Sunday, March 31, 2013

How To Increase Unemployment and Alienate Your Friends

People down in the trenches of North Carolina towns and cities are beginning to notice what's afoot in Raleigh with this new radical Republican majority in charge. Unemployment has already gone up under these people -- remember that they passed the state budget two years ago, over Gov. Perdue's veto, and they're about to pass another one.

By attacking the ability of North Carolina cities and towns to thrive, they're attacking employment itself in this state, the economic engines that make everything go.

So you can't blame Blowing Rock town council member Jim Steele, a Republican, who wonders out loud, "...Why are we messing with this [snatching city assets in Raleigh, Charlotte, and Asheville and making economic survival for the cities as difficult as possible] when we've got in our state so many other things that need to get accomplished?"

Good question.

Here's a pretty thorough over-view article by Jim Morrill on the entire 2013 war on North Carolina's cities.

Friday, March 29, 2013

Republican Bastards Go Home for Easter

I love the "Urban Dictionary" for defining words accurately. To wit:

bastard: noun, an uncaring and destructive person; you covered dog shit with a leaf and left it outside your brothers' front door because you thought it was funny, you bastard. You killed Kenny, you bastard.

The Republicans currently populating the General Assembly in Raleigh are bastards. As Jim Jenkins said Wednesday, the legislative Republicans "are more interested in destruction than in building.” That's what bastards do.

Bastards don't want you to vote. Bastards have only one good reason to limit the Early Voting period. Bastards are hypocrites about Sunday voting. One of the biggest bastards, Rep. Edgar Starnes of nearby Caldwell County, said, "I think Sundays just should be – some things you just shouldn't do on Sundays, so I am just opposed to voting on Sunday." What a bastard!

Are we going to allow the bastards to keep us down? That is the only question.

The bastards have all gone home now for Easter, because as Rep. Starnes suggested, Sundays are for smug bastards to gather in their churches and thank God they are not as other men (and women) are.

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Raleigh GOP: First, We'll Make Voting Harder

No, not the voter photo ID law. That hasn't surfaced yet. House Bill 451 is a whole 'nother can of worms that will crawl out all over North Carolinians' previous rights to ballot access, among other outcomes.

H451 will...

1. Eliminate the public financing program for judges.

2. Make all judicial elections partisan rather than nonpartisan.

3. Repeal Same Day Registration.

4. Slice a week off Early Voting.

5. Ban Sunday voting during Early Voting, which has been popular among the state's black church congregations.

6. Eliminate straight-party voting.

7. Make mail-in absentee voting easier, which is far more susceptible to fraud than the mythical voter impersonation ruse.

Hell gets hotter by the minute.

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Revenge Drama

Taking instruction from the scorched-earth behavior of Republicans in the North Carolina General Assembly, Watauga County Commission Chair Nathan Miller launches his own local version of "government by revenge."

Boone raises the bulk of sales tax revenues in the county but will under Mr. Miller's scheme get $2 million less of that money back. That's a knife in the back. Or the chest.

Why? Because Boone has done what no municipality can ever do and survive ... inconvenienced the Templetons. And according to the very interesting comment thread under that article, the Town of Boone hasn't even done that, certainly not like the Templetons have been claiming (whining).

Meanwhile, Mr. Miller has been wheeling & dealing with the other towns in the county for kickbacks, the "hybrid" solution, Mr. Miller called it, which "could possibly be executed with the other municipalities exhibiting a surplus so Watauga County doesn't end up in the red" -- kickbacks, say I. Such a scheme smells like corruption, not to mention the various conflicts of interest among the several lawyers involved.

This will make for a pretty good  lawsuit or for a subsequent news media investigation, whichever comes first.

Do "Cut-and-Run" Republicans Have a Clue?

Yesterday the full North Carolina Senate tore to shreds the lease that had already been negotiated, drafted, and signed for the City of Raleigh to take control of the former Dorothea Dix insane asylum site for a public park. The Senate Republicans carried that vote without the help of two Republican senators from Wake County who "cut and ran" from their party's position: Senators Chad Barefoot and Neal Hunt.

Gary Pearce wrote some wise analysis of those renegades this morning:
Barefoot and Hunt might look safe politically. They have good districts. They have a big money advantage. 
But, to keep winning, they have to win moderate Independents. The kind of voters who don’t like partisanship. The kind of voters who might see the legislature as a bunch of rural Tea Party extremists who hate cities in general and Raleigh in particular. The kind of voters who see Republicans nationally as a gang of vengeful, angry old white men. 
Barefoot and Hunt have to worry that a future opponent might figure out that there are a lot of well-heeled people in Raleigh who are mad enough to give big money to a Democrat – or to a super-PAC helping Democrats. 
They also have to worry that, in 2014, President Obama’s OFA might pump a lot of money into North Carolina. Or that, in 2016, Hillary Clinton might set off a Democratic tidal wave among moderate Independent women in their districts. 
Hunt and Barefoot have no control over a lot of that. They could control how they voted. So they voted with Raleigh and against their fellow Republicans.

