Saturday, April 30, 2011

North Carolina considering bill to ban Sharia. GOP lawmakers backing measure.

Verne Strickland Blogmaster    

JIHAD WATCH     Sunday, May 1, 2011

It is good to see that there are a growing number of such bills all over the country. They will always be challenged by claims that they infringe upon Muslims' religious liberties. But they wouldn't exist at all, of course, were it not for the political and authoritarian aspects of Sharia. Backers of such bills need to familiarize themselves with those aspects and be ready to answer those challenges. 

"Bill would ban courts from using 'foreign law,'" by Michael Biesecker for the News & Observer, April 29:

RALEIGH -- A group of Republican legislators is backing a measure that would make it illegal for judges to consider "foreign law" when making rulings in North Carolina's courts. 
Though the federal and state constitutions already guarantee the supremacy of U.S. law in domestic cases, primary sponsor Rep. George Cleveland said he is concerned that Shariah law could gain a foothold in American communities with sizable Muslim populations.
House Bill 640 makes no mention of the Islamic legal code. But Cleveland said Shariah would be defined as a "foreign law" under his bill, and therefore banned from North Carolina's courtrooms if the legislation he proposes is approved.
"It's to ensure that any individual in this state does not have to worry about being taken advantage of by foreign laws," said Cleveland, a retired Marine who lives in Jacksonville. "It's barring any international law. If Shariah law tries to be enforced in the state, yeah, it would do it."
Uncertain of effect
Critics of the bill said that the broadly worded legislation could have unintended consequences, such as impeding international businesses or invalidating overseas marriages or adoptions.
Rooted in the teachings of the Quran, Shariah governs the conduct of an observant Muslim's life, from when to pray to how animals should be slaughtered for meat. It is also the basis for the legal codes in some Middle Eastern and south Asian countries.
Asked to provide real-world examples of the scenario his bill seeks to remedy -- cases where foreign laws infringed on the constitutional rights of American citizens in U.S. courts -- Cleveland said he did not know of any.
Rep. Joe Hackney, the House Democratic leader, said Republicans are wasting time attacking an issue that doesn't exist.
"I think it's a solution in search of a problem," said Hackney, a lawyer from Chapel Hill.

The Civil War according to Hollywood -- shot through with myths, omissions, and outright lies.

Verne Strickland Blogmaster     April 30, 2011

By Dan Gifford 
“Film strongly influences perceptions of historical events.” Gary W. Gallagher: History Professor, University of Virginia.

If there is a film genre that has been the source of more fiction and mythology than the western, that category would have to be the American Civil War. The difference seems to be that while some of the most persistent myths about the frontier West like the quick draw shoot-out are Hollywood fabrications that keep getting put into new movies, many of the contemporary beliefs about the Civil War are perpetuated because contrary facts get omitted from scripts.

So whereas the reputation of Tombstone’s Johnny Ringo as a gunfighter is maintained on the screen even though he was never in a gunfight (nor was he killed by Doc Holliday as the movies have it) according to those who knew him like my grandfather and great uncle, a US Deputy Marshal and business partner of Wyatt Earp’s, we never see that Union general Ulysses S. Grant, the man supposedly fighting a war to end slavery, used his wife’s slave during that entire war or that Confederate general Robert E. Lee, the man supposedly fighting to protect slavery, considered it an evil and didn’t own any slaves. That’s just one of the numerous contradictions of this conflict that we have not seen on the screen that have created so many false perceptions of it.

We never see that many blacks in the South were free men, that the Confederate government was not ant-Semitic (its Attorney General and acting Secretary of War was Jewish and many Jews fought for the South), that 3,000 blacks owned 20,000 slaves according to the 1860 census, that northerners (some abolitionists excepted) did not go to war to end slavery, that armed pro Union resistance to the Confederate government by southern whites was rampant in portions of the South, and we certainly never see Union General William Sherman emphatically state that “Slavery is not the Cause but the pretext” for the  war before listing what he believed was in his letters.

How do we reconcile that with all the southern state secession declarations that name the retention of slavery as their reason for leaving the United States?  Beats me. But if anyone at that time understood southern motivations, it was Sherman.

For years Sherman was superintendent of the school that became Louisiana State University and he understood the South and its people in a way virtually nobody in the the North did.  Grant did say slavery was the cause of the war, but that was after years of Union floundering around for a cause to rally around. Before the war, Grant said “If I thought this war was to abolish slavery, I would resign my commission and offer my sword to the other side.” That quote is disputed, but having seen it in several books over the years, I believe it’s accurate and suspect it has been attacked because it does not fit the the currently favored political narrative.

The net result of those and many other omissions like the extreme importance of the Irish immigrant soldiers to both sides is that most Americans are largely ignorant of the complexities and contradictions and outright hypocrisies that school boys of my background generally knew about their ancestors, their war and its issues that still underlie much of our contemporary political contention. The reason we knew was that we got to talk to people who were raised by those who actually fought in the Civil War or lived through it. That was the case in my family.

My father’s parents were on opposite sides of the Civil War and they would re-fight it over dinner every day. My grandfather had several brothers who fought for the North, one of whom was a telegrapher in Sherman’s army and was privy to many candid staff conversations he passed along that have not made it into any history book I’ve seen.

Grandad was a strong Union Republican and to him, secession was treason. That was Sherman’s view and motivation for his vicious campaign against the Confederacy and its people as well.  My grandmother didn’t agree. Her father, older brothers and cousins had fought with Texas and North Carolina cavalry units. 

What I learned from them and others was that slavery was basically a non issue for most people then and that the likes of Sherman, Grant and even Abraham Lincoln felt that way too no matter what they said late in the war or after it that contradicted their earlier or privately expressed opinions. That “nuance” never makes it onto the screen just as other relevant facts have not in the most recent Civil War films.

The Conspirator shows the tooth and nail legal defense by Union Army hero Frederick Aiken of accused Lincoln assassination conspirator Mary Surratt before a US Army kangaroo court. So we have the drama of Surratt, a backer of the Confederacy, being defended by a former Yankee soldier of principle who’s upset that Surratt’s constitutional rights are being violated.

What’s missing? Setting Surratt’s obvious guilt aside, the fact that Lincoln had rescinded the very constitutional rights Aiken complains are being trashed by the military court, for one, and the fact that before joining the Union army, Aiken had written to Confederate president Jefferson Davis offering to serve with the South, for another.

Glory shows us the first all black regiment formed by the Union — the 54th Massachusetts Volunteer Infantry — and seems to imply that only the North was evolved enough to allow blacks into its army. In reality, they were cannon fodder for suicidal attacks like the 54th’s on Confederate Fort Wagner ,  key parts of which the film got wrong.

But have you ever seen a film portraying this eyewitness account of the Confederate army as it marched through Frederick, Maryland  (the town where 96 year old  Barbara Fritchie taunted the southerners with her American flag)  on its way to Gettysburg? “Over 3,000 Negroes must be included in the number … They had arms, rifles, muskets, sabers, bowie-knives, dirks, etc. They were supplied, in many instances, with knapsacks, haversacks, canteens, etc., and they were manifestly an integral portion of the Southern Confederacy army.”

