Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Once the Dust Settled...

Here are the filings for office in local and district races, as they stood at the close of the filing period at noon today:

U.S.House, Dist. 5
Elisabeth Motsinger, Forsyth Co. School Board member, D
Bruce G. Peller, Forsyth Co. dentist, D

Virginia A. Foxx, incumbent R

[There will be a Democratic primary May 8th]

State Senate, Dist. 45
Roy J. Carter (Ashe County), D

Dan Soucek, incumbent R
George S. Robinson (Caldwell County), R

[Soucek has a primary May 8th]

State House, Dist. 93
Cullie Tarleton, D

Jonathan Jordan, incumbent R

Watauga County Commission, Dist. 1
Virginia Roseman, D

Tim Wilson, R

Watauga County Commission, Dist. 2
John Welch, school board member, D

Vince Gable, incumbent R

Watauga County Commission, Dist. 3
Billy Kennedy, D

Tommy Adams, Tea Party R

Watauga County Board of Education
Jay Fenwick, D
Barbara Kinsey, D
Brenda Reese, D
Deborah Greene, Tea Party U
Ron Henries, R
Fred Oliver, R
Brandon Petrea, R

[There will be a primary for Sch. Bd. May 8th]

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

NC Women: North Carolina Can Probe Your Womb

And you're supposed to watch!

When Transvaginal Airlines made an unscheduled landing in Virginia a week or so ago, my instincts told me that the North Carolina anti-abortion law passed last year over Gov. Perdue's veto had also inserted a similar probe into women's vaginas in our fair state. And I've been intending to go look at the law. Laura Leslie beat me to it.

Indeed, dear North Carolina women, our state's Republican Party has rammed through an invasion of your most private parts, because -- hey! -- they own your womb.

If you seek a wholly legal abortion in the first 20 weeks of pregnancy, the new abortion law mandates -- demands -- an ultrasound before the procedure. And the woman seeking it must be shown the image of the fetus and have the fetus described to her (should she deliberately or inadvertently close her eyes) and be offered the opportunity to hear the fetal heartbeat (I can hardly believe the legislators made that part optional).

Now then ... as Leslie explains, to get that ultrasound image in the first weeks of pregnancy requires transvaginal probing. So although the NC law does not explicitly say it, nor use the now-famous term, they have nevertheless staked a transvaginal-probing claim to a woman's innards in effect.

A federal judge has temporarily stayed the part of the law that requires a doctor to describe the ultrasound image to the patient, but the rest of the law is in effect.

The fact that North Carolina women, and particularly Planned Parenthood, allowed this to happen without storming the friggin' castle a little more concertedly, suggests that the women of Virginia are more organized and tougher. And that I don't believe.

Monday, February 27, 2012

Religious Demagoguery

Guest blogger, Cliff Moone, ordained Christian minister from Hickory, NC, and Democratic chair of the 10th Congressional District:
POINT: How times have changed! Over the weekend, Rick Santorum explicitly declared that John F. Kennedy's statement that he believed in the separation of church and state made Santorum "want to throw up!" In Santorum World, Kennedy's words, which were delivered to quell fears of Evangelicals and Protestants during the 1960 campaign about a Catholic in the White House, meant that people of faith should be kept out of public discourse and debate.

COUNTERPOINT: This is BAD history, BAD theological reasoning, and BAD governmental theory.The principle of the "Separation of Chuch and State" was first stated in America by Roger Williams and became a vital concept for ensuring religious freedom to founders like Thomas Jefferson and James Madison. The concept was considered so important that it was eventually written into the First Amendment. Santorum completely misinterprets JFK's words and point.

But more importantly, he is revealing his own radical Theocratic Worldview that is at odds with American traditions and values. The over-emphasis by the Religious Right on the "free expression clause" of the First Amendment seems to forget the crucial "establishment clause" and the dangers both to religion and democracy that a failure to balance these two can create. Mr. Santorum should STOP the religious demagoguery! It's his views that should make us all sick!

