Sunday, June 30, 2013

The Art Pope Era of Mismanagement

Also "The Era of Unnecessary Cruelty"

By Dan Burley, in the Charlotte Observer:

Federal extended unemployment benefits end for more than 70,000 jobless North Carolinians on Sunday as the state becomes the first in the nation to opt out of the federal long-term compensation program.

A state unemployment overhaul that takes effect this weekend disqualifies North Carolina from receiving the federal benefits intended for those unemployed longer than 26 weeks. Federal law cuts off aid to states that don’t maintain their current benefit system.

Supporters of the reform say the move will help the state pay back $2.5 billion in federal debt more quickly. The state borrowed the money to pay unemployment benefits during the economic downturn.

Advocates for the unemployed say the measure will hurt the state’s economy, where the unemployment rate is the fifth-highest in the nation at 8.8 percent in May.

In addition to those losing benefits when the law kicks in, the U.S. Department of Labor estimates that by the end of the year an additional 100,000 jobless workers in North Carolina won’t receive the long-term unemployment benefits for which they’d otherwise have been eligible....

Friday, June 28, 2013

What’s Going On With the Watauga County Board of Elections?

Jim Hastings
As you should know, the administration of local boards of elections (BOE) changes with any partisan turn-over in the governor’s mansion. With the election of McCrory, the personnel of every county BOE becomes two Republicans to one Democrat. The governor’s office makes the appointments from lists of preferred candidates forwarded to Raleigh from county parties.

When the new county BOE lists were posted on the State Board of Elections website, we were somewhat surprised by the two Republican appointees:
Jim Hastings, host of “The Right Side” on WATA-AM
Bill Aceto, a realtor with Blue Ridge Realty
Wait! Jim Hastings? Not Stacy Eggers IV (“Four”), who has been the Republican member of the local board for several years and who was the top pick of the local Republican Party to take over the board under Republican rule. Something happened to upset that apple cart.

We’ve had a problem with the dual roles Mr. Eggers was already filling, as both a member of the Board of Elections and as the county attorney serving the Republican majority. We were going to have an even bigger problem with Mr. Eggers as chair of the BOE, had that happened, since he would appear to have a glaring conflict of interest in managing an election process without also tilting the playing field to advantage his Republican bosses on the Board of Commissioners. Perhaps someone in Mr. McCrory’s administration noticed the conflict too.

Instead, the governor has given us Jim Hastings, a flesh-eating partisan who has made his weekly radio show a virtual acid bath of nastiness sprayed on Democrats in general and on the Town of Boone in particular. Yeah, he’ll be fair!

But he’ll also be pinched by North Carolina statutes governing the political activities of members of local boards of election. G.S. § 163-39, “Limitation on political activities,” will put the kibosh on Mr. Hastings’ radio career, though we suppose he might convert it to a cooking show.

A dead give-away of something unusual going on behind the scenes: no one in the Watauga GOP wants to talk about it. Aceto told the Watauga Democrat that he’s leaving the country any minute and didn’t have time to talk. Jim Hastings couldn’t be reached. And Anne Marie Yates, chairwoman of the party, said “she was not yet ready to give an interview about the appointments.”

That’s not a particularly good look for a party chair.

Now Starring in the Remake of 'Idiocracy' ... Gov. Pat McCrory

Bob Geary of The Independent has done his own list of the boneheaded decisions already made -- or statements uttered -- by our state's Second-in-Command, Gov. Pat McCrory. (You know who's actually in charge, or else you have no detectable pulse.)

