Tuesday, July 31, 2012

“Kiss my ass. This is a Holy site. Show some respect.”

Juanita Jean has the best take on Mittens' current relationship with the press. Juanita Jean generally has the best take on everything.

Will NC Be a National Laughing Stock, Come Friday?

The Guv has until midnight on Thursday to decide what to do about H819, the controversial Coastal Management Policies Act, wherein the new Republican majority in the NC General Assembly commanded the Atlantic not to rise, or at least commanded state government not to talk about it in anything approaching scientific terms or backed up with scientific research.

Kirk Ross has written an interesting update on "Will She Or Won't She?"

Top 60 Special Interest Pushers in Raleigh

The list, courtesy of the NC Center for Public Policy Research.

The accompanying newspaper article.

Grassroots Activism in Stokes County

No Fracking in Stokes shows that citizens' voices can still count for something.

Monday, July 30, 2012

Grass Roots NC, A Bully Org

Paul Valone
We referred here once before to the intimidation meted out to WRAL reporter Mark Binker for his apparently unforgivable sin of delving into concealed handgun permits in the state.

That intimidation got considerably worse, when the intimidator in chief, Paul Valone of Grass Roots North Carolina, published a picture of Mark Binker's wife and small children. Dan Besse, a Winston-Salem City Councilman, could not abide the false equivalency behind Mr. Valone's targeting of a reporter's family. Hattip to BlueNC for the exchange of correspondence between Besse and Valone that followed:
Initial message to Mr. Valone (Thursday, July 26, 4:22 p.m.):
FROM Dan Besse
SUBJECT attempted intimidation
Mr. Valone, Your attempted intimidation of a reporter by posting online his nearly complete home address, together with a link to photos of his wife and small children, followed by urging your members to contact him, is truly shameful behavior. It goes beyond the usual aggressive tactics and bare-knuckled political advocacy. Arranging hostile emails to politicians is one thing. Holding up a reporter's minor children to public view and enhanced risk as an advocacy tactic is something else again -- and is beyond the pale of acceptable behavior in our country. You may wish to consider a public apology to Mr. Binker and his family, followed by a resignation from your organizational position, as a means to attempt to salvage some credibility for your organization. Dan Besse
Mr. Valone's response (Friday, July 27, 3:24 p.m.):
Thanks for the note. As I am about to point out in the Charlotte Observer, 400,000 permit-holders had no idea their personal information would be “outted” by Binker. By contrast, Binker make a willful action, exposing their information, for which he should have anticipated consequences. That he published family photos openly on the Internet while engaging in such behavior indicates an arrogant disregard for his own family. As you note, we did not publish photos, we linked to his own (which are presumably pulled down by now), we did not publish his full address, and we did not advocate contacting anybody but Binker himself and WRAL – and I would hope we agree that they are fair fame.
An aggressive response? You bet. But an example had to be set to the media to let them know that unlike decades past, they can no longer attack gun owners with impunity.
Paul Valone
President, Grass Roots North Carolina
Response to Mr. Valone (Friday, July 27, 5:31 p.m.):
Mr. Valone,
Thank you for your response, but your comparison is invalid. No permit holder was “outed”—much less 400,000 of them.
The information online at the WRAL news site does not include names, contact information, addresses, or other identifying information of individual gun owners.
The information you posted regarding Mr. Binker’s family included all of those, including a nearly complete home address, and a link to a photograph of his wife and children. In the context you posted it, it constituted exposing him to personal retaliation for his reporting, and you included Mr. Binker’s wife and children among those swept into the sights.
No one “targeted” individual gun owners. You targeted an individual’s family, including his small children. That is not acceptable behavior in our country.
I continue to call for you to make a public apology to the Binker family; and I hope that your organization will ask for your resignation. If it does not, that tells us something more about the group Grass Roots North Carolina.
Dan Besse

