Thursday, August 29, 2013

OMG, NCGOP, WTF? Don't Look Now, But One of Your Own Candidates Gets It

There are probably plenty of registered Republicans who might agree in private with Jason Thigpen (see what follows), but so far few are willing to say it out loud. This from "The People's Business" blog on the Fayetteville Observer site:
Jason Thigpen of Wilmington, the underdog Republican seeking to unseat incumbent Republican Rep. Walter Jones in North Carolina’s 3rd Congressional District, bucked his party and issued a scathing broadside today against the state’s new Voter ID law. 
“You can paint a turd and sell it as art, but it's still a turd,” Thigpen said in article on his campaign’s Facebook page. “This is 2013 and any legislator that puts forth such a discriminatory bill should be laughed out of office. This is America, not Russia.”
My sainted mother, who thought words like damn, durn, darn, and especially shit were obscene, pure and simple, and we were never ever to use them, well, she didn't feel the same way about a good country term like turd, which was a pure noun of substantive reality to her. Our high school basketball coach felt the same way: "Run, you little turds!"

Proud to see that Jason Thigpen thrives in that vein, and that he can still recognize a turd for what it is.

A Movement, No Doubt!

At the Harvest House last night in Boone. Woot!

I Too Have a Dream

By Matthew Robinson, delivered on Wednesday, August 28, 2013, at the "Taking the Dream Home to Boone" rally at Harvest House:

On August 28, 1963—50 years ago today!—the Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. gave his famous “I have a dream” speech.

He called the magnificent words of the Declaration of Independence and Constitution a promissory note to every American, a guarantee to all the inalienable rights of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. But he said that America has defaulted on this promissory note for people of color and claimed that America has given its colored people a bad check, a check that has come back marked “insufficient funds.” Yet he proclaimed that the bank of justice is not bankrupt, so we have come to cash this check.

And cash it they did. Cash it we did. Through hard work. Through determination. Through our sweat. Our tears. Our blood. To cash that check, many paid for it with their lives. We remember you today.

Through marches, letters, sit-ins, protests, and other acts of civil disobedience—often at the barrels of guns, confronted by the nozzles of water hoses, at the ends of batons, or facing the sharp teeth of police dogs, even facing down racist mayors, governors, lawmakers and White Citizens Councils, but also through the courts and through the ballot box—the people earned their rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. They earned their rights to equal justice and equal protection under the law. And they earned their right to vote. Even to vote for a black President.

We, the people, eliminated so-called separate but equal water fountains, theaters, buses, schools, hotels and motels, and “Whites only” signs. We killed Jim Crow. And we have made enormous progress.

But the nature of this progress has been gradual and has been incomplete because it tends to occur like this: 2 steps forward, 1 step back ... 2 steps forward, 1 step back.

The 2 steps forward are because of people like you—progressives—people who believe in progress, justice, and equality, and who dare to dream.

The 1 step backward is because of those who don’t believe in the dream, those afraid of progress, those vested in the status quo, and structural barriers reaching all the way to the US Supreme Court!

Of course, the Court recently struck down a key provision of the 1965 Voting Rights Act. Chief Justice John Roberts, who wrote for the majority said:
Our country has changed … 40-year-old facts have no logical relationship to the present day … Legislation must speak to current conditions … Congress cannot simply rely on the past.
Rely on the past? As if there is no evidence that discrimination in voting still exists in the present day, in the current conditions? How about in Shelby County, Alabama—the very place that challenged the Voting Rights Act to the Court—where 77% of the voters in the last election voted for the white guy?

Within a month of this decision, North Carolina passed what observers have called one of the worst voter suppression laws in the country’s recent history. You know what it does:
· requires you to have a state-issued ID to vote (but a college issued ID is not acceptable).
· cuts early voting.
· shortens hours for voting.
· eliminates same-day voting registration.
· eliminates pre-registration of 16- and 17-year-olds in high school.
· allows people from anywhere in the state to challenge voters in any county.
· will not count votes of people who accidentally vote in the wrong place.
Who will this hurt? Young people. Old people. Poor people. Women. People of color.

So now, here in this time and this place, it’s 2 steps forward, 3 steps back ... 2 steps forward, 3 steps back.

And then, just days ago, the local election board in this county did this:
· Combined three precincts into a massive new one (one with more than 9,000 voters, yet with only 28 parking spaces—one that is a 17 minute walk from campus, yet with no sidewalks and no bus service).
· Moved another district to a less convenient location.
· Limited early voting
· Closed three total precincts on the campus of Appalachian State University, if you count the early voting site in the Student Union.
Who will this hurt? Young people. Old people. Poor people. Women. People of color.

2 steps forward, 3 steps back.

I am pretty sure that I went to sleep on the night of November 6, 2012, in the 21st Century. As we re-elected the nation’s first African American president, I went to bed knowing that our nation had changed. We had progressed.

That night I looked at my children, snuggled safely in their beds, and thought: “What a tremendous joy it is to know that my children live in a time where seeing a black family in the White House—a beautiful black family—is just normal.”

But sometime over the course of the next several months, I traveled back to the 20th Century. And so did you.

In fact, I’m pretty sure that by the morning of July 26, 2013 (the end of the first session of the North Carolina General Assembly) it was 1963 all over again.

In the span of only half a year, the legislature and elections boards have taken us back decades to a time when it is okay to restrict voting rights and, in many cases, deny people their right to vote entirely.

2 steps forward, 3 steps back

And it gets worse. NC lawmakers—who are only in office because of large in-flows of cash into the state’s election system by billionaires from in-state and out-of-state (and who were not voted for by a majority of citizens in the state!)—proposed a law to exempt the state and local municipalities from federal court rulings! As if they—motivated by “states’ rights” and a desire to see the south rise again—want to take us back to 1863, a period of rebellion, secession, treason, and yes, civil war!

2 steps forward, 3 steps back

Well, as Dr. King said so eloquently 50 years ago today, “I Have a Dream!”

I stand before you today to say I too have a dream. But it’s not just a dream about racial equality or living in a color-blind society. It’s a dream where I imagine that I’ll soon wake up from this dream—this nightmare!—safely back in the 21st Century.

It’s a dream that, in the words of Maya Angelou, we can “believe that the day will come that we do not have to be saddled; we do not have to be crippled with all this idiocy!”

Of course I want to see Dr. King’s dream of freedom for all realized. But what I really dream of now is that a resemblance of freedom will return to my beloved town of Boone, to Watauga County, and to the state of North Carolina so that we can get back to walking forward without having to look back.

