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merrieeee

#66: "I'm Clay Aiken, and I Approved This Message!"

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Thanks everyone. I'm glad to be out of my fog. Long road ahead but you know you just have to keep moving.

Whew that was a long interview but very good. I could vote for that guy! Now what was his name again? Oh yeah Clay Aikens!

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Pictures from the Moore County Democrats Facebook page -- https://www.facebook.com/mooredemocrats?fref=photo

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And this last one is from a crop of a picture...too funny...

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thepilot.com

Aiken Addresses NAACP on Education, Ellmers

Aiken Addresses NAACP on Education, Ellmers

John Lentz, staff writer Contact John Lentz at (910) 693-2479 or jlentz@thepilot.com​ | Updated

5 hours ago

Singer, actor and activist Clay Aiken, the Democratic nominee in the North Carolina 2nd congressional district election for 2014, spoke on the need for changes in education and in the current political climate when he addressed the Moore County NAACP during a Tuesday evening appearance.

The meeting was held in Little Hall on the campus of Sandhills Community College. Dressed casually in khaki pants, a blue shirt and loafers and carrying a book bag, Aiken, who rose to fame after placing second in the second season of the television program American Idol in 2003, seemed at ease in the collegiate atmosphere with his laid back, accessible style.

As a former special education teacher for children with autism, Aiken said he was concerned that state politicians were not giving teachers the respect they deserved.

"We've got to change the tone in Raleigh and not treat schools as if they were corporations," he said. "Teachers are not in this business to get rich, they are motivated by seeing their students succeed."

Aiken acknowledged that many teachers "do not advocate strongly enough" for themselves.

"The squeaky wheel gets the grease, and I will be a big, loud voice for teachers in this area and in the state," he said. "If I can do something about this situation, then I will have done my job."

As a Congressman, Aiken said he would "incentivize" students to become teachers in their home districts.

"I would encourage them to come back and teach in the county they grew up in," he said, "because it would give students the advantage of having teachers who understand what it's like to live in that county. Today, if they even stay in the state, they go from the rural areas to places like Wake and Durham Counties because the money's better."

Aiken said he would also address the "astronomical debt" that students accumulate through college loans.

"With an average debt of $29,000 per student, something has to change," he said. "I hate that students graduate with idealistic aspirations only to find themselves saddled with a debt that many can't pay off until they are 30 to 50 years old.

"My opponent (Republican incumbent Renee Ellmers) believes that the market should decide what the interest rates should be. I want to do away with these sky-high interest rates."

Asked if he would respond in kind if Ellmers' attacks become personal as the November election nears, Aiken said there was "nothing constructive or productive" in that approach.

"I don’t plan on being dirty or personal towards her, but I also can’t imagine her doing anything but that," he said. "She used those tactics against her opponent (Steve Wilkins) in 2012, but that is all she seems able to do."

One considerable difference between himself and Ellmers, Aiken said, is accessibility.

"Right now I am working out of Cary part time, getting our field plan together before the election," he said. "I spend a couple of days each week in some part of the district, meeting people and listening to supporters. As the Congressman for the 2nd District, I will be an advocate for this area. If something needs attention, you will not find anyone better able to do this than me."

Asked if he has seen evidence of Ellmers supporters switching to his side, Aiken said he witnesses that "every day."

"When you cross your arms and do nothing for the people, you get nowhere," he said. "I ask people what Renee Ellmers has done for people here, when have they seen her and how she has affected their lives in a positive way, but I don’t get much feedback. I would really like to know what she has done to improve people's lives."

Last March, Aiken told the Pilot that Ellmers "is not listening to people" in the 2nd District, which includes all Moore County.

“She’s gone up there to serve herself,” he said. “Her record will show that. Her record in and of itself should defeat her.”

Comments by Moore County NAACP President O'Linda Gillis preceded Aiken's speech when she stressed that the NAACP was a nonpartisan organization.

"We don’t endorse or support any political party," she said. "When Mr. Aiken's representatives contacted us and asked if he could speak to us, we also contacted Ms. Ellmers to invite her to speak as well. We received an email saying that she could not come, and although we asked for an alternative date, nothing was mentioned in the email.

"We will continue to reach out to her in follow-up communications."

Aiken won the Democratic primary held on May 6, 2014, and will face Ellmers in the general election on Nov. 4, 2014.

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Clay for NC Facebook page posted this update:

Busy day in Moore County yesterday. Stopped in for a morning interview onWEEB, participated in a roundtable and discussed the issues most affecting the lives of Moore County women, enjoyed lunch at Mac's Breakfast Anytime, and had the chance to address the Moore County NAACP. Thanks to The Pilot Newspaper for covering our final stop of the day.

