Wednesday, May 31, 2023
Is Dan Bishop the Biggest Dick in Mugstomp-on-the-Potomac?
Tuesday, May 30, 2023
Who'll Lead the NCGOP?
|John Kane, insurgent candidate|
for NCGOP Chair
The Daily Haymaker, a MAGA standard-bearer who knows no end of serious contempt for the rest of the world, makes the savaging of Michael Whatley a long-running and therefore tiresome replay. The most recent Haymaker headline story ("Michael Whatley: A Cheney-Kinzinger Republican") opens like this:
The current NCGOP chairman loves to talk about Donald Trump and post pictures of himself with Trump’s plane. But much of what he does and says aligns much more with Liz Cheney and Adam Kinzinger — the two former “Republican” congressmen who colluded with Democrats on the farcical so-called “January 6 committee.”
It takes great courage and fortitude against sin, doesn't it? to sweep away every piece of evidence, including the ocular proof, as totally and unironically "farcical," but at least we know the mind-set we've waded into. Haymaker hates Michael Whatley (at least in today's blog post) because Whatley supposedly "boasted" that he had been the first Republican state leader to "condemn the mob."
Kane also seems on-board for punishing Sen. Thom Tillis and other RINOs for snubbing MAGA orthodoxy, so if Kane wins, we might expect a purge-night with a lot of screaming.
A blow for the Haymaker crowd: Way back in January, Donald Trump endorsed Michael Whatley for reelection. That was before there was a John Kane campaign, so the Trump endorsement perhaps means only that he didn't have another choice.
Monday, May 29, 2023
Anger Lights a Fire
Catalist, a Democratic data analytics firm, has released "What Happened," and Amy Walter of the Cook Political Report digs into it. Some of the data supports conventional wisdom, some not (and North Carolina seems even more an outlier from Democratic trends in other purple states).
This particular observation about young voters may be my strongest takeaway:
After 2008, many assumed that Obama's personal connection with younger voters would transfer to the Democratic Party's candidates in subsequent elections. That didn't happen. Instead, what seems to be driving younger voters to the polls isn't love, but anger. In 2018, Donald Trump's presence in the White House was a motivating factor for these voters. In 2022, anger over the abortion decision was the most likely catalyst for turnout.
Google quotes about anger, and you'll be hard pressed to find anybody praising rage as a productive driver of action. But, hell! The Trumpists made out pretty well with it as their signal emotion, so maybe it's high time the Democrats learn to manage that boiling pot.
Credit: Carolina Forward
Sunday, May 28, 2023
Gov. Cooper Goes To the Bully Pulpit
This was our governor last Monday (May 23), calling all of us who care about public schools to rise up, git the frickin pitchforks, because the Republican extremists in the General Assembly mean to let all the little red schoolhouses fall into ruin and disappear, replaced by businesses in it for the profit. (If I had edited the text that the governor reads from a teleprompter, I would have cut it by half.)
The Republicans went ape, especially the newest one, Tricia Cotham, who dismissed the governor's appearance as "political theater." Why yes (even a blind hog finds an acorn eventually). Senate boss Phil Berger's office joined that chorus: “...meaningless publicity stunts do nothing to improve educational outcomes in our state.”
“The general public doesn’t realize the disaster that is brewing,” Cooper told the AP.
The Republicans played their trump: Cooper himself sent his own kids to private schools. So there, hypocrite.
Briana Brough took to Twitter in Cooper's defense: "OMG the pearl clutching They are so mad Cooper is using the one tool left in his toolbox (the bully pulpit) to let people know what this voucher scheme would actually do: give wealthy families a tax break while further defunding public schools. So what if Cooper sent one of his kids to private school? That's his right! There are scholarships to help people afford it. What we shouldn't do is subsidize wealthy folks (like him!) sending their kids to private school while underfunding public schools that serve everyone."Briana Brough is a Durham activist (a founder of FlipNC) and has joined up with others (Durham Families for Every Child NC), which is hosting a teach-in on the whole Republican privatization crowd and their schemes:
This plan would siphon $200M from public schools. It would actually DECREASE the amount the state kicks in by about $2300 for each public school kid who transfers to private. But it would INCREASE state funding for a kid currently attending private school by an average of $5000.That means the state will be spending about $138M in new expenditures to families already paying for private school.
