Friday, December 24, 2010

Institute for Political Justice

We like to refer to our new initiative as Tea Party 2.0.

You may recall that the Tea Party Movement began as a kind of unformed populist tax and mortgage bailout revolt without any clear philosophical basis.

We tried to give the Asheville Tea Party some kind of ideological focus around the classical liberal principles of individual rights, limited government and free markets. Some other groups attempted the same thing and I think they have been the most successful. For the groups that adopted this strategy, this formulation has served them well.

We also altered the organizational to reflect a more project-oriented structure to refocus the group toward effective project management practices and distributed leadership.

However, I suspect that, for the movement overall, the tea party brand will not be sustainable for the long term and will fragment into an assortment of agenda-driven efforts. Some would be grassroots, some ideological, some exploited, some remaining philosophically unformed. And quite possibly all keeping the tea party name with no explicit criteria for involvement.

What we want to do is propose an organization that carries the tea party ideals forward with a clear ideological vision from the start as opposed to finding out a year later that your members don't agree with you on anything.

Our idea is to take one of the primary principles and make that principle the focus of an organization. Candidate principles might be: Liberty, Peace, Justice, Property, Self-Determination, and so on. Any principle chosen would be interpreted from a classical liberal point of view and any one would reflect the same libertarian perspective. Put differently, all roads lead to Rome.

We have decided to adopt the concept of Justice and place it in a political context. Our focus will be the promotion of Political Justice. Justice, simply put, means getting what you deserve. We believe that individuals have rights and deserve to have them protected in a variety of ways. In a political context, it means that governments are instituted for the sole purpose of acknowledging, respecting and protecting those rights. That is, a proper government in a free society is charged exclusively with the task of ensuring that individuals get what they deserve; which, in our view, is the protection of the rights to life, liberty, property and the pursuit of happiness.

The mission of a new organization focused on political justice would be to champion, promote and educate the public on this principle in the abstract and as applied in concrete cases. We will need an organizational structure designed to support this mission, a staff that understands our mission and funding resources to fulfill our mission.

We imagine similar organizations around the country taking the approach of leveraging our contacts, experiences and successes as tea parties to build a network of affiliated political organizations that have a set of explicit and shared goals.

This is a possible vision for advancing the promise of the Tea Party Movement by other means. I believe that politics follows culture and that to change politics in a meaningful way for the long term, we must start with cultural change. We hope that the Institute for Political Justice can become a model for effecting that kind of change.

Justice in a Free Society

A free society requires a limited government that enacts and enforces objective laws for the sole purpose of protecting individual rights. Also essential to a free society is a proper concept of Justice.

Justice, in short, means getting what you deserve. If you were to get what you do not deserve or to not get what you do deserve, it would be unjust and either you or someone else would suffer an injustice.

The question becomes: What do you deserve? -- as an individual and as a human being.

A squirrel deserves to gather nuts. An eagle deserves to fly. And the lion deserves to hunt. What does Man deserve, in general? -- and, in particular, what do you deserve?

Man is distinguishable from the animal kingdom by virtue of his reasoning mind, free will, self-consciousness and individuation.

Man deserves to be Man. Free to eat and breathe --yes. But also free to think and free to act. But what does that mean in a social context? It means the freedom to peaceably act in the world on your own rational judgement without interference.

Justice is "a concept that designates the act of judging a man’s character or actions exclusively on the basis of all the factual evidence available, and of evaluating it by means of an objective moral criterion?" -AR

Justice is the confluence of ethics and politics. It is where you in fact do what you ought to do and are judged as you ought to be judged. Justice is the concrete application of abstract principles. It is the concrete realization of what ought to be.

You, as a human being, and in a community of fellows, ought to be free to peaceably act on your own judgment -- alone or in concert. To do what is in your own best interest -- whether privately or in cooperation with others. You ought to be able to exploit the resources around you for your own ends. You ought to be able to trade freely with others, enter into binding contracts, and speak your mind without censure. You ought to be free from coercion, predation, force and fraud. And you ought to make life, productiveness, prosperity and happiness your goals.

In the event your peaceable, rightful pursuits are met with force and ill intent, you ought to have recourse to justice. In the private realm, in the economic realm and in the political realm.

The idea of political justice is grounded in the concept of Man's rights. First, that Man possesses individual rights and that those rights are inseparable from his nature. Second, that those rights must be protected by standardized and narrowly constructed legal customs and institutions.

The Institute for Political Justice is a research, education and advocacy organization that supports and promotes the application of justice in the political realm. Specifically, with respect to the recognition and protection of individual rights in a free society.


Liberty issues advocacy organization, funded by grant money. Focus on any/all issues where the government is infringing upon individual rights. List of issues would include many items which bring together people from across the political spectrum. (Ideal for Asheville.) Main focus would be organizing and hosting educational forums in Asheville. Opportunity to invite and host guest and expert speakers from around the country to address specific topics. Some issues that spring to mind:

  • Parental rights
  • Decriminalization of marijuana
  • Rights when confronted by law enforcement
  • Property rights/Imminent Domain abuse
  • Forced annexation
  • Rights during a state of emergency
  • Contract rights (same-sex, civil marriage)
  • Health freedom
  • Free speech rights
  • Rights when demonstrating/protesting
  • Homeschoolers’ rights
  • the list in endless...

In addition to hosting events, we would maintain a website and newsletter. Possibly a print publication of some kind.

Two-to-four salaried positions:

  • Executive director
  • Communications director
  • Events coordinator
  • Treasurer/CFO

Leased office space.

People I would like to have involved:

  • Erika Franzi
  • Tim Peck
  • Nancy Grace
  • Dan Eichenbaum
  • John Maltry
  • Betty Jackson
  • Will Vine
  • Robert Malt
  • Aaron Watkins

Art Pope:

Project Management in the Asheville Tea Party

by Tim Peck and Erika Franzi



When our first tea party was held in Asheville, North Carolina, in February, 2009, we had about 20 people join us in the drizzling rain for a lackluster protest and pork sandwiches in a pocket park. There was no organization beyond a simple call to action and a prepared lunch with sweet tea.

Yes, we had signs and, yes, we had purpose. We spoke briefly to the small crowd and interviewed with the one local media reporter that bothered to show up. But our organizational vision for the future was nonexistent. We really had no idea what would happen next. What we did know was that the Asheville Tea Party had been born and we were determined to carry it forward in some form.


Happily, the aftermath of the failed Ron Paul for President campaign left the Asheville activist community with a remnant of libertarian enthusiasm and after several brainstorming sessions between a few ‘ad hoc’ groups we were able to plan and coordinate our next tea party rally. This time we would aim higher, select a high profile date and prepare a speaker’s roster. Momentum was gathering in the tea party movement nationally. A spark had been lit and we were encouraged that our small isolated contingent in Western North Carolina could become significant.

With two big tea party rallies under our belt -- one on Independence Day and one on Tax Day -- we were well on our way to becoming a recognized force in the community. With that success came the need for more formal organization. So, at this point we had gone from a single person putting out the call for a rainy-day gathering to a series of ‘ad hoc’ efforts to mobilize hundreds at City Hall for major protest events. And now, if we wanted to continue, we needed to formalize our organization to identify opportunities, propose initiatives, gain membership, plan events, focus our purpose and, most important, to ensure that we had the resources and structures in place to carry out our vision.

Traditional Organization Management


Our natural impulse was to identify a leader and form a group of committed activists around her. She would become the focal point for all tea party activities and her few followers would advise and consent and help out from time to time. Now we had the outlines of a chairperson and a board of directors who would all meet as time and circumstance allowed; which was seldom. This essentially created a traditional top-down hierarchical organizational pyramid that served us well for our immediate purposes, given the scope of our operation. For a time, we had only a few initiatives that we were engaged in and could juggle the various tasks by channeling all responsibilities through the leader who would then coordinate and control activities.


With growing success, growing membership and a growing presence in the community, we soon we had accumulated more business on our table than could be easily handled by one person in authority and a group of fickle or despondent assistants. Delegation itself became an onerous and time-consuming task. It became the chairman’s lot to field suggestions for action from every quarter, assess their value, solicit help for planning and execution and to then determine the priority and status of each activity.

In our case, as in so many, our chairman was a stay-at-home mom with mouths to feed, bills to pay, school teachers to consult and a vast domestic empire to maintain. Coupled with the responsibilities of a leader of a burgeoning political activist organization, it became increasingly impossible to fulfill the grand plans being funneled on to her plate. The stress and strain of these collected responsibilities was not sustainable under current conditions. We needed more manpower, more money, more delegation and much more time to get things done. Time and energy for a beleaguered house-wife and mother of four is at a premium and the outlook for our organization turned dim. Even with greater resources at our disposal, the top-down structure of our organization itself made demands on her time and energy that could never be met. How could one person do it all?

It was clear that the key members of our organization who were shouldering the lion’s share of the work would eventually become burned out and resign out of frustration and exhaustion. And such an eventuality would mean the end of the Asheville Tea Party.

We needed a change. Not necessarily in resources, which were not forthcoming, but in structure. We needed a management structure that would prevent the accumulation of responsibilities on to the shoulders of one person at the top of the narrow pyramid.

With the looming resignation of our chairman and the general dissolution of our group in sight, we had to look outside traditional management approaches to solve our problem and it appeared that more of a project management approach might be the structural solution to our problem. It might be that by simply changing the way we do things we could avoid certain process bottlenecks and even gain the advantages in efficiency and leadership development that were desperately needed at this point in our evolution.

