Friday, July 8, 2011

Report from Obama's own Council of Economic Advisors proves stimulus is a failure.

News from Ilario Pantano
July 8, 2011

The newest quarterly report on the stimulus from Obama’s Council of Economic Advisors released last Friday proves that the Obama Stimulus, supported by our Congressman and Ilario’s likely opponent Mike McIntyre, failed at creating jobs and stimulating the economy.  And the new unemployment numbers released today by the Bureau of Labor which show that our nation’s unemployment rate rose to 9.2% in the month of June while only 18,000 new jobs were added to the economy last month .

In fact, the Council’s report shows that the only thing the “stimulus” stimulated was our nation’s skyrocketing debt.  The report states that the stimulus added or saved a little under 2.4 million jobs while costing taxpayers $666 billion. That translates to about $277,500 per job!  $277,500 of our tax money!

As Jeffrey Anderson writes for the Weekly Standard in a review of the report, “the government could simply have cut a $100,000 check to everyone whose employment was allegedly made possible by the ‘stimulus,’ and taxpayers would have come out $427 billion ahead.”

Anderson further writes that according to the Council’s report “the economy would have added or saved more jobs without the ‘stimulus’ than it has with it. In comparison to how things would otherwise have been, the ‘stimulus’ has been working in reverse over the past six months, causing the economy to shed jobs.”

Yes, you read that right. Over the last six months the Obama Stimulus strongly supported by our Congressman McIntyre has cost our economy jobs!  And remember, this admission is coming from a report generated by Obama’s own Council of Economic Advisors.  Imagine what an independent review of the impact of the stimulus might find!

While Obama and his stimulus have failed at adding jobs to our economy, the “stimulus”  and Obama have added to one thing: our national debt.  Including the $666 billion in debt created by the stimulus , our national debt has increased by nearly $5 Trillion since Obama took office to $14.5 trillion.

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PO Box 11280
Wilmington, NC 28404

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Thursday, July 7, 2011

Cuban cardinal wanted to shut down Roman Catholic magazine critical of Communists.

Verne Strickland Blogmaster   July 7, 2011

Backroom deals? Church bowing to Communist government pressure? What's up with dat?
MIAMI — A Vatican expert on Cuba told U.S. diplomats in 2007 that Cuban Cardinal Jaime Ortega had pushed to shutter a highly regarded Roman Catholic magazine that often criticized the communist system, according to a State Department cable made available by WikiLeaks.

Cuba's government had wanted to close Vitral magazine for years but feared a backlash and so "must be happy because the Church did its dirty work for it," the expert noted. The publication wasn't closed, but its editor resigned in a huff and its content was toned down.

Ortega's spokesman denied in an email that the church had bowed to government pressures and said that although the Cuban government had complained about Vitral and other church publications, "the complaints never turned into requests for closures."

"It's not important if the fact is real or not, it's simply repeated even though there's no firsthand source that confirms it in public," spokesman Orlando Marquez wrote. "It is good to ask who benefits from this."

The cable sent to the State Department by the U.S. Embassy to the Vatican also mentioned previously unconfirmed reports that Vatican officials at times had thought that Ortega, who also serves as the archbishop of Havana, was too friendly with Cuban ruler Raul Castro.

"Vatican officials have hinted in the past that Ortega has become too cozy with Castro," noted the cable, dated May 14, 2007, and classified as "secret." It was one of more than 250,000 State Department documents that WikiLeaks provided to McClatchy.

Ortega recently has won wide praise for his unprecedented talks with Castro, which helped win the release of about 115 political prisoners over the past year. But some critics have claimed for years that he'd failed to take a strong stance against human rights abuses. All but a dozen of the jailed dissidents were taken directly from prison to airplanes that flew them to Spain, in what critics have called a forced exile.

Vitral, founded in 1994 by the Diocese of Pinar del Rio in westernmost Cuba, was considered to be the best church publication on the island. Its name, which means stained-glass window, referred to the rainbow of opinions it published.