It will pay the same amount for kids who transfer to private schools, but will cost public schools $200M b/c the value of the voucher is < per pupil spending. So basically, half the voucher funding will go to families already wealthy enough to pay for private education. The rest will go to families wealthy enough to make up the difference between the voucher and tuition.
The rest of us - the vast majority of families who either don't want, can't afford, or don't have a good private school option - get screwed by a budget that continues to disrespect educators and underfund our public school system in violation of the North Carolina Constitution.
Saturday, May 27, 2023
The Queen of Mean
her talons deep into President Biden's student debt forgiveness program, because let's face it, forgiveness has never been a prominent feature of Madam Foxx's core. (If President Trump had proposed student debt relief, and added government-paid free trips in his jet, with a Trump steak and all the fixins, Foxx would have absolutely drooled with abject appreciation for the spread. But Biden student debt relief is nothing but a "bailout" of unworthy cry-babies who never vote for the likes of me.
When she was in the NC Senate, she once said out loud, "The worst thing we can do is to get government involved in solving problems." During her tenure in the Senate, she was famous for dismissing voters curtly: "There's nothing I can do. Don't contact me again about this." That's a mentality I cannot grok.
Saul Friedman once remarked that Foxx seems like a benign grandma until she speaks. Then her heart reveals itself as a cold cinder of retribution. She stood in the US House and denounced the pending vote on a hate crime bill following the Matthew Shepard murder ("because he was gay"). She said the "gay" part was just "a hoax" to steamroll Congress. She belittled Shepard's death, incidentally, in front of Shepard's mother, who sat in the gallery."There are no Americans who don't have healthcare. Everybody in this country has access to healthcare," said Foxx on July 24, 2009, in a Capitol Hill press conference -- evidently putting the emphasis on access, meaning, we guess, that an ambulance will take you to the hospital if you're hit by a car -- but, suckers, you're gonna have to get hit by a car to get medical assistance if you're without insurance.
Remember what she did after Hurricane Katrina wiped out so many lives, so many livelihoods on the Gulf coast? On September 8, 2005, Foxx was one of only 11 members of Congress to vote against an emergency relief bill for Katrina victims. She suggested instead that people with devastated lives should pray. Meanwhile she posted helpful instructions on her congressional website for directing private-sector contractors to the federal trough. Throughout her political career, Foxx has bragged about the poverty she grew up in, but the experience evidently did not enlarge her character.
So of course she ridiculed and voted to end Biden's student debt relief ... while continuing to "serve" a Congressional district with multiple colleges and with many students going into massive debt in order to get ahead in this life. Foxx herself got ahead and was fortunate (as well as quick with the hands), but don't ask her to have sympathy for others. It's just too heavy a lift.
Thursday, May 25, 2023
Lightning Strikes Kidwell and McNeely
Wow. Apparently, the GOP leadership in the NC House actually worries just a tab about its image.Last week, Republican Rep. Keith Kidwell remarked that Democrat Diamond Staton-Williams, who spoke about getting an abortion, had perhaps been raised in the Church of Satan. And Rep. Jeffrey McNeely questioned whether Democrat Abe Jones only got into Harvard because of his race.
Tuesday, May 23, 2023
Slow News Monday
cryptic headline appeared in the News and Observer yesterday: "Former Gov. Pat McCrory is not running for president, but he does have plans for 2024." What?
Turns out it was a nothing-burger article, very much in keeping with the latter days of our former governor, who was during his one term in office little more than a throw rug under the feet of Berger-Moore. The news is that McCrory is now a "volunteer" -- he used that word himself -- with a struggling new political "party" calling itself No Labels (what, "Beige" wasn't even considered as the name?)
Not really that "new" either. It was founded in 2010 with Joe Lieberman as the figurehead national chair. The NandO article at least got me interesting in learning more about No Labels, whose centrist goals are wholly unobjectionable except that it might -- be warned! -- might run a third-party presidential ticket in 2024 "if data shows that Americans aren’t satisfied with the party nominees and the No Labels candidates have a path forward to win, McCrory said."
Which means, practically speaking, diluting the vote for Joe Biden and allowing the nightmare of Trump to return.
