Category Archives: Education

Is it too late for the Keystone XL Pipeline?

The stated purpose of the proposed Keystone XL Pipeline is to transport crude oil taken from the oil sands in Canada’s Alberta province southward to the refining facilities located in the United States mid-South region of Oklahoma and along the Gulf Of Mexico coastline.  When those oil sands were viable as a source of crude oil, the project made infinite sense, but a major hitch has developed.

I wrote previously, HERE, about the jeopardy into which falling crude oil prices have put crude oil extracted in the US through the use of hydraulic fracturing, also known as fracking.  Crude oil extracted from oil tar sands have in common with fracking the vulnerability of high extraction costs when compared with traditional methodologies used with traditional oil deposits.

Today, the price of West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude oil (the common U.S. standard) stands at less than $47 a 42-gallon barrel, and it will almost certainly go lower.  The Saudi’s have publicly stated that they will not curtail production in their Saudi Arabian oil fields, even if WTI crude goes down to $10 a barrel.  The death of King Abdullah may cause a twitch or two in the markets, but no long-term change in the trend.

Although the newly elected Congress seems bent on sending to the President’s desk a bill mandating the construction of the pipeline, it may be time to think about whether or not the project still makes economic sense, especially in light of President Obama’s vow to veto such a bill.

Maybe the best approach is to wait for a new occupant of the White House, one that will surely be more objective in evaluating the project on its merits.

The Consequences of Falling Oil Prices

The website that tracks the daily prices for the two main types of crude oil consumed in the United States is saying that the price of WTI is now at $59.95 per barrel.  As many readers will know, crude oil is priced in terms of 42-gallon barrels, and the main domestic price standard is for West Texas Intermediate (WTI), a type otherwise known as “light, sweet” crude oil.  An alternate standard is known as Brent Crude, which is the average price of oil pumped out of the fifteen oil fields in the North Sea.  The price of Brent Crude is typically a bit higher than WTI, as the price of extraction is higher for undersea deposits.

I posted before, HERE, about the problems that falling crude oil prices pose for fracking producers, and on the day of the post (October 10th) the WTI price was about $87/barrel.  At today’s $59.95/barrel, the per-gallon price of WTI crude is $1.43, and we’re now seeing $2.53 at the pump.  There are almost no fracking operations in the United States that can produce crude for $60/barrel, not even close.

The ramifications of this price drop will be many, and worldwide.  Some are writing that the implications for revenue to the Russian government may imperil the Putin regime.

Keith Naughton joins the fray with a piece at the Daily Caller about the effects on the already-wobbly Venezuelan government.  Writes Naughton:

For over 15 years Hugo Chavez and his successor Nicolas Maduro have pursued absurd socialist economic policies liberally mixed with heavy-handed repression, and an anti-American foreign policy.  Private property has been expropriated.  Political opponents have been harassed and jailed.  The crime rate is soared.  Essential items have disappeared from store shelves.  Maduro himself flat-out stole the last presidential election (of course the leftist leaders in Latin America just shrugged it off — showing yet again that the left only likes democracy when they win).

Now Venezuela is at the end of its financial rope.  Tens of billions of dollars in oil revenue have been wasted away and now that the price of oil has cratered, the country’s fiscal deficit is unsustainable.  Maduro is cutting spending, unloading debt at cut-rate prices, and arresting his political opponents.  Tension is rising between the armed forces and the Maduro’s Chavista paramilitary thugs.

The article goes on to list five ways in which a collapse of the Venezuelan economy and government would impact the United States and its allies.  Read the full article, HERE, to get the details of the five ways, and what the Obama administration is planning to do about the potential crisis.

James O’Keefe, You May Now Dance One Jig

As of about twenty minutes ago, the Associated Press is calling the Louisiana run-off election for Bill Cassidy, so Mary Landrieu is legislating on borrowed time.  Her defeat is bound to be an occasion of great satisfaction to James O’Keefe, as Landrieu is strongly suspected of encouraging the prosecutorial misconduct that O’Keefe and Company suffered at the hands of the Louisiana State Attorney’s Office.

Here’s a video interview with O’Keefe on the subject, from earlier this week:

Louisiana State Senator Elbert L. Guillory

UPDATE

I have decided not to post the video depicting the 28-minute Q-&-A session, as I now think it would add little to the substance of Senator Guillory’s prepared remarks as shown in the video below.

ORIGINAL POST

Yesterday afternoon found me at Kings Restaurant in Kinston, NC.  I was there to see and hear Louisiana State Senator Elbert Lee Guillory, the man who’s television campaign ad (video HERE) on behalf of U.S. Senate candidate Bill Cassidy was considered one of the more effective ads of the recent campaign season.  Cassidy is now in a run-off election to unseat Democratic incumbent Mary Landrieu, the vote is tomorrow, and Cassidy is expected to win and therefore take the 54th Republican Senate seat in the new 144th Congress.  For his part, Senator Guillory joins a growing list of outstanding black conservative politicians like Tim Scott, Mia Love, Willie Talton, Wayne Shannon, Jennifer Carroll, Mike Hill, Allen West, Will Hurd, James White, and Boyd Rutherford, all of whom are serving, recently have served, or soon will serve in elective office at the state or federal level.

Guillory sports an impressive resume.  He is a graduate of J.S. Clark High School in Opelousas, Louisiana, where he still resides.  He received his B.A. from Virginia’s Norfolk State University, and his law degree from Rutgers University in New Jersey.  He has also attended New York Theological Seminary in New York City, although he did not graduate.  Something of a sportsman, he enjoys mountain climbing and scuba diving.

During the Vietnam War he served in the U.S. Navy, finishing his undergraduate degree before being honorably discharged.  He was then accepted into and graduated from Rutgers University School of Law.  He subsequently served on the faculty of Rutgers Law, and as the Executive Director of the Maryland Commission on Human Rights.  He has been a practicing attorney, General Counsel for Global Construction Co., and the Supervising Attorney for the Arcadiana Legal Service Project.  He was elected to the Louisiana Justice Hall of Fame for his work in law and government.

Senator Guillory, now seventy years of age, has served in both the Louisiana House of Representatives and the Senate, and was twice named Legislator of the year during his first six years of service.  Although Guillory has two years remaining on his term in the Louisiana Senate, he has already announced his candidacy for Lieutenant Governor in the State’s 2016 election.  For much more on the Senator’s accomplishments, visit his website at www.ElbertGuillory.com.

The Senator spoke for over one-half hour in total.  Although I videotaped all 39 minutes, in order to reduce the length of the video for this site I have broken it up into two parts.  The first segment, below, is for the Senator’s prepared remarks, and it runs about 11-minutes.

The second segment, consisting of the period devoted to questions and answers (Q-&-A), runs about 28 minutes and will appear in a separate post sometime in the next few days.

For much more information on Senator Guillory, I recommend his website and his WikiPedia page, HERE.  In addition, THIS is the link to the write-up of the event in the Kinston Free Press.

Highlights of Tuesday’s CCTPP Meeting

At the meeting held last Tuesday, November 25th, the discussion was lively concerning the options that had been identified by Carteret County staff to implement the recommendations of the Springsted Corporation in their Compensation Study (earlier post HERE.)  Most of the attendees felt that the cost of even the least costly option was still too high considering the state of the economy in general, and the dismal prospects for County revenues in particular.  Since no consensus emerged from the discussions, members were left to their own devices for making their views known to the Commissioners.

After the discussions had concluded, a digital projector was set up and the 45-minute “Rocky Mountain Heist” video (below) was shown.  The video is narrated by Michelle Malkin, who previously lived in California before moving with her husband and kids to Colorado several years ago.  The video highlights the process by which four super-wealthy Colorado Democrats were able, by the end of the 2012 election cycle, to elect a Democratic Governor and a Democratic legislature (yes, both houses) in a state that just a few years ago was firmly red.