Anyway, we love "aggregators" who remember shit and put it together in handy lists like this one:
• Rejecting "unlawful demonstrations." The Greensboro sit-ins, which involved black students sitting at lunch counters reserved for whites, were unlawful too at the time. But McCrory, disdainful of those who study history instead of something useful, dismissed Moral Monday protesters because praying, singing and congregating in the General Assembly building violates a trespass law enacted by—the General Assembly. McCrory welcomes "lawful protest," he huffed. "What I don't want is just gimmicks for the media."
• No "outsiders," except my outsiders. McCrory slammed Moral Monday again at the state Republican convention in Charlotte in early June, warning that "outsiders are coming in." Shades of the Red Scare! Except that surveys of who's protesting confirm that 95 percent are North Carolinians. On the other hand, millions of dollars spent to elect McCrory and the Republican legislative majorities in 2012 did come from out of state, along with a slew of bad bills from the corporation-funded American Legislative Exchange Council.
• What could they want? McCrory told WRAL, "I actually, many times, don't know what [the protesters'] agenda is." Perhaps that's because he refuses to meet with them. For example, when public school supporters came to protest funding cuts, his office said he was busy in meetings and had no time to talk—and at that very moment, a passer-by snapped a picture of McCrory tossing a baseball on the Capitol grounds.
• "I Won't Back Down." McCrory claims the Tom Petty song as his theme. Does he realize that the song is about standing up to bullies? "I got just one life/ In a world that keeps on pushin' me around/ But I'll stand my ground/ And I won't back down." It's not suitable for a long-pampered governor whose party has veto-proof majorities in the General Assembly and is pushin' the neediest down.
• It's too complicated, #1. Last week, McCrory signed legislation repealing the Racial Justice Act, repeating Republican complaints that the law was "seriously flawed." The RJA allowed judges to determine whether racial bias drove a jury's decision to sentence a murderer to death rather than life in prison. Saying it was flawed suggests you could do better. So where's your RJA, Governor?
• It's too complicated, #2. Earlier, McCrory allowed a bill to become law without his signature that would seize the Asheville water system from the city government, controlled by Democrats, and hand it to a new regional authority controlled by Republicans. His reason for neither signing nor vetoing the bill, according to a statement, was that it "raises complicated inter-governmental issues," which he'll leave to the courts.
• It's too complicated, #3. McCrory and other candidates, mostly Republicans, took campaign contributions totaling more than $700,000 from the sweepstakes gambling industry. McCrory says he's against sweepstakes gambling. But although a prior General Assembly passed a law against it and the state Supreme Court upheld the law in December, McCrory's Department of Public Safety hasn't cracked down yet. "I'd like the laws to be enforced," McCrory told The Charlotte Observer recently. "The problem is, the industry keeps finding loopholes."
• It's too complicated, #4. McCrory last week issued five goals ("pathways") for education, including one telling school leaders to find "more innovative methods to increase teacher pay." Republicans in Raleigh, including McCrory, are cutting state aid to schools. How is that innovative?
• Privatize to save money? After rejecting Medicaid expansion under Obamacare, a decision that will cost the state an estimated 26,000 health care jobs, McCrory wants to turn Medicaid administration over to private companies that will take their profits off the top. Privatization is how Mike Easley's administration wrecked mental health care in North Carolina. But why learn from history?
• Will talk for cash. McCrory will powwow with contributors tomorrow and Friday at an event in Greensboro hosted by the Renew North Carolina Foundation. Get two tickets for $10,000, or join for $25,000 and the tickets are free! It's for a good cause: social welfare for Republicans. Give them enough money, and they won't back down.

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Rep. Stam Pokes His Big Nose Right on Up Into Those Lady Parts

Stam the Ram
Most health organizations, from the Centers for Disease Control to the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, do not consider prior abortion to be a risk factor for preterm birth, let alone a "cause." Yet the NC House (that is to say, all but two of the Republican majority) has voted to teach -- teach -- 7th grade girls that abortion is a "cause" of premature births and miscarriages later in life.

This large piece of crap (S 132) was aggressively pushed by the nastily anti-choice representative from Apex, Paul Stam, who's never seen an anti-woman piece of legislation that he didn't love.

The even more hateful and regressive NC Senate has already passed a slightly different version of this bilge.

Not only anti-woman but anti-science, all rolled up together in one tidy package. We don't get more 19th century than that, North Carolina.

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Resistance to the Republican Agenda in Texas

The voice of outraged citizens is being heard in Texas, too, and if you've got a shaky grip on what went down there last night, here's a highly detailed, insider's view:
Last night something very important happened down in Texas, something that if you weren't following as it happened, you're probably not going to hear the whole truth about. I was one of the people who was in the right place to watch, and so I'm now going to try to pass on the word as best I can. I'm tagging some of you at the bottom, people who I think should read this. Apologies for anyone who finds this disruptive.

