The end of choice

As you probably have heard, the US Supreme Court today upheld the federal abortion ban. Reminiscent of Bill Frist in the sad Terry Schiavo case, we now have a cabal of privileged men stepping in to overrule the judgments of front-line physicians. This ruling could mean the end of medically necessary abortions for women who are only 12 weeks into pregnancies that could cost them their lives. For more on the issue, you can go here.

And if that weren't bad enough, the Theocrats here in North Carolina are also getting in on the act to impose their moral judgments on women who - for whatever reasons - choose to have abortions. Under a new bill submitted by Party of Greed Representative Linda Johnson, North Carolina would trundle back to the dark ages with a host of paternalistic restrictions that tell women they are too stupid to know what they're doing with their bodies. Here's the sorry piece of legislation, and here's the email address of the sorry person who submitted it:

Open Thread: VT Edition

From my President, the West Wing's President Bartlet:
"'Joy cometh in the morning,' scripture tells us. I hope so. I don't know if life would be worth living if it didn't ... and I don't know what they want. All I know for sure, all I know for certain, is that they weren't born wanting to do this. There's evil in the world, there'll always be, and we can't do anything about that. But there's violence in our schools, too much mayhem in our culture, and we can do something about that. There's not enough character, discipline, and depth in our classrooms; there aren't enough teachers in our classrooms. There isn't nearly enough, not nearly enough, not nearly enough money in our classrooms, and we can do something about that. We're not doing nearly enough, not nearly enough to teach our children well, and we can do better, and we must do better, and we will do better, and we will start this moment today! They weren't born wanting to do this."

Our prayers go out to everyone affected by this tragedy. Almost everyone my age in the Southeast has a friend of a friend who was there on Monday ... as evidenced by all all the black ribbons on facebook.

BlueNC Veterans Day: Thursday, April 19th

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Join us for BlueNC Veterans Day on April 19.

As home to more active duty personnel than 47 other states (California, Texas and Virginia have more), North Carolina has a special relationship with the military. Military families and veterans abound all across the state, and many of them are fed up with the incompetence and corruption of the Republican Party. They realize they've been played for chumps, and they're starting to speak out, act up and raise hell.

Fighting for an Equitable Tax System for Working Families

North Carolina needs a state earned income tax credit. Our low income working families bear a larger local tax burden as a percentage of income than our wealthy residents. A state earned income tax credit would help ease this burden and return money to our working families that they in turn would put back into our economy. A rally Saturday in Charlotte kicked off an effort by ACORN and Working Families Win to fight for a state earned income tax credit.

According to a BTC Brief by the NC Justice Center:

Low-income North Carolina workers pay a greater share of their income in state and local taxes than any other group. In 2003, after adjusting for the federal offset, the bottom 20 percent of North Carolina taxpayers paid 10.9 percent of their incomes in state and local taxes while the top 1 percent of taxpayers paid only 6.3 percent.

Please follow below the fold....


I'm passing through a crowded coffee shop on the way to the library. No power at home. A freezer and refrigerator full of wasted food. Minor inconveniences. A short temper.

The events of the world are helping to keep things in perspective. A few powerless days for me . . . big deal.

The people in New Orleans. The people in Blacksburg. The people in Iraq. The people in need all across this country and around the world.

I have no idea what "powerless" actually means. I have not stood in their shoes.

NOTE TO BLUENC VETERANS: April 19th is BlueNC Veterans Day. Many of you said you'd write posts about your perspectives and experiences, and I'm counting on having five or six entries to front-page on Thursday. Please let me know if you're in.

Community Leaders Call For Hooker Odom's Ouster As Providers Move To Close Their Doors

hooker-odom-mike-dirks.jpg{pic credit Mike Dirks at Hendersonville Times-News}

Background on this story here, here, here, here, here, here.

Hendersonville Times-News: "Mental health care leaders in the mountains are calling for the dismissal of North Carolina's top health official on the grounds of mismanagement."
"This cut was done without any consultation with providers, LMEs, counties, CFAC (Consumer and Family Advisory Council), advocates and hospitals, the very ones that supply the essential mental health services in our communities," [Jason] Chappell wrote.
"Chappell asked residents to "request that the rates are re-instated and action be taken to place competent people in charge of mental health in the state."

N&O's Barrett Sums Up OLF Controversy - Sort Of

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For those with only a passing interest in the OLF controversy, Barbara Barrett at the N&O does a decent job today summarizing the whole story. You can read it here.

WASHINGTON - Environmental forces in North Carolina might finally have the U.S. Navy in their cross hairs. With new outrage surfacing last week from one U.S. senator and harsh questions posed by another, there is a wave of political momentum against the Navy's plans to build an airstrip alongside a national wildlife refuge.
On Monday, Sen. Richard Burr told the Navy its preferred site in Washington and Beaufort counties faced "insurmountable and growing opposition."

You get what you pay for?

I'm a big believer in "you get what you pay for." That's why I'm always advocating for better pay in every sector of government. Public agencies and departments should be models of excellence that inspire confidence and attract the best and brightest people to serve at every level.

RALEIGH, N.C. -- State lawmakers haven't given themselves a raise in more than a decade, and with each passing year, more legislators say serving in the General Assembly isn't as agreeable as it use to be. And that was before new lobbying restrictions took effect this year that turned their free steak dinners into Dutch treat at the local cafeteria.


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