Saturday, September 29, 2012

Republican "Family Values"

Republican Senatorial candidate in Missouri sez that "free enterprise" means it's perfectly all right to deny equal pay to women. Seriously.

Two "Yeah, Right!" Moments from the Morning's Papers

Full steam ahead with fracking in North Carolina. The new Mining & Energy Commission, which is supposed to oversee the controversial practice (and protect NC's water?), elected its own chair, the most unabashedly pro-fracking person on the new commission. Protect NC's water? Uh-huh.

Meanwhile, Big Pharma Dude Fred Eshelman, a principal funder of RightChange which smeared dozens of good men and women running for the NC General Assembly in 2010 (including our own Cullie Tarleton and Steve Goss), tells the Wilmington Star-News that politics will have no place in his deliberations on two key University of North Carolina system committees. Uh-huh.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

The Worms in the NC Higher Education Apple

Chris Fitzsimon actually attended the first meeting of the UNC Advisory Committee on Strategic Directions and wrote this report.

Nothing much happened yesterday, but I'm so glad that Chris Fitzsimon is on the case and will presumably be watch-dogging this particular bunch.

Q: Where Is Mitt Romney?

A: All over the map.

In Ohio, he muddles his tax message.

And now he's bragging about bringing socialized medicine to Massachusetts.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Joe Scarbrough: "O Sweet Jesus!"

I witnessed this moment on "Morning Joe" this a.m. and found Joe Scarbrough amazingly appropriate in his response.

The Outlook for Higher Education in NC

A group of 30 Big Heads with the portentous title "UNC Advisory Committee on Strategic Directions" is meeting for the first time today, and a student group has formed to protest the makeup of the committee, which is apparently charged with setting goals and directions for the 16-member University of North Carolina system.

The protesting student group, calling itself N.C. Student Power Union, is upset about the old, rich, white man  lack of diversity on the committee. There's only one student representative. There's only one faculty member representative. There's only one staff employee representative.

The N.C. Student Power Union didn't tell the half of what's wrong with that committee, seeing as how it also includes the power base of the NC Republican Party, particularly the ultra-right, Tea Party wing, the very people primarily responsible for the major, crippling budget cuts to the university system in the last two state budgets (both vetoed by Gov. Perdue, whose vetoes were overridden) and for the general weakening of all public education in the state.

Thom Tillis, Republican Speaker of the NC House, is on the committee.

Phil Berger, Republican NC Senate President Pro Tem, is on the committee.

Lew Ebert, President of the NC Chamber of Commerce, who is very actively supporting Tea Party darling Paul Newby for the NC Supreme Court, is on the committee.

Robert Ingram, former president & chief operating officer of GlaxoSmithKline, who according to OpenSecrets has given some $96,000 to Republican causes, is on the committee.

Fred Eshelman, a  Big Pharma mogul who principally funded RightChange in 2010 and who was therefore directly responsible for much of the sleaze that was directed at Cullie Tarleton and Steve Goss, is on the committee.

Art Pope, the prelate of predatory conservatism, the Death Star of the NC political universe, the Big Boss who bosses around Tillis and Berger (see above) and got his own puppets on the Tillis and Berger payroll, is on the committee.

The very people who have been most consistently and tenaciously critical of a Liberal Arts education in North Carolina are going to be setting priorities for our best institutions of higher education. Students ought to be organizing to call attention to the radical tilt of this crucial advisory committee.

And incidentally, ASU Chancellor Ken Peacock is also on the committee.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Wake County Schools Fires Its Superintendent

Remember this guy?

He ain't there no more.

Fired this afternoon by the new majority on the Wake County School Board.

Is This What REALLY Made Limbaugh's Penis Shrink?

I'm not about to cast any doubt on scientific studies coming out of Duke University, and if I were going to cast doubt on the work of a noted Duke neuroscientist, it certainly wouldn't be this particular study. The findings here were not the catalyst for Rush Limbaugh's emotional whining on the radio last week about his shrinking penis, for which condition he proclaimed "femi-Nazis" to be the proximate cause.