2 steps forward, NO steps back. 2 steps forward, NO steps back
I have a dream that these Moral Monday protests will grow into Moral Tuesday, and Moral Wednesday, and Moral Thursday, Friday, Saturday and yes, Moral Sunday protests, so that come election day, 2014, we will end this madness, end this trip into the 20th Century, end this hopefully brief stop at 1963—and stop once and for all the desire to go back to 1863 to fight another civil war.

2 steps forward, NO steps back

I have a dream that we will finally be able to get rid of the ridiculous notions that states are free to do whatever they like regardless of federal law, and worse still, that the south will rise again.

2 steps forward, NO steps back

I have a dream that we will return safely to the 21st Century. The 21st Century where we value liberty, equality, justice, and happiness for all. Where it is easy for everyone to vote because of the struggles and sacrifices of all those who came before us. And where it is finally time to fulfill the promises of the Declaration of Independence and the US Constitution.

2 steps forward, NO steps back

To do this, let’s get on our feet. Take to the streets. And vote. Register others to vote. Get people to the polls. … Get on our feet. Take to the streets. And vote. Register others to vote. Get people to the polls.

2 steps forward, NO steps back!
2 steps forward, NO steps back!

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

"I Don't Get No Respect"

Our brand new governor is becoming tediously tiresome and utterly predictable in making two repeated claims about his first eight months in office:

1. "I have stepped on the toes of both Left and Right."

2. "All my bad publicity is the fault of the liberal press and outside liberal groups."

We're still waiting for any evidence that McCrory has stood up to the Tea Party wing of the General Assembly Gang, or dared to step out of line, or that his opinion even matters to them. His repeated claims that he's "stepped on their toes" begins to look more like a self-delusion that may require some medical intervention. Does McCrory look in the mirror and see "A Profile in Courage"?

As far as the bad press goes, McCrory is taking the advice of political operatives who apparently cut their teeth on the Spiro Agnew formula of demonization: blame big-city reporters for goddamn DARING to notice what you're actually doing, and finger shadowy "liberal groups" who in fact have far less in the way of resources to spread their views than your own Art Pope Machine has for papering the world with exactly the opposite.

But occasionally -- like every time he opens his mouth to whine -- McCrory will veer "off-message" just enough to keep people like me entertained.

In an interview with The Charlotte Business Journal, which did not apparently go quite as McCrory expected, he blurted out this:
Republicans [in the General Assembly] fell prey to “that 10 or 20 percent overreach that you didn’t need to do.”
"That 10 or 20 percent overreach"? Say whaaa?

We question the Guv's math even while we marvel at the word choice: "overreach." Part of that math problem is that the 10-20% estimate of foolhardiness has not been matched by any 10-20% corrective action that a governor has at his disposal. McCrory vetoed only two of some 334 bills. He signed all the rest, except for the "No Sharia Law in North Carolina courts" bill, which he said was "unnecessary" but declined to veto. He let that ridiculously unnecessary piece of excess become law without his signature. (Way to go, Guv, stepping on those right-wing toes!)

Two bills vetoed out of 332 signed. As far as we can tell by the Guv's exercise of power, two vetoed bills signal an actual functional "overreach" by the General Assembly of something more like .006%, rather than 10-20%.

But, then, we're probably just part of "an effete corps of impudent snobs who characterize themselves as intellectuals," as Spiro would say.

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

The Paper Tiger Folds Himself Into Asheville

Governor Pat McCrory is now sneaking into North Carolina cities in order to avoid coming face-to-face with citizens who have a problem with his administration.

With only two hours notice, McCrory suddenly swooped into Asheville yesterday to take the microphone before a safe audience, the Council of Independent Business, and to pretend that he's actually running the economic policy show instead of Art Pope and a bunch of other Republican leaders who've been busy engineering rewards for the rich people.

Protesters against McCrory showed up anyway across the street from Magnolia's in what is becoming a regular feature of The Guv's unhappy life in state government -- people holding up signs and calling him out on decisions he's made gone along with.

The best part: our dumb-as-a-stump governor, who graduated from Catawba College in education and poly sci, had the gall to say this about legislation he's signed to give more to the rich while taxing the poor and the middle class more:
“This is too complex for the journalists. They don't have economics degrees, they've not been in business. I respect them greatly, but you get it. This is what we have to do to rebuild our economy. It's not easy. I empathize with the people being impacted, but my goal is to get these people back into jobs.”
By the "people" he says he's trying to get "back into jobs," we assume he's referring to his 24-year-old campaign operatives that got $80,000+ jobs in the McCrory administration, because we haven't noticed any other jobs coming to North Carolina and certainly not via McCrory's policies.

Monday, August 26, 2013

This Has Been a Lip-Smacking, Gob-Smacking August. It May Get Worse for Some

The lip-smacking of Watauga County Republican/Tea Party activists this past spring over the thought of taking over the Watauga Board of Elections was loud and obnoxious. They were publicly celebrating the idea that they would soon...

1. Fire elections director Jane Anne Hodges, the 27-year veteran in the Board of Elections.

2. Put an end to the voting of those pesky college students at Appalachian State University.

And then the local universe would belong to them forever and ever amen!

But there's many a slip between the fork and the mouth. First (and for reasons never publicly explained), the Republican choice for the chairmanship of the Watauga County Board of Elections, Stacy Eggers IV ("Four") was rejected at the state level, and the man that the State Board appointed, Mr. Jim Hastings, declined the appointment. A lot of serious time was eaten up by that SNAFU, and a deadline loomed: The Implementation Plan for Early Voting in the Boone Municipals needed to be submitted to the state by August 16.

The Republicans needed a chair of the Board that they could control, someone who would take orders, and it may yet turn out to be one of their biggest blunders in decades that they decided to appoint Four Eggers' little brother Luke. He was seriously not ready for prime time.

Then the Watauga County Republican Party Chair Anne Marie Yates appeared in the Watauga Democrat, giving evidence that a conspiracy existed to massively alter the ability of college students to vote, which would (we're sure it was a coincidence) help her brother Mark Templeton and Matt Long and James Milner and John Mena sweep the Boone Town Council elections in November.

With the August 16th deadline pushing him, Luke Eggers rushed to get himself sworn into office and to hold a meeting as the new Chair of the Board that would do all the stuff that is now the subject of state-wide and national attention.

The pushback was perhaps unexpected. The negative publicity was perhaps not really thought through. The legal recourse for Boone voters was perhaps not fully anticipated. (Hell, Anne Marie Yates may already be in the witness relocation program or is otherwise not speaking to the press in an undisclosed location.)