For those who were unable to attend the meeting, here’s the video:

The Plymouth Colony – Communism’s First Foothold in America

We are amidst the Thanksgiving holidays once again, and time for our annual object lesson in how the concept of private property rights, the linchpin of capitalism, acts to ensure the greatest degree of prosperity for all.  Tom Bethell explained it very well in his essay from early 1999 entitled “How Private Property Saved the Pilgrims”, an essay adapted from his book The Noblest Triumph.  To set the stage, here are a few paragraphs from his essay:

The Pilgrims knew about the early disasters at Jamestown, but the more adventurous among them were willing to hazard the Atlantic anyway.  First, however, they sent two emissaries, John Carver and Robert Cushman, from Leyden to London to seek permission to found a plantation.  This was granted, but finding investors was a problem.  Eventually Carver and Cushman found an investment syndicate headed by a London ironmonger named Thomas Weston.  Weston and his fifty-odd investors were taking a big risk in putting up the equivalent of hundreds of thousands of dollars in today’s money.  The big losses in Jamestown had scared off most “venture capital” in London.

<snip>

Eventually, however, Carver and Cushman did accept terms stipulating that at the end of seven years everything would be divided equally between investors and colonists …

The colonists hoped that the houses they built would be exempt from the division of wealth at the end of seven years; in addition, they sought two days a week in which to work on their own “particular” plots (much as collective farmers later had their own private plots in the Soviet Union).  The Pilgrims would thereby avoid servitude.  But the investors refused to allow these loopholes, undoubtedly worried that if the Pilgrims—three thousand miles away and beyond the reach of supervision—owned their own houses and plots, the investors would find it difficult to collect their due.  How could they be sure that the faraway colonists would spend their days working for the company if they were allowed to become private owners?  With such an arrangement, rational colonists would work little on “company time,” reserving their best efforts for their own gardens and houses.  Such private wealth would be exempt when the shareholders were paid off.  Only by insisting that all accumulated wealth was to be “common wealth,” or placed in a common pool, could the investors feel reassured that the colonists would be working to benefit everyone, including themselves.

Read the whole thing, HERE, and withhold the pumpkin pie from the kids until they read it as well.

The CCTPP Lending Library

The books in the Crystal Coast Tea Party Patriots library have now been inventoried and put up on a separate page, the first sub-menu item under the menu category of “Education”.  Any of the books may be borrowed by anyone on our membership list (verified by a listed e-mail address), or by anyone who comes to one of our meetings with the intent to become a member.  Delivery, however, may only be done in person to someone attending one of our weekly meetings.

Donations to the library are always welcome.  Future additions to the library will be noted in a post to this page.

NC/VA Mid-Term Turnout: The Bannock Street Project

Michael Bennet is the junior Senator from Colorado.  He became Senator after being appointed by the Colorado governor to serve out the remainder of Ken Salazar’s term after Salazar resigned to become President Obama’s Secretary of the Interior.  Bennet was then elected to a six-year term on his own merits during the 2010 mid-term election, which many have characterized as one of the first big tests of the Democrats’ so-called “Blueprint” for turning redstate Colorado into bluestate Colorado.  Bennet’s 2010 election effort was run out of a building on Bannock Street in Denver, Colorado, so the application of the successful Colorado Blueprint to the key battleground states in 2014 became known as the Bannock Street Project.  For the 2014 mid-terms, the Democrats identified ten battleground states on which to focus the Bannock Street Project’s $60M strategy.  Those ten were Alaska, Arkansas, Georgia, Iowa, Kentucky, Louisiana, North Carolina, Michigan, Montana, and West Virginia.

It seems to be a matter of opinion as to whether the Bannock Street Project was a success.  In light of the many victories for Republican candidates, it would seem to be an obvious failure.  But for Nate Cohn, about whom I have posted previously, HERE, the coin has two sides.  In his November 14th postmortum at The Upshot, his NYT political blog, Cohn gleans insights from comparing the election results in two neighboring states, North Carolina and Virginia.  Writes Cohn:

The preliminary and qualified answer is that the Democratic field effort was probably a success.  An analysis of precinct and county-level returns, supported by exit polls and limited voter file data, suggests that the turnout in key Senate battlegrounds was generally more favorable for Democrats than it was in 2010.  When it wasn’t, the Democratic turnout still seemed impressive when compared with the states where they did not make significant investments, like Virginia or Maryland.

North Carolina has 100 counties, and Virginia, our neighbor to the north, has 95.  With the possible exception of the area just south of Washington, D.C., our income and ethnic demographics are also somewhat comparable.  Cohn continues:

Perhaps the most compelling comparison is between Virginia and North Carolina.  The two states are demographically similar, and both had close contests.  But Democrats invested heavily in field efforts in North Carolina, while they made little or no effort in Virginia, which was not thought to be competitive.  Better still for our analysis, the states also have significant precinct-level data from this year and 2012.

and

Since 2010, turnout increased by 14 percent in North Carolina counties that voted for President Obama, but just 4 percent in counties that voted for Mitt Romney.  In Virginia, turnout fell by 4 percent in Obama counties, but 2 percent in Romney counties.

Note that in the graphic below, based on the U.S. Election Atlas site run by David Leip, the last off-year election in Virginia was the gubernatorial race of 2013.  Also, North Carolina counties are depicted in purple, while Virginia counties are shown in green.

NC-VA_Turnout_1

There are many lessons to be learned from the recent election results.  But, in our joyful gratification for the Republican gains, we must not forget that they can be transitory.  We cannot let up.  If anything, we must redouble our efforts for 2016.

For more on the Bannock Street Project, check out THIS article from earlier this year by Ed Kilgore of the Washington Monthly.

Ribbing the 2014 Election Losers & Serving Notice for 2016

Like me, there are those of you who do not subscribe to the Carteret News-Times.  You therefore may have missed the advertisement below, printed in yesterday’s Sunday edition.

CarteretDemocratRIP_Final

The ad was intended as a bit of fun, but with a serious message; the CCTPP is preparing to do all we can to continue our efforts to inform and educate the Carteret County voters over the next two years, with the objective of repeating our success in helping to elect conservative candidates in the 2016 general election.  Please join us.

New Congresspersons Learn The Ropes

In January, the U.S. House of Representatives will seat 41 new Republicans and 17 new Democrats.  The Senate will seat 12, 11 of them Republicans.  As I write this post, many of those 70 newbies will be either in Washington or making plans to be, as they all have an orientation process to go through.  The following excerpt is from a New York Times article on that process:

There is no instruction manual for serving in Congress, but Representative Kevin McCarthy, Republican of California and House majority leader, did send his newly elected Republican colleagues a 125-page spiral-bound document called “Hit the Ground Running” that offers advice on hiring a chief of staff and opening district offices, and a helpful list of orientation “dos and don’ts.”

For more details on the orientation process and insights into the arrangements made by some individuals, click HERE.  For some readers, however, the article may be behind a paywall.

Way To Go, Carteret County!

As everyone will know by now, Carteret County was a clean sweep for Republican candidates in yesterday’s mid-term elections.  There will be lots of speculation about exactly what accounted for this outcome or that, but I have to believe that our Tea Party effort was responsible in some significant part.  It also helped that, in this instance, the Crystal Coast Tea Party Patriots’ preferences happened to coinside with those of the Carteret County GOP.

And here are two charts to ponder.  The first is of the partisan races, which includes all the local candidates in addition to the U.S. Senate contest between Thom Tillis and Kay Hagan.  Click to enlarge.

Partisan_Chart

The next chart, below, depicts the results of the election for judges.  Click to enlarge.

Judges_Chart

The Shifting NC Electoral Demographics – UPDATED

On Saturday I put up a post with a graphic illustrating the statewide North Carolina voting patterns of certain demographic factions, which showed that the Democrats are doing a much better job of turning out the vote than are Republicans.  Unfortunately, the picture has only gotten worse now that the numbers are in for the full early voting period.

The updated graphic:

NYT_NC_EarlyVoting_Updated

To compare with the graphic shown in my earlier post, scroll down.

