James @
Wednesday, April 23, 2014 - 7:45am

The Republican US Senate debate last night should have been required viewing for all North Carolinians. With the possible exception of Heather Grant, bless her heart, who actually seemed to be thinking for herself once in a while, the debate was an orgy of hate.

In one corner stood Greg Brannon, an unapologetic con-man of the Rand Paul persuasion, whose well-publicized affair with Glenn Beck shows just how extreme he really is.

In another corner stood Thom Tillis, the self-described architect of North Carolina's "conservative revolution."

Meanwhile, Mark Harris, who was chosen by god to run in this race, watched from the sidelines with Heather Grant, both continuously out-flanked by two of the most arrogant and hateful men you can imagine.

For Tillis, the answer to every question was the same. "It's really very simple," he said on many occasions. "All you have to do is rid of Obamacare, cut taxes on the rich, put more brown people in jail, keep all those women and their vaginas under control. It's really very simple."

For Brannon, everything was constitutional. Article whatever section three. The British are coming. Put on your tinfoil hats.

I hope you'll take time to look at the debate for yourself. Perhaps you'll reach the same conclusion the Greensboro News-Record reached.

The hour-long debate, held at Davidson College and televised by Time Warner Cable, showed the candidates share similar stances. They oppose abortion, the Affordable Care Act, Common Core education standards, government overreach and amnesty for undocumented immigrants. They believe some federal departments — from Education and Energy to the Internal Revenue Service — could be abolished. They don’t believe that climate change is real.

Thom Tillis
James @
Saturday, April 19, 2014 - 12:01pm

Last fall I heard Ken Spaulding speak for the first time. As candidates for governor, we had both been invited to a meeting of the Chatham County Democratic Party.

When Ken took the podium, he talked personally and extemporaneously about the challenges facing North Carolina under the Republican reign of terror. He cited a litany of familiar insults to our state and our constitution, and called for those in attendance to wake up and step up. He promised he would not stand by while other candidates were "anointed and appointed" to represent the Democratic party. This veiled reference to Attorney General Cooper is one of the things that caught my interest and attention.

Fast forward to today and you'll see that Ken Spaulding has definitely not been standing by. Not only is he challenging the establishment with an aggressive grassroots campaign, he is also challenging the inevitability of Roy Cooper's nomination.

James @
Thursday, April 17, 2014 - 10:55am

Indyweek's Bob Geary does a great job cutting through the baloney to explain what's happening in the US Senate Republican primary. It's hard to summarize all the points, so go take a look and see for yourself.

Here are two highlights:

A "culture of corruption" surrounds Tillis and makes him unelectable, says Dr. Greg Brannon, the Cary obstetrician and tea party favorite who runs second to Tillis in most polls. Tillis ignores Brannon, who has ethical issues of his own. After a civil trial in February, a jury found that Brannon misled investors about a technology start-up and ordered him to repay $454,631.

James @
Wednesday, April 16, 2014 - 3:34pm

There's a reason they call Pat McCrory the King of Coal Ash. He loves the stuff and is doing everything he can to protect Duke Energy's interests as the ash-pond debacle plays out. So instead of choosing the right thing (moving coal ash dumps away from rivers), he's developing a complex scheme to get away with doing the wrong thing (leaving it where it is).

Plus, watch out. When a greeder like John Skvarla uses his bully pulpit to call a citizen "sophomoric," you can be sure some good old-fashioned f*ck-you customer service won't be far behind.

WRAL has the story.

James @
Wednesday, April 16, 2014 - 9:47am

Thom Tillis
James @
Monday, April 14, 2014 - 5:09pm

Ya gotta love the cognitive dissonance on parade in Raleigh these days, especially in the Department of Commerce, where McDecker just announced more interference by government in the affairs of business. Apparently, companies like Monster and Indeed are incapable of helping workers and employers connect with one another, so the State is getting into the act as well.

James @
Monday, April 14, 2014 - 8:39am

I know sea level rise has been declared illegal in North Carolina, but that doesn't change the fact that it is happening ... and accelerating. For a practical look at the consequences for infrastructure (especially sewage systems), take a look at this excellent story at North Carolina Health News. It's a sobering reminder that the people in charge of our government are, for the most part, clueless fools with their heads stuck in the sand.

James @
Sunday, April 13, 2014 - 7:50pm

One of North Carolina's great treasures is its system of state parks. Jane and I have been visiting many of them, and this weekend we had the pleasure of spending two days camping at Medoc Mountain State Park in Halifax County. It's a sweet place with five great loop hikes, and spring was definitely in the air. Here's what Wikipedia has to say about the park:

Medoc Mountain is not really a mountain at all; its highest point reaches an elevation of only 325 feet (99 m) above sea level. It is, rather, the core of what was once a mighty range of mountains — Medoc Mountain is what remains after millions of years of erosion. The eroded peaks were formed by volcanic action during the Paleozoic Age, about 350 million years ago.

The park sits near the fall line, an area where the hard, resistant rocks of the foothills give way to the softer rocks and sediments of the coastal plain. The northern and western faces of Medoc Mountain have very steep slopes, dropping 160 feet over a distance of less than a quarter mile. Such rugged terrain is unusual for the eastern piedmont.

James @
Friday, April 11, 2014 - 10:09am

There's news this week that the slum-retailing business is beginning to crumble under the weight of its own greed. It's a sad story all around, and it's also the natural conclusion of a business model that depends on exploiting poor people.

Though Art Pope would disagree, he and his fellow slumlords have been working to decimate the middle class and to ensure that poor people stay that way. As it turns out, they've been cannibalizing their own customer base to the point that their customers can no longer afford even the cheap crap they sell.

"... the retailer’s core customers – which it defines as female heads of household making less than $40,000 a year – are still pressured by a weak economy that has left many low-income workers struggling. Cuts to federal food stamp benefits have also hurt Family Dollar, Levine said.

James @
Friday, April 11, 2014 - 9:27am

Mother Jones is on a roll, this week taking Little Tommy Tillis to task for being ... well ... the arrogant, patronizing jerk that he actually is. Go see the story, and then listen to this amazing video.

This is the real Thom Tillis and, oh my goodness, he is one ugly son of a bitch.

Thom Tillis