Now comes the state Board of Elections, which clearly does not like the press coverage of Watauga County. The new Republican Chair of the State Board, Josh Howard, gave an interview to the Raleigh News & Observer last week, and he said this:
“It may disappoint a lot of folks that there’s still a steady hand on the rudder.”
That was a somewhat cryptic utterance that can be read in a couple of ways. Mr. Howard also told the 500 new board members and staff people from across the state at their training day in Cary:
Board members are supposed to assure voting takes place in compliance with the law. Decision-making should not be rooted in party politics....
It's an open question what Mr. Howard meant by that and what he's prepared to do to prove to the world that the NC State Board of Elections is not now rooted in (revenge) politics.

Friday, August 23, 2013

NC Republicans Are Good At Erasing Stuff

McCrory's Facebook posts ... poof!

As you were! Smoke 'em if you've got'em.

Civitas Plays Aunt Pittypat

Luke Eggers (WRAL)
The Art Pope Civitas Institute has jumped into the Watauga voting rights battle on the side of Luke Eggers and Bill Aceto, the two Republican members of the Watauga County Board of Elections, taking this tact:
"The Watauga County Board of Elections meeting took place on August 12, with a newly appointed Republican member. The lone Democratic member, Kathleen Campbell, cursed throughout the meeting and condescendingly called the Republican board members, Bill Aceto and Luke Eggers, “boys”. And just like Mondays at the legislature, the attendees at this meeting screamed and booed and chanted throughout the meeting."
"...cursed throughout the meeting..."? According to the videotape, Kathleen Campbell said "damn" twice. We realize that Clark Gable's "damn" at the end of "Gone With the Wind" caused a big stir across the nation, but that was 1939, and this is 2013, and it seemed to dozens in that audience that day -- who were, indeed, kicking up a voluble fuss, no doubt about it -- that the suppression of voting ease being rammed through the Watauga County Board of Elections deserved a good deal saltier language than a mere couple of damns.

As far as the horrifying act of calling the Republican members "boys" ... on reflection that moniker seems pointedly appropriate for capturing the total lack of preparation exhibited by the two ... men. They came into that meeting with very complex printed resolutions in their hands that would change the voting landscape of Watauga County in very substantive ways, yet they didn't want to share the content of those resolutions and didn't in fact seem to know what those resolutions said and implied, because, well, they were written by Big Brother.

"Boys"? Would "puppets" sound any better?

The author of that Civitas face-fanning article linked above is one Susan Myrick. That name might ring a bell. She was prominently mentioned last night on Rachel Maddow's live show from Elizabeth City as the Civitas staffer who sat next to the Pasquotank County Republican Party Chair as he successfully challenged the right of a black Elizabeth City State University student to run for city council.

It's certainly the policy of Art Pope's Civitas Institute to applaud the suppression of young and black voters across the state, though they hide their true agenda behind the lace hankies of a supposedly shocked sense of propriety. Civitas certainly expresses no shock at the transparent attempt to discriminate against a class of young and black voters.

They damn well better get ready for a lot more damn cursing.

Thursday, August 22, 2013

"The Memory Hole in Action"

Below, a very thorough video dissection of how Four Luke Eggers and Bill Aceto, the two new Republican members of the Watauga County Board of Elections, scrubbed the minutes of the board meeting on August 12 (a Day That Will Live in Infamy) in order to rewrite history. Luckily, because the Winston-Salem Journal has a reporter like Bert Gutierrez on its staff, history is a little more resilient than Four Luke Eggers and Bill Aceto might have thought possible.

This is one of those national news segments that will become a permanent part of our cultural history:

Visit for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

The People in Charge of Watauga Voting Are Just Damn Stupid

Luke Eggers
If you piled up all the ineptitude committed by Republicans Four Luke Eggers and Bill Aceto on the Watauga County Board of Elections, you'd have a hill you could ski down.

From the moment he was sworn in with no witnesses except his brother, to the very next moment when he raced downstairs in the county courthouse to deliver his edict for a special meeting of the Board of Elections, to the bright idea to move that meeting from the large hearing room in the county admin. bldg. to the tiny BOE conference room, to the refusal to inform the Democratic board member and the public at large of what was in the controversial resolutions up for a vote -- possibly because Luke didn't know, or didn't understand, fully what his brother Four had put into those resolutions -- to the mouthing off of Anne Marie Yates that she was a participant in deciding the content of those resolutions ... it's all a prime example of rank clumsiness, incompetence, and lack of political skill.

Hey, guys, if you're going to attempt a major coup on voter rights, you might want to try to cover your tracks.

And now comes yesterday morning the latest example of casual unfitness for office of Mr. Eggers and Mr. Aceto: they voted to wholly whitewash the minutes of their first public outing, thereby hoping (we guess) to rewrite history and thus erase their embarrassing inadequacy.

It's a cliche these days, but you really couldn't make this s**t up! If you tried, it would be condemned as an improbable fiction.

We hear that there's a move afoot to get one of these installed in the Watauga County Board of Elections conference room.

Dorm Residency Valid for Voting Rights -- Established NC Law

Gerry Cohen's piece in today's News & Observer is important for all college students registered to vote in Watauga County who may be nervous about Republican schemes to block their votes. It might also be sobering for Anne Marie Yates and others in the Watauga GOP who are planning to challenge the registrations of dorm-dwelling ASU students.

The rights of students living in dorms to vote where they're living was established unanimously by the N.C. Supreme Court in 1979 in Lloyd v. Babb, the same year that the U.S. Supremes found the same thing in Symm v. U.S.

The fact that North Carolina Republicans, particularly those living in counties with major universities, or even small colleges, are now prepared to replow these old rows tells us a great deal about the over-arching problems in the GOP: tone-deafness, ignorance of history, being stuck in a very deep rut that is backward-looking rather than forward-moving.

It's a losing platform. And they are losers.

ASU College Republicans: Fine By Us To Suppress Our Vote

Well, okay then!

Few things were more predictable than this, that college-age Republicans would fall into line and mouth exactly the company line.

The Urban Dictionary defines suckuppery as the fine art of sucking up to authority figures.

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Virginia Foxx Steps Back From the Brink: No Senate Race For Her!

We received an e-mail from Madam Virginia Foxx this afternoon:

What she said
"The encouragement I've received to enter the race to become North Carolina's next United States Senator is truly humbling."

What she meant
Flattery, I've always said, is the sincerest form of self-deception.


What she said
"But I already have the best job in North Carolina."