The one tangible thing No Labels has accomplished is the formation in the US House of the Problem Solvers Caucus, which has accomplished some good things including passage of Biden's big infrastructure act.
Monday, May 22, 2023
Mark Walker Volunteers for a Suicide Mission
Mark Robinson sucks all the air out of any room he's in. He's a bulldozer salting the air with diesel fumes, which make his biggest fans a little drunk with fantasies of destruction. Robinson gets them shouting "amen!" while attacking the defenseless and promising scorched earth for Democrats, once he gets into the governor's mansion.
Walker launched his campaign last Saturday. At a church. Where he did, in fact, preach but tried to be uplifting rather than contemptuous. AP's Gary Robertson said that a number of Black supporters were prominently featured at the launch, because Walker's "been known for his efforts to work with minority groups, particularly on funding historically Black colleges."
Robertson quoted some of Walker's rhetoric: “You’re fearfully and wonderfully made, and God created you uniquely and you have that potential and the ability to blow past any of these political elites that try to put a ceiling on the very potential that God created you to have. That’s the kind of message that we need to get into all of our communities, and that’s the kind of message that I bring to Raleigh.”
That's some loaded language that attempts to soar into the rafters -- "You're fearfully and wonderfully made" -- but who are "these political elites" (we naturally assume he means Democrats) and what exactly is the "ceiling" on your "potential." What is he talking about?
Sunday, May 21, 2023
Is Vickie Sawyer a Republican Feminist?
According to the interview Sawyer gave Will Doran from WRAL News, "Many of her fellow Republicans were initially opposed to allowing exceptions for issues such as rape, incest or medical complications, Sawyer said, adding that she fought hard to get those added into the final compromise. 'If you ever knew how hard those meetings were,' Sawyer said. 'How hard I fought for that rape exception, that incest exception. And how hard that was to get across the line.' "
No. We believe you! We're familiar with folks with that single "pro-life" issue to their name. They don't take prisoners.
Some of Sawyer's Republican colleagues wanted proof of rape -- did the woman report it? -- before they would allow the rape exception into the law. Sawyer told reporter Dawn Baumgartner Vaughan of the News and Observer, "I was very adamant about not having a reporting requirement because I did not want a young woman who was raped to have to go through anything else. So for me, that was a big deal.”
I had to look more into who Vickie Sawyer is and discovered, first, on her website, that you won't find a whisper of allegiance to any of the raw meat, hard-right conservative issues that we automatically associate with the Republican caucuses down in Raleigh. She really does appear moderate or at least totally indifferent to pushing all the regular conservative buttons.
But before I get carried away, I have to note that Sawyer is also a soldier in the GOP army, so she was duty-bound to do something against abortion. It's the price of admission to that political party. Plus she was a prime sponsor of the Fairness in Women's Sports Act, which passed the Senate in May and which will ban transgender girls from competing in female sports events -- an issue I really think is a loser for Democrats. “This bill is not about being anti-trans," Sawyer said during debate. "This bill is about being pro-woman. If we want to talk about uncomfortable, let’s talk about how young women’s lives are put in danger by having to play a sport they love against someone who’s three times as strong as them.”
Sawyer was first appointed to the senate in August 2018 to fill out an unexpired term. She had already won a Republican primary for the seat in May against her principal rival, the notorious Bob Rucho, who had previously been in the senate and chose not to run for reelection in 2016 but wanted back in in 2018. Sawyer easily beat him, since he had kind of a volatile reputation. So she's in her 3rd senate term. She and her husband run a big insurance firm.
Friday, May 19, 2023
GOP to NC: "You Ain't Seen Nuttin' Yet! Wait Until After We Win in 2024"
Minutes after the Republicans in both houses of the General Assembly successfully nullified Roy Cooper's veto of the new abortion bans, the N.C. Values Coalition, a Christian conservative group, called the new abortion restrictions “the beginning of North Carolina’s first real step towards becoming a pro-life state.”