They also linked to the article posted above.

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Kinda sorta an admin note...

The admins have been talking lately about the our board and how to deal with the mudslinging that Clay will be subjected to over the next few months. Articles are going to appear that will be untruthful; advertisements will be broadcast that have lies. Unfortunately, that's part of politics. But...Clay's chosen to this new pathway, and he probably knows this is coming.

Because of this career change, many Clay boards have gone private, or moved most of their discussions into private areas. However, we at FCA have never really been into sequestering things into private areas, unless asked by a member of FCA or a member of another board. We're really such a small board -- would people looking for dirt on Clay actually come to FCA?

Having said that....we would like your opinions on this. Do you think that articles about Clay's political career, including the inevitable mudslinging, should be put into private areas?

Thoughts please!

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Thank you so much for bringing all the pictures and tweets over! That was fun to look through. :)

Personally, I'd prefer not to read any mudslinging articles. Sometimes I stumble on them elsewhere, but I wouldn't mind if they were kept in a private area. Kind of like "the den" used to be at CH.

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If it is out there in the public domain then why shouldn't it be on main. We are such a small board that I seriously doubt anyone looking for "stuff" is going to find anything here. After all if it's on twitter they have already seen it and that's where we get most of out alerts. For example the article I posted the other day that got moved private was on twitter at least 20 times so it was seen a lot of people before it was even posted here.

If it's back channels etc. then for sure put it a private section.

He is now free game for all the muckraking and I don't think we've seen anything yet.

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I just don't think a Clay board needs to make it more available to bloggers or anyone searching for news on Clay. I don't like reading it anyplace and the more places available, the more sites will likely pick it up. That particular site is owned by the same people who bring us the National Enquirer. If it were a negative article from a reputable site not just a gossip site, I could handle it. That's the difference to me.

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In a way, I'm no help, because I can see all sides to the issue.

But...from what I'm reading this morning...this is really two different issues:

1) Should tabloid crap be brought over to FCA? And what about those "reputable" site places that Fear mentions?

2) If this stuff is brought here -- should it be put into private areas?

The "reputable" sites thing confuses me a bit, because there have been times when CNN, for example, has reposted something from TMZ or Radar Online. Or, at minimum, they quote those as the sources. So, in that case...where does the line get drawn?

These are some tough questions. I hope others chime in...

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This is from Clay's Facebook page. A shortened version was also posted on his Twitter feed:

In the coming weeks, I will host a roundtable with community leaders to identify how we can not only protect Fort Bragg from cuts, but also protect our community and its economy from the ripple effects a potential downsizing would bring. If you or someone you know would be affected by the potential reductions at Fort Bragg, please leave a comment below.

There's also a link to an op-ed he posted on his campaign webpage, posted July 3:

Playing Offense on Proposed Defense Spending Cuts

Playing Offense on Proposed Defense Spending Cuts

Posted July 3, 2014

The military community and the citizens of Fayetteville have spent too much time preparing for the worst and hoping for the best during these past few weeks. And the situation seemed to only worsen with last week’s report from the U.S. Army Environmental Command that projected Ft. Bragg could lose up to 16,000 soldiers and defense civilians by 2020.

The Fayetteville Observer reported:

“According to Army projections, the region could lose 21,563 jobs if the cuts take place, and the local economy could take a nearly billion-dollar hit.

Local governments would lose $11.3 million in estimated sales tax receipts, and more than 40,000 residents would be expected to move out of the region.”

These massive cuts to Ft. Bragg are considered a “worst-case scenario.” This report is for planning purposes, and post cuts aren’t being considered in Congress yet. But that doesn’t mean it’s time to sit back and simply hope everything turns out all right for the folks in Fayetteville and on base at Ft. Bragg.

Even if Ft. Bragg isn’t hit with the worst-case scenario in the immediate future, it’s clear the current Congress plans to put Ft. Bragg on the chopping block in attempts to save money in the defense budget. We’ve witnessed that in just the past few weeks with the proposal to shut down the 440th Airlift Wing at Pope Field — something that would not only negatively affect our district, but would also be a massive misstep for our country’s military readiness.

Our Congressional representatives should be the first line of defense on these issues involving defense budgets and potential cuts. They should be early advocates for the interests of our district — and they should be responsible for identifying legislation that’s harmful to our district before it’s put up for a vote.

For now, the fate of the 440th Airlift Wing is still to be decided. But back in May, when Congress was considering amendments to save the wing, Renee Ellmers’s amendment was submitted late and subsequently rejected by the House Armed Services Committee.