What she meant
Also, the best health insurance. But do you know that I invented the term "sham-paign"? Ha, ha, ha!


What she said
"Representing the people of North Carolina's 5th Congressional District while working to encourage job growth, repeal ObamaCare, and return decision-making power in education back to our state is where my heart and focus lie."

What she meant
The heart dies, but the lie goes on forever.


What she said
"North Carolina deserves a United States Senator who is committed to increasing freedom and also to reducing the size of Washington's footprint in our lives."

What she meant
My feet are cold ALL the time, and I probably should get that checked out.


What she said
"Our conservative candidate for Senate will have my utmost support."

What she meant
Thom Tillis, you might ought to call your office.

Monday, August 19, 2013

It's Good To Be a 24-Year-Old, If You Work for McCrory

The following are some of the large raises that McCrory gave former campaign workers, most of them barely out of college. These are just four of some 280 total salary increases in the Department of Health and Human Services, totalling $1.7 million:
Matthew McKillip, 24, makes $87,500 a year as a senior policy planner at DHHS. He received a $22,500 raise on April 1. McKillip, who worked on McCrory's campaign, has no educational background or experience in health policy on his resume, although he did work briefly at a conservative think tank.
Jason Simmons, 35, is also a policy planner at DHHS. He also received a $22,500 raise in April and now earns $62,500 year. Simmons was a campaign operative for 2012 Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney before going to work for McCrory, but his available information also shows no educational background or experience in health policy. 
Ricky Diaz, 24, is a public relations officer at DHHS. He got a $23,000 raise in April and now makes $85,000 a year. Diaz was McCrory's campaign press secretary and worked in his press office before going to DHHS. His available information shows no educational background or experience in health policy and little experience in communications, with most of that in online and social media. 
Anthony Vellucci, the information technology director for NC FAST, received a $23,000 raise in June and now earns $168,000 a year. Vellucci does have an IT background, but the raise comes amid an array of problems with the social services benefits system that has left many hungry families without food stamps.
Those raises came after McCrory piously asked his department heads NOT to give raises, to freeze salaries, and simultaneously with the passing of a state budget in the Republican-dominated General Assembly that punishes teachers, which McCrory gladly signed.

From dope to dick in under 30 days, eh, Governor?

The NC League of Women Voters Brings Suit Over Voter Suppression

Not the first federal lawsuit over the voter suppression law that Gov. Dopey Dickish signed, and it won't be the last.

Sunday, August 18, 2013

And the Beat Goes On

Not to be out-done by the Republicans on the Watauga and Pasquotank County boards of elections, the Republican Chair of the Forsyth Board of Elections is openly declaring that he plans to shut down an Early Voting site on the Winston-Salem State University campus, an historically black campus.

His pretext is that when he was a precinct judge at the campus Early Voting site, he says he overheard students talking about getting class credit for voting.

Now then, that ranks as obvious, opportunistic hear-say, in the vein of comments on this blog that everyone knows there's massive Democratic fraud in this state. No, everyone does not know that, because in fact it doesn't exist.

And if the Republican Chair of the Forsyth County Board of Elections, in his capacity as a duly sworn elections official in a voting precinct, overheard evidence of "vote-buying" by students, why did he not raise a fuss at the time? Why did he not follow-up? Why did he not file a complaint, swear out an affidavit, pound the table top? He brings it up now as an excuse, some sort of eye-witness testimony that's supposed to sweep the field in his favor.

It's weak, it's trumped-up, it's a smoke-screen to cover another instance of the NC GOP's plot to disenfranchise college students, and especially college students of color.

The Watauga BOE and GOP "New Speak"

What do you do when the facts are against you, even though you hold all the political power in the state?

You simply re-label the facts with words that reverse reality. That's the North Carolina GOP "New Speak" in a nutshell, and it's on amazing display in the front-page article in today's Winston-Salem Journal, wherein Republican Chair of the Watauga County Board of Elections, Luke Eggers, gave a quote to reporter Bert Gutierrez.

Asked by Gutierrez whether the Agricultural Conference Center, as the polling place for a newly formed "mega-precinct" with over 9,000 voters (3rd largest now in the state) could handle the traffic, Luke Eggers said:
Our decision to relocate this polling place was not made lightly. In evaluating our alternatives, I considered the ease of access to the polls, the logistics involved with the various possible locations, the demands on elections staff and university staff, the handicapped accessibility of the sites, and other logistical concerns. I am confident that this location will provide an appropriate voting location, and will be an equitable and accessible polling place for all eligible voters,” Eggers said.
That is some outstanding "New Speak," and a fine vintage it is, too!

Everyone knows that Luke Eggers was appointed to the Board because his big brother, County Attorney Stacy Eggers IV ("Four"), was somehow rejected in Raleigh for the job, so Luke got the nod because he would be a compliant drone operated like a flying-bot from the county attorney's office. The other Republican member, Bill Aceto, was never meant for anything other than a second, majority vote on all issues. (More in a story about the Watauga BOE fiasco posted on dKos. Eggers and Aceto are nationally famous now, thanks in no small part to the segment on the Rachel Maddow show Thursday night, linked in the dKos story.)

But I digress. Back to GOP New Speak:

"Our decision to relocate this polling place was not made lightly" = we thought it was going to be easy

"I considered the ease of access to the polls" = discouraging ASU voters was goal # 1

"logistical concerns" = partisan political goals

"an equitable and accessible polling place for all eligible voters" = ASU students are not citizens, in our opinion

Bert Gutierrez interviewed a student about "ease and accessibility" right there on Poplar Grove Road, which is the connector from the campus to the new mega-precinct polling place:

Friday, August 16, 2013

Whacking the Pinata

Remember this story about how one dickish Republican legislator from Lee County got a "local" bill passed in the General Assembly to fire four of the 12 members of the Central Carolina Community College Board of Trustees, because they were Democrats and were appointed by the local Democratic school board?

A judge, after hearing the evidence, including the politics very clearly at play, has said "Not so fast there, Rep. Mike Stone."

Fair-minded and constitutionally schooled judges all over the state are going to be saying that a lot in the months ahead, we trust.

NAACP Attorneys Looking at Watauga, Elizabeth City Suppression of College Student Vote

From an NAACP emailed press release this a.m.:
McCrory: Stop the Coordinated Attacks on College Student Voting

The extremists' Voter Suppression agenda was being implemented in two far-flung college counties in North Carolina even before Gov. Pat McCrory got around to reading and signing the Monster Voter Suppression bill last Monday afternoon. In Watauga and Pasquotank counties, the 2-1 Voter Suppressionist caucus were actively trying to strip students of their voting rights.