The Texas senate voted yesterday on an bill that essentially would have closed nearly every abortion clinic in the state. To try to counter the bill (which was heavily supported by the Republican majority, senator Wendy Davis attempted a one-woman day-long filibuster, during which time she spoke on the subject while going without food, water, bathroom breaks or being allowed to sit down or even lean on her table for support. She lasted nearly eleven hours before being ruled off topic on a technicality. A second female senator then stepped up and tried to continue the filibuster by asking for salient points to be repeated to her, as she missed part of the session that day to attend her father's funeral.

But here's where things get interesting. With fifteen minutes before the midnight deadline, the lieutenant governor ordered the senate to proceed, and actually had the democrats' microphones cut off. The spectators in the assembly responded by cheering, chanting and generally causing a ruckus, in order to drown out attempts at a vote. The midnight deadline passed without a vote being taken, but the chair held a vote after midnight, as the spectators were forced out of the assembly. During all of this, there was no coverage on MSNBC, CNN or any other major news network, with the only coverage coming from a livestream set up by the Texas Tribune.

At 12:15, the Associated Press ran a story saying the bill had passed, which CBS picked up. This was based on a sole source, which the AP later admitted was a republican senator. Meanwhile in the chambers, the senators stood around, both sides confused if the vote had even happened, if they had even voted on the correct issue. The chair had left with the lieutenant governor without ending the session. The Tribune's feed was cut at 12:20 with 70,000 people watching. CNN at this point was talking about the deliciousness of muffins.

Outside in the halls of the senate building, thousands of people were packed wall to wall, chanting "shame, shame", while thousands more were outside. State police had formed a barricade around the entrance hall, and were making sporadic arrests (50 or so by night's end) and confiscating cameras. In the thick of it was a guy named Christopher Dido, who used his cell phone and a live stream to report on what was happening. He was the only journalist in America who was filming at the senate, with as many as 30,000 people watching the stream at one time, and over 200,000 viewers by night's end. He did this while the state police surrounded the protesters in the building, some of them with nightsticks drawn. The police at this time refused to let through food or water that people tried to send in, instead eating and drinking it themselves. They also barricaded access to vending machines and water fountains within the building, and were said to have blocked off access to the washrooms for at least a period of time. Meanwhile, journalists still inside the chambers tweeted out news updates, which were disseminated and retweeted by people like Matt Fraction, Felicia Day and Will Wheaton, reaching an audience that would otherwise have probably not seen or heard what happened next.

The senate was recalled 90 minutes after its midnight end point, to determine whether or not the vote was valid- behind closed doors with no microphones, and only the Senate's own muted camera. Then something disturbing happened. The senate website carries the official record of the caucus. It listed the vote as happening past midnight, on June 26th. Until suddenly it didn't. The date was quietly manually changed to 6/25, the minutes altered to say the vote happened at 11:59, despite almost 200,000 people watching live who saw differently. Suddenly twitter and other social media sites blew up with before-and-after screen shots. Inside the closed sessions, the democrats were made aware of the alterations and brought them up- without social media, almost no one would have known, and never in time. Ultimately, based on the fraudulent alterations, the GOP conceded defeat, admitting the vote had taken place at 12:03, and declaring the bill to be dead. When this happened, the AP and CBS said the vote was overturned, never admitting to shoddy journalism. CNN ignored the story until this morning, because muffins take priority.

Yesterday, I witnessed women's rights under fire, a crippled legal system that didn't represent its people, a corrupt government body attempting to commit a crime in front of hundreds of thousands of witnesses, and the complete failure of the main stream media. I also witnessed a woman performing a nearly superhuman act to do what was right, the power of the people making themselves heard both in person and online, and the extraordinary value of one young man with a cellphone making sure people saw and heard the truth about what was going on.

Anyone reading the papers or watching network news today won't get the full story. Hopefully enough people saw it unfold live, that the lessons from last night won't be forgotten.

Proving Once Again That They're Actually Whores

The Republican majority on the North Carolina Senate Committee on Agriculture, Environment and Natural Resources voted to allow fracking gas companies operating in North Carolina to keep the list of chemicals they'll be injecting into wells a deep, dark secret. How can any neighbor of a fracking well know what's going into the water table under this rule?

Does that make any sense other than the sweaty need to please the corporate powers who've bought our state government? Down on your knees, bitches!

Judicial Activism

Congress reauthorized the Voting Rights Act by a vote of 390-33 in the House and 98-0 in the Senate in 2006, and the reauthorization was signed into law by a Republican president ... George W. Bush. Every congressional reauthorization of the Voting Rights Act, in 1970, 1975, 1982 and 2006, made the law stronger, and each was signed into law by a Republican president (according to Ari Berman, who knows this stuff).