In other words, O my Brethren, those forces that insist on controlling women's lives ain't fully baked yet, not by a long shot. Speaker Tim Moore has said already he wanted a much more restrictive 6-week ban, but bowed to the compromise the Republican caucus reached with some of its women members for the 12-week ban that passed. Rep. Keith Kidwell and the Freedom Caucus had previously backed a complete and total ban, from conception, and those are the people who'll be newly empowered if they get Mark Robinson in the governor's house in 2025, along with more of their extremist brethren in the legislature.
They expect that they'll have complete and total control because -- you'd forgotten, hadn't you? -- they still get to gerrymander anew all the seats in the General Assembly and make winning all the more impossible for Democrats.
Tim Moore said he had wanted the 6-week ban, but what passed was pretty much all that could get passed at this time, he admitted (because of the women). "We won't be introducing any more abortion legislation until after the 2024 elections," he said. “[But] I can’t say what’ll happen two years, four years, 10 years from now.”
Phil Berger was more direct: “Who knows who's going to be in the General Assembly after the next election? There may be members that want to push it further on the restrictive side." Berger quickly added, as though he wanted someone to think he's balanced: "There may [also] be members who want to increase the window for the elective [procedure].” Who knows?
Well, Mr. Berger, I think we know there's no chance under God's cloudy skies that Republican electeds in the state of NC are ever gonna loosen those chains, not voluntarily.
“Make no mistake — this is only the beginning,” Attorney General Josh Stein said. He'll be running for governor against the very scary Mark Robinson.
Vote or die, folks.
Thursday, May 18, 2023
What's In Their Hearts?
showed their asses in the last few hours, as though they needed even more product branding after their attacks on the rights of women in the state.
Rep. Jeff McNeeley (Iredell Co.) interrupted -- interrupted -- Rep. Abe Jones, who is Black, and asked him if he could have gotten into Harvard if he wasn't Black or an athlete. Okay, McNeeley, said "if you weren't a minority or an athlete," but I think everyone knew exactly what he was implying. Abe Jones does indeed have a law degree from Harvard. (McNeeley apologized, but as we know the harm was already done.)
If Kidwell has ever apologized to Staton-Williams, he's kept the apology well out of sight.
Wednesday, May 17, 2023
We Will Remember
The quartet of Republican lawmakers who traded their consciences for their caucuses last night:
Michael Lee in the Senate (New Hanover); John Ray Bradford III in the House (Mecklenburg); Tricia Cotham in the House (Mecklenburg); and Ted Davis in the House (New Hanover).
The veto overrides in both House and Senate passed by one vote.
Tuesday, May 16, 2023
Does John Bradford Have the Cojones To Sustain Cooper's Veto? No, Probably
One of those four supposedly (previously) pro-choice Republicans, Rep. John Ray Bradford III of Mecklenburg County, answered a question from Channel 9 about abortion rights in October 2022. Here's his full response:
What is your position on abortion? I support NC’s current law which provides a woman’s choice up to 20-weeks. This has been NC’s law since 1973 and, notably, is longer than many other states and countries which have time limits on lawful abortions. After 20-weeks, I support special exceptions for cases such as when the mother’s health is in danger, rape or incest. Unlike my opponent, I do not support unrestricted abortions through full-term, also known as ‘until viability’. Most Americans agree that reasonable time limits for a woman’s choice are acceptable and do not support unrestricted full-term abortions.
Currently, when he was asked about Cooper's pressure campaign on him, Bradford erupted that Governor Cooper had just not been friendly enough with him: “I am serving my 4th term in the legislature and the Governor wouldn’t know me if he bumped into me,” he said, and then whined bitterly about not being invited to bill signings that he thought he should have been invited to. So Bradford is prepared to disregard his campaign promise of 2022 and to kneecap women's rights because of hurt feelings. Are he and Tricia Cotham pledging the same sorority?
My advice to Governor Cooper: Call John Bradford. Or even better, show up at his office door.
But at least Bradford's expression of hurt feelings allowed him to completely avoid the question of just how far he's willing to go to drop his previous beliefs like soiled laundry. Look, the man has already announced he won't be running for his House seat again anyway. He's planning to run statewide for state treasurer, so the calculus of bucking the Republican bosses right now comes into play. Would it help or hurt him more to be the single Republican who stopped an extreme abortion ban in North Carolina? It could help him with independent voters in a statewide race but invite rabid conservative animus in the meantime. My bet: he won't take the risk of riling up the far right wing.
