Karen Handel, the failed rightwing candidate for governor of Georgia who, as we wrote about earlier, became Vice President for public affairs at Susan G. Komen for the Cure, has once again met her match. This time, the victors were Planned Parenthood and its supporters.
Handel resigned from Komen today, one day after the Huffington Post revealed that she was behind the decision to defund Planned Parenthood — and had even put together a strategy to handle the PR mess that followed. That "strategy," as described verbatim by a source at Komen, was, “If we just say it's about investigations, we can defund Planned Parenthood and no one can blame us for being political.” Nice, huh?
In her resignation letter, Handel admitted her involvement in the Planned Parenthood decision, but, of course, quickly detoured into the usual disgraced-honcho territory of blaming the whole thing on “mischaracterizations.” In a bit of unintentional humor, Handel also said the decision to distance Komen from Planned Parenthood was done out of “a realization of the need to distance Komen from controversy.”
Handel also stated that the entire brouhaha “should sadden us all greatly” — which it did, in this writer’s case, except for the part where Handel was shown the door.
Pat McCrory may appear to be sitting pretty in the N.C. gubernatorial race, considering that the governor he wanted to oust, Bev Perdue, decided not to run for re-election. The former Charlotte mayor should still be considered the favorite at this point, if only for his name recognition and big ol’ chest of corporate money. But one of McCrory’s “strengths” could come back to bite him.
Starting today, Ringling Bros. & Barnum and Bailey is in Charlotte for five days. If you’re going, have a great time. I definitely will not be there, though, and it’s because of the elephants.
Decisions made at city council Monday night about security measures during the Democratic convention are not much different from those made four years ago in Denver, when that city hosted the DNC. After police in Denver scared everyone by saying that 90 zillion crazies would soon endanger the city, law enforcement officers were essentially given carte blanche to do whatever they wanted — and woe to the traitor who doesn’t think protecting political delegates from a few anarchists is worth ignoring the U.S. Constitution.
At least negotiators in Charlotte were able to get the city to discontinue the “special measures” immediately after the convention, but uptown Charlotte will still be a semi-police state during one of the major political functions of the Land of the Free. That’s not a good idea when you’re dealing with a police force that has racked up numerous instances of recklessness, including over-tasering and running people down in high-speed chases.
There’s an old joke about a guy who brags that he’s the greatest lumberjack of all time: “Why, I was the lead 'jack in the Sahara Forest.”
His companion: “You mean the Sahara Desert.”
Lumberjack: “Yeah, now . . .”
A proud N.C. House Speaker Thom Tillis may be telling that joke a lot in the near future. You’ll understand when you see the results of the pro-billboard industry law that Tillis helped ram-rod through the General Assembly last year. The specifics of the law, which is set to go into effect this spring, are being hashed out by the state Rules Review Committee. So far, according to ProgressivePulse, the committee has “approved temporary rules to allow clear-cutting of tens of thousands of trees in publicly owned roadsides in order to make billboards more visible.” Well, isn't that just great? Tens of thousands of trees - gone — just so you'll be able to fully appreciate the wonderful messages and images along the highway.
As Pam Spaulding of Pam’s House Blend blog succinctly describes it, “This comes from the land of 'You can’t make this shit up.'” Former U.S. Sen. Rick Santorum is the rabidly anti-gay presidential candidate who placed third in Saturday’s S.C. GOP primary. He has already been the subject (aka the butt) of sexual jokes, most notably the coining of a new noun based on his family name, which created the senator’s famous “Google problem.” Now, as revealed by Daily Kos writer Scott Wooledge on Twitter, Santorum has started a new fundraising group called — ready? — Conservatives United Moneybomb, or, for short, C.U.M. I didn’t know anyone was still this clueless, but you’ve got to hand it to Santorum: He’s probably going to raise big wads of cash, hand over fist.
Jerry Klein is sick, and some of his friends and supporters are staging a benefit concert for him tomorrow night. You should go.
If you're relatively new to this city, you probably wonder: Who is Jerry Klein? For years, he was a constant presence in Charlotte. I could write a book about the things he was involved in. For a long time, he was one of the few music promoters who brought inventive, “under the radar,” often non-mainstream musical performers to town.
If there was any doubt that Mecklenburg County Manager Harry Jones is a legend in his own mind, that doubt was erased at last night’s County Commission meeting.
Jones has essentially been on a part-time schedule since announcing that he has an undisclosed illness for which he has begun intensive treatment. From his attitude last night, you could tell Jones thought yesterday’s meeting was Welcome Back, King Harry! Day at the Government Center. He thanked people who had called him, sent him cards and wrote emails. In a normal business setting, that would have been the extent of the thank-you’s, and the commissioners could have gotten on with their jobs. Instead, everyone had to listen to King Harry’s Words of Wisdom, as he recounted how, although he is seriously ill, he’s “been accessible every day.” It was unclear whether this was supposed to make Jones a martyr, a hero, or both.
Opponents of North Carolina’s marriage discrimination amendment got a big boost of support from an unexpected source yesterday. Bernice King, daughter of Martin Luther King Jr., voiced support for the rights of lesbians, gays, bi’s, and transgendered people while speaking at Atlanta’s annual MLK Day rally. As explained by Pam Spaulding of the Pam’s House Blend website (a vital N.C.-based LGBT site, just fyi), the speech was a turnaround for King, who previously had opposed LGBT rights, and even took part in a march against same-sex marriage.
GOP presidential candidate and former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney celebrated Martin Luther King Jr. Day in an interesting way: by campaigning in South Carolina side-by-side with anti-immigrant extremist Kris Kobach.
Romney hooked up with Kobach to show the enlightened voters of South Carolina which Republican is the roughest and toughest on those pesky Latinos. Kobach, currently the Kansas Secretary of State, wrote Arizona and Alabama’s stringent-bordering-on-fascism immigration laws — neither of which will survive intact through the courts.
Romney might have considered Kobach’s history before palling around with a stone-cold professional bigot. Kobach, who once wrote a book opposing the South Africa boycott that finally brought an end to apartheid there, used to work for the Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR), which the Southern Poverty Law Center has labeled as a “nativist hate group.” FAIR’s founder, John Tanton, has stated that he wants the U.S. to remain a majority-white country by putting strict limits on how many non-whites can enter the U.S. When Kobach ran for Congress in 2004, he was clobbered by his opponent after it was revealed that the Kobester has ties to white supremacists.
Now, Kobach is praising Romney for being farther to the right on immigration than any other GOP presidential candidate, and giving Mittens the semi-official Racist Thumbs-up. It all ought to go over well with Republicans in SakkaLina, but there could be hell to pay in November.
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