Destroying Public Education in NC, One Small Desk at a Time

The lede to the Winston-Salem Journal article this a.m. pretty much sums up Republican plans for public education in North Carolina: sell off the system, let the devil take the hindmost:
A legislative proposal to overhaul North Carolina's pre-K system would completely privatize pre-K classrooms by the summer of 2013, as well as leave fewer families eligible for state tuition assistance.
Followed by this, "The World as the Republican General Assembly Wants It":
Taxpayer-supported pre-kindergarten has long had a waiting list of eligible children who don't get financial help because the state runs out of money before it runs out of families falling below annual income thresholds. That generates a waiting list, exacerbated this year by a 20 percent pre-K cut the Republican-controlled General Assembly approved to help balance the state budget.
How to decrease the waiting list, and in effect knock many thousands of children out of their pre-school desks? Make eligibility as difficult as possible.

You think the Republican leaders in this state aren't trying to cripple and ultimately eliminate public education?

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Transvaginal Airlines' NC Hub

Quote of the day, from Rob Schofield, in the Raleigh News&Observer:
The Republican legislative leadership [in the NC General Assembly] is male dominated in a way we have not seen in Raleigh in recent years. Is there a chromosomal dimension to their bitter feud with a female governor, their targeting of female legislators, their war against a female-dominated teachers association and their effort to restrict the reproductive freedoms of women?
May we all answer in unison ... "Well, yes!"

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Crystal Balling in the Mountains

Valuable redistricting analysis, via a Mars Hill political scientist, quoted at length by the MountainXpress. Forewarned: draws its statistics from Asheville (and most definitely from its suburbs).

What the professor didn't address: Projected (possible?) partisan "turn-out" in November. A surprise in those numbers could one-up all sorts of predictions.

Friday, February 24, 2012

Soucek Took the Money

During the recent three-day special session of the NC General Assembly, during which precisely nothing was done, the members were paid $104 per day, plus travel expenses, for doing precisely nothing. When criticism of this waste of time and state money grew in the public press, some 121 lawmakers in both chambers said they wouldn't accept their per diem allowance, saving the taxpayers about $12,000-a-day.

Dan Soucek took the money, along with 19 other senators. Fellow Republican and NC House member Jonathan Jordan, turned back the money.

WRAL in Raleigh posted the details yesterday afternoon.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

The Party of State-Mandated Vaginal Probing Goes Limp

For the second day in a row, once some of the Republican members of the Virginia General Assembly got a good look at the women massing on the Capitol grounds in opposition to 10 inches of government snooping shoved up their vaginas, the sponsors of Virginia's proposed new anti-abortion bill were said to be in deep contemplation of "compromises" that might save their mortal souls from the hell about to be unleashed on them.

Gov. Bob McDonnell (R), who up until day-before-yesterday said he was just itching to see all those women spread their legs to state-mandated probing, is now signaling that maybe it was some governor-impersonator who said he would sign any vaginal-poking-around law that the General Assembly cared to put on his desk.

Gov. McDonnell's ringing endorsement has changed to something resembling under-cooked pabulum:
"Our position is: If the General Assembly passes this bill the governor will review it, in its final form, at that time,” McDonnell spokesman Tucker Martin said in a statement.

Seems like the Republican war on women, when faced with actual resistance, gets a whole lot less "manly."

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Can Women Scare Some Sense into Virginia?

Yesterday's impromptu protest at the Virginia state capitol over several pieces of anti-woman legislation -- mandating an invasive "transvaginal ultrasound" for women seeking an abortion and a law declaring a fertilized egg a person -- is perhaps only the first wave of a tsunami of female (and male too) resistance to the conservative Republican theocracy that has taken over Virginia government.

The protest was organized very suddenly and very quickly via Facebook and other social media. Over 1,000 mostly women stood in a silent queue that stretched nearly three blocks on a sidewalk. Later, they were allowed to flank both sides of the sidewalk taken by many state legislators to the Capitol, standing two and three deep.

The protest seems to have shaken Republican self-confidence a wee bit, since the chief sponsor of the transvaginal ultrasound bill -- an alleged woman, incidentally -- opted to put off final consideration of her proposed law.