This Koch-Head Climate-Change Denier Has Gone Rogue

Richard A. Muller, head of the Berkeley Earth Surface Temperature Study, has accepted big money from the Charles G. Koch Charitable Foundation, and he was -- no surprise -- a dependable skeptic about global warming ... until now. He published an op-ed piece in the New York Times on Saturday with this title: "The Conversion of a Climate-Change Skeptic." Here's the money quote (hattip: The Progressive Pulse):
Three years ago I identified problems in previous climate studies that, in my mind, threw doubt on the very existence of global warming. Last year, following an intensive research effort involving a dozen scientists, I concluded that global warming was real and that the prior estimates of the rate of warming were correct. I’m now going a step further: Humans are almost entirely the cause. 
My total turnaround, in such a short time, is the result of careful and objective analysis by the Berkeley Earth Surface Temperature project, which I founded with my daughter Elizabeth. Our results show that the average temperature of the earth’s land has risen by two and a half degrees Fahrenheit over the past 250 years, including an increase of one and a half degrees over the most recent 50 years. Moreover, it appears likely that essentially all of this increase results from the human emission of greenhouse gases.

Saturday, July 28, 2012

The Brits Celebrate Universal Health Care

Those were actual doctors and nurses with the National Health Service who took part in last night's opening ceremonies at the Olympics in London.

Fancy that! The British actually seem to like socialized medicine.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

The Cynicism of the Well-Timed Tear

"A highly partisan bill," with lethal errors in it, grinds to a halt on the U.S. House floor, and Madam Virginia Foxx tries to guilt-trip the other side into a suicidal unanimous consent agreement by ... yes, crying. And invoking the Aurora, Colorado, Batman slayings for political advantage.

That's two strikes, you phony. One more, and the Tea Party will probably find a medium-sized chalk bluff to carve your face on.

About the ill-fated law that Madam Foxx was pushing, former New York Republican Congressman Sherwood Boehlert said, "It would be difficult to exaggerate the sweep and destructiveness of the House bill," pointing out that its restrictions would prevent the government from helping out the housing market, consumers or the financial markets.

About Mrs. Foxx's cynical and calculated use of the Aurora massacre, her opponent in the November elections, Elisabeth Motsinger of Winston-Salem, issued a statement:
Winston-Salem, NC) Rep. Virginia Foxx took to the House floor today and invoked the tragedy in Aurora Colorado while arguing for the need to pass HRes. 738. Foxx said, “Life is too precious to waste, and the House should hurry up and pass the regulatory bill.” Rep. Foxx was hoping to pass the bill by using the House Rule of “unanimous consent” to quickly rush the bill to passage late in the evening.... 
“Using a painful national tragedy to push for excessively partisan legislation, as was attempted today by my opponent, exemplifies the reason that Americans are so fed up with members of Congress. We should pray for those who are suffering and use this as an opportunity to unify as compassionate Americans.”

NC GOP Fiscal Management: Push Costs Down To Counties

Since George W. Bush's salad days, at least, we've wondered where the myth came from that Republicans are good with money. What they're good at is shoving fiscal responsibilities off on other people. Like, fer instance, the responsibility of running elections.

Scott McLeod in the Smoky Mountain News has noticed that the Republicans in the NC General Assembly simply shifted expenses onto the counties when they refused to take Federal Help America Vote (HAVA) funds:
North Carolina’s General Assembly — under the leadership of Republicans for the first time in more than a century— will hopefully refrain in the future from pushing unfunded mandates onto the backs of counties and their taxpayers .... The GOP leadership in this state may preach fiscal prudence, but in this case they wasted local tax dollars .... Next time you hear state GOP leaders say they’re working hard to balance the budget, hold onto your wallet. That may just mean another unfunded mandate coming from Raleigh.

We have not yet heard what the price tag is going to be in Watauga, but the per-county cost in the NC counties to the south of us ranges from $41,000 to $13,600.

"A Willful, Out-of-Context Misunderstanding"

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Speaking of NC Fracking...

