Notice

I am working on the template of this blog today in order to chase down some problems that have developed with my template and widgets.

Macon County Commissioners

Coverage of the meetings of the Macon County Board of County Commissioners.

Franklin Town Board of Aldermen

Coverage of the meetings of the Franklin Town Board of Aldermen.

Macon County School Board

Coverage of the meetings of the Macon County School Board.

Photoblog

Photos from my photoblog.

Nothing is here yet

I haven't decided what to put here yet, so look at this pretty photo.

Sunday, July 31, 2011

Drake Enterprises Donates WPFJ to Toccoa Falls College


Banner from the WPFJ website


The local Christian radio station has been 'donated' to Toccoa Falls College and the on air content will be delivered from there. No word on what will happen to the local talent or to what relationship the new ownership will have with Drake Enterprises owned Dalton's Christian Bookstore and the Smoky Mountain Center for the Performing Arts, which have been heavily advertised on WPFJ. "The Dove".

Drake Enterprises was established in 1977 and incorporated in North Carolina. Current estimates show this company has an annual revenue of $75,000,000 and employs a staff of approximately 500.  It owns numerous other local businesses in the Franklin area, including:

1040.com
Drake Software
Dnet  
For Rent in the Mountains
Premiere Marketing
Macon Printing
Liberty Wood Products
Providence Buildeers
Dalton's Christian Bookstore
Tech Place
WPFJ (now donated to Toccoa Falls College)
WNC Sport Zone
The Athlete's Foot
The Franklin Golf Course
The Fun Factory
The Real Estate Buyer's Guide
The Boiler Room Steak House


Drake Enterprises is also involved in building a shopping center in the Frogtown area of Franklin, NC.

Here is the Press Release regarding the donation of the radio station:


TOCCOA FALLS RADIO NOW HEARD OVER AM 1480 WPFJ

Franklin, North Carolina -- August 1, 2011 -- Today operational control and ownership of AM
1480 WPFJ has transferred from Drake Enterprises over to Toccoa Falls College. “We are excited
about the new opportunities WRAF brings to Macon county listeners by keeping Christian radio
available in Franklin while expanding its community supported, non-profit programming to
Western North Carolina. ” Drake Enterprises owner, Phil Drake said about the donation.
Toccoa Falls College operates a network of non-commercial Christian radio stations in northeast
Georgia and the western Carolinas. Their flagship station, WRAF, can be heard in parts of the
region on 90.9 FM, 100.9 FM and now 1480 AM. WRAF’s programming is very similar to that
previously heard on WPFJ. Contemporary Christian music (Chris Tomlin, Michael W. Smith,
Hillsong) is featured during the morning and afternoon commute while Southern Gospel
(Gaither Vocal Band, Greater Vision, The Hoppers) is played at lunch time. The acquisition of
WPFJ will allow WRAF to upgrade the translator at 100.9 and have an FM quality signal that
covers Franklin and beyond.

WRAF station manager Bryan Race noted; “Many of the same programs listeners of WPFJ
previously enjoyed will continue to be heard over AM 1480 including: Focus On The Family,
Turning Point with David Jeremiah, and Adventures in Odyssey.” Race also said; “WRAF airs
some of the ministry short features WPFJ listeners have enjoyed over the years from Ken Davis,
Ron Hutchcraft, Chuck Bentley, and Ken Ham.” The similarity in the format between WPFJ and
WRAF along with Toccoa Falls’ commitment to compellingly communicating the Gospel from a
conservative and evangelical perspective, were major reasons behind Drake Enterprises choice
to donate the station to the college.

WRAF has been broadcasting as a listener-supported ministry since 1980. Regular donations
from over 10,000 local listeners and churches make it possible for the station to play popular
preaching and Bible teaching programs from: Chuck Swindoll, Charles Stanley, James Dobson,
Joni Eareckson Tada, Chuck Colson, Kay Arthur and many more of the nation’s premier Christian
radio ministries.

Just as many other stations have expanded their listenership to include anyone with an internet
connection or who owns a Smartphone, WRAF can be heard via iPhone and Android apps and
through AudioNow, a service allowing anyone to listen by calling 678-804-6378. Listeners can
also interact with Toccoa Falls Radio and its DJ’s on Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube. A
complete program schedule along with a live audio feed is available on the Toccoa Falls Radio
website at www.myfavoritestation.net.