The "Christian" Example of Franklin Graham

Apparently seeing that other Republican politicians have the lady parts of our society under surveillance, Boone's hometown boy Franklin Graham decides on "Morning Joe" to reopen some old wounds, maintaining that Barack Obama began attending Church to bolster his political career and is a Muslim under Islamic law. “Islam sees him as a son of Islam because his father was a Muslim, his grandfather was a Muslim, great grandfather was a Muslim and so under Islamic law, the Muslim world sees Barack Obama as a Muslim,” Graham said, before explaining that he could not rule out the possibility that Obama may secretly be Muslim. “I can’t say categorically [that Obama is not a Muslim] because Islam has gotten a free pass under Obama.”

"I thank God," said the Pharisee, "that I am not as other men are."

But it's the evangelical logic here that is really arresting. We had thought that Franklin Graham wanted to convert the world to Christianity, but by Graham's doctrine of genetic determinism, if you've got a Muslim somewhere back there in your male line (note to women: you don't count, which goes without saying), no amount of conversion will ever wash you clean of the perversion.

There's no bigot like a religious bigot.

Sunday, February 19, 2012


If Rick Santorum -- bless his heart! -- doesn't make it to the presidency, clearly he would make an excellent Grand Inquisitor. "Do you have the right kind of religion? Never mind that. Do you have the right amount of the right kind of religion? Well, huh, do you?"

He has proclaimed that President Obama practices a "phony theology."

He said in 2008 that mainline Protestants — about 45 million Presbyterians, Lutherans, Congregationalists, Episcopalians, Methodists and others — are “gone from the world of Christianity as I see it.”

Friday, February 17, 2012

Fairly Fresh French-Fried Friday Filets

I'm feeling the need to go prune something but can't seem to drag myself away from various spectacles on the InnerTubes:

1. Yesterday Republican Speaker of the NC House Thom Tillis ordered citizens cleared from the hallways outside his corner office in the General Assembly in Raleigh. The crowd was orderly, respectful, quiet, and merely curious about what surprise moves the Speaker might be planning to take away rights from the people. John Frank of the News&Observer was on hand to record the event. Apparently, protesters of Republican smash-and-grab politics are now not welcomed on the second floor of the building, while lobbyists from Time Warner and other fat-cat corporatists are. Who knew?

2. Meet Foster Friess, the billionaire born-again backer of Rick "Womb Police" Santorum, the money-man who's been pretty much single-handedly keeping the loser senator's race for president alive ... that and the reanimation of the War on Women's Rights. Friess jokingly told Andrea Mitchell yesterday that in his day (approximately 1905), women didn't need expensive contraception, only an aspirin held tightly between their knees, a joke as revelatory of the century Santorum seeks to reestablish in America as it is tone-deaf. Molly Redden's profile of Friess is not to be missed. And you can thank the good Lord again for a Supreme Court that unleashed the likes of Friess on what's left of our democracy.

3. Speaking of the war on women, female-impersonator Congresswoman Virginia A. Foxx was front and center (and "indignant," according to this reporter) in the Washington carnival of Republicans suddenly newly energized to stop female contraception. Foxx's "indignant" moment came when the reporter pointed out that the man she's endorsed for president, Mitt Romney, while he was governor of Massachusetts "remained mum as the legislature implemented a law requiring insurers to provide contraception in 2003 and his health department issued regulations requiring all hospitals — including Catholic institutions — to offer emergency birth control to rape victims in 2005." You can put a string of pearls on rank hypocrisy but you can't make it think.

4. Meanwhile, the state of Virginia (not named for the Congresswoman, but still) has motored completely off the round ball we call Earth with not one but two legislative assaults on women: (a) declaring that a sperm that has penetrated an egg is a "person" with all the rights, privileges, and responsibilities of someone actually breathing air. Now we would assume that once those wise Virginians have amended their Constitution in this fashion, they'll be recalculating when those former fertilized eggs can register to vote ... precisely 18 years from conception, right, or else Virginia has taken away one right in order to manufacture another. (b) A new law forcing -- and we mean that in its rawest, cold-metal form -- a women seeking a legal abortion to undergo a state-sponsored "transvaginal ultrasound," actual penetration with a probe, because -- hey! -- there ain't no humiliation too severe to visit on women who think they own their own bodies.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

GOP Legislators Just Cost Taxpayers $50,000, Accomplished Nothing

The Republican leaders of the NC House and Senate called the General Assembly back into session today for ... precisely nothing. Most of the Republican members didn't even show up (but they're being paid, nevertheless), though the Democrats came out in force, remembering the bait and switch of the post-midnight, unannounced session back in January.