CBS 60 Minutes curmudgeon Andy Rooney fumed that textbooks saying blacks fought for the South were a spreading a lie during a recent rant. Sorry Andy. Era newspapers contain accounts of captured fully armed black soldiers, black snipers and a History Channel piece correctly recounts how soldiers at Camp Douglas, the Union’s hellish POW prison near Chicago  — immediately killed black confederate soldiers.

Cold Mountain shows us a sadistic western North Carolina Confederate home guard that murders a harmless retarded boy and a musician in addition to terrorizing the civilians it’s supposed to be protecting. This story I know well. I heard it along with most everyone else while a child living in the mountains and have been to the grave that holds both victims several times. The film has the reason for the killings wrong (the two were Union sympathizers not Confederate army deserters), but maybe that’s because Cold Mountain is really an anti-war, women’s empowerment film. Far as it went,  the film still does not show what a bunch of murdering bastards this home guard actually was in addition to the other murdering bastard raider gangs that robbed, raped and pillaged area towns in North Carolina’s “valley of  humility between two mountains of conceit.”
Those mountains were the plantation aristocrats of Virginia and South Carolina, a class the average man tended to dislike for its arrogance. That’s why the Appalachians on through northern South Carolina, Alabama and Georgia were part of that other South that was ambivalent or outright hostile to the Confederacy and the war years there were not unlike the Missouri border war Bushwaker –  Jayhawker bloodlettings shown in The Outlaw Jose Wales and Ride with the Devil.

Gods and Generals presents another issue of authenticity that I have not seen on the screen. Take a look at this movie scene photo of actors portraying Confederate soldiers and compare it with the eye witness description of southern troops below it.

“I have never seen a mass of such filthy strong-smelling men. Three in a room would make it unbearable, and when marching in column along the street the smell from them was most offensive… The filth that pervades them is most remarkable… They have no uniforms, but are all well armed and equipped … They are the roughest looking set of creatures I ever saw.” Another observer described the Confederates as “a lean and hungry set of wolves.”

Do you see “lean and hungry wolves” in that scene? Neither do I.  But maybe I expect too much.
The Civil War or any other historical period can be interpreted any way a director wants, but that interpretation tends to reflect current sensibilities.Past interpretations like those in Gone With The Wind presented a ridiculous southern fiction of chivalry,  whimsical lost cause  and the off-putting sight of “darkies” singin’ ‘n dancin’ in da cotton fields.

We’re now at the opposite end of that spectrum within a framework of what Indiana University history professor David Thelen defined as a “story of bitter irreconcilable conflict between two societies and between two sets of values” — some of which we are still arguing about with no resolution in sight.

Spanish unemployment rises to 21% as inflation accelerates. Europe and U.S. watch warily.

Verne Strickland Blogmaster



By Emma Ross-Thomas

April 29 (Bloomberg) -- Spanish unemployment, the highest in Europe, rose more than expected as inflation accelerated and retail sales plunged, undermining the nation’s recovery from its worst recession in six decades.

Joblessness rose to 21.3 percent in the first quarter, the National Statistics Institute said today in Madrid, compared with 20.3 percent in the previous three months and a median forecast of 20.7 percent in a Bloomberg News survey.

Consumer prices gained 3.5 percent in April from a year earlier, based on a European Union measure, after increasing 3.3 percent in March. Retail sales fell 8.6 percent in March from a year earlier, the steepest decline in two years, INE said.

Spain is trying to steer the economy back to growth while slashing the euro region’s third-largest budget deficit with the deepest austerity measures in at least three decades. Rising interest rates and oil prices prompted the government to revise its growth and unemployment forecasts on April 6, even as it still sees growth of 1.3 percent this year, led by exports.

“In the current scenario, with rising interest rates, I’m not at all sure this is the peak” in unemployment, said Jose Luis Martinez, a strategist for Spain at Citigroup in Madrid. “The decline in employment, rising interest rates, and rising prices leave little margin for consumption to be reactivated.”

‘Hard to Predict’

Deputy Finance Minister Jose Manuel Campa said the first quarter is traditionally weak for employment, and the data should start to improve. Asked if the jobless rate had peaked, he told reporters in Madrid it’s “hard to predict the future.” Asked the same question later in Madrid, Deputy Prime Minister Alfredo Perez Rubalcaba said the rate had peaked in what he called a “risky” prediction.

Spain has 4.9 million jobless, the survey showed today, the most since the data series started in 1996. That compares with 3 million in Germany, a country twice its size.

As companies adjust to forecasts of slower growth in Spain after a decade-long boom, Telefonica SA, the country’s largest telecoms operator, said on April 14 it plans to cut its workforce in its home market by 20 percent over the next three years.

London-based Burberry Group Plc closed a warehouse in Spain last year, while Diageo Plc cited “economic weakness” in February of this year when it said its Spanish whisky and vodka sales declined in the last six months of 2010.

Austerity Measures

Spain’s recovery from the collapse of the debt-fueled property bubble is being undermined by spending cuts and tax increases as the government aims to narrow the budget deficit to 6 percent of gross domestic product this year -- in line with France’s projected shortfall -- from 9.2 percent in 2010.

The government expects the jobless rate to average 19.8 percent this year, the Finance Ministry said on April 6, compared with a previous forecast of 19.3 percent. The economy will expand 1.3 percent in 2011 after two years of contraction, with growth accelerating to 2.3 percent next year and 2.4 percent in 2013, it said.

“The market consensus is around 0.7 percent” for 2011 growth, said Martinez, adding that the government should revise its forecast “as there have been a lot of negative factors.” He said he sees a jobless rate of 21 percent this year.
The European Central Bank increased its benchmark interest rate on April 7 for the first time in almost three years and policy makers have signaled more increases may follow. That risks further crimping household spending in Spain, where 97 percent of mortgages have variable interest rates.
Price Pressures

The ECB is trying to stem inflation, which accelerated to 2.8 percent in the euro region in April, from 2.6 percent in March, a separate report said today. The inflation rate in Spain, Portugal and Greece, which are all struggling to rein in growing debt burdens and spur growth, is higher than the euro- region average.

As part of plans to raise tax revenue, the government passed measures today to press employers to legalize underground jobs. The plan increases fines on companies that don’t register workers with tax authorities and on people claiming jobless benefits while working informally.

To contact the reporter on this story: Emma Ross-Thomas in Madrid at
To contact the editor responsible for this story: Craig Stirling at

Friday, April 29, 2011

If Obama can't win Pennsylvania, odds are he's toast in 2012. Simple as that.

Verne Strickland Blogmaster

April 29, 2011


By Tom Bevan  RealClear Politics

If you're looking for ways to boil the 2012 presidential race down to its simplest form, here's one of the easiest: it's nearly impossible to envision any way Barack Obama can win re-election next year if he loses Pennsylvania. No Keystone State, no second term. It really is that simple.

As of right now, things are looking dicey for the president in Pennsylvania. Two weeks ago, the Democratic polling firm PPP released a survey showing the president's job approval rating at just 42% among Pennsylvania voters.

Yesterday, Quinnipiac University confirmed PPP's findings with a survey of their own conducted in Pennsylvania last week showing an identical job rating of 42% for the president - a new low for Obama since taking office.

