All access pass to the presidency: North Carolina

December 6, 2010 · Posted in The Capitol · Comments Off 

(CNN)-President Obama traveled to Winston-Salem, North Carolina, and then returned to Washington Monday afternoon to finalize tax negotiations with Democratic leaders at the White House. It was a brief trip, just three hours on the ground, thanks to the luxury that presidential travel affords, like Marine One, Air Force One, and a motorcade. Meanwhile, journalists who also made the trip weren’t so lucky, contending with flight delays and long drives back to Washington.

White House producer Erika Dimmler and photojournalists Martin Dougherty and Geoff Parker covered the president’s trip for CNN. Dimmler provides an ALL ACCESS PASS of their trip with these behind-the-scenes photos.

VIEW PHOTO GALLERY


CNN Political Ticker

President Obama in North Carolina Pitches Bush Tax Cut Compromise: “Even If It’s Not 100% of What I Want or What the Republicans Want”

December 6, 2010 · Posted in The Capitol · Comments Off 

In Winston-Salem, NC, today President Obama tried to hoist himself above the fray in the debate over the soon-to-expire lower Bush tax rates.



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Political Punch

Santorum steered money to Iowa and South Carolina

December 6, 2010 · Posted in The Capitol · Comments Off 

Washington (CNN) – Former Pennsylvania Senator Rick Santorum used two recently-formed political action committees to send tens of thousands of dollars to candidates in Iowa and South Carolina in the closing weeks of the midterm election, another indication that the Republican’s presidential ambitions are very real.

Between its launch on Sept. 20 and Election Day, Santorum’s Iowa Keystone PAC contributed over $ 48,000 to 16 GOP candidates in the first-in-the-nation caucus state, including two contributions totaling $ 10,000 to Republican Gov.-elect Terry Branstad.

Two other statewide candidates – Secretary of State candidate Matt Schultz and Treasurer candidate Dave Jamison – also received $ 10,000 from the PAC, while Attorney General candidate Brenna Findley got a $ 9,000 assist. Schultz won his race. Jamison and Findley, despite strong challenges, came up short.

During the same period, Santorum also used a new Pennsylvania-based group, PA Keystone PAC, to send $ 16,000 to 10 Republican candidates in the pivotal early primary state of South Carolina.

Of those, Republican Gov.-elect Nikki Haley received the largest check, a $ 3,500 contribution. Lieutenant Gov. candidate Ken Ard, Attorney General candidate and Treasurer candidate Curtis Loftis, all of whom won their races, collected $ 2,500 each.

Santorum is wrapping up a two-day tour of the Palmetto State on Monday.


CNN Political Ticker

D’oh! South Carolina Inadvertently Bans Beer And Wine Permits

December 6, 2010 · Posted in The Capitol · Comments Off 

Oops, looks like it could be a pretty dry month in South Carolina. A new law authored by state Rep. Mike Pitts (R) inadvertently bans businesses and individuals from obtaining temporary beer and wine permits.

The bill was designed to make it easier for nonprofit organizations to obtain temporary beer and wine permits, including multiple permits under one application. Traditionally, an organization would have to obtain a new permit — and also submit to a new background check — for each individual event, Tom Sponseller, head of the South Carolina Hospitality Association, told TPM.

The new law helps streamline that process — but because of the way it’s worded, it also (unintentionally) limits the scope of the law regulating beer and wine permits to apply only to nonprofits and political groups.

As the Free-Times explains:

Because of that law, starting in January, the Department of Revenue will only grant special-event permits to serve beer and wine to nonprofit organizations and political parties. They will stop issuing permits to businesses and individuals — promoters, caterers and other event organizers, for example — who must obtain licenses every time they want to serve beer and wine in a location without a permanent beer and wine license.

“Somebody screwed up,” says Tom Sponseller, head of the South Carolina Hospitality Association.

Republican state House Majority Leader Kenny Bingham told the Free-Times that officials are now trying to figure out what exactly happened.

“There was not a hoopla on the floor about it,” Bingham told the Free-Times. “Usually when there’s something controversial, we hear about it.”

But lawmakers’ hands are tied until the next legislative session, which begins January 11. In the meantime, Sponseller said, a prominent beer festival is scheduled in Columbia, and the event organizers won’t be able to obtain a permit unless they find a nonprofit to partner with.

“We don’t want this to harm some of the great events this state has to attract visitors,” he said. “Hopefully the legislature will fix this as soon as they come back.”

Bingham told TPM the mistake was a result of an error made in the bill drafting process.

“No one asked for (the bill) to be changed, no one intended it to be changed,” Bingham said. “I’ve been told by members of the judiciary committee that the language will be reverted in January.”

Pitts did not respond to TPM’s request for comment.