The Shifting North Carolina Electoral Demographics

For those who live in the Crystal Coast area, it is sometimes worth reminding ourselves that the dominant political attitudes here are not shared by all other areas of North Carolina, particularly the very blue center.  Nothing so far this election season has illustrated this better, at least to me, than the following graphic put up yesterday by Nate Cohn, a political reporter for the New York Times.  Cohn is getting the voting data each day from the NC Board of Elections, then using it to run some interesting comparisons.  The first notable factoid is that, through Thursday, the number of EARLY votes cast throughout North Carolina was almost equal to one-third of the TOTAL votes cast in the 2010 mid-term elections.

NYT_NC_EarlyVoting

Although I was born in Raleigh, I only lived there through age six or so before my father moved us elsewhere in search of work.  I moved back to Raleigh and the Research Triangle Park area as an adult in 1966 for the same reason.  I sold all my Wake County property in 2011, so I was a resident of the greater triangle area for about 45 years.  Over that period, I had the unpleasant experience of seeing it turn from red to purple to blue, as IBM and many other national companies established a presence there and began to transfer employees in from other states.  Over the three years that I worked as an accountant for IBM-RTP (beginning in 1966), I listened to uncounted stories from my Yankee co-workers, most of them transferred in from plants in Armonk, Poughkeepsie, Rochester, and Buffalo, NY, about how wonderful it was to now be living in a locale with such great weather, friendly people, low taxes, and reasonable home prices, and about how miserably repressive the tax and regulatory burdens had been in New York and the other states of the northeast from whence they came.

During most of these conversations, it always struck me as curious, as well as unfortunate, that these co-workers, who felt such relief at having escaped the burdensome tax and regulatory structures of the northeastern states, continued the political voting patterns that had eventually resulted in those very burdens.

The influx of notherners into the Triad continued long after I left IBM, of course, probably until the present day.  And in my view, a major factor in the bluing of North Carolina has been that very influx.

The full article, HERE, also contains related information for Colorado and Georgia.

Reagan’s “A Time For Choosing” turns Fifty

Today is the fiftieth anniversary of Ronald Reagan’s “A Time For Choosing” speech, presented in 1964 in support of the presidential candidacy of Senator Barry Goldwater.  This was about two years after Reagan had switched his registration from Democrat to Republican, and about two years before he would run for the governorship of California.  The speech, about a half-hour long, is rousing, and I well remember seeing it for the first time on the college dormitory television soon after my 23rd birthday.  It propelled Reagan even further into the national conservative limelight, and today is ranked as one of the greatest speeches in American political history.

In recognition of the speech’s significance, I have created a new page (HERE) under the menu category “Education / Historic Events”, and on that page you will find the official video of the speech, as well as the text transcript of it.

Over the course of his career and his presidency, of course, Reagan gave many excellent speechs.  The “Boys Of Pointe Du Hoc” speech given at the commemoration of the D-Day 40th anniversary on June 6, 1984 is one, the speech at the Bradenburg Gate in 1987 in which he said “Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall!” is another.  But there are more, many more, and for those who wish to see a complete list, go HERE.

Quarter-Cent Sales Tax Option Referendum, Revisited

A majority of the attending members of the Crystal Coast Tea Party Patriots, at their vote meeting of October 7th, decided that we should oppose the proposed quarter-cent sales tax option for Carteret County.  However, in the interim since then, at least one member of the Carteret County Commissioners has come before us to argue that we should reconsider.  The Commissioner was Co-Chairman Robin Comer, and his remarks are summarized in my earlier post about the meeting, HERE.

Even among a slate of all-Republican Commissioners, we don’t often see complete unity on an issue.  However, it appears that in this case, the other Commissioners are fully in accord with Co-Chairman Robin Comer’s views.  Therefore, I think we should lend an ear to their arguments, and consider them carefully.  Toward that end, the following points are added to the ones summarized in my previous post:

  • If the referendum passes and the quarter-cent sales tax is implemented, it is expected to generate $2.5-million annually.  If it does not pass and the Commissioners are forced to turn to a property tax increase instead, the property taxing rate would need to rise about 1.49-cents per $100 valuation in order to generate the same amount of revenue.
  • Since Carteret County’s economy is so dependent on tourism, and the attraction of our navigable waterways such an integral part of our appeal to tourists, the County estimates that over half (between 55% and 60%) of the revenue raised from the quarter-cent sales tax will be paid by visitors to the County rather than by County residents.  This helps to ensure that all the beneficiaries of waterway maintenance participate in its cost.
  • Like most of our readers, I am generally opposed to tax increases of any stripe.  However, to keep this in perspective, consider the following; were any individual to spend $10,000 within Carteret County in a given year on goods and/or services subject to the tax, his total expenditure from the quarter-cent option would be only $25.
  • To lessen the burden of the quarter-cent tax on our County residents even further, food, gasoline, prescription drugs, certain agricultural supplies, and motor vehicle purchases are exempted.
  • In answer to the question of what will be done with any quarter-cent tax revenue that exceeds the amount needed for waterway maintenance in any given year, Robin Comer and other Commissioners have stated that consideration would be given to using some of the funds for ditching projects within the County to address flooding problems.
  • The Commissioners intend to set up a Waterways Management Committee (WMC), with each of the seven members to be appointed by the Commissioner from their district.  In this way, the dredging agenda from all areas of the County will be given equal consideration when the WMC votes on waterway priorities.  This method will ensure that, for example, the Newport River will not be disenfranchised in favor of Taylor’s Creek or other waterways.
  • To address the concerns of those who fear that the revenue from the quarter-cent sales tax would soon get diverted to other uses, the Commissioners have pledged, in a formal resolution, HERE, to isolate the revenues and related expenses within the County budget in order to make them transparent to the public.  The key phrases (edited for brevity) from the resolution are:

Whereas, the Board of Commissioners intends to allocate … tax proceeds for waterway dredging and maintenance and intends to appoint a waterways management board to prioritize the need for these purposes and administer the funds to accomplish same; and

Whereas, to distinguish and separate the revenues produced by this … tax …, a Special Revenue Fund will be established to receive and account for the sales tax revenue.

Now, there be it resolved, that the Carteret County Board of Commissioners hereby states its intent to use the revenues from … the tax … for waterway dredging and maintenance within Carteret County with a schedule implementation date of April 1, 2015.

Within the last few days, I have personally spoken to four of the seven current Commissioners, as well as to Mike Mansfield, the candidate running for a seat on the Board from District 3.  All four Commissioners have assured me that the vote for the Resolution (see above) was unanimous, and that they, along with Mansfield, are fully committed to seeing that the revenue from the quarter-cent option, should the referendum pass, be dedicated now and for the foreseeable future to waterway maintenance and dredging.  Chairman Robinson, moreover, declared that, with the way the Commissioners and County fiscal staff intend to set up the Special Revenue Fund, any other use would be so conspicuous as to invite the immediate condemnation of the concerned citizenry, and any Commissioner voting to allow such a diversion would put his re-election in jeopardy.

Let us make no mistake.  For as far into the future as we care to contemplate, waterway dredging and maintenance will continue to be vital to the economy of Carteret County, so the money to continue doing it MUST come from somewhere.  Since the federal funding has virtually dried up for projects other than maintenance of the Beaufort Inlet channel, and the State funding is available only in the form of a 50/50 match, the Commissioners have only two viable alternatives for finding the bulk of the needed money; either it comes from sales taxes, or from property taxes.

Resource materials on this issue are now up on the County website’s Home Page.  To view the informational brochure directly, click HERE, and to read the FAQ, click HERE.

Good Attendance at Fundraiser for Senator Sanderson

A barbecue fundraiser to benefit Senator Norman Sanderson was held this afternoon at the home of Stacy residents Chris and Kathryn Chadwick.  The weather was perfect, the food was bountiful, and the crowd was sizeable.  Below are a few images of the event:

     

I have no idea how much money was raised, but I think it is safe to presume that a good time was had by all.  Good luck, Senator Sanderson!

Highlights of the CCTPP Meeting of Tuesday, 21-Oct-2014

At our regular meeting on Tuesday evening of this week, the usual business was enhanced by two informal discussions, headed up by Eric Broyles and by Carteret County Commissioner Robin Comer.

