Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Jabba the Putz

Dwane Powell, N&O, 22 May 2015
To appreciate fully this Dwane Powell cartoon, you must understand that Sen. Bob Rucho chairs the NC Senate Finance Committee and

...that last Wednesday Sen. Rucho abruptly cut off debate on whether North Carolina should continue encouraging solar energy projects through a provision in law that makes large energy corporations (Duke Energy, we're looking at you) buy a certain (tiny) percentage of their electricity from renewable sources and

...that the bill under debate in Rucho's Finance Committee would freeze North Carolina’s “Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency Portfolio Standard” (or “REPS”) – a law that requires a growing percentage of the state’s electricity load to be provided by renewable sources. Current law places the REPS requirement at 6%, but it is scheduled to grow to 10% in 2018 and 12.5% in 2021. And

...that the Republican senators on Rucho's committee are far from unified in wanting to scuttle renewable energy initiatives. In fact, observers say the majority in that committee last Wednesday wanted to vote negatively on that particular bill. And

...that Rucho, after cutting off debate, called for a voice vote on the bill and then declared it had passed even though it sounded like it had failed loudly, and

...that Sen. Josh Stein, a Democrat from Raleigh who is on the Finance Committee, told Under the Dome on Thursday he doesn’t mind losing, but if he wins and still loses, that’s not fair.

Monday, May 25, 2015

Making Animal Abuse a Constitutional Right in North Carolina

In 2011, a worker at a Butterball turkey processing plant in Hoke County secretly videotaped other workers abusing the turkeys, which led to a raid by Hoke County deputies and convictions of workers and a state veterinarian, who tipped off Butterball about the raid.

In 2013, toadies in the NC Senate of the state's poultry industry -- which ain't small nor without power -- introduced a bill to make the worker who did the videotaping subject to prosecution, a kind of "Stopping Whistleblowers" act. At the time of its introduction (and hilariously), Sen. Brent Jackson, R-Sampson, said the provision was aimed at "protecting intellectual property," when it was clearly aimed at protecting the cruelty of factory-farming.

That bill never became law, but there's a whole new iteration of this "ag-gag" movement which is currently sitting on Governor Squishy's desk ... H405, benignly titled the "Property Protection Act." The bill would allow a business or property owner to seek damages against any employee who intentionally entered an unauthorized area of that business or property to record video or sound. Whistleblowers take warning. That factory-farmer will sue your ass into oblivion if you try to blow the whistle on animal cruelty, nasty working conditions, or unsafe food production.

Although opponents of the bill are calling it the "ag-gag" bill because of the Hoke County raid in 2011, the final version of the legislation isn't limited to agriculture. It would apply to any employee in any place of business.

Any employee in any place of business.

Gov. Squishy has only until Saturday to make up his mind whether to sign this pile of turkey droppings or veto it ... or more likely, given The Guv's track-record, allow it to become law without his signature.

He's probably none too pleased to have his pending decision become a national rallying cry, but it has. He's in the public spotlight on this, and on the hot-seat.

Friday, May 22, 2015

Sen. Rucho Discovers That "Trickle-Down" Does Not Work

Bob Rucho
Sen. Bob Rucho, the transplanted Yankee who represents Mecklenburg County in the NC General Assembly, was whining about higher Carolina Panthers ticket prices. (For the record, Rucho is one of the most powerful legislators in Raleigh, co-chair of the Finance Committee and one of the chief writers of the Republican budget for the state.)

Corporate tax rates in NC stood at 6.9 percent in 2013 before falling to 6 percent in 2014. This year, the statewide corporate rate declined to 5 percent. In 2014, the N.C. General Assembly (gee, thanks, Sen. Rucho!) added sales tax to sports and entertainment tickets.

