Christian Dem in NC's blog

Charlotte Observer unloads on Franklin Graham

cross-posted at dKos

This morning, the Charlotte Observer editorial board rolled out the five-inch guns on Franklin Graham, calling him out for his ridiculous statements on Sunday's This Week with Christiane Amanpour.

Evangelist Franklin Graham surely must have forgotten the sage advice from a verse in Proverbs, about a fool holding his tongue and "being counted wise."

Otherwise he wouldn't have spouted the nonsense he did Sunday to ABC's Christiane Amanpour, giving huckster real-estate mogul and television personality Donald Trump a thumbs-up as a presidential candidate and repeating the already many times disproven silliness that President Barack Obama wasn't born in the United States.

After this haymaker, the Observer keeps punching, flat-out calling Graham's decision to join the "Where's the birth certificate?" crowd "ill-informed" and "irresponsible."

Kay Hagan hoodwinked by dominionist church

also available in orange

Back in January, Kay Hagan attended the Martin Luther King Day service at King's Park International Church in Durham, North Carolina. Video of her speech here:

On paper, that church seems to be the fulfillment of Dr. King's dream--it's one of the most diverse churches in North Carolina and the South. Nothing wrong with that, right? Problem is that this church is a member of Every Nation, one of the more notorious outfits in the dominionist/Latter Rain movement. It was also once part of Maranatha Campus Ministries, a dangerous campus cult from the 1980s.

SBI officials used criminal database improperly

cross-posted (in slightly edited form) at dKos

The State Bureau of Investigation is under fire again. Turns out two senior agency officials improperly used the state and federal criminal database, known as the Department of Criminal Information (DCI) network.

Jerry Ratley, the former assistant director who oversaw the network, used it to snoop on his ex-wife, her co-workers, her husband, the wife of an SBI agent and others, records reviewed by The News & Observer show. Wendy Brinkley, who is directly responsible for policing and maintaining the network, used it to track her stepson's case in the courts, the records show.

How serious is this? Federal and state law both state in no uncertain terms that the network is not for personal use. Police officers and sheriff's deputies caught misusing this information can be brought up on criminal charges.

ACTION ALERT: Cancel your accounts with Chase

If you have a credit card with Chase or do business with it in any way, here's some advice--cancel your account. Back in December, Irving Picard, the trustee for Bernie Madoff's assets, sued Chase for knowing that Madoff was a fraud and doing nothing to stop it. The suit was unsealed on Thursday--and based on its revelations, this is one company that doesn't deserve our business.

The suit alleges that Chase had evidence that suggested Madoff was engaging in illegal activity as far back as the 1990s and knew beyond all doubt as early as 2006 that Madoff was a fraud--and didn't do a damn thing about it. Earlier today on dKos, I called for Chase to be broken up. But the first step in punishing these guys is for us to cut off our business with them.

Renee Ellmers joins the Republican Study Committee

In a move that shouldn't surprise anyone here on paper, Renee Ellmers has joined the other Repub members of the state's congressional delegation on the Republican Study Committee, one of two "wingnut caucuses" in the House (the other being Michele Bachmann's Tea Party Caucus).

I say "on paper" because this is the same same outfit that put out a press release describing the escrow fund set up by BP as the product of a "Chicago-style shakedown" -- language similar to what Joe Barton used in an Energy and Commerce Committee hearing.

Mecklenburg county commissioner to face music for anti-gay slur

cross-posted at dKos

We expected area Repubs to be up in arms over Richard Burr's vote in favor of repealing "don't ask, don't tell." But even by this state's standards, a county commissioner here in Mecklenburg County has gone several miles over the top.

Last week, Democratic commission chairwoman Jennifer Roberts asked her colleagues if they wanted to sign a letter thanking Burr, Kay Hagan, Larry Kissell and Mel Watt for voting to repeal the policy. When Bill James, a Repub who represents the southeastern part of the county, found out about it, he responded by suggesting that gays are all "sexual predators."

Staggering bigotry, even by North Carolina standards. Fortunately, it won't be allowed to stand. At tomorrow's county commission meeting, there's going to be a resolution condemning anti-gay bigotry. But this is only the first step. Suffice to say that a little bit of heat needs to be put on James when he runs for reelection in 2012.

Local government elections should be nonpartisan

cross-posted at dKos

Mecklenburg County Commissioner Bill James' outrageous suggestion that gays are "sexual predators" exposes a much larger problem with the political culture in North Carolina. Specifically, the fact that county-level posts in this state--and a good number of other states--are elected on a partisan basis.

My home of Charlotte and Mecklenburg County is headed by a nine-member county commission. Six members are elected from districts. However, the districts are so outrageously gerrymandered that the district's minority party has next to no chance of winning. While this may seem to be yet another consequence of elected officials drawing districts for themselves, you really have to wonder--why are local government elections even partisan at all? After all, counties deal mostly with quality-of-life issues, most of which should never be partisan. To my mind, it's not enough to take redistricting out of the hands of county commissions. To get the politics out of local government as much as possible, county elections must be decided on a nonpartisan basis.

Bill James, Mecklenburg county commissioner: gays are sexual predators

cross-posted at dKos

We expected area Repubs to be up in arms over Richard Burr's vote in favor of repealing "don't ask, don't tell." But even by this state's standards, a county commissioner here in Mecklenburg County has gone several miles over the top.

Earlier this week, Democratic commission chairwoman Jennifer Roberts asked her colleagues if they wanted to sign a letter thanking Burr, Kay Hagan, Larry Kissell and Mel Watt for voting to repeal the policy. When Bill James, a Repub who represents the southeastern part of the county, found out about it, James hit the roof.

In an e-mailed response Monday to Roberts, James wrote, "Homosexuals are sexual predators." He also sent around a copy of a 1988 article about child molesters from the Archives of Sexual Behavior, and he highlighted one out-of-context sentence: "Eighty-six percent of offenders against males described themselves as homosexual or bisexual."

Staggering bigotry, even by North Carolina standards. And it's something that absolutely cannot stand.

Kay Hagan's Greenville office vandalized

Early Thursday morning, one of Kay Hagan's offices in eastern North Carolina was attacked by a vandal.

Greenville Police say another swastika and the words, "Criminal Government" were spray painted on the wall of the Hendrix Building on Evans Street. Other nearby downtown buildings were also spray painted with similar characteristics and symbols.

WNCT-TV has video:

Another argument against electing judges

Cross-posted at dKos

The front-page story on today's Charlotte Observer contains a disturbing story about two judges here in Charlotte. I've read this twice in print and once online, and I keep coming to the same conclusion--judges in North Carolina should be appointed based on merit, not elected.

Mecklenburg Chief District Judge Lisa Bell has taken $50,000 in contributions since first running for a judgeship in 1998 (she's been chief judge since 2008)--most of them from lawyers. One of her colleagues, Becky Tin, has gotten roughly the same amount since her first campaign in 2002. Lawyers from James, McElroy and Diehl, one of Charlotte's more aggressive firms, have given them each donations totaling over $2,500. Those amounts alone provide ready-made ammo for bias accusations. The problem is that the judges' critics dimply don't hold up under scrutiny.

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