WRAL is breaking a story (video below) on the obvious conflict of interest, and the "crony capitalism," of Ray Covington (remember him?), a prominent member of the newly appointed board that's supposed to govern fracking in the state, and the large fortune he stands to make off the industry he's supposed to be regulating.

Why are we not surprised?

Jonathan Jordan Is Now Lying About His Fracking Vote

Intercepted e-mail:
So today we received a postcard from Southern Environmental Law Center asking us to call Jonathan Jordan to express our disappointment with his vote in favor of fracking. 
The number provided was incorrect (it's actually 919-733-772SEVEN), but that's another story. 
Someone appropriately named Hope answered the phone on the very first ring. When I complained about Mr. Jordan's vote for fracking, she asked if I was responding to a card from the Southern Environmental Law Center. "Why, yes," I responded. 
Hope insisted the Law Center was all wrong -- that Mr. Jordan had actually voted in favor of a moratorium on fracking until he could be assured fracking was safe. Well, now, that was a new one on me. I reminded Hope that fracking was already illegal in the state and that moratoria are put in place to stop something that is already occurring. I said, "How on earth could Mr. Jordan have voted for a moratorium on something that was already illegal?" 
That threw Hope for a momentary loop. She said she could see my point. 
So she grabbed her copy of the bill and began to read to me some garbage language about a moratorium. I pointed out that she was reading from a previous draft of the bill that had never passed. I waited while she went and found the copy of the bill that had actually passed, and challenged her to find the word "moratorium." 
She couldn't, but assured me that Mr. Jordan would not approve of fracking unless he was "100% sure the water would be safe." 
I said, "Mr. Jordan voted for the bill, right?" Hope: "yes." Me: "Well, where does it say in the bill that the water must be 100% safe?" 
I waited for Hope to find it. She eventually referred me to a section that said the people could sue if their water was damaged by fracking. I said, "If the water will be safe, then why was a section included in the bill that would allow people to sue if it isn't?" 
Hope: "I am not a lawyer." 
Me: "But Mr. Jordan is, isn't he? So this is all really simple. Did he vote for the bill without reading the final version? Or did he just feed you some b.s. to say when people come calling?" 
In all fairness, Hope was as nice as she could be and stayed with me on the phone for over a half  hour trying to find language to back up Jordan's assertions. Maybe she learned something today, like, her boss is an idiot. And a liar.

When Was Foxx Elected To Represent Turkey?

What's this infatuation Virginia Foxx has with the nation of Turkey? She reportedly takes $10,000 in Turkish PAC money and works to pass H.R.2362, which would have "singled out Turkey for preferential treatment to engage in economic development projects on tribal lands in the United States." The measure was defeated yesterday in the U.S. House.

She's made multiple trips to Turkey. She's a member of the Congressional Turkey Caucus (yes, there is such a thing). Just Google "Virginia Foxx" + Turkey.

Used to be, and of recent memory, when a politician got this deep into the weeds on behalf of a foreign nation, there might be a conservative somewhere screaming foul.

O Youth

Mecklenburg County Young Republicans Chairman Larry Shaheen said "shedding conservative stereotypes and embracing a role as public stewards is important in swaying the youth vote."

Good luck with that, fella!

Especially when every conservative spokesperson you guys celebrate blows stereotypical chunks every time mouth meets microphone. Ah, the golden moments! So many to choose from.
“I believe we have more to fear from the potential of that [health reform] bill passing than we do from any terrorist right now in any country.” Congresswoman Virginia Foxx, November 2, 2009, on the floor of the U.S. House
And about that call to embrace "a role as public stewards" ... that sounds suspiciously like acknowledging the "social contract," which is just a hair's breadth away from ... SOCIALISM.

