Saturday, March 31, 2012

Weather Signs

This analysis of Republican "performance" so far (voter turn-out as opposed to registered voters) in the 2012 primaries finds that Republican performance is actually down from 2008:

Analysts said that Mr. Romney has had particular trouble energizing urban and suburban voters — typically moderates and swing voters — who would be vital to him against Mr. Obama. Less-than-robust turnout in the primaries from those areas in states like Florida and Michigan, analysts said, suggests a challenge for Mr. Romney in energizing independents and the less conservative components of the Republican electorate.

Watching the Young Republicans turn off an audience of fellow students with extremist pronouncements on everything from contraception to immigration to the right to vote last Tuesday evening at their debate with ASU College Democrats would seem to confirm the observation that the contemporary Republican Party has become Tea-Party radical, top-to-bottom and young-to-old, and downright frightening.

The ASU youngsters at least seemed to actually revel in just how mean they can be.

Friday, March 30, 2012

Look Who Else Opposes Amendment 1

Richard Vinroot
Speaker of the NC House Thom Tillis, the man more responsible for Amendment 1's being on the May 8th ballot (take a step back, Danny Soucek!), said earlier this week that it ain't nuttin much to pass discrimination into the state's Constitution, since young people will repeal it in another generation.

Former Charlotte Mayor Richard Vinroot (and former Republican candidate for governor) heard those words and decided he couldn't be silent any longer. He came out publicly this a.m. against the amendment:
“My reaction [to Tillis's statement], was, ‘My gosh, the legislature wants us to put something in the constitution that the leader of our party – the speaker of the House – doesn’t think will stand the test of time for more than a decade,’ ” Vinroot told the Observer. “I can’t imagine amending the constitution for something he believes is that tenuous.”

Amendment 1 & the Law of Unintended Consequences

The people who justify legal discrimination against a minority of our state's citizens (via Amendment 1) scream hysterically about "activist judges" (who supposedly are poised just off-shore waiting for the perfect surprise moment to force everyone into gay unions). But the unleashing of activist judges is exactly what the passage of Amendment 1 promises to achieve.

So says a prominent Charlotte attorney, Russell M. Robinson II, the founding partner of Robinson, Bradshaw & Hinson, P.A. He wrote in the Charlotte Observer yesterday, "The proposed amendment is so poorly worded and so unnecessary that its adoption would actually increase the probability of a federal court invalidating its ban on same-sex marriage."

Mr. Robinson also emphasizes what many others have warned about, the broad, vague, undefined language of the amendment which will invite many lawsuits and hence the arrival of all those activist judges, wading ashore with their opinions locked and loaded:
...the proposed constitutional amendment widely prohibits any “domestic union” that is not a marriage between a man and a woman, with an exception added later saying that it “does not prohibit a private party from entering into contracts with another private party” (apparently even including same-sex parties). All of that language is so absurdly broad and unclear that it threatens to disrupt a wide range of domestic and family relationships, together with benefits dependent on those relationships. It will undoubtedly provoke multiple lawsuits to determine what it means, and it can also deter businesses from moving to North Carolina because of the uncertainty of our law in this important area....
Robinson also tucks in a neat little lesson in Biblical truth that the Deborah Greenes of this world might want to read and heed:
Writing religious beliefs into law to enforce them against everybody has created terrible problems down through history, and is still doing so in some parts of the world. It is also condemned by the Bible in St. Paul’s letter to the Romans (4:14-15), which says that such beliefs are matters of faith, not law, “because law brings wrath.” This attempt to put a religious belief into our state constitution is thus contrary to a clear New Testament command and is already bringing wrath to us all.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Modern Politics Is All About Wedges

That's not a quote from Deborah Greene, but she certainly knows the truth of it.