In the pattern of other tea parties around the country, the Asheville Tea Party initially established itself as a protest group. We were reactive and made our name saying ‘No’ to disaster. We spent our social capital mobilizing the community to come together at large gatherings to demonstrate against overreaching public policy such as corporate and mortgage bailouts, high taxation, irresponsible spending and socialized health care. We later turned our efforts to communications, education and engagement in electoral politics. We had a website, a regular newsletter, a political action committee (PAC), a growing membership, a board of directors and a weekly social gathering to help fill the participation gaps between rallies and formal meetings. The focus of our activities had been shifting away from being an inchoate protest group to becoming a more action-oriented and results-oriented political organization. It was time to become pro-active and develop strategies for advancing our values in the political marketplace in more meaningful and lasting ways.

The shift from protesting to activism, combined with extreme functional limitations, required some new thinking.

The Project Management Model


It was clear that among the various models for management, the traditional, top-down, departmental style would not serve us well for the long term. Aligning a small, action-oriented organization according narrowly-defined functional categories, such as Executive, Finance, Operations, Personnel, and so on, would not relieve the chairman of the burden of the majority of initiative development, execution, oversight and control.

So we decided to take a look at a management approach that appeared to be working quite well in the business sphere when dealing with complex, results-oriented action: Project Management.

Managing activities according to projects is just what we needed. It’s an approach that takes a specific initiative and defines it as a set of actions that have a beginning, a middle and an end. It has its own clear objective to be achieved within a definite timeframe. It is controlled within its own domain. It must account for leadership, it must build its own team and it must develop its own tasks, its own schedule and its own budget. It must determine and report on its own status and take corrective action wherever necessary. All functional aspects are accounted for within a confined sphere of activity.

The project management approach differs from the traditional management approach in some important ways that would be valuable for us to leverage.

Chief among them is its ability to distribute leadership. Projects come and go and in order to maintain a portfolio of projects it is necessary to continually identify and develop leadership skills across the organization. Projects can be simple or complex and the various degrees of leadership skill available in the organization can be matched with project needs. Members with good leadership skills can take on bigger projects and members with little or no leadership skills can acquire them by working on smaller projects, either as team leads or team members. In this way we are able to reach down into deeper levels of leadership in the organization and bring out latent talent that can be exploited to the advantage of the organization and the individual activist.

The project management approach also brings with it the delegation of responsibility as a systemic attribute. A project must be defined and proposed with a full accounting of its functional aspects. This requires that a project manager take on the responsibility of defining those aspects on his own outside of executive oversight. Once defined, a project is proposed to the program management board and approved or not. Neither the board nor the chairman need spend time and energy developing these proposals. Once approved, management of the project falls entirely on the shoulders of the team lead and team members. The board and chairman only come into play to periodically discuss a project’s status and reassess its priority within a “family of projects” -- or Program. All typical departmental functions are replicated within each project. And a select Program Management Board determines which projects are on track, which projects deserve attention and which projects best serve the goals of the organization.

The project management approach also allows for an effective separation between the discrete management of project activity and the general management of important functional processes such as finance, recruitment, communications, liaison activities and overall program development. Projects happen periodically, while processes happen all the time. Projects come and go as they are initiated and completed. Processes are ongoing and must be controlled by a persistent body; in our case, the Program Management Board.

Besides general process management, the Program Management Board is also responsible for developing and maintaining a portfolio of projects designed to advance the mission of the organization. The board must introduce and consider proposals for projects to be performed, assess priorities among adopted projects, optimize the portfolio by adding, modifying, re-ording or canceling projects, and lend financial or other support to priority projects as needed.

The primary method for performing a portfolio review is the project status report conducted at regular Program Management Board meetings. The Board would hear a brief presentation from each Project Manager in turn that would update the Board on whether a given project is on track or not, what key accomplishments have been made, what action items are completed or outstanding, what issues or concerns should be discussed and resolved, and what corrective action should be taken to optimize the project.

Once the Board has been updated on all active projects, it can determine the overall health of the portfolio, form a clearer picture of organizational effectiveness and proceed with executive decisions regarding the worth and viability of its current operational focus. It is the Board’s responsibility to champion and celebrate strong projects and to identify weak projects that should either be fortified or abandoned.

Weak projects are those that are unpopular, have no team or that marginally support the mission. They tend to receive little moral or financial support and may simply be untimely. Things can change fast in the world of political activism and even projects that start out well can be eclipsed by events and the mood of the times. The Board must ruthlessly measure its portfolio against the capabilities and the enthusiasm of its members.

As a part of setting expectations for organizational activities, the Board must clearly define and communicate the role of the Project Manager in its present context. The key responsibilities of the Project Manager are to define and propose projects, develop project plans and budgets, assemble teams for action, execute a set of tasks that drive toward a goal, control activities for effectiveness and periodically assess and report on project status. Finally, the Project Manager must retire projects as they meet their objectives and come to a close by resolving all outstanding issues, documenting their success and reporting to the Board the degree to which projects have fulfilled their promise to add value.

All projects and processes must support the organizational mission as established by the Chairman and the Program Management Board and that mission should be well-articulated, documented and presented at each formal meeting as a foundation element that resets the purpose and focus of the meeting.


The switch from traditional management to project management in the Asheville Tea Party changed the way we did things, who would be doing them and how they would get done. It was important for us to communicate to our membership and the community that we would be undergoing a shakeup. We needed the community to understand that those changes were necessary and a positive development rather than a consequence of dysfunction. And we needed our membership to know that we would be setting new expectations for participation in furthering our goals. For this purpose, a formal announcement and press release was distributed summarizing our decision and its consequences.

It is with great enthusiasm that we announce some exciting changes which will enhance our efficiency, effectiveness, agility, and capabilities as we move into the future.

Structural Change

It is impossible to deal with all of the legislation, conflicts, and crises that befall us each day under an organizational structure with one person at the top identifying, prioritizing and coordinating activities. In order to meet the daily onslaught of issues that face us at the local, state and federal level, we are restructuring the organization.

We are adopting a program and project management approach. We are also broadening the base of our management team to include members from counties other than Buncombe. There are many talented individuals outside of Buncombe County who share our vision and want to further the cause. We heartily welcome their contributions and support.

We will be encouraging individuals to become project team leaders. Is there an issue, a piece of legislation, or an event that piques your interest? Are there others who share that interest in your circle of friends and contacts? You will have the opportunity to have autonomy over the project. Some of those projects are listed at the bottom of this email. We encourage you to get involved. For further and more detailed information, please check out our website ( You can also reach us by email.

Organizational Change

In combination with the above changes, ATP's founder and chairman, Erika Franzi, will be taking a position on the newly formed Program Management Board. Our new chairman will be Jane Bilello, resident of Henderson County, member of the ATP Board of Directors, long-time Tea Party activist, and retired educator.

"I am humbled to have been passed the responsibility of carrying the torch for Asheville Tea Party," said new chairman Jane Bilello. "Erika Franzi has some very big shoes and casts a very tall shadow. Erika is not going away. She will continue to serve on the Board and be an ever-present guide and mentor to all of us and to me especially. Asheville Tea Party is what it is because of Erika's vision, leadership and unwavering belief in Asheville Tea's mission."

The mission of the Asheville Tea Party is to provide an organizational foundation for the execution of projects that advance our core values; those being specifically: the promotion and preservation of individual rights, Constitutionally-limited government, fiscal responsibility, and free markets.

"It has been my great pleasure to work as chairman of the Asheville Tea Party for this past year and a half," said former chairman Erika Franzi. "I have had the honor of meeting many, many people who understand and believe deeply in our core values. Jane Bilello is one of the most dedicated defenders of these values among us. I have no doubt that she will guide the Asheville Tea Party well with the help of the board, the membership, and her own Constitutionally-informed internal compass."

The restructuring of the Asheville Tea Party will be achieved by modifying the bylaws in order to: flatten the organization; implement 'ad hoc' project teams; facilitate distributed leadership; assign liaisons with grassroots coalitions; and integrate regional memberships. The purpose of implementing this structural change is to make the organization more agile, efficient and capable; to make the organization more action-oriented; and to enhance its long-term viability.

What Is A Project Leader?

This description, contained in our constitution and bylaws, explains the role of a Project Leader:
  • Determine individual project meeting time, place and members
  • Meet as often as project members see fit
  • Select, define and control project
  • Ensure that all resources and activities are on target throughout duration of the project (staying on plan)
  • Determine resources needed and report to Program Management Board
  • Determine scope of operations
  • Report progress to Program Management Board
  • Disband project at completion with optional video documentation
With the announcement of our structural changes in place, we were now ready to roll out our plans and hope for the best. This required first installing our new Chairman and selecting a Program Management Board from our membership. Then we would need to substantially revise our current activities as projects under a new operational regime. The key questions for us now would be: Can we find leaders in our second tier to adopt and manage projects? -- and will everyone involved adapt comfortably to the structural changes we were implementing?

[NOTE: This portion of the article is unfinished. The leaders of the Asheville Tea party resigned in November of 2010 and the organization is under new leadership. The project management model has been abandoned along with the core principles established in the beginning.]

Tea Party 2.0
  • Case Study
  • Long-Term Vision
Rules of Engagement
  • Projects are what take place between status meetings.
  • Every project must have a project manager.
  • Every criticism must come with a proposed solution.
  • Mission and groundrules must be reiterated at every meeting.
  • Meetings must be facilitated.
  • Action items must be documented and assigned to a person to perform.
  • Decisions are made by consensus rather than majority vote.
  • Projects must be proposed to the board and approved
  • Proposal should take this basic form: Description, Objective, Leader, Team, Budget, Tasks, Measures

Wednesday, December 08, 2010

LTE: Montford House

Reclaim legislative authority at the local level
by Tim Peck | Mountain Xpress | 12/07/2010

Dear Editor,

In your article about a Montford homeowner under attack by the city for having “too many people” (Sustainable For Whom, 11/16/2010), Assistant Planning Director Shannon Tuch says, “This is all based on life-safety requirements. When you have eight related people living in a house, there's a head of household...who would the family's best interest to get everybody out. When you have eight unrelated people, it's pretty much every man for himself."