Dan Soucek and the Charter School Gravy Train

In May of 2012, Dan Soucek accepted an all-expenses paid "educational" trip to Florida from a big Charter School industry honcho, and lo and behold, Soucek introduces a bill in the North Carolina General Assembly to flatten impediments in this state to further privatizing education.

Earlier this morning, the same man who paid for that Florida trip for Mr. Soucek and who is also an executive with the North Carolina Charter School Association, was up testifying before the Senate Education Committee on Mr. Soucek's bill, and who woulda guessed? He agrees that oversight of Charter Schools should be removed entirely from the State Board of Education, which otherwise oversees all public education in the state.

Falling dominoes, folks. Do you see where this is headed?

The dissolution of public education in this state is intimately entwined in Mr. Soucek's push to deregulate charter schools.

Also generated at the hearing this morning in the Senate Education Committee, this tweet: "Sponsor of charter de-reg bill admits that segregation is unavoidable and okay with him." We haven't discovered yet if that "sponsor" was Soucek or one of his co-sponsors. And does it, finally, even matter? We know exactly where Mr. Soucek wants to take this state's education system.

WRAL coverage of the hearing this morning.

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

NC GOP, Messin' with Sasquatch

What, Me Worry?
The appetite among the new Republican majority in the NC General Assembly to grab the assets of our state's cities and to generally micro-manage municipalities from Raleigh may negatively impact bond ratings which would increase the costs of borrowing money which would be a hindrance to every town's ability to direct its future and every town's taxpayers' bottomline.

If the NC GOP can't build up, they sure as hell can tear it down!

Jobs? Yeah, this is going to help immensely!

North Carolina, Red in Tooth and Claw?

NC Sen. Thom Goolsby Ghoulsby from New Hanover County looks at the 152 people on the state's Death Row and sees fresh meat. "Damnit," sez he, "we haven't executed one of those sonz-a-bitches since 2006, and I need diversion. I need it now!"

So Mr. Ghoulsby's bill to restart executions in North Carolina is moving in the General Assembly today, aided by the same bloody-minded world view that wants to see the unemployed grovel, the uninsured poor die of their infections, the state's well water risk toxic infection, ignorance bloom, and education shrivel on the vine.

Yeah, We're in Good Shape

Hattip: DBS.

Sunday, March 24, 2013

The Latest Revelation from the Watauga Republican Convention

In her most recent comment (beginning, "Another interesting fact"), on the thread under her own letter to the editor which spilled some beans about the Watauga County Republican Convention (and the behavior of one, Virginia Anne Foxx, 5th Dist. Rep.), Deborah Greene says the Convention buried a call for a Code of Ethics for Watauga County Commissioners. We agree a Code of Ethics is long overdue, much needed, and might have hampered some earlier behavior.

There's some implication that Commission Chair Nathan Miller does not want a county Code of Ethics.


When You Want to Send the Worst, Send a Conspiracy Theorist

Buddy Collins
Shades of Dianna Lightfoot, the woman who hated childhood education but was nominated to head up the McCrory administration's department of childhood education.

Gov. Pat McCrory has nominated one A.L. "Buddy" Collins for a seat on the state Board of Education. Buddy Collins is an attorney, a member of the Forsyth County Board of Education, and also an accomplished conspiracy theorist whose recent exertions on behalf of school kids socialists-in-the-schools paranoia have received full press coverage here and here and here. (Collins comes fully into play in the 2nd and 3rd of those souces, but you'll have to read the 1st to understand the context for the other two.)

Collins appears to be swimming in that thick, cholesterol-laden fantasy that the United Nations is trying to snatch all our children for reeducation into their "Agenda 21." Did you know, for example, that anyone who uses the word "sustainable" (or any of its derivations) is giving the secret code for the World Wide Socialist Plot to seize your guns and make you bow down to multiculturalism?

Agenda 21 has become something of a drumbeat among our local Watauga County conspiracy theorists. It showed up among the resolutions headed to the floor of the Republicans' County Convention last week and was either shunted aside by Congresswoman Virginia Foxx (who now passes for a dangerous moderate among some) or was passed by unanimous voice vote. I forget which.

And there is now a regular at County Commission meetings who takes her three minutes of "public comment" at the end of each meeting to lecture the commissioners on the dangers of sustainability. Did you know, incidentally, that bicycle lanes are a plot by the United Nations to take over county governments?

Here's a conspiracy for you (to tide you over 'til supper): Gov. McCrory and the new Republican majority in the NC General Assembly have embarked on a thorough dismantling of public education in this state.

Dr. Strangelove

Or, How I Learned to Stop Raging and Love the Guv.

