That Wily Foxx

January 29, 2009

January 29, 2009
Categories: Antics

That Wily Foxx
Rep. Virginia Foxx’s debut in the Rules Committee Monday night “might go down in the history books,” according to an attendee. That wily Foxx managed to get crusty Rep. Dave Obey not only to stop speaking but also to apparently not return, leaving his papers and pencil.

During Foxx’s testimony, she reportedly said: “Mr. Obey, you keep saying you will try. You will try to stimulate the economy. You will try and make the stimulus package work. You will try. I see you have a fascination with pencils, as do I.” (Bringing them even closer together, since both were fiddling with pencils.)

Then, she continued, “Mr. Obey, can you put down your pencil?” A “bewildered” Obey “reluctantly put down his pencil,” we’re told. Foxx then gleefully exclaimed: “See?! You didn’t try to put down your pencil; you did it! Why can’t you stop saying you will try and just do it?!”

Obey apparently didn’t return — not even to fetch his popular pencil and papers — due to a “meeting.” As for Foxx, her spokesman Aaron Groen told us: “I’m not surprised to hear that coming from her. She’s used that line on me before.”

If this is what we’re in for, the Rules Committee just got a hell of a lot more interesting.

N.C. considers sales tax on digital products

January 28, 2009

N.C. may apply sales tax to music, books, software and that distinctive phone ring.

By Mark Johnson
Posted: Wednesday, Jan. 28, 2009
N.C. legislature: Big goals, little money
Downloading that Miley Cyrus hit from Wal-Mart for 94 cents might soon cost about another 7 cents. A Beyonce ringtone purchased from a cell phone company may get tagged a few extra cents, too.

The money wouldn’t go to the musicians or their record companies. It would go to the state of North Carolina.

N.C. legislators moved closer Tuesday to applying the state sales tax – 6.75 cents in most counties and 7.25 in Mecklenburg – to products that are delivered digitally, such as music, books, ringtones and software downloaded to a computer.

The tax would apply only to products that already are taxed when they are in a more tangible form. In other words, if customers pay tax on a Lil Wayne CD from the music store at the mall, then they’ll pay tax when they buy his songs from an online music vendor.

“It’s reacting to electronic realities,” said Rep. Paul Luebke, a Durham Democrat who is co-chairman of a legislative committee that overwhelmingly recommended a bill Tuesday to impose the ringtone tax.

Vendors will collect the tax only if they have a physical presence in the state, such as a retail outlet like Wal-Mart or Best Buy. Apple stores may qualify as a toehold in the state for the company’s online iTunes store, and other vendors may have computer server farms or other network installations.

Otherwise, it’s up to the consumer to pay voluntarily.

As many as 17 states, including Alabama and Tennessee, have asserted the authority to tax digital products.

Digital service companies oppose the tax. Steve Kranz, a Washington lawyer who represents digital vendors around the country, said such taxes may drive companies out of the state. Because they don’t need a retail store or warehouse, it’s easier for them to move.

“It sends a message to the digital vendor community,” Kranz said, “that North Carolina is on the ‘do not call list’ for locating their companies.”

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Stam wants to start over on the state budget

January 28, 2009

Stam wants to start over on the state budget
Published: Wed, Jan. 28, 2009 12:30AMModified Wed, Jan. 28, 2009 02:23AM

State Rep. Paul Stam of Apex says the legislature should start from scratch.
Given a potential $2 billion shortfall in tax revenue, the House Republican leader says the legislature should use zero-based budgeting.

Traditionally, the budget is based on incremental increases or decreases from the previous year’s budget. But Stam argues that legislators should do a wholesale rewrite of the state budget, looking at each expense.

“We need to go back and see if the stuff we added in decades ago is still working,” he said.
In addition, Stam wants to know whether the state’s Medicaid program has the controls in place to determine whether providers and recipients are eligible to receive payments. That could save several hundred million dollars, he said.