Mark Binker is calling this "The Seinfeld Session," because it was about nothing.

Republicans hate government and show their incompetence at it in every way.

Why Republicans Are Determined To Cripple Ballot-Access in NC

Same-day-registration and early voting are under assault in North Carolina, with the Republican-led General Assembly repeatedly attempting to limit the early voting time-frame, and they want to end same-day-registration altogether. The most recent attack comes in their refusal to access about $4 million in Help America Vote (HAVA) funds, which goes to fund early-voting sites across the state.

Numbers published by Demos (hattip: Brother Doc) explain precisely why the Republicans are so sweaty with ambition to cripple ballot-access:
North Carolina reported the greatest increase in voting among all states since the 2004 presidential election. Almost 253,000 citizens were able to use SDR [same-day registration] to cast a ballot.

Using the myth of supposed voter fraud (old school buses full of illegal immigrants being taken in to vote fraudulently, among other ridiculous lies), the NC GOP is desperate to stop all this dangerous voting. Because voting is not good for them. And there must always be a nefarious reason when they don't win at voting.

Thin Point of the Wedge

Republican candidate for NC governor Pat McCrory said yesterday in Raleigh, while he was filing his papers to run, that he has "disagreed with some of the actions" of his fellow Republicans in the NC General Assembly.

Which ones, pray tell!
McCrory didn't want to get into many specifics about his areas of discord with fellow Republicans, saying there would be time during the campaign. But he said there were several areas.
"Several areas." Hmmm. McCrory was perhaps suffering from creeping Rick Perryism in his inability, or unwillingness, to name anything beyond that infamous post-midnight session when the Republicans rammed a shiv into the ribs of the state's teachers.

But there you have it, neatly summed up in McCrory's wholly understandable reticence. Why would he want to acknowledge THE issue in the North Carolina elections of 2012 ... the behavior of Jonathan Jordan, Dan Soucek, and their puppet-masters in the NC House and Senate? He would much rather see all of that wreckage go away.

The approval ratings of the Republicans in the state legislature are in the toilet for a host of good reasons, including a budget that punished education, the unleashing of polluting corporations from environmental controls, the continuing attempt to mug the voters of this state with unnecessary laws to discourage and even prevent the free exercise of our franchise at the polls, the plan to sell off the state's assets, the clear-cutting of our roadsides by the billboard industry.

We can't wait for that moment when McCrory gets specific!

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Gen'l Assembly Repubs: "Let's Sell Our Cultural Assets to Corporations"

Yeah, that's the ticket!

Sell the North Carolina Zoo to Furminetech Inc., maybe, and let them charge enough to be profitable, or sell off the animals to Russian mobsters and other wealthy collectors.

Sell the North Carolina aquariums, or close them and dump the tanks.

Museums, state parks, cultural sites. Who needs 'em? Certainly not the people of the state. Why should we own all this stuff? We don't go there, and if we do, we can pay MegaCorpPlus for the privilege of gawking and pay premium prices for T-shirts made in China and go home and sleep tight in the sweet knowledge that we're not burdened as citizens by owning any public assets whatsoever.

Rob Schofield calls it the return of the plantation mentality, the belief that only rich white men deserve to own such things and control access to them. The rest of us can go be beggars and thank Gawd that not one penny of our tax money goes to support anything that adds knowledge, beauty, recreation, or spiritual nourishment to our desperate little lives.

Monday, February 13, 2012

The Action So Far

First day of filing brings this crop:

Register of Deeds
JoAnn Townsend (R), incumbent

Watauga County Commission
District 1
Virginia Roseman (D)

District 2
Vince Gable (R), incumbent
John Welch (D)

District 3
Billy Kennedy (D)

Watauga County School Board
Deborah Greene (Unaffiliated/Tea Party)
Jay Fenwick (D)
Barbara Kinsey (D)

NC House, Dist. 93
Cullie Tarleton (D)

Santorum Blames His Wife

...for the most incendiary comments about "feminism" in his book "It Takes a Family."