Revealed today by reporter Laura Leslie is an internal document from the National Organization for Marriage (NOM) which speaks frankly of at least one of the political strategies being used in North Carolina to put civil rights discrimination into the North Carolina Constitution by way of Amendment 1:
"The strategic goal of this project is to drive a wedge between gays and blacks – two Key Democratic constituencies,” says the report. 
“Find, equip, energize, and connect African American spokespeople for marriage; develop a media campaign around their objections to gay marriage as a civil right; provoke the gay marriage base into responding by denouncing these spokesmen and women as bigots," the report instructs. “No politician wants to take up and push an issue that splits the base of the party.”
In these mountains, the forces of blue-nosed repression don't need this particular wedge. All they need are the regular church-goers who'll believe what their preachers say and fall obediently into line to "save marriage," completely ignoring the philandering and divorce in their own ranks which have done a sight more to destroy marriage than the love and commitment between two people of the same sex.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

20 More Years of Discrimination Ain't No Big Thang!

Even while Sen. Danny Soucek, chief sponsor of the miserably written massive government intrusion into private lives otherwise known as Amendment 1, is planning a big church rally at Watauga High School on April 10 (just in case anyone didn't think this was all about religion and had very little to do with good government), the Republican Speaker of the NC House, Thom Tillis, was on the campus of NC State University admitting that the "anti-gay amendment" was just the dying gasp of an older generation:
“It’s a generational issue,” Tillis said. “The data shows right now that you are a generation away from that issue.”
According to Tillis, researchers have predicted Amendment One will pass with approximately 54 percent, but Tillis, who voted to pass the amendment, believes it won’t remain long. 
“If it passes, I think it will be repealed within 20 years,” Tillis said.

You wanna know what legislative cynicism looks like? It looks like this particular politician who reassures his young audience that it's okay if a bad law gets written into the state's constitution because his young audience will be the people who'll eventually repeal it.

You wanna know what "doesn't have a clue" looks like? Attend the church rally on April 10th.

Monday, March 26, 2012

John Hood Comes Out of the Closet

John Hood, leader of a mere sliver of the Art Pope Empire, comes out against Amendment 1 (via Rob Schofield):
"I think amending North Carolina’s constitution to forbid gay and lesbian couples from receiving any future legal recognition, including civil unions, is unwise and unfair. In my opinion the real threat to marriage is not the prospect of gay people getting hitched. It is the reality of straight people too quickly resorting to divorce, or never getting hitched in the first place."
Whaaa??? It was Art Pope's dutiful minions in the NC General Assembly, like Li'l Danny Soucek and Jonathan Jordan, who pushed this s**t in the first place.

So what gives with the cognitive dissonance, Mr. Hood?

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Windows Into the Plutocratic Soul

A lot of news and chatter since last night about an anti-Obama post that showed up on a John Locke Foundation blog, Meck Deck, written by Tara Servatius. The photo-shopped fake photo of the president as a black drag queen, sitting on the ground with a bucket of Kentucky Fried between his legs, has since been taken down, and Ms. Servatius has resigned, and John Hood, president of the John Locke Foundation is all apologies and "shocked, I'm shocked."

But, really!

Give us a giant break, since Tara Servatius had a pretty clear track record as a talk radio extremist before she started flacking for Mr. Hood's "think-tank." Even Forest Gump knew that "ugly is as ugly does."

John Hood is mainly shocked that his kingdom of Popeism has a self-inflicted wound today.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Amendment 1 ... Badly Written and "Absurdly Broad"

Russell and Sally Robinson are prominent Republican philanthropists in Mecklenburg County and speak with a rationality we don't often associate with contemporary Republican activists (like li'l Danny Gayhate).

Russell Robinson has another distinction: he's the grandson of North Carolina Supreme Court Justice William B. Rodman, who authored the 1868 North Carolina Constitution. He has an actual care for our founding document that Republican extremists only claim to have.