Chad Nance's piece in Camel City Dispatch is worth a read and a lot of cogitation:
"Do you hear that? That horrible sound lurking on those weird frequencies that can only be tapped into late at night when the kids are in bed, Zevon is cranked up in the head-phones to full volume, and all of the chickens are quietly cooing on their perches? What you hear is the gnashing of teeth, the tearing of flesh, and the blood dripping on the floor inside of the hen-house. The foxes are running wild in there, y’all. Republicans are drunk on gore and power and the orgy of absolutism has forced the minority into a frenzy of self-flagellation coupled with the kind of blind-swinging haymakers one sees in a boxing match between two over-the-hill fighters. The best thing the Democratic Party can do in North Carolina right now is realize that there is no Hail Mary blow from downtown that will put the Republicans on the mat. If they ever hope to turn the tide and stop the bleeding in North Carolina they are going to have to settle down and start playing a little chess. There is no money in sitting at the table with your arms crossed and there is no upside to blind belligerence."
He goes on in that vein for several paragraphs of lively writing, and who doesn't love lively writing? McCrory's budget, the promising ghosts of "RINOs" past and future, the reduction to absurdity of the current orgy of payback the General Assembly Huns have embarked on. Good stuff.

Only thing I would add to this tasty stew is the clear demarcation between the NC House (of the slickster Thom Tillis) and the far more radical NC Senate and the twin mushroom clouds of lust for the U.S. Senate arising out of certain egos in both chambers.

How many Republican grandees will dance on the head of that pin? Or go down with the Bomb?

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Dirty Laundry

The Watauga Tea Party uprising against Virginia Foxx grows, if not by leaps and bounds, at least by leaps.

Add the local GOP establishment to what is being rose up against.

And don't fail to read the comments at the end.

Friday, March 22, 2013

"This Is Not Honorable"

Businessman Jim Goodmon, speaking about the Republican plan advancing in the NC General Assembly to simply void the lease worked out between the state of North Carolina (under Gov. Beverly Perdue) and the City of Raleigh, to turn the Dix Hospital property into a public park. Mr. Goodmon was speaking before the Senate Appropriations Committee.

Thursday, March 21, 2013

The First Day of Spring!

Kevin Siers, in the Charlotte Observer, March 20, 2013

Gov. McCrory: Let's Squeeze the University System Until the Thrashing Stops

You'll perhaps recall Gov. Pat McCrory's honest opinion about liberal arts education. He and his budget director, Art Pope, are putting that philosophy into action in their proposed budget for the state of North Carolina.

The Pope Budget, unveiled yesterday morning, proposes to slash the University of North Carolina system budget by $135 million. That's on top of the $400 million cut in the last Republican budget two years ago.

"I am very concerned by the magnitude of the new cuts proposed for our campuses," said UNC President Tom Ross. "I worry about the impact additional reductions will have on our ability to provide high-quality educational opportunities to our residents and to assist in North Carolina’s economic recovery."

Get used to it, educators. The Republican radicals in charge of this state think even less of you than they do of our cities.

In a highly charged partisan atmosphere, the Republican bullies in the General Assembly yesterday also tossed out all the Democratic members of the University's Board of Governors, replacing them with Republicans.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Pat McCrory Wastes Our Time

As we've already discovered, Gov. Pat McCrory is irrelevant in the direction that North Carolina is being steered by the Republican radicals in the General Assembly, so the budget document he put out this a.m. is probably not worth the ink.

But if you're into masochism, you can take a look at Mark Binker's quick read of its contents.

Madeline Carter Calls Virginia Foxx a "Tyrant"

For her behavior at the Watauga County Republican Convention last Saturday, Congresswoman Virginia Foxx gets scolded.

Republicans Planning To Raise Dozens of Taxes

In order to relieve the delicate rich and fragile corporations of the tax burden of supporting North Carolina government, the new Republican majority in the General Assembly is leaning toward imposing new taxes on almost 200 services that are currently untaxed, including:

medical attention at an urgent care clinic
pool cleaning
arcade games
beauty salon stylings
car washes
debt counseling
dating services
bowling alleys
most labor costs, including lawn mowing
pet grooming
investment counseling
professional services offered by attorneys, accountants, veterinarians and physicians
carpentry, painting, plumbing
diaper services
health clubs
shoe repair
internet service providers
books, music and movie downloads from the Internet

“It’s unfair to the majority of people if income taxes are lowered and sales taxes go up,” said Rep. Paul Luebke, a Durham Democrat. “The wealthy will disproportionally benefit from the decrease.”

What he said.

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Power Doesn't Get More Naked Than This: GOP Wants to Get Rid of Democratic School Board in Wake County by Shortening Terms and Redistricting

Well, redistricting worked for the North Carolina General Assembly. Why not also for the Wake County School Board, which the new Republican majority in the General Assembly hates with a passion.

In 2011, the Wake County School Board elections returned control to the Democrats, which has become a huge bone caught in the throats of Republican lawmakers. Then the Wake County School Board fired the militaristic Superintendent Tony Tata, who was in turn promptly hired by Governor McCrory to run the Department of Transportation.

But that wasn't revenge enough for a bunch of radicals whose pulse quickens at the thought of payback.

Senate Bill 325 was introduced on March 13th to simply nullify the Wake County school board elections of 2011. How?

1. The bill would put all nine school board seats on the ballot in 2014 (rather than this year), thus lengthening the terms of Republicans Bill Fletcher, Deborah Prickett and John Tedesco and Democrat Tom Benton. It would shorten the terms of the five other Democrats on the board – Susan Evans, Kevin Hill, Christine Kushner, Jim Martin and Keith Sutton.