Yesterday, on "This Week" with George Stephanopoulos.

Just in time for Valentine's Day.

Sunday, February 12, 2012

McCrory: "Gimme My Perdue Back!"

You think Gov. Beverly Perdue didn't throw a clod into the Republican churn with her sudden departure from the governor's race?

Behold the fumbling, stumbling, can't-get-his-bearings political stylings of Pat McCrory.

Cullie Tarleton Comes Out Swinging

Former NC House member Cullie Tarleton will file tomorrow to challenge Jonathan Jordan for his old seat, and he's set to begin airing this radio spot as early as tomorrow afternoon. Listen.

He's zeroing in on the reality of our post-Citizens United world, where puppet-masters like Art Pope pump money by the bucketsful into attack strategies to benefit their water-carriers.

We applaud the message and hope that other Dems candidates for the NC General Assembly take careful note.

Oops. Apparently the original link rotted quicker'n peaches in the sun. Try this. It's working for me.

Republicans, Out of the Closet?

 The national Republican Party seems pretty well positioned now as opposed (and rock-ribbed, about it, too!) to birth control. Way to go, guys. It's not like that gender gap was as wide as it might be.

It was one thing for religious universities and hospitals to see contraception as an unconscionable violation of their faith (and I ain't gonna wade into a debate on religions that claim to own the mortgage on every woman's womb). The president pulled the rug out from under that huff-'n'-puff fit the churches were throwing: Under the president's revision of the rule, women will still get guaranteed access to birth control without co-pays or premiums, no matter where they work, and those religious institutions can refuse to cover it. But, insurance companies will have to step in and do what they should have been doing anyway.

Meanwhile, the Republican Party, led by its presidential candidates and certain members of Congress, most of whom were marinating in self-righteousness all weekend at the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC), found themselves waaaay out there on that untenable limb -- on the record opposing birth control. (Madam Virginia Foxx sent out her own "I'm-a-good-Catholic-er-Baptist-and-don't-you-forget-it, Bitch" press release. Madam Foxx is not one to pass up an opportunity to pile on.)

The avatar of the Newly Theocratized Republican Party (sorry, Rick Perry): Rick Santorum. He has said abortion doctors should be jailed. He insists birth control is bad. He vehemently opposes gay marriage. He firmly believes religion has a central place in government.

And he's driving Mitt Romney into the same Culture Wars ditch.

It is the biggest Valentine kiss the GOP could give Barack Obama.

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Wherein We Express Bloggy Love...

...for "Juanita Jean's: The World's Most Dangerous Beauty Salon, Inc."

Because she's a fellow Texan and stands her ground.

Because she's got Rick Perry's number, along with a big Rolodex of others.

Because she's damn funny and makes me laugh out loud every day.

Thursday, February 09, 2012

The OTHER Way the Repubs Are Suppressing the Vote

Withholding money to fund early voting sites in the state.

Anything to discourage voting or hamper access to voting. Anything at all.

BTW: Jonathan Jordan's quote in that Watauga Democrat article is about as dishonest as your run-of-the-mill party soldier gets these days. He wants to sound reasonable while his big bosses in Raleigh are obviously set on stone-walling this and clearly intend to release no money at all. Jordan's weak tea of "this is something we can take care of next week when the General Assembly meets in Raleigh" is doubly galling since Republican leaders in the NC House & Senate have already announced that no one needs to come to Raleigh because no votes will be taken on anything.

Not that they're in the habit of telling the truth about that.

And then there's this choice piece of equivocating crap falling from Jordan's lips: "I would certainly be in favor of getting as much funds as we need to run elections,” Jordan said, while adding he wants to be sure elections funds are spent properly.

Yeah, right ... properly. Meaning, we would suppose, just don't make it easier for young people or black people or poor people to vote.

Wednesday, February 08, 2012

Thom Tillis Said It, and We Believe Him

At a recent townhall meeting in Asheboro, Republican Speaker of the NC House Thom Tillis said this:
I understand that Majority Leader [Paul] Stam has said that his goal would be to ultimately eliminate public schools, and I categorically disagree with that for a variety of reasons. Right now with him being Majority Leader and me being Speaker, I like my chances.