Hattip: Matt Comer

Facts You Should Know About Amendment 1

Hattip: ProgressNC

1.      This amendment is not needed to prevent gay marriage: there is already an NC law forbidding gay marriage.
2.      This amendment bars the state from recognizing any legal domestic union other than marriage, including partnerships between unmarried men and women.   
3.      Similar laws in other states have been struck down by the courts - meaning NC will face substantial legal costs to defend the amendment if it passes.
4.      This amendment would take away legal protections for the children of unmarried people, including healthcare and prescription drug coverage provided though an unmarried parent  and child custody, child support and visitation rights.
5.      A child could even be taken away from a parent who has taken care of them their entire life if something happens to the other parent.
6.      This amendment would take away domestic violence protections for all unmarried people and could lead to the convictions of their abusers being overturned. This has already happened in another state.
7.      The amendment would automatically strip health benefits from unmarried people who receive coverage through their partners, including people with severe pre-existing conditions.
8.      The amendment would interfere with the right of unmarried couples to visit one another in the hospital and to make emergency medical and financial decisions if one partner is incapacitated. It would also invalidate certain trusts, wills and end-of-life directives.
9.      Seniors wanting to keep these legal protections would be forced to marry, which could cause them to lose their pension, health care and Social Security benefits.  
10.  If passed, it would be one of a handful of times our state constitution has been used to take away rights rather than grant them. You have to go back over a hundred years to find similar instances (notably forbidding interracial marriage and taking away the right to vote from African-Americans.) 

Saturday, March 17, 2012

A National Crisis

The sphagnum peat moss supply, which mainly comes out of eastern Canada, is down by 70 to 85 percent. For those of us who make our own potting soil, this is a serious challenge. My usual supplier yesterday delivered the news: "We've got no peat moss."

"When will you get some?"

"Fall, maybe."

Luckily, my backup supplier, Lowe's, had a small stack available for sale, and I loaded several 3-cubit-foot bales into my truck. Have I become a sphagnum peat moss hoarder? Not quite, though the thought did cross my mind.

Why sphagnum is special: peat moss actually contains no organic nutrients of its own, but it's like a particularly valuable sponge for air, water, and the nutrients present in compost. Mixed in the right proportions with compost, perlite, dried blood, green sand, and rock phosphate, sphagnum peat moss serves like a timed release mechanism in potting soil. I've been using it for years and annually make 200+ gallons of potting mix. I'll be making twice that much this spring because we're lifting and potting up hundreds of garden perennials, shrubs, and tree seedlings for the big plant sale in June.

Ironic as it sounds (since peat moss accumulates in wetlands), the present shortage is being blamed on too much rain in Quebec and New Brunswick, where most of the peat moss we use in the eastern United States comes from. Here's a photograph of a couple of peat harvesters at work, though exactly how they work is a complete mystery to me.

Friday, March 16, 2012

NOT an Art Pope Enterprise

The new Dollar General store in Boone, at Appalachian Drive and Hwy 421, is NOT an Art Pope store. So, no, we don't need to boycott it.

Super Dollar stores are the Pope "cheap-foreign-made-crap-at-low-prices" mercantiles.

How Billionaires Are Different From You & Me

When they lie, they go for the REALLY BIG LIE.

For example, in the new 30-second TV ad (below) produced for Americans for the Prosperous (astro-turf funded by Art Pope and the Koch bros.), we are told that the budget passed last summer by the new Republican puppets majority in the NC General Assembly actually increased the number of teachers in our school systems. (So this is why Sen. Dan Soucek and Rep. Jonathan Jordan are strutting around this district like their s**t don't stink!)

Never mind your lying eyes. Never mind the statistics compiled by the NC Department of Public Instruction: there are presently, because of the Republican budget, 915 fewer teachers in classrooms and 2,042 fewer teacher assistants.

But never mind the actual truth. The low-information voters of North Carolina need their own alternative reality, and the billionaires are all too happy to supply it ... the rosy BIG LIE told by the innocuous-looking young woman with the earnest face, and this is only the beginning of what's ahead of us this year!

Thursday, March 15, 2012

So You Think Amendment 1 Won't Hurt NC Business?

Bank of America executive explains why the mixing of religion with government, represented by the wrong-headedness of Amendment 1, will be potentially disastrous for the business climate in our state.