There’s no excuse for sloppy work and missing deadlines when the folks in your district are relying on you. Especially when it involves service men and women and our military readiness.

It’s the job of our representatives to get out in front of the issues — nobody else is going to stand up for the folks back home if our representatives don’t. This is about our country’s defense needs, but it’s also about our communities and fighting to protect our local interests. The Army’s report clearly lays out the devastating effect these cuts would have on Fayetteville’s local economy.

A proposal to cut thousands of military personnel is too drastic and severe to be accepted here at home or in Washington, and I intend to be vocal about my opposition to this proposal as it’s being considered by the Army and Congress.

At some point in the future, these cuts may be brought before Congress for a vote. But before that happens, we need to do everything we can here in our community to fight back.

In their Sunday editorial, the Fayetteville Observer noted that simply being present and engaged in these early conversations of potential cuts is a good start to protecting our district from hardship down the road.

In the coming weeks, I will host a roundtable with community leaders to identify how we can not only protect Ft. Bragg from cuts, but also protect our community and its economy from the ripple effects a future potential downsizing would bring.

-- Clay

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It's raining here - yay. It's been too dry lately.

I don't particularly want to know about whatever the latest stupidity is, but neither do I feel that it needs to be hidden. I'm not sure posts here are visible to search. I should check that.

In the course of this new enterprise of Clay's I made a decision -- well, not really decided - I just found myself not bothering with the inevitable gossip and criticism and fame-whoring and lying, etc. NC Republicans play dirty. There was just a big fuss about a t-shirt somewhere round here at an event--y'all probably saw that at CV--"Liberals suck" written on the barrel of a gun, and a dunking booth with pictures of Obama and Clinton (H) at the Republican party booth.

I never saw Crisco's ads. They were tame compared to what we will see in the fall. There will be outright lies, repeated, again and again and again. Scary music and dark backgrounds. I also have stayed away from CH and CV, not just to avoid crap, but most especially to avoid the micro-managing, self-appointed experts, and the whiny anxiety they stir up.

There's one important thing I don't want FCA to miss out on--we've been for a long time a kind of "refuge," and I would want us to continue to be a place where people can come to get some sort of catharsis or respite from the big boards. For that, I don't think it matters a whit what gets posted where. For that we need to just keep being our normal easy-going selves and occasionally if asked to, help people back from the brink when the energy somewhere else is making them crazy. Not to put other boards down, but to regain one's sanity.

I remember those days when there's just something in the air and something happens and a big board just implodes with anxiety and there's far too much conversation about something that is often utterly inconsequential. It's a kind of a mob fever, YKWIM. Those things can get blown out of proportion and those conversations can end up as media fodder. FCA? Seems unlikely.

But when that's happening somewhere else, we're a great place to come, and that's what I care about most. That's what brought me to FCA a long long time ago now (wow). I don't think we'll lose that either way.

I can type, I can type - yay. It happens now and then, won't last long I fear. I just wanted to say thank you HUGELY to ldyj for bringing over all the goodies. I feel guilty that I can't help which is kind of dumb, when I just can't do it, but even if I could type, I couldn't stomach going looking for the stuff, and I'm extremely glad that ldyj is enjoying political Clay because I still have a crush on the guy and I love that there's new stuff to see every day, especially pictures. He's looking really good, isn't he?

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Found a link to the article I was talking about above--no Clay mention, just an example of NC political sentiments: Republican Party's Fourth of July Booth Stirs Controversy. A couple of photos are there of the booth and the t-shirt, although the woman modeling the shirt is not a fan of the sentiments expressed. This kind of thing seems to be backfiring a bit this year--hence the negative article in the local paper where the event occurred (unless that's just a "liberal media" bias - lol).

The one thing they are right about is that this is tame compared to what they'd like to do. I'm Facebook friends with some old high school classmates and you should see some of the things they post. Well, you see this kind of thing everywhere--so this is just my experience, and Clay's no doubt. If the "This is Klan Kountry" billboard wasn't still up when he went to see his relatives in Smithfield as a child, it had not long been gone and I'm sure he would have heard about it. My family had friends there and I saw it many times--fortunately the people we visited and my parents were pretty horrified by it. For some about all that has changed from many decades ago is that they know better than to be overtly or directly racist in some venues.

Unfortunately, they are devoutly religious. They feel very righteous about their beliefs because this is what they were taught as children, and what they continue to be taught today. And a lot of them are in district 2, just saying. There is nothing in the world that I can imagine Clay could do to win over Wayne from Aberdeen whose racist Dad is over 100 years old and a stalwart of the community. Wayne posted a photo of a young black man in long fishnet stockings in the process of getting dressed up in drag with a caption to the effect that if Obama had a teenage son, this is what he would be like. That one got a lot of "likes" from the old gang. Just a "joke" after all.