TPMMuckraker

Live: Follow Auburn-South Carolina in SEC title game, Oregon at Oregon State – USA Today

December 4, 2010 · Posted in The Capitol · Comments Off 

CBSSports.com
Live: Follow Auburn-South Carolina in SEC title game, Oregon at Oregon State
USA Today
Auburn and Oregon are one step away from meeting each in the BCS national championship game. But the Tigers and Ducks face some tough circumstances if they are going to find their way to Glendale, Ariz., on Jan. 10. Auburn plays South Carolina in the
Auburn and Oregon in with winsBoston Globe
Spurrier in familiar spot — playing for SEC titlemsnbc.com
SEC Title Game: What Would a Win Mean For Steve Spurrier?The Big Lead
FanHouse –ESPN (blog) –Orlando Sentinel (blog)
all 1,725 news articles »

Sports – Google News

SEC title game arrives for Auburn, South Carolina – Atlanta Journal Constitution

December 3, 2010 · Posted in The Capitol · Comments Off 

Kansas City Star
SEC title game arrives for Auburn, South Carolina
Atlanta Journal Constitution
The past two SEC championship games were 3 1/2-hour commercials for the league's dominance. Powerhouses Florida and Alabama squared off in de facto national championship semifinals. Both games starred past or eventual Heisman Trophy
Auburn plays for a title — and shot at anothermsnbc.com
Clash In Atlanta: SEC Title Game PreviewGamecockCentral.com
Hoops plays second fiddle in SECFOXSports.com
Orlando Sentinel –Opelika Auburn News –New York Times (blog)
all 1,396 news articles »

Sports – Google News

Illinois tops North Carolina with balanced attack – ESPN

December 1, 2010 · Posted in The Capitol · Comment 

Kansas City Star
Illinois tops North Carolina with balanced attack
ESPN
Were you at the game? Did you attend another game recently? Check in with ESPN Passport for iPhone, or check in online to archive your memories, photos, and your personal win-loss record. North Carolina forward Tyler Zeller (44) goes up for a dunk in
Illini's balance too much for North CarolinaChicago Tribune
Recap: Illinois vs. North CarolinaKansas City Star
No. 20 Illinois holds off North Carolina, 79-67msnbc.com
St. Louis Post-Dispatch –FanHouse –Peoria Journal Star
all 174 news articles »

Sports – Google News

Case of Missing Zahra Clare Baker in North Carolina … Police Recover “Valuable Evidence” … Could it be Human Remains?

November 12, 2010 · Posted in The Capitol · Comment 

GRUSOME … DID INVESTIGATORS FIND HUMAN REMAIN …

Zahra Clare Baker had been reported missing in Hickory, North Carolina on October 9, 2010. The story of the disappearance sounded fishy from the outset.  Along the way the investigation has run into more bizarre, sick and reprehensible discoveries that has shocked and disgusted a nation. Zahra Backer, a 10 year old, hearing impared girl with a prosthetic leg due to bone cancer was missing and it did not take a professional investigator to point an accusatory finger back to the parents.

After more than a month of searching, grim news has come from investigators as possible human remains might have been found. The police are referring to it as “Valuable Evidence”. The evidence was located after investigators searched a location  reportedly suggested by Zahra’s stepmother, Elisa Baker. The stepmother is presently in jail as she was arrested after Zahra was reported missing on  unrelated charges of communicating threats, writing worthless checks, larceny and driving with a revoked license. She has also been since charged with felony obstruction of justice for writing a fake ransom note.

 

Investigators said that search teams in Caldwell County found evidence during a search of Gunpowder Creek, about 70 miles outside Charlotte, that “could provide valuable information in the Zahra Baker case.” Officials said the area, which has been searched before, was one of the locations that Elisa Baker suggested search crews look, CBS affiliate WBTV reported.

The evidence has been sent to the State Medical Examiner’s office in Chapel Hill. From there it will be sent to the State Bureau of Investigation’s lab for DNA testing, according to the station.

How does a little girl who survived two bouts with cancer that cost her hearing and leg only to wind up missing, murdered and worse? The system failed Zahra Clare Baker on every count. Who was looking out for Zahra? This case is so sick and twisted, sadly it will probably get worse. This henious case so reminds me of  3 year old, developmentally disabled, autistic boy, Marcus Fiesel, who was first reported missing only to find out he was murdered by his foster parents and burned. That case had the same issue of not passing the smell test as we told the Middletown Journal.

There are Web sites that feature photo albums, message boards, chat rooms and slide and video shows. One of those is www.scaredmonkeys.com, dedicated to exploited and missing children. “Red,” one of the site’s co-founders, said after news of Marcus’ disappearance was linked to his Web site, he received an e-mail from Marcus’ foster mother. She chastised the site for their portrayal.