NC Dems Disown Two Racist Candidates

When a reporter for the Charlotte Observer asked one of them about a racist YouTube rant, the guy quickly deleted the YouTube while the reporter was still on the phone. Smooth!

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Why Am I Sitting Here?

Our star magnolia is busting out, and I'm about to jilt this computer and run away with my garden!

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

"We Have a Different Standard for Women"

At approximately the same time that Congresswoman Virginia Foxx was bucking up the local Republicans at their county convention last Saturday, telling them that the Rush Limbaugh-led war on women “is not about contraceptives, folks. It is about the First Amendment. Do not let people distract you into thinking that,” the New Hanover County Commissioners down in Wilmington were distracting us all into thinking that there's an all-out war on women and their personal choices.

In a vote to turn down a $8,899 grant in family planning funds that would “provide medical services related to family planning, including physician’s consultation, examination, prescription, continuing supervision, laboratory examination and contraceptive supplies,” the New Hanover County Commission scolded young women for having sex and agreed with Rush Limbaugh that they'll be damned and go to hell before they encourage any sluttish behavior, and clearly, giving "contraceptive supplies" to young women would just encourage sluttish behavior.

The grant money required no matching funds from the county.

"If these young women are being responsible and didn't have the sex to begin with, we wouldn't have this problem to begin with," commission board chair Ted Davis Jr. opined.

It's an all-male commission. But not all-Republican. The Vice-Chair Jonathan Barfield is a Democrat and said, in agreeing with Davis, that he was "one of those abstinence guys." But except for Barfield, all the rest are Republicans.

Begging Ms. Foxx's pardon, but men this obsessed with "the sex" that women are having need a little contraceptive therapy of their own.

Monday, March 12, 2012

What If You Held a Political Convention and No One Came?

Saturday's Republican County Convention in nextdoor Ashe. (Photo, Linda Burchette, for the Jefferson Post.)

Nineteen people attended, which number, we guess, included Virginia Foxx; Dan Soucek; Soucek's Republican rival in the primary, George Robinson; Jonathan Jordan; and a few -- but not all -- of the Ashe County Republican Party candidates.

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Who’s Pushing Amendment 1 in Watauga County?

Watauga County political activist Deborah Greene annouced Thursday on the Watauga Conservative blog that she is heading up the get-out-the-vote effort to pass Amendment 1 on the May 8th primary election ballot. Since she is herself also on that primary ballot, running as a Tea Party independent for the Watauga County School Board, she will also, as a happy coincidence, be promoting herself to the same voters who are terrified of gay people and who think extending civil rights to them would mean the end of Christian civilization, such as it is. She ended her announcement on Watauga Conservative with these words: “In His Service.”

Deborah Greene emerged on the political scene in Watauga County in a big way back in 2001-2002. She was a registered Republican then, and she organized effectively against the big issue of that day, land-use planning (“zoning”) to control the location of polluting industries such as asphalt plants. She quickly established herself as the best political strategist and operative that the local Republicans had, and she managed to destroy the careers of two incumbent women on the Watauga County Commission.

Her battle cry at the time was individual liberty, the freedom of the “little guy” against big government, and her alleged libertarian instincts subsequently fueled her split with the local Republican Party. She has made it known that after she wins a seat on the school board this November, she intends to use it as a stepping stone to running against incumbent Watauga County Commission Chair (Republican) Nathan Miller in 2012. As a one-woman wrecking crew, her talents are manifest. She is a genius of destruction.

All of which makes her embrace of Amendment 1 -- “In His Service” -- an opportunistic, fundamentally dishonest, and manipulative political move, done under cover of piety. It’s lower than we’ve personally seen Deborah Greene stoop before. Amendment 1 will take away rights from heterosexual people who choose not to get married but who nevertheless have children, property, and emotional bonds in common. It will also, of course, deny human and civil rights to gay couples who want to enter into legal unions under the law. Above everything else, it’s an occasion for the majority to vote on the rights of a minority, a vote that violates the due process clause of the 14th Amendment.