2. The bill would redraw the school board districts to suit the Republican radicals in the General Assembly; that is to say, three current Democratic members of the board are drawn into the same district.

Hey, if redistricting worked so well for guaranteeing Republican domination of the General Assembly, why won't it work well for the Wake County School Board too?

On top of this towering pile of arrogance, now find the pea-brained crowing of one John Tedesco, a Republican member of the Wake County School Board whose term of service would otherwise be ending this year and who ran unsuccessfully for state Superintendent of Public Instruction last year to dismal effect. He couldn't stop himself from strutting in an email, bragging that the pay-back for his fellow (Democratic) School Board members is only just getting underway.

We don't doubt it for a minute.

Monday, March 18, 2013

H150 Already Causing Consternation

House Bill 150, which would nullify much of Boone's recent Worforce Housing Ordinance, is also causing homeowner panic in Durham.

Thanks, Republicans in the General Assembly, for destabilizing home values all over creation and for riding roughshod over a city's ability to choose its own destiny. Because Uptight Daddy Knows Best!

Is There a Downside for the Radical Right?

Had to read all the way to the end of Rob Christensen's Saturday column in the News&Observer to get the essential meat about the Republican radicals who've taken control in Raleigh and who have Gov. McCrory's male parts in a lockbox:
Normally, newly empowered politicians would move cautiously, especially in a purple state where numerous polls have indicated there has been no ideological sea change and when their own approval ratings were a cellar-dwelling 23 percent. 
But that has not been the case with the Republican legislature, which has been moving daily to roll back decades of Democratic programs. They are acting with utter self-confidence because they are sitting in bullet-proof districts they designed. They believe – and perhaps with good reason – that they are so beyond the reach of public opinion, that they could pass a law requiring North Carolinians to wear their underwear on the outside of their clothes and still get re-elected.

Sunday, March 17, 2013

The Way To Think of Voter Fraud: Don't Think About Voter Fraud

Thom Tillis yesterday admitted that voter fraud was not the reason for doing a voter photo ID law in North Carolina. Rather (and if we understand his backward-flip, a.k.a., line of reasoning), he and his new Republican majority are doing voter photo ID so that his people won't worry about a non-existent problem any more.

Because Republicans everywhere always worry about the people who are voting who don't look exactly like Republicans.

Believe me, the minute they lose another election, no matter how many pieces of photo ID we all have to produce to exercise our rights, they'll be alleging fraud. They think that if just the "right" people vote, they'll always win. It's the wrong people who cause problems.

Watauga GOP Fumbles on the 1-Yard Line

The local Republican convention apparently came off not with a bang but a whimper.

Insurgent candidate for Vice Chair of the local Party, Casey Miller, lost, having been nominated by the inflammable Nate DiCola and despite the support of our other favorite bomb-thrower Deborah Greene. You can read the comments posted on Watauga Conservative for color-commentary.

The Watauga Democrat coverage contains this interesting bit of detail:
A final draft resolution regarding extraterritorial jurisdiction in Watauga County was defeated by a voice vote. The resolution called upon the legislature to require towns such as Boone either to annex property in its ETJ or to abolish ETJs altogether. 
The resolution read in part, "The Town of Boone has misused its Extraterritorial Jurisdiction authority to unduly infringe on the rights of property owners in the ETJ in an arbitrary, capricious and unreasonable manner solely for the aesthetical preferences of some Boone residents." 
Jeff Templeton, a member of the Boone Planning Board, urged Republicans present not to vote for the resolution despite having drafted parts of it himself. He said he agreed completely with the statements in the resolution but said it would only provide fodder for the opposition if passed. 
"I know how it's going to be used against us if we pass it," Templeton said. 
Jean Di Cola also proposed an additional resolution calling for relocation of one-stop voting sites to "equalize voting opportunities," but it died for lack of second.
The hesitation to drive in the wooden stake on Boone's ETJ (perhaps because the GOP in the NC General Assembly is doing it for them?) suggests several things: (a) that Jeff Templeton is having second thoughts; (b) that the politics of removing developmental protections from residents of the ETJ has not panned out the way they thought it would; (c) someone laced the morning coffee with Xanax, and the DiColas are strictly tea-drinkers.

Friday, March 15, 2013

The War on North Carolina Cities

Laura Leslie at WRAL puts her finger on the trend, and she only scratches the surface of what's rolling from Raleigh all the way to Boone and beyond.

It's Hard To Be Too Conservative for CPAC

One Scott Terry of North Carolina, who may be a blogger on this not-so-thinly-veiled white supremacy website, ignited a media storm today that's still raging when he offered the opinion at the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) in Washington that blacks should have been grateful for slavery.

Video at this link, though the sound quality is a little distracting.

If the man in the video is the same man who writes for "Faith & Heritage," he published a most complicated reading list of books he recommended for white men, including ones to relieve us of the belief in democracy and works by Wendell Berry (a personal hero of mine) and David Hackett Fischer's "Albion's Seed," a massive work that I actually organized a panel around when it was first published.

First name on his reading list is John Calvin, which will explain something about the underpinnings of predestination that hold up everything else this young man believes about "racial self-consciousness."