Chris Fitzsimon quoted this amazing little let's-pull-the-curtain-back-and-show-you-who's-jerking-the-levers-of-power moment to underline the year-long war by the new Republican majority in the NC General Assembly against the very institution of public education, a war that Mr. Tillis has most certainly participated in, despite his protestations to the contrary. The fact that Tillis sez he does not want to eliminate public schools altogether, like Mr. Stamm, he's certainly done what he could to cripple them.


Fitzsimon provides a partial primer for that warfare:
The [Republican] budget fired teachers and teacher assistants, slashed funding for textbooks and supplies and locked thousands of at-risk kids out of nationally recognized preschool programs.
Funding for mentoring and professional development for teachers was drastically cut. Support for the N.C. Teaching Fellows was abolished.
The overall cuts dropped North Carolina to 49th in the nation in per pupil spending. Funding for public schools as a percentage of the state’s General Fund is the lowest in more than 40 years....

Fitzsimon didn't even mention Tillis's cynical Midnight Maneuver to cripple the NC Assoc. of Educators nor wade into the layoffs and abandoned programs in our public universities.

It's fairly clear that the battle at the polls this fall will be a battle to restore North Carolina public education, from the local level on up through governor. If the voters approve of the war of attrition on the ability of the state's children to cope in the 21st century with a 2nd-class education, then they'll vote to continue it by keeping Mr. Tillis and Mr. Stamm in their seats of power.

Tuesday, February 07, 2012

On the March To 'The Supremes'

Seems like a day for Politico "breaking news":
The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit Tuesday ruled unconstitutional Proposition 8, the 2008 California ballot measure that banned same-sex marriage.

"Proposition 8 serves no purpose, and has no effect, other than to lessen the status and human dignity of gays and lesbians in California, and to officially reclassify their relationships and families as inferior to those of opposite-sex couples," Judge Stephen Reinhardt wrote in the majority opinion.

This Fits Our Definition of 'Mealy-Mouthed'

POLITICO Breaking News
President Barack Obama -- a vehement opponent of the Supreme Court's Citizens United decision -- is offering a reluctant blessing to his top bundlers to raise cash for his pet super PAC in a bid to kick-start sluggish fundraising for Priorities USA Action, according to three Democrats with knowledge of the decision. The announcement will come during a conference call to members of his National Finance Committee scheduled for 10 p.m. CST, POLITICO has learned. Top Obama campaign staff will appear at super PAC events, although the president himself will not.

"By Ballot"

The Republican members of the Watauga County Commission completed their take-over of the Board of Directors of the Watauga County Tourism Authority this morning. The three Republican commissioners voted as a bloc to oust long-serving members Rob Holton and Mike Hall. Holton was the visionary chair of that board and had served on it since its creation. Both men have been exemplary public servants and have worked to make the parks, trails, and other recreational facilities in our county a "destination" for campers, hikers, canoers, and bikers from all over the country.

When time for the vote came at the end of their morning session, Chair Nathan Miller said he was concerned about potential "bad blood" and suggested the vote be done "by ballot," meaning via sheets of paper that would relieve the members of the Commission from openly declaring their preferences. The county attorney quickly pointed out that all votes by the County Commission are by law "open" votes; there can be no secret ballots.

After the meeting was adjourned, those ballots were surrendered for inspection, and indeed, commissioners Miller, Blust, and Gable voted to replace Holton and Hall with newcomers who may -- we're willing to hold our breath, at least for a month -- be every bit as forward-looking and visionary as the men they're replacing. But ... the trend has not been good on the TDA Board since the first round of replacements made by the commissioners a year ago. New board members have been voting against even seeking free money in the form of grants to develop and enhance recreational infrastructure in the county.

Time will tell where this new board will steer our collective vision.

Monday, February 06, 2012

Etheridge: Not Ready for Prime Time?

Newly declared Democratic candidate for governor Bob Etheridge was not prepared for two obvious questions at his first press conference last Friday: do you support Gov. Perdue's proposal to restore the 3/4ths of a penny increase in sales tax to fund education and do you support the NC proposed constitutional ban on gay marriage?