It’s the “gay part” of Amendment 1, naturally, that Ms. Greene counts on to fuel her ascension into public office on the school board. She is a master of exploiting fear, of conjuring dark conspiracies, of demonizing one group of citizens to stroke the egos of another group of citizens who know considerably less than she does. She did it with the anti-zoning hysteria in 2002, promoting every wild-ass rumor about farmers being prevented from working on their tractors in their yards. She ginned up those rumors and poured them into the ears of “low-information  voters” who believed it all because it scratched their personal itch to hate, fear, and resent uppity “outsiders.”

In other words, Amendment 1 is absolutely ripe for Deborah Greene’s picking. Which does not make her a hero of individual rights, a consistent libertarian, nor an admirable human being. I, who have at times acknowledged her political skills (if not her ability to write clear expository prose), am ashamed of her. Her craven exploitation of “queer fear” does not qualify her for any elective office.

“In His Service”? No, in service of her own political ambitions and the feathering of her own nest.

Thursday, March 08, 2012

Rush Broadcasts Dead Air Rather Than Paid Advertising

Some are suggesting that this may be the most pleasant 1:03 minutes that Rush Limbaugh has ever broadcast.


Wednesday, March 07, 2012

Stop the Insanity

Several precincts in last night's Democratic Party meetings county-wide passed the following resolution and forwarded it to the County Convention on April 14:
Indictment of the State Legislature
WHEREAS the new Republican majority in the North Carolina General Assembly was elected on promises of focusing on improving the economic climate in the state and on “jobs, jobs, jobs,” but instead, on taking office, began a systematic dismantling of every progressive advancement in the state for the last several decades and launched an extremist attack on women, minorities, and various social safety nets; and

WHEREAS the new Republican majority in the North Carolina General Assembly passed, over Governor Perdue’s veto, a budget that systematically crippled environmental protections under the Department of Energy and Natural Resources, weakened our courts system, and led to the loss of thousands of teaching jobs and other public sector workers; and

WHEREAS the new Republican majority in the North Carolina General Assembly specifically targeted the entire educational infrastructure of the state, from kindergarten to college: slashed funding for textbooks and supplies and locked thousands of at-risk kids out of nationally recognized preschool programs; drastically cut funding for mentoring and professional development for teachers; abolished support for the N.C. Teaching Fellows program; and slashed funding to Appalachian State University by over 17%. The cuts overall dropped North Carolina to 49th in the nation in per pupil spending. Funding for public schools as a percentage of the state’s General Fund is the lowest in more than 40 years; and

WHEREAS the new Republican majority in the North Carolina General Assembly passed a series of laws aimed at voter suppression, including a “voter photo ID” act subsequently vetoed by Governor Perdue that has been described as “a solution desperately seeking a problem”; and they still intend to remove Early Voting sites statewide by withholding Help America Vote Act (HAVA) funds, eliminate same-day registration, ban straight-ticket voting, repeal publicly-financed elections for the Superintendent of Public Instruction, Insurance Commissioner and Treasurer, jigger campaign finance law to allow political parties to accept corporate money for operational support, and shorten the Early Voting period by a full week; and

WHEREAS the new Republican majority in the North Carolina General Assembly either introduced or passed laws that (a) would eliminate the state program that monitors and enforces clean air regulations, at the urging of some of the state's largest polluters; (b) brought the state a step closer to both off-shore oil drilling and in-state hydraulic fracturing (“fracking”); (c) would reduce state regulation of toxic industrial chemicals like ammonia and sulfuric acid released into the air; and