About Toccoa Falls College

Toccoa Falls College is considered one of the top Christian colleges in the nation. It consistently
ranks in the top 50 colleges in the country according to US News and World Report. The
campus, which is located in the foothills of northeast Georgia, consists of more than 1,100 acres
and is bordered by national forest. The natural beauty of the area is breathtaking and provides
endless opportunities for outside activities like hiking, whitewater activities, camping and much
more.

The motto of the school is “Where Character is Developed with Intellect.” Degree programs
include: Business Administration, Biology, Cross-Cultural Studies, Teacher Education,
Counseling-Psychology, Biblical Studies, English, and much more. A high percentage of the
graduates of Toccoa Falls go on to receive further degrees related to fields of study. They also
serve in a wide range of secular and non-secular vocations around the world.
For more information about Toccoa Falls College and a complete degree listing, please visit
www.tfc.edu or call 1-888-785-5624.

Contact:
Bryan Race
WRAF Station Manager
800.251.8326
radio@myfavoritestation.net



The Dove


Commentary

I'll miss seeing the 1480-AM The Dove van at local events (pictured above). They were the only radio station that provided live coverage of local festivals due to the influence of Brenda Wooten, who is a local legend of local ive broadcasting. She worked at WRFR-FM(now WNCC-FM)/WFSC-AM for years and could be counted on to be broadcasting from local businesses and events. This also means that all the "local" radio stations will be owned by companies out of Georgia. WNCC-FM and WFSC-AM are owned by Georgia-Carolina Radiocasting. And two of the four newspapers in Macon County are also owned by a company in Georgia.


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A Chart that Explains the Entire Financial Crisis

One Chart That Explains the Entire Financial Crisis


The chart above appeared on this recent CD post showing the close historical relationship between: a) the U.S. homeownership rate, and b) the share of mortgages for home purchases with a 3% down payment or less (97% loan-to-value ratio or higher), especially starting in about 1995 when they both increased sharply.


Source: Seeking Alpha


There are no shortage of opinions on what caused our current economic crisis. The numbers on the chart at the top of this post make a very strong case for what the cause of the housing bubble was...easy credit. Then video that follows the chart makes a very strong case as for who is responsible for the housing bubble. You should remember this when you go to vote in 2012.

Here are some more articles on the above topics for you to read:

How Urban Planners Caused the Housing Bubble

Monetary Policy and the Housing Bubble

Who caused the housing bubble?

What Caused the Great Recession of 2008-2009?

And for those who've been thinking that they see a light at the end of the tunnel, I suggest that they are seeing a locomotive coming our way. Read The Great Recession Just Became Greater for more on that, with an short excerpt from the article posted below:

And the revisions to the worst quarters of the “Great Recession” were even more depressing, with 4Q-2008 pushed down an additional 2.12% to an annualized “growth” rate of -8.90%. The first quarter of 2009 was similarly downgraded, dropping another 1.78% to a devilishly low -6.66% “growth” rate. And the cumulative decline from 4Q-2007 “peak” to 2Q-2009 “trough” in real GDP was revised downward nearly 50 basis points to -5.14%, now officially over halfway to the technical definition of a full fledged depression.

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Weekly Republican Address for 07-30-2011


The Republican Address for this week was given by Senator Jon Kyl of Arizona


Note: It would greatly help those of us who post these things if the GOP Conference would make the material available in the same place from week to week instead of posting them to random places and not even bothering to post photos every week. The GOP Conference website is still highlighting info from last week's address. /end rant  --TP




This week's weekly Republican address was given by Senator Jon Kyl of Arizona.


Transcript:


“Good morning. I am Senate Republican Whip Jon Kyl of Arizona.


“By now, most Americans know that lawmakers in Washington are engaged in a difficult debate about the nation’s ‘debt ceiling,’ the legal limit to the amount of money the federal government can borrow.


“The debt ceiling is currently set at a little more than 14 trillion dollars, and if Congress and the President don’t reach an agreement to raise it by this coming Tuesday, the Treasury Secretary tells us America will no longer be able to pay all its bills.


“The consequences of missing this deadline could be severe, precisely because Washington borrows so much money – more than 40 cents out of every dollar it spends. So, spending would have to shrink by 40 percent very quickly.


“What’s more, markets would likely respond, dropping in value and hurting the retirement savings of millions of Americans.


“Republicans have tried to work with Democrats to avoid this result and put our country on a better path, but we need them to work with us.


“We start from the understanding that the reason the debt ceiling is a problem is because of runaway Washington spending. So, Republicans have been united in the belief that raising the debt ceiling without making significant spending reductions would be irresponsible.


“With debt crises rolling across Europe, we know it is only a matter of time before people start to question whether America can sustain its huge and growing debt.