But this Duke study found that the election of Barack Obama had a decided testosterone-lowering impact on Republican men.


On election night in 2008, a Duke University neuroscientist took saliva samples from both men and women both before the declaration of Obama as the winner and at 20-minute intervals afterward. Participants in the study also filled out a questionnaire about political beliefs and about whom they had voted for in the election.

Dum dum dum!

"The results were clear-cut. Men who had voted for McCain -- or the libertarian candidate Robert Barr -- experienced a 28 per cent loss of testosterone almost as soon as the contest was over."

Oh my good Lord! Are Republican men tender wilting flowers, or what?

Civitas Poll Puts Obama Ahead in NC

OMG! Civitas poll (Civitas!) has Obama up over Romney in NC by four points.

In related news, it seems crystal clear that Mr. Romney manipulated his 2011 taxes, declining to take all the deductions he could have under the George W. Bush tax cuts for the filthy rich, so that he could show he paid 14%, rather than an incendiary 9%. Uh, 14% is incendiary enough, especially when Mr. Romney insists that it's perfectly fair for him to pay such a low rate on $20 million in income, while someone making $55,000 pays twice the rate.

Plus Mr. Romney wants roll-down windows on jet planes.

Perhaps the voters of North Carolina are catching on that in Mr. Romney's case, wealth breeds cluelessness. He's not just a rich jerk. He's a rich doofus.

More Proof (Once Again) That Photo ID Laws Are a Ploy To Disenfranchise Legitimate Voters

Associated Press reporting.

"Republican election officials who promised to root out voter fraud so far are finding little evidence of a widespread problem."

"State officials in presidential battleground states have found only a tiny fraction of the illegal voters they initially suspected existed. Searches in Colorado and Florida have yielded numbers that amount to less than 0.1 of 1 percent of all registered voters in either state."

"In North Carolina, the nonpartisan State Board of Elections .... did not find evidence of widespread fraud, noting there were only 12 instances in which a noncitizen had voted. North Carolina has 6.4 million voters."

Monday, September 24, 2012

First We Get Your Money, Then We Pray for Your Soul

Martin Luther
The German Catholic Church has a sweet deal with the German state tax collectors (along with Protestant churches, the Jewish faith, and pagans, we would guess): the German government tacks on a tax surcharge to every Catholic citizen's tax assessment, amounting to a windfall for the church of some $5.2 billion annually.

Can you imagine what would happen in this country if the Cardinal of Philadelphia, say, proposed that the IRS collect tithes for his church?

But get this: some German Catholics, unhappy over the policies of their hierarchy, are withholding their church tax assessments. The German bishops pitched a sizable fit over that and decided  that "believers who refuse to pay religious taxes won't be able to receive the sacrament, become godparents, or work in church institutions."

Well, thanks for making the nexus between salvation and profits for the church quite, quite explicit! Institutional avarice like this led another German several years ago to cause a bit of a break with the Catholic Church. (He also put a nail hole in a church door, we hear.)

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

It's Coming ... From the Black (Pope) Lagoon

Mark Binker is reporting that Real Jobs NC (remember them?) is about to unleash their Art Pope-financed smeers of Democratic candidates again this election cycle.

And why not? The U.S. Supreme Court has ruled that billionaires have the inalienable right to buy any legislature that they can personally afford. And the Real Jobs NC slimeballs of 2010 worked so well to turn the NC General Assembly over to Dan Soucek, Jonathan Jordan, and other Tea Party types.

Remember what they did to Cullie Tarleton and Steve Goss in 2010, the mailers the put Mexican sombreros on those gentlemen's heads and warned about rapists moving in next door to your granny.

The Real Romney Stepped On His Weenie

Apparently, when Mitt Romney speaks to his peeps, the 1%, he finally gets authentic. "My job is not to worry about those people," he sez, by which he means the other people not invited to $50,000-a-plate fundraisers at the posh homes of hedge-fund managers.