It's all couched as "morality," and there are some clear resemblances to religious groups elsewhere that they violently oppose and consider to be threats to the "American way of life."

I was lucky in my parents, even if they don't understand what it does to a kid to go to a "church" like that. Compared to the churches they grew up in, ours was pretty "liberal." If you can call a place where the Deacons are KKK members liberal. It's not like they killed people like the KKK's in Oxford or Smithfield or other small towns, after all. They think of themselves as the good guys, and some of them have heard so much crap that they honestly believe FEMA is coming to load them in trains to take them to Obama camps where they'll be gassed to death. Rush Limbaugh (or Glenn Beck) said so!!!!!!

Y'all are going to be sorry I can type soon and be wishing a relapse on me! I've been holding onto a couple of links to post eventually, pretty much since Clay announced, if anyone's interested:

When North Carolina was Klansville USA

When 'Religious Liberty' Was Used To Justify Racism Instead Of Homophobia

The second link explains why in the world I'm talking about racism so much. What's missing in that last title: it wasn't "instead of" - it was (and is) taken utterly for granted that homosexuality was evil. We heard that in Sunday School, we heard it in church, we even saw films about it as kids (also films warning us not to marry outside the Methodist faith--that is, Catholics or Jews or Unitarians, lol).

I'm not talking about some little out of the way NC church either; this is mainstream conservative Christianity around here. (Which isn't to say there aren't lots of liberals too!)

All that said, I think Clay's the best possible ambassador to change people's minds, if not those of my hard core high school classmates--in just exactly the way he is going about it. I'm bustin' my buttons proud of candidate Clay. (Just not thrilled about him opening himself up to the inevitable mudslinging from many quarters, but you know, it isn't always about me and it looks and sounds to me like he's having the time of his life. And did I mention how good he looks? The freckles are back. YAY.) And I think keeping this whole issue out of the discourse of his campaign was essential--and he's doing that brilliantly by bringing people's attention to practical matters that serve the district, and "showing" rather than "telling" what is really important to NC. The only way someone like Wayne could ever be won over would be if he saw that his own best interests would be served by voting for Clay, and was so convinced and engaged in that thought that he forgot completely that Clay is gay.

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I feel like some friends have taken steps backwards within the last 4 or 5 years, using the bible as their excuse to discriminate. I don't know what to do when getting together with some folks. It's like tiptoeing around a conversation. Thanks jmh, you sound about as helpless as I feel. We continue to support politicians we believe in both monitarily and volunteering time. But it never seems to be enough. :cry4:

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One more, to end on an optimistic note. And because it's freakily cool that I can do this. I think Clay has an outside chance of winning, and here's why. Since the last gerrymandering there has been rapid population growth in areas of the district that were sparsely populated before. Cary to the south, Apex to the south, and now Pittsboro to the south and east. A planned city of 70,000 people has just been approved to go up near Pittsboro (7000 acres?).

The latter is not going to help Clay much in this election, but the other two areas I mentioned are a different story. For a long time Raleigh grew north, but now it is growing south. Housing is going up like ant hills in a dry summer, shopping districts as well, but housing is #1 for now. And there is a good reason for that. A final portion of the new highway 540, circling much wider than the old Raleigh beltline (440), has been completed. It took me such a long time to realize that a photo Clay posted once of a sign saying 540 was a photo of a brand new connection--located about 2 miles from his former house! Since then, the portion going south from there has connected with US 1 and 64, which connects areas which were growing in population and "liberalizing" anyway--such as Pittsboro, Siler City, Sanford, Asheboro. It also connects with 54, 55 and 751, main arteries going to Durham.

What this does is expand the area where people who work in Raleigh, Durham, or RTP can live and still get to work. Not that they are all Democrats--but maybe some are Republicans who are more moderate, and more willing to listen. And cultural changes in a more socially open direction tend to occur along with population growth. I would not have gone to Pittsboro by myself in 1968, and now the center of town (all 1 and 1/2 blocks of it) is full of artists and crafts and other cool shops. And the Soda Shoppe that Clay has discovered. :) The Woodwright's Shop from PBS. Etc. (so the middle of Pittsboro was gerrymandered out)

I'm getting off track. It's been several years now already, and the proliferation of housing growth is kind of mind boggling. What Clay would have to do with these folks is just get them up to date with local politics in a hurry--door to door registration drives and targeted mailings, that kind of thing. I'm sure he's well aware of that, especially as it's all been happening around his old home. When he moved into it, it was way in the middle of the country. His road became part of a short cut that many of us started to use to get to 540 "the back way." I even posted Clay for NC signs along the short cut--two were stolen but three made it and I went back for them the day after LOL. Will do it again, and maybe a couple of others, because there are a whole bunch of folks who live in District 2 but work in Raleigh or Durham, RTP, etc.