Read more here: http://www.newsobserver.com/2012/07/24/2219819/gop-tries-to-rally-collegiate.html#storylink=cpy

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

This Is What Soucek & Jordan Accomplished

The Real Impacts of the Republican Budget Passed in the NC General Assembly (hattip: Sen. Josh Stein and BlueNC)
To Education:
· Fails to repair the damage last year’s budget did to schools, which resulted in 6,000 cut K-12 positions, including 3,000 teachers and teacher assistants.
· Cuts an additional $190 million, which represents an additional 3,400 teachers, at the same time student enrollment is increasing.
· Brings the two-year cut for K-12 to nearly $650 million.
· Eliminates funding for programs with proven success, such as the Teaching Fellows, Teacher Cadet Programs, Tarheel Challenge, and Communities in Schools.
· Cuts funding for textbooks, technology in the classroom, PTAs and counselors for children in military families.
Higher Education
· Imposes the largest cuts in the history of the state to the UNC system, totaling $414 million.
· Reduces access to higher education for middle class students by reducing need-based financial aid funding $22 million for the UNC system.
· Imposes the largest cuts in the history of the state to the community college system.
· Closes the door to community college for some students by increasing tuition by 23% and restricting access to low cost federal loans.
Early Childhood
· Walks away from state’s commitment to educate our young children so they are ready to learn when they start elementary school by slashing early childhood education by 20%.
To Healthcare:
· Singles out and defunds Planned Parenthood, which provides critical health services for women, such as cancer screenings and family planning.
· Fails to reverse cuts to programs for victims of rape and domestic violence enacted in 2011.
· Cuts mental health services by $20 million.
· Eliminates drug treatment court services.
To Transportation:
· Eliminates public transportation funds for the state with the exception of the Charlotte Rail System.
· Cuts maintenance funding for primary and secondary roads by $60 million.
· Continues the tax break for equity partners in law firms, doctors’ offices and financial firms from last year’s budget, even for those earning millions, while further cutting our schools.
· Eliminates the money to compensate victims of forced sterilization from the House budget.
· Cuts State Board of Elections budget by $120,000 and sets aside no money to leverage the Help America Vote Act federal grant to help our elections run more efficiently this November.
· Cuts the Clean Water Management Trust Fund by 90%.

Oops. Mitt Romney Picks the Wrong Pocket

Mitt Romney issued a campaign statement on the death of former astronaut Sally Ride:
“Today, America lost one of its greatest pioneers. The first American woman in space, Sally Ride inspired millions of Americans with her determination to break the mold of her time. She was a profile in courage, and while she will be missed, her accomplishments will never be forgotten.”

Footnote to Mr. Romney's rah-rah piety: Sally Ride’s partner of 27 years will be denied any federal benefits she might have gotten if they’d been an opposite-sex married couple.

Which led one blogger on LGBT issues to publish a "Memo to Mr. Romney":
If you don’t support our most fundamental relationships — if, in fact, you dedicate a significant amount of your political career to undermining those relationships, and make political hash out of marginalizing us and playing on people’s fears and hatred of us — you don’t get to speak about us with sentimental gushing after we’re dead.

Monday, July 23, 2012

Hell! What's Safe Water Compared to "Iron Man III"?

The Wilmington Star-News goes deep on NC House Democrat Susi Hamilton's pro-fracking vote.

Sell-out or outstanding example of statesmanship?


Iron Man III?

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Ideological Migration Inside the GOP?

The National Republican Party (bless its heart) launched a "help us write the Republican National Platform" website on Friday, inviting Republicans to make "open-source" suggestions of what should be included in that momentous document. The system invites people to write up anything they think should (or shouldn't) be nailed up in a platform plank, then allows others to “second” the idea. The ones with the most “seconds” will then be voted on, contributors are promised.

