March 29, 2009

Hagan Ramps Up Her Opposition to the President 

Kay-o, feeling her oats at Elon.

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Monday, March 23, 2009

Richard Burr Is a Dick 

Sen. Dick Burr has received $355,000 from tobacco groups and employees. He's second only to Sen. Mitch McConnell for having his hand out to Big Tobacco.

At this precise moment, Burr has teamed up with Sen. Kay Hagan to try to forestall tougher legislation aimed at tobacco.

Burr spokesman Chris Walker says the campaign donations don't influence Burr's policy agenda. Riiight.

"It's not something that comes into any equations here," Walker said. "It doesn't really affect what we're doing legislatively."

We're not supposed to believe our lying eyes.

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Wednesday, March 18, 2009

The Republican Sun Just Rose 

...out of Evan Bayh's ass.

And who is running and barking with the Senate's Blue Dogs? None other than Kay Hagan.

He that lieth down with dogs shall rise up with fleas.

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Thursday, March 12, 2009

Distemper Shots Recommended 

They're going to need a bigger kennel.

Blue Dogs in the Senate! As though we had not had enough of Democrats Who Really Feel More Comfortable with the Republican Platform.

At least Kay Hagan has so far kept her distance from this crowd.

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Saturday, February 21, 2009

Kay Hagan Shows Courage 

Kay Hagan was the subject of a N.C. Republican Party mailing in 2008 attacking her for refusing to back a constitutional amendment to ban gay marriage.

In a more-or-less tit-for-tat response to that attack, Sen. Hagan has made state history by agreeing to headline a fundraiser tonight in Charlotte for the Human Rights Campaign of the Carolinas, the leading gay-rights org.

Hagan is the first state-wide elected Democrat to have the cojones to show up for this event (in its 14th year) and risk the inevitable gay cooties that are sure to follow. Sen. John Edwards wouldn't attend. No Democratic governor, no Democratic lieutenant governor, no Democratic Anybody would dare risk the bigots' wrath. Until Kay Hagan.

We didn't support the senator in the primary. We support her now.

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Friday, February 13, 2009

Dick Burr Targeted by DSCC 

The Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, led by New Jersey's Robert Menendez, is targeting NC's Dick Burr for defeat in 2010. No surprise that, with the powerful mojo of Kay Hagan's "impossible" defeat of super-celeb Liddy Dole last November still percolating.

There's going to be heavy pressure on Attorney General Roy Cooper to step up. Heath Shuler's prospects seem far less bright ever since he joined House Republicans in opposing the Obama stimulus bill.

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Saturday, November 15, 2008

Heath Shuler for U.S. Senate? 

We've barely gotten one election past us, and there're people already talking about Richard Burr's U.S. Senate seat in 2010, and truth to tell (hang on to your gag reflex!) we're just a year and a month away from the candidate filing period for the 2010 general election.

Yesterday the Hendersonville Times-News runs a long article essentially beating the drum for Shuler to take on Burr. Shuler, after easily winning his first reelection race against a weak if not unstable opponent, seems more than willing for people to puff up his ego even further than he's puffed it up himself. "Heath the Giant Killer."

Now this morning, Public Policy Polling is up with a post seconding the Shuler nomination, saying that the only state-wide Democrat who could rival him as a winning Senate candidate would be Attorney General Roy Cooper. PPP takes it a step further by helpfully mentioning a couple of local state legislators who could handily win Shuler's House seat, if he vacates it to run for Senate. This we doubt, though PPP's statistics are impressive about how both of Shuler's potential replacements in the NC-11 did in their own reelections.

But leaving a now strong Democratic seat open in the overwhelmingly Republican NC-11 looks mighty iffy to us, though (okay, we'll admit it) we thought a candidate named Hagan had exactly no chance in 2008.

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Friday, November 14, 2008

Hagan Drops Libel Suit Against Dole 

Since, apparently, Liddy's losing the election was punishment enough.