Even the conservatives on SCOTUS admit that the law has been singularly effective in broadening and protecting the voting rights of minorities, which, in Chief Justice Roberts' twisted reasoning, is the prime reason for now gutting it: everything's hunky-dory, so why have a Voting Rights Act at all?

Don't look now but the conservatives on SCOTUS just substituted their opinion for the opinion of the Congress, which is precisely what conservatives mean when they chant "judicial activism."

And now, given license by the conservatives on SCOTUS to discriminate again, the states of Texas, Alabama, and now of course North Carolina are poised to enact and enforce harsh and discriminatory new voter suppression laws.

Way to keep the brown people in their place, SCOTUS! But this should give new energy to Moral Mondays in Raleigh.

Monday, June 24, 2013

The grin-'n'-grip ... all he's good for.

Boone's Water and Republican Power-Madness

If the Republican-controlled General Assembly in Raleigh can force the city of Durham to extend water service to a mega-development outside its city limits -- which is exactly what the Republican-controlled General Assembly is threatening to do (the bill has already passed the NC Senate) -- then why on earth should Boone spend millions to develop a new source of water from the New River, when the Republican-controlled General Assembly (and our local reps Jonathan Jordan and Dan Soucek) will be only too happy to grab it and give it without compensation to Watauga County, which has no development regs to deal with it and a history of vindictive hatred for the town of Boone?

Another nail in the Republican-built coffin of "smaller government."

Sunday, June 23, 2013

For a Mere $5,000, You Can Hear a Sock Puppet Talk

Gov. Squishy McCrory was the dish du jour at a major fundraising event this weekend at the luxury Grandover Resort near Greensboro, where 150 or so white men and women with pool houses paid $5,000 each to watch the Guv gum his mush.

We prefer this much more honest appearance by our governor.

How the Formerly Pro-Choice Virginia Foxx Learned To Sob (Dry-Eyed) for the Unborn

The Christian right has not ceased praising Jesus for the performance Virginia Foxx delivered on the House floor (video below), but having learned the hard way that Representative Foxx can turn on (and off) the fake fighting-back-tears act, I would remind all those good Christians about the various things Jesus actually said about the fakery of Pharisees.

I've watched that video full-screen a number of times, trying to detect any actual tear or even incipient moisture in the Congresswoman's eyes. No, it's just the acting class example of the catch in the throat, the dramatic pause for effect, and sighing and heaving of a Congressional Meryl Streep strutting her fake emotional connection to unborn and "murdered" babies.

This is the same woman who was militantly pro-choice before she started running for (first) state and then national office, who campaigned for the Equal Rights Amendment, who now leads her rural constitutents to think she's actually a Baptist instead of a Roman Catholic, who has only recently discovered how surprisingly devoted she is to Catholic dogma on abortion.

It's a fundraising bonanza for one of the phoniest human beings on this or any other planet.

Mapping the Tax Disaster Now Taking Shape in Raleigh

News&Record reporter Travis Fain does his best at comparing the crap sandwich (NC Senate proposed budget) with the other crap sandwich (NC House proposed budget) now being negotiated in secret and behind closed doors, and his exploration is must reading if you care a whit about what's going to happen to us all (at least those of us without a pool house), once Governor Squishy signs whatever the General Assembly tells him to sign.

A sampling:
In like the meanest move ever, the Senate wants to do away with tax deductions currently enjoyed by firefighters, rescue squad workers, educators and people who were falsely convicted and incarcerated for so long the state had to write them a check. Also paying more: people who got disaster grants after Hurricane Floyd and anyone who was taking a tax credit for building handicapped people places to live. All of which gives me an idea: Let's tax not kicking puppies. GOLD MINE.

Friday, June 21, 2013

Sauce for the Gander

Art Pope
The old saying "What's sauce for the goose is sauce for the gander" means that if a particular type of behavior is acceptable for one person, it should also be acceptable for another person.

The Civitas Institute doesn't seem to agree.

Civitas published its black list of those arrested during Moral Monday protests in Raleigh -- mug shots, home addresses, names of employers -- earlier this week, and the odor of intimidation was unmistakable.