GOP Will Only Be Satisfied When There Is NO Access to Abortion in NC

The bastards think they've found another device to close every clinic in the state.

This is tyranny, pure and simple.

Got a Signed Lease? That Means Nothing To the GOP in the General Assembly

During her last days in office, Governor Bev Perdue inked a deal with the city of Raleigh to turn the 325-acre Dorothea Dix property, a former mental asylum, into a "destination park" in the heart of Raleigh and for all the people of North Carolina.

"A group of local business leaders and civic boosters known as Dix Visionaries had lobbied for years for Raleigh to gain control of the Dix property for an urban park, and the group recently pledged $3 million to help the city create a master plan for the site," wrote WRAL.

But with our new over-lords in the General Assembly, a signed contract isn't worth the paper it was printed on. Dual bills were introduced yesterday in both the NC House and the NC Senate to simply eliminate that contract and, we assume, sell the property to the highest bidders for condos, strip malls, megaplexes, and big car dealerships.

"Words cannot express how disappointed we are with the introduction of a bill that would put the preservation of the Dorothea Dix land in jeopardy," Dix Visionaries said in a statement. "This lease was not a politically partisan act. Dorothea Dix Park was created by support from the Council of State, mayors, elected officials, business leaders, community groups and an overwhelming majority of citizens across North Carolina."

"It's almost heartbreaking," Raleigh Mayor Nancy McFarlane said. "The city went into this in good faith, and we expect the state of North Carolina to honor their contractual obligation."

"Good faith"? It would be nice if this bunch in power had any.

Someone influencial in Raleigh tweeted yesterday that this is really a big "F You" directed at Bev Perdue as her parting gift from a congregation of selfish children prone to tantrums.

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Watauga County GOP Plan a Boone-Bashing Good Time at Their County Convention

Taking a look at the Republican establishment candidates being nominated on Saturday for the four top county offices might reveal an anti-Boone theme that's worth noting. The establishment's pick for chair, Anne Marie Yates, is Phil Templeton's daughter, and you can Google his name + "Boone NC" and get that war, chapter and verse.

The short blurb about Myra Scoggins (nominated for Secretary) includes this statement: "She feels the Boone Town Council stands in the way of progress for the county. Myra believes Boone needs a broader tax base which helps the county as a whole."

Wait. What? It's passing strange how obsessed this bunch is with Boone, to the point of blaming it for the lack of "progress" in the county. How so, Ms. Scoggins? And while you're at it, please enlighten us as to how a "broader tax base" in Boone would help "the county as a whole"? Dunno, but we take it that you're irritated that Boone isn't contributing even more property tax to county coffers, while being routinely and regularly denigrated, insulted, and dissed by folks like you.

Yeah, we're all ready to sign up for that.

But it appears from this ad in the High Country Press that the establishment candidates will have at least one insurgent to deal with. Victoria Smith is nominated by the party grandees as Vice Chair, but Casey Miller is apparently mounting an insurgency. He has his own list of four resolutions, too, which will be popular with this crowd, since all four of them ... wait for it ... bash Boone.

The He-Man Boone Bashing Club is now in session!

Jonathan Jordan's Newest Power-Grab in Raleigh

Republicans say they're for local control. They're not. A bill advancing out of the NC House (H150), under the primary sponsorship of Jonathan Jordan and three others, would simply erase a town's ability to choose it's own path. More specifically, H150 would wipe out most of the provisions in Boone's recent Workforce Housing ordinance.

Local control? Nah! Central power! Raleigh knows best.

Boone's Workforce Housing ordinance represents seven years of discussion, research, argument, testimony, drafting, introduction, debate, amendment, more debate, and final passage less than a month ago. The voters of Boone chose their leaders; those leaders chose a path forward that would encourage more single-family dwellings in a variety of configurations and discourage more massive ("quad style") apartment complexes where every bedroom has a bathroom, because the goal is student rental.

Jonathan Jordan evidently hates local control when it gores any of the oxen that pull his cart -- mega-developers. Major Jordan donors include the North Carolina Association of Realtors and the North Carolina Home Builders Association. Follow the money indeed.

This is only part of a general war on North Carolina's municipalities by the new Republican majority in the General Assembly. They plan to take away extra-territorial jurisdictions. They plan to take away a town's ability to annex new neighborhoods. They're well on their way to seizing Asheville's water syster and giving it to an outside "authority." They're also well along in their plan to seize Charlotte's airport and give it to an outside authority.

They've only just begun.

It's the first phase of a new tyranny that hates towns and cities, and we can only assume they're motivated by the knowledge that more Democrats live in towns and cities.

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

McCrory Veers Off-Message

"Under the Dome" reports that Gov. Pat McCrory explained that MetLife is coming to North Carolina because of "the very good business climate."

Whaaa? He campaigned on the premise that business under Gov. Perdue was hobbled, discouraged, flummoxed, and  mistreated and that only massive new tax breaks could bring the mega-corps back to our doorstep. And his puppet-masters at the Pope Empire continually flogged the idea that the business climate in North Carolina sucked.

