Interview, Larry Kissell-working class hero-candidate for most targeted house race in the country

Larry Kissell, as some of you know, lost by the closest margin of any congressional race for 2006. What I learned when talking to him is just how much I admire his courage and his story.
Kissell was a factory worker for 26 years in central North Carolina. After the numerous job losses due to Free Trade Agreements like NAFTA and GATT, Kissell left his career and transitioned into teaching at the local high school. He was one of the fortunate ones in his community.
Many of his neighbors lost their jobs in the factory overnight seeing them outsourced to foreign countries. Many have found work, but the jobs are lower paying, with reduced or no benefits, and sometimes are combinations of 2 or 3 part-time jobs.

Links you might like, Part V

Man with Homer Simpsonesque brain lives normal life.

Ezra Klein on S-CHIP and the Medicare Advantage Plans.

Back in 1982, Congress tried to unleash the magic of the free market by letting private insurers offer Medicare plans for seniors who wanted them. The insurers would be paid at the same rates as Medicare and, if they were indeed more efficient, could then offer more expansive benefits and out-compete the public program.
They were not more efficient. But they've been very good at lobbying Republican Congresses. And so now, the government is paying these private plans about 120 percent of what Medicare gets per patient. In other words, the government is overpaying these plans in order to help them out-compete the public plan -- which they're still not doing. It's an almost hilariously absurd state of affairs, were it not actually costing us all a lot of money.

It's EVOLUTION folks, and it could cost you your life.

HB1587 Changed, Sent to Study Committee

From many reports of those who attended Tuesday's NC House Finance Committee meeting it appears we dodged a bullet. HB1587, the so called Local Government Fair Competition Act, was changed and a new one took its place. The new bill calls for a committee to "study local government owned and operated communication services."

For the back story on the fight against this bad legislation read this BlueNC post. Cross posted from yesh.com.

Senate of Shame

We think it will find favor with everyone who needs to find favor with it." - Tony Rand

That's the quote the Insider leads with in its coverage of the budget announcement. And it is no doubt true - especially the 60,000 wealthiest individuals in North Carolina who get a break on their income taxes, while the other 9 million see a permanent increase in the sales tax rate.

In Exile this week

Already out of date -- this week's Exile on Jones Street.

Not a stalemate, but not exactly a sprint to the finish either.

The state budget is close to done, but with a few major items — mostly on the revenue side — yet to be ironed out. So, how long before the deal is struck?

The president pro tem of the Senate says it could be a good be a long discussion. The governor says get on with it. And the speaker of the NC House says predictions are pretty useless.

Monday Night with Patty

This should be good. Little Patty McHenry is hosting a live-blogging session on his own website this Monday night to answer questions from constituents.

Congressman Patrick McHenry today announced he will host a live, unprecedented Virtual Townhall on Monday, July 30 at 7:30 p.m. Tenth District residents interested in participating can visit the Congressman’s website – http://mchenry.house.gov – at 7:30 p.m. next Monday and click the banner located across the top of the home page.

Hat tip to the Dome for posting this story first.

First Home Ticks, Now Sand Fleas

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

It's bad enough that the Home Ticks are getting their claws into the transfer tax issue, which they have no business being involved with. But now their cousins, the Sand Fleas, are pushing to change years of effective public policy. Coast developers are leaning on the legislature to pass legislation that will allow hardened structures on beaches and inlets - the first step toward building sea walls in front of luxury beachfront properties.

And in case you're not aware, hardened structures on one part of a beach cause accelerated erosion on other parts of the beach. In other words, they're destructive and stupid. The NC Conservation Network is asking sane people like us to contact our representatives to stop Senate Bill 599.

The work shenanigans of the sprawl lobby NC Senate have reached an all time low this year. It's hard to imagine, but it looks like things could get even worse.



Open Thread: Organize!

Here's an Open Thread and few links on organizing and Party infrastructure to get you started!

The Democrats' Fifty-State Strategy Stokes North Carolina's Grassroots by Bob Moser of The Nation

NC-11 Has convened a Council of Elders, but will there be room for Progressives at the table?

A Fantastic Progressive is running for Asheville City Council - Elaine Lite.

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