Archive for North Carolina

Illegal alien charged with kidnap, rape of Maryland girl


Victor Arroyo made had a court appearance in Raleigh, North Carolina Monday after being arrested late Friday night.

The court kept his $1.5 million dollar bond intact and appointed a public defender to represent him.

Arroyo is charged with kidnapping and rape in the case of the 12-year-old who disappeared last Tuesday while on her way to Perry Hall Middle School.

A prosecutor with the Wake County District Attorney’s office says Arroyo’s next court appearance is scheduled for Dec. 8.

Arroyo illegally re-entered the United States after previously being deported, so there is an immigration hold for 48 hours before he can make bail. He could still face charges from Maryland or the federal government in addition to the charges in North Carolina.

The News & Observer in Raleigh also reported that:

Arroyo also was charged with probation violation because the state had listed him as an absconder from probation that came with a suspended sentence for misdemeanor assault on a female in 2007.

A Note to Politico: Shagging is Dancing

In 2011, the Click blog at wrote about Michele Bachmann campaigning in South Carolina. An excerpt:

Three hours after she made the error, Bachmann mentioned Elvis again, this time talking about his “passing” rather than his b-day. She played the song “Promised Land” and with a little shake, shake, shake of the hips said, “maybe we’ll turn it on at the end and do some shagging up here. If you want to shag a little bit, that’s what we’ll do.”

Translation for the Facebook generation: shagging is an old school dance move.

Fast forward to this week and you’ll see a current reporter for Politico who isn’t as diligent about correcting her cultural ignorance…

The following tweet (reported on by Politico) appeared on the account of Congressman Stephen Fincher from Tennessee and was later deleted:

“God I love this song. And beach music. AND shagging #pandora,” the tweet from Fincher’s verified account read on Tuesday, accompanied by a picture of a Pandora playlist playing the song “I Love Beach Music” by The Embers.

Kendall Breitman went with the easy sensationalistic angle in writing about this. I’m guessing she’s from the generation that only knows the word from Austin Powers movies and didn’t bother to search her own publication’s archives or she would have noticed the Bachmann story from 2011 that I mentioned above.

Her story, “Aide: I sent Stephen Fincher ‘shagging’ tweet”, includes the fact that Elizabeth Lauten, Fincher’s communications director accidentally made the tweet, which was intended for her Facebook account. Anyone who has managed multiple social media accounts can tell you the risk of this happening is something that you have to be careful about, and I’ve even accidentally made some tweets (luckily early morning or on the weekend) and deleted them immediately after realizing it. In that case I was hamstrung by a Blackberry and the app I used then.

Here’s what Breitman wrote about the tweet:

“It had nothing to do with Stephen Fincher,” Lauten said in an interview. “I don’t think he knows what Pandora is; he certainly doesn’t have it.”

Lauten described the situation as “an accident,” saying that she was listening to a Pandora radio station when she decided to share the song with her Facebook friends. When she pressed share, Pandora also shared the post to Fincher’s Twitter account.

Lauten contacted Pandora to revoke access to the account, and once access was revoked the Tweet was automatically deleted. The staffer also insists that “shagging” was not a sexual reference, but a form of dance.
“Shagging is dancing to me, and it was no big deal being a North Carolina girl,” Lauten said.

Breitman leaves it at that and doesn’t apparently do the cursory research on Google, or anywhere else, to find out more about the dance. The fact that a link to Pandora and beach music should have clued Breitman in as well that the British version of the term wasn’t in play.

It appears that Breitman was looking for an easy throwaway story at the beginning of the slow August recess period. That could be understood, but it would have been nice had she actually done a little basic research on the dance and provided that background. At best, it makes her look lazy and just going for the cheap sexual reference that doesn’t even apply in this case.

Some facts on the shag and shagging:

  • In 1989, Shag (a movie) was released starring Phoebe Cates and Bridget Fonda.
  • The Shag is the State Dance of South Carolina and has been declared the “most popular” dance in North Carolina.
  • Both North Carolina and South Carolina have license plates (North Carolina’s says “I’d rather be shaggin’.”)
  • The dance is a descendant of the jitterbug.
  • The band Alabama, which got its start playing at The Bowery in Myrtle Beach, released a hit song in 1997 titled, “Dancin’, Shaggin’ on the Boulevard.”

Here are the license plates:


The song mentioned in the tweet:

A clip from Shag, the movie:

Here’s the original movie trailer from 1989:

Here’s some beach music for your listening pleasure:

Here’s the Alabama video for the song I mentioned above:

Judge allows New Year’s Eve Possum Drop to go on


News & Observer:

A North Carolina judge on Monday decided he won’t second-guess state wildlife regulators, who decided to clear a mountain town’s New Year’s Eve celebration that includes the lowering of a captured possum at midnight.

