Archive for North Carolina

9 Republicans vote against naming post office for Maya Angelou

Maya Angelou9 Republican members of Congress voted against naming a Winston-Salem, North Carolina post office for the late poet Maya Angelou, with one of them saying it was because she was a “communist sympathizer.”

The members included Rep. Mo Brooks (AL), Rep. Ken Buck (CO), Rep. Michael Burgess (TX), Rep. Jeff Duncan (SC), Rep. Glenn Grothman (WI), Rep. Andy Harris (MD),  Rep. Alex Mooney (WV), Rep. Thomas Massie (KY), Rep. Alex Mooney (WV), and Rep. Steven Palazzo (MS). Rep. Don Young (AK) voted present.

Statements on the Vote

Here’s a statement from the office my Congressman, Rep. Andy Harris of Maryland:

Congressman Harris voted against the Maya Angelou post office naming because she was a communist sympathizer. His parents escaped communism and he feels that he cannot vote to name a post office in the United States in honor of someone who supported the communist Castro revolution in Cuba.

Another statement, this one from Rep. Jeff Duncan of South Carolina, who represents my hometown:

While Dr. Angelou made terrific contributions to both literature and civil rights, her vocal support of the communist regime in Cuba gave me pause when deciding whether to name a taxpayer funded building after her. As Chair of the Subcommittee on the Western Hemisphere with jurisdiction over Cuba, I have heard the personal testimonies of families who have suffered great human rights abuses under the oppressive Castro regime. When thinking of all the Cuban-American families who have suffered and continue to suffer under the communist government of Cuba, I felt compelled to oppose the legislation.

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.