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Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Godless American Defeats Dole 

According to Five Thirty-Eight.

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Thursday, October 30, 2008

It Wasn't an Idle Threat 

Kay Hagan is suing Elizabeth Dole for the she's-an-atheist TV ad, as she promised to do yesterday if the ad wasn't taken off the air. Dole responded, "Up yours," so Hagan says she's going to the law. She has 20 days to file the libel complaint, so we'll have to wait. It's the principle of the thing, no matter how the election is decided. Looks like defamation to us (though our law degree is a bit dusty), and Dole ought to pay the piper for that particular tune she chose to play.

In the meantime, Gary Pearce recaps political libel suits from the recent past in NC. In 1988, Jim Gardner beat Tony Rand for lieutenant governor. Rand later sued Gardner over an ad that associated Rand with drug dealers, and Rand apparently won a big settlement from Gardner. Pearce says "apparently" since the case was sealed as part of the settlement.

After the election of 2000, Attorney General Roy Cooper was accused of libeling an opponent. A suit resulted, but once again any settlement is shielded from public view

Following the election of 2002, Carolyn Grant filed a similar suit against Congressman Brad Miller following Miller's first win of his seat in the 13th Congressional Dist. Miller made accusations that Grant took $40,000 from her son's college fund to buy a car. According to the Fox News candidate profile of Miller, Grant was given the right to pursue the lawsuit, but she dropped it in 2006, not, according to Pearce, before Miller was forced to spend a lot of money defending himself.

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Liddy Dole's Naked Desperation 

The Charlotte Observer editorializes today that Liddy Dole's Kay-Hagan-doesn't-believe-in-God ad is "indecent." It is Dole's apparent attempt to get down to Jesse Helms's level of campaign rhetoric, says the Observer, which invokes Helms's infamous "white hands" ad against Harvey Gantt in 1990. Somewhere, the late Helms must be "smiling and cheering from the great beyond."

The ad, says the Observer, "is also a deliberate attempt by Dole's campaign not just to distort the truth, but to shatter Hagan's admirable record as an elder for more than a decade in Greensboro's First Presbyterian Church, as a Sunday School teacher and a volunteer in her church's fundraising campaigns, worship services and community service programs."

But here's the real question: if Dole's claim against her opponent is that Hagan doesn't believe in God and Liddy Dole DOES, we'd like very much to know what God sanctions this kind of lying. Would he be MAMMON?

Carter Wrenn, guru of NC conservative Republicans: "My guess is the next sound you may hear will be the roof falling in on Liddy Dole."

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Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Republican End-Game: Close Your Eyes and Swing Wild 

The dangers of treating Joe the Plumber like a foreign policy expert. He gets totally embarrassed by (get this!) Shep Smith on Faux News.

Then there's Liddy Dole, trying to tag Kay Hagan as "godless." Mark Binker of the News & Record has the most complete coverage of Dole's last minute smear, noting that Hagan "is about as angry as I've ever heard her." Hagan is, fer gawd's sake, a Sunday school teacher at a Greensboro Presbyterian Church.

We predicted the GOP would go lower than we've ever seen them go before, but we wouldn't necessarily have predicted that Dole would be the leader of that particular slime crew.

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Monday, October 20, 2008

Obama, Hagan Expand N.C. Leads 

Late-breaking news from Public Policy Polling. Here and here.

From the PPP press release:
Barack Obama is now out to his largest lead yet in a PPP survey of North Carolina, polling at 51% in the state compared to 44% for John McCain. Last week Obama's advantage was 49-46.

Independent voters continue to move toward Obama in droves. He now has a 51-33 lead with them. He's also now up to receiving 82% of the Democratic vote. Staying over the 80% threshold there would almost certainly ensure a victory in North Carolina.

McCain now leads among white voters just 55-39, an edge that's not nearly enough given Obama's 92-6 lead with black voters. George W. Bush won about two thirds of the white vote against both John Kerry and Al Gore in North Carolina....