“If we don’t do something about our spending problem now, the scenes we’ve seen playing out all across Europe could happen in America.


“If we don’t change the way Washington operates, we will not get control of our government, or our future.


“In short, we hoped that the need to increase the debt ceiling could be an opportunity to make some very hard decisions to reduce government spending.


“Unfortunately, after weeks of negotiations, it became clear that Democrats in Washington did not view this crisis as an opportunity to rein in spending. Instead, they saw it as an opportunity to impose huge tax increases on American families and small businesses.


“President Obama is simply too committed to the European-style of big government that his policies have set in motion. To Democrats in Washington, the answer isn’t to cut spending, but to raise taxes and keep on spending.


“Democrats claim they would only target the privileged few. But behind the scenes they argue for much broader tax increases.


“The simple fact is, in order to afford the kind of government this President wants, taxes would have to be increased dramatically – and for middle income Americans, not just on the wealthy.


“Job-killing tax increases are the wrong medicine for our struggling economy. Back in 2009, President Obama admitted that you don’t raise taxes in the middle of a recession. This advice is just as true today.


“At the moment, more than 14 million Americans are looking for work and can’t find it. According to economists, a healthy economy is one in which unemployment is around 5%. The unemployment rate today is 9.2%.


“And we got more bad news yesterday: our economy grew at an annual rate of just 1.3% in the second quarter and the first quarter growth was downgraded to just four tenths of one percent. Raising taxes will only make this worse. And prolonging the debt crisis will only add to the ongoing economic uncertainty.


“Republicans believe we must solve our debt crisis – and we believe we can solve it if Democrats will work with us. No one will get everything they want, and we can’t solve all of our problems at once, but surely we can reach an agreement that will increase the debt ceiling, impose accountability, and begin reducing the size of our federal government.


“That may not be what some in Washington really want. But it’s what Americans, and the American economy, really need.”






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Saturday, July 30, 2011

Boehner to Democrats: "Put Something on the Table!"










Speaker Boehner makes his point on the floor of the US House of Representatives yesterday regarding his attempts to solve the debt Ceiling Crisis.


Note: The US House subsequently passed his plan (with 22 Republicans and all 188 Dems in the US House opposing). The US Senate then promptly tabled the Boehner Plan and began work on a Democrat Plan instead. 


The text of the Budget Control Act of 2011, which the US Senate tabled in favor of writing their own plan.

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Friday, July 29, 2011

Debt Ceiling Negotiations Continue




Chart Source: Business Insider


Unless you've been under a rock for the past six months, you will have heard about the controversy surrounding whether or not to raise the debt ceiling. 

To help you understand what is going on, here is a video from The Heritage Foundation that explains the problem in simple, understandable terms from the conservative point of view:




A liberal point of view can be found on progressive website The Huffington Post.

The negotiations on the debt ceiling are coming closer to a head, with both President Obama and Senator Boehner having staked out positions in their respective corners. 

President Obama wants the debt ceiling raised without negotiations and has attempted to leverage his campaign army to back his position. Watch his speech below.




Transcript:


As Prepared for Delivery –

Good evening. Tonight, I want to talk about the debate we’ve been having in Washington over the national debt – a debate that directly affects the lives of all Americans. 

For the last decade, we have spent more money than we take in. In the year 2000, the government had a budget surplus. But instead of using it to pay off our debt, the money was spent on trillions of dollars in new tax cuts, while two wars and an expensive prescription drug program were simply added to our nation’s credit card. 

As a result, the deficit was on track to top $1 trillion the year I took office. To make matters worse, the recession meant that there was less money coming in, and it required us to spend even more – on tax cuts for middle-class families; on unemployment insurance; on aid to states so we could prevent more teachers and firefighters and police officers from being laid off. These emergency steps also added to the deficit. 

Now, every family knows that a little credit card debt is manageable. But if we stay on the current path, our growing debt could cost us jobs and do serious damage to the economy. More of our tax dollars will go toward paying off the interest on our loans. Businesses will be less likely to open up shop and hire workers in a country that can’t balance its books. Interest rates could climb for everyone who borrows money – the homeowner with a mortgage, the student with a college loan, the corner store that wants to expand. And we won’t have enough money to make job-creating investments in things like education and infrastructure, or pay for vital programs like Medicare and Medicaid. 

Because neither party is blameless for the decisions that led to this problem, both parties have a responsibility to solve it. And over the last several months, that’s what we’ve been trying to do. I won’t bore you with the details of every plan or proposal, but basically, the debate has centered around two different approaches. 