He would have every reason to worry about that veto override vote if he were running for reelection to his Dist. 98 House seat. He won it in 2014 when Thom Tillis went to his reward in the US Senate. He lost it in the blue wave year of 2018 to Democrat Christy Clark by a margin of 415 votes. In a rematch with Clark in 2020, Bradford took back his seat (the margin was just over 2,000 votes). District 98 is a swing district which could very easily swing against him in 2024 because of his flipflop on abortion rights.
But he's not running in that small district again. He plans to run statewide. Duh. What a time to stand up for what you recently said you stood for.
Monday, May 15, 2023
Gov. Cooper Gooses the Abortion Issue
Big crowd turned out in Raleigh Saturday morning to rally for abortion rights, as Goveror Roy Cooper publicly and with a flourish, stamped VETO on the newest Republican effort to limit the rights of women.
Governor Cooper now has a new responsibility since former Democrat Tricia Cotham did what she did, changed her stripes and her core beliefs and became the veto-overturn vote in the NC House. Cooper has to awaken and energize the Democratic base on the current crisis, that Republicans intend to chip away at women's health care options in a rushed process, because they fear the opposition of the voters and yet cannot resist the extremists in their own base.
Up next (and you can count on it!) -- the Republicans begin enacting new rules to disallow the voting of as many young people as they can -- disallow or at least discourage.
Sunday, May 14, 2023
Slicker Than Snot on a Doorknob, Four Eggers Gets Himself Back in the News
|A famous cartoon by Andrew Cox for|
The Appalachian, 2013
On Thursday, and again on Friday (May 11-12), Laura Leslie at WRAL published and then updated a scoop about two prominent Watauga Countians. Leslie found out that Four Eggers ("Stacy Clyde Eggers the Fourth") had secretly gone to the general counsel for the state Board of Elections (SBOE) and first suggested that SBOE member and current secretary Stella Anderson was ineligible for reappointment and then also suggested (possibly threatened, in that mealy Four Eggers way) that the state Republican Party would sue if she were reappointed to the board that Eggers himself also serves on. (It's a whole nother story about how two Watauga Countians ended up on the same important state board at the same time.)
Bottomline: Anderson, who told Laura Leslie that she fully expected to be reappointed and had been told by the governor's office that she would be reappointed, suddenly discovered that she was out in the cold because the governor's people were afraid of a lawsuit. (H1029, passed in 2018, prohibits state employees from serving, but after the enactment of H1029, Anderson was reappointed anyway because she was considered "grandfathered." She had already been serving on the SBOE when H1029 passed. Why, she now wonders, is she no longer grandfathered? Doesn't that question deserve litigating? Rather than instant retreat?
Four also challenged another Democratic SBOE member, Jeff Carmon, on the same grounds. Carmon teaches one class as an "adjunct" (part-timer) at NC Central. Serious question: Legally, can part-timers get around the state employment prohibition? Probably not, so Carmon actually quit his part-time teaching job to get reappointed.
Here's the kicker. Four Eggers is himself, according to his lawfirm's own website, "since 2005, a Certified North Carolina Criminal Justice Instructor through the Criminal Justice Standards Division and has taught continuing education classes to both the Appalachian State University Police Department and the Watauga County Sheriff’s Office."
Continuing Education classes at AppState pay their instructors. I feel pretty safe in suggesting that. So how exactly does Four Eggers stand apart from the same eligibility requirement that ensnared Jeff Carmon to stop teaching? How special is Four Eggers? And where does he get off, successfully manipulating the governor to not appoint his one nemesis on the SBOE, Stella Anderson, who likely knows election law a little more thoroughly than Eggers. She's a many-year veteran of both the county BOE and the SBOE, and her name is on the actual lawsuit (Anderson v. State Board of Elections, 2014) that successfully reopened the ASU polling place that Four Eggers had tried very hard to get rid of.
|A Jesse Barber photo|
Friday, May 12, 2023
In Boone SUNDAY, 1 PM
Thursday, May 11, 2023
The Hidden Garth Brooks
Sorry for this lengthy quote -- without my commentary -- on the historical significance of a huge country music star. Move on, if you're not interested:
It's absolutely a song about class.