Worse still for the president, for the first time the Quinnipiac poll found a majority of Pennsylvania voters saying that Obama does not deserve to be re-elected.

The numbers show a sharp decline in Obama's standing in the Keystone State over the last nine weeks - particularly among Independents. In the last Quinnpiac survey, taken in mid-February of this year,

Independents approved of the job Obama was doing as president by a net 4-point margin, 50 to 46. Today they disapprove of the job he's doing by a net 20-point margin, 37 to 57.

What has caused Independents to sour so dramatically on Obama in the last two months? That's hard to say for sure, but a continued sluggish economic recovery, rising gas prices, a nasty partisan fight over the budget, and a hastily planned military intervention in Libya that appears to have bogged down into a stalemate are all probably taking a toll.

Additionally, G. Terry Madonna, Director of the Center for Politics and Public Affairs at Franklin & Marshall College in Lancaster, Penn., says President Obama's demeanor and perceived lack of empathy may also be creating a disconnect with the state's Independent voters.

"Like Obama or not," says Madonna, "he just doesn't relate very well. He hasn't been very good or very sensitive on matters of the recession."

Obama's trouble with Independents in Pennsylvania is no small matter, because most experts believe he can't win the state without them.

The bulk of Pennsylvania's Independent voters are clustered in the four counties surrounding Philadelphia (Bucks, Chester, Delaware, and Montgomery) and two counties in the Lehigh Valley (Berks and Lehigh).

These voters are best described as quintessential suburbanites - more moderate and less ideological in their views, more liberal on social issues but more conservative on fiscal matters.

Obama cleaned up with this bloc in 2008, winning all six counties by large margins en route to an easy 11-point victory over John McCain.

But these Independents moved heavily back toward the Republicans in the 2010 midterms: Democratic Senate candidate Joe Sestak and Democratic Gubernatorial candidate Dan Onorato managed to carry only two of the six counties last November. Both men lost.

Right now the one bright spot for Obama is the perceived weakness of the Republican field. Despite the President's horrid ratings in Pennsylvania, he's still running even or ahead of most of the prospective GOP hopefuls.

Still, this election will first and foremost be a referendum on the president. If Republicans nominate a candidate who isn't viewed as "out of the mainstream," Obama will face a significant challenge in recovering lost ground with Pennsylvania's Independent voters.

It's a challenge with dire consequences.

"If Obama can't win Pennsylvania, he will almost certainly lose Ohio and Florida," says Madonna.
And if Obama can't win any of the "Big 3" battleground states in 2012, it's very hard to see him winning back the White House.

Tom Bevan is the co-founder and Executive Editor of RealClearPolitics.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

The Obamas behave as if they were sharecroppers living in a trailer and hit the Powerball.

Verne Strickland Blogmaster


[][]When will Obama crack in public?Posted: April 19, 2011by Mychal Massie
At a time when many Americans can barely afford Burger King and a movie, Obama boasts of spending a billion dollars on his re-election campaign. Questioned at a recent appearance about the spiraling fuel costs, Obama said, "Get used to it" - and with an insouciant grin and chortle, he told another person at the event, who complained about the effect high fuel prices were having on his family, to "get a more fuel-efficient car."

The Obamas behave as if they were sharecroppers living in a trailer and hit the Powerball, but instead of getting new tires for their trailer and a new pickup truck, they moved to Washington. And instead of making possum pie, with goats and chickens in the front yard, they're spending and living large at taxpayer expense - opulent vacations, gala balls, resplendent dinners and exclusive command performances at the White House, grand date nights, golf, basketball, more golf, exclusive resorts and still more golf.

Expensive, ill-fitting and ill-chosen wigs and fashions hardly befit the first lady of the United States. The Obamas have behaved in every way but presidential - which is why it's so offensive when we hear Obama say, in order "to restore fiscal responsibility, we all need to share in the sacrifice - but we don't have to sacrifice the America we believe in."

The American people have been sacrificing; it is he and his family who are behaving as if they've never had two nickels to rub together - and now, having hit the mother lode, they're going to spend away their feelings of inadequacy at the taxpayers' expense.

Obama continues to exhibit behavior that, at best, can be described as mobocratic and, at worst, reveals a deeply damaged individual. In a February 2010 column, I asked, "Is Obama unraveling?" I wrote that it was beginning to appear the growing mistrust of him and contempt for his policies was beginning to have a destabilizing effect on him.

At that time, I wrote that not having things go one's way can be a bitter pill, but reasonable people don't behave as he was behaving. He had insulted Republicans at their luncheon, where he had been an invited guest. I had speculated that was, in part, what had led him to falsely accuse Supreme Court justices before Congress, the nation and the world, during the 2010 State of the Union address.

It appeared, at that time, as if he were "fraying around the emotional edges." That behavior has not abated - it has become more pronounced. While addressing the nation, after being forced to explain the validity of his unilateral aggression with Libya, America witnessed a petulant individual scowling and scolding the public for daring to insist he explain his actions.

But during an afternoon speech to address the budget/debt, he took his scornful, unstable despotic behavior to depths that should give the nation cause for concern. Displaying a dark psychopathy more representative of an episode of "The Tudors" television series, he invited Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wis., to sit in the front row during his speech and then proceeded to berate both Ryan and Ryan's budget-cutting plan. Even liberal Democrats were put off by the act. MSNBC's Joe Scarborough questioned the sanity of Obama's actions.

Today, criticism is coming from all sides. A senior Democrat lawmaker said, "I have been very disappointed in [Obama], to the point where I'm embarrassed that I endorsed him. It's so bad that some of us are thinking, is there some way we can replace him? How do you get rid of this guy?" ("Democrats' Disgust with Obama," The Daily Beast, April 15, 2011)

Steve McCann wrote: Obama's speech "was chock full of lies, deceit and crass fear-mongering. It must be said that [he] is the most dishonest, deceitful and mendacious person in a position of power I have ever witnessed" ("The Mendacity of Barack Obama,", April 15, 2011).

McCann continued: "[His] performance was the culmination of four years of outright lies and narcissism that have been largely ignored by the media, including some in the conservative press and political class who are loath to call [him] what he is in the bluntest of terms: a liar and a fraud. That he relies on his skin color to intimidate, either outright or by insinuation [against] those who oppose his radical agenda only add to his audacity. It is apparent that he has gotten away with his character flaws his entire life, aided and abetted by sycophants around him. ."

With these being among the kinder rebukes being directed at Obama, and with people becoming less intimidated by his willingness to use race as a bludgeon, with falling poll numbers in every meaningful category and an increasingly aggressive tea-party opposition - how much longer before he cracks completely?

The coming months of political life are not going to be pleasant for Obama. Possessed by a self-perceived palatine mindset, that in his mind places him above criticism, how long before he cracks in public? Can America risk a man with a documented track record of lying and misrepresenting truth as a basic way of life, who is becoming increasingly more contumelious?
Mychal Massie is chairman of the National Leadership Network of Black Conservatives-Project 21 - a conservative black think tank located in Washington, D.C. He was recognized as the 2008 Conservative Man of the Year by the Conservative Party of Suffolk County, N.Y. He is a nationally recognized political activist, pundit and columnist. He has appeared on Fox News Channel, CNN, MSNBC, C-SPAN, NBC, Comcast Cable and talk radio programming nationwide. A former self-employed business owner of more than 30 years, Massie can be followed at

McIntyre's debt-driven Democrat policies push U.S. down the road to fiscal ruin!