The Indy Week in Durham decided that it might be fair to list in similar ways all the staffers at Civitas, including Civitas Action, the 501 c (4) lobbying shop attached to Civitas Institute:
Coincidentally, when we were building this database [Thursday] morning, all the names were listed on the Civitas Institute website. Now, only Francis X. De Luca, Civitas Institute president, is listed. 
Civitas Institute is a conservative think tank funded largely by the Pope Foundation, which has given it more than $8 million since its founding in 2005—about 97 percent of its income. It is a tax-exempt nonprofit. Art Pope sat on the institute’s board of directors until Gov. Pat McCrory appointed him as state ... budget director.
The list is quite interesting. Even more interesting, in some case, are the comments attached to the Indy Week on-line publication, especially this property tax listing:
Do you mean this Art Pope? 
3324 Granville Drive
Raleigh, NC 27609
Land value: $985,800
Building value: $2,246,926
Total value for property: $3,232,726
Assessments for tax year: 2009/2010
Last sale: $2,995,000 (12/30/2004)
Builtins: Multiple Fireplaces
Year property was built: 2004
Effective year built: 2004
Heated area: 10,057 square feet
Land size: 47,480 square feet 
Other improvements/additions:
Garage Masonry: 857 square feet
Open Porch: 16 square feet
1s Masonry: 300 square feet
Open Porch: 340 square feet
Open Porch: 743 square feet
Open Porch: 45 square feet
Patio: 168 square feet
The ultra-rich are different from you and me.

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Kevin Siers, June 18, 2013

Civitas Black List of "Moral Monday" Protesters Provokes Blow-Back

Yes, indeedy, the Art Pope-financed Civitas Institute has launched its own version of an old-fashioned black list, using mug shots of those arrested at "Moral Mondays" in Raleigh (so that your average right-wing nut can be sure to recognize them on the street), along with personal information, like street addresses, employers, and "associations."

(Yeah, let's hear again how the Tea Party Republicans are totally ignoring the protests, are uninfluenced by them, and don't give a fig about how citizens feel about their legislation. This black list fairly screams fear.)

Jedediah Purdy, a constitutional law professor at Duke, one of the arrestees at Moral Monday, has written an open letter to the Civitas Institute, thanking the Pope minions for showing their asses so revealingly to the public: "I'm sure I speak for many of those arrested for civil disobedience protesting North Carolina's Tea Party legislature who are happy to find our name, residence, and employer are usefully listed on the Internet."


Senate Bill 328, which would repeal many protections against mega-trash dumps in North Carolina, is moving in the NC Senate today. Among other baleful roll-backs, the new bill "would allow landfills 1,500 feet away from National Wildlife Refuges or state parks instead of the current buffer of 2 to 5 miles and would drastically limit the statutory reasons for which the Department of Environment and Natural Resources could refuse to issue a permit for one.

"Also, it would relax requirements that owners regularly inspect and clean systems that capture the liquid that comes out of their landfills, called leachate, and would repeal the requirement that operators have a fund of at least $2 million to pay for fines or corrective action in case of contamination." (Source: Laura Leslie at WRAL.)

That would be our cue to remind you of our beloved governor, his proclivity to protect the common good, and the prescient phrase "Superdump of the Southeast." Frank Eaton must have had a crystal ball.

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Midsummer Night's Scheme

Tomorrow night at precisely 1:04 a.m., the sun will appear to stand still for an instant as it reaches its highest excursion point above the equator, otherwise known as the summer solstice. It's actually the earth, of course,  that has tilted its northern hemisphere as far as it will go toward the sun and will begin at 1:04 to tilt the other way. ("Solstice" translates as "sun standing still.")

If you're a Druid, or other enlightened pagan, it's the holiest moment of the year. Many, many early cultures began calendar keeping after observing both the summer and the winter solstices. The winter solstice got highjacked centuries ago for Christmas, which is why pagans still hold tight to the summer solstice. At Stonehenge, they'll be having a par-tay.

Shakespeare wrote Midsummer Night's Dream to celebrate the appearance of fairies in the woodland landscape on the solstice, when some men can also become asses and everybody falls in and out of love, willy-nilly.

Herbs have stronger healing powers on the solstice, and magic spells have greater range and effectiveness.

If you love the earth and gardens and the eternal turn of the seasons, you'll know where to be tomorrow night at 1:04 a.m.