Out west in Watauga where Appalachian State students are becoming more politically active, the Suppressionist Caucus of the County Board of Election met at 9 o'clock Monday morning to try to strip the early voting site from the campus of Appalachian State in Boone.

"It was such an obvious backlash against the students' increasing political power in local as well as state and national elections, we immediately dispatched our District Director and our Campus Field Secretary for Western campuses to Watauga to investigate," said Rev. Dr. William J. Barber II, NC NAACP President.

In the northeast corner of the state, the Suppressionist Caucus on the Pasquotank County Board of Elections, in lockstep with the Watauga Suppressionists, began targeting the growing voting potential of the predominantly African American student body at Elizabeth State University.

"We will be investigating the Pasquotank Board of Elections actions carefully, including a site visit early next week," said Dr. Barber. "We will conduct a Moral Monday to in Manteo," he said, "and then we will be meeting with our Pasquotank Branch leaders to examine the best means to resist the extremists' attacks."

"Why would anyone want to keep our young people from getting engaged in the American democracy we hold so dear? Why would anyone be afraid of a group of young people voting in a local election this fall?" Dr. Barber asked." I can only think of one reason." ...

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Dickishness Surfacing in Other NC County Boards of Elections

Watauga County is not alone in an outbreak of suppressive activity by local boards of elections, all of them now dominated by people who really don't think anyone but conservatives should be allowed to participate in government.

Sharon McClosky shared an article from the Elizabeth City Daily Advance about a student at Elizabeth City State University who wanted to run for a seat on the local city council. The two Republicans on the Pasquotank County Board of Elections decided that he was ineligible because he wasn't a "permanent" resident.

Come again? That is not a constitutional requirement for either voting or for seeking public office. "Permanent" resident has no definition under the law. Only "resident for 30 days" has any force of law in North Carolina. I could move to Pasquotank County tomorrow, Dear Hearts (but don't hold your breath), register to vote after 30 days and file to run for office on that same day, and then, because I didn't really like Pasquotank County, I could move away right after I voted in the next election. I was not, under the phony definition of the Pasquotank Board of Elections, a "permanent resident," but I was sure as shit a "resident" eligible for voting and eligible to run for office if I can pay the filing fee.

But why argue with these dictatorial, ass-brained Republicans now populating every board of elections in the state? The argument was already made and won before the U.S. Supreme Court in Symm v. U.S. (1979). Google it. And some lawyer, or even that Elizabeth City State University student himself, should file a lawsuit, because that kid's rights have been violated.

In the worst way.

The Republican hatred for -- and palpable fear of -- the young people in their midst is going to destroy them eventually. Just possibly not soon enough.

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Watauga County TDA Turns Down $75,000 Grant

More than a year ago, the Watauga County Tourism Development Authority (TDA) had submitted a grant application to the Recreational Trails Program of the NC Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) for paddle access and improvements at the Pine Run entrance to the New River and the Green Valley Park entrance to the New River.

The TDA received notice last December that the grant had been awarded.

The contract arrived a month or so ago, and this morning the TDA board considered that contract, which had to be formally voted on. With two members of the TDA board absent, the vote was 2-2, with board members Connie Baird and Kim Rogers voting against the motion by Tony Gray to accept the contract. Board member Matt Vincent was the other "yes" vote with Gray.

The tie vote killed the grant.

We received an email sent by someone who was in the meeting: "The Watauga TDA board voted 2 to 2 this morning to decline the $70,000 plus grant awarded to them to improve river access at the Green Valley Park and Pine Run, because it is against Connie Baird's principles."

Connie Baird is prominent in the local Republican Party. She is almost always the contact person if you want to attend a local Republican Party event which costs money. And she's been a solid roadblock before on the TDA. She was the lone vote against even seeking the grant that she finally succeeded in killing this morning.

She was the deciding vote in killing a contract with a landowner to extend the Brookshire Park Greenway several miles further up the New River from where it presently ends. That contract would have been partially funded by a grant from the Clean Water Management Trust Fund.

She voted against building a canoe launch at Watauga Gorge Park (though she didn't prevail on that vote).

Both Connie Baird and Kim Rogers are in the room/apartment rental business. In the meetings of the TDA that I have attended, both Baird and Rogers have tended to take the following position when voting on projects to increase tourism in Watauga County: "What's in it for me personally?"

Apparently, they don't see anything in recreational tourism -- not to mention big grants -- that improves their own bottomlines.

And that's a crying shame.

"Convenience": What It Means to Anne Marie Yates

Chairwoman of the Watauga County Republican Party, Anne Marie Yates, well in advance of yesterday's meeting of the Board of Elections (BOE), told Kellen Short of the Watauga Democrat that the combination of Boone 1, Boone 2, and Boone 3 precincts into a single "mega-precinct" would still be "very convenient for everyone to go and vote."

Boone 1, Boone 2, and Boone 3 precincts are where the major concentrations of Appalachian State University students live. Two of those precincts had -- until yesterday's train wreck of a BOE meeting -- polling places on campus. Until yesterday's BOE meeting, ASU also had an Early Voting site which served 2,500 faculty and staff and some considerable portion of 17,589 students. It was a heavily utilized Early Voting site. It was, in fact and in keeping with Anne Marie Yates's word choice, convenient.

Nothing's convenient now. The new polling place for all three of those Boone precincts is now located at the Agricultural Conference Center on the far western edge of what had been Boone 3 -- in other words, as far as the Republicans could locate the polling place from ASU and still remain technically within the borders of the new mega-precinct. There are no sidewalks along Poplar Grove Road. Walking there is most inconvenient.

Does Anne Marie Yates really think that we're that stupid? Does she think the student voters at ASU won't notice the attempt to discourage, limit, and suppress their vote so that her brother Mark Templeton, and the rest of the "Templeton ticket" on the ballot this fall, can take control of the Boone Town Council?

That's the convenience she's looking for.

We trust the voters of Boone will show the Templetons some truth at the ballot boxes this fall, since Anne Marie in particular appears unfamiliar with it.