New Hanover GOP Chairwoman Rhonda Amoroso throws down conservative gauntlet

Verne Strickland Blogmaster   July 7, 2011

This is Rhonda Amoroso’s battle cry as Chair of the New Hanover County Republican Party:

“I am a commonsense Constitutional conservative and I believe in limited government, lower taxes, free markets, I’m also a social conservative. I’d like to see this country right itself. We need to stop the spending, and get our fiscal house in order, get the economy back moving, create jobs, and that must be through small business and the private sector. The government, basically in my philosophy, needs to get out of the way.”

This dynamic Wilmington mom is all business when it comes to conservative causes. And she has all the right stuff to make things happen. She told me a bit about herself during a recent interview.

“I have a law degree. I practiced law for many years up in New York, was in private practice, worked for a public utility company, and was an administrative law judge for ten years. We moved to North Carolina four years ago. I’m a Wake Forest University Law School graduate, back in the 80s. I always loved North Carolina, tried to find my way back, and finally got back to stay. Have a daughter halfway through her studies at Carolina, a rising senior in high school, and I’ve raised two other children. They’re grown and live elsewhere.”

Your main motivation seems to be getting fresh faces into the political ring – qualified GOP candidates with something to offer.

“That’s right. We have a leadership development committee. Someone who is interested in running needs to submit  a resume, fill out a long-form questionnaire about why they’re running, and their credentials, and that committee will vet candidates. We’re trying to get quality candidates. The deadline for city council races is July 15, and it’s not just in Wilmington, it also includes the beach councils, and the newly-incorporated area of Castle Hayne. So we are looking for candidates for all those areas, and that’s quite a number of people – town aldermen in Wrightsville Beach, Kure and Carolina Beach. So we’re actively working on that now. 

"We have only eight days until the filing deadline, so we’re really looking for some good folks to step up and run in these races."

From the NHCGOP Website March 13, 2011:

The New Hanover County Republican Party is pleased to announce that Rhonda Amoroso, Esq., was elected to Chair the party for the next two years. Mrs. Amoroso previously held the position of Vice Chair in Charge of Precinct Operations and helped lead the Republican Party to a 75% victory rate in the 2010 elections. 

Also elected by the delegates at the standing room only convention were: First Vice Chair, Joe Rumsey; Vice Chair in Charge of Precinct Operations, John Tullous; Treasurer, Frances Coleman and Secretary, Nancy Brice. The Executive Team will guide the local Republican Party through the next two election cycles.

*** The official website, Rhonda reported, is getting a total facelift with many added features, and will be online soon at 


7/7/11: Redsisticting Forum - ACTION ALERT
7/15/11: Last Day to file for municipal races URGENT
7/25/11: Chairwoman Amoroso on Curtis Wright 8:30am
7/28/11: Pre GOP meeting Twitter Workshop 6pm-6:30pm
7/28/11: Monthly GOP Meeting 6:30pm
8/25/11: Monthly GOP Meeting 6:30pm

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

New Planned Parenthood Merger draws fire from Right to Life groups. 'Webcam abortions' is new gimmick.

Verne Strickland Blogmaster

By Dave Andrusko
Rose Mimms, executive director of Arkansas Right to Life.

A press conference held today in Little Rock featured Rose Mimms, Executive Director of Arkansas Right to Life, and National Right to Life President Carol Tobias, and served to  warn the public what to expect now that the Iowa-based Planned Parenthood of the Heartland is absorbing Planned Parenthood of Arkansas and Eastern Oklahoma. (See “WebCam Abortions: ‘Coming to Your Town Soon’“ and “PPFA’s Image Far Cry from Brutal Reality: Bottom Line Depends on More and More Abortions.”)

Already a behemoth, dominating in Iowa and Nebraska with more clinics scheduled to be opened in these two states, PP of the Heartland refuses to explicitly disavow one of the central assertions made by Mrs. Mimms: that PP of the Heartland will bring webcam abortions to Arkansas and Eastern Oklahoma.
Mrs. Mimms began her remarks with a chilling but completely accurate prediction of one likely outcome of the merger:

“Imagine:  A young woman, pregnant, scared and confused, sitting in front of a computer screen somewhere in Small Town, Arkansas being interviewed by an abortion doctor in Sioux City, Iowa who will push a button to release the chemicals for the woman to self-administer that will kill her unborn child.

“I’ve just described a webcam abortion — coming to your town soon.”