A Distinction Without a Difference

Republican Speaker of the NC House Thom Tillis sez there's a "philosophical divide" separating his House budget from the NC Senate budget.

Yeah, riiight!

Is there a difference between hatred and contempt? Is there a difference between blight and contamination? Is there a difference between decomposition and putrefaction? Which snake on Medusa's crown do you prefer to be bitten by?

If you can find a difference worth writing home about between two horrible, backward, cruel North Carolina budgets, one written in the Senate and the other in the House, then you're welcome to your hair-splitting.

The only actual difference we see is that Thom Tillis is running for the U.S. Senate and therefore needs to appear more moderate than the far-right let-them-eat-wallpaper-paste NC Senate.

But Tillis is as big a jerk and vandal to the public good as any of the senators. He's just slicker.

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

We Have an Idiot for a Governor

Why is this man laughing?

Because he doesn't have a clue.

Because he couldn't find his own ass with both hands and a head start.

Because he's much more interested in playing catch-the-baseball than in meeting with North Carolina students and a former Congressman who were petitioning him not to destroy the state's educational system.

"What, me worry?"

Jim Holshouser, Mountain Republican

Gov. Jim Holshouser, who died yesterday at age 78, was born in Boone and represented Watauga County in the General Assembly for three terms before becoming state GOP Chair and then governor in the election of 1972. I had been in Boone two years at that point, voted for his Democratic opponent Skipper Bowles in that election, but Holshouser was a good governor and a good mountain Republican of the sort that North Carolina used to have plenty of.

Hell, going back to the 1890s, moderate mountain Republicans formed a Fusion Party with former slaves to briefly take control of state government. That's what mountain Republicans used to be.

Gary Pearce summed up some of Gov. Holshouser's accomplishments, which would get him barred from the NC GOP today: "Big pay raises for teachers ... Statewide kindergartens ... Coastal Management Act ... Rural health centers ... Expansion of the state park system ... More African-Americans and women in government ... Help for black business enterprises...."

Actually, Pearce notes, citing Rob Christensen, the Jesse Helms Republicans threw Holshouser out of the party in 1976. The Helms Republicans booed Holshouser at the state GOP convention and denied him a seat as a delegate to the national convention.

This Republican bunch now in control in Raleigh, who are defecating on everything that represents moderation, fairness, and sympathy for the poor and weak, are certainly the Helms progeny, grown even more rancid than ole Jesse could even imagine.

The Way-Back Machine

So the GOP in our state has been preaching that Democrats ruined North Carolina during 140 years of one-party rule. "Hell," shouted those same Republicans, "we can accomplish that job in two!"

Looking at the faces of those 80+ citizens arrested yesterday at the General Assembly building in Raleigh, we can certainly sympathize with Gov. Squishy McCrory, who's been squeaking about "outside agitators." Elderly white men and women in clerical vestments and in need of knee replacement surgery are downright frightening when they come to petition this particular government to stop being such complete dicks.

"Dirty hippies!" a Republican operative was actually overheard calling them. Seriously? Talk about being caught in a self-defeating time-warp, seeing the world around you with those Nixon lenses that proved so effective back then.

"Morons," yelled Republican Senator Thom Goolsby of Wilmington, channeling himself as an 8-year-old on the playground.

Yep. We've got the Right government in Raleigh for a truly glorious 1850.

Monday, June 17, 2013

NC GOP: Happy To Be Gutting the Public Good

You wanna know what they've been doing in Raleigh? Here's yet another handy summary:
"Generations of programs involving education, the environment, health care, election laws and economic development are being eliminated or gutted in the budgets proposed by either Gov. Pat McCrory, the Senate or the House."
If it was suggested by a Democrat, enacted by a Democrat, supported by a Democrat, it is now marked for death. That's called "wise governance" by a handful of idiots. It's stupidity of the sort that the Taliban made infamous when they blew up a centuries-old statue of the Buddha. Destroy it because we didn't build it.

Democrats in North Carolina have spent decades creating an educational system second to none in the South. Who knew how much the Republicans were stewing about it? Who knew how much they hated the very idea of public education for all? If it's not clear to you by now that their goal is to end public education and punish the teachers who slave for its success, you're blind, not paying attention, or you're as stupid as the Taliban that blows up statues they didn't build.