Monday, August 12, 2013

Watauga Co. Board of Elections, 8/12/13: The Long & the Short of It

The Short Of It
The newly constituted county Board of Elections met this morning and, among other (non-controversial) moves, the two-man Republican majority voted to do the following (every vote was 2-1, with Democratic member Kathleen Campbell both objecting to the process and voting no when given the chance), a series of unprecedented and ground-shaking resolutions clearly meant to hamper voting, not improve it. The content of these resolutions was largely a mystery to the 70 or so citizens in the crowd, and the upshot of the various clauses in these resolutions was of major concern to Ms. Campbell, since she had not seen any of the resolutions prior to the meeting:

1. Rewrote the duties of the elections supervisor, specifying that Jane Anne Hodges is prohibited from being involved in "the discussion or debate of political or discretionary decisions [!]... regarding the location or number of polling places or early voting sites and hours." She is further required to keep a log "of all telephone calls and visitors," and must never be allowed to be in the elections office alone during any polling period.

2. Resolutions to establish a public comment provision: This new board decrees that only written comment will be acceptable.

3. One-Stop Implementation Plan for the 2013 municipal elections: ASU Student Union site, closed. One site only: Commissioner's Boardroom.

4. Resolution to combine three precincts, Boone 1, Boone 2, and Boone 3 into a single precinct with the polling place at the Agricultural Conference Center. This would put over 9,000 voters into a single mega-precinct, when state voting guidelines recommend no more than 1,500 voters per precinct.

5. Move the Meat Camp polling place to the new Meat Camp fire department and move the New River 3 precinct polling place from the Armory to Mutton's Crossing on Bamboo Rd.

The Long of It
The official meeting was called to order in the tiny conference room inside the Board of Elections, a room that will hold eight people, max, but which was packed with maybe 20 spectators, hovering over the conference table and the three board members, with another 50 or 60 people packed into the lobby and straining to hear.

The board members wisely decided to move the meeting back to where it was originally scheduled, the Commissioner's Boardroom in the Administrative Annex. But the move was not allowed until after the two Republicans elected themselves Chair and Secretary of the board. Kathleen Campbell, the lone Democrat, also took her time verbally spanking the the two Republicans for cutting her out of the information loop while evidently working behind the scenes and secretly with Anne Marie Yates, Chair of the Watauga County Republican Party and brother to Mark Templeton, candidate for Boone Town Council in the upcoming municipal elections. The resolutions that were suddenly sprung into view this morning were clearly -- transparently -- intended to make it easier for the Templeton ticket to win. "You boys should be ashamed of yourselves," Campbell said, to sustained applause.

Campbell said she had written emails over the weekend to both new Chair Luke Eggers and new Secretary Bill Aceto, requesting copies of the resolutions mentioned on the agenda that became public last Friday, but she received nothing in advance of this morning's meeting. Luke Eggers answered that he didn't want to be in violation of the open meetings act, which he thought he would be if he had answered Campbell's email, at which the large crowd burst out with guffaws at the irony of it. Campbell replied that this whole special meeting was in violation of the open meetings act.

Once the meeting was reconvened in the Commissioners Boardroom, which was soon almost full of spectators, the new board quickly got to the controversial resolutions, the first of which was the rewriting of Jane Anne Hodges' job description. Ms. Campbell kept insisting that the resolution be read aloud and discussed as to what had been changed, and Eggers/Aceto kept resisting the sharing of the resolution with the crowd, which grew increasingly restive and vocal about what seemed like a railroad (a badly run railroad at that). Finally, Jane Anne Hodges was allowed to identify what she saw as new in the list of duties, after a quick read -- because she too did not have an advance copy of the resolutions. The provision that decreed that Ms. Hodges could not be in the office alone once Early Voting began caused the most heartburn, as she is well known to work very long hours and wondered aloud about requiring -- and paying for -- another employee to always be there with her. Hanging in the air, and never openly addressed, was the implication that Ms. Hodges would do something dishonest if she were by herself, a patently offensive suggestion not based on anything but malice. "Did your brother [Four Eggers, attorney for the Republican majority on the County Commission and a past member of the Board of Elections] assist in the preparation of this document?" Campbell asked Luke Eggers, to which she got no direct answer. "I think this is an illegal action," Ms. Campbell said, after the Republicans passed their resolution, "and I hope we can take action to remedy it." Sustained applause.

The resolution to "establish public comment" again prompted Campbell to demand that the resolution be read aloud, since no one knew what was in it and since it did, after all, directly impact "the public." "I have not received any information on the public comment process that you're about to vote on. I think we should post this so that the public can read it and react to it before we enact it," Campbell said. "No one knows what's in it except you [Luke Eggers] and Bill Aceto," Campbell added. The crowd began chanting "Read it! Read it." Luke Eggers insisted that Campbell would have to make a motion to read the resolution before it could be read. Campbell made her motion. No one seconded it. Only the pandemonium in the room kept the two Republicans from voting on it at that point. Instead, they allowed Ms. Campbell to read it aloud. When she got to the clause that only written comments will be taken, the crowd erupted anew. Eggers said, "I appreciate the passion on these issues, but I urge you to keep decorum." A member of the audience then approached the podium and handed a slip of paper across to the board, saying, "You said you wanted written comments."

The resolution up-ending the one-stop implementation plan for the 2013 municipal elections, a plan that was already voted on and approved unanimously by the previous Board of Elections last June, a plan that set up two Early Voting sites including the Student Union at ASU, again had the audience groaning, shouting out, and applauding the comments of Ms. Campbell. The new plan -- if not literally written by Anne Marie Yates, was at least written for the benefit of her family in this upcoming election -- axes the Student Union Early Voting site. Ms. Campbell pointed out to "the boys" that they needed, according to statute, a unanimous vote to approve a new implementation plan, a fact that seemed to catch Luke Eggers off-guard. After consulting the statutes, Mr. Eggers admitted that indeed, without a unanimous vote, this plan would have to be sent to the state board for approval.

After the 2-1 vote, the audience began booing the Republican members.

The resolution to combine three Boone precincts with a combined registration of over 9,000 voters into a single mega-precinct ... More of the same: passed 2-1.

Moving New River 3's polling place from the National Guard Armory, which is central to the concentration of population in that precinct, to Mutton's Crossing, a building on Bamboo Road in the most unpopulated part of the precinct, drew this comment from Ms. Campbell: "This is damn stupid!" The Mutton's Crossing location also does not have room for the mandated 25-foot "buffer zone," making it impossible for candidates to meet the public and hand out literature.

CORRECTION: An earlier version of this post got one of the details of the new Early Voting Implementation Plan wrong, and that has now been corrected.

