I miss Bev

Reading the news in North Carolina every day is a maddening experience. We have so much potential, and so very little progress. It's not all because of the Republican Boys Club in Raleigh, but it sure seems like a lot of decisions are nothing more than bad-ass legislators trying prove what big pricks they are. Bev Perdue was far from perfect, and I disagreed with many of her actions. But boy-oh-boy do I miss her.

Removal of Christian war memorial brings out Militia

Who also happen to be the ones who created it in the first place:

The City of King last week removed a statue of a soldier kneeling before a cross from the Veteran’s Memorial at King Central Park as part of a settlement agreement on a lawsuit. King resident David Dombrosky got the idea last week to kneel at the site in peaceful protest on Sunday.

The Stokes County Militia organization rallied around Dombrosky, who is a militia member, by officially sponsoring the event. Darrell Calloway, commander of the militia, got a city permit for the event. Word spread on social media.

I would describe these folks as "militia-lite," as they generally gather together for community projects and don't stalk around in uniform open-carrying assault rifles and such. That being said, once you slide down that Prepper rabbit hole, it's hard to predict future behavior.

Daily dose: McCrory faces ethics complaint

McCrory hit with ethics complaint (AP) — Progress North Carolina says it will file an ethics complaint against Republican Gov. Pat McCrory over omissions on his state disclosure forms and potential conflicts of interest raised by his business dealings. Progress North Carolina Action executive director Gerrick Brenner says the group will file its complaint Monday with the North Carolina Ethics Commission. The complaint seeks a formal ethics investigation into McCrory's holdings of stock in his former employer Duke Energy and payouts he received from a Charlotte-based mortgage broker where he was a board member.


Tillis and the looming destruction of the social safety net

It's not what you know, it's who you listen to:

Republican Sen. Richard Burr, the state’s senior senator, escorted him around, as did others who know the place well. Now Tillis is one of the 100 senators, talking to them all the time. “Not only about the senatorial process, but which hallways you can go down that don’t actually have a dead end,” he joked, at least in part. The Capitol is a labyrinth of marble stairways, long corridors, senators’ secret hideaways and underground passageways. It’s easy to get lost.

The desk of Tillis’ chief of staff, John Mashburn, is under a large state seal in the same room as the receptionist, directly opposite the office’s entrance. Mashburn is known as a very conservative Republican. He’s a North Carolina native with long experience on Capitol Hill, including work for the late Sen. Jesse Helms.

Mashburn is more than just another of Helms' old cronies. He's an anti-Welfare zealot, whose goal of punishing the poor has been blocked for decades by less radical elements in the GOP, not to mention Democrats. But he may finally get his wish by pulling Tillis' strings:

Shape the future, or be shaped by the past

Since long before our most recent election, there has been much turmoil in NC's Democratic Party. It seems everybody has somebody or some group to blame for multiple cycles of election losses, and the finger-pointing has often veered into the absurd. During such times of crisis, certain core values are at risk of being abandoned. That is the folly of "otherism." One side lays claim to being "progressive," and the other side begins to snarl when they hear that word. Or one elected Democrat abandons the Party, and the hand-wringing and "What are we doing wrong?" questions start circulating.

Those things are not symptoms of faulty values or platform positions, they are "reactions" to campaign losses. And those losses had a lot more to do with clever, unethical, and corporate-financed tactics employed by the opposition, than they did any sort of "wrong direction" on public policy goals. It's important to remember that distinction, because nothing can kill a movement (or a political party) faster than choking off the voices of those who struggled to build it in favor of those who would feel more comfortable if it had never been built in the first place. Here are a few more words, if you care to read them:

Daily dose: Dash for the cash edition


Top on the agenda with return to Raleigh, raising campaign cash (WRAL-TV) -- Amid the rush of office moves, angling for committee assignments and pomp that marks the beginning of the legislative session, another tradition shows top lawmakers have at least one eye on the next election before they even start governing in earnest. Invitations to campaign fundraisers are circling around Raleigh, including a joint event for Senate President Pro Tem Phil Berger and House Speaker-designee Tim Moore on Jan. 13, the day before lawmakers are due to officially be sworn into office and officially organize themselves. "I actually have three fundraisers the day before," said Moore, R-Cleveland, ticking off a list that included an event coordinated by the House Republican Caucus and an evening gathering featuring barbecue.


Why North Carolina Needs Syringe Decriminalization

What a used syringe looks like

Why North Carolina Needs Syringe Decriminalization

It’s time for North Carolina to do something about its heroin problem. Over the past 6 years, state heroin use rates have more than tripled. More heroin means more injection drug use. More injection drug use means more syringes that could harm children, police officers and the community by transmitting viruses such as HIV and hepatitis B and C. Regardless of whether you choose to use drugs, what happens to those syringes affects all of us. To protect the health and safety of North Carolinians, the state needs to decriminalize syringes. Syringe decriminalization, or removing syringes from the list of items considered drug paraphernalia, lowers the incidence of accidental needle-stick injury to law enforcement and the public, decreases the transmission of blood borne viruses, and allows for safe disposal of used syringes.

The NC GOP's bullheaded opposition to Federal programs

A mix of provincialism and plain old superstitious clap-trap:

State Rep. Joe Sam Queen, D-Haywood, told about 175 people attending the Asheville Area Chamber of Commerce's legislative luncheon on the Biltmore Estate that accepting federal funds to extend Medicaid coverage would increase jobs in the state and address the imbalance between what North Carolinians send to Washington and what they get back.

But state Sen. Ralph Hise, R-Mitchell, said he and his colleagues "are not here to chase the federal dollar, the federal money that's coming forward" as Medicaid is currently structured.

Those "federal dollars" are our dollars too, Cletus. Even the people who now fall into that "donut hole" that idiots like you helped to create with your stubborn refusal to cooperate paid Federal taxes, but thanks to ideologues in the Republican Party those folks (and a whole lot of others) are simply not being represented in their own state government. Hise is more interested in helping insurance companies than the people who desperately need health care:

Illegal lobbying by Tom Fetzer

A tip from a reader:

Tom Fetzer has been hired by (and is currently lobbying for) a consortium of businesses that wants North Carolina employers to be able to opt out of traditional workers compensation plans in favor of back-breaking "options" that pad their bottom lines. The consortium is called ARAWC, and Wal-Mart is the ringleader.


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