There's a rally for public education in Boone tomorrow afternoon at 1 p.m. at Jaycees Park on Horn in the West Drive. Time to stand up and show that we support what past generations sacrificed to build.

Sunday, June 16, 2013

Party of "Small Government" in Raleigh Intrudes Even More Fiercely Into Local Government

The Republicans in the NC General Assembly hate the Democrats on the Wake County School Board, and the Republicans in the NC General Assembly intend to get rid of them the same way they got themselves into what looks like perpetual power in Raleigh ... by gerrymandering school districts and by "double-bunking" their least-favorite sitting school board members, including at least one Republican who sometimes votes with the Democrats.

Ruthless power that knows no limits. If there is a god, there'll be a day of reckoning for these assholes.

The New Inquisition: Jonathan Jordan Kisses the Pope's Ring

Jonathan Jordan (bless his heart) offered a compromise amendment to the state budget being debated in the NC House that would have preserved public financing for appellate judge races in the state. "Public financing" has been voluntary under NC law; you can mark the "tax check-off" on your state income tax returns, or not, and $3 goes into a fund to help our judges stay above big-money politics.

Jonathan Jordan (bless his coward's heart) withdrew his amendment after Art Pope, the Dark Lord of Let's-Buy-Us-Some-Patsy-Politicans and Gov. McCrory's Budget Director, came down on him for showing dangerous independence.

According to the News & Observer, "Pope has been a long-time foe of public financing, going back to his days as a state legislator. The various organizations that he and his family have helped start and finance, such as the John Locke Foundation, have been outspoken in their opposition to such programs."

Plus he owns Jonathan Jordan's sorry ass, and the rest of the anatomy attached: "Jordan has close ties to Pope. When he was first elected to the state House in 2010 he received $16,000 from Pope and his family, according to The Institute for Southern Studies. Three groups associated with Pope – Americans for Prosperity, Civitas Action, and Real Jobs NC – gave $91,500 to Jordan’s campaign. Jordan worked two years in the late 1990s as a research director at the John Locke Foundation, a group started and funded by Pope and his family."

Jonathan Jordan (bless his unaccountable coward's heart) "was not immediately available for comment."

Can no one free us of this puppet representative?

Friday, June 14, 2013

Fouling the Street

When the Republicans in Raleigh run out of harm they can do to others in the state, they begin working on each other.

You go, boys!

Monday, June 10, 2013

The Empty Suit

Gary Pearce, who has known his share of North Carolina governors and can tell a hawk from a hand-saw, has taken a measurement of our new governor.

According to Pearce, Pat McCrory has "no core beliefs."

He's equipped only with a "fuzzy-minded version of jargon-filled conservatism."

"He’s good at the show," meaning he's a glad-handing idiot who likes schmoozing. "But the work? Not so much."

"Being Governor is hard work. It’s more than showing up. It takes studying and learning. It takes listening to people and managing people. It takes a vision and persuasion. Without that kind of governor, a state can get outworked – and left behind."

We have a squishy time-waster for governor and an out-of-control extremist General Assembly all too happy to take charge. We are fucked.

Two Different Budgets for NC, But the Same Outcome

Would you rather have a crap sandwich, or would you prefer your crap on a stick?

That's the main difference between the NC House and the NC Senate budgets.

May they all go to hell by the shortest route. And swiftly.

Sunday, June 09, 2013

NC GOP-Style "Statesmanship"

If a high school sophomore ("wise fool") wrote the editorial that was published under the name of NC Senator Thom Goolsby, we might be able to excuse it as immature excess committed under the influence of hormonal imbalance.

But this was written by a sitting member of the NC Senate, a man who introduced the repeal of the racial justice act so perhaps we should have expected the continuing display of racial contempt, disrespect, and stupid partisanship.

"Moron Mondays." Seriously?

Thursday, June 06, 2013

Government Spying

Warned you guys about this during the waning days of George W. Bush:
"...Republicans who claim to love the Constitution ... might want to consider these extraordinary spying powers in the hands of a president of the other party. We don’t want them in the hands of a president of EITHER party."
Still don't.

Tuesday, June 04, 2013

Governmental Chaos

The 2013-2014 county budget was scheduled for a vote on the County Commission this morning. It was first on the agenda. But the three Republican commissioners came into the room and began tearing up major parts of it and redistributing the money in a highly irregular manner that quickly devolved into its own species of FUBAR.

