Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Newt and Gerry the Bear -- Write the caption

This 1995 photo was posted on "A View to Hugh," a blog dedicated to processing the photos of North Carolina's Hugh Morton, the conservationist who developed Grandfather Mountain.

It's from then-House Speaker Newt Gingrich's visit to Grandfather, where he met Gerry. Writes Stephen Fletcher:
"Like Newt, Gerry is still alive and kicking. According to the Grandfather Mountain website, 'Even at age 20, Gerry is still very spry and acts like a bear half her age. Even though she is very patient, she does not hesitate to let her keepers know when they aren’t moving fast enough with her very distinctive and adorable moaning.' Perhaps Newt and Gerry are kindred spirits?"

Thursday, January 19, 2012

NBC's Todd: Colbert 'making a mockery of the system'

NBC White House correspondent Chuck Todd admires comedian Stephen Colbert's send-up of super-PACs. But he thinks Colbert, who has declared his candidacy for "President of the United States of South Carolina," is going too far in injecting real-life politics into his own version of reality TV.

Colbert, host of Comedy Central's "Colbert Report," could not get on Saturday's S.C. primary ballot. So he has urged his fans to vote for long-gone candidate Herman Cain in Saturday's S.C. primary as a sort of proxy.

On Friday, he's hosting "The Rock Me Like a Herman Cain: South Cain-olina Primary Rally."

"Look, he's got a shtick," Todd told a Winthrop University audience today. "I admire how he's educated his audience on super-PACs. (But) I think he's making a mockery of the system. Is it fair to the process?"

Todd also took a swipe at the media for playing along. Colbert was a guest on ABC's "This Week" with George Stephanopoulos.

"He's trying to marginalize (Republican) candidates and we're helping him," Todd said. WHile he likes the comedy, he added, "I have to admit I'm uncomfortable when it's actually merging into the real world."

Todd was on a panel with CNN's Steve Brusk and Steve Brook of The (Columbia) State discussing media coverage of the 2012 campaign.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Friends rally to support Jerry Klein

For years Jerry Klein was a Charlotte institution. A columnist for Creative Loafing. A music aficionado and writer. A liberal radio host on conservative talk radio.

Last October, Klein, then at a radio station outside Washington, underwent surgery for esophageal cancer and was also diagnosed with liver disease. He thanked well-wishers on Facebook: "From the bottom of my heart - the one organ at the moment that I'm pretty sure is OK."

Now Klein's Charlotte friends are coming to his aid. They're hosting a benefit for him Saturday at 8 p.m. at the Great Aunt Stella Center.

More than a dozen musicians will perform. Among them: Beth Chorneau, The Cloers, Hope Nicholls and John Tosco.

"JERRY NEEDS US NOW as he is in the battle of his life," friend Becca Thompson wrote in an email. "To top off this ugly situation, Jerry lost the love of his life since high school, wife Lois, just weeks after these spirit-killing diagnoses were made. In spite of this overwhelming personal time for Jerry, he is getting very promising reports from doctors. Through his columns, radio shows and great programming, Jerry has always gotten to the heart of any issue that affected Charlotte by bringing folks together and finding common ground. He needs us now in a show of solidarity and support."

According to Becca, here's how to help:

Send any amount through PayPal to: and note THE JERRY KLEIN FUND.

Or send checks should be made payable to DRUMSTRONG, 725 Providence Road #210
Charlotte, NC 28207. Memo line on check should note "The Jerry Klein Fund."

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Newt -- and aide -- glad to be back South

After the cold winds -- and colder results from Iowa and New Hampshire -- South Carolina was a welcome stop for Republican Newt Gingrich this morning.

It's good to be home in the South," the former Georgia congressman told an audience in Rock Hill, less than 14 hours after the last polls closed in new Hampshire.

And he wasn't the only one to enjoy being in the Palmetto State.

"I'm really happy to be in South Carolina," said R.C. Hammond, his national press secretary. "You know why? It's warm here. No one is ever mean to you. And the food gets better every place we go."

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

McCrory to announce Jan. 31 -- but not in Charlotte

Former Charlotte Mayor Pat McCrory finally plans to kick off his gubernatorial campaign Jan. 31 in Greensboro, according to a campaign aide.

The Republican has made no secret of his plans for a rematch against Democratic Gov. Bev Perdue.

He already has nearly matched her in fundraising. Campaign aides have said he raised $2.5 million compared to her $2.6 million. Polls have shown him with a consistent lead.

The N.C. Democratic Party this month launched a new web site attacking McCrory, including videos from a campaign tracker.

According to the aide, McCrory is expected to hold a late afternoon kickoff at Greensboro's Oriental Shrine Club.

Monday, January 09, 2012

Ex-UNCC prof weighs in on GOP districting plan

From his days heading the political science department at UNC Charlotte, Ted Arrington has been an authoritative voice on redistricting. Not only has he helped draw the lines for local districts in Mecklenburg County, he served as an expert witness in redistricting cases across the country.

Now retired, he's weighing in on North Carolina's new plan.

Lawyers representing Democrats who are fighting the state's new Republican-drawn plan in court submitted an affidavit from Arrington in which he argues that the plan hurts minority voters.

"The extensive splitting of precincts, which is clearly not necessary to abide by the Constitutional standard of one-person, one-vote, will increase voter confusion and potentially harm voter turnout," he wrote. "Because the splits are concentrated in the Black community, this will be a special problem among Black voters."

Plaintiffs in the lawsuits are trying to overturn the new districts, which favor Republicans.

Arrington is a former Republican-turned-independent.