The first approach says, let’s live within our means by making serious, historic cuts in government spending. Let’s cut domestic spending to the lowest level it’s been since Dwight Eisenhower was President. Let’s cut defense spending at the Pentagon by hundreds of billions of dollars. Let’s cut out the waste and fraud in health care programs like Medicare – and at the same time, let’s make modest adjustments so that Medicare is still there for future generations. Finally, let’s ask the wealthiest Americans and biggest corporations to give up some of their tax breaks and special deductions.

This balanced approach asks everyone to give a little without requiring anyone to sacrifice too much. It would reduce the deficit by around $4 trillion and put us on a path to pay down our debt. And the cuts wouldn’t happen so abruptly that they’d be a drag on our economy, or prevent us from helping small business and middle-class families get back on their feet right now. 

This approach is also bipartisan. While many in my own party aren’t happy with the painful cuts it makes, enough will be willing to accept them if the burden is fairly shared. While Republicans might like to see deeper cuts and no revenue at all, there are many in the Senate who have said “Yes, I’m willing to put politics aside and consider this approach because I care about solving the problem.” And to his credit, this is the kind of approach the Republican Speaker of the House, John Boehner, was working on with me over the last several weeks. 

The only reason this balanced approach isn’t on its way to becoming law right now is because a significant number of Republicans in Congress are insisting on a cuts-only approach – an approach that doesn’t ask the wealthiest Americans or biggest corporations to contribute anything at all. And because nothing is asked of those at the top of the income scales, such an approach would close the deficit only with more severe cuts to programs we all care about – cuts that place a greater burden on working families.

So the debate right now isn’t about whether we need to make tough choices. Democrats and Republicans agree on the amount of deficit reduction we need. The debate is about how it should be done. Most Americans, regardless of political party, don’t understand how we can ask a senior citizen to pay more for her Medicare before we ask corporate jet owners and oil companies to give up tax breaks that other companies don’t get. How can we ask a student to pay more for college before we ask hedge fund managers to stop paying taxes at a lower rate than their secretaries? How can we slash funding for education and clean energy before we ask people like me to give up tax breaks we don’t need and didn’t ask for? 

That’s not right. It’s not fair. We all want a government that lives within its means, but there are still things we need to pay for as a country – things like new roads and bridges; weather satellites and food inspection; services to veterans and medical research. 

Keep in mind that under a balanced approach, the 98% of Americans who make under $250,000 would see no tax increases at all. None. In fact, I want to extend the payroll tax cut for working families. What we’re talking about under a balanced approach is asking Americans whose incomes have gone up the most over the last decade – millionaires and billionaires – to share in the sacrifice everyone else has to make. And I think these patriotic Americans are willing to pitch in. In fact, over the last few decades, they’ve pitched in every time we passed a bipartisan deal to reduce the deficit. The first time a deal passed, a predecessor of mine made the case for a balanced approach by saying this:

“Would you rather reduce deficits and interest rates by raising revenue from those who are not now paying their fair share, or would you rather accept larger budget deficits, higher interest rates, and higher unemployment? And I think I know your answer.”

Those words were spoken by Ronald Reagan. But today, many Republicans in the House refuse to consider this kind of balanced approach – an approach that was pursued not only by President Reagan, but by the first President Bush, President Clinton, myself, and many Democrats and Republicans in the United States Senate. So we are left with a stalemate. 

Now, what makes today’s stalemate so dangerous is that it has been tied to something known as the debt ceiling – a term that most people outside of Washington have probably never heard of before. 

Understand – raising the debt ceiling does not allow Congress to spend more money. It simply gives our country the ability to pay the bills that Congress has already racked up. In the past, raising the debt ceiling was routine. Since the 1950s, Congress has always passed it, and every President has signed it. President Reagan did it 18 times. George W. Bush did it 7 times. And we have to do it by next Tuesday, August 2nd, or else we won’t be able to pay all of our bills. 

Unfortunately, for the past several weeks, Republican House members have essentially said that the only way they’ll vote to prevent America’s first-ever default is if the rest of us agree to their deep, spending cuts-only approach. 

If that happens, and we default, we would not have enough money to pay all of our bills – bills that include monthly Social Security checks, veterans’ benefits, and the government contracts we’ve signed with thousands of businesses. 

For the first time in history, our country’s Triple A credit rating would be downgraded, leaving investors around the world to wonder whether the United States is still a good bet. Interest rates would skyrocket on credit cards, mortgages, and car loans, which amounts to a huge tax hike on the American people. We would risk sparking a deep economic crisis – one caused almost entirely by Washington.