It was as clear as the nose on Nathan Miller's face that the three Republicans had met in private and that they had a "plan," such as it was, to suddenly take away $50,000 from mental health funding and give $13,300 of that amount to a small handful of their favored non-profits ("We're picking winners and losers," said Nathan Miller later on, in perhaps the truest words spoken all morning) and some $36,700 more to the Sheriff's department.

Commissioner David Blust was the designated front man for the budget changes. He read through his suggested changes to non-profit funding ... Foscoe Community Center, $5,000; Western Youth Network, $1,500; Mountain Alliance, $10,000; the Hunger Coalition, $8,500; Green Valley Community Park, $8,000....

When Blust reached Green Valley Community Park, the meeting took a purely bizarre turn, as the three Republican commissioners voted to open up a "limited" public hearing for just the Green Valley Park board and Wahoo Adventures to air their blood match against each other (don't ask. Suffice it to say that the procedure was not "regular order"). Others were not allowed to speak, even though big sections of the budget were being rewritten before the public's disbelieving eyes. The two Democratic commissioners kept objecting to the process, to no avail. Commissioner Welch in particular kept urging that another public work session on the budget was clearly needed. The Republicans weren't listening to that. They had a plan.

The five non-profits that Blust named (above) got additional crumbs. Nothing for Hospitality House. Nothing for a host of other non-profits, though Commissioner Welch made a motion to restore the original $17,000 that the County Manager had designated for non-profits. Motion failed 3-2, naturally.

Once the Republicans had voted their "winners and losers" among the non-profits, Commissioner Yates, who is like a wind-sock that takes a breeze without warning from any direction, suddenly began yammering that he had gotten calls from citizens who objected to taxpayer money going to non-profits, and Commissioner Yates thought he agreed with that sentiment, not noticing that he had just five minutes earlier voted to reward five non-profits with additional money while denying it to a bunch of others.

Commissioner Billy Kennedy offered the only summation that was possible on the morning's charade: "We're not doing right."

Final vote on the much-amended budget ... three Republicans in favor, two Democrats opposed.

If this is good government, not to mention good money management, I have a hat that's beginning to look mighty delicious.

Monday, June 03, 2013

It Was Big!

Biggest crowd yet at this afternoon's Mega Moral Monday protest on Halifax Mall in Raleigh. Over 150 committed civil disobedience and were arrested inside the General Assembly.

RALEIGH — Jennifer Ferrell stopped for a moment, and her husband took her picture. She waved goodbye to her 3-year-old twins. Then she marched into the Legislative Building to get arrested.

“I’m excited. I’m not nervous,” the 34-year-old Raleigh resident said as she walked in a line of demonstrators. “I’m passionate. I’m not crazy.” ...

Rep. Garland Pierce, a Democrat from Wagram and chairman of the legislative black caucus, spoke to the crowd inside the statehouse and encouraged them to let their voices be heard.

Carrboro Mayor Mark Chilton and other local elected officials were also among those arrested.

“This is unconstitutional, what you are doing here, officers,” Chilton said as police put zip-tie handcuffs around his wrists. He refused to clear the rotunda on the second floor of the legislative building when police demanded, asserting he had a constitutional right to assemble....

Saturday, June 01, 2013

How Does the Tea Party Hate Thom Tillis? Let Us Count the Ways

Republican Speaker of the NC House, slickster Thom Tillis, had barely gotten his announcement for U.S. Senate out before he was being savaged by Tea Partiers, whose rage appears to have been building up for dangerous weeks.

Dr. Greg Brannon, a Tea Party fringe character, an OB/GYN doc in Cary and until Tillis announced the only declared Republican candidate to challenge incumbent Democrat Kay Hagen, said that Tillis was the "poster child for why I'm in this race," and we're pretty sure that by "poster child," he didn't mean anything good.

Brannon went on: "If Republicans in this state would rather be represented by a political insider, heavily influenced by special interests, who has taken liberal positions on legislation in the North Carolina State House, including ferry tolls, interstate toll HOT Lanes and the protection of telecommunication monopolies at the expense of smaller free market competitors, then Mr. Tillis has certainly proven he is willing to compromise on our core conservative principles to benefit his friends."

Ouch. Only real problem is that Dr. Brannon is not considered  a serious contender.

Tea Party blogger Brant Clifton piled on.

They surely do hate Thom Tillis.