First up was Eric Broyles, Chairman of the Morehead-Beaufort Tea Party, who brought the gratifying news that the Morehead City Town Council had, at least for now, dropped the idea of adding more median strips to the Highway-70/Arendell Street corridor.  Although Eric had obtained hundreds of signatories to a petition against the median additions, the Town Council anticipated his presentation in opposition and moved expeditiously to kill the proposal.  However, since this idea seems to be part and parcel of the NC Department of Transportation’s “Super-70” concept, we should not think that a stake has been driven through it’s heart.

Second up was Commissioner Robin Comer, who had come to suggest that the CCTPP, in voting to oppose the quarter-cent sales tax option on the ballot for Carteret County, had not given sufficient weight to the RobinComer1urgency of finding money to continue the vital dredging projects in the County.

Although those who do not own a boat may not give it much thought, he said, keeping our waterways dredged is an indispensible part of maintaining the Crystal Coast as a vacation spot for out-of-state visitors and for the in-state weekenders as well.  And, since Federal funds for dredging have virtually dried up, the Commissioners had viewed the anticipated $2.5-million from the sales tax as a source for that purpose.

Although NC law would not permit the revenue to be formally dedicated to dredging, the Commissioners would have the revenue set up on the county’s books as a special “appropriated use account”, meaning that related revenues and expenditures from it would be readily identifiable to the public.  In this way, citizens could easily tell if the quarter-cent sales tax revenue was being diverted to other purposes.  He could not, of course, guarantee that a future Commission would not see things differently, but he believes that the current Commission is unified in favoring this plan, and would honor the commitment for so long as they held office.  It would be up to us and other conservatives in the County to continue electing conservative commissioners, people who would also honor the original commitment.

Although not all own boats, most of our members are long-time residents and property owners in the County, and understand well the importance of maintaining our waterways.  Running a boat aground can be an expensive proposition, and a visitor doesn’t have to do so but once in a supposedly navigable waterway to dampen his or her enthusiasm for returning to the same locale.  Indisputable, the economy of Carteret County is dependent on tourism, and the appeal of our waterways to fishermen and recreational boaters undergirds that tourism.

Several of the attending members were of the opinion that, had the NC General Assembly written the law in such a way as to permit the revenue from the quarter-cent sales tax option to be formally dedicated to a specific purpose, such as dredging, then our vote might have been to endorse rather than to oppose passage of the referendum.  However, according to Senator Sanderson (also present) a change in the law to that effect does not seem to be in the cards in the short term.  Therefore, Commissioner Comer is right in pointing out that we must get the revenue to dredge from somewhere, and if the ballot referendum for the quarter-cent sales tax option does not pass, the Commissioners will be forced to look at increasing the property tax.

US-DOJ Expert says the new NC Voter ID law is just too complicated for the Black Folks in North Carolina

In an article from earlier this week on the Brietbart website, J. Christian Adams reports on some of the testimony during the recent hearings before the federal District Court for the middle district of North Carolina, which then ruled that some provisions of the new NC Voter ID law could not be implemented for the November 4th election.  Days later, the District Court’s ruling was enjoined by the US Supreme Court, of course, so all the provisions of the law will be in effect.

However, the testimony from political scientist Charles Stewart, the expert hired by Eric Holder’s Department of Justice to hold forth against the changes to the voter law, provides an invaluable insight into why the US-DOJ, the NC-NAACP, the NC League of Women Voters, and others are so opposed to the new law.  Herewith, two excerpts from Stewart’s testimony:

It’s also the case that — well, yes, so it would, empirically more likely affect African Americans.  Also, understanding within political science, that people who register to vote the closer and closer one gets to Election Day tend to be less sophisticated voters, tend to be less educated voters, tend to be voters who are less attuned to public affairs.  That also tells me from the literature of political science that there are likely to be people who will end up not registering and not voting.  People who correspond to those factors tend to be African Americans, and, therefore, that’s another vehicle through which African Americans would be disproportionately affected by this law.

and while on the witness stand:

Stewart:  People who have lower education and who have less – that pay less attention to public affairs will have greater problems figuring out how to vote, yes.

Q.  Okay.  So your testimony is that African Americans are less sophisticated than white voters; is that right?

Stewart:  My understanding is that African Americans have lower levels of education in North Carolina, and I know from the public opinion work that African Americans report that they paid less attention to public affairs on average than white voters do probably because of the differences [in] the education.

Q.  Do you think they are less able to figure out what the rules are for when you have to register to vote and when you have to go vote?

Stewart:  The ability to figure these things out is related to one’s education.  As I said, that ability — those average abilities are due to differences in things like education.

Q.  Okay.  So then you are saying that African American voters have less ability to figure out what the rules are for voting?

Stewart:  I said African Americans have less education, which leads to an ability to navigate the rules of the game.

By now, almost everyone understands how easily a North Carolina citizen can become registered to vote, even under the new law.  But I agree with journalist Adams that the expert witness is basically saying that African-Americans are too dumb to be able to adapt to the new procedures contained in the law.  What does that say about the opinion that Obama, Holder, the NAACP, and the LWV have about the capabilities of black North Carolinians?

The article by J. Christian Adams is HERE, and the actual trial transcript of Charles Stewart’s testimony is HERE.  For more on the acceptable forms of identification needed to obtain the requisite Photo ID, go to THIS link and click on the “Outreach and Education” topic.

CANDIDATE ASSESSMENTS, PART 6: US Senate

This, the sixth and last installment of my series on the candidates that will be on the ballot in the Crystal Coast area, will deal with the United States Senate race between incumbent Democrat Kay Hagan and her Republican challenger, Thom Tillis.

It was recently reported that this year’s North Carolina Senate race was expected to become the most expensive Senate contest in the history of American politics.  If this comes to pass, it will be primarily due to the huge amounts of television advertising purchased by the Hagan campaign, who’s funding outstrips that of Thom Tillis by almost two-to-one.

Hagan defeated Senator Elizabeth Dole in the election of 2008.  Since then, according to the June 30th tally maintained at the OpenSecrets website, HERE, she has raised over $18-million, a staggering sum.  She has spent only a fraction over one-half of that total, leaving her with a KayHagan_1campaign war chest containing almost $9-million.  And according to the CrowdPAC website, HERE, almost 62% of Hagan’s fundraising has been from out-of-state contributors, and about 44% of those contributions were considered large.

As to her voting record, according to CrowdPAC records Hagan voted the liberal line 88% of the time.  And in a revealing factoid, combining the voting record for the special interest groups Americans for Better Immigration (NumbersUSA), Heritage Action for America, and FreedomWorks, Hagan voted for their agendas an average of 6% of the time.

Perusing the summary of overall voting ratings compiled by the numerous special interest groups at the VoteSmart website, HERE, we see that, in recent years, Hagan’s rating from NARAL is 100%.  However, when we switch to ratings from conservative groups, we see 11% from AFP, 11% from the ACU, and 16% from the Club For Growth.  Citizens Against Government Waste rates her at 23%, while the National Taxpayer’s Union puts her at 12%.  On second amendment issues, GOA rates her at 10%, while the NRA rating is 0%.  And on the all-important issue of immigration reform, FAIR rates her at 0%.

It is safe to say that we know where Kay Hagan stands.  She is a stalwart liberal, and has signed on to the Obama agenda for as long as he is President.

With respect to Hagan’s opponent, I can’t add much to what I wrote a few weeks after the May 6th primary election, HERE:

I will not try to pretend that Thom Tillis, in and of himself, is a desirable candidate from the perspective of a conservative.  Tillis is a moderate, and if elected this fall, can be expected to behave in office much as other moderates have behaved, such as Elizabeth Dole and Richard Burr.

But in this instance, we conservatives cannot consider Tillis’ candidacy in ThomTillisisolation.  We must acknowledge the basic fact that, however disgusted we may be at the prospect of sending another moderate, go-with-the-flow Republican off to Congress, the alternative is another six years of Kay Hagan, and probably of Harry Reid.

