Saturday, November 01, 2008


Latest Newspaper Column:

This is the last column before the election, and, per the Pilot's long-standing tradition, this will not be a partisan column.

I will not be giving my opinion on whom you ought to vote for. Because really, folks, if you haven't figured out my stand on this by now, there's not a whole lot of hope that you ever will. So I will be at least mostly serious here and tell you that, whoever you are, and whomever you're backing, you really should get out there and vote, if you haven't done so already.

A recent letter to this paper asserted baldly that there is no constitutional right to vote in America. I have to tell you, that one brought me up short.

A lot of times, some of the things I read in the letters column of this paper cause me to shake my head in disbelief. A few have made me scare the pets with loud and occasionally profane commentary. But I have never before been so totally gobsmacked from anything in The Pilot as I was when I read that letter. So allow me for a moment to set the record straight.

The United States Constitution does indeed speak of a "right to vote." It's explicitly stated in the 15th Amendment, which states: "The rightof citizens of the United States to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of race, color, or previous condition of servitude."

The 19th Amendment says, "The right of citizens of the United States to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of sex," and the 24th Amendment says, "The right of citizens of the United States to vote in any primary or other election for President or Vice President, for electors for President or Vice President, or for Senator or Representative in Congress, shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or any State by reason of failure to pay any poll tax or other tax."

The 26th Amendment provides that "The right of citizens of the United States, who are eighteen years of age or older, to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of age."

Anyone who tells you you don't have a right to vote under our Constitution is just flat wrong. Show them how wrong they are by going out and pulling that lever, or filling in that little oval, or whatever.

And I'm sorry, but I just don't buy the excuse that some people give for not voting, namely that "all the candidates are the same." Anyone who could say this in this election has obviously not been paying attention. Either that or they're just too lazy to inform themselves.

Similar to this lame excuse is the whine that "there aren't any good candidates to vote for."

Look, there is no such thing as a perfect candidate, one who agrees with you on everything. Widely different people hold a wide variety of positions, and you just have to decide which ones are going to be deal-breakers when it comes to a particular candidate and which ones you're willing to live with because you agree with him or her on your big core issues.

Finally, I hope I can restrain myself from going upside the head of the next ninny who tells me that "politics has nothing to do with my day-to-day life," but I'm not making any promises.

Fortunately, I'm hearing less and less of that, because you mostly hear it from young people. It's finally beginning to sink in for them that, with two wars going and the prospect of more, what their government does in the next few years could literally be a question of life or death for them.

Now that we've got that rant out of the way, do keep in mind a couple of things:

First, under our local system, if you vote straight ticket, Republican or Democrat, you have not yet cast a vote for president. The folks at the place where I went for early voting were pretty good about informing people of that little quirk, but it's a message that bears repeating.

Second, there have been reports of people who've voted on computer voting machines suddenly seeing their votes switched to another party or candidate.

Now, I've been skeptical of theories about voting machines being gimmicked by one party, and I have to say, if someone was planning to steal the election this way, I doubt that they'd have the machine switch right in front of the voter.

But the point is, be vigilant. Machines aren't perfect, and computerized ones even less so. If the machine screws up, say something about it. Politely, of course. If that doesn't work, raise hell.

See you at the polls. And God bless America.

Dusty Rhoades lives, writes, and practices law in Carthage. And he will be really really glad when this election is over.

Friday, October 31, 2008

That'll Learn 'Em

So apparently Honorable John's crack political operation is throwing some of his own supporters out of his rallies:

“I saw a couple that had been escorted out and they were confused as well, and the girl was crying, so I said ‘Why are you crying? and she said ‘I already voted for McCain, I’m a Republican, and they said we had to leave because we didn’t look right,’” Elborno said. “They were handpicking these people and they had nothing to go off of, besides the way the people looked.”

Let's see, mean-spirited, incompetent, with an out-of-control Veep--tell me again how Honorable John is so different from George Dubbya Bush?

