Friday, April 18, 2014

Well Bless His Heart

Speaker of the NC House Thom Tillis, who had earlier declined to participate in the Republican Senate debate on WRAL, has suddenly "cleared his calendar" of those pesky conflicts. He will participate, after all, in next Wednesday's televised debate.

Could the clearing of his calendar have anything at all to do with the fact that he's struggling mightily to gain even an inch on clinching the nomination? Might it have anything to do with Carter Wrenn's blog post today?

Naw, we didn't think so either.

Shhh! Not a Word of This to Miller, Blust, and Yates!

Boone and Blowing Rock named among Top 17 small cities in NC


Two Ways NC Republicans Are Hurting Our Citizens

1. Failure to expand Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act, which would have cost the state nothing for the first two years and only 10% after that.

Next door in Wilkes County, 512 citizens could not get health insurance coverage because they make less than $11,490 a year ($23,550, for a family of four). They could be covered by Medicaid, but Governor McCrory and the Clown College cut off that option in their spite against President Obama.

2. Yesterday in Wake County, we found out that over 600 public school teachers have resigned since last July, many of them in frustration and in mid-stream, because of the way the Governor and the General Assembly have exhibited their spite toward public education.

Probably many of you reading this personally know a school teacher who has quit in the last nine months and moved on. I do. She's now working in Tennessee for substantially more money.

The Wake County resignations are 41% higher than last school year, an "alarming" statistic that has school administrators across the state concerned about the "brain drain" and a resulting teacher shortage.

Congratulations, NC Republicans! Your rancid and reckless ideology is driving North Carolina into a hole that will take decades to get out of.

Dan Soucek and Jonathan Jordan: You have direct responsibility for this pain, all of it!

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Once a Swindler, Always a Swindler?

Now appears that Tea Party Senate candidate Greg Brannon is a serial plagiarizer. He copies other people's work.

Not the first time, either.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Hey Rub-a-Dub-Dub...

...three men in a tub, and they all sailed out to sea.

The three-man Republican majority on the Watauga County Commission formed a belt line last night and whipped the dickens out of Boone Mayor Andy Ball for having the gall to ask that sales tax distribution to the four towns in the county be returned to a more equitable per capita (population) basis rather than the current ad valorem (property value) basis.

Commissioners Nathan Miller, David Blust, and Perry Yates trotted out their lists of past beefs with Boone, their grievances, their grudges going back decades in some cases, but they readily admitted that their self-righteous spite sprang mainly from the on-going feud Mr. Yates's daddy-in-law Phil Templeton has with anybody and everybody who won't let him do precisely as he wishes as a millionaire land developer.

How dare the Town of Boone let its concern for maintaining development standards get in the way of Mr. Templeton's offer to buy the old high school property for $19 million! Well, Boone dared, and the three men in Nathan Miller's tub exacted their punishment: the redistribution of sales tax revenues so that Boone is hurt to the tune of almost $2 million, while the other three towns get a windfall.

Make that "a windfall" with a kick-back provision for the county: the three other towns get to keep 40% of their new sales tax allocation while kicking back to the county a whopping 60%. A gentlemen's agreement, so to speak (and begging the pardon of actual gentlemen everywhere). Everybody is making out like bandits, except Boone.

What's not to like about that? Government by revenge. The "social contract" as vendetta.

No one disputes the fact that Boone raises over 60% of all the sales taxes collected in Watauga. After Miller/Blust/Yates meted out their punishment last year, Boone now receives back some 12% of that revenue to support its budget. Before, when the distribution was based on population, Boone received between 24% and 25%. With four towns in the county, the largest and most productive, as far as sales tax revenue goes, was receiving one-fourth of those revenues, while raising most of it. Seems fairly equitable that one-fourth of the towns would get one-fourth of the revenue.

Last night, Mayor Ball asked Commission Chair Nathan Miller if he thought it was fair that Boone raise 60% of the revenue and get 12% of it in return. You could see the ire rise in Miller. It's plenty fair, he replied with noticeable venom.

(It's still remarkable to me that a man of this temperament, with this understanding of balance in the world of justice, is now seeking to become the District Attorney for the 24th Prosecutorial District. A prosecutor ready to ride a grudge into the ground.)