Carol Tobias, National Right to Life President

James Jefferson of the Arkansas News Bureau began his story yesterday by writing,  “A newly merged regional Planned Parenthood office that covers Arkansas will review current services and demand before deciding whether to expand abortion services in the state, an official of the group said today.”

Jefferson ends his story with a quote from an email from Jill June, CEO of the PP of the Heartland empire.

“June did not address the procedure specifically, though she did say the merger was ‘about the future: The future of a woman and her family to access health care; the future of medicine delivery through technology and the quality services provided by Planned Parenthood.’”

Mrs. Tobias, in her remarks, began by contrasting PPFA’s “carefully crafted  public image as a protector of women’s health” with the sober reality that “Planned Parenthood is fully in the abortion business and its bottom line depends on performing more and more abortions.”

Webcam abortions, Mrs. Tobias said, are “incredibly dangerous—the woman may bleed to death or come down with a life-threatening infection and the drugs don’t always work, prompting surgery. But it does ‘expand abortion access’—and PP of the Heartland’s customer base.”

To understand the full import of Planned Parenthood of the Heartland’s aggressive expansion, some background is in order.

When it assimilated Planned Parenthood of Southeast Iowa it meant that “Planned Parenthood of the Heartland will operate 25 health centers in Iowa, four in Nebraska and three Education Resource Centers, in Des Moines, Lincoln and Omaha,” according to the Lincoln Journal Star.

And that’s just a start. A few months back CEO Jill June held a ribbon cutting for a new abortion clinic in Omaha, using the occasion to announce plans to open 12 new clinics in the next five years, part of a $11.5 million capital campaign (of which $7 million was reportedly already pledged).

June used the occasion to announce that PPH would be opening a dozen new clinics in Nebraska and Iowa over the next five years, six in each state. In Iowa new clinics are slated for Carter Lake, Clinton, Marshalltown, Mason City, Muscatine, and Ottumwa. In Nebraska, PP of the Heartland plans to open clinics in Fremont, Grand Island, Hastings, Kearney, Norfolk, and North Platte.

All this served only to whet its appetite. PPH put out a press release—picked up pretty much intact by the Associated Press—in which it announced it is absorbing (merging) with the Planned Parenthood affiliate that runs the abortion clinics in Arkansas and eastern Oklahoma. The new and enlarged affiliate—consisting of about 30 clinics in the four states–will (as it always does) retain the same PPH name and be headquartered in Des Moines, Iowa.

“Planned Parenthood of the Heartland has, for many years, been one of Planned Parenthood’s more aggressive abortion-promoting affiliates,” said Dr. Randall K. O’Bannon, director of NRL’s Department of Education and an expert on Planned Parenthood. “We see the fruit of that with the profitable and powerful PPH gobbling up a smaller Planned Parenthood affiliate and set to expand its abortion empire even further.”

PPH is best known outside the Midwest for its championing of webcam abortions, which it began offering web-cam abortions in 2008. Under the webcam system, an abortionist, maybe from a clinic in a large urban center, communicates with a woman at a remote location by means of a video conferencing system.

After a brief screening and counseling session, he clicks a mouse and triggers the opening of a drawer from which the woman takes out the two drugs that make up the “RU-486” chemical abortion regimen: mifepristone and misoprostol.

By January of 2011 sixteen of the PPH’s clinics in Iowa were tied into the webcam system. As of that same date PPH says more than 2,000 women have received webcam abortions, a number that is obviously already higher.

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Verne Strickland Blogmaster   July 6, 2011

This story is a fitting sequel to Ilario Pantano's touching Christian testimonial posted on July 5, 2011. Please read it to better understand the crushing dynamics of this heartbreaking tragedy in the U.S. military.


Military Suicide Condolences
AP/The Huffington Post First Posted: 07/ 6/11 09:48 AM ET Updated: 07/ 6/11 12:43 PM ET

The White House says that families of service members who commit suicide while deployed abroad are now getting condolence letters from the president just like families of troops who die in other ways.

The White House has been reviewing the policy since 2009, lobbied by some military families. A White House official said Tuesday that the change was made this week. The official spoke anonymously to discuss policy deliberations.

“The president feels strongly that we need to destigmatize the mental health costs of war to prevent these tragic deaths, and changing this policy is part of that process,” a senior White House official said in a statement.

