The arrogance of (Duke) power

As a 35-year customer of Duke Energy, I expect to be able to navigate their maze of “customer service” barriers with relative ease. I’ve started, stopped, and transferred service dozens of times with only minor injuries. This week, however, I met my match. I ran into the grotesque monstrosity known as Duke Protection. It is a bureaucracy so impenetrable and imperious, it would stop Indiana Jones dead in his tracks.

If you’ve never had the pleasure of dealing with Duke Protection, you must count yourself lucky. They are the gestapo of the Duke Energy monopoly machine, and they operate without regard to reason.

The story of my frustration is simple one. Through a billing mix-up that is impossible to track down, the electric service to my daughter’s apartment in Chapel Hill was cut off without warning last week. When she called to get service restarted, she was directed to Duke Protection, where Melody, a mindless cog in the monopoly machine, determined that she must show an actual Social Security Card to affirm that she is indeed who she says she is.

If you live in Chapel Hill and don’t have a car, you are shit out of luck in the Social Security Card department. The closest office is in Durham, which may as well be the moon to a person living ten miles away without transportation. Even for those with transportation, the ordeal is arduous. Just the sort of thing Republican's love, as evidenced by their Voter ID fetish.

Love won, hate zero

Affordable Care Act: Myths, Facts, & Benefits

Myth: The Affordable Care Act (ACA) is socialistic.

Facts:

  • The only socialized medicine in the US is Veteran’s Health & the Indian Health Service.
  • The Affordable Care Act (“Obamacare”) is modeled after the successful Massachusetts’ Healthcare Plan (“Romneycare”), a Republican program, conceived by the conservative Heritage Foundation. Both Obamacare and Romneycare depend completely on private insurance providers and expand private health-insurance coverage to people who previously did not have it.

Energy Summit draws industry reps and protestors

The happy talk express gets derailed:

Three protesters disrupted proceedings inside, shouting at speakers Jack Gerard, president of the American Petroleum Institute, and N.C. Gov. Pat McCrory, who responded to their calls against offshore drilling and hydraulic fracturing, also known as “fracking.” Continuing, McCrory added, referring to the protester: “And for that individual and other individuals who will now get in their car and fill up with gas or turn on their air conditioner or heater, they’re using energy from the same sources that they’re protesting against.”

That prompted another protester to call out at McCrory before being escorted out. Rob Kaiser, publisher of the Greater Wilmington Business Journal, who emceed the event and interviewed McCrory, spoke over the outburst to ask the governor how such environmental concerns are balanced with business interests.

And he just became part of the story instead of reporting it. This forum may not have been set up to allow questions/comments from the audience, but a journalist who drowns out somebody else's voice, even if he's trying to "smooth things over" and get some kind of answer the reporter thinks may address the protestor's concerns, is no journalist at all. He's a pundit, and we have more than enough of those. As to the Governor himself, his illogical mouth runneth over:

Daily dose: Today's the final day for voter registration

Time to call it: NC voting law a dishonest, unjust and racist attack on rights (Raleigh News & Observer column) -- The Supreme Court's disappointing ruling against reinstating same-day registration and counting out-of-precinct votes serves as a stark reminder that it is time for everyone outraged by the ongoing war against voting in North Carolina to call this coordinated attack for what it is:
http://www.newsobserver.com/2014/10/09/4220150/time-to-call-it-nc-voting-law.html

Time For North Carolinians To Stand Up!

Friends,
The time is drawing near, and the hour is late. This Mid-Term election is not like any other in the history of this country and North Carolina will play a crucial role in shaping the future of the nation.

In North Carolina's 3rd Congressional District, voters have a real opportunity to both shock and shape the future of this country. The democratic candidate, Marshall Adame is, by far, the best hope that the 3rd District has had in over 20 years. Marshall Adame is highly qualified, brings a wealth of international diplomatic experience, served on Congressional Commissions, and has served his country in war. This man is a reliable member of the community that has only one purpose....to serve the people of the 3rd District, stand with his neighbors when legislature is passed by the state that hurts the people of his community and his district, and to bring an active interest in improving the economic state of the 3rd District. It's time the 3rd District has a Congressman that is ready to roll up his sleeves and get things done for the people of the district and the people of this country. Marshall has and will always put the people first.

SCOTUS: Weird with a beard

We're going to discuss photo IDs and vote suppression in just a minute.

But first, God and beards were before the Supreme Court on Tuesday in the case of Holt v. Hobbs. At issue: Whether a Muslim prisoner in Arkansas should be allowed to wear a beard in accordance with his religious faith. Per federal statute, prisons should allow such accomodation. As a compromise, the plaintiff, Holt, had agreed that a half-inch beard would satisfy his obligation to God.

University of Virginia law professor Douglas Laycock testified for the plaintiff.

Reflections on the "post-racial" South

The dangers of coming home from school while black:

Stacy Tyler said she had left her home unlocked because she knew her foster son, DeShawn Currie, would be arriving home from school. When neighbors spotted Currie, who is black, entering the Tyler residence, they immediately called police.

When they arrived, they ordered Currie to put his hands on the door. “For what?” he said he replied. “This is my house. Why are y’all here?” Officers then pointed to a photograph on the mantel of the Tyler’s natural born children, all of whom are white, at which point Currie became angry. After a brief argument, officers pepper-sprayed Currie in the face.

This story makes me angry for several reasons: First off, either the neighbors who called the police didn't know the family had a black foster child, which makes me angry the foster parents hadn't taken steps to shield DeShawn from possible (likely?) confusion like this. Or the neighbors did know, and they did this out of malice towards a family who brought a black kid into the neighborhood. Of course I'm angry at the cops for pepper-spraying the kid, but I'm also a little angry at DeShawn himself for not reacting calmly, and maybe showing the cops his bedroom (which should have proven he was supposed to be there). But above all, I'm angry that we live in a society where all these elements come into play.

Tom Murry's degrading propaganda back in action

Because nothing says leadership better than photoshopping pictures of your opponent:

Murry's campaign, backed by the state GOP, has been relentless in attacking Adcock and her record on the Cary Town Council. In a mailer sent out this summer, a doctored image of Adcock shows her with a Pinocchio nose, claiming Adcock and her "liberal supporters" aren't telling voters the truth.

This tactic is similar to the one the North Carolina GOP executive committee used in 2010, when it sent offensive mailers on behalf of Murry depicting then-opponent Chris Heagerty in a sombrero and claiming he supported higher taxes with the line "mucho taxo," driving jobs "south of the border."

Sadly enough, this sophomoric behavior doesn't seem to backfire as much as it should. Which doesn't reflect well on the voters who respond favorably to such tactics.

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