Last night, and with something of a rhetorical flourish, Commissioner David Blust asked Mayor Ball if ASU students wouldn't be included in any per capita calculation, as if to suggest... what? Mr. Blust never finished that thought. We assume he was implying something nefarious -- he has a history of malice-afore-thought toward ASU students. Perhaps he was suggesting that college students in the town of Boone aren't actual, "legitimate" residents, even while they drive our streets, walk our sidewalks, drink our water, and put great strain on our infrastructure, and even while they add tremendously to the grand total of sales tax revenue that Mr. Blust willfully denies the Town of Boone.

Anne Marie Yates, Commissioner Yates's wife and Daddy Templeton's daughter and incidentally the chairwoman of the Watauga County Republican Party, was doing a victory lap out in the lobby with leaders of the other towns. Ms. Yates was unable to get her slate of family and friends elected to the Boone Town Council last fall, but obviously the next best thing is to enjoy the suffering of the powerless.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Thom Tillis Ducks Out of WRAL Senate Debate

Why would the supposed front-runner in the Republican primary for U.S. Senate, a supposed front-runner who is stuck at 20% in most polling, decide to forego a major televised debate with his chief rivals? (Reference: "Thom Tillis To Skip Major GOP Primary Debate")

a. He's afraid of a high-profile misstep (the WRAL interrogators ain't patsies!).

b. He's so got this race in the bag that he can afford to exhibit his native hauteur.

c. He doesn't want to dignify the clown show running against him by being photographed with them.

d. He really does have a "scheduling conflict" that he simply can not get out of (those expensive haircuts take advance planning, bitches!).

Garbage In, Garbage Out

A General Assembly task force on public teacher compensation issued its Republican-written report yesterday and recommended ... another study.

It is being roundly booed this morning. Rep. Tricia Cotham of Mecklenberg County called it "fluff."

Teachers were using stronger language, and the teachers who were actually on the panel are saying they were subjected to four meetings over two months and were spoon-fed Republican propaganda. They certainly weren't listened to.

Monday, April 14, 2014

A Poor Man Is Running for Senate

Will Stewart is running against Kay Hagan in the Democratic primary. He hasn't got a chance, naturally, but I like him. He reminds me of what Democrats are supposed to stand for.

Kay Hagan often doesn't. She reminds me most strongly of ... bankers, money-changers, skin-flints. She has voted in ways in the Senate that have made me howl at the wall. While she takes many positions that I find fault with, I cannot find fault with Will Stewart.

I have been on his website. He's been a carpenter. He's lived on the streets, and he still lives below the poverty line. He came up poor, but he's scrambled and survived. He speaks directly and plainly. He says that Hagan serves corporate interests, and he got that right.

“I’d bring a witness to the reality of living as a poor person in America,” Stewart told a reporter from the Raleigh N&O. He said he’d also be “a witness of the effects of Capitol Hill’s decisions. I’ve watched friends and neighbors get foreclosed while Wall Street gets a walking pass.”

I'm sorry he doesn't have a shot. Instead, we'll either get Corporate Tool # 1 or Corporate Tool # 2, and that doesn't strike me as healthy.

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Preacher with a Switchblade

Rob Christensen profiles the Rev. Mark Harris, pastor of First Baptist in Charlotte and also a candidate in the Republican primary for U.S. Senate. Harris is planning on a "strong turnout effort" on May 6, "rooted in the churches."

Rev. Harris has hired Tom Perdue as his chief political guru, of whom Christensen says, cryptically,  "he owns one of the biggest switchblades in the South."

Which sent us to The Google. Tom Perdue is a "take-no-prisoners political operative" who is "brilliant and ruthless" and known for sliming Republican candidates he's hired by other Republican candidates to slime.


Read more here: http://www.newsobserver.com/2014/04/12/3779256/christensen-mark-harris-and-the.html?sp=/99/100/&ihp=1#storylink=cpy
Read more here: http://www.newsobserver.com/2014/04/12/3779256/christensen-mark-harris-and-the.html?sp=/99/100/&ihp=1#storylink=cpy