Defaulting on our obligations is a reckless and irresponsible outcome to this debate. And Republican leaders say that they agree we must avoid default. But the new approach that Speaker Boehner unveiled today, which would temporarily extend the debt ceiling in exchange for spending cuts, would force us to once again face the threat of default just six months from now. In other words, it doesn’t solve the problem. 

First of all, a six-month extension of the debt ceiling might not be enough to avoid a credit downgrade and the higher interest rates that all Americans would have to pay as a result. We know what we have to do to reduce our deficits; there’s no point in putting the economy at risk by kicking the can further down the road. 

But there’s an even greater danger to this approach. Based on what we’ve seen these past few weeks, we know what to expect six months from now. The House will once again refuse to prevent default unless the rest of us accept their cuts-only approach. Again, they will refuse to ask the wealthiest Americans to give up their tax cuts or deductions. Again, they will demand harsh cuts to programs like Medicare. And once again, the economy will be held captive unless they get their way. 

That is no way to run the greatest country on Earth. It is a dangerous game we’ve never played before, and we can’t afford to play it now. Not when the jobs and livelihoods of so many families are at stake. We can’t allow the American people to become collateral damage to Washington’s political warfare. 

Congress now has one week left to act, and there are still paths forward. The Senate has introduced a plan to avoid default, which makes a down payment on deficit reduction and ensures that we don’t have to go through this again in six months. 

I think that’s a much better path, although serious deficit reduction would still require us to tackle the tough challenges of entitlement and tax reform. Either way, I have told leaders of both parties that they must come up with a fair compromise in the next few days that can pass both houses of Congress – a compromise I can sign. And I am confident we can reach this compromise. Despite our disagreements, Republican leaders and I have found common ground before. And I believe that enough members of both parties will ultimately put politics aside and help us make progress.

I realize that a lot of the new members of Congress and I don’t see eye-to-eye on many issues. But we were each elected by some of the same Americans for some of the same reasons. Yes, many want government to start living within its means. And many are fed up with a system in which the deck seems stacked against middle-class Americans in favor of the wealthiest few. But do you know what people are fed up with most of all? 

They’re fed up with a town where compromise has become a dirty word. They work all day long, many of them scraping by, just to put food on the table. And when these Americans come home at night, bone-tired, and turn on the news, all they see is the same partisan three-ring circus here in Washington. They see leaders who can’t seem to come together and do what it takes to make life just a little bit better for ordinary Americans. They are offended by that. And they should be. 

The American people may have voted for divided government, but they didn’t vote for a dysfunctional government. So I’m asking you all to make your voice heard. If you want a balanced approach to reducing the deficit, let your Member of Congress know. If you believe we can solve this problem through compromise, send that message.

America, after all, has always been a grand experiment in compromise. As a democracy made up of every race and religion, where every belief and point of view is welcomed, we have put to the test time and again the proposition at the heart of our founding: that out of many, we are one. We have engaged in fierce and passionate debates about the issues of the day, but from slavery to war, from civil liberties to questions of economic justice, we have tried to live by the words that Jefferson once wrote: “Every man cannot have his way in all things…Without this mutual disposition, we are disjointed individuals, but not a society.” 

History is scattered with the stories of those who held fast to rigid ideologies and refused to listen to those who disagreed. But those are not the Americans we remember. We remember the Americans who put country above self, and set personal grievances aside for the greater good. We remember the Americans who held this country together during its most difficult hours; who put aside pride and party to form a more perfect union. 

That’s who we remember. That’s who we need to be right now. The entire world is watching. So let’s seize this moment to show why the United States of America is still the greatest nation on Earth – not just because we can still keep our word and meet our obligations, but because we can still come together as one nation. Thank you, God bless you, and may God bless the United States of America. 



Representative Boehner has made his position clear, and Republican voters have made their position clear. Watch his response to the President below.


Transcript:


Good evening. I'm John Boehner. I serve as Speaker of the whole House -- of the members of both parties that you elect. These are difficult times in the life of our nation. Millions are looking for work, have been for some time, and the spending binge going on in Washington is a big part of the reason why.

Before I served in Congress, I ran a small business in Ohio. I was amazed at how different Washington DC operated than every business in America. Where most American business make the hard choices to pay their bills and live within their means, in Washington more spending and more debt is business as usual.

I've got news for Washington - those days are over.

President Obama came to Congress in January and requested business as usual -- yet another routine increase in the national debt limit -- we in the House said 'not so fast.' Here was the president, asking for the largest debt increase in American history, on the heels of the largest spending binge in American history.