On other issues, he expects the legislature to rehash old debates about whether to restrict smoking in public places, how to protect schoolchildren from bullying and whether to reinstate the death penalty, along with less controversial issues.

“Ninety percent of legislation is not partisan,” he said. “It’s often common sense — or common nonsense.”

Foxx statement on today’s meeting with President Obama

January 27, 2009

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                              Contact: Aaron Groen

January 27, 2009                                                                   202-225-2071


Foxx statement on today’s meeting with President Obama

 Washington, DC—President Barack Obama today met with Republican’s in the House of Representatives, including Congresswoman Virginia Foxx (NC-05), to discuss the need for an economic relief package.  Rep. Foxx issued the following statement after the meeting with President Obama:


 “Today’s meeting with President Obama was an encouraging sign that our new President is willing to listen to the ideas and concerns of House Republicans. 

 “My sincere hope is that the President will seriously consider the proposals presented by Republicans to cut taxes for families and small businesses across America.  His openness to dialogue is an important first step to fixing the serious flaws in the House Democrats’ $825 billion spending bill.

 “As this process moves forward perhaps my Democratic colleagues in the House will follow the example of President Obama and include House Republicans in the economic relief negotiations that we have thus far been locked out of.”


Perdue proposes retooling N.C. education leadership

January 27, 2009

She wants to consolidate power in state’s public schools

Published: January 27, 2009

RALEIGH – Gov. Bev Perdue said yesterday that she wants to retool the state’s public-school leadership by consolidating power with a new N.C. Board of Education chairman who would also manage day-to-day operations.

She proposed naming Bill Harrison, a current board member and the superintendent of Cumberland County Schools, to the new job, which would carry the additional title of chief executive.

Perdue said that the increased responsibility for Harrison would improve a 1.5 million-student education system — often criticized for its shared decision-making structure — by eliminating the lines between policy and operations.

“I believe the people of North Carolina believe that the governor … is responsible for education in North Carolina and the buck stops right now with me,” Perdue said.

“This is the most important job in North Carolina at this point in time,” she said of the new post. “He literally has North Carolina’s future in his hands.”

Perdue needs some help to complete the task. She appointed Harrison to the board, but the full panel must elect him chairman and give him the increased authority. Most of the current board members were appointed by former Gov. Mike Easley, but Perdue said she would be able to get approval.

“If I can’t deliver that, then I can’t deliver much of anything,” said Perdue, who was on the board the past eight years as lieutenant governor.

If approved by the board, Harrison could begin as early as next month, Perdue spokesman Tim Crowley said.

As part of the changes, current chairman Howard Lee would step down and take another new position as executive director of the N.C. Education Cabinet. That panel includes UNC system president Erskine Bowles and community-college-system president Scott Ralls, both of whom attended the announcement.

Perdue has said she wants to revive the panel to improve cooperation among leaders for programs from pre-kindergarten through higher education. Lee, a former state senator and Chapel Hill mayor, was appointed to the board by Easley in 2003.

One of Harrison’s top tasks will be to increase a high-school graduation rate in which three out of 10 students do not graduate in five years.

“We’ll do everything we absolutely can to make sure that not one of them drops out and they all have the opportunity to attend one of our community colleges, private institutions or university system,” said Harrison, who previously served as the superintendent in Orange and Hoke counties.

Perdue said that the post of deputy state superintendent would be eliminated. Deputy superintendent J.B. Buxton, a former Easley adviser on education, announced earlier yesterday that he was stepping down from the post that he had held for two years.

Perdue said that state schools Superintendent June Atkinson will continue in her role as an “ambassador” to other school officials and the business community to strengthen public schools.

Sen. A.B. Swindell, a co-chairman of the General Assembly’s education oversight committee, was pleased with yesterday’s proposed changes, saying that local education leaders did not know where to go in Raleigh to get help.