In North Carolina's US Senate race challenger Kay Hagan continues to lead incumbent Elizabeth Dole, as she has now in PPP's last seven surveys of the race. Hagan's advantage is now up to 49-42. Hagan is annihilating Dole among suburban voters, 56-38. She's also shoring up her support with the key Democratic constituency of black voters, with whom she is now ahead 84-7, an improvement from 78-12 a week ago....

PPP surveyed 1,200 likely voters on October 18th and 19th. The survey's margin of error is +/- 2.8%....

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Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Our Mailbag Floweth Over 

Just this week has brought a plethora -- a PLETHORA, we tell you! -- of political mail, some of which deserves actual reading:

1. Today, a letter from John McCain: "Dear Friend, We've reached a critical juncture in the campaign...."

Surely you jest, Sir. An actual "critical juncture"?

"...I would not ask for your help if the circumstances were not so dire," John continues.

We know. We've been actually paying attention. Sarah Palin turned out to be a bit of a problem, right? and that Christopher Buckley endorsement of Obama was a bit of a slap.

But still, Senator, you're trying to get big bucks out of us and you don't even use the adjective "liberal" once? Not ONCE?? Just how desperate are you, anyway? And you don't even want the money yourself. You want me to send it to ... the Republican National Committee? Death by proxy?

2. Speaking of ambiguous gestures, one of our pieces (actually, we got two, which doesn't speak well about the GOP's wasteful habits) was from that selfsame Republican National Committee ... a four-color, four-page item headlined "AMERICA, The Land That I Love" ... at which point we have to turn the page to discover that Barack Obama will take away "our traditional American values." Then on the third panel, it quotes the National Journal, the very publication that yesterday accepted the resignation of Christopher Buckley for endorsing Barack Obama, because of his love of America. Ooooh. Damn inconvenient irony, that!

3. "Meet Jerry Butler," suggests a third piece, its message of friendly neighbor-over-the-fence introduction undercut somewhat by that big off-putting photo of the candidate. Eighty percent of success is good lighting, we've always heard.

4. The biggest, the glossiest four-color, four-page piece comes from The Madam, with multiple photographs of Virginia Foxx wedging herself into family reunion shots with lots of creeped-out children. If the goal here is to try to humanize the inhuman, we're afraid it doesn't quite work. While the people she's pictured with seem secure in their ordinary reality, Madam Foxx stares down the camera like a tensed up puma, waiting to spring.

5. Another big glossy mailing attacking Barack Obama, from the Republican National Committee. Looks like they've got plenty of money, John.

6. Dan Soucek, posing in his military uniform. Interesting special pleading, that. "Paid for by Soucek for NC House."

7. "Republican Dan Soucek: Proudly Pro-Life." "Paid for by the North Carolina Republican State Executive Committee."

8. through 13. Attack pieces against U.S. Senate candidate Kay Hagan (and suddenly, true political desperation has an outline). Heavy involvement here by outside groups. Three of these five pieces were paid for by the Associated Builders and Contractors Free Enterprise Alliance. One of their pieces is proud of Elizabeth Dole because she'll drill for oil everywhere immediately. The other claims that North Carolina has the highest tax burden in the Southeast and blames the patently pro-business Kay Hagan for that. (That first claim is just pure buffalo dust; the second, laughable.) The third uses "ENOUGH IS ENOUGH!" as though Kay Hagan were the Washington insider rather than Elizabeth Dole. The last two anti-Hagan pieces came from Freedom's Watch, which, according to Wikipedia, was formed in 2007 primarily to support the Bush administration and especially the Bush administration's policy in Iraq. Apparently, Kay Hagan is a threat to the Bush legacy.