WHEREAS the new Republican majority in the North Carolina General Assembly joined the extremist Republicans in the U.S. Congress in cutting all funding for Planned Parenthood of North Carolina (PPNC), overriding Governor Perdue’s veto. PPNC has nine clinics across the state, provides affordable birth control, preventative health care and family planning services to over 25,000 men and women; without the $434,000 a year it usually receives in state and federal funds, Planned Parenthood says it will now have to axe its teen pregnancy prevention and adolescent parenting programs and force its low-income patients to pay out of pocket; and
WHEREAS the new Republican majority in the North Carolina General Assembly passed one of the most intrusive and insulting anti-abortion laws in the country, over Governor Perdue’s veto, a law which in essence requires “transvaginal probing” of any woman seeking a legal abortion, as well as other provisions, one of which has been temporarily enjoined by a Federal judge; and

WHEREAS the new Republican majority in the North Carolina General Assembly, when it failed in a special session called to override Governor Perdue’s veto of their weakening of the Racial Justice Act, adjourned and then immediately reconvened another unannounced special session after midnight to override another, wholly unrelated veto, punishing specifically and vindictively the North Carolina Association of Educators, by removing their privileges for payroll deductions; and

WHEREAS the new Republican majority in the North Carolina General Assembly launched an attack on North Carolina’s cities, removing their ability to grow by annexation, threatening to seize Asheville’s water supply, making other moves to limit a city’s control over its boundaries, its long-range planning, even its ability to have billboard companies impose their urban blight on the citizens by clear-cutting city roadsides for the benefit of their signs; and

WHEREAS the new Republican majority in the North Carolina General Assembly, the leaders of which, when they were in the minority, vociferously called for an Independent Redistricting Commission to oversee the redrawing of U.S. Congress and state legislative districts every ten years following the new Census, as soon as they assumed power in Raleigh set about cynically redrawing districts to (a) assure themselves power in Raleigh for at least a decade and (b) punish as many powerful Democratic women in the General Assembly as possible, by either drawing them out of their districts or “double-bunking” them; and

WHEREAS the new Republican majority in the North Carolina General Assembly chose to impose on the citizens a sort of holy war on gays, proposing to write direct discrimination into the state Constitution, and placing a constitutional referendum on the May primary ballot for political reasons;

NOW THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that the Watauga County Democratic Party calls on the voters of the 45th NC Senatorial District and the 93rd House District to vote for Roy Carter for NC Senate and Cullie Tarleton for NC House, to end the insanity.

Tuesday, March 06, 2012

Dear Mr. Pharisee

Rob Schofield generously excerpts a letter that several of our state's Christian pastors and theologians have written to Franklin Graham, after he supposedly apologized for suggesting that he still thought of President Obama as an alien Muslim (you know that kind of apology: "I'm sorry if your feelings got in the way of my righteous smugness").

You can read the entire letter by following Rob's link at The Progressive Pulse, but we especially value the passage that reminds Mr. Franklin about the meaning of how he named his personal empire:
...please recall that the name of your organization is Samaritan’s Purse! Jesus set the example for us by positively interacting with Samaritans, Syro-Phoenicians, and Romans – the vilified and hated infidels of his day. In the parable from which your organization gets its name, Jesus used the account of the hated Samaritan enemy to serve as an example. It validates Jesus’ instruction to “love your enemies.” It validates the merits of regular peaceful contact with one’s enemy.” ...

Explaining why Franklin Graham has consistently behaved as he has toward President Obama, one will never find answers in the Bible. You'll find the answer in his status as a wholly owned subsidiary of the Republican Party.

Monday, March 05, 2012

Soucek's Chances

It may have come as a shock to Sen. Dan Soucek to have George S. Robinson file to run against him in the Republican primary for the Dist. 45 NC Senate seat.

We were surprised but not totally shocked, since we had been hearing for months -- through Caldwell County Democratic channels -- that the Republican Party in Caldwell was very dissatisfied with being added to Mr. Soucek's district and was looking for someone credible to challenge him in the primary. We didn't take those reports very seriously, thinking it unlikely that Caldwell would so noticeably step out of line.