Previously, the White House would send presidential condolences to the families of those who died either in combat or as a result of noncombat incidents in a war zone. Condolence letters were not sent to the families of those who commit suicide.

CNN reports that a coalition of senators recently joined the push for a change in policy.
The move comes nearly six weeks after a group of senators -- 10 Democrats and one Republican -- asked President Barack Obama to change what they called an "insensitive" policy that dates back several administrations and has been the subject of protest by some military families.
According to CBS News, the change went into effect Tuesday for soldiers who commit suicide while serving abroad, but will not be enacted retroactively, meaning that soldiers such as Chance Keesling, who killed himself on his second tour in Iraq, will not be eligible for the presidential recognition.

"He was a good soldier and that's the part that I want to know -- that the country appreciates that he fought he did everything that he was asked to do. It didn't turn out well for him, but at least this country could write a simple letter and that president represents our country and just say thank you for our son's service," Keesling's father, Gregg, told CBS News.

While the elder Keesling won't be getting an official presidential condolence letter, he's been told that his son will receive some kind of recognition from the White House to commemorate his service.

On Wednesday, President Obama formally announced the change in policy:
As Commander in Chief, I am deeply grateful for the service of all our men and women in uniform, and grieve for the loss of those who suffer from the wounds of war -- seen and unseen. Since taking office, I’ve been committed to removing the stigma associated with the unseen wounds of war, which is why I’ve worked to expand our mental health budgets, and ensure that all our men and women in uniform receive the care they need.
 As a next step and in consultation with the Secretary of Defense and the military chain of command, I have also decided to reverse a long-standing policy of not sending condolence letters to the families of service members who commit suicide while deployed to a combat zone.
 This decision was made after a difficult and exhaustive review of the former policy, and I did not make it lightly. This issue is emotional, painful, and complicated, but these Americans served our nation bravely. They didn’t die because they were weak. And the fact that they didn’t get the help they needed must change.
Our men and women in uniform have borne the incredible burden of our wars, and we need to do everything in our power to honor their service, and to help them stay strong for themselves, for their families and for our nation.

Need help? In the U.S., call 1-800-273-8255 for the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline.

Ilario Pantano's touching and riveting Christian testimony at Grace Baptist Church

Verne Strickland Blogmaster   July 5, 2011

Ilario Pantano described his Christian pilgrimage from Hell’s Kitchen to God before a spellbound congregation at Grace Baptist Church on a recent Sunday.

There many unforgettable detours along the way on this remarkable journey – Wall Street, Ground Zero, the first Gulf War, Iraq, a bogus murder charge debunked, the crucible of political battle, surviving life beyond the chaos of combat, withering assaults by personal and spiritual demons. 

He might have lost the last one, except for a fateful rendezvous with Jesus Christ, through the prayerful assistance and encouragement of clergy at the Wilmington Church.

Pantano’s account of his Christian evolution was told in an intense, touching, and at times emotional thirty minutes during which he was forced to pause occasionally to collect himself. His wife Jill, and a sanctuary crowded with friends and congregants, looked on. 

The former Marine officer who had killed those who would kill him was moved to tears as he relived the hell of war, and his struggle back from a broken spirit through the grace of God.

There is no way this writer can replicate the emotional impact of his testimony that morning. But these are excerpts from Ilario Pantano’s extraordinary Christian witness July 3, 2011, at Grace Baptist Church. For brevity, some of these transcribed comments have been condensed or revised.


Ilario Pantano's Christian testimony

A Navy corpsman during the Vietnam War was assigned to a group of Marines. They were on a patrol going through the jungle, and a grenade was thrown, and this man through his body on that grenade. And it didn’t go off. He said God has a sense of humor. He lived to tell the story about this experience, which earned him the Congressional Medal of Honor.

I want you to think about the action he took, because it’s really the root of why we’re here today. We’re celebrating our Lord and Savior, as we do in our hearts everyday. It really starts with John 15:13, which is exemplified by what this corpsman did: Greater love hath no man than this, that he lay down his life for his brother.

My poor testimony wouldn’t be possible without God’s grace, and the intervention of a brother from Grace Baptist Church to follow the Great Commission, which is John 15:12 – This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you.