Some of the suggestions on the site presently:
Remove “Pro-Life” from the Party PlatformIt has been almost 40 years since Roe v. Wade, and regardless how we feel about it, it is firmly established as the law of the land. In my opinion, it is more important to save our country by preserving liberty (both economic and individual) than to dwell on the abortion issue. If we let our country be destroyed by the Democrats, the abortion issue will hardly matter anyway. 
End All SubsidiesEnd all energy subsidies (especially oil and gas), because they act as barriers to innovation. This will eventually bring down the cost of energy. All forms of energy should be able to compete within the free market. 
The Anti-War PartyBring home the troops and eliminate most basis in foreign countries. Don’t spread the military thin across the world. Declare war constitutionally through congress. Become the anti-war party. 
800 bases in 120 foriegn nations is too costly and not neededWe are wasting so much on unneeded bases around the globe. Bring the troops and the associated funding back to the states. We still have the best navy, submarines, long range missiles, stealth bombers and Marines. 
Banning Indefinite DetentionsProposed language:
“While we strongly support our military and our troops in harms way, we cannot allow the sacrifice of our essential liberties to an over reaching federal government. We support the U.S. District Court’s ruling to block section 1021 of the 2012 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) that allowed for the indefinite military detention of US Citizens…” 
Avoid the topic of Same-Sex MarriageUnfortunately I know most in our party do not agree with me, but I believe that if we continue to push back against Same-Sex marriage it will cause immense damage to our party for years to come. Polls already show that most young-Republicans are either in favor of same-sex marriage or in general do not care about this specific issue.
With the Party locked in the iron jaws of Tea Party conservatism, how successful do you reckon such ideas will be?

Saturday, July 21, 2012

The Attack on Early Voting in North Carolina

Conservatives don't like Early Voting, and their hand-maidens in the North Carolina Republican Party are doing what they can to curtail it. The Republican-controlled NC General Assembly refused to "match" a $4 million grant from the Federal Help America Vote Act (HAVA) -- a "match" of $660,000 -- because Sen. Andrew Brock of Mocksville decided, against all evidence to the contrary, that the state's election machinery just didn't need it.

Every local Board of Elections in the state is now facing decisions about cutting off Early Voting sites, or limiting their hours, or both. In Wake County, where some 57% of registered voters voted early in 2008 (and you know whom the majority voted for, right? which explains the conservative hostility), the County Commission gave the Board of Elections about half of what it needs to fund and maintain just the early voting sites that were open four years ago. We're watching their struggle to maintain ballot access rather than cave to the Republican grand scheme of making the act of voting as difficult as possible.

"Grand scheme"? You betcha! It's national in scope, and it's organized, right down to our local stop-ASU-students-from-voting campaign organized by Deborah Greene. Ari Berman has done outstanding reporting on the whole sorry chapter in our recent history.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Virginia Foxx Holds a Hearing

Congresswoman Virginia Foxx is more important than you can imagine, waaay too important for your peasant and peanut-sized brain to even begin to appreciate. She chairs an actual subcommittee of an actual committee of the actual Congress of the United States. She held a hearing and issued a press release about it:

"In recent months, the issue of rising college costs has shifted to the forefront of our national discourse – and rightly so, as millions of young people struggle to manage school debt and find job opportunities in the lagging economy."

Please address me as “Doctor Foxx,” as I have a doctorate. It’s an Ed.D. -- granted -- not a Ph.D., but it’s framed and on the wall, right over there. I got it without taking out any student loans, bitches!


“All of us have the best of intentions when it comes to helping students afford a college education. And we all agree debt should not be a foregone conclusion in higher education.”

Commie, pinko, left-wing, radical professors are indoctrinating students every minute, and I’ll grow a tail and hooves before I’ll vote to help one mush-brained American teenager attend any university in this or in any other universe.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

This "Young Gun" Is Half-Cocked

Meet Mark Meadows, the recent Republican survivor of the second primary for the 11th District Congressional seat, currently occupied by Rep. Heath Shuler (who isn't running for reelection). Within seconds of his win yesterday, the National Republican Congressional Committee sent out a press release declaring Mr. Meadows a totally awesome hunk of grade A Conservative Meat. In other words, a "Young Gun." It's almost as though they already had that press release written.

