Friday, February 26, 2010

Kissell and McHenry claim bragging rights

It didn’t take long for some in our Congressional delegation – on different ends of the political spectrum, we might add – to get out the word about their rankings in, according to the Democrat, “one of the most respected nonpartisan publications in Washington.”

That Democrat is 8th district House member Larry Kissell who says the National Journal Magazine ranked him one of the most centrist members of Congress. “Kissell was the fourth closest to the ideological center as rated by the National Journal’s 2009 Vote Rating,” says Kissell’s press release Friday.

“I work hard to do what I think is right and put politics aside and I’m proud my voting record reflects that. I believe we can have differences and still meet in the middle,” Kissell said. “My top priority remains what is best for the people of the Eighth District. I will continue to cast my vote for what is best for them.”

His N.C. colleague, GOP representative Patrick McHenry, took a bow for being named the most conservative member of the N.C. congressional delegation, and for being ranked the 17th most conservative member of the U.S. House of Representatives.

“I’ve always voted my conscience and worked hard to best represent the interests of my district. In town hall after town hall, the people of Western North Carolina repeatedly told me that they were tired of the runaway spending in Washington, tired of the government takeovers of private industry, and did not want to see the health care system become the next target for a power grab by liberal Democrats,” McHenry said in his press release.

McHenry continued by saying “in order to turn our economy around we need to take an honest look at drastically lowering our deficit through entitlement reform, lowering taxes so that businesses can create jobs, and adopting an energy policy that fully utilizes the vast natural resources of our country.”

Since taking office in 2005, Congressman McHenry has consistently been ranked as one of the top conservative leaders of the U.S. House.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Gov. Perdue's reelection challenge

No wonder Gov. Bev Perdue has dubbed herself "the jobs governor." She has received fair warning from one of North Carolina's preeminent economists that jobs could be a big problem for her reelection efforts.

Wells Fargo chief economist John Silvia was at the Mecklenburg County commissioners' annual retreat this morning, giving a picture of the economic landscape. County manager Harry Jones asked Silvia and UNC Charlotte economist John Connaughton how long it would be before Mecklenburg's unemployment rate would be back at pre-recession levels.

"Five to seven years," Connaughton said.

"I'll tell you what I told Bev Perdue," Silvia said: She's going to be running for reelection in 2012 with a higher unemployment rate than when she was elected. (The N.C. rate was 7.5 percent in November 2008; it's 11.2 percent now.)

His point was that that's probably going to be true no matter what she does, because of larger economic forces. Now if you're a sitting governor, that's a heck of a conundrum.

-- Posted by Taylor Batten

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Wake schools' chief says bye, bye

Who couldn't see this coming? On Tuesday, Wake County schools superintendent Del Burns abruptly resigned saying he could no longer "in good conscience" work for the system he has served for decades.

What he actually meant was he could no longer work for the Wake County school board, whose new majority elected a few months ago has pretty much made his life hell by working to undo many of his initiatives and policies he's supported and that have won Wake schools national praise.

Some of those initiatives didn't sit well with some voters, especially year-round schools and policies to keep schools economically diverse. So in November, they ousted some board members and installed a new group that have steamrolled over opposition and made school board meetings a shout-fest at times. They've even made the old Charlotte-Mecklenburg school board meetings look tame by comparison.

Wake school board chair Ron Margiotta acted surprised (he's the only one) by the resignation and said he hoped Burns wasn't leaving because of the board's direction. He said he'll ask Burns, who assumed the superintendent duties in July 2006 and is under contract through June 2013, to reconsider.

Good luck. But for now the state's largest school system (CMS is second largest) has a job search ahead.

Monday, February 8, 2010

Information at her fingertips

From Steve Thomma's McClatchy story today on whether Palin might run for the White House:

"Asked how she would make the decision, Palin said she 'thankfully' has plenty of time. She noted other potential candidates for the Republican presidential nomination know more about the issues.

" 'Right now I'm looking at ... other potential candidates out there who are strong. They're in a position of having kind of this luxury of having more information at their fingertips right now.'

Photos from Huffington Post

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Team Supreme Court?

This funny (doctored) photo of the nine Supreme Court justices is making the rounds on the Internet. Well, maybe not so funny....

Monday, February 1, 2010

"The Counter Revolution"

Howell Raines, former executive editor of The New York Times, has an intriguing piece in today's edition about the Greensboro Woolworth Sit-in and its impact on the South 50 years later. He also raises a question: Could the civil rights movement succeed if it had taken place in today's media atmosphere? He says:

"Sure, conservative columnists like Rowland Evans and Robert Novak clucked about Communist influence on the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee, and Paul Harvey seemed vaguely disturbed by dark-skinned youngsters who talked back to Southern sheriffs. But straight, eyewitness reporting dominated television news, and Northern print reporters flooding the region quickly shamed Southern newspapers into covering civil rights in a way that began to look, let us say, balanced — or even, in a few cities, fair. . . .

"Today, however, there’s no denying that traditional reportage of political and social trends seems almost as out of date as segregation. Surely the civil rights movement would have been hampered by the politicized, oppositional journalism that flows from Fox News and the cable talk shows. Luckily for the South, that kind of butchered news was left mostly to a few extremist newspapers in Virginia and Mississippi and to local AM radio talk shows that specialized in segregationist rants."

He goes on to talk about what he and other journalists from his generation got wrong about the movement and the unforeseen ways it changed the politics of the South.

His opinion piece can be found here.

What do you think?

(Image by Zina Saunders, © New York Times)