Gordon Smith's blog

Asheville Citizen-Times Endorses Kay Hagan

The Citizen-Times comes out strong:

Dole's lack of assertiveness, her hesitation and changed positions on issues like an outlying landing field near a national wildlife refuge and offshore oil drilling, her failure to use her position on the banking committee to more effect in averting the current economic crisis and her too-frequent absence from the state have distanced her from her constituents.

Her opponent, Kay Hagan, has represented Guilford County in the state Senate for 10 years, chairing the powerful budget committee for the past five years. The non-partisan North Carolina Center for Public Policy Research named Hagan one of North Carolina's “Ten Most Effective Senators” during her last three terms.
"The disillusionment with the president can't be discounted as a factor in Dole's re-election struggle, but her real Achilles heel can be found in her own failure to meet the expectations North Carolinians had for her.

Dole has failed to translate her knowledge and experience into the kind of clout and activism that would make her a force in the Senate."

Barack Obama at Vance-Aycock in Asheville

{c/p @ ScruHoo}

After driving like a banshee hopped up on DayQuil and Amp, I rolled into the annual Vance-Aycock Dinner at the Grove Park Inn in Asheville, North Carolina hoping to catch a glimpse of Democratic Presidential candidate Barack Obama. The event was filled to the gills with every candidate and party insider you can imagine. I’ll get lots of photos up at some point, but the star of the show was the rumor that Obama would appear at the dinner. I expected to wait two hours for Obama to come in after the keynote speaker, Tennessee Governor Phil Bredesen, but I was happily surprised when a cluster of national press corps folks formed a rampart at the rope line leading to the stage. In just a couple of minutes, out strode Barack Obama. I shot as much video as the Canon Powershot would allow and bolted out of the Grove Park to upload it at Chez Arratik. Now I’m gone again, back to see what’s what.

The video will be posted here as soon as it processes through the UToobz. For photos check out Scrutiny Hooligans and Ashvegas.

UPDATED with video after the jump

Obama In Asheville

Barack Obama is coming to Asheville for his debate preparation. The next Presidential debate is in Nashville on Tuesday night. While no details about his schedule have been released to the public, there have been plenty of watchful eyes. Here are the rumors:

- Secret Service was all over the Grove Park Inn yesterday. Obama will likely be staying at the Grove Park Inn.

- The Vance-Aycock Dinner will be held Saturday night at the Grove Park Inn. Obama will likely make an appearance there.

- He may be staying at Governor Easley's "Western Residence", which goes almost entirely unused.

All you Ashevillains keep an eye out for Obama, and let us know what you learn!


Oil Companies are "Begging Us To Regulate Them"

The gasoline shortage continued today, with more mountain schools closing, the city and county government in Buncombe closing, business closing because their employees can't make it into work.

A posse of politicians held a presser in Asheville today, and Republican representative Charles Thomas (116) explained that, in addition to problems with refineries and with the Colonial pipeline, distributors are withholding gas from truckers who are willing to bring it up the mountain. He said that the gasoline suppliers are "begging us to regulate them". When you have a Republican openly threatening to regulate an oil industry, you know the crisis has gone to unimaginable depths.

Ain't Got Gas

Just thought I'd let the rest of the state know that there's no gasoline in the mountains. No really. You can read about the gas panic here, here, here, here. The few stations that got fuel delivered had lines of an hour or more with gas between $4 and $4.50 a gallon. Most limited each sale to $30-$50 in order to prevent hoarding. Folks are filling up every receptacle they can find.

A combination of disrupted supply from Texas refineries and pipeline problems has left the Asheville area without any reliable sources of gasoline for almost a week. Schools are canceling classes and teams are canceling games.

It's supposed to be another 5-10 days before the gas is flowing normally. I've seen more bicycles and full buses today than I've ever seen in Asheville.

When do we get to have accessible alternatives? Yesterday would have been great.

Electing A Progressive in Buncombe County

Holly Jones is a Democrat running for the Buncombe County Board of Commissioners. A current Asheville City Council member, Jones is running on the things that have made her successful in her seven years on Council - government transparency, cooperation, environmental stewardship, improved health care access, and building a green collar economy.

Buncombe County has a population of about 250,000 people, making it the most populated county in the west of the state. In Buncombe as in the rest of North Carolina, manufacturing jobs have dried up as NAFTA took hold and globalized the textile markets. Past efforts to attract new businesses to Buncombe have been more of the same tired tax incentives and cash rewards while relying heavily on unfettered real estate development and a tourism service economy to prop up employment.

Her opponents include an NC Association of Realtors "Hall of Famer". They're going to be exceptionally well-funded as real estate interests try to roll back environmental protections.

Carl Mumpower is Tony Montana

It's almost too sad to talk about. I'd like to see a strong challenge to our incumbent Heath Shuler because spirited races make for good democracy. But with erstwhile Republican opponent Carl "Army of" Mumpower undecided as to whether he ought to be running at all and Libertarian candidate Keith Smith running on the sheer power of anonymity, it looks like Mr. Shuler will get to keep most of the money he raised for his reelection. The coverage of Mumpower's meltdown has been getting all sorts of fun coverage:

HB 2720 - Let Them Know You Like It

A lot of the vehicles in North Carolina's motor pool are diesel fueled. Also, NC will continue to purchase new vehicles as older ones head to the scrap heap. With gasoline prices at four dollars a gallon, wouldn't it make sense for North Carolina to move to alternative fuels and purchase only the most fuel efficient vehicles? It would save NC taxpayers untold amounts of money to have our motor fleet be as efficient as possible.

Grier Martin (D), Pricey Harrison (D), and Charles Thomas (R) have submitted legislation to do just that. HB 2720 - Energy‑Efficient State Motor Vehicle Fleets - has two components:

Anguished and Lashing Out

If you read the comments at the Asheville Citizen-Times, you’re already aware that Barack Obama is an Islamic apostate who may be a mooslim, that he’s BFF with terrorists from Hamas to Weather Underground, and that he Hates white people. As a regular participant in the lowly AC-T forums, I’ve come to expect the worst sorts of smear tactics from zealous, frothy-mouthed shut-ins.

This sort of poison is rippling across the internet and talk radio, lapping at the harried shores of truck stops, diners, and dive bars. It’s infecting the subtext of this Presidential contest with racism, xenophobia, and Christian Nationalism.


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