Verne Strickland Blogmaster 

April 28, 2011 

NC Congressional District 7 GOP Archives:  News


Washington — Mike McIntyre was dealt another blow this week as economic studies outlined the dire consequences of his failure to address the spending-driven debt crisis he presided over, and polls showed the public strongly disapproving of his fiscal policies.

Despite all this, McIntyre continues to tout bloated budget plans, more job-destroying taxes and plenty of Washington fuzzy math instead of changing his big-spending ways and getting serious about fiscal reform.

“It is shocking that Mike McIntyre would pile on more interest and debt on families throughout North Carolina just so he could continue his government spending spree with money borrowed from countries like China,” said NRCC Communications Director Paul Lindsay.

“McIntyre’s wrong-headed priorities demonstrate just how out-of-touch he is and these new polls show Americans instead want meaningful deficit reduction that will get our nation’s finances back on track," Lindsay commented.
A new Bloomberg Government study showed that the most likely outcomes for inaction on the deficit will either lead to a debt crisis or rapid inflation:

“Short of default, a bout of inflation similar to that of the 1970s may be the only way for the U.S. to reduce its debt burden if lawmakers fail to pass deficit-reduction measures, according to a Bloomberg Government Study released today.

“The study projects the debt would fall to 61.8 percent of gross domestic product in 2020 under a scenario that repeated the 1970s, when consumer prices climbed 8.1 percent a year on average. A return of the 1980s, 1990s or 2000s would result in debt levels anywhere from 96.4 percent to 102.4 percent of GDP.” (Steve Matthews, “Inflation 1970s-Style May Be What Cuts U.S. Debt, Study Finds,” Bloomberg, 4/21/11)

A new USA Today/Gallup poll shows Americans overwhelmingly recognize that the Democrats’ approach is not workable:

“Nearly three-fourths of those surveyed, 71%, worry that the Democrats’ plan ‘won’t go far enough to fix the problem’; 62% fear they might use the deficit as an excuse to raise taxes.”

“Republicans hold a 12-percentage-point edge over Democrats as the party better able to handle the budget, and a 5-point edge on the economy in general.” (Susan Page, “GOP’s gamble on the budget pays off, so far,” USA Today, 4/26/11)

These new studies confirm what Americans already know, which is that Mike McIntyre cannot continue to spend and borrow in order to protect his spending spree without serious economic consequences. Will McIntyre finally listen and stop the very same fiscal mismanagement that created this crisis?

Trump has bankrolled assortment of characters. You're yanking me around now, Donnie!

Verne Strickland Blogmaster
April 28, 2011


DONALD TRUMP'S PRESIDENTIAL DONATIONS: Businessman and potential Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump has spoken some harsh words about former President George W. Bush during the past few years, and as recently as this month.

But Trump also has given big bucks to the former commander-in-chief, doling out $2,000 to Bush during the 2004 presidential election.

This to a man Trump once called "probably the worst president in the history of the United States." In 2008, he even called the prospect of impeaching Bush "a wonderful thing."

At a Florida rally in April, Trump continued to criticize Bush, though this time he labeled President Obama with the superlative of "worst president."

"Whether you like him or not, George Bush gave us Obama, and I'm not happy about it, okay? I'm not happy about it," Trump said. "We have a disaster on our hands. We have a man, right now, that almost certainly will go down as the worst president in the history of the United States."

During the recent Chicago mayoral election, Trump contributed $50,000 to Democrat Rahm Emmanuel, according to the Illinois Review. Emmanuel served as Obama's chief of staff during his first two years in office.

As the Center for Responsive Politics first noted in February, Trump has been a generous contributor to both Democratic and Republican candidates and causes.  For example, Trump donated a net total of $700 to Obama's ex-primary rival, Hillary Clinton, who now serves as secretary of state under Obama.

As Trump continues to create buzz about a possible presidential run, other Republican presidential candidates are seriously gearing up for a bid. Some of their campaigns and political causes have been funded, strangely enough, by Trump himself.

During the 2006 elections, Republican Mitt Romney's leadership political action committee, Free and Strong America PAC, received a $5,000 contribution from Trump.

Presidential hopeful and former House Speaker Newt Gingrich (R-Ga.) also benefited from Trump's money, though back in 1996. Trump donated $5,000 to Gingrinch's then-leadership PAC, Monday Morning PAC.

download_image.pngFor the Center's full accounting of Trump's federal-level political contributions since the 1990 election cycle, download this spreadsheet: trumpdonations.xls

Bev goes to the races. Bet my money on a bob-tail nag? Her Heinous went AWOL!

Verne Strickland Blogmaster


Wednesday, April 27, 2011
WTVD-ABC (Raleigh)
RALEIGH – “The ABC11 Eyewitness New I-Team reported on Governor Beverly Perdue's absence when the tornadoes hit 11 days ago. She was at a racetrack in Kentucky.
When the governor goes out of state, the lieutenant governor becomes acting governor, but Walter Dalton wasn't in Raleigh on April 16. Even though everyone says there were open lines of communication, one question remains. Who was in charge?

"If the emergency management coordinator needed me for any type of executive order, they knew that I was at the ready," Lt. Governor Walton Dalton said. It wouldn't have been the first time for Dalton.

During the snow storm last Christmas, Governor Perdue also was out of the state and as acting governor, Dalton issued two executive orders.
"I was at the ready then, I was at the ready this occasion," Dalton said.

But Dalton wasn't in Raleigh. Despite days of advance notice that Perdue was going to be out of state and severe storm warning one day before the tornadoes, Dalton was at his home in Rutherford, which is an hour west of Charlotte.

Who was in charge at the state's emergency operations center in Raleigh?

"Doug Howell," Dalton said. "He is the emergency management coordinator. He is the one who has the reigns on all the different first responders and the emergency management people that need to be in place and he has that expertise."

Also in the operations center was Perdue's chief of staff, former secretary of administration, Britt Cobb.

Why not someone from Dalton's office?

"There's no sense in crowding that room," Dalton added. "Britt was there keeping both offices informed."

The I-Team asked Dalton if he should have been there on site and how important is the presence of the governor of acting governor in that room.
"I think communication is absolutely essential," Dalton said. "Physical presence I would say not."

That's something Dalton's experience last Christmas reinforced. He signed those two executive orders from home.

Dalton says his staff was in constant communication with Perdue's staff, but he and Perdue never spoke one on one.

Paid for by the North Carolina Republican Party

The Promises of God -- our best and last refuge, even as tornadoes kill hundreds in the South.

Verne Strickland Blogmaster
April 28, 2011


The Promises of God
"Remember the word unto Thy servant, upon which Thou hast caused me to hope."
--Psalm 119:49 

Whatever your especial need may be, you may readily find some promise in the Bible suited to it. Are you faint and feeble because your way is rough and you are weary? Here is the promise--"He giveth power to the faint." 