Well, now, apparently it didn't suck that bad under Perdue, who actually gets the credit (?) for snagging MetLife's attention in the first place.

'Course, $94 million in tax breaks and other goodies that all the rest of us are paying for helped some -- about which, Gov. McCrory Knows Nothing knew nothing, nuth-think!



  [per-fuhngk-tuh-ree] adjective
performed merely as a routine duty; hasty and superficial: perfunctory courtesy.
lacking interest, care, or enthusiasm; indifferent or apathetic.

The Republicans in the NC General Assembly yesterday held a hearing about voter photo ID in the House Elections Committee. "The strong majority of speakers," according to the News & Record, were opposed to the planned bill, while the minority continued to harp about imaginary fraud committed by imaginary persons.

Will Huntsberry in The Independent called it a "perfunctory" hearing, and it was. They don't hear anything but their own cherished myths. They're going to do precisely what they wish to do, reality, common sense, and sanity be damned! And -- oh, yeah -- voters' rights be damned too!

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

The Slick One Begins His U.S. Senate Campaign

Thom Tillis, backed by a 501 (c) 4 group, began his Republican primary race yesterday. He's the Speaker of the NC House, first among the radicals, though he poses as a moderate. He's only one of several foam-flecked Republicans who want to take on Kay Hagan next year.

Some of Thom Tillis's greatest hits:

He called a sudden and unannounced 1 a.m. session of the NC House in 2011 to override a Perdue veto and then threw a public tantrum when the press called him out on this flagrant abuse of the system, labeling the Charlotte Observer "road kill."

He gave his chief of staff (and roommate) a $12,000 "parting gift" when the chief of staff was forced to resign for boinking a lobbyist.

Though he kept denying that he was behind the notorious anti-gay Amendment 1, he was the chief manipulator who got it into the state's constitution.

He told a partisan audience in Mars Hill that his budget plan for North Carolina was to "divide and conquer" the poor by shredding their safety net. Yeah, that's the ticket! Let's pit poor people against disabled people for the good of the state!

It was the Thom Tillis-engineered state budget that accelerated the crippling of public education in North Carolina.

He had Rev. William Barber, head of the NC NAACP, arrested and handcuffed when Barber dared to protest the radical agenda of the new Republican majority in the NC House. “When I have a respectful request I'll be happy to meet with people who treat my House with respect,” Tillis said. One protestor replied, “Your house? We're paying for it. It's our house."

Does Not Pass the Smell Test

WRAL reporting:

METLIFE: Gov. Pat McCrory said Monday that he played little role in a deal to attract insurance giant MetLife to North Carolina in exchange for more than $90 million in state incentives.

"My first direct involvement with the company was a day or two before the announcement where I called the CEO...we had a probably 10-to-15 minute conversation," McCrory said. 
While he was running for governor, McCrory worked for the law firm Moore and Van Allen, a company hired by MetLife to negotiate the incentive package. Last week, McCrory dodged questions about whether he knew about the pending deal when he worked in client development for the firm. Asked the same question Monday, he said, "No, not all – was not aware of it." 
It's not clear when MetLife hired Moore & Van Allen, but the company began discussing a move to North Carolina about nine months ago – while McCrory was still employed by the law firm.
"My commerce secretary led that recruitment effort," the governor said Monday.

Monday, March 11, 2013

Kevin Siers, Charlotte Observer, March 11, 2013

H264 Would Eliminate Protected Buffers Around Towns/Cities

The bill introduced in the NC House to amend the state's constitution to make annexation by our cities virtually impossible also contains a clause that would simply eliminate extra-territorial jurisdictions (ETJ), those zones immediately surrounding cities where development and building regs are applied and exercised by the municipalities.

Apparently, the House sponsors of this attempt to strangle the life out of our towns and cities is not enough, or not fast enough, because now there's a separate bill (H264) that would eliminate ETJs right now and by statute.

The Republican sponsors of this particular law are no slouches at misdirection. They named H264 "Justice for Rural Citizens Act." We guess that "Screw You, Cities" was a little too obvious.

Those citizens of Boone's ETJ, along with the citizens in dozens of other ETJs across the state, people who have grown accustomed to the protections against asphalt plants and other intrusive and disruptive developments in their neighborhoods, might want to be following all these radical actions in Raleigh.

Corporate Welfare & Cronyism, McCrory-Style

Back during  his campaign for governor, Pat McCrory talked much about his dislike for corporate welfare ("economic development incentives"), and criticized his Democratic opponent for considering them necessary.

But last week, McCrory proudly announced that North Carolina would be awarding some $94 million in tax breaks ("and other incentives") to MetLife to relocate part of its operation to Charlotte and Cary. (More was promised by the local governments involved.)

Wait! That reversal of a campaign promise has a back-story. The MetLife deal for tax breaks was "brokered" by blue chip Charlotte law firm of Moore & Van Allen, for whom McCrory worked until about 30 minutes before he was sworn in as governor. Believe me, Moore & Van Allen is raking in plenty on this deal. About everyone is, except the taxpayers of North Carolina and the taxpayers of Mecklenburg and Wake counties.