This brother from Grace saw a Marine with tattoos and bad language who had killed all kinds of people in faraway lands, and he said, “God has laid it on my heart to reach out to you.”
I didn’t know God until my brother in this church made a decision to reach out to me. I thought I did. But I didn’t.

We are in spiritual warfare now. That’s very clear to me because I’ve been saved for two years. I was baptized here in May of 2009. But before that I had come from the world. I grew up in a culture that denies God, attacks God, attacks our faith. In giving you my story I’m hopeful that God will lay it on your heart to reach out, take the chance, have the courage to act on the Great Commission. 

I had a God-shaped hole in my heart, as we all do before we’re saved, but as a boy, I thought service was going to solve that. So at 17 I joined the Marines the first time, fought in the first Gulf War, and was a sniper after that, involved in peace-keeping operations off the coast of Yugoslavia. 

I thought I had a sense of what it meant to be a good person. But at that time, after seeing the horrors of the war, I didn’t believe there was a God. There couldn’t be a God when a sheik in the desert would sell his daughter for a box of mortar rounds. There couldn’t be a God in a world that terrible filled with flame and smoke and death – hell on earth.

I didn’t know God was working on my heart, but on September 11th, about a mile away from where I stood on a New York City street, I looked up and saw the World Trade Towers burning. I came home with my head shaved and told Jill I was going to war. We didn’t know with whom. We just knew someone out there was trying to kill us

I have been to war. Not once but three times. One of the worst fates you can suffer is when you love your country and you have a sense of military honor but that sense of honor and duty is threatened and challenged, and you actually face the death penalty for killing terrorists in defense of your own life. 

That’s what I went through. God had a plan for me. I was exonerated, was able to go back and take command of my old unit. But back home my family was receiving death threats from Pakistan. We learned from the FBI that a terror cell in Ohio has information on your mother and your wife. I was directed to come back home to comfort and assist my family. But I had a great need to be back in the war.

I started to crumble. I would be on my way to a funeral for one of my men who died in combat, and get a call that another of my Marines had been killed, so that I would be going to another funeral in two weeks. 

When I would watch little boys receiving folded American flags, while their mothers cried, I said terrible things to God. I wanted to be in that box in place of my men. Everyone who has ever come back from mortal combat deals with this confusion and guilt. Some hide it. They live among us but we don’t know them. Some finally die by their own hand because of it. All these things were going on in and around me. God was a witness. His hand was on me. I was too numb to feel it.

My insufficiency was made  clear to me when I spoke at a Gold Star Family event in Amarillo, Texas. These are families that have lost a loved one in service to our country. There were dozens of them, and I was there trying to console them. But I didn’t know Christ, so I thought I was strong enough to say meaningful things to these grieving families, but I wasn’t. I was empty and had no answers. I was still living in a world of rage, fury, death. And I was crumbling inside.

The suicides during that time were the most devastating of all. I couldn’t offer anything. And the weight of my sinful guilt, like the weight of snow can crush the limbs of a tree, was starting to crush me, starting to turn off my lights. I was withdrawing from the world. After burying one of these men who had taken his own life, my wife, who stood by me, feeling all my pain and knowing what was going on inside me, wanted so much to help. But no one on this earth could do that. And I couldn’t turn to God. I didn’t know Him.

A brother in this church had it on his heart to reach out. And he started to mentor me and visit with me. We went and sat and we would talk about faith. And God began to open the window for me so that the Gospel could shine in. In a series of events, I was convicted, and it culminated in my saying to him, “Let’s go meet your pastor right now.” I knew then that I had been led by God to this place, and the Holy Spirit was working in me. I accepted that sin was real, and I accepted that Christ paid for it in my behalf, because nothing I could do would ever wash it away. It was a defining moment in my life.

I went back to the same Armed Forces Day celebration two years later – a Christian whose life was renewed, whose finally had thankfully had begun. This time I understood the transforming work of Jesus Christ as I met families who had been crushed by the loss of their loved ones, and I was able to revive their hope and joy through the tender loving guidance of our Lord.

Now I have a need – a need to win souls for Christ. I have a need to reach our for men and women in uniform who are more broken than you can imagine because of the things their country has asked them to do – which are righteous things, but they can’t reconcile themselves to that without God. That is a duty I have been commanded to take up. With God’s grace, I have been able to take what I know now, and share that with men and women who needed that message so much. 