When you read such a promise, take it back to the great Promiser, and ask Him to fulfil His own word. Are you seeking after Christ, and thirsting for closer communion with Him? This promise shines like a star upon you--"Blessed are they that hunger and thirst after righteousness, for they shall be filled." 

Take that promise to the throne continually; do not plead anything else, but go to God over and over again with this--"Lord, Thou hast said it, do as Thou hast said." Are you distressed because of sin, and burdened with the heavy load of your iniquities?

Listen to these words--"I, even I, am He that blotteth out thy transgressions, and will no more remember thy sins." You have no merit of your own to plead why He should pardon you, but plead His written engagements and He will perform them.

Are you afraid lest you should not be able to hold on to the end, lest, after having thought yourself a child of God, you should prove a castaway? If that is your state, take this word of grace to the throne and plead it: "The mountains may depart, and the hills may be removed, but the covenant of My love shall not depart from thee." 

If you have lost the sweet sense of the Saviour's presence, and are seeking Him with a sorrowful heart, remember the promises: "Return unto Me, and I will return unto you;" "For a small moment have I forsaken thee, but with great mercies will I gather thee." 

Banquet your faith upon God's own word, and whatever your fears or wants, repair to the Bank of Faith with your Father's note of hand, saying, "Remember the word unto Thy servant, upon which Thou hast caused me to hope."

Author Clarles Haddon Spurgeon

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Newt Gingrich warns: Creeping secularism is replacing Christianity.

Verne Strickland Blogmaster


Newt Gingrich thinks that Europe’s 'crisis of secularism' has seized the United States. | AP photo
Newt Gingrich thinks that Europe’s 'crisis of secularism' has seized the United States. | AP photo
Speaking at the National Catholic Prayer breakfast, Newt Gingrich on Wednesday warned Catholics that Europe’s “crisis of secularism” — spawning a “government-favored culture to replace Christianity” — has seized the United States.

“The American elites are guided by their desire to emulate the European elites and, as a result, anti-religious values and principles are coming to dominate the academic, news media and judicial class in America,” he said in Washington.

Gingrich lashed out against the “secular pressures” that have led scientific publications to replace Anno Domini (A.D.) with the Common Era (C.E.), banned school prayer and struck out “one nation under God” in the Pledge of Allegiance.
He recalled the court battle over the Mojave Desert Cross as a "revealing example of the fanaticism of the secularists." Erected in 1934 to commemorate those who died in World War I, the cross stood in a national park. The Ninth Circuit said it was unconstitutional, but the Supreme Court overruled on the grounds that it was an historic site. Then the cross was stolen.

“The head of the National Park Service has said he would not erect a replacement,” he said. “So even when religious freedom wins in court, the secular extremists have found new ways to circumvent the court and impose their anti-religious bigotry."

Though troubled by the changing culture, Gingrich said it also forced him to “come to grips” with his own faith — a journey that led him to Roman Catholicism in 2008.

It was a slow, decade-long exploration that began with listening to his wife, Callista, sing with the Choir of the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in Washington. There he spent time with the choir and the basilica’s rector, which Gingrich called “one of the great blessings in my life.”

Gingrich shared his concern about America’s shift away from its Christian roots with the rector, just as he read books about Christianity’s battles against European secularism and Communist atheism.

When Callista’s choir sang for Pope Benedict XVI, the former House speaker was so moved he decided that evening to join the Catholic Church.

“For me, the joyful and radiating presence of the Holy Father was a moment of confirmation about the many things I had been thinking and experiencing over the last several years,” he said.

The speaker has since made a documentary, “Nine Days that Changed the World,” chronicling Pope John Paul II’s 1979 pilgrimage to Poland. Speaking at the breakfast, he asked the audience to imagine being the pope, facing a society that tore down crosses and banned school prayer.

“We believe this movie is directly relevant to the America of today and to our crisis of culture and civilization,” Gingrich said.

NAACP grandstands in front of TV crews, verbally attacks Civitas at school board training session.

Verne Strickland Blogmaster 
April 27, 2011 


Recently the Civitas Institute conducted a School Board Training session for school board members from across the state. The Winston-Salem Forsyth County School Board co-sponsored the training.  

The NAACP led by Rev. William Barber protested at the training session in front of a number of TV news crews.

The protesters hurled a number of false charges against Civitas and its supporters including that the purpose of the school board training was to re-segregate schools across the state.  

A press release by the NAACP stated, “The Civitas Institute will undoubtedly advise the school board to cut the budget on the backs of the poor and minority students and families in the Winston-Salem/Forsyth County School System.”

As always when the left has no argument, they call you racist. Civitas is not going to let name calling liberals stop us in our work to make North Carolina a better place.

Click here to see links to full news coverage on the protests. 

The NAACP is attempting to intimidate school board members (and Civitas) and restrict where school board members get their information to only liberal-approved training organizations.  

North Carolina law (Chapter 115C-50) requires that all local school board members receive a minimum of 12 clock hours of training annually.  The North Carolina School Boards Association (NCSBA), a mostly government funded group, has been the major, and often sole provider of school board training in the state.  Civitas has now given elected officials a choice.

Civitas believes that the NCSBA does not represent the views of all school board members across the state.  Additionally, the monopoly control of required school board training by a government supported association threatens the viability of a system of independent school boards charged with making decisions ranging from the curriculum to the budget to personnel.  
Many of the groups that protest our efforts are recipients of taxpayer dollars and don’t want any discussion of cost savings – just keep raising taxes and increase government spending is their answer to every problem. 
The Civitas Institute is a non-profit 501(c)(3) organization that accepts no government money and is fully funded through private donations. 

Civitas Institute school board training offers sessions focused around foundational topics such as roles and responsibilities for school board members, school budgeting, ethics training, school finance and school law.  Other areas discussed include policy development, parliamentary procedure, evaluation and research, curriculum development, and strategies for boosting student achievement. 

The goal and purpose of these training sessions, is to provide unbiased and non-partisan training and work with individual school boards to provide training that best fits their members’ needs.  This focus makes our trainings a unique and effective alternative to the existing government establishment. 
Barber stated, “We in the South cannot afford to go backwards.”

Interesting words from the Reverend, who seems to protest anything that challenges the scale and reach of government.  Perhaps he and the members of the NAACP are more threatened by our advocacy of choice and the rejection of the government backed establishment because their salaries depend on it.  They are the ones holding back our childrens’ futures, stifling the potential of the educational system in North Carolina and “moving us backwards.”

Despite these protests – we will continue our advocacy of freedom and choice in all sectors of society as we work to promote a more prosperous future for North Carolina.

P.S. Our school board training cost school board members a fraction of what the NCSBA charges. By offering this low cost training we are also saving taxpayer dollars. The latest session in Winston Salem cost $40 while an NCSBA training session costs hundreds of dollars to attend.


John Stossel says 'Government creates poverty.' Verne Strickland says 'Amen!'


Verne Strickland Blogmaster
April 27, 2011

John Stossel

John Stossel

John Stossel is host of "Stossel" on the Fox Business Network. He's the author of "Give Me a Break" and of "Myth, Lies, and Downright Stupidity." To find out more about John Stossel, visit his site at ©Creators Syndicate

The U.S. government has "helped" no group more than it has "helped" the American Indians. It stuns me when President Obama appears before Indian groups and says things like, "Few have been ignored by Washington for as long as Native Americans."