But what's unusual is the way it does not frame the affluent characters as fake or immoral, nor does it paint the narrator as sympathetic or extra-real. It's possible to impose those meanings onto the lyrics, but only if the listener wants those sentiments to be true.
The literal message of "Friends in Low Places" is an acceptance of class difference, fortified by the suggestion that living in an "ivory tower" is not necessarily better than living in a dive bar. The payoff phrase is repeated in the chorus: "I'll be okay."
Garth's version of populism did not pit the poor against the elite. Instead, it implied that the difference was immaterial, and that all people ultimately want the same ordinary things …. To his base, Brooks was an apolitical figure. There was no secondary meaning to loving an album like No Fences or The Chase.
It didn't seem to matter that Brooks was more openly political than almost any major country artist of the period, or that his views did not represent the assumed conservatism of country listeners: His lyrics addressed domestic violence and gay rights, and the song "We Shall Be Free" was inspired by (and sympathetic to) the 1992 Los Angeles riots. He received no criticism for these opinions, nor did he receive credit.
--Chuck Klosterman, The Nineties
Wednesday, May 10, 2023
Rob Schofield: The Tide Is High
With a degree of venom matched only by his hypocrisy, Berger wrote: “For years plaintiffs and activist courts have manipulated our Constitution to achieve policy outcomes that could not be won at the ballot box. Today’s rulings affirm that our Constitution cannot be exploited to fit the political whims of left-wing Democrats.”
You got that? A politician who abandoned a supposedly principled stance on a central tenet of our democracy [sponsored a Republican bill to end partisan gerrymandering], and then shamelessly and relentlessly used every lever of power at his disposal for more than a decade to rig electoral outcomes, silence opponents, and enfeeble other elected officials while seizing their power (and even to install his son and namesake on the Supreme Court) is purporting to lecture on the subject of “manipulating the constitution.”
All in all, the [Supremes'] rulings and [Berger's] bluster were enough to make a body fear for, and mourn the state of our democracy, and to wonder if all hope for reviving it – at least in North Carolina had passed.
Rob Schofield has been an important voice for North Carolina progressives for decades. From 1992 to 2005, Schofield worked as an attorney at the NC Justice Center – where he helped build the organization from a small Legal Services office into the state’s leading anti-poverty advocacy group. When the Justice Center branched out with "a special news and commentary project" called NC Policy Watch, Schofield spun off to it and became Research Director. Policy Watch published The Progressive Pulse, with Schofield as both opinion columnist and an executive editor of content. The Progressive Pulse has very recently gone through a major upgrade into NC Newsline, in which appeared Schofield's gloomy reflections quoted above.
…Americans of all ages … are sick to death of the kind of extremist lawmaking that’s practiced in the … North Carolina legislature; we might just be a lot closer to the end of the current dark era than the beginning.
And when the reactionary house of cards does collapse of its own weight in the not-so-distant future, we may well look back on the events of recent days and realize we were witnessing the moment at which the toxic right-wing tide crested and started to recede.
Tuesday, May 09, 2023
Liz Cheney Ain't Going Away
The Inevitable Return of the Bad Penny
said, meaning rich and well supplied with expensive cigars.
Monday, May 08, 2023
Gov. Cooper Names Names, and They Don't Like It
|Rep. John Bradford|
The fact that all four represent counties that are trending Democratic might have a lot to do with their promises, now broken. Davis and Lee represent New Hanover (Wilmington) and Bradford and Cotham represent Mecklenburg.
John Bradford, especially, took Cooper's calling him out badly, citing the Republican favorite excuse of victimhood and hurt feelings (a la Tricia Cotham). Bradford told WSOC, “In March [the governor] hosted a Down syndrome advocacy event and despite being the leading advocate for Down syndrome in the state legislature, I was excluded. Last session I was the primary bill sponsor for an organ donor transplant discrimination bill. He held a public bill signing event but chose not to invite me, the number one primary sponsor and Republican, and instead invited a Democrat [sic] legislator.”
Poor snowflake! "And how dare the governor reminding me of my campaign promises!" Bradford told WSOC last October that he supported current state law that allows abortions up until 20 weeks.