This choice is made even harder by understanding that Thom Tillis is fully aware that we conservatives, if we vote at all for a senatorial candidate, will feel constrained to vote for him when we realize that Hagan is the only viable alternative.  His primary campaign strategy was predicated on that assumption, and he did not even tip his hat to the Tea Party wing of the GOP.

So, tea partiers, welcome to the real world.  Man up, get your mind right, and prepare to do what we must do this fall.  If it helps any, think of it as denying the election victory to Kay Hagan, rather than awarding it to Thom Tillis.

That assessment, and that advice, stands.  We must elect Thom Tillis to the Senate.  But rest assured, if I live to see Tillis compile a six-year record as a moderate, I will be among those who strongly consider advocating for a primary challenge in 2020.

USDA Officials move to protect Kay Hagan

The television stations are reaping a ton of money for campaign advertising this season, among them the ads by Thom Tillis highlighting the apparent improprieties relating to the Hagan brothers’ solar energy grants.

In the latest news, intrepid Carolina Journal reporter Don Carrington is reporting today on the moves undertaken by the USDA, first from their North Carolina offices in Raleigh and then from their offices in Washington, to deny CJ access to the USDA energy grant records relating to taxpayer funding of Senator Kay Hagan’s husband and brothers-in-law.  The two grants, totaling about $300K, were to a company called JDC Manufacturing, the name of which is drawn from the initials of the three Hagan brothers, John, David, and Charles.  Charles Hagan, known by his nickname “Chip”, is Kay Hagan’s husband.  It turns out that the USDA Rural Development honcho in Raleigh who is assumed to have green-lighted the grants is a man named Randall Gore, who was nominated for his job by President Obama in 2009 after being recommended by the recently-elected Senator Kay Hagan.

I expect to read more about this in the coming days, but the link to the current article is HERE.  Carolina Journal also published a related story three days ago, and that link is HERE.

CANDIDATE ASSESSMENTS, PART 5: US House of Representatives, District 3

Most political observers view this race as having been decided back in May, when the primary election voters choose incumbent Republican Walter P. Jones, Jr. over Taylor Griffin, his Republican challenger.  Now, Jones’ is favored to win handily over his current opposition, a fellow named Marshall Adame, a Democrat, retired US Marine officer, and Vietnam veteran of Mexican-American heritage.  Now mounting his second campaign for the District 3 seat, Adame (pronounced ah-DOM-me) and his wife Becky have been residents of Jacksonville for over forty years.  He has extensive experience in the Middle East, having served, after his retirement from the Marines, as an advisor to the US Department of State and to American defense contractors on training and management assignments in Iraq and Egypt.

As to his policy views, according to an article that was published in The Onslow Times just before the primary election this spring, Adame opposes fracking, school vouchers, and the new Voter ID law, but favors teacher tenure and “living wage” legislation.  And in September, Adame announced his endorsement by the eastern NC chapter of the AFL-CIO.

Additional information on candidate Adame’s political positions can be found on his VoteSmart page, HERE.  Some samples include his support for the Union Movement, ObamaCare, passage of Equal Rights legislation for women, Living Wage legislation mandating an increase in the minimum wage to at least $12/hour, and expansion of the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC).  On the flip side, he decries the Supreme Court decision in the Citzens United case.

In an interview on Public Access TV in late September (28-minute auto-start video HERE), Mr. Adame also revealed his support for the ObamaCare Medicaid expansion in North Carolina, and advocated for a renewal of President Johnson’s “War On Poverty”.

Next, to a question posed in the 2014 Wilmington StarNews14 Voter Guide (HERE), candidate Adame said that “Comprehensive immigration legislation from Congress is essential to our economic and social expansion.  I will work hard in the Congress to achieve a comprehensive immigration bill.”

In September of last year, while traveling in the Middle East, Mr. Adame wrote an essay offering his views on what was then President Obama’s stated intention to punish, if not depose, Syrian President Assad for failing to heed the “red line” that the President had warned him not to cross.  The following is how candidate Adame advised President Obama, in summary:

Mr. President, I am asking that you sit down with Russia, enter consultations with the new Iranian leadership, talk to Iraq, Assad’s neighbor and bring the force of international condemnation and sanctions, perhaps even a type of blockade, against Syria.  Or even charging Assad with Crimes against humanity at the International Court in The Hague.  If you are able to do that and Assad persist in thumbing his nose at the world while his people suffer, then increase substantially the aid the U.S. already provides to the rebels trying to over throw him, but be prepared upon their victory, to be utterly rejected by them and even threatened with war if you continue to mettle in their affairs and plans which will include the destruction of Israel as is the mantra of all Islamic states.

The essay cited above is just one of SEVERAL that Mr. Adame wrote for publication at the liberal blog Daily Kos beginning in late 2007.  Herewith are some interesting excerpts from his other essays:

On the candidacy of John Edwards (December, 2007:

Strength of character is not common today in Washington.  Over the past seven years our halls of greatness in Washington D.C. have turned into passages known well by the elite and privileged.  A place where corporate influence and the pursuit of personal gain and advantage has managed to drown the will of the people, where even those elected representatives of conscience and morals are quickly derailed or compromised, leaving them to no effect.

I believe John Edwards has the strength of character and the moral temperance to overcome the forces in Washington that are so easily succumbed to and to overcome them for the sake of the greater good and security of the American people.

<snip>

I believe John Edwards is qualified, ready, sincere and determined in his quest to do what is right for America and I have decided to support John Edwards for President.

On President Bush’s dilimma in Iraq (December, 2007):

Iraq does not need, nor should it get, any U.S. Combat force assistance.  All U.S. combat Forces should be withdrawn from Iraq, and that withdrawal should commence tomorrow morning.  I am confident that all U.S. Combat Forces and equipment could be out of Iraq within one year if we started today.

<snip>

… We brought a living hell upon these people of Iraq.  Although very bad under the Saddam government, life in Iraq has never been as fearful and dangerous as it is today.  The blood of Iraqis who supported the coalition, specifically, who supported the Americans, and who cannot leave Iraq, will most certainly flow.  They trusted us and would most certainly be killed in revenge for having done so.

On President Bush’s record in office (March, 2008):

We invaded a country, Iraq, that did not pose a direct threat to the United States or it’s interests in the world, created an entire generation of terrorist in doing so and caused immeasurable anti American sentiment throughout the world, including among our own allies.

<snip>

Hurricane Katrina devastated the homes of over a hundred thousand people in New Orleans Louisiana and more in Mississippi in one day.  Our government knew it was coming, knew it would be devastating and knew it would require considerable assets for rescue and recovery.  President Bush all but ignored Katrina’s victims.  Most of Katrina’s were poor and African American.  Those without political power, money or voice were left to suffer by our President.

On his endorsement of Barack Obama for President (April, 2008):

Senator Obama, to me, represents a kind of renaissance in politics where trust, truth and fidelity to principle will once again grow and bloom in our White House in Washington DC.  I believe, like a vine wraps itself around whatever it touches , this new beginning will too weave itself throughout our Capital and our country.  To me Barack’s candidacy represents spring after a long, dry and devastating summer of an untrustworthy President in the White House.

My expectations are high and my hope higher still.  I expect an end to the War in Iraq and hopefully the warring in Iraq between her own people.  I expect the return of our civil rights and liberties and a government’s respect for “Rule of Law” in America.

On his opposition to “torture” and his anticipation of Barack Obama’s Presidency (April, 2008):

Using our September 11, 2001 national tragedy as his spring board, and justification for every thing his did after that, President Bush led America into the dismal swamp of patently un-American behavior and immoral governance, much of which we shall never recover from.  For example, President Bush formally endorsed torture as a means of carrying out our country’s goals and achieving its ends.  With that, America entered into the practice and policy of “The ends justify the means”, thereby validating every third world tyrant and dictator who follow that ideology as a matter of course and forever ceding that moral ground we had stood on for so long as a people.  At that point, we became the very thing we have despised, criticized and fought against since our own conception as a country.  President Bush’s divisive leadership set American against American in struggles of ideology which have gone beyond the bounds of sane discourse and into the realm where many Americans now see those of differing ideology as “the enemy”.  [ NOTE: Although not explicitly stated, I assume Mr. Adame’s term “torture” is intended to refer to waterboarding. ]

<snip>

Eight years in the desert President Bush took us into is coming to an end.  Soon America will speak and Barak Obama will take the helm of American government.  Senator Obama is our highest and best hope in restoring American governance to its intended place as a representative servant to us all, and an example to the world of what America is and who Americans are.