Ignored? Are you kidding me? They should be so lucky. The government has made most Indian tribes wards of the state. Government manages their land, provides their health care, and pays for housing and child care.

Twenty different departments and agencies have special "native American" programs. The result? Indians have the highest poverty rate, nearly 25 percent, and the lowest life expectancy of any group in America. Sixty-six percent are born to single mothers.

Nevertheless, Indian activists want more government "help."

It is intuitive to assume that, when people struggle, government "help" is the answer. The opposite is true. American groups who are helped the most, do the worst.

Consider the Lumbees of Robeson County, N.C. -- a tribe not recognized as sovereign by the government and therefore ineligible for most of the "help" given other tribes. The Lumbees do much better than those recognized tribes.
Lumbees own their homes and succeed in business. They include real estate developer Jim Thomas, who used to own the Sacramento Kings, and Jack Lowery, who helped start the Cracker Barrel Restaurants. Lumbees started the first Indian-owned bank, which now has 12 branches.

The Lumbees' wealth is not from casino money.

"We don't have any casinos. We have 12 banks," says Ben Chavis, another successful Lumbee businessman. He also points out that Robeson County looks different from most Indian reservations.

"There's mansions. They look like English manors. I can take you to one neighborhood where my people are from and show you nicer homes than the whole Sioux reservation."

Despite this success, professional "victims" activists want Congress to make the Lumbees dependent -- like other tribes. U.S. Rep. Mike McIntyre, D-N.C., has introduced the Lumbee Recognition Act, which would give the Lumbees the same "help" other tribes get -- about $80 million a year. Some members of the tribe support the bill.
Of course they do. People like to freeload.

Lawyer Elizabeth Homer, who used to be the U.S. Interior Department's director of Indian land trusts, say the Lumbees ought to get federal recognition.

"The Lumbees have been neglected and left out of the system, and have been petitioning for 100 years. ... They're entitled, by the way."

People like Homer will never get it. Lumbees do well because they've divorced themselves from government handouts. Washington's neglect was a godsend.

Some Lumbees don't want the handout.
"We shouldn't take it!" Chavis said. He says if federal money comes, members of his tribe "are going to become welfare cases. It's going to stifle creativity. On the reservations, they haven't trained to be capitalists. They've been trained to be communists."

Tribal governments and the Bureau of Indian Affairs manage most Indian land. Indians compete to serve on tribal councils because they can give out the government's money. Instead of seeking to become entrepreneurs, members of tribes aspire to become bureaucrats.

"You can help your girlfriend; you can help your girlfriend's mama. It's a great program!" Chavis said sarcastically.

Because a government trust controls most Indian property, individuals rarely build nice homes or businesses.

"No individual on the reservation owns the land. So they can't develop it," Chavis added. "Look at my tribe. We have title and deeds to our land. That's the secret. I raise cattle. I can do what I want to because it's my private property."

I did a TV segment on the Lumbees that I included in a special called "Freeloaders." That won me the predictable vitriol. Apparently, I'm ignorant of history and a racist.

The criticism misses the point. Yes, many years ago white people stole the Indians' land and caused great misery. And yes, the government signed treaties with the tribes that make Indians "special." But that "specialness" has brought the Indians socialism. It's what keeps them dependent and poor.
On the other hand, because the U.S. government never signed a treaty with the Lumbees, they aren't so "special" in its eyes. That left them mostly free.

Freedom lets them prosper.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

North Carolina emerging as next U.S. proving ground for wind energy.

Verne Strickland Blogmaster


John Murawski  .biz       Apr. 26, 2011
North Carolina is quietly emerging as the nation's next proving ground for wind energy, but the maximum potential for wind energy is linked to a generous financial incentive that's about to expire.

More than 2,000 megawatts of wind power are under study or development in this state, all of it at the state's eastern edge and in the Atlantic Ocean.

If one of the proposed projects, a 300-megawatt project near Elizabeth City, is built on schedule next year, it would be the first commercial-scale wind energy project in the Southeast and one of the biggest wind farms in the nation.

The 31-square mile Desert Wind Energy Project has yet to receive its first permit from federal, state local authorities. But developer Iberdrola, the world's largest wind energy developer, is also exploring the potential of 450 megawatts of wind farms in Camden and Currituck counties, according to public records.

Iberdrola officials discussed their plans Tuesday during the N.C. State Energy Office's Sustainable Energy Conference in Raleigh. The $600 million Desert Wind Energy Project would employ up to 400 people during construction and 15 to 20 full-timers to operate the facility when it is completed.

"I submit to you that commercial-scale, land-based wind is definitely viable in the Southeast," said David Shadle, Iberdrola's managing director for wind business development.

The wind projects are subsidized by state policies mandating power companies to adopt green energy. Also key to wind farms is a federal incentive covering 30 percent of the cost of a wind farm project. That policy is slated to expire, and wind experts at Tuesday's conference warned that a failure to renew the subsidy would put an end to much of the wind energy projects under consideration.

The developers are requesting electrical transmission capacity for 126.57 megawatts for their combined 900 megawatt projects, according to filings with PJM, a transmission system operator in a 13-state region that includes northeastern North Carolina.

That's because wind farms, unlike nuclear plants and coal-burning power plants, generate electricity only when the wind is blowing.

Much of the interest in wind power in this state is for offshore wind, beyond reach of the naked eye from the coastline. Apex Wind Energy in Charlottesville, Va., is interested in developing at least 2,000 megawatts of wind energy offshore over then next 20 years in federal waters.

The U.S. Department of the Interior's Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, Regulation and Enforcement, the agency that issues oil drilling permits, is expected this year to produce a map of suitable ocean waters for wind farm development, identifying areas that don't conflict with shipping routes, military operations, environmental concerns or other issues.

NCAE plans to boycott chain stores owned by conservative businessman Art Pope.