The other four have their own promises to rationalize, especially Cotham, who while campaigning for another term in the House last year, said lawmakers “should act now to codify Roe v. Wade to affirm the right to an abortion without interference.”
Rep. Davis actually missed the vote on passage of the 12-week ban, but said during an October town hall that he supported maintaining the 20-week law currently in place. He also said there were times when he disagreed with House Speaker Tim Moore on a bill, and told him he would vote for what he thought was “best for the people I represent.” Davis didn’t respond to a request for comment from The N&O on Friday, but Speaker Tim Moore told reporters on Thursday that Davis is “a ‘yes’ vote on the override,” and that “there’s no issue there.”
No issue except the loss of any pretend rectitude with the voters.
Sunday, May 07, 2023
The Republican Who Ran Away From Dan Bishop (Who Wants Devoutly To Be Our Next Attorney General)
Because Dan Bishop has the character of a wharf rat and will play dirty?
What's Bishop currently famous for?
Bishop says that federal law enforcement agencies have been weaponized against Republicans and wanted to form a committee to investigate those organizations. Bishop traded his vote for Kevin McCarthy [to be Speaker] for the creation of that committee.
Dan Bishop gets aroused thinking of the vengeance he can visit on his philosophical enemies as the chief prosecuting official in North Carolina, and Andrew Murray -- bless his heart -- won't lift a bruise-prone hand to save us.
Friday, May 05, 2023
Big Changes at Indy Week
I've been contributing to both the Indy Press Club, to help support the work and reporting of The Weekly Independent of Durham, and I immediately signed up for a small monthly payment to the new digital magazine for long-form journalism, The Assembly. Both Indy Week and The Assembly have become must reads for me. Indy Week (and editor Jane Porter's daily emailed newsletter) has a distinct progressive lean, while The Assembly touts its non-partisan approach but has Jeffrey Billman on staff, one of the best investigators in North Carolina. (Billman used to be the editor of Indy Week.)
Villemain is very much in charge, now, of Indy Week. In the Q&A, Villemain sez:
We know the INDY is a progressive outlet and we respect that. There will be some stories the INDY publishes that will make me tear my hair out, and vice versa. It’s good and healthy to have different perspectives at different outlets.
Our focus will be on ensuring that the INDY’s reporting is done at the highest level. The paper has to be a place that helps readers navigate where they live. That means local accountability and politics reporting, and a doubling down on arts, music, food, and culture.
More "local accountability and politics reporting" ... good! That's why I go there. But then Villemain sez this, which reads like the lowering of the hammer:
The INDY has to stop doing some things, so that its team has time to do new things.
We’ll be making the painful but productive choice of moving from weekly print to every other week print. That will be the biggest change. Simply put, the INDY’s team needs more time to focus on reporting, and less scrambling to get out a weekly paper.
You’ll also likely see a shorter daily newsletter, so that the INDY’s terrific editor-in-chief has more time for editing, and less spent on early morning newsletter writing.
Jane Porter's daily email is my first reading every morning, and I'll miss it, or rue it if it becomes so sketchy as to be worthless. I don't depend on the print edition, so I have to hope that digitally the Indy Week site will pop with new stuff more frequently than once every two weeks.
Toward the end of the Q&A, Villemain slips in a red letter of blood being shed to keep Indy Week alive:
We’re not doing this so that the INDY can shrink. We’ll have to make some tough cuts to stop the bleeding, but we’ve got a plan to grow the INDY significantly by the end of the year. The Triangle needs more reporters out on the streets, and we think the INDY can be the solution.
"The bleeding." It's happening to legitimate journalism all over the map. We've got to keep independent voices, and I feel a pay-wall coming at Indy Week, and I will pay it.
Thursday, May 04, 2023
The Other Things the New Abortion Law Does
S20 mandates that the initial medical consultation (which sets in motion a 72-hour "waiting period") must occur in person, in a doctor's office, and not via phone, which has been previously allowed -- putting an extra burden on people coming from far away and on working people who can't easily get time-off from their jobs.
Forced ultrasounds are back! At least four hours before the procedure.
For medication abortions, S20 requires an in-person visit for the consultation and for the first dose of medication and also requires a follow-up appointment within seven and 14 days -- thus erasing the whole point of mifepristone. The bill also limits medication abortion to the first 10 weeks.