Eric Cantor and Paul Ryan, blessing their preferred bunk mates in the next Congress? Mr. Meadows did, after all, say in advance that he would support the Paul Ryan budget to slash the living hell out of Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid, so why wouldn't Paul Ryan name him his favorite "Young Gun"? But then, also as of today, when Mr. Meadows found out apparently that the Ryan budget would slash the living hell out of Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid, said he would not be in favor of that, no never, so consider us confused about this particular "Young Gun." Can he in fact shoot straight? Or is he slightly bent?

We are relieved to see, however, that Mr. Meadows is a confirmed birther and is highly suspicious of the United Nations taking over city planning and the perfidious fluoridation of our precious bodily fluids (probably). It's truly a relief that the Republicans in the 11th Congressional District know the difference between sane and crazy, and ALWAYS go for the crazy. Or the mealy-mouthed.

Mittens & McCrory, Sittin' in a Tree!

The Asheville Citizen-Times today reported that Pat McCrory has cancelled a scheduled press conference with Jeb Bush set for Thursday. It is clear that Pat McCrory doesn’t want to face mounting questions about why he won’t release his tax returns. 
Making matters worse for McCrory, his guest, former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, has called on Presidential candidate Mitt Romney to release his tax returns. Bush also has a history of releasing his own taxes when running for Governor. Bush has released over 20 years of tax returns across three campaigns for Governor. 
“Clearly Jeb Bush thinks transparency is important for a candidate for Governor, but we won’t hear that tomorrow. McCrory has put a muzzle on all attempts to get the truth about what he does for a living and who is paying him,” said Gerrick Brenner, Executive Director of Progress North Carolina Action.

For What It's Worth...

Duly noted ... the Tea Party crowing in NC House Dist. 6 that they beat the "Thom Tillis machine" out of Raleigh:
...it is highly likely that the biggest loser yesterday DownEast was Thom Tillis and his ambitions to be U. S. Senator. He stirred up a massive amount of passion with redistricting, ferry tolls and meddling in local primaries. Whether he can redeem himself among the GOP base will likely depend on how he operates going forward and particularly going into November. If he and his staff continue to blunder as they have over the last year it is possible that the GOP may lose its majority in the House. That's how upset many grassroots Republicans and unaffiliated voters are.
Meanwhile, the Ultimate Tea Partier John Tedesco, the under-educated and over-caffeinated former member of the Wake County School Board, won the second Republican primary yesterday to run against State Superintendent of Public Instruction June Atkinson. Apparently, Mr. Tedesco's forestalled plans to dismantle Raleigh's school system only fueled his ambition to dismantle the entire State of North Carolina's school system. Meanwhile, Mr. Tedesco's Center for Education Reform appears to be mainly a website meant to support Mr. Tedesco.

The Tea Party did less well in other second primary races. For example, Richard Hudson won against dentist Scott Keadle in the 8th Congressional District. Hudson will now face incumbent Dem Larry Kissell. Keadle was extravagantly backed by the Club for Growth, which reportedly poured over $700,000 into his campaign. Keadle now has the distinction (call it the "Vernon Robinson Halo") of being a three-time Congressional loser, in three different Congressional districts.

Retiring Congresswoman Sue Myrick's baby boy Dan Forrest won against Tony Gurley for the Republican Lt. Gov. nomination. Gurley will presumably go back to being a Wake County commissioner.

Monday, July 16, 2012

Friday, July 13, 2012

The Social Pathology of Virginia Foxx

Question of the Day: If Virginia Foxx were confronted by a starving beggar blocking her access to, say, Walgreen’s, would she:

a. Kick him in the leg and demand that he move, pronto?

b. Call the Capitol Police and ask them to remove him, pronto?

c. Step over him, hitting him in the head with her big handbag as she went?

d. Cancel her visit to Walgreen’s and go sit in her car until someone else dealt with the beggar?