you're reading...
Verne Strickland Blogmaster


April 24, 2011

By Christopher Carpenter | The Macon County News

The largest association of educators in the state is calling for a boycott of all businesses owned by Art Pope, a North Carolina business man and political insider who has contributed millions of dollars to conservative groups pressing for the elimination of caps on charter school funding. The decision to call for the boycott was made last week at the annual convention of the North Carolina Association of Educators.
Art Pope is the president of Variety Wholesalers, Inc., and a director of the conservative political advocacy group, Americans for Prosperity. Pope is also a major supporter of the Civitas Institute, and he holds a seat on the boards of directors for the John Locke Foundation, the Atlas Economic Research Foundation and the North Carolina Retail Merchants Association. Variety Wholesalers is the parent group to a number of popular stores in the state such as Roses, Maxway, Value Mart, Super 10 and Super Dollar (though not Dollar General), among others owned by Variety Wholesalers Inc.
On Tuesday, Brian Lewis, the government liaison for the NCAE, confirmed the association’s plans to call for a boycott. Nearly 1,200 delegates from every part of the state participated in the annual convention in Raleigh where the boycott was voted on. Lewis said a formal announcement of the boycott is will be made on Thursday.
Americans for Prosperity is among the most forceful proponents of Senate Bill 8, which would lift the cap on charter schools and entitle them to more public school funding. Supporters of the bill say it will inject a level of competition into public education that will improve it in the long run. Detractors say it could cripple a public education system that is already embattled in the state.
As it is currently written, S.B. 8 would require that local school systems hand over a portion of their funding to charter schools in their district, but the charter schools receiving the funds would not be required to provide the services for which the funds were originally allocated to the districts, such as nutrition programs and transportation. Lewis noted that the bill, which is currently being reworked in the House, has been softened slightly from earlier versions that could have even opened local P.T.O. funds, athletic game receipts and even endowments to charter schools.
Senator Jim Davis (R-Franklin) says that some changes to the original bill have been necessary, such as those to protect non-governmental funds and address other legitimate complaints which educators have. At the same time, Davis remains a strong supporter of removing the cap on charter schools.
“The bottom line is we’re trying to expand the educational opportunities for students and for parents in North Carolina, and we feel like lifting the cap on charter schools would go a long way towards that,” Davis said. “I think that we need to introduce competition into our educational system.”
But according to Lewis and the NCAE, rather than strengthen education in the state, such competition could ultimately destroy public schooling. Pope has reportedly said in speeches that he would be happy if all traditional public schools were replaced with charter schools, a statement which should raise alarm bells, says Lewis.
“The most egregious thing about Mr. Pope’s activities, … from our member’s standpoint, is that he makes his millions off of poor people,” Lewis said, explaining the reason Pope has been singled out. “He makes his millions off of African Americans and other disenfranchised groups, and then takes this money and uses it to undermine the poor by gutting the public schools and creating a system of vouchers that help the affluent.”
“Taken to its natural conclusion, this would mean there would be no bus services, no nutrition programs,” says Lewis of the Pope dream of a privatized education system. “Children would be segregated by race or economic status. Teachers would lose their due-process rights and their professional salaries would be cut along with healthcare and other benefits.”
Davis disagrees and says statistics prove otherwise. According to Davis, of the 100 charter schools in the state, twelve of them have 99 percent-plus minority populations, which he believes demonstrates that charter schools would not disadvantage certain groups. “This is just an empty argument to try to thwart the effort of bringing competition into our school system,” says Davis.
Lewis and Davis (and maybe Pope) do agree on one thing. Public education in North Carolina is in trouble. But the annual NCAE Fund Schools First report points to other reasons for the situation. North Carolina is ranked 46th in the nation in terms of per-pupil expenditures and 45th in the nation in terms of average teacher salaries. Giving charter schools the right to skim off even more funding from local education agencies will only exacerbate the problem, say opponents of S.B. 8.
“The NCAE is drawing the line in the sand,” said John deVille, vice president of the Macon County chapter of the NCAE. “We’ve identified who the leaders are in breaking apart public education as we know it in this state and remaking it in their image.”

Ex-Labor Board Chairman: Union-backed case against Boeing 'Unprecedented'.

Verne Strickland Blogmaster

By Judson Berger /AP
Published April 26, 2011
The former chairman of the National Labor Relations Board told that a board attorney's bid to stop Boeing from opening a production line at a non-union site in South Carolina is "unprecedented" and could have serious implications for companies looking to expand. 

The comments Tuesday from Peter Schaumber add to the roiling debate over the complaint filed last week against the aerospace giant. NLRB's acting general counsel, taking up allegations from union workers at a Puget Sound plant in Washington state, had accused Boeing of violating federal labor law by moving to open a second 787 Dreamliner airplane production line in South Carolina. 

The complaint hinged on claims that Boeing made "coercive statements" regarding union-led strikes, and then retaliated by transferring its second line to a non-union facility. As evidence, the NLRB noted that a Boeing executive said in an interview that the overriding factor in going to South Carolina -- a right-to-work state where unions cannot force employees to join -- was a desire to avoid disruptions. The union in Washington state has led several strikes against Boeing since the 1970s, most recently in 2005 and 2008. 

But Schaumber said the complaint is a big stretch and would mark a departure. He said that if the claim is upheld, it could jeopardize any company with unionized workers that wants to expand to a right-to-work state. 
"It would be fair to say it's unprecedented," he said.
Schaumber, a Bush administration appointee who served on the board for almost eight years including as chairman, argued that the NLRB counsel offered "no basis" for the central claim that Boeing retaliated by transferring work from Washington to South Carolina. 

"The workers don't have any claim to the work," he said. "If the workers don't have any claim to the work, it wasn't retaliatory to open a new second production line. ... It is simply expanding its business operation." 
Boeing offered a similar defense, saying the jobs in South Carolina will not come at the expense of jobs in Washington state. 

The new production line is expected to pump out three planes a month, on top of the seven planes a month coming out of the Puget Sound area. Boeing said since the expansion decision was made, union employment in Puget Sound has increased by about 2,000 workers. Plus Boeing noted that the South Carolina factory is almost done and has involved more than 1,000 workers in the process. 

"This claim is legally frivolous and represents a radical departure from both NLRB and Supreme Court precedent," Boeing General Counsel J. Michael Luttig said in a statement. 

South Carolina Republican lawmakers were similarly outraged over the complaint. Sen. Jim DeMint called it a "political favor" for the unions who supported President Obama's 2008 campaign.

Sen. Lindsey Graham vowed to try to cut off funding for the "wild goose chase." 
"If successful, the NLRB complaint would allow unions to hold a virtual 'veto' over business decisions," he said in a statement. is seeking comment from Washington state's two Democratic U.S. senators. But NLRB spokeswoman Nancy Cleeland said the charge that Boeing is transferring work away from union employees stems from the company's original commitment "to the state of Washington that it would build the Dreamliner airplanes in that state."

Plus she said the South Carolina facility would assume work that is currently being done at a Seattle facility. "As far as the merits of the complaint go, however, the distinction does not matter. Whether this work is considered new or existing, the decision about where to locate it would violate federal labor law if done for discriminatory reasons," she said in an email to 

NLRB General Counsel Lafe Solomon cited Boeing executives' comments on their desire to avoid strikes in claiming the company violated federal rules. 

"A worker's right to strike is a fundamental right guaranteed by the National Labor Relations Act," Solomon said in a statement. "We also recognize the rights of employers to make business decisions based on their economic interests, but they must do so within the law." 

Solomon noted that a settlement could still be reached. The NLRB stressed that the complaint doesn't request that Boeing shut down the South Carolina plant; however, it seeks to keep 787 production in Washington. 

The International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers, which initially filed the allegation against Boeing with the NLRB in March of last year, said in a statement that the South Carolina decision was aimed at the union. 

"Boeing's decision to build a 787 assembly line in South Carolina sent a message that Boeing workers would suffer financial harm for exercising their collective bargaining rights," Vice President Rich Michalski said. "Federal labor law is clear: it's illegal to threaten or penalize workers who engage in concerted activity, and it's illegal in all 50 states." 

A hearing in the case is now scheduled before an administrative law judge on June 14 in Seattle. That decision could then be voted on by the National Labor Relations Board itself. And that decision could in turn be appealed to a federal circuit court. 

Schaumber said the dispute could drag on for a while, but suggested the current makeup of the board does not favor Boeing. 