Ms. Tuch's assertion that a head-of-household is more likely to act in his self interest than eight unrelated occupants is simply unfounded. I'm sure Ms. Tuch excels at her government job, but she's a dull sociologist.

Recently, a small fire broke out at Bernard Carman's home—for the first time since taking ownership 22 years ago—inside someone's locked and vacated room. The smell of smoke was detected in minutes by several housemates. Acting quickly and in a coordinated effort, a resident climbed a ladder, entered the window and doused a burning blanket moments from flaming. The house was saved and without fire damage. Four unrelated people acting together effectively mitigated a serious life-safety incident.

I suspect Ms. Tuch is not so interested in the life-safety issues of eight unrelated people living in a spacious and secure home. What she does though is provide a pretext for enforcing North Carolina housing code which precisely defines who can live where in Asheville. A simple inspection of the historic home would satisfy any observer that this residence is adequate, safe and well-maintained.

We need to reclaim legislative authority at the local level. We can determine for ourselves a whole range of civil issues without blanket interference from a distant legislature. The only thing standing in the way of justice in this and many other cases is the lack of home rule.



Bernard Carman is a long-time homeowner in the city of Asheville and has been an active participant in local community affairs for over a decade.

Since 1988, he has owned and lived in a beautiful 3-story, 8-bedroom house in Asheville's Montford Historic District. During those 22 years He has improved the property and rented out rooms to tenants at below market rates, and so far He has not encountered a shortage of poor people to rent rooms to. This affordable housing is now under attack by a city that vigorously promotes affordable housing and even subsidizes it with tax breaks and other incentives.

The reason his home is under attack is that housing regulation mandates that single-family homes cannot be occupied by more than 5 unrelated people. And he is prohibited by zoning code from operating either a boardinghouse or a bed-and-breakfast homestay. The choices he's been given are to either summarily evict 3 people or upgrade the home with expensive safety equipment.

Evicting 3 renters would cost him the lost revenue of about $18,000 a year. He would have to make up the difference himself or significantly raising the rent on the remaining tenants. Absorbing the cost himself would bankrupt him and risk foreclosure on his 22-year investment. Raising rent would mean that 5 renters would be paying for 3 empty rooms and this would certainly put the property outside the definition of affordable housing.

If he decides to continue renting to more than 5 unrelated people, then instead of being subject to residential housing code his home would be subject to commercial code. This would require that an elaborate sprinkler systems be installed, which he estimates would cost around $30,000.

In any case, as long as his property is in violation of housing regulations he is subject to fines of $100 per day until he can prove that it is fully in compliance one way or another. Neither evicting tenants nor installing safety equipment can be done quickly and he has have spent three months so far communicating with city staff on the specifics of my case and seeking remedies as well as exploring and weighing my options for compliance and he could be facing $9,000 worth of fines as of today.

For 22 years he has paid his taxes, improved the neighborhood, increased property values and offered affordable housing to the community. He has harmed no one else and has not risked the safety or well-being of his friends.

Meanwhile, the City of Asheville is combating homelessness and poverty and is offering developers taxpayer-funded subsidies, tax breaks and economic incentives in exchange for building affordable housing in our city.

This is how the City of Asheville is both promoting and destroying affordable housing at the same time.

Home Rule

Any one visiting Bernard's home would find that it is spacious, accommodating, well kept and safe, with modern fixtures, appointments and appliances. There are fire escapes to the top story and fire extinguishers on every floor. The people that live there are friendly and mature and they get along well and look out for each other.

If city staff or a fire marshal were to inspect the property for themselves, this is what they would find. But they would not be able to consult their own judgment and declare the home to be safe, quiet, orderly and no threat to the neighborhood or its occupants.

But North Carolina is not a home rule state and the city must defer to state law in these matters. Legislators in Raleigh determine who can live where in Asheville. The city is only allowed to make housing regulation more restrictive but not less. If we had home rule, lawmakers in Asheville could resolve these problems on a case-by-case basis and, if that were so, I believe Bernard would be allowed to continue offering affordable housing to poor people in Asheville.


1. In Montford, you have two homes next to each other that are very similar in design and structure. The neighbor's property is worth a lot more than Bernard's. Why should Bernard's property be worth substantially less than his neighbor's? The neighbor's property is a Bed and Breakfast. A Bed and Breakfast is going to be worth more than a single-family home because it's been renovated and developed to be commercial income-producing property. Running a Bed and Breakfast is something Bernard has considered in the past. But Bernard cannot convert his single-family home into a Bed and Breakfast because of a zoning ordinance that prohibits two Bed and Breakfast Homestays from being next to each other. According to the Unified Development Ordinance, no two B&B's can be closer than 500 feet from each other. So, while the neighbor can operate a B&B, Bernard cannot. That constitutes a government taking without compensation.

2. Bernard's home was built 100 yeas ago to be an 8-bedroom house. Since Bernard bought the home 22 years ago, it has been housing 8 people in those 8 bedrooms. Along comes a law that prohibits Bernard from housing 8 people. The law says that Bernard can only have 5 people residing in his home. Now he cannot use 3 bedrooms as they were intended and must essentially keep them empty and unused. The house came first, then a law was established that denied Bernard the full use of his property as he saw fit and in a way that harmed no one else. That constitutes a government taking without compensation.


Do North Carolina Local Governments Need Home Rule?
Frayda Bluestein |UNC School of Government | Fall 2006
North Carolina local governments are created by the state and derive all their powers by delegation from it.

Thursday, December 02, 2010

Resident Fined For Providing Affordable Housing

The City of Asheville promotes and destroys affordable housing at the same time.

Sustainable for whom?
Amid push for denser development, Montford residents face eviction
by David Forbes | Mountain Xpress | 11/16/2010
“Sustainability” has cropped up frequently in city policy statements in recent years, often accompanied by pleas for denser, more affordable housing to promote a style of living that proponents maintain is more energy-efficient and compatible with mass transit. But Montford resident Bernard Carman says he’s not impressed. He's owned a historic home on Cumberland Avenue, just north of downtown, for 22 years, undertaking extensive renovations (the house didn't have a working bathroom when he purchased it) while watching neighboring derelict buildings morph into swank bed-and-breakfasts. Carman shares the massive, eight-bedroom residence with seven roommates, providing affordable housing (currently $400 a month) without requiring potentially intrusive new construction or economic incentives from the city...
“This is all based on life-safety requirements,” she explains. “When you have eight related people living in a house, there's a head of household or parental figures who would act altruistically or in the family's best interest to get everybody out. When you have eight unrelated people, it's pretty much every man for himself..."
To be in compliance, barring major renovations, Mr. Carman would have to evict three of his eight tenants from his eight-room three-story home and leave those three bedrooms empty; that is, unoccupied and generating no income for the homeowner, contrary to his judgment. This constitutes a government taking. The home existed before the law. The new law deprives Mr. Carman of the right to use and dispose of his property as he sees fit. When the government takes property for a public purpose, it must compensate the property owner. Mr. Carman should receive a check for $1,500 per month from the City of Asheville to compensate him for the loss of income producing property forcibly imposed on him by law.


Bernard Carman: Asheville Affordable Housing Threatened
Posted by Michael Muller | Mountain Xpress | October 13, 2010
Dear Asheville City Council members, past and present, and activists of our Asheville community: My name is Bernard B. Carman. I am a long time resident of Asheville and a ~22 year home owner in Montford. I have lately become aware of a general problem with our zoning ordinances as they stand today and I would like to share with you some of my concerns and recommendations for improvements.

Asheville ordinance may force Montford landlord to kick out renters
John Boyle | Asheville Citizen-Times | October 17, 2010
For 22 years, Bernard Carman has provided a nice little slice of affordable housing. But it looks like the city, which ironically enough promotes the daylights out of affordable housing and even finances some of it, might just shut him down. At the very least, Carman faces the unpleasant option of having to kick three of his eight renters out, which he finds untenable for philosophical and financial reasons.

What the fudge
by Brent Brown | Mountain Xpress | 11/23/2010

National Homelessness and Hunger Awareness Week was a great success in Asheville and Buncombe County this year. During the week of November 14-20 2010, the Asheville-Buncombe Homeless Initiative raised awareness about homelessness, dispelled myths, and talked with the community about existing efforts to end homelessness.

To comply with zoning rules, three residents will leave Montford home
by David Forbes | Mountain Xpress | 12/03/2010
To avoid fines, Bernard Carman, a Montford landowner involved in a dispute over city zoning rules that prohibit more than five unrelated tenants from living in his eight-bedroom house, says three tenants are leaving in order to comply with the rules.

Monday, November 22, 2010

TSA Screenings

Intrusive, arbitrary, ineffective and offensive TSA security screenings are a consequence of a timid foriegn policy that is unwillling to identify and eliminate the threat of violent anti-Western, anti-civilization Islamist totalitarianism.

America is not screening at airports for Imperialist Japanese kamize pilots. America is not screening for German Nazi commanders. That is because we thoroughly defeated and demoralized those enemies. What is missing in our national defense regime today is a foreign policy of self-interest that is willing to thoroughly defeat our enemies.

Screening for potential physical instruments of violence blatantly ignores the ideological origins of the threat posed by Islamic fundamentalism. It is a willful ignoring of the facts of reality. It demonstrates to our enemies that we are willing to routinely violate the rights of our own innocent to appease the sensibilities of our enemies. This is a prescription for national suicide.