Not only did they find a credible candidate. They found in George Robinson an A-List candidate with plenty of experience. Mr. Robinson was a member of the North Carolina House for two terms, 1980-86, 1988-96; he stepped down in 1986 to challenge Rep. Cass Ballenger in that year's Republican primary for the U.S. Congress, 10th District, which of course he didn't win, but he's a man who clearly doesn't mind challenging the status quo.

Hmmm. The Caldwell County Republican establishment is trying to take out Dan Soucek.

And here's the thing: Caldwell County is now the population center of the newly drawn 45th senatorial district. Caldwell County alone accounts for 45% of the voters in the new district. Soucek has been a weak fundraiser: he currently, in his last finance filing with the State Board of Elections, reported about $20,000 on hand. Robinson will no doubt be able to raise big money. He's a businessman, he's tied in to Chamber of Commerce types, he's a known prestige candidate.

The open question awaiting an answer: how will Soucek's millionaire backers down-state, the ones who won the seat for him in 2010 by trashing the reputation of a good man and who have told Soucek how to vote for the past year -- will those Big Money-Bags come rushing to Soucek's primary-endangered future in the NC General Assembly? Or will they sit it out and wait to see who survives (seeing as how they're philosophically aligned with the "survival-of-the-fittest" social Darwinism of the 1920s).

Dan Soucek may turn out to be a one-termer.

Sunday, March 04, 2012

"Why Are You Such a Dick?"

Meet Forsyth County Board of Education member Buddy Collins. Model public servant, Republican style. When Winston-Salem Journal reporter Travis Fain asked him last Tuesday at a school board meeting for comment on his proposed changes to the board's policy on whether students can opt out of saying the Pledge of Allegiance, Collins told Fain he does not comment to the Journal, "and when Fain asked why, he repeated that he doesn't talk to the Journal and left the room. Fain said to himself, but within hearing distance of several board members and staff, 'Why are you such a dick? How's that for a question?' "

Collins got the attorney for the school board involved, who wrote a threatening letter to Fain saying that using the word dick to describe a dickish member violated the board's "civility" policy by using a vulgar term to accurately characterize an elected Republican.

Fain has apologized to Collins, to other school board members, and to school board staff for (actually) seeing Mr. Collins as in himself he really is.

Meanwhile, Mr. Collins (who was really saying to reporter Fain last Tuesday, "I'm unaccountable, and you can't make me be accountable"), is strutting on his Facebook page for all his Tea Party peeps about how he put the Winston-Salem Journal in its place.

The Toad Croaks

Wednesday, Feb. 29: Rush Limbaugh on his daily radio show called Sandra Fluke, the Georgetown student who House Republicans wouldn’t let testify at a contraception hearing last week, a "slut" and a prostitute ("she wants to be paid to have sex”). "She’s having so much sex she can’t afford the contraception,” Limbaugh added.

Thursday, March 1: Rush Limbaugh on his daily radio show said of Fluke, "She's having so much sex, it’s amazing she can still walk.” Then added this: "So Miss Fluke, and the rest of you Feminazis, here’s the deal: If we are going to pay for your contraceptives, and thus pay for you to have sex, we want something for it. We want you to post the videos online so we can all watch."

Friday, March 2: After Senate Democrats beat back a Republican challenge to the new contraception-coverage-under-health-care policy, Rush Limbaugh on his daily radio show said Ms. Fluke had testified that she was “having sex so frequently that she can’t afford all the birth-control pills that she needs.”

Saturday night, March 3: After six big advertisers on Rush Limbaugh's daily radio show announced they were pulling their ads from the show, Limbaugh published an "apology" on his website: “My choice of words was not the best, and in the attempt to be humorous, I created a national stir. I sincerely apologize to Ms. Fluke for the insulting word choices.” Plus, in an astounding display of "ignore your lying eyes," he wrote, " I did not mean a personal attack on Ms. Fluke." Really! "Lawyers wrote that apology,” Lawrence O'Donnell tweeted.

Seems like Mr. Limbaugh hurt himself in exactly the spot that he can't take the pain: the pocketbook.

