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Archive for January 22nd, 2010

WaPo’s Howard Kurtz: “The first time I met John Edwards, he lied to me.”

The Washington Post’s media writer, Howard Kurtz, reflects on his first meeting with John Edwards here.

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Speaking of Asheville…

It was named the 12th gayest city in America by The Advocate:

With its thriving art scene and adorable homes, Asheville is a prime example of the new gay South. And it’s only getting gayer: Newly elected city councilman Gordon Smith says extending domestic-partner benefits to LGBT city employees will be among the council’s top priorities this year.

Atlanta came in first:

Georgia isn’t the most gay-friendly state, but Atlanta is undoubtedly our gayest city—with 29 gay bars here, there’s a reason it’s dubbed Hotlanta. Atlanta’s several queer events include one of the nation’s largest Prides in October (returning to Piedmont Park this year), and MondoHomo, a May event celebrating art, drag, burlesque, film, and BBQ.

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Governmental arrogance in Asheville

Tea Party folks in Asheville are criticizing the Hawaiian “vacation” taken by three of its public officials on the taxpayers’ dime:

Three members of Asheville Regional Airport’s governing board, North Carolina General Assemblywoman Susan Fisher, Buncombe County Commission Chairman David Gantt, and Asheville attorney and airport board Chairman Dave Hillier, have flown to a Hawaii resort at a cost of just more than $14,000 in taxpayer money. The Aviation Issues Conference is being held Sunday through midday Thursday at the Westin Maui Resort & Spa, Ka’anapali.

That’s the Westin Maui shown above. The husband of Fisher had this to say after criticism of the trip began coming the board’s way:

I wish I didn’t have anything to do but go to airports and protest things that I don’t understand.

Translation: These rubes don’t know what they’re talking about. Their ignorance of government is appalling, and they should shut up and go home and let us govern.

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As Long As This is the Case, There Will Be No Recovery

Truly alarming survey results that bode ill for our economy:

U.S. investors overwhelmingly see President Barack Obama as anti-business and question his ability to manage a financial crisis, according to a Bloomberg survey.

The global quarterly poll of investors and analysts who are Bloomberg subscribers finds that 77 percent of U.S. respondents believe Obama is too anti-business and four-out-of-five are only somewhat confident or not confident of his ability to handle a financial emergency.

The poll also finds a decline in Obama’s overall favorability rating one year after taking office. He is viewed favorably by 27 percent of U.S. investors. In an October poll, 32 percent in the U.S. held a positive impression.

Meantime, North Carolina’s unemployment rate jumped to a new high in December — 11.2 percent. How long will North Carolinians have to suffer before politicians in Raleigh and Washington D.C. admit their spend-and-tax economic policies have failed? Is anybody home?

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Chapel Hill Hookah Bar Visited by Smoking Police

Adam Bliss, owner of Hookah Bliss in Chapel Hill — he’s the entrepreneur who is fighting the state’s ban on smoking in most bars and restaurants — reports to me that his bar has been visited by Orange County Health Director Rosemary Summers and Orange County Environmental Health Director Tom Konsler. The county is the local enforcer of the smoking ban.

Bliss says he was out of town the day of the visit, but that Summers and Konsler left two documents: rules about North Carolina’s anti-smoking law and a letter explaining why they visited. You may recall that, as I reported in my story linked above, Bliss sought out Dr. Summers earlier this month and discussed with her his concerns about the law. In an e-mail to me this week, Bliss wrote:

Apparently she took my visit to her as a “report of violation” and we got 1 complaint off the web site and that prompted the personal visit.

Bliss adds that, should the county receive another complaint about his bar — he’s still selling hookahs and beer in defiance of the ban — he expects to receive an official written warning. Bliss has vowed to fight the smoking law in court. He stands to lose about $70,000 if his business goes under.

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Now We Know Why He Didn’t Want to Testify

Former Easley general counsel Ruffin Poole — the man the cast of characters in this sleazy, tangled web of corruption referred to as both the “go-to-guy” and the “Little Governor” — now faces a 51-count indictment from a federal grand jury. I’d say we now know why Poole didn’t want to testify before the state Board of Elections. You can read Don Carrington’s investigative work on this story here.

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