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Just When You Think They've Gone As Low As They Can, The Republicans Break Out the Shovels and Start to Dig:

Elizabeth Dole ad falsely suggests opponent Kay Hagan is ‘Godless.’
Facing a close re-election race in North Carolina, Sen. Elizabeth Dole (R) recently released an ad attacking her opponent Kay Hagan, falsely accusing her of being “Godless.” The end of the ad shows a photo of Hagan while a woman yells, “There is no God!”

The only problem is that Hagan is an elder at the First Presbyterian Church in Greensboro, NC, has taught Sunday School and accompanied youth mission trips.

Hagen is reportedly threatening legal action.

 With all due respect Kay, fuck that. It makes you look weak. Hit back, and  hit back hard. Get your pastor, your fellow elders, anyone who can testify to your faith to tell the truth and call "SHAME" on Liddy Dole for this sleazy ad. Point out what a desperate, shameful, and yes, Un-Christian move this is by Dole, who as far as I know hasn't done a damned thing in her years in Washington except take up space.

Now, I'm a firm believer that no religious test shall be imposed as a condition to holding office. But I'm also a believer in setting the record straight and calling a sleazy liar  a sleazy liar.

And Elizabeth Dole: You. Are. A. Sleazy. Liar.

Headline of the Week

Bimbo suspect in break-ins
RALEIGH - Anthony Joseph Bimbo, the man accused of killing the manager of a North Raleigh movie theater, is also a suspect in a string of home break-ins in Wake Forest and Franklin County, according to a search warrant returned today to the Wake County Courthouse.

Sunday's search was prompted by investigators' belief that Bimbo, who was taken into custody Monday at a New Jersey Turnpike rest stop, may have been using the rental unit to store stolen property, the warrant said. Investigators with the Wake Forest police department and the Franklin County Sheriff's Office did not recover any stolen items Sunday from the Wake Forest storage unit rented by Bimbo, the warrant said.

Monday, October 27, 2008

The Kids Have a Word For it....

It can be pronounced as "owned" or as "poned", with both pronunciations being correct. In some cases, you will even hear it pronounced as "pawned". "Pwned" means "to be controlled against your will", or "to be defeated by a superior power". You might also hear the expression, "pwnage", which is the noun version of "being pwned".

Here's an example of major PWNAGE by VP candidate Joe Biden:

Try to imagine the outcry if a TV reporter had Sarah Palin on and asked "don't your positions make you a fascist?" "Isn't Senator McCain's erratic performance during the financial crisis an indication that he'll botch a major international test?" etc. People would be calling for the reporter's resignation for being so clearly biased and unprofessional, and rightly so. Biden, however, kept his cool in the face of a clear attempt at a hatchet job, and this fifth-rate Ann Coulter wannabe walked away with egg on her heavily Botoxed face.

BTW, it looks like a few people have discovered the answer to Biden's question" "Who's writing these questions for you?"

From the reporter's website:

"I am married to Wade West, an international media consultant to politicians, professionals and organizations. Together we often serve as auctioneers at various fundraising events throughout the state."

And, as it turns out, Wade West is a Republican consultant: "His communication and fundraising skills have made him a popular consultant for political candidates ranging from local elections, to more than 85 members of Congress and *members of the President’s cabinet."*

Plot to Kill Obama Foiled by ATF
WASHINGTON - A plot by two Neo-Nazi skinheads to assassinate Barack Obama and kill dozens of other African Americans has been foiled, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms said Monday.

Daniel Cowart, 20, of Bells, Tenn., and Paul Schlesselman, 18, of West Helena, Ark., were charged Friday with making threats against a presidential candidate, illegal possession of a sawed-off shotgun and conspiracy to rob a gun store.

Jim Cavanaugh, special agent in charge of the Nashville ATF field office, said the two men sought to go on a national killing spree that included an unnamed African-American school, with Obama as their final target.

Lest we forget, this is the same ATF whose agents John McCain's good friend G. Gordon Liddy advocated shooting in the head:

"Now if the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms comes to disarm you and they are bearing arms, resist them with arms. Go for a head shot; they're going to be wearing bulletproof vests. ... Head shots! Head shots! Kill the sons of bitches!"

G. Gordon Liddy

"It's always a pleasure for me to come on your program, Gordon, and congratulations on your continued success and adherence to the principles and philosophies that keep our nation great."