Assault the enemy, not the citizenry
by Linn and Ari Armstrong | November 26, 2010
If we want to get serious about checking out people who may be a threat to us, it is perfectly obvious to anyone with a lick of common sense that a three-year-old Texas girl poses no danger. In our era threats come from a small minority of those with ties to the Islamic world.

Nude Scanners Vs. The Foundations Of Capitalism
Wendy Milling | Forbes | 11.30.10
All it would take to return to the era of safe and unmolested air travel would be to ruthlessly stamp out Islamism by completely destroying all the states that support it and laying down the law for the survivors in those states. Terrorism cannot occur if its perpetrators are dead and its sympathizers thoroughly demoralized.

Friday, November 19, 2010

The Rich Anti-Capitalist

George Soros: "The success of market fundamentalism (capitalism)in America which has really kind of skewed public opinion against their own interests...Certainly, if you eliminated that then the public interest would be better served. And presumably it would lead to a more equal distribution of wealth."

Monday, November 15, 2010

Erika Franzi, Tim Peck Resign From Asheville Tea Party


Dear Asheville Tea Party Members,

It is with great reluctance to announce that Founder, Erika Franzi, and Board member, Tim Peck have resigned from Asheville Tea Party and Asheville Tea PAC. It has been Erika's vision, leadership and unwavering belief in our mission that propelled the Asheville Tea Party and the Asheville Tea PAC to its successes, presence and influence.

It is hard to measure the countless hours and tireless effort that Tim Peck has devoted to both organizations. There are few who are as philosophically astute and grounded in our founding documents as Tim. He was always a guidepost.

They both have left a legacy that will guide the Asheville Tea Party and the Asheville Tea PAC going forward.

That legacy of accomplishments includes:
  • building two organizations, the Asheville Tea Party and the  Asheville Tea PAC
  • redesigning the organization to a project oriented structure
  • rallying for our rights
  • e-mailing and phoning campaigns to our representatives
  • meeting with Congressman Heath Schuler and Senator Kay Hagan to voice our concerns over the Health Care Bill
  • unveiling journalistic conflicts of interest in the press
  • educating us about our Founding Documents by organizing forums and speeches
  • attending the National Tea Party Conference and giving presentations
  • implementing a successful pre-primary debate for the District 11 Congressional candidates
  • supporting Congressional candidate Dr. Dan Eichenbaum in the 2010 Primary to within single digits of victory
  • endorsing, campaigning, and successfully getting four of ATPACs endorsed candidates elected in November, 2010
  • educating the public and our subscribers to the Independence Caucus candidate assessment process in a forum with IC founder, Frank Anderson
  • influencing Asheville City Council to put on hold their annexation plans of Royal Pines for twelve months
  • revealing the excessive expenses the Airport Authority was spending to send people to an airport conference in Maui
  • sending bus loads to DC to gather with more than 1.2 million other patriots on the Mall
  • gathering patriots for the first successful "We Read The Constitution" Day
We will do our best to continue the fine work Erika and Tim have begun and to bring this country back to the place our Founders would be proud.  We wish them good health and success in their next endeavors.


Tuesday, November 09, 2010

Marriage Amendment

Comments made on the Matt Mittan radio show
November 9, 2010, at 4:50pm
Podcast, begins at 00:34:00

I won't be surprised at all if religious right Republicans squander their dominance in the General Assembly by making a priority out of social or moral issues -- which are really religious issues.

This is a case of Christian theocrats attempting to codify their own religious beliefs in the law that should be secular.

For some reason, Christians seem uniquely unable to practice their religion between their ears.

To paraphrase Thomas Jefferson, I would like to know how any same sex marriage breaks your leg or picks your pocket. I could marry my ashtray and it wouldn't cause any harm to anyone else. And it certainly wouldn't prevent you from practicing your religion.

Secondly, this amendment is couched in terms of representing the will of the people. As though people have the right to vote to violate other people's rights. Democracy is mob rule. We live in a country where the government is supposed to protect us from democracy. If a majority voted to ban Christianity, should we respect the will of the people?


GOP: Dance With The One Who Brung You
By Paul Hsieh | November 3, 2010
Similarly, the recurrent theme in the countless grassroots Tea Party rallies across the country has been for fiscal responsibility and limited government — not social conservative issues such as abortion and gay marriage.

Shuler vs Pelosi

Former Speaker Pelosi will run for House Minority Leader in the 112th Congress. NC District 11 Representative Heath Shuler will challenge her for the number one party leadership position.

Scenario One has Obama as President, Boehner as Speaker, Pelosi as Minority Leader, Democrat-controlled Senate. The result might be so-called "gridlock." But gridlock has never deterred the advance of statism.

Scenario Two has Obama as President, Boehner as Speaker, Shuler as Minority Leader, Democrat-controlled Senate. The result might be bipartisanship. Bipartisanship has never fueled the advance of liberty.

Bipartisanship might mean that more statist public policy gets through Congress and signed by the President. Gridlock might mean less statist public policy gets through Congress and signed by the President.

In the absence of a major tea party influence, gridlock would be preferable from a liberty point of view. In which case, it would be preferably if Pelosi retained Democrat Party leadership. Also, Republicans would relish an ongoing partisan contest from a power politics point of view.

In the presence of a major tea party influence, gridlock could prevent the repeal or reduction of statist public policy. Genuine tea party principles should reduce to the promotion of individual rights, limited government and free markets.

The question is whether or not there is sufficient tea party influence in Congress to make bipartisanship appealing to the liberty agenda. The acceptance and adoption of tea party values in seats of power would be a function of 1) the tea party's understanding and embrace of a consistent libertarian political philosophy and, 2) the ability of the tea party movement at large to exert influence in the culture and in political leaders.

There is a new Tea Party Caucus in the House, Allen West will join the CBC. Rubio and Paul are now Senators. The Democrats and partisan media are flummoxed. Constitution talk is ubiquitous. Liberty candidates will be encourage in the next round of elections. And there are other signs that a greater liberty influence is being felt in politics.

I feel that another positive development for the liberty movement would be the election of conservative Blue Dog Heath Shuler to the number one Democrat Party leadership position, over against Pelosi. If the larger liberty community could get behind Shuler in his bid for leadership for strategic reasons, his election could prove fatal to the progress of statism and lead the country into a more serious conversation about direction.

Politics follows culture. The success of any liberty agenda will not result from a single election or the passage or repeal of legislation. It must burst forth from the culture prior to a sustainable element in politics.

The recent mid-term elections have been rightly portrayed as a repudiation of the hard left Obama-Pelosi progressive agenda. The election of Shuler as party leader would further solidify this sentiment in the public consciousness.

It is for these reasons that I support the election of Heath Shuler as Minority Leader in the U.S. House of Representatives in the 112th Congress.


Black Caucus mum on Tea Party Republican who wants to join
By Mike Lillis | The Hill | November 8, 2010
Rep.-elect Allen West (R-Fla.) indicated last week he intends to join the CBC to challenge the group's "monolithic voice."

Defeated Democrats Pen Letter to Implore Pelosi to step aside
by Chad Pergram | Fox News | November 08, 2010
"Madam Speaker, fairly or unfairly, Republicans made you the face of the resentment and disagreement in our races. While we commend your years of service to our party and your leadership through many tough times, we respectfully ask that you step aside as the top Democrat in the House."

Moderates Eye Retaliation Against Pelosi
By Steven T. Dennis | Roll Call Staff | Nov. 9, 2010
There also is frustration that no one credible has emerged to take on Pelosi; no one considers the threat by Rep. Heath Shuler (N.C.) to run to be anything more than a token gesture by the Blue Dog.

Midterm Election Analysis [video]
Communist Party USA | November 5, 2010
Democrats suffered a serious setback in Congress, jeopardizing a labor and people's movement agenda.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Jeff Miller Interview

I thought you might enjoy this.

Jeff Miller is a conservative Republican candidate running for U.S. House of Representatives from North Carolina district 11 on a pro-life position. So I thought I'd call into a local radio interview and ask him a question (at minute 16:00).

Jeff Miller on "Take a Stand" with Matt Mittan
570 AM WWNC Radio
October 20, 2010
Tim Peck question @ 00:16:00

Saturday, October 16, 2010

The Veracity of Jane Whilden

North Carolina Representative Jane Whilden (D116) has claimed, in her bid for re-election in 2010, that she is a long-time opponent of forcible annexation. However, we find that her words and her actions are at odds.

Below are statements from Rep. Whilden where she claims, on two different occasions on the campaign trail, to have been a co-sponsor of an annexation reform bill.

Jane Whilden on Annexation
CIBO Luncheon
October 14, 2010
CIBOdebate.MP3, 00:18:30
"I have voted three times against forced annexation. I have actually signed on as a co-sponsor for legislation and I am willing to do so again. The bills in the legislature this past session passed the House but were not taken up by the Senate. Which means they basically died, they go away, and so the legislation has to be re-introduced and pass both houses in order to become law."
Jane Whilden on Annexation
League of Women Voter Forum
October 12, 2010
Mountain Xpress Video, Part 4, 00:19:24
"I have co-sponsored and voted for a bill against forced annexation. It passed the House. It got to the Senate and it stalled, and I'm not really sure why, but it was not take up by the Senate."
Here is House Bill 524, Annexation - Omnibus Changes:

Where is Whilden's name as a sponsor or co-sponsor?

Here's the vote where Whilden was the deciding 60th vote that sent Goforth's bill back to the Appropriations Committee, a committee on which Whilden sits, instead of letting it have an up or down vote:

Bill Jacket for House Bill 524

The Bill Jacket is proof that Jane Whilden was neither a sponsor nor a co-sponsor of the bill.