And revealed his own deeply hidden psycho-sexual dysfunctions.

Friday, March 02, 2012

Something To Watch

Appalachian State University students are organizing via Facebook for a silent protest this afternoon outside I.G. Greer Hall:
On Friday, March 2nd at 2:30 pm there is a general faculty meeting at IG Greer. We’re contacting individuals, student organizations, and community organizations to organize a silent protest outside of the building beginning at 1:30 pm and lasting until all of the staff has exited.

Our message? Silence is Violence.

Their beef with the administration seems pretty potent (read the Facebook post linked above). We hear from people on the inside of the administration that they're freaking.

Ken Mehlman Apologizes

Remember Ken Mehlman ... campaign manager for George W. Bush's reelection bid in 2004, subsequently Chair of the Republican National Committee. You probably won't remember how aggressively anti-gay the Bush reelection campaign in 2004 was under Mehlman's hands, what with Karl Rove's engineering simultaneous anti-gay marriage votes in several swing states that year. And you also possibly won't remember that Mehlman came out of the closet in 2010.

When I heard this a.m. that he was apologizing for his past work of demonizing gays, my first reaction was "Talk to the hand." Then I went and read his actual statement:
“At a personal level, I wish I had spoken out against the effort [to exploit gay marriage for political advantage]. As I’ve been involved in the fight for marriage equality, one of the things I’ve learned is how many people were harmed by the campaigns in which I was involved. I apologize to them and tell them I am sorry. While there have been recent victories, this could still be a long struggle in which there will be setbacks, and I’ll do my part to be helpful.”

Well, okay then.

We don't know how the vote on the so-called Amendment 1 in North Carolina will turn out, whether Mehlman is right that even young Republicans -- at least not those marching with the mullahs of the Right -- support marriage equality. Every poll seems to suggest that the struggle is generational, anyway, not really partisan, so for every young Republican willing to vote against Amendment 1, there's probably two elderly Democrats willing to vote for it because their preacher told them to.

Thursday, March 01, 2012

Big On Campus Right Now


Lawsuit Seeks to Halt Clear-Cutting

Intercepted press release, relevant to the sudden, mandated clear-cutting of North Carolina roadsides to accommodate the very powerful billboard industry:
The Duke Environmental Law and Policy Clinic today filed a lawsuit in Wake County Superior Court on behalf of the North Carolina non-profit group Scenic NC. The suit is a challenge to recently issued rules allowing billboard companies to clear cut trees on the state's roadways in order to increase the visibility of billboards. 
The lawsuit asks the court to set aside temporary rules issued earlier this year on the basis that the rules violate the state's Administrative Procedures Act (APA). "The public was deprived of the opportunity to speak on these rules, which changed mid-stream at the request of the industry," said Reyn Bowman, of Scenic NC. The APA requires that agencies must re-issue rules if they are substantially changed from what was sent to public hearing.
Despite the substantial public outcry against these rules and the critical impact they will have on communities statewide, there were no public hearings in parts of the state that will be most severely affected. "It is important that citizens have adequate opportunity to weigh in on these rules which will substantially and negatively impact the landscape and scenic beauty of this state," added Bowman. “A recent poll conducted by Public Policy Polling indicates that more than 80% of North Carolina voters surveyed said they opposed removing more trees so that billboards could be seen for longer distances. 
The temporary rules as initially noticed by the state's Department of Transportation required the billboard companies to re-plant when more than 60% of the vegetation is cleared. In response to objections from the industry, the final rules removed that requirement. The temporary rules enacted in January do not require replanting even if all trees are cut down. 
The temporary rules are due to go into effect on March 1 to implement a controversial measure passed by the NC General Assembly this year. The NC Department of Transportation estimates that several hundred thousand trees could be destroyed, and that the value of the public’s sacrificed trees will be $12 million.

And, yes, we have Sen. Dan Soucek and Rep. Jonathan Jordan to thank for the coddling of the billboard industry ... along with the rest of the NC Senate & House Republican caucuses.