Here's what we got for that spending binge: a massive health care bill that most Americans never asked for. A 'stimulus' bill that was more effective in producing material for late-night comedians than it was in producing jobs. And a national debt that has gotten so out of hand it has sparked a crisis without precedent in my lifetime or yours.

The United States cannot default on its debt obligations. The jobs and savings of too many Americans are at stake.

What we told the president in January was this: the American people will not accept an increase in the debt limit without significant spending cuts and reforms.

And over the last six months, we've done our best to convince the president to partner with us to do something dramatic to change the fiscal trajectory of our country. . .something that will boost confidence in our economy, renew a measure of faith in our government, and help small businesses get back on track.

Last week, the House passed such a plan, and with bipartisan support. It's called the 'Cut, Cap, and Balance' Act. It CUTS and CAPS government spending and paves the way for a Balanced Budget Amendment to the Constitution, which we believe is the best way to stop Washington from spending money it doesn't have. Before we even passed the bill in the House, the President said he would veto it.

I want you to know I made a sincere effort to work with the president to identify a path forward that would implement the principles of Cut, Cap, & Balance in a manner that could secure bipartisan support and be signed into law. I gave it my all.

Unfortunately, the president would not take yes for an answer. Even when we thought we might be close on an agreement, the president's demands changed.

The president has often said we need a 'balanced' approach -- which in Washington means: we spend more... you pay more. Having run a small business, I know those tax increases will destroy jobs.

The president is adamant that we cannot make fundamental changes to our entitlement programs. As the father of two daughters, I know these programs won't be there for them and their kids unless significant action is taken now.

The sad truth is that the president wanted a blank check six months ago, and he wants a blank check today. That is just not going to happen.

You see, there is no stalemate in Congress. The House has passed a bill to raise the debt limit with bipartisan support. And this week, while the Senate is struggling to pass a bill filled with phony accounting and Washington gimmicks, we will pass another bill - one that was developed with the support of the bipartisan leadership of the U.S. Senate.

Obviously, I expect that bill can and will pass the Senate, and be sent to the President for his signature. If the President signs it, the 'crisis' atmosphere he has created will simply disappear. The debt limit will be raised. Spending will be cut by more than one trillion dollars, and a serious, bipartisan committee of the Congress will begin the hard but necessary work of dealing with the tough challenges our nation faces.

The individuals doing this work will not be outsiders, but elected representatives of the people, doing the job they were elected to do as outlined in the Constitution. Those decisions should be made based on how they will affect people who are struggling to get a job, not how they affect some politician's chances of getting reelected.

This debate isn't about President Obama and House Republicans ... it isn't about Congress and the White House ... it's about what's standing between the American people and the future we seek for ourselves and our families.

You know, I've always believed, the bigger government, the smaller the people. And right now, we have a government so big and so expensive it's sapping the drive of our people and keeping our economy from running at full capacity.

The solution to this crisis is not complicated: if you're spending more money than you're taking in, you need to spend less of it,

There is no symptom of big government more menacing than our debt. Break its grip, and we begin to liberate our economy and our future.

We are up to the task, and I hope President Obama will join us in this work.

God bless you and your families, and God bless America.




Yesterday, Senator McConnell also addressed the issue at the beginning of the Us Senate Session. I have included video and a transcript of his remarks below:


Transcript of Senator McConnell's remarks:

Madam President, yesterday afternoon the White House issued a Statement of Administration Policy which said that when the legislation Speaker Boehner is now revising reaches the President's desk, unnamed senior advisers will recommend that the President veto it.

I have a question for these senior advisers: what about this legislation is so offensive that you would rather see the Nation default on its obligations than have the President sign it into law?

From what I can tell, the only thing in this bill the President has not already expressed his support for either publicly or privately is that it does not get him through his election without having to engage in another national discussion about the debt crisis that has brought us to this point.

So I would ask these senior advisers whether that is a position they want to put the President in. Do they really intend to suggest that he veto the Nation into default for political reasons?

That is how I read the threat. And I think that is how the rest of the country would read it too.

So this morning I would like to reiterate my strong support for Speaker Boehner, the House Republican leadership and this plan to prevent default and reduce Washington spending.

I also want to commend the Speaker for his efforts and his determination.

This has not been an easy process, but I hope through it all the Nation sees how hard the Speaker has worked to ensure our Nation avoids calamity while safeguarding the American dream.
The Nation has had a chance to see the Speaker at his best over the past few days.
Unlike the President, he not only put forward actual legislation to prevent this crisis, he is keeping his promise to cut spending more than any increase in the debt limit--with no tax hikes.

