Notes to the State Press

The head of the Department of Health and Human Services launched a massive change in mental health services on the day before Easter weekend, making rate cuts retroactive over a month. The same person yesterday released an “effective immediately” memo with another massive change in mental health services. Mental health providers, by and large private/for-profit businesses, already destabilized by five years of rapid changes in the state’s mental health reform, all had to rewrite their business plans on April 5th in response to the surprise 33% rate cuts. Today they’re again figuring out how best to go out of business.

Carmen Hooker Odom Kills Mental Health Services

Carmen Hooker Odom killed the mental health system today. On the heels of her irresponsible decision to slash rates without consulting the mental health community, Hooker Odom today made it impossible for providers to survive and for recipients to have access to timely services.

In a memo, the Dept. of Health and Human Services ordered that effective immediately:

Red Herrings and Sock Puppets

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It must be tough being a poor oppressed Puppet working for Art Pope. Not only do you have to make "reports" day-in and day-out, you also have to make up mortal adversaries. That's exactly what's happened in the latest barrage of pseudo-news from Daren Bakst of the John Locke Foundation.

“For many environmental advocates, Earth Day is a special occasion to scare more people into believing air quality is getting worse,” said JLF legal and regulatory policy analyst Daren Bakst, the report’s author. “Unfortunately, the scare tactics have worked. Too many people think that the air in North Carolina is getting dirtier and harder to breathe. The fact is North Carolina’s air is cleaner than ever and only getting better.”

Open thread: Issues Heath can bring up at Civitas

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With a growing stream of Republican lies being uncovered by Congress almost every day - about everything from Tillman's death to GonzoGate - it's hard to understand the stunning silence of North Carolina Republican leaders. I guess lying to families of dead soldiers will have to be added to the NC Party of Greed platform.

That's the subject I want Heath Shuler to raise when he walks into the lair of the Dark Side. I want him specifically to ask:

How in god's name can the North Carolina Republican Party stand behind a president who has single-handedly destroyed the moral standing of our country and his office in six short years?

Add your questions here for Congressman Shuler. He says he wants to know what ALL the citizens of North Carolina are thinking . . . so don't be shy.

Why Doesn't Cooper Get More Consideration for 2008 Senate Race?

I’ve read BlueNC a lot, but haven’t posted much at all. But I’ve seen a serious gap in discussion here of the 2008 U.S. Senate race.

Rep. Brad Miller is great – don’t get me wrong. But I don’t understand why we haven’t seen more of an outcry for Roy Cooper to throw his hat into the U.S. Senate against Liddy Dole in 2008.

Again, I don’t have a dog in this fight. I think Miller would be great. And I know that Cooper has said he’s running for AG again in 2008. But we all know that such promises can be adapted/ignored if plans change. And the 2008 Senate race might be a good time for Coop to reconsider.

Consider the resume: a well-known prosecutor who’s won two statewide races for attorney general. As a tough-on-crime attorney general, Cooper is in the best possible position for a federal candidate in the South. Assuming that Gov. Easley isn’t willing to run, Cooper is the only potential Senate candidate who’s won statewide more than once – including Dole herself.

Live blogging Thursday at noon: Jerimee Richir

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Frequent visitors to BlueNC will recognize the name "Jerimee" from our lively discussions about the US Senate race in 2008. Lucky him, blogging is part of his job.

Jerimee Richir was hired by the North Carolina Democratic Party to serve as their Online Communications Director in March of this year. He now serves to help the party discover new ways technology can advance progressive goals. And more important right now, he'll be at BlueNC starting Thursday at noon to answer your questions about his new gig, his passion for Liddy, and whatever else you might want to talk about.

State Senator Malcolm Graham Declines to Run for Mayor of Charlotte

State Senator Malcolm Graham has decided against running to replace Pat McCrory as mayor of Charlotte. Jim Morrill of The Charlotte Observer has the expanded story on Graham's announcement.

State Sen. Malcolm Graham found his epiphany in the closet.

Saturday morning, he had to decide what to wear -- a suit, to attend Mecklenburg County's Democratic convention, or sweats, to go to his daughter's basketball tournament.

He chose the sweats.

"That was a telling moment about what I really wanted to do, and where my focus was," Graham said Monday.

The choice helped Graham clarify a decision not to run for Charlotte mayor this fall, ending weeks of speculation. The two-term senator also said it's "unlikely" that he'll run for re-election in 2008.

Heath Shuler Appearing With Elizabeth Dole At Right Wing Celebration, Why?

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at PhotobucketI'm still waiting on an answer from Shuler's team regarding his inexplicable and deeply disturbing plans to legitimize North Carolina's most partisan and least truthful Republican group.

If you haven't gotten an answer either, there's always the telephone...

(202) 225-6401 or (828) 252-1651

Mental Health Crisis Intensifies - Hooker Odom Yawns

Secretary Carmen Hooker Odom and her antisocial lackeys at the Division of Medical Assistance decided last week that they needed another week to analyze the costs of Community Support services. Of course, they didn't see any need to analyze costs at all when Secretary Odom precipitously slashed funding by a third, making the cuts retroactive to March 1. Due to massive public pressure (that's you) the Odom retreated to a position of making the new unsustainable rate begin April 5 and continue until they set a new rate using their magickal After-the-Fact cost analysis.

The Asheville Citizen-Times and the head of Western Highlands Local Mgmt. Entity (the body that ostensibly coordinates services for many of the western counties) have both called for Secretary Odom's dismissal. Reminiscent of George W. Bush's "complete confidence" in Alberto Gonzales, Governor Easley has expressed his complete confidence in Secretary Odom. Her decision to slash rates to $40/hour for a service that breaks even at $53/hour sent the entire state network of private providers into a mad scramble for cash to meet payroll, to keep their doors open.


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