Since the vote was 60-59, she was the deciding vote. Goforth, a handful of Democrats, and all the Republicans voted NOT to re-refer the bill. If Whilden voted for the motion to re-refer, then it is she herself who voted to kill and/or gut the bill; contrary to her claim above of not know how all of this happened.

Once it was sent back, it was significantly altered, including the "poison pill" provision that would require any area under threat of annexation by Asheville to obtain approx. 10,000 petition signatures in 10 days.

Original Bill:
Final Bill:

It is conceivable that Whilden would justify her vote to send the bill back to committee by claiming that she "just thought the bill needed some more work" or that she "just wanted to make sure it would pass."

This is nonsense. If she wanted changes, she could have amended the bill from the floor, but because she was not a prime sponsor, the amendment would have been hostile and likely failed.

Why would Whilden go against the bill sponsors? And why didn't she just amend the bill from the floor?


Asheville City Council tables annexation policy
by Margaret Williams | Mountain Xpress | 10/12/2010
In a marathon meeting that started with a 3 p.m. work session and wound through several public hearings that didn’t wrap up till after 11 p.m., Asheville City Council members voted 5-2 to table annexation decisions for the next 12 months.

Public Comment (not given)
Tim Peck | October 12, 2010
The use of force is an ugly thing.

Thursday, September 30, 2010

LTE: Glenn Beck

Dear Editor, Asheville Tribune,

In its recent editorial critical of large-scale conservative protests in Washington, D.C., UNCA's sophomoric Blue Banner newspaper relays its received Progressive talking-points and proceeds to conflate Glenn Beck's well-attended religious tent revivals and the populist national Tea Party Movement in an attempt to discredit them both with a searing swipe. And yet fails for these very good reasons:

First, by descending into 'ad hominem' personal attacks, the Banner reveals the absence of a valid counter-argument within the points it thinks it is making. Inflammatory slurs like "lunatic" and "snakes" reveal little in the way of facts and logic, but a great deal about the pettiness of hostile ideological bias in local media. Let us just say it is unpersuasive.

Second, the Banner simply invents ill motives for both phenomena and directly resorts to a well-worn approach in political debate: smear your opponents with manufactured intrigue. By mischaracterizing the nature of Beck's event as "equating the rich white American's economic and spiritual struggle to the civil rights movement," the Banner creates a straw-man which it would then strike down with unfortunate and snippy rhetorical flourishes. Mixing in a little birther-mania for good measure.

To be sure, Glenn Beck is a maudlin, self-aggrandizing theocratic sentimentalist with more persona and poignant pauses than compelling analytical substance. But Beck certainly has both the legal right and the moral sanction to host a quasi-political rally at the Lincoln Memorial; even after the fashion of King in his heyday. It seems Beck is experiencing a bit of a brush with popularity these days. He appeals to a certain bent in the political marketplace. And from which I'm sure he'll profit. I don't begrudge him that. We need bread and circuses.

The Tea Party Movement, on the other hand, is an independent, decentralized, nonpartisan, grassroots political issues-oriented community that stands against the out-of-control growth of government power, scope, arrogance, recklessness and corruption and stands for restoring the supremacy of individual rights in American society; for re-establishing an objective rule of law under a constitutionally-limited and accountable government; for fiscal responsibility that does not privatize profits and socialize losses; and for the full realization of an economy that is free from government interference and political controls. This fact the Banner is loathe to acknowledge -- even after two years. Fonder are the caricatures.

The Blue Banner seems now to decry populist movements of democratic political dissent and zealous religious revivalism; which were all the rage in the 60's when Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr., marched on the same grounds that tea partiers and the reverent do now.

Remember those bumper stickers from the 60's? "Power to the People." "Dissent is Patriotic." A new breed is preaching those values. Disaffected America today is peeling back those bumper stickers from the hand-painted minivans of yesterday and is now pressing them onto their Suburbans and pickup trucks with the same passion and for the same reason. Right On!




Tea Party Movement is a Revival of the Middle Class
By Tony Blankley | September 29, 2010
Ortega famously argued that a materialistic mass population had no self-restraint, only takes from its civilization -- in contrast to the elites who still sacrificed for the greater good. Lasch's point -- and mine -- is that roles are now reversed. It is the elites who are the materialists and the tea party/middle-class American who is prepared to sacrifice for our grandchildren's freedom and prosperity.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Scrutiny Hooligans

I am currently banned from the Scrutiny Hooligans community weblog, created by now-council member Gordon Smith, on the pretext that I violated commenting rules. That ban, abruptly enacted without communication, has been in place for more than a year.

[All I get is a big blank white screen. Can't read anything unless I go somewhere else and log on with a different IP address.]

The following is an email thread started when I attempted to respond to comments that specifically mention my name by forwarding my responses to others who are not banned to afford me an opportunity to answer my critics.

It includes comments from some friends, council member Gordon Smith and the SH Administrator on my status at the website and my recent attempts to address and resolve this matter.


Replies to Certain Scrutiny Hooligans Commenters

From: Tim Peck
To: D.D.
Sent: Fri, September 17, 2010 12:03:05 PM
Subject: reply to john, matt

John Baughmann
September 16th, 2010 at 5:16 pm
Yeah, Tim. He once said that co-ops are immoral because they didn’t make a profit. I’m still not sure what that means…

1. I have never commented on the morality of co-ops.

2. Your comment appears to be in support of a previous comment regarding a ban in place for supposedly violating a rule. However, the point of your comment is a complaint about a point of view; which is not the subject of any ban. It seems you are in support of a ban based on opinion and that would be inconsistent with the comment rules set forth by the administrator.

Matt Rawlings
September 15th, 2010 at 10:58 pm
Dixiegirlz: Tim Peck doesn’t need to post here–Franzi is posting. Ever notice on other blogs how often Peck’s quotes are Franzi’s?

No, Matt, I've never noticed how often my quotes are actually Franzi's. Certainly you can point readers to many such examples to support your claim.

At any rate, I am unsure as to how the fact that Erika Franzi posts here would obviate my interest in commenting on topics or replying to others here as well. Any expanded explanation of your point would be appreciated.

How's that Coffee Party coming along?

From: Tim Peck
To: D.D.
Sent: Fri, September 17, 2010 11:54:47 AM
Subject: comment ban

Admin Hooligan
September 16th, 2010 at 3:39 pm
Tim Peck violated our comments policy by engaging in a form of spamming known as comment flooding. Until he apologizes to the contributors and readers of Scrutiny Hooligans, he will continue to be banned.

And just how would someone go about apologizing for flooding comments on a comment board that I have been banned from commenting on?

Here's my apology:

"I'm sorry I broke out a series of questions into 8 separate comments so that readers could respond to each one individually."

From: F.B.
To: Tim Peck
Sent: Fri, September 17, 2010 1:07:07 PM
Subject: scrutiny hooligans

Looks like they did not forgive you. The posts I made for you seem to have been removed.

From: Tim Peck
To: Gordon Smith
Sent: Fri, September 17, 2010 1:12:21 PM
Subject: Fw: scrutiny hooligans

There must be some mistake.

From: F.B.
To: Tim Peck
Sent: Fri, September 17, 2010 2:01:25 PM
Subject: Scrutiny Hooligans


September 17th, 2010 at 1:58 pm

ADMIN: “Tim Peck violated our comments policy by engaging in a form of spamming known as comment flooding. Until he apologizes to the contributors and readers of Scrutiny Hooligans, he will continue to be banned.”

I saw Mr. Peck’s version of what transpired and his apology.

What’s he supposed to do, self-flaggelate with a cat-o-nine tails, in Pack Square till no more flesh is on his back?

Earlier this year there were discussions about other affiliates coming here to voice opinions (but there was hot comment about the level of literacy that was expected)….Mr. Peck always writes articulately and well, though he tends toward a different mindset.

From: Tim Peck
To: Gordon Smith
Sent: Sat, September 18, 2010 11:57:34 PM
Subject: Fw: scrutiny hooligans

Please forward to your weblog administrator and I'll add my comments from below.

Here's my apology:

"I'm sorry I broke out a series of questions into 8 separate comments so that readers could respond to each one individually."

From: D.D.
To: Tim Peck
Sent: Sun, September 19, 2010 11:07:37 AM
Subject: Re: Fw: scrutiny hooligans

The lame-o excuse given by whoever admin dude is, is a cover.

The fact is they are not that comfortable with sharing a forum to opposing points of view. Mores the pity. There's been quite a bit of arm twisting to vote straight Democrat of late. They are not at all appreciative of new blood entering the fray. It appears to be a thinly veiled tool to sway voting.

That's not like they have a tremendous amount of traffic on Scu-Hoo...there are days with no comments, what-so-ever.


From: Tim Peck
To: Gordon Smith
Sent: Sun, September 19, 2010 2:51:02 PM
Subject: Re: scrutiny hooligans

Can we now dispense with the idea that I was banned from Scrutiny Hooligans for violating a technical rule of the comments policy?

From: Erika Franzi
To: Tim Peck
Cc: Gordon Smith
Sent: Sun, September 19, 2010 5:43:18 PM
Subject: Re: scrutiny hooligans

Who ever actually believed it? That is, outside of that cadre of pseudonymous commenters who mindlessly tap out ad hominem attacks against all those with an original thought, yet crow about their love of diversity of thought. Diversity of thought for these guys means having two thoughts in one day. And remembering both of them.

You know I like you a lot Gordon, but at the risk of further pissing you off, you really should take out the actual trash in the SH comment section, if there's to be one. Tim raises the level of discourse. The usual commenters simply make the comment section palatable to other progressives. It has been my observation that you are somewhat above that sort of partisan hackery and nonsense. I hope I haven't been wrong.