I continue to receive phone calls from some of my men who have called from jail, or were contemplating suicide. I am now armed with the Gospel, and have on the armor of God, and the Lord works through me to reach these desperate men and bring them back from the brink of death. It’s not about how we can put them in a program and get them some medication. It’s about Jesus Christ, and how He saves lives and souls through the transforming power of grace.

Folks, the Gospel has the power to transform lives and to save lives. Not just in eternity, but here and now. And my life, as my wife will tell you, has been transformed, through the outreach of brothers and sisters in this church. Like me, Jill has come to know Jesus Christ, my children have come to know Jesus Christ. 

We need to know how our walk with God influences those around us, those close to us. I was blessed on this past Father’s Day to receive a card from one of our boys, our nine-year-old. And it said, “To a man who is worthwhile, PLUS who loves the Marines (and he had drawn a little sword and a little gun) PLUS who loves God (and he had drawn a big cross there) EQUALS YOU."

Share such things. Live your faith. Our Lord asks us to, if we will listen. Amen. And thank you. 


Monday, July 4, 2011

The Voice of the Lord God walking in the garden in the cool of the day. Genesis 3:8.

Verne Strickland Blogmaster July 4, 2011

"The voice of the Lord God walking in the garden in the cool of the day."
--Genesis 3:8 


My soul, now that the cool of the day has come, retire awhile and hearken to the voice of thy God. He is always ready to speak with thee when thou art prepared to hear. If there be any slowness to commune it is not on His part, but altogether on thine own, for He stands at the door and knocks, and if His people will but open He rejoices to enter. 

But in what state is my heart, which is my Lord's garden? May I venture to hope that it is well trimmed and watered, and is bringing forth fruit fit for Him? If not, He will have much to reprove, but still I pray Him to come unto me, for nothing can so certainly bring my heart into a right condition as the presence of the Sun of Righteousness, who brings healing in His wings. 

Come, therefore, O Lord, my God, my soul invites Thee earnestly, and waits for Thee eagerly. Come to me, O Jesus, my well-beloved, and plant fresh flowers in my garden, such as I see blooming in such perfection in Thy matchless character! 

Come, O my Father, who art the Husbandman, and deal with me in Thy tenderness and prudence! Come, O Holy Spirit, and bedew my whole nature, as the herbs are now moistened with the evening dews. O that God would speak to me. 

Speak, Lord, for Thy servant heareth! O that He would walk with me; I am ready to give up my whole heart and mind to Him, and every other thought is hushed. I am only asking what He delights to give. I am sure that He will condescend to have fellowship with me, for He has given me His Holy Spirit to abide with me for ever. 

Sweet is the cool twilight, when every star seems like the eye of heaven, and the cool wind is as the breath of celestial love. My Father, my elder Brother, my sweet Comforter, speak now in lovingkindness, for Thou hast opened mine ear and I am not rebellious.

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Lois Dixon gets it where Ilario Pantano and Mike McIntyre are concerned. And she says it good!

Lois Dixon: American, patriot, Pantano supporter!

Finally, after more than a century, the days of democrats gerrymandering the district lines are over. We are looking forward to a fair playing field. Pantano's story and proven record is all I need to tell you that he and his family are worthy of my support, as he knows the price of life and liberty. 
He put his life on the line and was willing to make the ultimate sacrifice for your freedom and my freedom. We should all remember, freedom is not free, it comes with the precious price of life. 
Mike McIntyre has been in Washington way too long, he is like Obama and is out of touch with hard working Americans. I don't see him taking a stand to create jobs, lower taxes or cut spending, all actions that need to happen to get this country back on track. 
He is loyal to the Obama White House and talks the political talk, says one thing and does the opposite. It is all about re-election for McIntyre and Obama, not about making the difficult choices to get our country on track. They are either on vacation or campaigning, certainly not taking care of the people's best interest. We must cut spending, lower taxes and create jobs. Ilario Pantano gets it and understands fiscal responsibil


Sunday, July 3, 2011

Congressman McIntyre takes heat over lavish taxpayer-funded junket to Europe.