"This board views its role as to promote unionization, and with that in mind, that will be their focus in deciding this case," he said.

Obama heavy on Muslim holiday greetings, but a wash-out on holy days important to Christians.


I am veteran White House reporter Keith Koffler. White House Dossier is the only 24/7, independent, and totally unauthorized White House blog.

 By Keith Koffler on April 25, 2011, 11:11 am

Just when I thought the current team running the White House might have used up all its allotted mistakes comes word that President Obama failed to issue either an Easter or a Good Friday greeting to the nation.

Now, let’s forget for a moment that these greetings, which presidents issue on many holidays and commemorations of events, are largely perfunctory and symbolic gestures that nobody cares about.
Until there’s a problem with them.

Fox News first caught the blunder and put it into context that makes the omission insulting to Christians. The mistake is odd enough to call into question just what Obama’s priorities are.
By comparison, the White House has released statements recognizing the observance of major Muslim holidays and released statements in 2010 on Ramadan, Eid-ul-Fitr, Hajj, and Eid-ul-Adha.
The White House  . . . did release an eight-paragraph statement heralding Earth Day. Likewise, the president’s weekend address mentioned neither Good Friday or Easter.*
Obama, Fox notes, did head out to church yesterday and held an Easter prayer breakfast at the White House last week.
Obama is on a roll for religious holiday greeting screw ups. Fox News writes:
In 2010, Obama was criticized for releasing an all-inclusive Easter greeting. He reached out to Jews, Muslims, Hindus, and people of no faith at all in a statement about a holiday that is uniquely Christian.
And as I noted last week, the president released a Passover greeting this month that compared the ancient Jewish exodus from Egypt to the Arab political awakening this year, which would be a beautiful thing if most Arabs didn’t seek Israel’s destruction.

The president is, of course, hosting the Easter Egg Roll at the White House today (Apr. 25). But Easter isn’t really about rolling eggs on a manicured lawn, now is it?

UPDATE: Asked during this afternoon’s briefing about the issue, White House Press Secretary Jay Carney suggested Obama’s “high profile” visit to a church Sunday should suffice.

“I’m not sure if we put out a statement or not, but he obviously personally celebrated Easter with his family,” Carney said, adding ”the president took his family out to church in a very high-profile way.”
Carney added that Obama is a “devoted Christian.”

* Fox News is incorrect. Obama does mention Easter in his weekend address, though he does so only briefly and not as a message or greeting to Christians celebrating the holiday.

Verne Strickland USA DOT COM Blogmaster    Apr. 26, 2011
Article referral by Jennifer Dunbar

Monday, April 25, 2011

Blacks' migration to suburbs will have big impact on redistricting process this year.

Verne Strickland Blogmaster 


By Aaron Blake, Thursday, April 21, 2011
Louisiana’s newly designed 2nd Congressional District doesn’t look like it makes much sense — one end of it starts in a tip just north of Baton Rouge, and from there it juts and jags its way more than 70 miles south and east past New Orleans, seemingly picking up random communities along the way.

Most of the people who live in those communities are African Americans, joined together partly by design and partly by law. By looping African Americans into one district, lawmakers increased the number of Republicans in surrounding districts, virtually ensuring that the GOP will hold a major advantage in five of the state’s six congressional districts for the next decade.

As lawmakers across the nation begin the once-a-decade process of redrawing their congressional boundaries, a significant migration of blacks from cities to suburbs is having a widespread political impact.

According to newly released census numbers, eight of the nation’s top majority-black districts lost an average of more than 10 percent of their African American populations. That will provide an opportunity for Republican lawmakers, who control an increasing number of statehouses following last fall’s elections, to reshape districts in suburban swing areas of Michigan, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Georgia and elsewhere.
Dozens of seats could become easier for Republicans to hold on to, with a half-dozen or so becoming prime pickup opportunities for the party, according to political strategists.

“The practical effect is great for the GOP,” said Dave Wasserman of the Cook Political Report. “In state after state, it’s allowing Republicans to pack more heavily Democratic close-in suburbs into urban black districts to make surrounding districts more Republican.”

The migration of blacks to the suburbs is also having an impact in the Washington area, where the African American population in the District dropped 11 percent over the last decade, while suburban Rep. Steny H. Hoyer (D-Md.) gained more black voters than anyone outside of the fast-growing Atlanta area.

Fellow Maryland Democrats Donna F. Edwards and Chris Van Hollen also gained large numbers of black voters. Unlike some other places, though, those lawmakers are not likely to be greatly affected, since Democrats control the redistricting process in Maryland.

The 1982 amendment of the Voting Rights Act led to the creation of many legislative districts, particularly in the South, in which minorities became the majority populations. The idea was to give minority voters a chance to elect candidates of their choice. Over time, these districts encountered legal challenges and setbacks, including at the Supreme Court, over questions of racial gerrymandering.

Initially, these districts were a boon to Democrats, creating opportunities in places where the party struggled to win. But over the last few rounds of redistricting, Republicans have made a habit of “packing” as many reliably Democratic black voters into as few districts as possible, virtually guaranteeing black representation for those districts while also making nearby ones more winnable for the GOP.
Even as the African American population has been shrinking in many longtime black districts, the number of majority-black districts has actually increased over the last decade — and could very well continue to do so, with Republicans leading the redistricting process this year.
Reshaping the suburbs
    The relocation of large numbers of African American voters will likely lead to substantially different districts outside several major cities.

    In the Detroit area, for instance, Democratic Reps. John Conyers Jr. and Hansen Clarke lost nearly one-quarter of the 800,000 black voters in their districts since 2000, with many of them migrating to nearby districts. The expansion of Clarke’s and Conyers’s districts could help Michigan Republicans eliminate a Democratic district in the area.

    The same goes in Ohio, where Rep. Marcia L. Fudge’s (D) loss of 29,000 black voters means that her district will have to grow and Republicans can more easily collapse some nearby Democratic districts.

    There is also an opportunity for the GOP to create some new black-majority districts. If Republicans make the district of Rep. Sanford D. Bishop Jr. (D-Ga.) majority black, it could help keep freshman Rep. Austin Scott (R-Ga.) safe by taking Democrats out of his neighboring district.

    And Republicans could push Rep. Robert A. Brady (D-Pa.), a white Democrat whose district is primarily in Philadelphia, into a majority black seat, a move that might help them shore up all the suburban seats they hold nearby.

    In Louisiana, the current New Orleans-based 2nd District lost nearly 120,000 black residents over the past decade, largely due to Hurricane Katrina. In order to keep the black population as high as it was before, the district had to be expanded significantly, reaching to the state capital of Baton Rouge.

    As a result, the Baton Rouge-based 6th District, which Democrats held briefly last decade, dropped from 34 percent black to 24 percent black.

    “It keeps those districts a lot safer for those guys,” said Louisiana political analyst John Maginnis.
    Hilary Shelton, the Washington bureau director for the NAACP, said his organization is prepared to fight the over-packing of majority-black districts and hopes that Republicans won’t overplay their hand.
    “On one hand, we like to see cohesiveness of those who share common values,” Shelton said.

    “But it is important that we don’t end up with the kind of packing in districts that” diminishes the influence of black voters.