On the threat posed by Republicans and the Tea Party (June, 2011):

The Republicans are close to succeeding in eliminating Medicare, lowering taxes on corporations and billionaires while raising taxes on the working class, ending labor unions, privatizing our prisons and even some military responsibilities and , in the name of security, curtailing a few more of our Constitutional and moral liberties and rights while finding more and more reasons to remain in never-ending war …

<snip>

Although fewer in government every day, there are those who are standing against the right wing tide plaguing America.  One of those, for example, is North Carolina Governor Beverly Perdue who courageously uses her veto pen to stave off the uncompromising dismantling of North Carolina’s Education System, Unemployment assistance to unemployed workers throughout the state and voting rights which, only after decades of struggle were achieved for rich, poor, white, black, brown and red, educated and uneducated alike.

On his lifelong regard for JFK, and on how he envisions liberal Progressivism (June, 2013):

I very much admired Jimmy Carter when he was President.  I think it was the way he came to office.  Eight months prior to his becoming President I did not even know his name.  Only in America can a person of humble beginnings grow up to become the President of The United States.

So much for Marshall Adame, whose judgment and policy views seem to be very much in line with most liberal Democrats in general, and with President Obama’s in particular.  For more, Mr. Adame’s website is HERE.

Frankly, I don’t see much point in writing extensively about Walter Jones in this post.  He has been in office for twenty years now, and what I had to say about him was contained in a post I put up before the primary election, HERE.  I will only add that, although Jones was not my preference for the Republican candidate, he is considerably better than a committed liberal like Marshall Adame.

Brent Bozell Punctures the Karl Rove Balloon

Last week, in a piece published at the Politico site, Brent Bozell (Chairman of the conservative group “For America”) pointed out what a dismal record Karl Rove has of getting conservatives elected, in spite of his recent advice to Republicans to “offer a positive, optimistic conservative agenda to make independents who disapprove of Mr. Obama comfortable voting Republican”.

Rove’s problem is that he advocates conservatism, but he promotes moderate candidates over conservative ones, a fact for which Mr. Bozell cites numerous examples.  Here’s a long but telling excerpt:

Rove has never cared about conservatism and has spent his entire career opposing any Republican who might be successful in promoting or implementing a conservative agenda.  Rove belongs to the same tradition of moderates who fought Barry Goldwater in 1964, who pushed back against Ronald Reagan in 1976, and did everything they could to stop Reagan again in 1980.  They said Reagan would be a disaster for the party and even the country.

Today, Reagan is one of the most well-remembered American presidents and remains the standard-bearer for what it means to be a conservative Republican, popularizing a small government message that GOP moderates said was too extreme to resonate with voters.  As with Rove’s predictions about Mitt Romney’s chances in 2012, GOP moderates couldn’t have been more wrong about Reagan.

Rove and his ilk have opposed every significant conservative leader who has ever dared to challenge liberal or moderate Republican orthodoxy.  A history lesson: Moderates wanted Gerald Ford and then George H.W. Bush over Ronald Reagan in 1976 and 1980.  Similarly, Karl Rove and his friends wanted Arlen Specter over Pat Toomey in 2010.  They wanted Charlie Crist over Marco Rubio in 2010.  They wanted David Dewhurst over Ted Cruz in 2012.

Karl Rove kneecapped tea party candidates in 2010.  He called Rick Perry’s policy prescriptions, many which have had great success in Texas, “toxic.”  Rove said Sarah Palin lacked “gravitas.”  He has said Rand Paul “causes GOP squeamishness.”

Right on, Mr. Bozell!  And for his full article, click HERE.

CANDIDATE ASSESSMENTS, PART 4: NC Senate, District 2

This contest pits incumbent Republican Senator Norman Sanderson against challenger Carroll G. Ipock II, a Democrat more often referred to as Carr Ipock.  Ipock is a retired Weyerhaeuser executive, and for over twenty years, he was a representative on the Craven County School Carr_IpockBoard.  Not unexpectedly therefore, Ipock is running on an education platform, meaning he favors the expenditure of more taxpayer dollars on early childhood education, including expanding Smart Start.  He supports historic preservation, opposes fracking, and wants the NC General Assembly to comply with the ObamaCare expansion of Medicaid.  On the plus side, he wants to eliminate ferry tolls and supports the Cherry Point marine base (but so does his opponent).  For more, his excellent website is HERE.

In the NC Senate, Senator Sanderson sits on the Appropriations, Commerce, Finance, and Government Program Evaluation committees, SenNormSanderson2and serves as Vice-Chair of the Senate Insurance Committee.  He is now, or at one time was, endorsed by the American Conservative Union (ACU), the National Rifle Association (NRA), and Grass Roots North Carolina (GRNC).  In the conservative vote rankings maintained by NC Civitas, he was tied for first place in the recently concluded NC General Assembly session.

We most often see political candidates from afar, as images displayed on our television screens or as small figures standing at a podium, soliciting votes from the members of the crowd before them.  This process generally suffices for conveying to the public, with very broad strokes, where the candidate stands on the major issues of the day.  However, to really connect with an electorate, and to reassure them that he or she is genuine, is someone who holds the same core values as they, and is someone who will be responsive to their views, a candidate must appear at smaller venues and engage with the attendees in frank discussions or Q-&-A sessions.  In this way, the audience will come away more confident in their assessment of the candidate, whatever that assessment may be.  If the assessment is favorable, the candidate may benefit from a great deal of word-of-mouth advertising and advocacy.

I have never met a political candidate who appears to understand this better than Senator Sanderson.  He appeared as a speaker at our recent Tea Party Rally at Fort Benjamin Park in Newport, and over the course of the last two years, has appeared many times before the attending members of the CCTPP to update us on legislative affairs and to answer our questions, both on the issues and on his specific votes.  In every instance, the Senator was responsive to a fault and never evasive, even when there was considerable pushback on his policy views.  Our members consider him to be a bonafide conservative, and we hope you will vote for him in November.  For more, his website is HERE.

In the next installment of this series, I will look at the race between Walter Jones and Marshall Adame for the U.S House of Representatives seat for District 3.

Shale Oil Production: The Paradox

Back on September 30th I posted THIS piece entitled “Hydraulic Fracking: an Economic Miracle”, in which I lauded the increased production of petroleum products from U.S. producers based on hydraulic fracking of shale oil deposits.

But various factors of late have caused the world price of oil to fall significantly.  North Sea crude dipped below $90 per barrel (42-gallons) last week, and is now hovering around $91.  West Texas crude is now around $87 per barrel.  And while this development is causing some relief at U.S. gasoline pumps, it has also caused rising concern about whether the American shale oil producer can sustain his operations, given the fact that it typically costs 3-4 times as much to produce a barrel of shale oil as compared to conventional oil extraction methodologies.  Hence the paradox — the higher the price of crude, the more incentive producers have to invest in shale oil deposits and the fracking technologies needed to extract oil from them.  Conversely, the more shale oil that is produced, the less global demand there is for crude oil, so the price drops.

As Emily Latella often said, if it isn’t one thing it’s another.  For more details on the current state of oil prices, check out THIS article from The American Interest.

CCTPP Candidate and Referendum Preferences

The attending members of the Crystal Coast Tea Party Patriots and the Morehead-Beaufort Tea Party held their votes recently, and our list of candidate preferences is now up.  To view the list, proceed through the menu structure by first selecting “About Us”, then “Tea Party News/Views” then “Our Candidate Preferences”.  Alternately, you may just click HERE.