The bill also creates a $5,000 fine for any person or organization caught sending the abortion pill to someone directly through the mail.
The bill also places new licensing requirements on abortion clinics across the state, which are already heavily regulated. A representative for Planned Parenthood told lawmakers Wednesday that none of the organization’s clinics in North Carolina currently meet those requirements. Which, of course, was the point behind the new restrictions.
Judging from the interviews some of the Republican women lawmakers have given about how the bill came into its present form, those Republican women lawmakers expect to be praised for keeping a total, outright ban out of the bill, like many of the Republican men wanted. I see them as accessories before the fact, at best.
The Slow Death of Public Schools in North Carolina
On April 26 -- the next day -- the Republican bosses in the General Assembly responded that they would be decimating public education even more, not fully funding it, but rather pumping $1.3 billion into more private school vouchers. Senate Bill 406 would create the largest expansion of the state’s private school voucher program since it was created.
Republicans say they are supporting “choice” and “students over systems,” but their job is to fund public schools — not private ones. They say that students deserve the opportunity to receive a better education than what’s provided at some public schools, but if they provided schools with adequate funding, perhaps students would not need to look elsewhere to receive a quality education.
--Editorial, Raleigh News and Observer
The bottomline: Republicans have made it gospel to attack and denigrate public education, so expanding opportunities for families to abandon their local public schools, which constitutionally state government is required to support, sets up a new indoctrination to conquer an older supposed indoctrination that committed the cardinal sin of recognizing what must never be spoken of in front of Republicans -- injustice.very visible at the Republican press conference announcing S406? Why, former Democrat Tricia Cotham, who both defended herself from implied criticism and just incidentally demonstrated Karen-level self-interest masquerading as public policy:
“I started off really anti-school choice for a while when I first entered the General Assembly,” Cotham said at the press conference.
Then, she said, she started thinking about where her own children would go to school. Eventually, she opted for her son to attend a private school.
“That’s where my policy really started to change,” she said. “Because as a policymaker and as a mom, I’m also not a hypocrite. I do believe that as policymakers and legislators, if we have the ability to send our children to a private school or to a charter, then we cannot say to others, well, you can’t.”
The "me first!" moral compass of the contemporary Republican Party! Even a former Democrat can't leaven it.
Wednesday, May 03, 2023
The Other Shoe Drops: Women's Rights in NC Will Be Curtailed
|Photo Travis Long, News & Observer|
The male bosses intend to pass their new law quickly, this week, before opposition can build.
Everybody's Afraid of Mark Robinson, Even Some of the People Who'll Vote For Him
The C.A.R.E. coalition intends to watchdog Robinson, if not actually dog him, for his extremism and his lies, and to publicize it all. Prominent among C.A.R.E. members are America Votes, Progress NC Action, the AFL-CIO, Down Home, Equality NC, North Carolina Assoc. of Educators, North Carolinians Against Gun Violence, NC League of Conservation Voters, Planned Parenthood South Atlantic, et al.
The following quotes come from C.A.R.E.'s announcement press release and certainly signal some major lines of attack that will be a part of Robinson's future:
“There are few things more sacred than the decisions we make about our bodies and our families. Mark Robinson has made it clear, time, and time again, that he believes he can dictate these most personal decisions for others, without regard for individual circumstances, viewpoints, or personal faith traditions.”
--Jillian Riley, Planned Parenthood
“I stand before you today as a Black man, I stand before you as a husband, I stand before you as a father, I stand before you as one who follows Jesus and I want you to know that I believe in systemic racism, I believe in a woman's right to choose, I believe in same gender love, I believe in one's right to be who it is that you believe you want to be. I want you to know in spite of what Mark Robinson says that there are many Black men who feel the same way that I do. I want y'all to know there are many White Americans in rural North Carolina who feel the same way.”
--Rev. C.J. Brinson, Down Home NC
“He mocks and diminishes the humanity that he does not understand. When seeking to lead an entire state as beautiful and diverse and expansive as North Carolina, we need a leader who can grasp the teaching of the golden rule, treat others the way you want to be treated.”
--Irene Godinez, Poder NC