Verne Strickland Blogmaster / July 3, 2011
Published: Sunday, July 3, 2011 at 4:55 p.m.
Last Modified: Sunday, July 3, 2011 at 4:55 p.m.
U.S. Rep. Mike McIntyre was criticized last week for a 10-day trip to Europe at taxpayer expense, but the Democrat from Lumberton said the trip was about "economic and military security."

The trip wasn't about celebrating his 29th anniversary with his wife, Dee, McIntyre said in a phone interview from Lithuania on Wednesday night. His wife made the trip with the congressman, but McIntyre has said he was covering her expenses.
A recent article in "The Huffington Post" was critical of the trip, highlighting a blurb about the McIntyres' wedding anniversary that appeared on the trip itinerary. McIntyre said it was a coincidence that his anniversary fell during the trip and said the mention of the anniversary was just a "courtesy notation" on the schedule.
"That had nothing to do with it, and that's being entirely misconstrued," McIntyre said.
McIntyre said he was invited on the trip by the chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on Europe and Eurasia, Rep. Dan Burton, R-Ind. He said he was asked because of his dual roles as senior member of the House Armed Services Committee and as a commissioner on the U.S. Commission on Security and Cooperation in Europe, also known as the U.S. Helsinki Commission.
McIntyre was one of six House members, four of their wives and others on the 10-day trip, which took them to Rome; Tbilisi, Georgia; Vilnius, Lithuania; Moscow and Lisbon.
The first stop was Rome, where McIntyre said the visit was centered around the fact that Italy is implementing policies to help stabilize the European financial markets in light of financial problems in Greece, Portugal, Ireland and elsewhere.

"We live in a global economy. What is happening in the European financial markets will affect American businesses, American jobs and our neighborhood banks," he said.

The other reason behind the trip was from an armed services perspective, McIntyre said. Italy is a key American ally in Europe, he said, and U.S. military presence on five bases in Italy allows power projection through Europe, the Mediterranean, Africa and the Middle East. Italy has also increased its police and military trainers in Afghanistan and has helped address the Libyan conflict, the congressman said.

Georgia, McIntyre said, recently doubled its troops in Afghanistan, and has become a "shining example of democracy and free enterprise."

Lithuania, where McIntyre was when he called, has special forces operating along the Pakistani border and is working closely with U.S. Special Forces.

Also in Lithuania, McIntyre was to speak at the Community of Democracies' Parliamentary Forum for Democracy.

"From Bosnia and Kosovo to the recent events in North Africa and the Middle East, there is a sweeping popular demand for democratic rule," McIntyre said. "When nations embrace democratic rule, it is one of our best weapons against tyranny and terrorism."

McIntyre then spent time in Moscow and Lisbon and was set to return over the weekend to attend Fourth of July events in the 7th Congressional District.

Hannah Block Historic USA Foundation Special Event -- USO Building, Downtown Wilmington, July 4th, 2011

Verne Strickland Blogmaster / July 3, 2011
On Monday, July 4th , 2011, the Hannah Block Historic USO, one of only a handful of WWII USO structures remaining in the United States, will host Step up for Soldiers to celebrate and honor our servicemen and women, both currently serving and veterans, as well as their families with an old-fashioned cookout and 4th of July celebration. 

Step Up for Soldiers, founded by Tom Russell a retired New York Ports Authority Police Officer and US Army Veteran serving in the Vietnam War, is a nonprofit charity organization that reaches out to members of the United States military who were sent overseas in response to that 9/11 attack and strives to support those military personal who return home with injuries so that they may rehabilitate at home with their families.

The Hannah Block USO, located at 120 S. Second Street will open at 12 noon for self-guided tours of the restored lobby, which features displays, photo murals, reproduction furniture and other items that interpret Wilmington's history as "America's World War II City" as well as the newly dedicated World War II Aviators Memorial. Be sure to visit the new Community Gallery as well, currently exhibiting the stained glass work of Niki Hildebrand and wood sculpture by Burt Millette.

At 4 PM, local Historian Wilbur Jones will present a lecture on the history of the Second & Orange USO. At 5 PM Step Up for Soldiers will be serving up an Old Fashioned Cookout. A suggested $10 donation to Step up for Soldiers feeds the entire family!