For those who may wish to print this list, this tip:  printing the entire web page on which the list resides will cause the printout to spill over to a second page.  The best way to print the list without printing the header, menu, etc., is to first click the list image itself.  In most browsers, this will cause the list to appear by itself on a new page.  It may then be printed by the usual method, and it should fit onto a single page printout.

CANDIDATE ASSESSMENTS, PART 3: NC House, District 13

This contest is between the Republican incumbent, Emerald Isle resident Pat McElraft, and challenger Jim Nolan, a Democrat, for who will represent Carteret and Jones counties in the next two sessions of the NC General Assembly.

Nolan is a retired high school history and social studies teacher who, according to his campaign website, thinks that wealth inequality is a big problem in North Carolina.  He is running on a platform of opposition to the teacher pay reforms enacted by the General Assembly this summer, and he promises to work for the restoration of teacher tenure.  He opposes charter schools and favors passage of a law to guarantee a “living wage” to all workers.  He believes in Anthropogenic Global Warming (AGW, or Climate Change), the predictions of catastrophic sea level rise, and the wisdom of re-enacting permanent taxpayer-funded monetary incentives to the film and entertainment industry.  He is adamantly against fracking, but is for the ObamaCare expansion of Medicaid.  In summary, he is your typical left-wing liberal, claiming to be for fiscal restraint but favoring a slate of tax-&-spend initiatives.  To visit his campaign website and see for yourself, click HERE.

Pat McElraft was elected to her seat in the NC House of Representatives in 2006, and it is a testament to her performance in that office that she has been re-elected to it three times already.  In the recently concluded session, she served, according to the account at Project Vote Smart, as Chair of the Appropriations Committee, Chair of the Environment Committee, Vice-Chair of the Insurance Committee, and Chair of the Sub-Committee on Natural and Economic Resources.  In addition, she was a member of the Regulatory Reform Committee, the Transportation Committee, and the Sub-Committee on Information Technology.  For those interested in more on Representative McElraft’s political biography, her Vote-NC page is HERE, and her Vote-Smart page is HERE.

On a more personal note, regular readers may recall that, in early July, I put up THIS POST that was critical of Representative McElraft in connection with her votes on SB-594, which contained provisions making the penalties more severe for carrying a firearm into a space, public or private, in which they are prohibited.  That post was in response to an alert put out at 6:30pm the previous evening by the gun-rights support group Grass Roots North Carolina (GRNC).  The two opening paragraphs of that alert read as follows:

In one fell swoop, the Republicans in the NC House have betrayed the gun owners of this state.  Senate Bill 594, “Omnibus Justice Amendments” contains a provision that would increase the penalty for carrying a concealed weapon from a Class 2 misdemeanor on the first offense and a Class I felony on the second and subsequent offense to a Class A1 misdemeanor on the first offense and a Class H felony on the second and subsequent offense.

That is fancy gobbledygook for: Accidentally carry your legally concealed weapon into a prohibited place and BECOME A FELON!  So, yes, if your grandmother is carrying the handgun you gave her for her protection – as any responsible grandchild would – under the provisions of the CCW license you sponsored her through (you are a really good grandchild) and wanders onto forbidden ground, some serious heat is coming down on her.

Representative McElraft did indeed vote for the bill, but it turned out that, in their haste to get out a warning to 2nd amendment supporters, GRNC mistakenly characterized the bill as being applicable to Concealed Carry Licensees (CCLs), when in fact it was not.  The bill was targeted at unlicensed carriers, and was intended as a measure to help law enforcement deal with juvenile gang members who were bringing pistols onto school property.

So, this is my mea culpa, my apology to Representative McElraft for also acting in haste, and for being too willing to believe that she might have backed away from her well-documented and long-standing committment to 2nd amendment rights.

Lastly, I will note that Representative McElraft has appeared before the attending members of the Crystal Coast Tea Party Patriots on a number of occasions over the last several years, subjecting herself to the inquiries of the members as to her actions and policy views, and has comported herself well on those occasions.  She is held in high regard by our members, including me, and is generally considered to be a significant asset to the Crystal Coast representation.  She therefore deserves to be re-elected to her office.

CANDIDATE ASSESSMENTS, PART 2: The County Races

This is the second in my series of posts assessing the merits of the numerous candidates that will appear on the November 4th General Election ballot for Carteret County, HERE, and on our BALLOT REPLICA.  In the four or so weeks remaining before election day, I will post another assessment every few days until the entire ballot has been covered.

To repeat my earlier advisory, these assessments of the candidates will be guided by the Crystal Coast Tea Party Patriots’ CORE PRINCIPLES of Fiscal Responsibility, Constitutionally Limited Government, and Free Markets.  These principles are almost universally shared by conservatives, and particularly by conservative Republicans.  Conversely, they are eschewed by the liberal left, and by adherents of the Democratic party in general.  Therefore, if there be no other suitable guidepost, the Republican candidate will be favored.

This post will be concerned with the seven offices listed under the Partisan Offices section of the ballot, all of which are for offices within Carteret County.  In order as they will appear on the ballot:

Board of County Commissioners, District 1:

Republican Robin Comer, currently serving as the Vice-Chairman for the Board, is running unopposed for re-election.  Even if he had opposition, he would still be the clear choice.

Board of County Commissioners, District 2:

Republican Bill Smith is running unopposed.  And in this instance also, even if he had opposition he would still be the clear choice.

Board of County Commissioners, District 3:

In this race, Democrat Roger Eaton is being challenged by Republican Mark Mansfield.  Members of the CCTPP are MarkMansfieldwell acquainted with Mark Mansfield (photo at right), as he has appeared before several of our meetings this summer and fall, and was a speaker at our recent Tea Party Rally at Fort Benjamin Park.  He has a background in business and entrepreneurship, and is the clear conservative choice.

Board of County Commissioners, District 6:

Republican Jonathan Robinson is running unopposed.  And in this instance as well, even if he had opposition he would still be the clear choice.

County Clerk of Superior Court:

There are two contenders in this race, Republican Pam Hanson and challenger Ben Ball, who is running as an unaffiliated candidate.  Hanson is the incumbent, has been now for three and one-half years, has been doing a good job in the office, and has held up well to the scrutiny given to her conduct and views in her several appearances before the members of the Crystal Coast Tea Party Patriots.

Ben Ball is well known due to his exposure as a local radio host, but he has no experience in public elective office, and in his appearances before the members of the CCTPP, he was unable to articulate any particular reason why he should be preferred over the incumbent, other than to say he wanted to “give the voters a choice”.  When asked why he waited until mid-summer to announce his effort to get on the ballot (by means of a petition) rather than filing last fall, he told me that it was basically about money.  He went on to explain that, had he announced last fall, his employer would have been required to re-assign him to duties away from his radio host microphone, which would have resulted in a pay cut.  In short, Ball does not seem to have mounted a well-considered campaign, and although he seems like a nice enough fellow, in my judgment he is not a suitable candidate for a county-level office.

Pam Hanson is the candidate most attuned to the principles of the CCTPP, and should be retained in this office.  For more on what she considers to be her qualifications for the office, below is a short video (less than three minutes) taken from her opening statement at the recent debates.

County Register of Deeds:

There are also two contenders in this race, Republican challenger Jerry Hardesty and the incumbent, Joy Lawrence, a Democrat.

Lawrence has worked in the office for over two decades and has served as its head for about six years.  Hardesty is a Morehead City businessman, currently being the owner and operator of a local firearms dealership.  Hardesty has also appeared multiple times before the members of the CCTPP at their local meetings, and has given a good account of his conservative credentials.

Jerry Hardesty is the candidate whose views and policy prescriptions are most aligned with the CCTPP.  For more on what he considers to be his qualifications for the office, below is a short video (less than two minutes) taken from his opening statement at the recent debates.

County Sheriff:

Asa Buck, the Republican incumbent, is running unopposed. He seems to have been doing an outstanding job in the office, and deserves re-election.