Awaiting my own banishment.


From: Tim Peck
To: Erika Franzi
Sent: Sun, September 19, 2010 6:21:37 PM
Subject: Re: scrutiny hooligans

Exhibit 1:

Admin Hooligan
September 16th, 2010 at 3:39 pm
"Tim Peck violated our comments policy by engaging in a form of spamming known as comment flooding. Until he apologizes to the contributors and readers of Scrutiny Hooligans, he will continue to be banned. But, because John Galt said that he owes nothing to his brothers, I’m guessing that we’ll never see his smiling Gravatar again. It’s ironic, really, that a blogger who disallows commenting on his own blog would act like such a grade-A spammer jerk on ours."

From: Gordon Smith
To: Erika Franzi
Cc: Tim Peck
Sent: Sun, September 19, 2010 7:14:00 PM
Subject: Re: scrutiny hooligans

Hi, everybody.

I've forwarded the conversation on to Admin. Admin is sovereign.

As to the "trash" - You don't have to visit if it's offputting. Based on your opinion of the ScruHoo commenters you must find it very offputting. Alternately, you could have conversations at other blogs. It is a big internet after all. Some people even begin their own blogs and foster their own commenting community. Lots of choices, y'all! As to "banishment", it's pretty easy to read the comments policy. Tim is one of only two or three people in six years of blogging that have had their privilege suspended.

I think we've done an excellent job creating a smart, funny, and sometimes absurd commenting culture at ScruHoo.

Lastly, I never expect to pass the ideological or philosophical purity tests given by many different types of True Believers.

We'll wait to hear from Admin,


From: Erika Franzi
To: Tim Peck
Sent: Sun, September 19, 2010 7:20:21 PM
Subject: Fwd: scrutiny hooligans

Let it go.

He is the artful dodger. Didn't answer a single issue and he never will. What he did is suggest that we are overly sensitive to their comments and should go elsewhere.

He's insulting and not particularly bright. I am quite disappointed.

I'm done here.


From: Tim Peck
To: Gordon Smith
Sent: Sun, September 19, 2010 7:46:14 PM
Subject: Re: scrutiny hooligans

Let me attempt to carefully interpret Erika's email for Asheville's freshman city council member Gordon Smith:

The Administrator for your declared community weblog is lying asshole.

Thanks for your concern in this matter. Let me know,sir, if you need any help in others that might come across your desk about which you are completely baffled.

From: Gordon Smith
To: Tim Peck
Sent: Sun, September 19, 2010 8:23:49 PM
Subject: Re: scrutiny hooligans

You missed your calling, Tim. You ought've been a diplomat.

I'm sure you're not spending too much time thinking about your commenting status at ScruHoo what with the many efforts you're helping to spearhead with the Asheville Tea Party. I appreciate your candor and endless patience.


From: Tim Peck
To: Gordon Smith
Sent: Sun, September 19, 2010 8:26:50 PM
Subject: Re: scrutiny hooligans

It's not too much to get to the bottom of abject duplicity in local politics. In fact, it's a pleasure. The laughter alone is worth the effort.

From: Gordon Smith
Sent: Mon, September 20, 2010 10:46:21 PM
Subject: In response


I received this from Admin today:

Mr. Peck,

Thank you for your continued interest in Scrutiny Hooligans. We will soon be implementing programming measures that will attempt to address and hopefully improve many of the issues that we've been having with the way our installation of WordPress handles comments. We're running tests right now, and we're estimating that we're three to five months away from a solution. Until then, we won't be making any decisions about the removal of any IP addresses from our blacklist.


From: Tim Peck
To: Gordon Smith
Sent: Mon, September 20, 2010 11:51:37 PM
Subject: Re: In response

Translation: "I'm a dick."

Thanks for your clarification. I'll be sure to pass this along to the others.


My ass


BlogDrama Open Thread
Scrutiny Hooligans weblog | October 7, 2010

Dixiegirlz: I still think the reasoning for barring Tim Peck is lame. He should be allowed back into the fold. Our country is better for opposing, yet polite points of view.

Matt: Are we REALLY still discussing the comments policy & TP? If you really feel the need to read his pointless and offensive comments-look at the abundance on other local blogs/news media sites. I have yet to see one of his posts add something new to a discussion or wasn’t simply repeating the words of his master, the local tea brewer. I find the lack of TP comments on this blog refreshing. Now, can we discuss solar panels and the White House?

Tim Peck: It might be helpful to Mr. Matt Rawlings (of now-defunct Coffee Party fame) to know that there is no commenting rule that allows for the barring of participants due to the disagreeable nature of the content of their comments; no matter how "refreshing" their absence might be to the simple-minded. Even the "pointless and offensive" (and undecipherable) comments offered by Mr. Rawlings are still allowed to stand at Scrutiny Hooligans.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Interview: American Independent

Asheville Tea Party remains neutral in Shuler-Miller race
Aaron Sarver | American Independent News Network | September 21, 2010

Now with more than 700 people subscribing to its e-mail newsletter, the Asheville Tea Party (ATP) has grown rapidly in the past few months as voters tune into the fall elections. Membership in the group is a non-formal affair, requiring no dues. And with the attention and influence tea party factions continue to wield, on both local and national levels, many established Republicans are trying to shore-up their local tea party’s endorsement.

Speaking about the group’s process for endorsing candidates, Tim Peck, co-founder of the ATP, says, “We need to remain non-partisan and be very clear on who we’re going to endorse and why, we’re not just going to fall in line. This is a clarifying moment for us as an organization. Through this process of looking very seriously at the substance of the candidates we’ve been able to differentiate between the people who really understand our mission and those who expected us to be something else.”

The Asheville Tea PAC, which the Asheville Tea Party uses to raise funds and run ads, has endorsed several local candidates for the General Assembly, all Republicans, including R.L. Clark for Senate District 49, Jim David for Senate District 50, Mark Crawford for House District 115, Tim Moffitt for House District 116 and Sam Edwards for House District 118. Yet, the ATP has not endorsed either candidate in the 11th District congressional race between incumbent Democrat Heath Shuler and Republican challenger Jeff Miller.

The group uses the Independence Caucus Survey, which consists of 80 yes-or-no questions focusing mainly on tax and fiscal policy, to determine endorsements. Audio from each endorsed candidate is available on the Independence Caucus website, which is used to clarify answers (and non-answers) to any questions. Peck says, “It’s not just yes-or-no questions. It’s more in-depth, why did you answer yes or no to these questions.”

Peck says both Democrats and Republicans are eligible to receive an endorsement so long as they take the survey and participate in an interview. Neither Shuler nor Miller has taken the survey, though the ATP has encouraged both candidates to do so in their print advertisements, which lists the group’s endorsed candidates. Peck says a lot of people in the ATP will vote for Miller. “We have a lot of internal wrangling over whether to endorse the Republican nominee.”

But Peck believes the group will stick to its strict endorsement criteria. And for those who expect the ATP to automatically get behind Miller, Peck said, “You ought to be able to find another political organization who will endorse a Republican regardless of their merit.”

Peck doesn’t think highly of Miller himself. “He’s a waffling big-government conservative. He’s already flip-flopped on Social Security. He’s not able to defend his position on Social Security so he flip-flops on it.”

The ATP did endorse a candidate in the Republican primary, Dr. Dan Eichenbaum. Eichenbaum bested Miller by 48-27 percent in Buncombe County, which includes Asheville (the largest county and largest city in the 11th District). Miller won the primary 40-34 percent overall, with four other candidates on the ballot.

Peck, who is registered as “unaffiliated,” Buncombe County’s official term for independent, says the group is not just a bunch of disaffected Republicans, and that he will continue to go to great lengths to explain how tea party groups are misrepresented by the media. “Don’t confuse Glenn Beck and the tea party and Sarah Palin. Anytime Glenn Beck says something stupid, that paints the tea party in a bad light. … A lot of these groups don’t have anything in common.” Peck says the group’s views are frequently misunderstood on local blogs and forums as well, and he frequently points to the group’s mission statement to try and set others straight about the ATP’s views. It reads, in part:
The Asheville Tea Party is an independent, local, voluntary, nonpartisan, grassroots political activist organization that stands for individual rights, limited government, fiscal responsibility and free markets; and was created by concerned citizens in response to the out-of-control growth of government power, scope, arrogance, recklessness and corruption.
Miller isn’t the only GOP candidate Peck is wary of endorsing. Of incumbent Republican Sen. Richard Burr — running for reelection against Democrat Elaine Marshall and Libertarian Michael Beitler — Peck has previously said of ATP’s views of Burr, “They’re just not interested in what Burr has to offer.” Peck didn’t consider his favored candidate Beitler a spoiler in Burr’s chances of reelection. “If Burr loses by 7 percent he needs to think about that,” Peck said. “He will lose because he’s wrong on the issues. I would consider Burr the spoiler.”


Thursday, August 12, 2010

LTE: Gay Marriage Bans


Dear Editor,

Our Founding Fathers hated democracy. So do I. Democracy is rule by public whimsy. Whereas the Founders envisioned for our nation a rule of objective law, not of fickle men. Under this vision, the protection of rights trumps the wishes of a mob, any mob, no matter their fallacious appeals to authority.

Thankfully, U.S. Federal Judge Vaughn Walker agreed with the Founders and me in his decision overturning California's proposed Constitutional ban on gay marriage. With his decision, free adults retain the right to enter into voluntary contracts on their own terms unmolested by their neighbors. And this is how it should be--for all of us.

If a majority voted to ban Christianity, should we respect the will of the people? I pray not.



Where Do People Like This Come From?
Neal Boortz | August 10, 2010
Another letter-writer says that "Elected officials have the duty to vote the line of the majority of their constituents. This is the basis of representation by population in the Constitution." Sorry ... wrong.