Will the next legislature be able to gerrymander again I wonder? If not, Clay's chances two years from now (depending on so many other things) could look very good indeed.

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jmh! Love reading your novellas! *g* I'm glad your hands are better!

Clay tweeted about his location tonight on Foursquare -- the Fairview Dairy Bar in Sanford.

Also, I saw at CV that the diamond and platinum donation members have received more information, and it included a list of dates for fundraisers in North Carolina. I've added the dates to the Timeline.

I'll write more later about our topic at hand, but in general, I agree with pretty much everything jmh said!

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JMH! Wow, so happy to see you back. I'll take it as a wonderful sign. You have a lot of knowledge..someone may need a campaign aid.

I thought the story that Merrieee posted was rather tame. Hope it's not working everyone up. My first inclination is that we don't need a private place but then I thought more and realized we got through a tough period in clay history by not bringing things over at all. So I guess after rethinking, if it upsets any of the regulars then we could just post it in the thread Merrieeee created. And that's with me totally agreeing with Merrieee that anything posted here is not going to impact Clay at all. I just don't believe it. This is a dirty dirty business and we just can't protect him from anything that may come up and he absolutely had to know that any and everything would become public and twisted. I think that's why I was a little surprised that he went into politics which is not the same to me as charity work which I thought he would do full time.

and LadyJ..you are so right. TMZ breaks major stories. CNN parrots the tabloids. The lines have been irrevocably blurred. Nobody actually investigates anything anymore and just report the facts. They just seem to report both sides, whether lie or truth. It's insane. I'm ashamed to have a journalism degree (ha ha).

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Wow, interesting discussion and pretty disturbing reading (but thanks jmh123, love your posts, they open my eyes). I grew up in a religious environment with a bit of the stuff you are talking about, but obviously nothing like the south. Clay just has balls. He impresses me so much (even if I still wish he'd sing LOL).

This place has always been my refuge, and continues to be. I want to know what Clay's up to but other than twitter & facebook, I would definitely lose track without FCA. I appreciate so much everything that is brought over here.

Don't know how many of you remember disneykid (Lisa "B") who used to travel with us to Clay events, but she and her husband had a baby on July 1st (Canada Day), a little girl named Kori. I've posted a few pictures on Facebook recently. I've got my mom out for the weekend and we went to visit yesterday. Neither of us has ever held a baby so tiny. She was 6 lb 14 oz when she was born. None of my kids were ever that small!

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I spent the day today getting a haircut, followed by shopping for a new dishwasher. The day we left for Vegas, I started the dishwasher for one final load...and nothing. Finally got a repair person to come yesterday, only to have him say "you'd be better off with a new dishwasher!" Great...even more money down the tubes....

Congratulations to disneykid! I saw the pictures on Facebook, but wasn't sure who had the baby. Now it makes sense!

jmh, I am so glad your hands are better, because I really learn a lot from your posts.

As for the topic at hand, I can see now why couchie, jmh and I are the admins around here, because we seem to be pretty much in sync. I really don't think anyone is going to find any new dirt about Clay around here, and that article was really, really mild. (couchie, it did seem to cause some "angst" for a while elsewhere...) Clay's also a grown man, and he doesn't need protecting.

jmh mentioned that when Clay started this political journey she made the decision not to pay any attention to the "dirt." I'll take that a step further -- I kinda made that decision in about, say, early 2004. I'm not one to need to read everything about Clay. I LIKE the good stuff, and if I happen to read something not as complimentary, I usually just roll my eyes.

Clay's had a lot of this stuff thrown at him over the years, and it's going to continue to as years go by. He doesn't deserve it -- at all. Life's like that though.

I too want to keep our "refuge." I do spend a lot of time at CV now to bring over stuff (and thank you for the compliments on this...), but I have to say that I definitely need to spend time over here just to keep my sanity! I know a few of you have received venting from me after reading there! They are a good group, don't get me wrong...but there are days....

It's about time for bed, I think....

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Thank ldyj for another supernice banner!!

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Right now I don't feel like I belong to any board. Just no interest. I hope this feeling passes.

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{{{{{{{{{{{{{{merrieeeeee}}}}}}}}}}}}}}

You are a part of US....

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