Superior Court Judge Allen Baddour decided against a bid by the animal-welfare organization People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals to block the annual Possum Drop in Brasstown next week. The event held annually for two decades involves enclosing a live possum in a clear plastic box and lowering it gently to the ground much the way New York City marks the holiday with the descent of a mirrored ball.

A PETA lawyer argued the lights, noise and crowd of people can wreck a possum’s nerves and health even though it is later released.

“In her perception, she will be surrounded by predators,” PETA lawyer Martina Bernstein said. “They will be all around her. She will smell them, she will still be able to hear them, she will know that they’re there. And this is not a condition that a wild possum by nature can withstand without significant harm.”

The animal is released after it is lowered to the ground. The animal is not killed and eaten. There are conditions the organizers have to meet to be allowed by the state to capture a live animal for this event.

Post office employee in NC charged with aiding terrorists



RALEIGH (WTVD) — A Cary man has been charged with aiding a foreign terrorist organization.

Court documents show 29-year-old Basit Sheikh, also known as Abdul Basit, was arrested Nov. 2.

Sheikh was indicted for providing material support and resources to the al-Nusrah Front, a known terrorist organization. It’s a group with ties to Al-Qaida in Iraq.

The arrest report showed Sheikh is employed by the United States Postal Service.

There have been other terrorist-related arrests in North Carolina, including a cigarette smuggling ring that aided Hezbollah.

Gay marriage has Democrats trashing their base in swing-state North Carolina

In 2008, then-Senator Barack Obama won the 15 electoral votes from the Old North State, but the popular vote was very tight. Obama only defeated Senator John McCain by less than 15,000 votes. The three top races on the ballot in NC that year were all won by Democrats, but the presidential ballot was the only thing that was so close.

With North Carolina poised to be an important swing state again this year and the Democratic National Convention set for Charlotte, things have picked up this week, and not in a way that’s helping the Democrats.

As I blogged about last weekend, Vice President Joe Biden either floated a trial balloon  on gay marriage or put the President in a bad spot, depending on who you believe.

Then, on Tuesday, the voters of North Carolina voted easily to pass Amendment One, which bans gay marriage. African-American voters supported that amendment by a 2-1 margin. In the days following the vote, North Carolina residents were ridiculed and reviled as a bunch of ignorant hicks and bigots and the President ended up saying he does indeed support gay marriage while also giving himself wiggle room by saying he also thought states had the right to ban it (and his poll numbers are already suffering.) There were calls by some on the left to move the convention elsewhere, although that is going nowhere.

Of course, outgoing Gov. Bev Perdue – who was elected easily in 2008 when Obama took over but is so shaky now that she didn’t even run for re-election –  is attacking not only residents of her own state but those of Mississippi:

“I think it’s wrong for North Carolina, clearly and simply,” the governor said. “People around the country are watching us and they’re really confused, to have been such a progressive, forward-thinking, economically driven state that invested in education and that stood up for the civil rights of people.

“Folks are saying what in the world is going on in North Carolina. We look like Mississippi.”

See some video and further commentary on Perdue from Sister Toldjah.

Mississippi’s Lt. Governor was quick to fire back:

Lt. Gov. Tate Reeves, a Republican, criticized Perdue’s policies and the Tarheel state’s higher unemployment rate. Reeves even made a pitch to N.C. businesses to come to Mississippi if they wanted to work in a “lower-taxed, less regulated state.”

“Governor Perdue should know that her administration has a lot of work to do to make her state’s business climate ‘look like Mississippi,’ ” Reeves said in a statement.

Now, the convention is having financial problems that are forcing its organizers to go back on their promise not to take corporate contributions and hopes of Obama and Democrats of winning the state are also seemingly in dire straits.

Mitch Weiss of the AP wrote a story today calling the state a “political headache” for Democrats and ticked off many of the same reasons from above:

Once a bright spot for President Barack Obama, North Carolina is now more like a political migraine less than four months before Democrats open the party’s national convention in Charlotte.

The causes are plenty.

Labor unions, a core Democratic constituency, are up in arms. Democratic Gov. Bev Perdue isn’t running for re-election; Democrats say she was likely to lose. The state Democratic Party is in disarray over an explosive sexual harassment scandal. Voters recently approved amending the state constitution to ban gay marriage, a position that runs counter to Obama’s. And unemployment in the state remains persistently high.


Now traditional Democratic Party groups are threatening huge protests in part because they’re deeply uncomfortable that the convention is being held in one of the least union-friendly states. And thousands of Democrats across the country are calling for the convention to be relocated because of the gay-marriage vote.

The story goes onto discuss the union issues further while also pointing out the original desire by some to unveil a gay marriage plan at the convention this summer. The sexual harassment scandal involving a former NC Democratic Party official and a lower-level staffer is also detailed.

All in all, North Carolina appears to be unraveling right now for Democrats and Obama and if the attacks on Democrats who oppose gay marriage continue it may continue to get worse.