Etheridge ducked both questions, saying about the gay marriage amendment that it's up to the voters. Whoa.

After letting the dust swirl all weekend, Etheridge was on the phone today to the News & Observer to amend his previous duck-age: he's for Gov. Perdue's proposed sales tax increase and against the gay-marriage amendment.

But he may have only made matters worse by going out of his way to express his distaste for the underlying marriage equality issue: "We actually have a statute on the books that says a marriage is between a man and a woman, which I agree with that...."

The political straddle is as awkward as that syntax. Can we get us a candidate up in here who has come fully into the 21st Century?

Sunday, February 05, 2012

Don't Let Them Grab Your Water

The push to "privatize" all government services, from education to mental health, is currently the wet-dream of the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), for which most of our Republican lawmakers in Raleigh are complete toadies and willing tools. Republican House Speaker Thom Tillis accepted an award from ALEC, and many others attend their conferences and copy their "model" bills on everything from voter photo ID to removing environmental restrictions on polluting businesses and opening the landscape to "fracking."

Here's news for you: ALEC wants our water, and they're starting with Asheville.

Take a natural resource owned by all the citizens, put it in private hands, and let those private interests control and sell that natural resource back to the citizens. At a profit, not in the spirit of public service. That's the ALEC plan in a nutshell. Opposed to that is municipal ownership where, indeed, water is sold, but it's sold at a minimal rate to pay for the system of delivery, not for profit.

I'm not about to wade into the whole history of Asheville's water supply and its unique legal relationship to the County of Buncombe, because it practically takes an advanced degree in Byzantine historiography to understand it all, but what is quite clear -- crystalline, in fact -- is current Republican lawmaker Tim Moffitt's maneuvering to privatize Asheville's water.

Tim Moffitt (R)
Last May, Rep. Moffitt introduced a bill in the General Assembly to simply seize Asheville's water system and turn it over to another authority more to Moffitt's liking. After months of controversy, Moffitt changed his bill to form a "study committee" in the legislature, which is currently studying the holy hell out of how best to seize Asheville's water and turn it over to a for-profit system, after which study one presumes Mr. Moffitt will introduce some form of his original proposal. "You got lottsa water. Give it, give it now!"

The corporate grab of America's water is already happening. This ain't no false alarm. Water is essential to life. When a private, for-profit corporation gets control of an essential element to life, you'd best watch your back. And what's next...? The corporate ownership of air?

Save Asheville's Water is currently massing resources for understanding what's happening and what's at stake, along with a good deal of that ancient, Byzantine history.

Voter Fraud and the GOP Self-Image

Rumors abound, as only rumors can in NC, that the Repubs in the General Assembly intend to bring back the Gov. Perdue-vetoed "voter photo ID" bill for possible override because maybe there's another Democratic goober or two who can be seduced or because maybe there'll be another Dem House member on life-support in the hospital or because you can never commit just one Midnight Shenanigan without immediately jonesing for another one.

Plus, you know, it's part of the Republican belief system that there's massive fraud by Democrats during every election, particularly with all those windowless 18-wheelers trucking in all those illegal immigrants to your local precinct to vote for godless, communist, gay baby seal-huggers.

Horse feathers. Voter fraud of the sort that a voter photo ID would squelch is rarer than getting attacked by a python on a golf course. Reality in that matter, though, is hardly on a par with cherished fantasy, especially a fantasy that helps rationalize through racial stereotyping why Republicans sometimes lose elections resoundingly.

What isn't fantasy, what is reality, is that the most notorious case of voter fraud currently in the nation, a case tried and convicted and now sentenced in a court of law, was committed by a Republican and not only any Republican but by a Republican office-holder.

Friday, February 03, 2012

Mittcrory Won't Release Financial Records

We're beginning to see a pattern here, all these rich, once-upon-a-time "moderate" (squishy) Republicans with lots of money and country club connections who refuse to let the rest of us peons know who they're beholden to.

Mitt Romney ... Pat McCrory ... who can tell the difference any more. When you've seen one rich man with conflicts of interest, you've seen 'em all!