“As soon as she did that, well, it was like, she’s guilty,” Red said Friday from his office in Maine. “You knew this was going to end bad. The radar just went up. It raises the hair on the back of your neck. When you kill your son, and go public pleading for help, it brings it to a special level of hell.”

He said Marcus’ story has drawn widespread coverage because people are so “disgusted by it.”

From the outset, the case of missing 10 year old Zahra Clare Baker had the same ick factor. There is  also a special place in hell for those that murdered Zahra.

To provide your opiniion and get further updates go to Scared Monkeys.net Missing Persons Forum: Zahra Baker.

UPDATE: POLICE CONFIRM REMAINS FOUND ARE ZAHRA

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Scared Monkeys

South Carolina GOP chair set to leave post

November 10, 2010 · Posted in The Capitol · Comment 

Washington (CNN) – After just eighteen months at the helm, South Carolina Republican Party Chairwoman Karen Floyd will announce Wednesday that she is not seeking a second term, GOP sources tell CNN.

With a national Republican tailwind at her back, Floyd presided over a overwhelmingly successful election cycle, helping the party gain control of all Constitutional offices along with five of six Congressional seats for the first time since Reconstruction.

Her departure sets up a wide-open race to lead one of the GOP’s most important state party organizations at a pivotal moment for South Carolina Republicans. The party will tap its next chairman at their state convention in May 2011.

The upcoming two-year term will be among the most frenzied in the party’s recent history, as Republican governor-elect Nikki Haley seeks to bridge an ongoing divide between the grassroots conservative activists who fueled her candidacy and GOP establishment figures suspicious of the reform-minded rising star.

Republican presidential candidates will also begin to descend on the Palmetto State in the coming months, courting voters ahead of the state’s decisive presidential primary in 2012.

The next party chair will be tasked with negotiating presidential debates and raising large sums of money to fund the GOP primary.

The list of candidates in the running to succeed Floyd is long and includes a mix of veteran political operatives, former candidates for office and grassroots leaders with close ties to the Tea Party movement.

Among those being talked about Wednesday by South Carolina GOP insiders: former Attorney General candidate Leighton Lord, state Sen. Tom Davis, Republican National Committeeman Glenn McCall, former Lt. Gov. candidate Bill Connor, former South Carolina GOP executive director J.W. Ragley, Greenville County GOP chairman Patrick Haddon, Columbia attorney Todd Kincannon, Newberry County GOP chairman Chad Connelly and former Spartanburg GOP chairman Rick Beltram.

One influential political blog floated the name of longtime political operative Warren Tompkins as a possible candidate, but people close to Tompkins dismissed the rumor and said he has no interest in the job.


CNN Political Ticker

SOUTH CAROLINA: State Supreme Court Overturns Conviction For Anti-Gay Speech

November 9, 2010 · Posted in The Capitol · Comment 

The South Carolina Supreme Court has overturned the conviction of a street preacher who was arrested and fined after screaming anti-gay epithets at a lesbian couple.

Greenville Circuit Judge Edward Miller had previously upheld Joseph D. Bane’s 2008 conviction, but the Supreme Court said a city rule against remarks that “humiliate, insult or scare” was too vague. All five of the court’s justices also agreed there was no evidence to convict Bane under other provisions of the ordinance. According to the opinion handed down Monday, Bane was fined $ 200 after preaching loudly against homosexuality in downtown Greenville and, according to testimony, calling two women “faggots” who would “burn in hell.” Bane’s attorney, Samuel Harms, said the ruling means residents can once again “preach against homosexuality without the fear of being arrested by a city police officer.” Harms said the city should have realized its ordinance was unconstitutional and voluntarily dismissed the case.

City attorneys say the state Supreme Court ignored local ordinances on disturbing the peace. The ACLU says that while it “abhors” the preacher’s message, it supports the high court’s decision.

Joe. My. God.

Pastor Found Guilty Of Stalking North Carolina Abortion Doctors

November 9, 2010 · Posted in The Capitol · Comment 

An anti-abortion pastor was found guilty and sentenced to two years probation yesterday for stalking North Carolina doctors who perform abortions, The Charlotte Observer reports.

According to the Observer, Rev. Philip L. “Flip” Benham, director of the Dallas-based Operation Rescue/Operation Save America, posted “Wanted”-style posters of the doctors, which included their names and home addresses. Benham was charged with “misdemeanor stalking and violating a state law against residential picketing.” He plans to appeal.

WSOC-TV reports that Benham considered his actions free speech, and that he said: ‘”[The doctor] kills babies. He does it for a living. He has no respect for life of children in the safety and neighborhoods of their mothers’ wombs.”

According to WSOC-TV, one doctor said he considered the posters a “call for my murder.”