Restaurant Review: The Pit in Raleigh

I went South for the week of Thanksgiving this year and spent most of the week in South Carolina visiting family. We left SC on Black Friday to head to the Raleigh area for my friend Chris Short‘s wedding that night. I made reservations for lunch Saturday at The Pit in downtown Raleigh. I had heard a lot about it before from people with North Carolina connections as well as seeing television segments about it on various cable channels.

I’ve heard you really need to make a reservation for dinner and they ended up having a good crowd for Saturday lunch so you might want to make reservations via OpenTable no matter what time you go. We arrived a bit early and parked at the Raleigh Depot next door (it was $5 for the whole day there and if you shop in any of the business at the Depot – which does not include The Pit – you park for free.)

We were seated back towards the kitchen and had a nice chat with Executive Chef Darrell Brown after he had been talking to one of his subordinates at a vacant table next to ours. His bio says he was born in NC and he also discussed his family still in Maryland. It was a nice talk and he is a really nice guy.

Fried Pimento CheeseThey have a nice beer list including some local/regional beers  – and I had been sampling local beers all week in SC and NC – but I just stuck with sweet tea since I was headed back north across the Sweet Tea Line as soon as I left there.  We started out having a fried pimento cheese appetizer (pictured at right.) I’ve always been a fan of pimento cheese but I’d never had it like that before. It was amazing. It was served on top of pepper relish.

Moving on to the main courses now – I ordered their chopped barbecue plate while my wife got their fried chicken. Both dishes came with a biscuit and hushpuppies. The biscuit was light and not too heavy. It tasted great. Their hushpuppies were small and savory and delicious. (Personal note: both hushpuppies and cornbread are better savory and not sweet as far as I am concerned.)

Additionally, I had sweet potato fries and fried okra as my sides. I’m a fan of fried okra if it’s done well, but many restaurants do a poor job of it anymore. Not so at The Pit – their fried okra was perfectly fried. It wasn’t overcooked or undercooked. The sweet potato fries were perfectly seasoned and not greasy at all.

The chopped barbecue itself was amazing. I tried it first without any sauce and it was tasty and moist just like that. They had two kinds of sauce. I tried the vinegar-based sauce and it was great. They also had a molasses-based sauce. I will discuss more barbecue/sauce issues in a later post.

My wife had the fried chicken with sides of braised cabbage (which included bacon) and macaroni & cheese (which had been recommended to us by Chris Short.) I tried the mac and cheese and it was great. My wife told me that the chicken was very good and she also really liked the cabbage.

Fried ChickenSome other highlights from their lunch menu (the dinner menu is slightly different)  include the following appetizers: barbecue fries (“hand-cut fries with melted pimento cheese, chopped cue, chives and barbecue ranch dressing”), deviled eggs, fried green tomatoes, pumpkin skillet cornbread, Vidalia onion rings, and selection of house-made pickled vegetables.

They have ribs, barbecued turkey, brisket, and even barbecued tofu in addition to the chopped plate I had. The sandwiches on the menu include a pulled pork sandwich in addition to a chopped sandwich. One thing that’s a big plus to me – they have a pimento cheese burger.

I first discovered the joys of a burger topped with pimento cheese at a long-defunct place called the Dairy Bar (someone correct me if I got the name wrong) that was near the Statehouse in Columbia, SC. I went there with a friend while we were in town for Youth in Government’s Model Legislature one December in high school. Since then I’ve had pimento burgers at various places – most of them in South Carolina. (One place with a good one is Rockaway Athletic Club in Columbia. President George W. Bush had pimento burgers from there on one of his trips to the Palmetto State.) I will put The Pit’s pimento burger on my to do list for a future trip.

Another Southern staple is found on The Pit’s dessert menu – banana pudding. I wish I could say I tried it, but I had no room for it. I’ll have to save that, along with the pimento burger and some other things, for a future trip. There will definitely be future trips whenever I’m in Raleigh. I would recommend you definitely dine there if you have the opportunity.

The Pit is located in downtown Raleigh at 328 West Davie Street. You can find them on OpenTable here.

(Photographs are Copyright 2011 by Jeff Quinton)


Another Occupy Movement Might Be Evicted


After months of protests, the Occupy Asheville group could be forced to move. Asheville City Council will discuss an ordinance on Tuesday, that would clarify the rules on city property. If approved, the protesters could be forced to move from their gathering place, which is right next to the front door of city hall.

Several protesters have been arrested, since October, for occupying Pack Square park after the 10pm curfew.

I was just in downtown Asheville one evening prior to Thanksgiving and along with all the hippies and hipsters downtown, there were more panhandlers than I normally see in downtown DC in the same radius on a weekday. It will be interesting to see how this plays out – Asheville has an eclectic mix of people across all religious and political divides.