According to some eye witnesses, McCrory literally ran away from reporters rather than answer their questions about his own involvement in this particularly rank example of "incentives":
McCrory refused to answer any questions about the deal, ignoring reporters' questions as he followed his aides to a waiting car. He took no questions during a similar event Thursday in Raleigh. 
The big jobs announcement resurrects questions about McCrory and his work for Charlotte-based law and lobbying firm Moore & Van Allen. McCrory said last year he performed "client development work" at the firm, but is not a lawyer and had no specific clients. [WTVD]
But wait! There's now a question about ethics and "Executive Order 17," issued by Gov. Beverly Perdue in 2009 after her son took a high-profile lobbying job. Perdue was bending over backward to avoid even the appearance of a conflict of interest. John Frank, in Under the Dome:
The order, which remains in effect, said the governor shall "take appropriate steps, considering the nature of the project and the level of involvement of the consultant, to limit her or his involvement in the project to the extent necessary to protect the public interest." That was especially important "when the impartiality of the governor ... might reasonably be questioned due to a financial, personal, or familial relationship with a consultant or that consultant's employees or agents." 
McCrory and his aides did not consult the State Ethics Commission about whether he faced any conflict of interest because his ex-employer helped negotiate MetLife's incentives offer, spokeswoman Kim Genardo said. The governor's involvement in those incentives "was limited, extremely limited," Genardo said.
(And incidentally, O my brethren, did McCrory even mention, while he was bragging about bringing a mega-corp insurance company to our state, that the MetLife negotiation got started under Gov. Perdue's administration, and at least part of the credit, if any credit whatsoever is due, belongs to her?)

We have a corporate shill for governor who went back on his "no corporate welfare" stance in precisely a New York minute.

Sunday, March 10, 2013

NC GOP, Waiting To See What They Can Get Away With

Strong editorial in yesterday's News&Observer against the Republicans' plan to introduce voter photo ID in North Carolina. Excerpted below, that portion of the editorial that says the current GOP leadership's "go slow" approach really has to do with waiting for the Washington Supremes to throw out the Voting Rights Act that applies in North Carolina:

Bob Hall of the government watchdog Democracy North Carolina made the case when Republicans first got up to these shenanigans in the last General Assembly session, when their Voter ID law was vetoed by Gov. Beverly Perdue. Answering those who claimed a Voter ID was harmless because people had to show identification to get insurance or buy groceries with a check or get a credit card, etc., Hall noted that voting was a right, not a privilege, and thus something that deserved protection.
Republicans are not interested in that argument. They want a Voter ID law, and with Republican Pat McCrory now in the governor’s chair, they’re likely to get it. This time out, though, they say they’ll move it slowly through the General Assembly, affording opponents and others with different ideas to speak and be heard.
Of course, the lack of a rush is more likely due to their awaiting a U.S. Supreme Court ruling in a case in which a county in Alabama is challenging a provision related to the Voting Rights Act of 1965, part of which required that any changes in election procedures in select states and in 40 counties in North Carolina be approved by the federal government in advance. A Voter ID law in North Carolina would constitute such a change.
But if Shelby County, Ala., succeeds in convincing the court to do away with that requirement for approval, on the grounds that the racial discrimination the provision was designed to prevent is nonexistent, then Republican leaders in this state will feel empowered to move ahead with their Voter ID bill.

Read more here:

Friday, March 08, 2013

McCrory, No Rocket Scientist

Editorial in today's News&Observer: Gov. McCrory runs from common sense, caves to radicals in the General Assembly, and hurts North Carolina in both the short and the long run.

Congrats, North Carolina. You've got the puppet governor you voted for.

Cool Move

Senate bill 235 and House bill 253 were filed this week as a compromise solution to the threat of a voter photo ID law that will make voting difficult for many citizens, and at first blush, we could support this solution.

The FayObserver summarized this approach to "voting integrity" yesterday:
Under [the] bills, voters would be asked to produce an unexpired government-issued identification card, such as a driver's license or military ID, in order to vote. Voters without an ID would still be allowed to cast a ballot, but only after they had their photos taken at the poll and signed an affidavit swearing to their identity. 
Lying would be a felony. Voters' photos would remain on file with board of elections, ready to view if someone wanted to file a challenge.
Seems to us (and, granted, we only deal with reality and not the popular fantasy haunting Republican minds that busloads of illegals are being driven to polls), this satisfies both the itch to demand "Show us your papers!" and the promise of our democracy that people be allowed to vote.

Plus we imagine (okay, that's not strictly real, but still) that the cost of equipping polling places with photographic equipment might not be any more expensive that supplying at public expense all the many thousands of government-issued photo IDs that the Republicans are going to have to mandate in their own version ... to keep their law from running afoul of the NC Constitution.

These two bills will at least force the issue ... that the Republican radicals in Raleigh aren't really interested in voting integrity but in voter suppression.

One of the sponsors of the House bill said that this approach is "less expensive than other Voter ID bills. 'According to the NC Fiscal Research Division, the bill would cost slightly over $3 million. I’ve seen estimates on other Voter ID bills run way up in the money,' he said." Richmond County Daily Journal

Thursday, March 07, 2013

Why Are These People Smiling?