Now listen to His Brilliance carp and complain: “I told [Panthers president Danny] Morrison this the other day: I said, ‘You know, we lowered your corporate taxes, we lowered the [personal] income tax, we cleaned up the issue of what was a [3 percent gross-receipts] tax embedded into my Panther tickets and yet for the last two years I’ve increased [my payments because of higher prices],’ ” Rucho said. “‘Explain to me why that is.’ ”

"My Panther tickets." For this Republican and for many others in positions of power, it's always about my comfort, what I can get out of this, what profits accrue to me.

As far as anyone's explaining the failures of trickle-down to conservatives, good luck with that project!

Hattip: LE

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Judge Temporarily Halts Fracking Permits in NC

Emphasis on "temporarily," though the high-handedness of our Republican-dominated General Assembly is due another comeuppance.

Friday, May 15, 2015

If It Weren't For Back-Biting, There'd Be No Biting At All

Craig Collins
The North Carolina Republican Party will be electing a new statewide chair at their convention in June, and the acid-washed conservatives are baring their fangs at the country club establishment. Brant Clifton is our window into that flaming Gehenna.

Best that we can figger, Gaston County attorney Craig Collins has been anointed by the country club establishment: "Collins ... [has] received the endorsements of U.S. Senator Richard Burr, U.S. Senator Thom Tillis, Governor Pat McCrory, Lt. Governor Dan Forest and U.S. Congressman Patrick McHenry, the Chief Deputy Majority Whip of the U.S. House. Additionally, State Senate President Pro Tempore Phil Berger, State House Speaker Tim Moore and NCGOP State Chairman Claude Pope endorsed Collins...."

Tea Partiers eschew Collins (and spit him out). But he appears to have a lock on the job.

So the conservatives (the real conservatives) are turning their fire on the vice chairmanship. The establishment's pick there appears to be one John Lewis, whom Brant Clifton "outs" as a liberal (by which he means a dangerous moderate).

This is all very inside politics (or scorpions in a bottle), and we really should look away. The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak!

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Foxx Will Fake a "Town Hall"

Only way she'll take questions is by phone, where she can screen you out and dump your call if it displeases Her Royal Highness.

Who is fooled by this?

Tuesday, May 05, 2015

Not the Sermon on the Mount

More evidence of what's really up with the lust to put "In God We Trust" on courthouses, school houses, and outhouses -- it's an aggressive, bullying, in-your-face mixing of religion and politics meant to intimidate.

It's force, not faith.

Monday, May 04, 2015

"In God We Trust" (All Others Pay Cash)

Bless the pharisees' hearts! They never tire of parading their piety, but now it's not enough for them to stand in the center of the marketplace themselves and proclaim their holiness for everyone to see. They intend to use public buildings for their purposes, which are at heart purely political purposes.

Tomorrow morning at the Watauga County Commission meeting, our commissioners will be asked to sign on to putting up "In God We Trust" on the front of the county courthouse. This is a "movement" calling itself the "US Motto Action Committee" which is inducing county commissions across North Carolina to fall into line and get all pharisaical and self-righteous. If a county commissioner said "no, thank you," to this offer, why, it would be tantamount to statesmanship, to following the Constitution and refusing to mix state and religion. But what county commissioner wants to be labeled as irreligious?

You get one guess on how that vote will go tomorrow morning.

The push to inscribe In God We Trust on North Carolina courthouses is pure b.s., Christian dominionism for the post-911 world.

Yes, Congress adopted "In God We Trust" as the national motto during the Eisenhower administration, mainly so congress persons could prove they weren't Commie Red. It was at about that same time that "under God" got stuck into an otherwise adequate Pledge of Allegiance. We had to be Under Godding and In God We Trusting to prove that we were anti-commie Americans.

Now apparently we have to prove that we're not Kenyan Muslim socialists.

As far as I'm concerned, this pharisaical movement to put In God We Trust on the courthouse is just more anti-Obama bullying of the national discussion.

If these guys were actually honest about it, and dealing with stone-cold reality, they would put up in big letters on every government building in the land, "In Filthy Lucre We Trust." That would at least cut to the chase of where we are today.