She habitually talks in public about how poor she was growing up, but her contempt for the poor suggests a cold lack of empathy. She’s rich, she’s bullying, she’s rude to people who get in her way, she seems completely devoid of compassion, fellow-feeling, human understanding, or sympathy.

When two Capitol interns blundered onto a “Members Only” elevator with Foxx, she was incensed: “The things we have to put up with around here!” she commented, as though her royal presence had been violated.

She votes her lack of empathy on the floor of the U.S. House and often opens her mouth to display a shocking lack of humanity. Her comment about Matthew Shepherd in front of the boy’s grieving mother is perhaps the most famous example of this, but it’s far from the only example.

Refusing to hold predatory credit card companies accountable for raising interest rates and adding new fees, Foxx said, “People who take out credit cards don’t have a gun to their head. If you don’t like the rate, get another credit card.” She instinctively channels Marie Antoinette with no sense of irony: "I don't see raising the minimum wage as helping American workers,” she told Roll Call in 2009.

Her bland failure of empathy hit almost operatic heights when she argued against predatory mortgage relief on the floor of the House in February 2010: “Most of these people who got these loans that are in trouble now got them because they never expected to pay them back. They expected somebody to bail them out. They weren’t honest when they did the loans, and now they are going to be bailed out by this legislation. Now it’s just unbelievable that that’s the attitude that people have. They could be getting help out of the [unintelligible] program that already exists, but they don’t do it because they don’t want to pay the money back and they don’t want to share the increase in value if they ever sell the home for the federal government which is underwriting their mortgage. I think again they’re living in a never-never land. They think that they’re due this money for free. They’ve been taught to live in a welfare society. We’re continuing the welfare mentality.”

That she doesn’t understand, and doesn’t care, about the thousands of honest, forward-looking, optimistic Americans who found themselves underwater on their mortgages, and who were led into those loans by hustling sharks – that she can brush them all aside as welfare kings and queens -- opens a window into her own impoverished soul.

She was famously one of a handful of Republicans who voted against any aid for the victims of Hurricane Katrina. Most recently, she actually voted to repeal a statute intended to provide health coverage to some 30 million Americans who would otherwise be uninsured.

She’s got a huge grudge she’s been carrying around all her life. No one ever helped her, goddamnit, and she’ll be goddamned and go to hell before she ever lifts a hand to help anyone else.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Pat McCrory: "I can't help it. I was born this way"

NC Now on the Fast Track To Fracking

The regulatory agency of state government that the fracking bill sets up looks more like a "greasing the skids" agency stacked with people who have a vested interest in getting at that shale gas as quickly as possible, never mind the consequences.

One of those supposed "regulators," appointed by Speaker of the NC House Thom Tillis, Ray Covington, issued a statement to WRAL that seems to be saying, "Sure, I have a conflict of interest, but people on regulatory boards are supposed to have a conflict of interest." Which, we guess, is the newest version of the Republican philosophy of public service.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Where Watauga's Registered Voters Live

This "heatmap" based on geospatial analysis of places of residence of registered voters in Watauga County.

Monday, July 09, 2012

Might Be Time To Just Shut Up

Democratic NC House Rep. Susi Hamilton, the notorious flip-flopper on lifting the statewide ban on fracking, has had time to think of good reasons to justify her sell-out:

1. She didn't vote FOR fracking. She voted to regulate it. (Right. But there was no need to regulate something that was justifiably banned already.)

2. "It is easy to pound your fist and stand on supposed principle when you are wealthy. The well-to-do environmental lobby of the general assembly lacks the ability to see a bill for what it is." Ah, those Cadillac environmentalists! Should have known! But on the inability "to see a bill for what it is," see # 1 above.