At 6:00 prepare to Jitter Bug & Jive as the Duke Ladd Combo will be providing musical entertainment featuring Standard & Big Band tunes. At 7 PM a special presentation by the National Sojourners will interpret our Nation's Flag.

The evening will conclude at 9 PM with the 15th Annual Battleship Blast fireworks display over the beautiful Cape Fear River. For more information please contact Tom Russell with Step Up for Soldiers at 910.297.4981 or Jennifer Coxe with the Hannah Block Historic USO/Community Arts Center at 910.341.7860. /

Actually, what can I, Verne Strickland, humble blogger, add that is of value to this?

Verne Strickland Blogmaster  July 3, 2001

Bill Clinton Debt Ceiling
Barack and Billy Bob -- two peas in a pod. Long may they run.

New NC Redistricting maps promise to add GOP seats in U.S. Congress. Squabbles erupt.

Verne Strickland Blogmaster June 3, 2011


by BETH SHAYNE / NewsChannel 36
Bio | Email | Follow: @
Posted on July 2, 2011 at 9:08 AM
Updated yesterday at 11:59 AM 

As many as four Democratic members of Congress from North Carolina could find it much harder to win re-election under redistricted boundaries proposed Friday by Republican state lawmakers.

The draft of a redistricted map would increase the percentages of GOP voters in the 8th district, represented by Larry Kissell, the 13th District of U.S. Rep. Brad Miller, the 11th Congressional District represented by U.S. Rep. Heath Shuler, and U.S. Rep. Mike McIntyre's 7th district.

Of North Carolina's 13 representatives, 7 are Democrats. Six are Republicans. The GOP gained only one seat in the wave of Republican wins in 2010. With that in mind, Republicans in charge of the effort presented it as an effort to make North Carolina more competitive.

"While we have not been ignorant of the partisan impacts of the districts we have created, we have focused on ensuring that the districts will be more competitive than the districts created by the 2001 Legislature," said a statement from Rep. David Lewis, R-Harnett, and state Sen. Bob Rucho, R-Mecklenburg, chairmen of the Legislature's redistricting committees.
Kissell, whose district will take in portions of GOP-friendly Randolph, Rowan and Davidson county, called it gerrymandering.

"Mine is not a Democratic or Republican agenda, it is the American agenda, an agenda that people of every political stripe can and do support. I plan to seek re-election, return to Congress and continue the fight on behalf of my constituents.

Should this proposed map pass muster with the courts and become the final map, I will welcome Rowan, Davidson, Randolph and Robeson counties into the 8th District and fight for them as I have fought for the current 8th District," Rep. Kissell said in a statement.

Jay Parmley, executive director of the North Carolina Democratic Party, said Republicans overreached by creating a map that tries to favor their candidates in a state that's been politically competitive for the past decade. Republicans had a majority of the state's delegation just five years ago. "I would call it Republican greed," he said.

From his Matthews home Friday, Rucho told NewsChannel 36 the map is both fair and legal.

The process of redistricting is triggered each year by new population estimates totalled by the 10-year federal census. However, the process is generally considered political, as it is controlled by the party in power in each state. In 2001, during the last redistricting, North Carolina's legislature was held by Democrats.

Public hearings on the maps will be held next week, and new maps with districts for NC House and Senate elections will be released July 11. The Republicans want to approve congressional and legislative districts by the end of July. They have to be approved by the U.S. Justice Department or a federal court to comply with the 1965 Voting Rights Act, to ensure that they are free of discrimination against minorities.

The NC NAACP has already charged that they do not pass the discrimination test. In a statement Friday night, NAACP president Rev. William Barber called the map "a frontal attack on civil and voting rights," writing, ""Another major concern is that five counties covered by Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act are being removed from the 1st Congressional District. In the heavily African-American area of Eastern North Carolina, this district was developed intentionally to overcome years of disenfranchisement and voter exclusion."

The maps were changed to reflect an additional 1.5 million residents in North Carolina since the 2000 Census. But the increase wasn't enough for the state to gain another U.S. House seat, as it did in the two previous redistricting cycles. The maps must be redrawn so a near-equal number are in each district -- 733,499.

The Associated Press contributed.
Online Proposed North Carolina congressional district map: