Congressional Fight Club

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What on earth has happened to our political culture?

Remember stories of Democrats and Republicans in Congress disagreeing on the floor of their respective chambers and then joining each other for dinner with their families? Remember when Joe Biden and John McCain loved each other?

As we say in the South, “them days are gone.” Nowadays, members are more likely to punch each other, or at least give it some thought. This month has been especially embarrassing in the “let’s rumble” department.

It began with a heated exchange between Oklahoma Senator Markwayne Mullin and a Teamster official testifying before a Senate committee. The two men, both of a brawny, macho-man sort, apparently have a history of bad blood between them. What should have been a Q&A between Senator and witness degenerated into a “take-it-outside moment,” with Senator Mullin standing to leave his committee chair and head down toward the witness. That prompted the committee chair, 82-year-old Senator Bernie Sanders, to shout, “Sit down! You are a United States Senator. Act it!” Blessedly, Mullin did as he was told, but the mortifying moment lives forever on the internet.

But wait! There is even more bad blood!

A Tennessee Congressman who vowed to remove former Speaker of the House Kevin McCarthy from the Speaker’s chair accused McCarthy of elbowing him in his kidney while charging through the halls of Congress. McCarthy denied the accusation, but an NPR reporter who was interviewing the Congressman when McCarthy barreled down the hall later tweeted that McCarthy “shoved” the Congressman and that she had “NEVER seen this on Capitol Hill.”

And, there was a Congressional taunt, highly inappropriate but amusing nevertheless. A House committee chair, James Comer, got into a tense exchange with a committee member of the opposite political persuasion. Arguing over President Biden’s finances and the chair’s personal finances, Comer lost his temper, used the word “bull****” in his role as chair, and finished up by yelling at his blue plaid sportscoat-clad Congressional colleague, “You look like a Smurf!”

Of course, the ongoing saga of George Santos continues with shocking revelations from the House Ethics Committee that he used his campaign funds for trips, gambling, fancy shoes, Botox treatments and a membership to a porn website, among other expenses. The report is on top of all the lies the man has told and various swindles he is alleged to have devised.

Really? Is there no shame, even when well-earned?

The United States is now less than a year away from a Presidential election year and all manner of down-ballot contests, and I do not know a single soul who is looking forward to it.

As we consider the candidates we will support, no matter whether we are Democrats, Republicans, or unaffiliateds, please, please, please look for candidates who are reasonable and responsible adults, not hotheaded partisans of any stripe. Look for people who have a demonstrated record of supporting what is best for our community, state, and nation as opposed to a partisan or special interest agenda. Look for people you would feel comfortable visiting your own home in the presence of your own family.

And, yes, I agree that some of this outrageous behavior would be laughable if it were not so terrifying that these are the people in charge of our government.

Bill Bowman’s message to Up & Coming Weekly readers

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The Up & Coming Weekly is NOT a non-profit news media organization.

It is a 27-year-old weekly com-munity newspaper that has never waivered in its commitment to keep-ing the residents of the Fayetteville/Cumberland County community informed, amused, and entertained, with a dedicated staff and excellent contributing writers like Margaret Dickson, Pitt Dickey, Karl Merritt and Dr. Shanessa Fenner who, for de-cades, have been the content foundation of our publication for community news, views, opinions, arts, and entertainment.

And, even though we will contrib-ute to many local non-profit orga-nizations during this current Giving Tuesday campaign, we (U&CW) will not receive any such donations from the community.
Our newspaper was the first to inform Fayetteville residents about the crisis in the newspaper industry and its toll on local newspapers nation-wide. We were also the first to predict the dramatic negative impact the sale of the Fayetteville Observer would have on the community.

Up & Coming Weekly warned everyone on how we would suffer if Cumberland County were allowed to become a “media desert.” To our detriment (meaning our financial risk), we have been continually diligent in trying to prevent this outcome.

Our style of journalism is unique and steeped in the Southern traditions of honesty, integrity and tenac-ity when it comes to principle. Our newspaper has paid a high price for such commitments.

We have been threatened, sued, accused of being racist, and canceled by a “woke” society; however, we are still here.

Our existence gives credence to the adage: “If you do the right things for the right reasons, you never have to apologize.”

Maintaining the confidence and trust of this community is our highest commitment to the citizens of the Fayetteville community, and our commitment stands.

Only the community can support a community newspaper. Again, we are a news media business, NOT a non-profit charity.

Our revenue and total existence de-pend on local sponsors, partners, and advertisers. This being said, Novem-ber is the near-perfect time to ask our loyal U&CW readers for their support in the upcoming years.
You can support the Up & Coming Weekly community newspaper in many ways, i.e., market and adver-tise your business or organization, promote your forthcoming event, and invest in a business profile to inform the community of your services.

Of course, you can always send us a check supporting Free Speech, the First Amendment, and the Fourth Estate.

Most importantly, we appreciate you, your friendship, and your readership. All three are greatly appreciated.

Contact me personally if Up & Coming Weekly community news-paper or if I can assist you. We need local businesses and organizations as partners, sponsors, and advertis-ers to keep U&CW newspaper as a FREE and independent local media resource.

You can reach me 24/7 at or by calling 910-391-3859 to discuss ways to get involved in ensuring the Up & Coming Weekly newspaper continues serving Fayetteville and Cumberland County residents.

I look forward to hearing from you. Thank you for reading Up & Coming Weekly. 

The Power of Inertia compels you


Right now, you are probably asking yourself, “Self, what is the strongest force in the universe?”

Mr. Science has the answer. Inertia is the strongest force. It cannot be denied. We just enjoyed the switch from Day Light Savings Time to Eastern Standard Time. Who wanted this time change? Nobody. Why did it happen? Inertia. Every year people fuss about it and nothing happens – reason Inertia. The two likely candidates for President next year are President Biden and Trump. Who wants this return match up? Practically nobody. Why is it going to happen? Inertia. Everybody talks about the weather. Nobody does anything about it. Why- Inertia. Let us examine how Inertia controls the universe.

Sir Isaac Newton is guilty of creating the Triumph of Inertia. Sir Ike invented Inertia. Before Ike came along, Inertia was spelled with a small “i” and was considered inconsequential like gluten allergies before they became fashionable. Ike came up with three laws of motion back in 1687. It is no coincidence his first law dealt with Inertia stating “If there is no external force, an object that is at rest stays at rest, and an object that is in motion continues to move.”

For purposes of today’s lesson, we will ignore the other two laws. His first law applies not only in physics but in politics. Inertia keeps things the way they always have been unless something major happens.
Examples of Inertia: Put this copy of Up & Coming down on a table, it will stay there until someone uses it for kindling. Put a pack of cigarettes on a table, they will remain there unable to give anyone cancer until someone smokes them. Put an AR-15 on a table, it will remain there unable to be a part of a mass murder until a moron picks it up and starts shooting.

Sir Ike was a man for all seasons. He also invented gravity while sitting under a tree in 1665. He was leaning back on an apple tree and noticed that when apples fell, they went straight down instead of falling up or sideways. Something was pulling them down to the ground. He cyphered that the mysterious force that kept people on the ground and planets in orbit was called gravity. There are no credible reports of people flying off the Earth before Ike invented gravity, but he gets credit for figuring it out. After Ike’s revelation, gravity is not just a good idea but it is the law.

When Sir Ike wasn’t inventing Inertia and gravity, he was also an inventive cook in the kitchen. He invented America’s third most popular cookie – the Fig Newton. According to the South Florida Reporter, only Oreos and Chips Ahoy cookies are more popular. I am not one to second-guess the South Florida Reporter. If they said it, I believe it, and that settles it.

Some folks think the Fig Newton was invented by Charles Roser of Ohio in the mid 1800s. Other cooler heads point out that Charles’ version of the Fig Newton came from a British treat called a Fig Roll. Follow the dots, Ike was British, his last name was Newton, he liked sitting under fruit trees, both apples and figs are fruits, the fig roll came from England, Roser merely industrialized the production of Fig Newtons. Ergo, Sir Isaac Newton is the Father of the Fig Newton. I rest my case.

The US Congress has a current favorability rating of 17%. Yet 98% of Congress Persons get re-elected each year. Why does this happen when they as a group are so unpopular? Once again, the answer is Inertia. They ain’t going anywhere, protected by the benevolent and malevolent arms of Inertia.

The permanent ruling class of Congress Persons remain in office like stalactites until they die or get convicted. Members of Congress are immune to a sense of shame. Mere indictments will not cause them to leave office. They will hold on with their fingernails until a Judge sends them to the hoosegow. Exhibits A: Congressdude George Santos and Senator Robert Menendez. Congress folks are protected by a reverse evil version of Father Merrin in the original version of “The Exorcist”. The Patron Saint of Congress is the Dark Lord Sauron who protects crooked or merely incompetent Congress Persons with the incantation: “The Power of Inertia Protects You!” Like cock roaches and Twinkies, the permanent class of Congress Persons will outlast all life on Earth except for Keith Richards.

So, what have we learned today? Inertia by any other name would smell as sweet. Fig Newtons are the third most popular cookie in America. Congress is protected by the Inertia of Dark Lord Sauron. I like Ike, but we are not in Kansas anymore.

America's founding deserves our gratitude.

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In her classic novel Little Women, Louisa May Alcott has her character Margaret gaze bitterly at the family’s frostbitten garden and proclaim that “November is the most disagreeable month in the whole year.”

The protagonist, her sister Jo, offers a pensive reply: “That's the reason I was born in it.”

I don’t see November that way. I’m far from alone. According to a recent survey, it’s January that better deserves Margaret’s disdain. Nearly a third of Americans say it’s their least favorite month. Only 4% picked November.

The latter’s selling points include the lingering beauty of autumn leaves, the poignant solemnity of Veteran’s Day, and, especially, the holiday of Thanksgiving. Its indispensable premise is that, even after a year of mishaps or tragedies, there will always be much to be grateful for — and that the best way to demonstrate that gratitude is to share your time and table with family and friends.

One of the blessings for which we should regularly give thanks is that we live in the United States of America. For all its past sins and present shortcomings, our country remains a marvel, a model, and a miracle.

Our founding principles — freedom, self-government, and equality before the law — set America apart from other nations, even though they were not consistently respected or applied at the time. As Martin Luther King famously put it, the Founders were “signing a promissory note to which every American was to fall heir.” It was that promise that made America exceptional.

November isn’t just home to the Thanksgiving holiday. It contains the anniversaries of many events Americans ought to study and commemorate. On November 15, 1777, the Continental Congress finalized the Articles of Confederation, what might be called the initial “operating system” of the national government. A little over five years later, on November 30, 1782, representatives of Great Britain and the new United States signed a provisional peace treaty that brought hostilities to a close, though the Revolutionary War wasn’t formally ended until the signing of the Treaty of Paris a few months later.
As it happens, some of the greatest musical celebrations of America are also associated with this month.

On November 11, 1938, Kay Smith debuted the Irving Berlin-penned “God Bless America” to her nationwide radio audience. John Phillip Sousa, whose many compositions include “The Stars and Stripes Forever” and the Marine Corps march “Semper Fidelis,” was born in November, as was Aaron Copland, who wrote such now-familiar Americana as “Appalachian Spring” and “Rodeo.”

My historical-fantasy series, the Folklore Cycle, is itself meant partly as an expression of gratitude for our great country. The first novel, Mountain Folk, is set primarily during the 1760s and 1770s. I use a combination of real-life and imaginary characters to depict the American Revolution in all its scope and complexity.

In my novels and short stories, I don’t sugarcoat history. My characters include religious dissenters, Cherokee leaders, and abolitionists such as Sojourner Truth. They are among the American heroes I celebrate, and for whom we should all be grateful this month and every month.

Editor's Note: John Hood is a John Locke Foundation board member. His latest books, Mountain Folk and Forest Folk, combine epic fantasy with early American history ( Mr. Hood's article has been edited down from the original.

Archie and the Jugheads


*Disclaimer: My apologies to Archie Comic Publications, Inc. There is no connection to their iconic comic book characters, Archie and Jughead, in this editorial.The Merriam-Webster dictionary definition of jughead is referenced as a stupid or foolish person. Any content similarities to individuals or groups, living or dead, are purely intentional. (If the shoe fits.....)


I admire Archie Barringer. He loves this community, has a passion for humanity and couldn't care less about being criticized and canceled by a "woke" society.

I have known Archie for over two decades, and he has written several excellent articles for us full of wisdom and spiritual insights. Without a doubt, this retired U.S. Army Chaplain is a man of character, wisdom and fortified convictions who has spent his life serving God and all God's children.

Archie, like many of us who call Fayetteville home, is frustrated and disappointed at the continued divisiveness in our community that has evolved since the unfortunate death of George Floyd in 2020 and the May 30th riots. That day, a hostile, angry mob terrorized downtown citizens, destroyed personal property and attempted to burn down the Historic Market House while our former Police Chief and Mayor "stood down" watching the lawless acts and failing to serve and protect Fayetteville citizens and their property.

Today, our Fayetteville elected officials continue to "stand down" in initiating the actions that would work to normalize race relations and restore dignity, pride, and honor back to our community.

That is precisely what Archie Barringer attempted to initiate when he addressed the Mayor and City Council requesting that the "Black Lives Do Matter” and “End Racism Now” messages be removed from the downtown monument's circumference.

Like many Fayetteville residents, Archie loves Fayetteville and believes Fayetteville is a community of History, Heroes, and a Hometown Feeling.

However, the message that is broadcasted daily from the Market House sends a consent reminder to residents and guests that we are a city divided.

Archie wants city leaders to remove the words “Black Lives Do Matter” and “End Racism Now.” with an alternate message that is more reflective and representative of our community's diverse population.

I had a personal, heartfelt conversation with Archie about his quest and concluded it was reasonable and practical.

He reminded the Mayor and Council that history cannot be erased or undone, and we must learn from it and move on. He recommends replacing the words with alternate phrasing.

It was a solid, well-thought-out recommendation, and the council extended him the obligatory courtesy of listening to his request. Still, from their responses, you could tell his suggestions fell on deaf ears.

Archie views everybody in the same light. "We are all God's children," he often reminds us. His enthusiasm and motivation come from wanting this community to live up to its status as an All American City and a community of History, Heroes, and Hometown feeling.

Archie Barringer is correct. Removing those words would be a huge step toward bringing the community together.

A community that is becoming more and more divided and culturally insensitive as a result of inept leadership.

We need more people speaking out and letting their feelings be known. We need more Archie Barringers and fewer jugheads.

Thank you for reading Up & Coming Weekly.

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