Daily dose: No morals, no compass edition

Losing our moral compass? (Fayetteville Observer column) -- In our state some 500,000 people without health insurance. They are what have been called "the working poor." The Affordable Care Act - Obamacare - provides coverage for them, with the federal government paying for it. But our Republican politicians in Raleigh say no, not here. So the federal taxes you and I pay here in North Carolina go to providing health insurance for folks in New Jersey, whose Republican governor recognizes a good idea. But not here. These uninsured are real people. Some very sick, some in critical condition. Real people, suffering. Real people whose life will be shortened. Real people who will die way too soon, because Republican legislators like those from our neighborhood, Sen. Wesley Meredith and Rep. John Szoka, turn away. And Gov. Pat McCrory? He has publicly recognized that it is an issue that needs to be addressed. But not now. Maybe next year, after more North Carolinians suffer and die. It is clear that these politicians, growing up, missed the parable of the Good Samaritan. Missed that there are some things you must do, just because it is the right thing to do.

Which religion takes precedence?

The argument over SB2, allowing magistrates to opt out of marrying people they don't like, is about more than religious beliefs--it is about whose religious beliefs take precedence.

This is the same argument the right uses against birth control pills and abortion--they violate a business owner's beliefs and they violate a pharmacist's beliefs, or a doctor's beliefs or a hospital's beliefs. But in caving to the business owner, pharmacist, doctor and hospital, they violate the religious beliefs of the employee and patient.

FCC smacks down NC Legislature's bullying of cities

Thanks to the guts and determination of the City of Wilson, muni broadband is back on the menu:

On Thursday, the Federal Communications Commissions voted 3-2 to override laws preventing Chattanooga, Tenn., and Wilson, N.C. from expanding the high-speed Internet service the cities already offer to some residents. The vote could embolden other cities that feel they have been underserved by traditional Internet providers, potentially undermining years of lobbying by the telecommunications industry.

The FCC's intervention in Wilson, N.C. is even more dramatic, overturning a range of state laws that the city says artificially limits competition. One provision in North Carolina law bars cities from charging prices that are lower than the private incumbents'. Another requires municipalities to gain public support for a city-run service through a special referendum before borrowing money to fund such efforts. A third effectively prohibits cities from building in "unserved areas," according to Wilson's petition.

Bolding mine. It's becoming almost impossible to keep up with all of the laws Republicans passed that have been blocked, overturned, or have come under serious scrutiny for Constitutionality. Any sane person would realize they were heading in the wrong direction with these facts staring them in the face, but the GOP is notorious for creating conspiracies of strawmen to explain their failures and poor judgment. They're going to have to raise taxes just to pay their legal fees for defending all their mistakes.

"Competing Rights" a Clever Ploy: Crafting a "Religious Liberty Exemption" for NC Magistrates

If you're a public servant, you don't get to choose which parts of your job you will do, and which you won't do. If an action falls within your job responsibilities and scope of duties, you have to do it, unless you've been granted an accommodation due to a disability. That's how I've always understood things.

But, apparently, some North Carolina magistrates and clerks in county register of deeds offices find it unconscionable that they be asked to perform marriage ceremonies for same-sex couples now that Amendment One, the 2012 voter-approved law prohibiting same-sex couples from marrying, has been struck down. (A federal judge ruled it unconstitutional in the fall, after which same-sex couples began marrying throughout the state, and some magistrates and clerks resigned in protest.)

Breaking: The end of marriage in North Carolina

RALEIGH - In a shrewd legislative maneuver, Senate Majority Leader Phil Berger today ushered North Carolina into a new post-coital era. The end of marriage is upon us.

"We're letting any public official who wants to opt out of marrying queers do just that," says Berger. "Unfortunately, they'll also have to opt out of marrying anybody else too. But whatever. At least queers won't be getting hitched."

The new law promises to decimate marriage in North Carolina. Magistrates, county clerks, registers of deeds, and everyone else involved in marriages can now say, "Thanks, but no thanks," knowing they have job protection no matter how little work they actually do.

"That's fine by me," says Berger. "I'm all for white Republican Christians getting paid to sit on their asses. It's only darkies that get under my skin."

In response to the action, a spokesperson for the North Carolina ACLU shook her head and laughed. "Here we go again," she said. Extremists passing laws that won't pass any constitutional smell test. So now the state will be spending millions of taxpayer dollars defending this crap in court."

UPDATE: Read the bill itself. And then encourage every public official you can think of to "just say no" in enabling any marriage.

What does it mean to be a good corporate citizen?

I want to like Duke Energy. Really I do. They're a giant company and they could do so much good. In fact, they do do a lot of good. Except when they lie. The Dan River spill was the result of convenient neglect and what should be considered criminal coverup. The risks were created knowingly over decades in concert with a toothless DENR. And now we get a bunch of double talk?

You can't lie and be a good corporate citizen.

My advice to Duke Energy is to come clean. Confess your transgressions and promise to do everything you can to be a better company. Use this as a learning moment. Move us rapidly toward renewables. Embrace citizen producers. Be honest and fair in your dealings. Actually put people before profits. You could do this if you wanted to. And you'd win beyond your wildest dreams. So why don't you?


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