You want to keep NC Blue, show up to vote!

Vicky Boyer's post, "Keeping NC Blue" has many good points. While extolling the virtues of bringing new blood into elected office, I think she missed a couple of key points.

First, young people have the worst record of voting in NC than any other demographic. When young people show up in single digit percentages in many areas in the state, is there any wonder why your agenda is not being met? I am old enough to remember that as a young 19 year old in the Navy in 1971, I could not vote in this country. Old enough to die, but not old enough to vote. As a teenager, I protested not only for civil rights and against the war in Vietnam, I protested so anyone over the age of 18 could have the right to vote. And what does the current generation of young people do with that hard won right? Well who knows since the vast majority of young people can't even show up to vote. If your lack of concern in the last election wasn't a wake up call as to the dangers of letting the GOP have the entire store, then I do not think anything will.

The economic realities of offshore drilling the Atlantic OCS


Applying reason to a rhetoric-filled debate:

Taylor, in her presentation, explored the economic and other benefits that have been touted as reasons to pursue offshore drilling off the Atlantic coast. Enhancing the nation’s energy independence, lowering energy prices and creating jobs are the big three reasons often cited, but what’s the reality?

“We cannot be independent of a globally traded commodity,” Taylor said, referring specifically to petroleum products, for which prices are set on international markets.

An indisputable reality we've been trying to convey to the "drill, baby, drill" crowd until we're blue in the face. But they're either dishonest or don't have the capacity to understand, which is why we have to keep saying it:

Daily dose: Anti-union bully edition


GOP presidential hopeful Walker brings regular-guy campaign to Rock Hill (Charlotte Observer) -- Republican Party, “blue-collar” Republican presidential candidate Scott Walker of Wisconsin brought a regular-guy preacher’s son campaign to a huge packed house Sunday afternoon in Rock Hill. In a week of Republican presidential campaigning that included the most-watched debate in primary history and constant verbal sparring between frontrunner Donald Trump and seemingly the rest of the Republican Party, blue-collar Republican presidential candidate Scott Walker of Wisconsin brought a regular-guy preacher’s son campaign to a huge packed house Sunday afternoon in Rock Hill.

Confederate denialism continues in Hillsborough


Who said there were no more traveling circuses?

One rhetorical showdown involved retired contractor Timothy Blyston of Broadway and a member of the Sons of the Confederacy organization who said he has “hundreds of black friends.” He asserted that the Civil War wasn’t fought over slavery and repeated a slogan visible on many signs: “It’s not hate, it’s heritage. And all lives matter.”

Donning a forward-tilting rebel cap, Blystone approached Russell Bassett, a retired credit manager from Cedar Grove. As their voices rose and their faces drew closer, another protester gently guided them apart. “My great-grandparents were slaves,” Bassett said afterward. “I wouldn’t be an [expletive] and bring my Union outfit. But he’s gonna bring that [rebel cap] and put it in my face?”

I have a sinking feeling these confrontations are only going to get worse, until violence (once again) enters the picture and we're counting the bullet-ridden bodies.

Daily dose: Rep. Bryan's dirty little secret edition

Plan for charter takeover of worst public schools crafted in secret (Charlotte Observer) -- N.C. Rep. Rob Bryan, a Mecklenburg Republican with a leadership role in education, has been working for weeks on a bill he hopes will eventually transform public schools. It would start small, with a pilot Achievement District plan that would force five of North Carolina’s most persistently low-performing elementary schools to close or be taken over by charter operators. If you haven’t heard of this plan, it’s because the bill hasn’t been introduced or discussed in any public forum. There’s nothing about it in public records yet. Instead, Bryan has been crafting his proposal behind closed doors. … Bryan says his plan has been repeatedly revised: “I think we’re on version 26 now.” Lindsay Wagner, a reporter for N.C. Policy Watch, reported on Bryan’s plan last month in a political blog called The Progressive Pulse. Last week Bryan responded to the Observer’s calls for comment and provided a version he said is likely to be introduced soon.

Voter suppression judge gives pass to Alamance County Sheriff

Choosing to ignore blatant racial profiling by law enforcement:

The Justice Department also alleged that Johnson said “bring me some Mexicans” during a staff meeting in January 2007. “In eliciting this statement, the government made no effort to provide any context, and none was given,” Schroeder wrote in his opinion. “The court is doubtful that the claimed statement was made, especially in the unsupported context.” Johnson denied making the statement.

Two sheriff’s employees testified that Johnson said to “go get those/some Mexicans,” but both deputies said the statements were made in reference to a Mexican gang that the sheriff’s office was investigating for possible criminal activity, according to the opinion. “It does not indicate that the sheriff ever directed his deputies to arrest individuals simply because they were from Mexico or were Hispanic,” Schroeder wrote.

Bolding mine. This judge is beginning to sound more like a defense attorney representing plainly guilty parties than an objective observer. In one breath he "doubts" the racist statement was made, and in another breath he admits it probably was but was simply misunderstood. I'm sure nobody reading this would want a Federal judge who was a rubber stamp for the DOJ. But we also don't need one with barely-concealed contempt for the agency, especially when it comes to Civil Rights issues. Needless to say, this racial profiling decision gives me even more reason to believe Schroeder will rule in favor of the GOP vote suppressors in the next few weeks, so the time to begin preparing the appeal is yesterday.

Daily dose: Bad business decisions edition


Treasurer worries bill could threaten state's credit rating (AP) — State Treasurer Janet Cowell says she's worried a Senate bill going to the floor next week could risk the top scores bond-rating firms give North Carolina that help keep borrowing costs low.

Treasurer says tax amendments endanger NC’s bond ratings (Raleigh News & Observer) -- The state treasurer on Friday announced her opposition to a bill advancing in the Senate that would impose spending and income tax caps through a trio of constitutional amendments, if voters approved.

On the campaign trail with Small-Town Steve

And no, I'm not going to put "Small-Town Steve" on my yard signs, and I really haven't gone very far along said campaign trail. But I thought it would be a good exercise (for me at least) to explore some of the ideas that drove me to file for office and have dominated my thoughts since then. Don't really have any local dragons to slay or threads of corruption to unravel, so some of you may find this a little boring. But when you get right down to it, where you live is pretty dang important, right? I believe that local government should be more than just a collector of taxes and provider of services. It should also strive to improve the quality of life for all its citizens. The former is formulaic, but the latter requires vision and understanding, traits that seem to be rare these days. Let's talk about that:


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