Gay Marriage
Tim Peck | July 24, 2007
Some are using religion to justify discrimination against gays while others use religion to justify acceptance of gays. Both are wrong.

Saturday, July 10, 2010


Jane says: "Home is wherever I'm with you."

Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros on Letterman
The Debut of Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros on Network Telivision

Wednesday, July 07, 2010

Beitler on Fair Tax

“The income tax and the IRS must be abolished. No government should punish hard work and savings. If we truly want to stimulate the economy, we must stop discouraging hard work and savings in America. More than 20% of the cost of everything we buy is the embedded cost of the current tax system. The size and complexity of the tax code is a national disgrace. The FairTax is the solution. The FairTax would replace income taxes and payroll taxes with a simple national retail sales tax. Let’s make the FairTax a top priority.” --Mike Beitler

Dr. Michael Beitler is a libertarian spokesman for individual rights, limited government, and capitalism. During Mike’s 30-year career, he has been recognized as a leading business executive, business consultant, business professor, and business author. Dr. Beitler’s book, Strategic Organizational Change, is required reading in MBA programs worldwide. Mike’s DVD,Overcoming Resistance to Change, has been ranked the #1 business video on Mike’s book, Rational Individualism, is widely acclaimed by libertarians and free-market advocates as the leading guide for today’s political and economic issues.

Thursday, June 24, 2010


June 24, 2010

Dear Managing Editor, Asheville Tribune,

In his opinion series on authentic conservatism, Dr. Carl Mumpower takes issue with Ron Paul bringing pork home to his congressional district in Texas ('Ron Paul Tap Dances on Earmarks,' June 4, 2010).

I agree with Ron Paul.

Ideally, taxpayers should be relieved of the ever-growing burden of involuntarily funding an out-of-control, unconstitutional, greedy and corrupted government. As it happens, however, taxes are forcibly seized by the federal government and should, by some means, find their way back to their rightful owners. Since the government is unwilling to either cease the confiscation outright or directly return the spoils of plunder, pork is the next best substitute to allowing taxpayers to keep their own money.

Without the earmarking of certain ill-gotten gains, every other state in the Union can and will lay claim to the money seized from Texans. Reclaiming this money for his constituents through pork programs, Rep. Ron Paul is standing athwart the Marxist redistribution of wealth saying, "Stop!" -- something I thought Dr. Mumpower would applaud.

You learn something new every day.


BP Oil Spill: A Fuller Picture

BP's sub-contracted Deepwater Horizon oil rig — a 30-story, fifth-generation, ultra-deepwater, dynamically-positioned, column-stabilized, floating, semi-submersible Drilling Unit — exploded on April 20th and sank two days later, unleashing a gushing discharge of oil into the Gulf of Mexico that promises to upset the ecological stability of a vast region for years.

This devastating oil spill is a great industrial disaster with widespread negative effects for both the environment and those who live, work and play in the impacted areas. And we mourn the loss of those who died in the explosion.

This crisis is far from over, but we can take steps now to examine the accident and our responses to it. If we are to have any assurance that a catastrophe of this kind and degree is not repeated, we need to have a clear-eyed and unflinching view of all of the contributing factors involved.


Oil companies like BP are protected by a $75M cap on damages put in place by an act of Congress in the Oil Pollution Act of 1990. After the Exxon-Valdez disaster (1989) had been cleaned up and nearly paid for by Exxon, oil companies lobbied Congress for liability limits that would establish a maximum amount they would have to pay in the event of a disaster. A Republican Congress and President Bill Clinton together enacted law requiring that oil companies be limited to paying $75M for cleanups, leaving the taxpayer with any remaining costs. In return for this legislative favor, the government could now tell the oil companies where they could or could not drill.

BP entered into an agreement with the state of Louisiana to drill in 500 foot waters off their coast. But the federal government superseded that agreement and told BP that it could only drill farther out in much greater depths; where no well had ever been broken and under conditions the government had never before monitored. And for this dangerous adventure, BP would only need allocate $75M toward any possible mishap. In the case of an oil company worth hundreds of billions of dollars, a $75M cap, well below the $14 billion estimated for the cleanup, amounts to a corporate bailout. BP, by the way, presently earns roughly $6 billion per quarter.

The liability cap is, at bottom, an instance of private enterprise -- Big Oil -- successfully lobbying the power of government to gain undeserved market advantages. This government-granted advantage becomes an incentive to hazard short cuts, hide secret problems and cozy up to willing regulators for further advantage. It is a perverse incentive based on the secure knowledge that no matter what the extent of an incident, BP would easily survive to mark down the relatively minor financial loss as a ledger entry under “The Cost of Doing Business.”

Without such a forgiving cap, BP would be forced into the position of having to rigorously assess the risks of drilling in dangerous, relatively inaccessible 5,000 foot deep waters and possibly suffer the actual cost of a potentially uncontrollable and financially devastating spill.

The ruptured well at the bottom of the sea is so deep underwater that no one can physically get to it because of the intense pressure and freezing cold. This inaccessibility is a factor in the several failed attempts to stop the spill using robotic submersibles. Had BP been allowed to drill on land or in more shallow waters currently off-limits, a similar accident would have been manageable and remedied in short order. Environmentalists should ask that bans on drilling in lower risk areas like ANWR and the shallow-water continental shelf be rescinded. Today, we are drilling in high risk areas because cheaper, less risky sources of oil have been deemed off limits.


The federal government regulates off-shore drilling. The entity charged with setting safety guidelines, conducting safety inspections and enforcing safety regulations is the Minerals Management Service (MMS), an Executive Branch agency under the Department of the Interior.

This agency is notorious for its corruption and incompetence and begging for a shakeup. MMS had never required any of the critical backup systems -- the deadman, the autoshear, the underwater robots -- to be tested and many of the cost-cutting measures adopted by BP, and condemned by its critics, were approved by the agency charged with oversight.

A regulatory rule was ignored requiring oil companies to submit proof-positive that any blind shear rams in use would actually shear pipe and seal a well 5,000 feet down. MMS went on then to approved BP’s Macondo Prospect permit without requiring this proof. MMS has in fact approved hundreds of permits without requiring this proof and BP claims that no such proof was ever requested of them. MMS commissioned a study by the Scandinavian SINTEF Group that documented over 100 failures of blow out preventers. The group formally recommended a redundant system saying, "All subsea B.O.P. stacks used for deepwater drilling should be equipped with two blind shear rams." MMS did not incorporate this recommendation into their regulatory regime.

Rounding out the scandal, MMS staff were perpetually being found in compromising positions. Tim Dickinson reports in Rolling Stone magazine:

“When agency staffers weren't joining industry employees for coke parties or trips to corporate ski chalets, they were having sex with oil-company officials. But it was American taxpayers and the environment that were getting screwed. MMS managers were awarded cash bonuses for pushing through risky offshore leases, auditors were ordered not to investigate shady deals, and safety staffers routinely accepted gifts from the industry, allegedly even allowing oil companies to fill in their own inspection reports in pencil before tracing over them in pen.”

Far from being out of the loop, BP told MMS on Feb. 13th that it was trying to seal cracks in the well about 40 miles off the Louisiana coast. MMS was also well aware of risk factors connected to the failed blowout preventer. An investigation by The New York Times revealed that:

"MMS repeatedly declined to act on advice from its own experts on how it could minimize the risk of a blind shear ram failure in the blowout preventer. It also shows that the Obama administration failed to grapple with either the well-known weaknesses of blowout preventers or the sufficiency of the nation’s drilling regulations even as it made plans this spring to expand offshore oil exploration."

The government has also failed us in a number of ways since the spill. What the Executive Branch should have done early on, but did not, was review the plans for coping with the disaster and intervene decisively to move crusty bureaucracy in flexible and responsive directions. Instead, we have seen classic bureaucratic stalling, obstruction and confusion.

In one case, the implementation of plans to dredge and build sand berms along the coastline in effected states has been held up the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, the agency that must approve these plans, because the barriers may impede natural water flows.

In another case, the Obama administration declined a Dutch offer to aid in the clean up partly because of the pro-union, protectionist Jones Act, which restricts foreign-built and foreign-staffed sea craft from operating in U.S. waters. The Bush Administration waived the Jones Act to help with relief efforts in the wake of Hurricane Katrina and Hurricane Rita. The Obama Administration should do the same and, to date, has not. The Dutch offered to fly their skimmer arm systems to the Gulf three days after the oil spill started. The offer was apparently turned down because EPA regulations do not allow water with oil to be pumped back into the ocean. But if all the oily water was retained in the tanker, the capacity of the system would be greatly reduced because most of what is pumped into the tanker is sea water.

It is also perplexing that only 20 America's 2,000 skimming barges are being deployed in the Gulf on the off chance that the other barges might be needed for oil spills elsewhere. These few vessels performing cleanup operations off Louisiana were halted for 24 hours while the U.S. Coast Guard fulfilled its regulatory function of inspecting them for fire extinguishers, life vests, etc.

Alabama Governor Riley complained that there is no single person in charge. Both Gold Coast governors have developed plans with the Coast Guard's command center, but those plans were frustrated when agencies like the Environmental Protection Agency and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service asserted themselves. Says Riley, "It's like this huge committee down there and [for] every decision that we try to implement, any one person on that committee has absolute veto power." For example, the EPA has repeatedly changed its mind regarding the chemical dispersants that Louisiana is allowed to use.