John McCain on G. Gordon Liddy's show.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

A Message To Republicans

Latest Newspaper Column:
A message to Republicans:

I know I've been hard on your party during this election cycle. I've said some fairly harsh things. I've called you divisive. I've called you hypocritical. I've called you incompetent, and even insane.

All of these things, of course, are true.

But, in the end, I really do wish you well.

I really do hope that, after this election, you can rid yourself of your worst ideas and your worst elements. I hope you can get rid of the idea that just because people disagree with you, or just because they live in a certain area of the country or in the wrong size municipality, that they're not only wrong, but that they're not even "real Americans."

During this election, vice-presidential candidate Sarah Palin told an audience: "We believe that the best of America is in these small towns that we get to visit, and in these wonderful little pockets of what I call the real America." The implication being that those non-small-town, non-pocket areas, i.e. the cities and suburbs where
most Americans actually live, are not "real America."

McCain spokesperson Nancy Pfotenhauer took up the theme when talking about the contested state of Virginia, asserting that "the real Virginia" was in the McCain-supporting rural counties, not the heavily populated, Obama-leaning areas in Northern Virginia. Honorable John's brother Joe McCain (not to be confused with Joe the Plumber) went even further, calling counties in Northern Virginia "communist country."

When Minnesota Republican Rep. Michele Bachmann chimed in, calling for the media to investigate the views of Obama and of the people in Congress to find out, "are they pro-America or anti-America?" I began to realize that this "you're a Republican or you're against America" strategy was the actual, if unofficial, Republican Party line.

As the old saying goes, 'Once is happenstance, twice is coincidence, three times is on purpose." Even here in North Carolina, Rep. Robin Hayes told a Republican rally that: "Liberals hate real Americans that work and accomplish and achieve and believe in God." He then denied saying any such thing, until confronted with a video of him saying it, after which he at first claimed he didn't recall it, then said, "It
came out the wrong way."

As an aside, I think any political adviser worth his salary needs to sit his or her candidate down in front of a computer early on and say, "Mr. Candidate. This site is called YouTube. Any stupid thing you say is going to be on video, on this site, and it's going to be all over the Internet within minutes. You won't be able to deny it, and you'll look stupider if you try. So watch your mouth."

It is for this reason, more than any political ideology, that I want to see John McCain and Sarah Palin fail. I want to live in a country where "if you don't vote for me, you're not a real American" is a losing strategy and not a winning one. I want to live in an America where I can disagree with my government's policies, or the ideas of a
candidate, without being labeled "anti-American."

I'm sick of it. And, if the polls showing that McPalin's divisive attacks are turning voters off are any indication, the rank and file of Americans are sick of it, too.

I have, however, seen some glimmers of hope. McCain himself, when confronted with a woman who said she was afraid of Obama because "he's an Arab," said "No." Obama, McCain said, is "a decent family man" and a "citizen that I just happen to have disagreements with on fundamental issues." (OK, that first part could be interpreted as implying that an Arab is not a decent family man, but I'll give him the benefit of the doubt.)

"We want to fight, and I will fight," McCain said on another occasion, "but I will be respectful. I admire Senator Obama and his accomplishments, and I will respect him."

Now, it is true, there were scattered boos from the Republican crowd on both occasions, and McCain and Palin did dive right back into the mud within the day, but again, I'll give the benefit of the doubt and interpret that as just indicating there's still work to be done.

Even Gen. Colin Powell, once touted as a potential Republican candidate for president, chose to endorse Barack Obama, citing as one reason his displeasure with the divisive rhetoric of the McCain campaign. Maybe, just maybe, the Karl Rovian politics of the past, aimed at getting 51 percent of the vote and then burning all your bridges by telling the other 49 percent to sit down and shut up or we'll treat you as an enemy
of the State, are in decline.

Yes, Republicans, I've called you divisive. I've called you hypocritical. I've called you incompetent, and even insane. I've made fun of you before, and I'll do it again, because hey, that's what I do. But I don't think I've ever called you un-American. If I have, I apologize.

It's just wrong.