What about the President's plan? When asked about the President's plan, his aides point to a speech and a veto threat.

With all due respect, Congress cannot vote on a speech, and a veto threat would not prevent default. The fact is Republicans have offered the only proposal at this point that attempts to get at the root of the problem and which actually has a chance of getting to the President's desk.

That is why we will continue to press for the legislation Speaker Boehner has proposed, and that is why we will fight against anything that pretends to solve the problem but doesn't--including the bill from Senate Democrats that proposes the largest debt limit increase in history, while falling $ 1/2 trillion short on the cuts it claims to provide.

This crisis our Nation faces at this moment has a very simple cause and is easily understood: Washington spends a lot more money every year than it takes in. Do that every year and the debt piles up. Now we have reached the point where our deficits and debt are so large they are suffocating job growth, threatening the wider economy, and imperiling entitlements.

It took more than two centuries for Washington to amass a debt of $10.6 trillion. But just 2 1/2 years after President Obama swore the oath of office, it is higher by more than one-third. Based on the President's actual policies, the situation is expected to get much worse.

In just 5 years' time, under President Obama's budget plan, the Federal Government will spend almost as much money just to cover the interest on its debt as it will on national defense. Over the next 10 years, the President's policies will add more than $9 trillion to the debt.

This is why S & P revised its long-term credit outlook for the United States, not because we haven't authorized the President to spend more money but because he is asking for so much of it.

Yet, incredibly, the President's budgets would do nothing to reverse this trend. So he can claim to be interested in a solution, but what he put on paper makes the problem worse.

Right now, the President is asking Congress to raise the debt ceiling by more than it has ever been raised before in our history--even as the Nation is teetering on the edge of a crisis caused by that very debt.
Let me repeat, our Nation is facing a crisis because of the size of our debt, and the President of the United States, the man Americans elect to be the steward of our economy, is threatening to veto any bill that doesn't add more than $2 trillion to the debt ceiling, the largest increase in history.

The President is not taking a stand on cuts. He is not taking a stand on reform to entitlements. He is not insisting on reforms. Forget all that. What he wants more than anything else is more room under the debt ceiling to get him through the election. He has said that is his bottom line.

I remain as committed as ever to resolving this crisis in a way that will allow us to avoid default without raising taxes and to cut spending without budget gimmicks.

There is only one option that does that and that is the one Speaker Boehner has proposed, and that is being improved as we speak.

I yield the floor. 



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Thursday, July 28, 2011

NC General Assembly
07-28-2011 Legislative Calendar
Links to Bills and Live Audio Feeds



The North Carolina General Assembly will convene today in accordance with the Adjournment Resolution here is the schedule for today. There are committee meetings and sessions of the NC Senate and the NC House
 currently scheduled for today. They are expected to vote on maps and proposed amendments that will define the new district maps in North Carolina and on others items as delineated in the calendar below. 

If you cannot listen to these meetings live, check back later to see if I have. If I have, I'll post the audio (and a download link) for the meeting in the calendar. You can also follow what is happening in the NC General Assembly by keeping an eye on the hashtag #ncga on Twitter.

If I haven't been able to listen, please check with Voter Radio. You should already be subscribing to their podcasts anyway. I do. 
ʘ‿ʘ



Link for audio webcasts by room. The old linking system no longer works.


9:00 AM
Rules, Calendar, and Operations of the House (House)
Adjournment Resolution -2. (H938)
1327 LB
10:00 AM
Session Convenes (House)

ADOPTION OF CONFERENCE REPORT

SB 315 Conference Report - Daniel, D. Berger and Brock (Primary Sponsors) - ROADSIDE 
CAMPAIGN SIGNS. (Conference Report) 

UNFINISHED BUSINESS
RECONSIDERATION OF VETOED BILLS

HB 351 Lewis, T. Moore, and Killian (Primary Sponsors) - RESTORE CONFIDENCE IN 
GOVERNMENT. (Vetoed by Governor - 6/23/11)
(Veto Override Vote Reconsidered - 7/26/11) (Ratified Edition)

HB 482 Burr - WATER SUPPLY LINES/WATER VIOLATION WAIVERS. 
(Vetoed by Governor - 6/27/11) (Ratified Edition)

SB 709 Rucho, Brown and Tucker (Primary Sponsors) - ENERGY JOBS ACT. 
(Vetoed by Governor - 6/30/11) (Ratified Edition)