Sunday, August 11, 2013

What Anne Marie Yates Told the Watauga Democrat

Republican Party Chair Anne Marie Yates gave an interview to Kellen Short of the Watauga Democrat about the surprise special meeting of the Watauga County Board of Elections that got called late Thursday afternoon. Here are the relevant paragraphs from Kellen Short's article:
An agenda released Friday states the board will consider a resolution to recombine Boone precincts and adopt a new one-stop implementation plan for 2013 municipal elections.
Anne Marie Yates, chairwoman of the Watauga County Republican Party, said the intention was to switch Boone from three precincts into one, with one voting site. 
Those precinct voting sites are currently located at the Watauga County Administration Building, at ASU's Plemmons Student Union and at the Agricultural Conference Center. Yates would not say where the single voting site would be located.
"It will eliminate the expense of running two other polling places and combine it all into one," Yates said. "It's still very convenient for everyone to go and vote. The location has ample parking."
Yates would not elaborate on possible changes to the one-stop plan for this fall's municipal elections.
"That'll all come to light on Monday," she said.
The board also may relocate the Meat Camp and New River 3 polling places, as well as the Seven Devils site, and is expected to consider a resolution establishing a public comment process for the board.
Yates said the board was considering moving the Meat Camp site from Green Valley School to an undisclosed location, the New River 3 site from the National Guard Armory to an undisclosed location, and the Seven Devils site from Foscoe Fire Department to Seven Devils Town Hall.
"I'll let (the board members) tell you what the location is," Yates said regarding the Meat Camp and New River 3 locations. "I don't want to steal their thunder and the reasons for it."
She said the board is trying to keep voting out of the schools because it can be disruptive, referencing a dispute last fall about whether students were allowed in the Green Valley gym during voting.
Obvious Observation No. 1: Anne Marie Yates is apparently dictating policy to the Board of Elections, or at the very least, colluding with Republican board members, in a way that is calculated to disrupt Boone's municipal elections in the same year that Yates's own brother Mark Templeton is running for Boone Town Council, at the head of the Templeton ticket. How does that grab you, Boone?

Obvious Observation No. 2: Coyness in this particular situation ("Yates would not elaborate .... 'That'll all come to light on Monday' ") is extremely condescending and an insult to the whole concept of open decisions openly arrived at.

Obvious Observation No. 3: Yates's condescension extends even to the two new Republican board members, whom she refers to as though they were slightly slow children of hers: "I'll let them tell you what the location is [for Meat Camp and New River 3]. I don't want to steal their thunder...."

Apparently, under another agenda item ("Assign Elections Duty"), new Republican board chair Four Luke Eggers intends to decree that elections supervisor Jane Anne Hodges will not talk to the press in the future. Given the above performance by Ms. Yates, we might suggest that Mr. Eggers include the chairwoman of the Republican Party under the same prohibition.

Friday, August 09, 2013

More Shenanigans at the Board of Elections

News arrived about noon today that the location for the special meeting of the Watauga County Board of Elections on Monday has been moved from the Commissioners Boardroom in the Admin Bldg. to the conference room inside the Board of Elections.

We assume that this change of venue was decreed by Four Luke Eggers in his capacity as Not The Chair of the Watauga County Board of Elections.

There can be only one reason for this change: the Commissioners Boardroom holds at least 75 people. The conference room inside the Board of Elections holds maybe eight, if at least two of them didn't eat breakfast.

It's the Republican way. Call a special meeting and hope that no one notices, and when they do notice, get a room so small that the public will be shut out. Classic. Classic too, Republican Party Chair Anne Marie Yates's response to the High Country Press when she was asked about "the reasoning behind the agenda item regarding the adoption of a new one-stop voting implementation plan and what that entails."

I'll have to get back to you on that, Ms. Yates said. We expect that will be a long and difficult journey.

This Crux in History

Rep. Mickey Michaux appears at about the 2:30 point ... footage of the representative trying to discuss the history of voting rights in North Carolina on the floor of the NC House but being ruled out of order. Thom Tillis is at the Speaker's podium.

You're out of order, NC GOP! And you're on the wrong side of history.

Thursday, August 08, 2013

Heads Up, Watauga: Your Board of Elections Has a Surprise for You

Late this afternoon, Four Luke Eggers got himself sworn in as the 2nd Republican member of the Watauga County Board of Elections and promptly began acting as the chair of that board, though no election of officers has taken place. Four Luke Eggers presented a new agenda for a special meeting of the board this coming Monday morning at 9 a.m., an agenda that would seem to indicate – on the face of it -- that the Republican-dominated board intends to mess with the Boone elections this November. (The next regular meeting of the board was already scheduled for August 20.)

We obtained the agenda from the sole Democratic member of the board who heard about Monday's meeting only after the close of business today.

Among the new items on this agenda are at least two of potential interest for the municipal elections coming up, particularly Early Voting, and one regarding the polling place for Watauga County’s largest precinct:
* Adopt new one-stop [which includes Early Voting] implementation plan. 
* Resolution to recombine Boone precincts [?]. 
* Relocate Meat Camp and New River 3 precincts [NR 3, our largest precinct, votes currently at the Nat’l Guard Armory].
Another agenda item may be aimed at punishing the elections director, Jane Ann Hodges: “Assign elections duty.” The local GOP has been itching (pretty much in full view of the public) to run Ms. Hodges out of her job for a long time now. Ms. Hodges happens to be one of the most respected elections directors in the state and is protected by the state's personnel act.

But I guess we’ll have to wait until Monday morning to see exactly what Four Luke has in mind with that particular agenda item ... once he’s actually voted in as chair of the board, naturally.

Why Won't Foxx Hold a Town Hall?

Even Patrick McHenry held one last night in Buncombe County, and he took hostile questions.

Foxx takes no questions whatsoever, unless it's "How do I make out the check?"

She's a coward.

Wednesday, August 07, 2013

Don't You Just Love the Smell of a Death Wish in the Morning?

Greg Brannon
RedState's Erick Erickson, a Tea Party bloviator who evidently eats nails for breakfast (with unskimmed milk) has compared NC House Speaker Thom Tillis's campaign for U.S. Senate to dog poo. Yes, I believe that's what he said, but judge for yourself:
"I can tell you I'd rather vote for the pile of brown goo on the side of the road in New Orleans than vote for that guy [Tillis] as a Republican in North Carolina. He is terrible. You do not want this person."
He said that at a Tea Party convention in New Orleans by way of introducing to the podium Mr. Tillis's chief rival for the job, Greg Brannon, an ob/gyn in Cary who's going to excite the women in this state into such a stampede for Kay Hagan as you've never seen.