Friday, July 06, 2012

Thursday, July 05, 2012

Allison Takes Over the Cato Institute for the Koches

John Allison
John Allison, the CEO of BB&T in Winston-Salem, served as a member of Appalachian State University's Board of Trustees for two four-year terms, from 1997 to 2005. He was -- and still is, believe us! -- a strict devotee of Ayn Rand's "objectivist" philosophy that greed is good, the weak are expendable, and everything has a price.

During his tenure on the ASU Board of Trustees, he dangled several hundred thousand dollars in front of the chancellor in an attempt to buy a chunk of the curriculum, which is to say, Allison would see that ASU got the money if ASU guaranteed that its students would be forced to read and study Rand's "Atlas Shrugged." That plan came to grief when the faculty got wind that their intellectual freedoms were up for sale.

Allison subsequently subverted scholarly freedom at a number of colleges, including Guildford College and Western Carolina University in North Carolina, proving indeed that everything does have a price, at least some of the time.

To find him now allied with the Koch bros. and taking over the Cato Institute is not altogether surprising.

Tuesday, July 03, 2012

Soucek: It Depends on the Meaning of 'Developer' ... And What the Definition of Is Is

Sen. Dan Soucek gets wrapped around the Templeton axle once again in an interview with Jesse Wood of the High Country Press. Saith the senator about his push to lift all development rules in Boone's extra-territorial jurisdiction, "No developer, per se, has talked to me about this issue regarding anything they would like to do."

Per se. We call that parsing one's words. Step around that cow pie, Senator!

He also appears to admit that he's thrown in the towel on Senate Bill 949 for this session.

The Democratic Sell-Out on Fracking

Rep. Susi Hamilton of New Hanover County, who was bought off with tax-credit favors for the Wilmington film industry. Worse ... the way she was trying to cover her tracks with WRAL's Laura Leslie. Advice to Rep. Hamilton: if you're going to sup with the devil, better use a very long spoon.

The tipping vote on the fracking override was actually Meck Dem Becky Carney's, who says it was a complete and total mistake. Good to know that putting our state's drinking water at risk was purely a slip of the finger. That makes it all so much easier to take!

Other Democrats in the NC House who voted for fracking on the veto override were Kelly Alexander and Rodney Moore of Mecklenburg; Bill Brisson and Dewey Hill, two of the original Five Goobers, who usually vote with the Republicans; and the newly notorious Susi Hamilton.

Gawd, it would be nice to have an actual Democratic Party in North Carolina.

Monday, July 02, 2012

The Benefits of Fracking

Fracking proponents poured some $600,000 into the pocketbooks of members of the NC General Assembly, to ensure passage of their bill to make the procedure legal in North Carolina.

The NC General Assembly is evidently for sale, and the fracking industry dutifully bought it.

Presumably, the only reason that Walter Dalton isn't on the list is that this research delved into the campaign contributions of only those who voted on Senate Bill 709, and Mr. Dalton, as Lt. Gov., did not vote. But he nevertheless lost some votes today for governor, coming out on the opposite side of this issue from Beverly Perdue.

When Democrats aren't compromised ... well, that doesn't seem to be an option any more.

Perdue Says No to Fracking in NC

Gov. Perdue's second veto of the 2012 "short session" of the NC General Assembly came on Senate Bill 820, the so-called "fracking" law which would open North Carolina to horizontal drilling and the fracturing of deep rock to release trapped natural gas. "Fracking" has been highly controversial. There's plenty of evidence that it endangers ground water, among other side effects.

Laura Leslie and Mark Binker have a good post up about the likelihood of a veto override.

Only two Republicans in the NC House voted against the original bill. One of them, Rep. Bryan Holloway of Stokes County, was obviously reflecting the majority opinion in his home county, which would be one of the few counties in the state with enough rock-trapped gas to be targeted by the big fracking companies. The Stokes Board of County Commissioners unanimously passed a resolution recently calling on the governor to veto the fracking bill. That Board, incidentally, is 100% Republican.

The threat that fracking represents to our water supply does not have to be a partisan issue.