Daily dose: Tarnished golden years edition

McCrory, GOP tax ‘reform’ has elderly facing big bite (Hendersonville Times-News) -- Don Ward spends nearly every hour of the day in his Hendersonville home caring for his 82-year-old wife, Cynthia. Two caregivers help him most of the week. Between the caregivers, insurance premiums, medicine, surgeries and other related costs, Ward's medical expenses totaled $40,000 for 2014. In 2013, when his expenses were about the same, Ward's North Carolina income tax refund was $1,000, which he put in a medical account that took care of expenses such as paying the two caregivers. For 2014, however, Ward will take a big hit and owe nearly $3,000.

Discrimination vs. destruction

Gene Nichol's letter to the editor today (N&O) is an important read. Some excerpts follow.

First, the array of possible claims in the name of religious freedom is, literally, boundless. The Supreme Court has entertained cases asserting faith-based commands to engage in polygamy, discriminate on the basis of race, smoke peyote and conduct live animal slaughter or to refuse to enter the draft, pay taxes, contribute to Social Security, obtain a photo ID, go to school past the eighth grade and wear the prescribed military uniform while on duty.

Berger plays the flawed "intolerance" card on RFRA

When the only tool you have in your debate box is a logical fallacy, you have no business presiding over the NC Senate:

He expressed concern about what seems to be an increase in “intolerance” toward people with sincere religious views. “That is what appears to be on display at this time,” he said. “I think that’s something that is beginning to concern a lot of people."

Let me say it again, because it apparently hasn't yet penetrated the skulls of Neanderthals: "Refusing to tolerate intolerance is not in itself intolerance." There is a movement out there, but it's not an effort to attack the religious beliefs of individuals or groups, it's individuals and groups using their stated religious beliefs to attack others. And that movement is crossing the church/state line to get the government to help them attack people of which they don't approve. Which leads us to Berger's next laughable logical blunder:


Advocates for the freedom agenda offer an alluring promise. If only everyone everywhere were free to do exactly what they want, all would be right in the world. Justin Burr's bill to permit guns at the state fair is a good example of this concept. Freedom, the only right that matters, is sufficient to bring order to our chaotic world. Every other right plays second fiddle.

Daily dose: R.I.P. driver's education edition

Driver's ed in reverse (Greenville Daily Reflector) -- The N.C. legislature’s move to redirect funding for driver’s education is among efforts to shore up the state Highway Fund while furthering a Republican agenda to shift more funding responsibilities to local governments. State Budget Director Lee Roberts, during a meeting with The Daily Reflector Editorial Board, confirmed those motivations behind the shifting of tax dollars away from driver’s education. Included in special provisions being drafted by Roberts is a measure to repeal the 62-year-old general statute requiring schools to provide driver’s education. With no state mandate or funding, most school systems would have little incentive for continuing their driver’s education programs. Losing those programs not only could threaten hundreds of jobs related to driver’s education, it could make roads less safe, cause insurance rates to go up, and it could create hardship for families with young drivers who still would be required to complete an approved driver’s education course under the state’s Graduated Licensing program.

Permitting illegal pollution: Duke Energy's hypocrisy on coal ash

If it's too expensive to fix, then subvert the system:

The permits, which are renewed every five years, would allow Duke Energy to identify 23 previously illegal coal ash leaks at three area power plants — Riverbend Steam Station on Mountain Island Lake, Marshall Steam Station on Lake Norman and Allen Steam Station on Lake Wylie — and include them in discharge permits instead of stopping the seeps.

As is usual in cases where Duke Energy finds itself on the wrong side of safety and health laws and regulations, reality is what you say it is. What was once illegal is now legal, thanks to a few squiggles jotted on a piece of paper by someone who isn't a lawmaker. Isn't that handy?

Daily dose: Chicken hawk makes some noise version

Tillis: After 14 years, U.S. 2017 withdrawal from Afghanistan too soon (AP) — North Carolina Sen. Thom Tillis says his visit to Afghanistan makes clear to him the U.S. military must keep a presence beyond President Barack Obama's projected troop withdrawal in early 2017.

After Afghanistan trip, Tillis worried about withdrawal (AP) — The U.S. military must remain in Afghanistan beyond President Barack Obama's projected troop withdrawal in early 2017 to discourage prospects for the Islamic State militants to get a toehold here, North Carolina Sen. Thom Tillis said Friday following a visit there.

Daily dose: "Good" Friday? edition


McCrory: Left and right have manufactured religious freedom controversy (Fayetteville Observer) - Gov. Pat McCrory appeared on WFNC radio in Fayetteville Thursday morning and reiterated his effort to prevent North Carolina from being swept into the political maelstrom that engulfed Indiana and Arkansas over religious freedom and gay rights. "Let me criticize both the left and the right: I think it's a manufactured controversy on both sides," McCrory, a Republican, told host Jeff "Goldy" Goldberg on the Good Morning Fayetteville talk show. They are using it for their fundraising efforts, he said.


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