Because they are elected North Carolina government officials with government-provided healthcare at the closed-door signing of the law that will deny government-provided healthcare for some 500,000 North Carolinians who live precariously without insurance.

Not to worry, eh, Governor McCrory? You got yours.

Wednesday, March 06, 2013

The New Jim Crowism

They tell us -- Thom Tillis tells us -- that voter photo ID voter suppression is coming to North Carolina.

Yeah, we knew that.

Governor McCrory Howdy Doody was nodding his head up and down yesterday, up and down, because he hearts everything the radicals in the General Assembly tell him to do. And, by the way, he equated voting with buying Sudafed, for which he said you need a photo ID without also distinguishing between the right to vote and the right to buy an ingredient in methamphetamine. Which in his mind script are evidently the same thing.

Yeah, we knew that too.

Yesterday, Sharon McCloskey published the complete, appalling list of all the cases of voter impersonation that have come to light since 2000, and it's an epic, long list -- 22 persons across a dozen years. That's approximately 1.83 cases of voter fraud per year, folks, and this outrage has GOT to end before this country elects another Muslim Kenyan, let alone another black man. How else will North Carolina keep elective office safe reserved for white people?

Bob Hall, a great North Carolina warrior for voting rights, issued a statement on the Republican push to restrict voting, which said in part:

"Democracy North Carolina continues to believe the photo ID requirement is a needless and expensive barrier to address a problem – voter impersonation – that is grounded in myth more than fact. Any new barrier will have a consequence, including making the process appear confusing and intimidating to some voters. Depending on how a photo ID requirement is implemented, it could cost millions of dollars and affect tens, if not hundreds, of thousands of active registered voters. It inevitably will have a disproportionate impact on low-income citizens, African Americans, other people of color, and seniors who no longer drive."

NC GOP: "Energy Efficiency, Bad!"

House Bill 201 is being heard in the Regulatory Reform Committee today. It would roll back energy efficiency standards in North Carolina building codes.

That's the intellectual playing field we're on in Raleigh these days.

One of the primary sponsors of this piece of brilliance is Cabarrus County rep Larry Pittman, who early in 2012 was advocating public hangings. Plus he wanted all the doctors who have given abortions to be first in line for the noose. I believe he may have offered to hold the coats of the executioners. The other primary sponsor, John Torbett, made money as a house "rehabilitator," so he would naturally know every cheapskate shortcut and have plenty of experience resenting those pesky energy efficiency rules.

The real beneficiary of lowering energy efficiency standards, though, would have to be Duke Energy, which is already well on its way to purging members of the Utilities Commission (Senate Bill 10) so that their former employee, Governor Whatisname, can appoint the people who'll vote on Duke Energy's requested rate hike.

Yup, the NC GOP is transforming government, though we have to observe that a bunch of kerosene (or fracked gas) and a single match would do the job faster.

Tuesday, March 05, 2013

Sorry, Coastal Carolina, But You're Just Gonna Have to Drink This S**t

From 1968 to 1972, four miles from Wilmington, N.C., the Hercules corporation, injected some 300,000 gallons of acids and other toxins into deep wells to get rid of them. Industrial waste. Hey! Out of sight, out of mind.

Then it was discovered that those industrial waste wells, "set between 850 and 1,050 feet deep, clogged and leached chemicals into a sand, gravel and limestone aquifer. Monitoring wells in upper aquifers later showed that the chemicals traveled past a clay containment zone and contaminated upper aquifers." The clay in the ground was supposed to stop the leaching of toxins into aquifers. They didn't.

Armed with the knowledge that injecting shit deep into the ground has every expectation of turning drinking water to shit, the NC General Assembly passed a good law banning the dumping of industrial shit into deep wells.

Enter fracking. "Each fracked well requires 3 million to 5 million gallons of water, chemicals and sand to break up the shale rock and release the natural gas." All those millions of gallons of contaminated water have to go somewhere.

The fast-tracking of fracking in North Carolina will destroy that earlier ban, passed in 1973, against pumping toxic shit into deep wells.

The Raleigh News & Observer says today that the 3-5 million gallons of toxic tea from each well is likely going to end up on the North Carolina coast, one way or another. The same region that proved back in 1972 to be highly unreliable for storing industrial carcinogens.

Welcome to the brave new world of Republican rule in North Carolina.

Friday, March 01, 2013

A GOPer Cautions His Party in the NC General Assembly

Rep. John Blust of Guilford County (brother of David Blust of Watauga County) warned his colleagues about hubris on the floor of the NC House yesterday.

Republican leaders were in the process of rushing through the bill to simply fire all the existing members of several important regulatory commissions and boards. Blust complained about the rush, the failure to follow procedure, the arrogance that has been a feature of the General Assembly since early in January:

"I don’t like this idea, 'Well we have the power, let’s go ahead and do it,' " he said. "Just because we have power we need to be judicious with it. I wish we would be more careful with it."

"The people have the right to yank us in two years and put someone else in," he added.

Video of Blust's remarks:

Female Impersonators