Operation Save America says on its website that it “unashamedly takes up the cause of preborn children in the name of Jesus Christ.” Its “About Us” page reads:

There are no cheap political solutions to the holocaust presently ravaging our nation. Like slavery before it, abortion is preeminently a Gospel issue. The Cross of Christ is the only solution.

According to the website, Benham, 62, has been the group’s director since 1994. Benham studied at Florida State University and Asbury Theological Seminary, and his biographical notes state that he “leads by example, having spent time in jail for the cause of Christ in Wichita, Baton Rouge, Birmingham, Chicago, Dallas, Houston, Orlando, Lynchburg and Washington D.C.”

The site also urged visitors to pray for Benham yesterday.

“The abortionists have conspired trumped up charges of stalking and disturbing their tranquility, while they disturb and destroy the tranquility of innocent children in the wombs of their mothers,” Rev. Rusty Thomas wrote.







TPMMuckraker

Little Love For Palin 2012 In South Carolina

November 8, 2010 · Posted in The Capitol · Comment 

Exit polls from Tuesday’s elections in South Carolina should little desire among Palmetto State Republicans to see Sarah Palin at the top of the ticket:

South Carolina Republicans like Sarah Palin, but not enough to make her a clear favorite among potential 2012 GOP presidential contenders.

An analysis of South Carolina exit poll data by The Associated Press finds more than 80 percent of those identifying themselves as Republicans on Election Day say they have a favorable opinion of the former Alaska governor. But only 25 percent say they would like to see her win the nomination.

No Republican has won the GOP nomination since 1980 without winning the state’s primary.

A sign of sanity among Republican voters? One can only hope.




Outside the Beltway

Gingrich to keynote South Carolina GOP banquet

November 3, 2010 · Posted in The Capitol · Comment 

Greenville, South Carolina (CNN) – With the midterm elections now in the rearview mirror, potential presidential hopefuls no longer have the cover of campaigning for congressional candidates when visiting key presidential nominating states.

Instead, their White House ambitions will be in plain sight during their travels – and these Republicans will be making a more direct case as to why they deserve the GOP nomination in 2012.

According to a GOP source, former House Speaker Newt Gingrich will make one of these high-profile trips December 16, when he keynotes the Spartanburg Republican Party’s Bronze Elephant Dinner.

Gingrich has visited the same GOP-heavy area of South Carolina twice in recent months, and just last week he hosted a packed event for his advocacy group American Solutions in nearby Greenville.

The Spartanburg GOP has already hosted Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour and Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty, both of whom are laying groundwork for presidential runs.


CNN Political Ticker

Niki Randhawa Haley Is South Carolina Governor

November 3, 2010 · Posted in The Capitol · Comment 

Click here to view the embedded video.

Nimrata (Nikki) Randhawa (Haley), born January 20, 1972, who represents Lexington County in the US House of Representatives, has been elected as the Governor of South Carolina. Her parents, Dr. Ajit and Raj Randhawa, are Sikh immigrants from Amritsar, India.

Haley, who was born and raised as a Sikh, is married to Michael Haley (an officer in the US Army National Guard) and they have two children – Rena and Nalin.

“Indian-American Nikki Haley created history on Wednesday by becoming the first woman governor of South Carolina, with her Republican party trouncing the Democratic party of US President Barack Obama in the nationwide mid-term elections.” reports The Indian Express.

She is only the second India-American to be a Governor of a US State after Bobby Jindal of Louisiana; and also the first Indian-American woman governor. See here…

“She attended Clemson University and majored in accounting and then joined the FCR Corporation (a waste management and recycling company) before joining her mother’s business, Exotica International, an upscale clothing firm in 1994. The family business grew to a multi-million dollar company.

“Haley was named to the Board of Directors of the Orangeburg County Chamber of Commerce in 1998. She was named to the Board of Directors of the Lexington Chamber of Commerce in 2003. Haley became treasurer of the National Association of Women Business Owners in 2003 and president in 2004.” More here…

And here’s Nikki Haley’s website…

Overcoming a sex scandal, racial slurs and estrangement from the local GOP establishment, Haley won the Republican nomination for South Carolina governor in June 2010. She has enjoyed the support of friends in high places, most notably governor-turned-tea-party-queen Sarah Palin who endorsed Haley and defended her when scandal broke. See here…


The Moderate Voice

In South Carolina: CNN projects Republican Gov. win

November 2, 2010 · Posted in The Capitol · Comment 

(CNN) – Republican Nikki Haley has defeated Democrat Vincent Sheheen in the race for South Carolina governor, CNN projects. Republican Gov. Mark Sanford is term-limited. Projections are based on CNN analysis of exit poll data.


CNN Political Ticker

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