Jackson vs. Robinson

Our state's political sphere is over-flowing with people who are incompetent at communicating. Either through ignorance or neglect, far too many fall short at every level of engagement. Plus, some are simply bald-faced liars. They don't distinguish fact from fiction, they don't know how to give truthful speeches, they don't know how to answer simple questions, and they don't understand what it takes to connect honestly with other North Carolinians.

Sunday News: From the Editorial Pages


GOVERNOR COOPER OFFERS THE NC LEGISLATURE A PRESCRIPTION IT MUST FULFILL: “A responsibility to learn from adversity and make things better,” he said as he opened his State of the State Address Monday evening in the House Chamber of the State Legislative Building which is celebrating its 60th year of occupancy. Cooper harkened to another milestone of that time – the establishment of the Research Triangle Park – demonstrating “the foresight and resolve to invest in new ideas that have revolutionized our state impacting the generations that followed.” The style and presentation were in keeping with the way Cooper’s governed – pressing for cooperation, conciliation and investment in the future while eschewing confrontation, partisan cheap shots and unproductive lamentations on a false past. Along with his concern over the 25 years of procrastination in meeting the needs of North Carolina’s school children, Cooper rightly called on legislators to end the decade-long refusal to expand Medicaid and do it now -- without their planned delay. “Every month we wait to expand, not only cost lives, but costs our state more than $521 million a month in federal healthcare dollars,” he said, adding the warning that “if we don’t expand soon, we forfeit an additional $1.8 billion.” That is bad management that hurts the state budget no differently than failure to expand Medicaid has hurt more than 600,000 North Carolinians who haven’t been able to access the health care they need. Avoiding any direct confrontation or bullying finger-pointing, Cooper did take note of the kinds of legislation that, in the first weeks of the legislative session, has taken top priority. Cooper noted that when he took office six years ago, one of the first acts was to do away with the ill-conceived and costly so-called “bathroom bill” that resulted in cancelled economic development projects and moved or cancelled billions of dollars in convention, athletic championship and tourism business. “I challenge the General Assembly to keep us off the frontlines of those culture wars that hurt people and cost us jobs so we can continue our successful bipartisan work.” And I challenge Democratic members of the General Assembly to stand behind the Governor when he decides to oppose certain potential laws. Hold the line, or our Democracy will be further eroded.

Sunday News: From the Editorial Pages


BEFORE MORE TAX-CUTTING, LEGISLATURE MUST FUND UNMET OBLIGATIONS: Are we “collecting more money than we’re needing?” No, not even close. There are vast needs the legislature is obligated to provide that are going, and have gone, unmet. It is the duty and obligation our state Constitution requires of all branches of state government to meet: Providing a quality public education to all the state’s children and making sure those kids can get to school; Assuring that all citizens are healthy and safe; Making sure that higher education “as far as practicable” is “free of expense.” For whom is taxation a “burden,” as Berger terms it? Not the state’s businesses. The corporate income tax rate has dropped from 6.9% in 2011 to 2.5% this year. A decade ago the money from corporate income and franchise taxes was 10% of state tax revenues. Today it’s down to 8%. At the same time collection of sales and use taxes – the most unfair form of taxation since those with the least ability to pay must spend a greater share of their income on those taxes – has increased from 28% of revenues to 32% of total tax revenues. It is past time that North Carolina met it’s obligation to school children by providing the resources to give all access to a quality education – as the state Constitution promises and the courts have ordered. The truth is, their perpetual tax-cutting serves two main purposes: the erosion of public agencies and services, and their political campaigns that thrive on irresponsible voters. That second thing may be hard for many reading this to swallow, but it's the only logical conclusion to draw from the GOP's continued success at the polls.

HB189: NC Constitutional Carry Act


The height of irresponsibility:


Keith Kidwell has lost his frickin' mind, and the people who keep voting him into office should be ashamed of themselves. And this little jewel alone should make this bill a non-starter:

Sunday News: From the Editorial Pages


CHANGE TO "CERTIFICATE OF NEED" SHOULDN'T IGNORE THOSE MOST IN NEED OF CARE: Recently ECU Health announced that it was closing five regional clinics serving women and families in largely rural areas in the eastern part of the state after facing a loss of $46 million last year. There is a reason why the state’s certificate of need program functions to assure a certain economic return for health care providers -- so everyone, regardless of where they live or what their economic status, will have access to the medical services they need. It is not a far-fetched notion that without regulations like certificate of need, medical entrepreneurs would establish services and clinics in the areas of greatest potential profit. As a result, rural or impoverished areas and those without the means to pay for services, would likely be left with even fewer possibilities to find the care they need. Linking the much-needed and too-long delayed expansion of Medicaid to alterations in the state’s certificate of need regulation isn’t about healthcare but about politics. The two issues should be dealt with separately. There is no excuse for any further delay in providing care to the more than half-million North Carolinians who have lacked access for decades – especially with a viable solution available over the last 14 years. Was talking with somebody the other day who brought up the GOP's stubbornness in refusing to embrace an Obama policy. But it's even worse than that. Those who would be served under Medicaid expansion are the working poor, the ones who don't earn enough to qualify for premium supplements. In other words, the people who can't afford to give max donations to candidates' campaign war chests. Blocking Medicaid expansion, or using it as a vehicle to push other policies, are exercises in genuine elitism; something Republicans claim to abhor. But their actions undermine that claim every day we go without expanding Medicaid.

Galey and Page: The Public Faces of NC’s "Don’t Say Gay" Bill

Protestors at an "alternative" school board meeting, organized by Julie Page.

A major problem with news reporting on bills in front of the legislature is that the proposed laws are often promoted by particular legislators or activists known locally, but not state-wide. NC’s “Don’t Say Gay” bill, dubbed the “Parents’ Bill of Rights” by its sponsors, is a good example - both Amy Galey and Julie Page aren’t particularly prominent outside of the counties where they’ve been active. So, their statements as “concerned parents” pushing the bill can’t be viewed in the full context of their previous record.

Either the media doesn’t want to bother giving us this information or deems it irrelevant. And, time after time, the NC GOP has taken advantage of this, using lower profile spokespersons to promoting extreme measures and sometimes using the efforts as “test beds” for “rising stars” within the NC GOP leadership.

And that’s particularly important with the proposed “Don’t Say Gay”/“Parents’ Bill of Rights” law. We have two women, representing themselves as “concerned Moms”, but seemed more agitated about their own broader far-right obsessions.


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