SB 727 Hise - NO DUES CHECKOFF FOR SCHOOL EMPLOYEES. 
(Vetoed by Governor - 6/18/11) (Ratified Edition)
House
10:00 AM
Session Convenes (Senate)

LOCAL BILLS

HB 719 Brawley 3rd Ed. SUSPENSION REMOVED WHEN ELIGIBILITY MET. S Com Sub
4/27 Judiciary II 7/27 Unfav Com Sub; Sen Judiciary II Com Sub Adopted (Chgs title); Rules Susp 
3/5ths Vote; Cal today; Apodaca Amd No. 1 Adopted; Graham Amd No. 2  Failed; Robinson Amd No. 3 Failed; Vaughan Amd No. 4 Failed; Passed 2nd Rdg OMNIBUS LOCAL ELECTION LAWS.

PUBLIC BILLS
RECONSIDERATION OF VETOED BILL

HB 854 (Id S 769) Samuelson, McElraft 4th Ed. ABORTION-WOMAN'S RIGHT TO KNOW ACT. Com Sub No. 2
6/9 Judiciary I 6/14 W/D Judiciary I; rerefer Rules 6/15 Fav; Rules Susp; Sup Cal Today; Passed 2nd & 3rd Rdgs; Enrolled; Sent to Gov 7/27 Message Read, Cal for 7/28

CONFERENCE REPORT FOR ADOPTION

SB 315 Daniel, D. Berger, Brock 3rd Ed. ROADSIDE CAMPAIGN SIGNS. H Com Sub
3/14 Transp.; if Fav Finance 5/18 Unfav bill; Transp. Com Sub Adopted (Chgs title); rerefer Finance
6/6 W/D Finance; Cal 6/7 6/7 Passed 2nd & 3rd Rdgs; To House by Sp Mess
6/17 Rec'd for concurrence House Com Sub; Rules Susp; Sup Cal Today; Sen Fails to concur House Com Sub; Senate Appts Conferees; House Appts Conferees 7/27 Sen Conf Rpt Submitted; Cal 7/28
Senate




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Wednesday, July 27, 2011

NC-11 Congressional Fundraising Race
July 27, 2011 Update



This is the first fundraising report of the 2012 11th Congressional Race. I expect to be filing these every quarter, more often if the situation warrants.

The Republican candidates are announcing for this office much earlier than they traditionally have in the past, perhaps spurred on by the promise of a newly redrawn district that is favorable to electing a Republican coupled with the realization that announcing in September doesn't really give a campaign time to train, equip and deploy an effective team of campaigners and fundraisers. With that being said, I'm not sure that any of the Republicans will be able to assemble a team anywhere as effective as Congressman Heath Shuler has...primarily because of sharp ideological divisions in the local Republican Party in the 11th Congressional District of North Carolina has left the Republican political talent of the district in opposing camps.


Leaving ideologies alone for the moment, here is how the race looks from a fundraising standpoint, from records provided by the Federal Elections Commission:






Congressman Heath Shuler
Amount Raised in Quarter: $48,050
Cash on Hand: $248,338.84
Debts: $0





Dr Dan Eichenbaum
Amount Raised in Quarter: $0
Cash on Hand: $89.74
Debts: $100,000 (loans made by candidate to his campaign during 2010 primary)





Cecil Bothwell
Amount Raised in Quarter: No data available from FEC
Cash on Hand: No data available from FEC
Debts: No data available from FEC





Spence Campbell
Amount Raised in Quarter: Had Not Filed Run During Quarter
Cash on Hand: Had Not Filed Run During Quarter
Debts: Had Not Filed Run During Quarter

Jeff Hunt (candidate appears to not have a website at this time
**7.38pm** CORRECTION: He does have a website.
Amount Raised in Quarter: Had Not Filed Run During Quarter
Cash on Hand: Had Not Filed Run During Quarter
Debts: Had Not Filed Run During Quarter


The race is young, and we'll have clearer picture of things in three months, and an even better one six months from now.


The current standing of the money ace:


$245,338.84 Congressman Heath Shuler (Democrat)
$0 Cecil Bothwell (Democrat) He filed first, so until more data becomes available, I'm listing him first
$0 Spence Campbell  (Republican) 
$0 Jeff Hunt (Republican)
$-99,910.26 Dr Dan Eichenbaum (Republican)  


Here are PDFs of the FEC Reports filed in the 11th District Congressional Race for the April 1 to June 30 Quarter:


Shuler FEC Report April 01 to June 30, 2011


Eichenbaum FEC Report April 01 to June 30, 2011

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