District Attorney, District 3B:

I realize that this is not a Carteret County office, as District 3B encompasses all of Carteret, Craven, and Pamlico counties.  However, the incumbent, Democrat Scott Thomas, is running unopposed so the outcome is preordained.  Thomas was formerly a member of the NC State Senate, where he struck many as presenting an image as a moderate Democrat while voting as a liberal.  For example, he voted for tax increases after having taken a no-tax-increases pledge.  He will win, of course, but I will not be voting for him.

In the next installment, I will look at the contest for the NC House of Representatives.

CANDIDATE ASSESSMENTS, PART 1: The Judges

Today marks the first of my posts assessing the merits of the numerous candidates that will appear on the November 4th General Election ballot for Carteret County, HERE, and on our BALLOT REPLICA (accessible via the About Us / Tea Party News-Views menu, or by clicking the link).  In the four or so weeks remaining before election day, I will post another assessment every few days until the entire ballot has been covered.  I intend to start at the end of the ballot and work toward the top.

Let it be said at the outset that my assessments of the candidates will be guided by the Crystal Coast Tea Party Patriots’ CORE PRINCIPLES of Fiscal Responsibility, Constitutionally Limited Government, and Free Markets.  These principles are almost universally shared by conservatives, and particularly by conservative Republicans.  Conversely, they are eschewed by the liberal left, and by adherents of the Democratic party in general.  Therefore, if there be no other guidepost, the Republican candidate will be favored.

This post will be concerned with the eight Non-Partisan offices listed on the ballot, all of which are for judgeships.  Of the eight in total, one is for the Chief Justice seat on the NC Supreme Court,, three are for Associate Justice seats on the NC Supreme Court, and four are for seats on the North Carolina Court of Appeals.  My assessments appear below, in the same order as they will appear on the ballot within the non-partisan section:

NC Supreme Court, Chief Justice:

The race is between Mark Martin and Ola Lewis, both Republicans.  Mark Martin is a long-serving Republican judge with solid conservative credentials, currently serving as the Chief Justice, and as such he has been endorsed by the NC Republican Party’s Executive Committee.

Judge Ola Lewis is a former Democrat and NC Central University graduate who changed her party affiliation from Democrat to Republican in 2002.  Although Judge Lewis announced early on that she intended to run for one of the NC Supreme Court Associate Justice positions, sometime after a fund raising event hosted by NC Supreme Court Justices Paul Newby and Mark Martin, Judge Lewis decided to use the $50,000 donated to her campaign during the event to run against Justice Mark Martin for the NC Supreme Court Chief Justice.  This is bad form, to say the least.

The best candidate, clearly, is Mark Martin.  Judge Martin’s campaign website is HERE, and his WikiPedia page is HERE.

NC Supreme Court, Associate Justice, Seat #1 of 3:

This contest is between the conservative Republican Bob Hunter (website is HERE) and the Democrat Sam J. Ervin IV.  Ervin, who goes by “Jimmy” except when he is running for office and needs to trade on the name of his grandfather, was first elected to a judgeship in 2008.

In my view, the better candidate of the two is Bob Hunter.

NC Supreme Court, Associate Justice, Seat #2 of 3:

This race is between Eric Levinson and Robin Hudson.  Levinson is a Republican and former Court Of Appeals judge, and Hudson is the incumbent Democrat.  Levinson’s website is HERE, and includes the following additional information:

Judge Eric Levinson was appointed by the Bush Administration in 2007 as the Justice Attache to Iraq for the U.S. Department of Justice.  As Justice Attache, Levinson managed the U.S. government’s diplomatic relationship with the Iraqi judiciary and its Chief Justice, Medhat al Mahmoud, and advanced the establishment of Major Crimes Courts where terrorists were prosecuted.

Judge Eric Levinson worked in Kabul, Afghanistan as a Rule of Law and Courts Advisor in 2008.  In this role, he collaborated with members of the Supreme Court of Afghanistan and helped draft and advance guidelines to establish commercial courts to adjudicate business, contract and related civil conflicts.

I believe Eric Levinson to be the better choice.

NC Supreme Court, Associate Justice, Seat #3 of 3:

This contest is between Republican Mike Robinson and the incumbent Democrat, Cheri Beasley.  Robinson MikeRobinson(image at right) has appeared before the attending members at a meeting of the Crystal Coast Tea Party Patriots, delivering brief remarks prior to a Q-&-A session during which the members satisfied themselves as to his conservative leanings.  His campaign website is HERE.

For this seat, I think that Mike Robinson is the clear preference.

NC Court Of Appeals Judge, Seat 1 of 4:

There are a whopping 19 candidates running for this seat.  Of the nineteen, three Republicans claim to be conservatives.  The three are Marion Warren, John M. Tyson, and Hunter Murphy.  For a comparison of these conservative candidates, I called upon a friend who is acquainted with all three.  His assessment follows:

Marion Warren is the most forcefully articulate of the three.  His passion for conservative principles of jurisprudence wins him points.

John Tyson is the only candidate who has previous experience on the Court of Appeals.  He’s more low key, but has the strongest and most sophisticated understanding of the role and function of an appellate court.  He’s also the only candidate from Eastern North Carolina and narrowly edged out Warren for the NC GOP’s endorsement.

Finally, Hunter is the youngest of the three and has probably worked harder than anyone.  However, his lack of experience is apparent.

I think that the choice is really between Warren and Tyson.  Those who favor a more judicious and thoughtful temperament will prefer Tyson.  Those who favor a more forceful and strongly opinionated judge will be for Warren.

Then he goes on to summarize by adding:

“… the Court of Appeals functions as a three judge panel.  On the Court of Appeals, the ability to persuade other judges to his point of view is of paramount importance.  I think Judge Tyson is best equipped for the task from this point of view.  While Warren is more likely to inspire applause from a conservative crowd, Tyson’s even-tempered demeanor and mastery of appellate issues make him the most well-suited candidate for the Court of Appeals.

I agree, and therefore believe judge John M. Tyson to be the best choice among the 19 candidates.  Judge Tyson has no campaign website as such, but his WikiPedia page is HERE.

NC Court Of Appeals Judge, Seat 2 of 4:

This race is between Bill Southern and Lucy Inman.  Inman, the Democrat, is a sitting Superior Court judge appointed by former Governor Beverly Purdue.  Bill Southern is a conservative Republican, currently sitting on a District Court in western North Carolina, and was formerly an Assistant District Attorney for Stokes and Surry counties.

My preference is for judge Bill Southern, whose campaign website is HERE.

NC Court Of Appeals Judge, Seat 3 of 4:

The incumbent is Republican Donna Stroud, who is running unopposed.  Judge Stroud’s page on WikiPedia is HERE, and more of her biographical information can be found HERE.

NC Court Of Appeals Judge, Seat 4 of 4:

The candidates for this seat are Paul Holcombe, a Republican, and Mark Davis, a Democrat.  Since early 2009, Paul Holcombe has been serving as a District Court judge for Harnett, Johnson, and Lee counties.

The preferred candidate is judge Paul Holcombe, whose campaign website is HERE.

In the next post of this series, the subject will move on to the seven races for Carteret County offices.

Hydraulic Fracking: an Economic Miracle

The petroleum industry refers to the ethane and propane by-products of using fracking methods for extracting oil from shale deposits as “related liquids”.  And now, if those “related liquids” are included, U.S. production will exceed that of Saudi Arabia for the first time since 1991, at over 11.5 million barrels (about 483 million gallons) per day.  Moreover, according to THIS article at the Financial Times (behind a paywall), U.S. production of oil itself is edging closer to the daily production of Saudi Arabia, and is within spitting distance of Russia’s.  Saudi Arabia, however, is still the only country which is producing at far less than their capacity.

Increased U.S. production has played a part in lowering prices at the pump here in the U.S. this summer.  However, the overall strengthening of the dollar has also played a role.  While the value of the dollar has risen, the values of the Euro and Yen have fallen, causing many to believe that the Federal Reserve will be raising interest rates after the election.  For more on this, check out THIS article at the online Wall Street Journal (unfortuanately, also behind a paywall).