That is if he can win a primary against Tillis -- not a good bet at the moment, but as we know, Republican primaries are wacko these days, and Greg Brannon is straight out of Wacko Central Casting. On the other hand, Thom Tillis hasn't, as they say, "gained any traction" in his own quest, which is indeed saying something, considering that Kay Hagan used to be ranked as the most vulnerable Democratic incumbent running for reelection next year, and Mr. Tillis is so, you know, well groomed.

Me? I'm with Erick Erickson!

Tuesday, August 06, 2013

We Are Not Going Away

Better Be Paying Attention To Your Drinking Water, North Carolina

Aqua North Carolina, a for-profit supplier of drinking water, is asking for a 19% + rate increase from the NC Utilities Commission. Aqua North Carolina already charges twice as much for water as Raleigh, Durham, Cary, and many other municipalities in the state, and this is the company's third request for increases in the past five years.

This is what you get with the privatization that Republicans love so much. This is what you get when you let a for-profit enterprise get hold of your precious water resources. They will charge you out the nose for it.

Aqua North Carolina already serves more than 250,000 residents in 53 NC counties, including the Mountain Ridge development in Watauga County. You can study the full list of their service areas here. They seem to prey upon suburban developments that have sprouted up outside existing, traditional municipal boundaries.

With fracking coming to our state, with its side-effects of ruined well water, Aqua North Carolina will be feeding on the victims like vultures.

Mountain Moral Monday

The scene yesterday in Pack Square, Asheville, for the rally against the North Carolina General Assembly and its recent actions RE voting rights, unemployment insurance, Medicaid funding, environmental degradation, education funding, and women's rights.

"Top o' the World, Ma!"

Todd Poole, Virginia Foxx's former chief of staff, is taking over as executive director of the NC GOP, working under party chair Claude Pope.

Chairman Pope praised Poole for "his political instincts."

Those political instincts have been on full display in the past: here and here.

Monday, August 05, 2013

Republican U.S. Senate 2014 Primary Draws a Woman Candidate

Heather Grant, a nurse practitioner at Urgent Care of Wilkes Regional Hospital, with standard Republican conservative views (yes, Virginia, she hates the Federal government, so you can relax).

She joins NC Speaker of the House Thom Tillis and ob/gyn doc Greg Brannon, who've already announced their candidacies.

There'll be more candidates anon. They'll all hate government.

Actual (Real) Numbers

If you're a wee bit suspicious about all the happy talk we're hearing from McCrory and The Boys on Jones Street about how they've increased spending for public education, not to mention the trained chorus shouting amen in Right Blogistan, then you might like to read some fact-based numbers about teachers in North Carolina and what's actually been happening to them and to our schools.

"To Be Backward, Rather Than To Seem Backward."

Friday, August 02, 2013

Wilson Slaps at Miller

District Attorney Jerry Wilson publicly (very!) endorsed Britt Springer to follow him into that office with a statement obviously aimed at County Commission Chair Nathan Miller, who had already announced he would run for the office.

"I strongly support and endorse Mrs. Springer as my successor because our community cannot afford an inexperienced District Attorney," Wilson said in a written statement, signaling what he thought of Nathan Miller without actually naming him. The rest of Wilson's statement gets more specific about how he thinks Miller isn't the man for the job.

Thunderdome! Two Republicans enter. One Republican leaves.

Look What the General Assembly Did To Lee County

We hear about the new Republican majority in the General Assembly and what they did to Asheville's water system, and we hear about how they're trying to strip Charlotte of its airport, and we know about how they're forcing Durham to deliver water and sewer services against the will of the people to a huge mega-development outside city limits.

But some of their "smaller-scale" meddling in local government doesn't get the same news coverage.

Take Lee County and its local school board. See, Lee County has a majority-Democrat school board, and that fact apparently puts a burr under the saddle of the local Republican member of the NC House, Rep. Mike Stone, who was just elected in the Tea Party surge of 2010 and who has been drunk with power ever since.

Rep. Stone introduced three local bills in the General Assembly, all clearly intended to punish the Lee County School Board:

1. H490 forces the school board  — which has been officially non-partisan since it was established in 1967 — to hold partisan elections. 

2. H491 transfers control of school resource officers from the school district to the Lee County Sheriff's Office. The sheriff is a Republican.

3. H512 takes away the school board's power to appoint members of Central Carolina Community College's Board of Trustees.

H490 became law. H491 became law. H512 became law.

So much for local government.

But wait! A Lee Co. Superior Court judge has just granted a restraining order against H512 while a new lawsuit plays itself out.

The passage of local bill H512 ended the terms of four members of the Central Carolina Community College, specifically the four who were appointed by the Lee County School Board, and it furthermore decreed that none of those four people can ever be reappointed. Those four, one of whom was only sworn in a couple of weeks ago, have sued, alleging that H512 serves no legitimate government interest and is arbitrary and capricious.

"Arbitrary and capricious"? Why, yes, and perhaps there's still a judge in North Carolina who can recognize the truth of that. While H512 was singling out four people appointed by a Democrat-majority school board, it was leaving alone four other trustees appointed by the Republican dominated Lee County Commission. That's about as arbitrary as you can get. Also blatantly partisan, turning education, or at least the possibility of education, into a political pissing match.

Going to the Movies Is Going to Cost More. Thank the Republicans

The new republican majority in the NC General Assembly gave rich people and corporations a big tax break, but you people who enjoy an occasional evening out at the movies are going to have to make it up. Sales taxes on entertainment are going up.

Yeah. Raised taxes on the middle class.

Thursday, August 01, 2013

Our Lame Duck

Gov. Squishy went from being a beacon of hope for moderate Republicanism to a complete disaster in just six months ... spineless, confused, the willing tool of other, non-moderate agendas, a victim of events and not even within hailing distance of the levers of power he was supposedly elected to control. There was a reason he put Art Pope in charge. McCrory didn't have a clue and wasn't going to get one.

A dead give-away of his status within his own fulminating party is that not one of the right-wing Republican blogs that I frequent on a regular basis give him any support, or even any coverage. They don't talk about him at all. He's a non-person to them, like he is to the rest of us but for different reasons. It's like they're embarrassed for him.

The criticism of His Limpness has been withering and fairly universal. Practically every daily newspaper in the state has pointed out his lies, his witlessness, his obvious panic at the thought that someone somewhere might ask him a QUESTION.

As Gary Pearce pointed out yesterday, McCrory missed his opportunity to establish an independent identity by vetoing the abortion bill, something he actually promised during the campaign last fall. "But he caved," states Pearce, and thus sealed his one-term fate. Now he's dogged on a daily basis by protesters with signs.