Some of the cleanup methods being employed are actually very harmful to people, the environment and marine life. More so than oil. Oil naturally breaks down in sea water over time through weathering, feasting micro-organisms, and solar decomposition. Oil is a common, natural presence in the environment, including in the Gulf of Mexico. A 2009 article in Environmental Science and Technology reported that the naturally occurring Coal Oil Point seep field off the coast of Santa Barbara has leaked up to 200 barrels of oil into the ocean every day for perhaps thousands of years. Yet marine organisms still prosper there.

In response to the Gulf spill, toxic dispersants like Corexit (banned in Europe) are being used. Dispersants don't clean, they disperse. They prevent oil from rising to the surface of the water which limits its exposure to nature's cleansing agent: the Sun. Keeping oil below the surface with dispersants hampers the natural process of decomposition. The warmer the water and the greater the solar exposure, the faster oil breaks down. One gallon of a Corexit and oil mixture is capable of rendering 383,141 gallons of water highly toxic to fish. And BP has ordered another 805,000 gallons of these type dispersants to dump into the Gulf.

There is, though, one proven technique that has been used to quickly stop deep water oil leaks: a controlled nuclear detonation. This technique has quickly and permanently stopped oil leaks in 4 out of 5 attempts by Russia in the 1960’s and 1970’s. The US government can authorize such an option.


The Executive Branch has proposed a controversial six-month moratorium on offshore drilling against the advice of experts. The result would be that, after an international bidding war, the best and safest rigs would be redeployed elsewhere in the world to satisfy world demand and leave the U.S. with the oldest, least desirable and least safe rigs. This would simply increase the probability of another major disaster. An arbitrary six-month moratorium on new deep-water drilling would further damage the already faltering economies of the Gulf states and could result in the loss of 20,000 oil industry jobs. The drilling industry estimates the moratorium would cost rig workers as much as $330 million per month in wages. And this does not take into account businesses serving those rigs, like machine-shop workers.

Making matters worse, the White House is engaged in a cynical, politically-motivated public relations campaign that would dishonestly lay all of the blame on private enterprise to obscure its own culpability. This indignant kabuki dance has helped to fuel a general anti-business hostility in the nation that is inciting consumers and activists to target small business-people who own BP gas station franchises for boycotts and vandalism. Attacking and boycotting these small businesses has no impact on BP. The majority of BP stations are privately-owned. Instead, these actions only hurt local business and the low-skilled employees they hire. And much of the gasoline sold at BP gas stations comes from other sources. No practical good can come of grandstanding and demonizing BP. No amount of bullying, boasting, threatening, or emoting will solve a complex technical problem.

Leveraging the hostility it has fueled, the government now demands that it should take over the claims payment process by appropriating financial assets for disbursement to injured parties on its own terms. First of all, the government does not have a good track record of efficiency in handing out aid to disaster victims -- or, in some cases, non-victims. And having the government disburse claims money gives the illusion that the government is solving the problem when it has only seized assets to distribute according to political calculation.

The compensation process is the proper function, first, of the private sector and, second, the judicial system. Instead, the White House is expropriating vast sums of money from a private enterprise to distribute to whomever it deems worthy of compensation. That is precisely what is happening with the $20 billion shakedown of BP to compensate people allegedly harmed by the spill. This should guarantee a steady stream of claimants and rooms full of indifferent bureaucrats and attorneys. The takeover of the claims process also fosters the illusion that politicians are doing something, diverting attention from their own culpability.

Further exacerbating the problem has been the two-month-long partisan media blackout of the government's obstructions and incompetence before and after the spill. Faking reality does not change it. And the media have once again failed to perform its watchdog function.


The proper role of government in a free society is limited; that is, limited to the protection of individual rights within a framework of objective law. The government should and must protect individuals from violence, fraud and willful negligence.

The federal government owns the property where BP and other oil companies drill for oil in the Gulf of Mexico and has an obligation to ensure its proper and safe use. This should include ensuring that no action take place on that property that would egregiously pollute the common environment or endanger the lives and livelihoods of the people there. A property owner has both rights and responsibilities in this respect and must take pains to avoid causing harm.

All property owners should regulate; that is, control or direct by rule, principle or method the uses to which their property is put. You may apply a rule in your own home that admits no handguns and all guests must comply. The federal government may likewise set rules regarding what types of activity take place on its property and parties to lease agreements must comply. In the case of the homeowner, a simple acknowledgment may suffice. In the case of complex and dangerous deep-sea oil exploration, rigorous standards, inspections and enforcement actions are necessary. In both cases, transparency on the part of the guest is required.

Any breach of established rules should be met with impartial enforcement for the benefit of the innocent. As it is, the Interior Department, through MMS, holds the keys to access to offshore drilling. It is through government dereliction, corruption and graft that BP receives unfair advantages in the marketplace.


What needs to be addressed is a legal and policy framework that encourages and rewards misconduct on the part of Big Oil.

Total liability: Government-imposed liability caps should be removed to expose oil companies to the actual cost of damages in the event of an incident. In this way, self-interest begets compliance. Oil companies that would like to make money instead of lose it will take extreme measures to avoid the consequences of bankruptcy. It is the artificial removal of risk through government intervention that introduces hazard into the equation by falsifying reality. Capping liabilities does not eliminate real damage. It simply transfers the real costs from the guilty to the innocent.

Insurance: Rather than relying on corrupt and incompetent government bureaucrats to police risk, oil companies should submit to the oversight of insurance companies who stand to lose a great deal in cases of negligence or other bad behavior. An insurer would certainly require the oil company to put up a substantial performance bond as a safeguard against a breach of contract. And if the oil company is held fully liable for damages, they would be foolish not to take out policies that match their exposure.

Prosecution: The government must fulfill its proper role of protecting rights and conduct a thorough and objective investigation into the accident to determine if and where any criminal negligence might have occurred.

Adjudication: The courts should vigorously fulfill its role of redressing grievance by quickly and appropriately processing injury claims based on merit. Litigation is the purview of government. If litigation in this case becomes dragged out to the detriment of the actually injured, then this would be yet another example of the failure of government, not the private sector.

Non-intervention: Government needs to get out of the habit of handing out favors based on political calculation and personal aggrandizement. It is government intervention in the economy that creates lobbyists, corporatism and special interest groups who act rationally in their own interest in an un-free market. Corporations and special interest groups can only buy government favors when government is for sale.


We ought to acknowledge that oil has brought us a many life-enhancing, wealth-producing, comfort-creating advancements over the past hundred years or so and it remains an essential element in our lives. Not only does oil fuel the automobiles, freighters, jets, trucks, and industrial machinery that power our global economy, its derivatives are found in hospital products that ensure our health: durable, flexible plastic (oil) tubes that safely delivered food, coming from a sealed plastic (oil) bag that securely stores it; oil tubes designed to vacuum excess fluids; disposable foam (oil) cradles to prop up the patient’s arms or legs if necessary–made of oil so as to be disposable; disposable, sterile gloves are either latex or synthetic–that is, made of oil; disposable surgical masks and head-coverings; sanitary plastic (oil) trash-bags for medical waste. Infection in the hospital operating rooms used to be a highly-common and deadly product of surgery due to a lack of petroleum products.

There is also mounting evidence that oil is abiotic in origin; that is, not derived from fossils. Meaning that oil may well be a renewable resource generated from deep withing the Earth's crust that can serve mankind's needs indefinitely without reaching any mythical or hoped-for peak. There is no viable alternative to oil on the horizon and we should continue to find ways to safely and cheaply extract it for our use.

And there is no use in disparaging our use of a valuable resource by characterizing it as an “addiction.” We are no more “addicted” to oil than we were “addicted” to wood two hundred years ago for warmth or sailing ships. We "use" oil and its derivatives for many good things that make life agreeable and would be hard-pressed to do without it.

I hope the spill is stopped and the Gulf waters cleaned up as soon as possible. But I also hope that the oil already spilled can be salvaged for consumption to our benefit. If we are to continue are present lifestyles of prosperity, convenience and health, we will need to pursue the values of civilization and that includes continuing to explore for oil. Let's make sure we do it properly and avoid the many mistakes that went into causing our current crisis in the Gulf.

While BP is ultimately responsible for the spill – and for cleaning it up – the federal government is implicated in many significant ways as well. A lot of people have been calling for BP to be held to account, and they should be. But a fuller accounting will be one that includes all of the perpetrators and their degree of culpability. In that case, for all of its failures, the federal government must be placed in the docket as well.



Red tape keeps prized oil-fighting skimmers from Gulf, coastline
Chris Kirkham | The Times-Picayune | June 28, 2010
Just weeks after the oil spill crisis began to unfold in the Gulf of Mexico, the French foreign minister volunteered a fleet of oil skimming boats from a French company, Ecoceane. A month later, in early June, Ecoceane Chief Executive Eric Vial met with BP and Coast Guard officials to present the idea.

Morning Bell: Obama’s Oil Spill To-Do List
Rory Cooper | The Foundry | June 30th, 2010
The oil spill crisis in the Gulf of Mexico gets worse by the day. Oil spews from the broken well, further polluting our water and shores. The clean-up efforts drag on with bureaucratic interference, making matters worse. And what is the Obama administration doing?

Why Is the Gulf Cleanup So Slow?
by Paul Rubin | Wall Street Journal | July 2, 2010
As the oil spill continues and the cleanup lags, we must begin to ask difficult and uncomfortable questions. There does not seem to be much that anyone can do to stop the spill except dig a relief well, not due until August. But the cleanup is a different story. The press and Internet are full of straightforward suggestions for easy ways of improving the cleanup, but the federal government is resisting these remedies.

Obama decried, then used, some Bush drilling policies
By Neil King Jr, Keith Johnson | Wall Street Journal | July 6, 2010
Less than four months after President Barack Obama took office, his new administration received a forceful warning about the dangers of offshore oil drilling.