Bill Clinton returns to area today

January 26, 2009
Bill Clinton returns to area today
 – Staff Writer

Published: Mon, Jan. 26, 2009 05:19AM

Modified Mon, Jan. 26, 2009 05:22AM


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RALEIGH — The last time Raleigh saw Bill Clinton, he was standing in the bed of an antique Ford pickup, wrapping up a furious 11-city barnstorm.

Gesturing with his fist, he insisted that North Carolina voters would start an earthquake that would send Hillary Rodham Clinton to the White House — a trick he suggested President Barack Obama couldn’t pull off.

So today, when president No. 42 returns to the Waterloo of his wife’s campaign to give a speech at N.C. State University, the question arises: Just who is Bill Clinton now?


No tickets are available for former President Clinton’s 10:30 a.m. speech for the Millennium Seminars Series. It can be seen live at wolfbytes. It will be rebroadcast on UNC-TV at 9 p.m. tonight. 

Is he still a charming but roguish southern governor at heart, a politician who feels as comfortable at a raccoon roast as he does addressing the United Nations?

Clinton swung through more than 50 North Carolina towns in support of his wife last year, from a community center in Apex to a Baptist church in tiny mountain-bound Arden. In a May swing through Morganton, The News Herald reported, he incited “hysteria.”

But the scene has shifted. Chastened by Obama’s primary wins, Clinton retracted his criticism and urged the Illinois senator’s election, calling him “America’s future.”

It won’t be the first time Clinton has worked to reinvent himself.

As a former president whose two terms were wracked by scandal and impeachment, he rose to be the globe-hopping head of a foundation worth hundreds of millions of dollars in charitable donations. He teamed up with former President George H.W. Bush, father of the man who just left office, to raise money for tsunami relief and other worthy causes.

Out of the White House, Clinton also found a comfortable spot to toss barbs, whether at George W. Bush for his handling of Hurricane Katrina, or at candidate Obama for being inexperienced.

Now, with a fellow Democrat as president and his wife as secretary of state, will he rein in the rhetoric? Can a political figure who towers as tall as Bill Clinton stay stuck, idle, on the sidelines?

Or will he become a male version of Eleanor Roosevelt, a first spouse of sorts, still prominent though out of office, carrying an activist’s heart?

His address at Reynolds Coliseum today is titled “The Way Forward,” and in it, he will “chart the course of America’s future after the 2008 election and delve into the effects of new presidential leadership on the nation’s important issues,” N.C. State’s Web site explains.

As listeners, we might also expect a clue to how Clinton will handle his new role in the glare of the spotlight he seems to both crave and enjoy. or 919-829-4818

Abortion funding back with Obama

January 24, 2009

01/24/2009 13:51
Abortion funding back with Obama
The new president has revoked the ban imposed by Bush for eight years. Obama has also promoted financing of UN population control policies. Pro-life movements are sending critical messages to the president.

Washington (AsiaNews/Agencies) – U.S. president Barack Obama has reauthorized funding for organizations that perform or promote abortion abroad, removing the veto put in place by his predecessor, George W. Bush. The decision of the new president, just three days after the beginning of his inauguration, was announced shortly after the conclusion of a pro-life march at the capital, attended by hundreds of thousands of people. The evening before the march, Philadelphia Cardinal Justin Rigali provided over a prayer service for the defense of life.

Speaking at the march, Congresswoman Virginia Foxx remembered the “millions of unborn children whose blood has been shed in the abortion mills of America.”

Obama is a supporter of the idea that the unborn have no rights, and that abortion can be performed up until the ninth month of pregnancy. The new president has also said that he will restore American funding to the United Nations population fund. Bush had blocked the funding because some of the programs of the UN organism were linked to abortion, and to forced sterilization in China.

In the past, Obama had promised total liberalization of abortion in order to “safeguard the health and freedom of women.” His cabinet includes staunch abortion supporters, including White House chief of staff Rahm Emanuel and secretary of state Hillary Clinton.

The website has launched a campaign among its visitors in order to send messages of criticism on this decision by President Obama, through the link