"My job is not to worry about those people." (Incidentally, we already knew that about you, Mitt, but we appreciate the confirmation.).

Mitt told his filthy rich that some 47% of the American electorate -- is that roughly half? -- are just freeloaders anyway, including, we assume, all those elderly people riding on Medicare-funded scooters who are probably planning to vote for this man anyway, since the news won't penetrate as far as Fox.

Then last night, at "a hastily arranged press conference," Mitt sez he ain't sorry for the sentiments, only the "inelegantly" chosen words. Hell, we thought the words were ever bit as elegant as the setting.

Monday, September 17, 2012

When There's a Pattern, Sometimes It's a Sign

My old pal Juanita Jean was cataloguing a series of whoppers that recently came out of Paul Ryan's mouth, and her hair salon was humming with "Well, I swan!"

Ryan's last one, about having 6% body fat, was a new one on me. Amazing what seems to matter to the guy.

Thursday, September 13, 2012


Patsy Keever makes this list of "under-the-radar candidates" to watch. She's running against Patty McHenry (R-Oompa-Loompaville) in the redrawn NC-10.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Inartful Dodger

Don't know which is more interesting ... that Republican candidate for governor Pat McCrory is sending memos to New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie about how to dodge questions about McCrory's tax returns or the fact that the memo was leaked, presumably by someone on the inside of the McCrory campaign.

Friday, September 07, 2012

Closet Case

Hattip: Steve Harrison, drawing on Bloomberg Businessweek, over at BlueNC.

Sometimes Republican candidate for governor Pat McCrory just can't conceal his "statist" impulses, the belief that government can -- and SHOULD -- make big investments in infrastructure, etc.
McCrory, 55, spent his time as mayor [of Charlotte] urging public investment in infrastructure, especially in the urban core locals call uptown Charlotte that is the center of convention activity. Companies with headquarters in the city, including Bank of America Corp. and Duke Energy Corp. (DUK), supported the city’s efforts, which occurred as the population grew by 48 percent to more than 711,000 during McCrory’s tenure, according to the Charlotte Chamber of Commerce. 
McCrory’s willingness to spend public money on major construction projects runs counter to the rhetoric from national Republicans, who say government needs to be smaller and spend less money. 
“We ignore one of our best presidents ever, and that’s Eisenhower,” he said, referring to Dwight Eisenhower’s creation of the interstate highway system. “Obama had a chance to be a Roosevelt-type figure with infrastructure, but he failed miserably.”

Eisenhower, not Reagan? Obama should have spent more stimulus money?? Getting pretty far off the Tea Party reservation, aren't you, Mr. McCrory?

Two Paths Diverged in a Yellow Wood

“When all is said and done — when you pick up that ballot to vote — you will face the clearest choice of any time in a generation,” President Obama said last night. “Over the next few years, big decisions will be made in Washington, on jobs and the economy; taxes and deficits; energy and education; war and peace — decisions that will have a huge impact on our lives and our children’s lives for decades to come....

"The two sides of those decisions couldn’t be clearer....

“On every issue, the choice you face won’t be just between two candidates or two parties. It will be a choice between two different paths for America....

 “Unlike my opponent, I will not let oil companies write this country’s energy plan, or endanger our coastlines, or collect another $4 billion in corporate welfare from our taxpayers.

“When Gov. Romney and his allies in Congress tell us we can somehow lower our deficit by spending trillions more on new tax breaks for the wealthy — well, how did President Clinton put it? You do the arithmetic. I refuse to go along with that. And as long as I’m president, I never will....

“I will never turn Medicare into a voucher. No American should ever have to spend their golden years at the mercy of insurance companies....”

Saturday, September 01, 2012

Fistful of Awesome

Unexpected support for Clint Eastwood, from a surprising source. Defense of Eastwood begins about 45 seconds into this.