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Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Losing Focuses the Mind 

The big-time Raleigh Republican political consultant firm of Fetzer-Stephens says it's getting out of the politics business after November 4th. The fact that they're Liddy Dole's campaign advisors and that she's been on a straight downward track in her try for reelection might have something to do with it. If Liddy Dole is beaten by Kay Hagan, it'll be one of the larger earthquakes in N.C. history.

Fetzer-Stephens' stepping back from politics might also have something to do with another of their recent clients ... Bill Graham's campaign for governor in the Republican primary earlier this year. Graham finished third.

Fetzer-Stephens plans to move into pet adoptions, specializing in kitty-cats.

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Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Hagan Pulls Ahead of Dole in Senate Race 

Public Policy Polling credits the "Liddy Dole is 93" ads paid for by the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee.

You can expect Liddy to counter-punch. She still has a pile o' cash approximately as high as an elephant's eye.

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Monday, August 11, 2008

Wal-Mart Buys In On N.C. State Government 

Wal-Mart Corp., which has heretofore been content to concentrate on national politics, warning its store managers to warn its workers that Obama is the Antichrist, has evidently decided that it needs also to buy favor among a few state legislators too, just to be on the safe side.

The company's PAC has given some $54,000 so far this election cycle to N.C. politicians. A partial list:
* Hugh Holliman, D, Lexington, $1,000
* Nelson Cole, D, Reidsville, $500
* Harold Brubaker, R, Asheboro, $250
* Jerry Tillman, R, Archdale, $1,000
* Kay Hagan, D, Greensboro, $250
* Phil Berger, R, Eden, $500
* Roy Cooper, D, attorney general candidate, $1,000
* Janey Cowell, D, state treasurer candidate, $500
* Pat McCrory, R, candidate for governor, $3,500

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Sunday, June 22, 2008

Debates at the Beach 

Saturday’s opening head-to-head debate between incumbent Sen. Liddy Dole and challenger Kay Hagan during the NC Bar Association's annual meeting at Atlantic Beach produced this welcome description of Hagan, from the indispensible Laura Leslie: "Hagan ... came across as down-to-earth, confident, smart, and most of all scrappy, which she'll need to be to pull this off. She came out swinging and never let up."

We like scrappy.

Dole, on the other hand, in "TV makeup," was "distinctly grande-dame -- dignified, confident, witty, and impeccably prepared."

Leslie scored it a draw.

Gov. candidate Bev Perdue didn't do as well in her debate with Pat McCrory, with the crowd of lawyers seeming to favor McCrory (though some apparently thought McCrory was a bit shallow on detail).

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Thursday, June 19, 2008

The NC Senate's Proposed Budget 

Very interesting thread called "Dear Senator Hagan" over at BlueNC, and if you want to educate yourself a little about the NC Senate's proposed budget, its implications and the roles of Kay Hagan and Walter Dalton in the making of it, and how it's a document that might seem to give political cover to the reelection of Sen. Liddy Dole, against whom Kay Hagan is supposed to be running, and the morality of children's health insurance specifically, on which topic do NOT miss Dan Besse's several comments in the thread ... then you should read it fer shur.

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Friday, June 13, 2008

Is Anybody Home? 

Is Kay Hagan planning to run a campaign against Liddy Dole? Or not?

Dole runs TV spots creating the mirage that she's actually a North Carolinian, and her approval numbers go up. Meanwhile, we get only silence from Hagan.

Plus we heard a few days ago that Hagan wanted to follow the Bev Perdue primary pledge of running only a "positive campaign." Yikes.

Hagan said way back that she didn't want to run for the U.S. Senate. Guess she meant it.

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Monday, May 12, 2008

Kay Hagen Within Striking Distance of Dole? 

Public Policy Polling says the Democratic winner of last week's Senate primary in N.C. is just 5 points off Dole. Hell, Rasmussen says Hagen is actually a point AHEAD of Dole.

Well, that's great (if slightly loopy), and Chuck Schumer needs to start coughing up all that dough he promised Hagen. Pronto.

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