Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Say YES to Wake County School Bond

Years ago, I served on the board of a religious institution. At the annual meeting, we presented a budget to the membership that included an increase in the amount of the preschool line item. An older member vehemently objected stating that the preschool should be self-sufficient. I button-holed the President during this rant and told him that if I ever forgot that the very reason for our existence was to educate a new generation, he had my permission to tell me it was time to leave town.

If all of our children are not well educated and loved, none of us will thrive. America is both a country of rugged individualists and a caring community. To the sad, selfish, short-sighted people leading a campaign to vote no on the Wake County School Bond, I say, start packing.

Saturday, September 28, 2013

Tell the President not to Cave-corrected link

Please take a few minutes out of your day to email President Obama. Tell him not to give in to the bullying and lying by the Republican Party about the Affordable Health Care Act. These people are willing to shut down the government because of their irrational hatred of Barack Obama. Our soldiers won't be paid! Hardships on the poor and senior citizens has already been institutionalized. 

Don't be fooled. This is no longer only about Tea Party Extremists. The Speaker of the House of Representatives, John Boehner, has just led his House Republicans to vote to delay Obamacare by one year. 

It takes a special kind of selfishness to want to deny Americans access to health insurance coverage. Especially when those same Americans are paying for the health care of these very hypocrites. 

Human beings in the United States of America should not have to choose between buying food or taking their children to the doctor. And getting cancer should not mean bankruptcy. 

Republicans want government to fail. They want President Obama to fail. They want their wealthy campaign contributors and cronies to keep getting lucrative government contracts and jobs while the poor and middle class languish. 

No more lies! Tell the President to stay the course. 

Thursday, September 26, 2013

We Don't Need No Education

I just bought my first - and last - ticket for the NC "Education" Lottery. Not because it was a stupid waste of $1.00. Not even because the woman at the drug store told me that she sells $800 worth of tickets to folks on a regular basis. But, because on the ticket, under the number "4", the word is spelled "f-o-r". 

It has never been about education. All the warnings of supplantation of the education budget have come true. Me? I'm a stickler for proper spelling. 

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Drink More Perrier

http://m.charlotteobserver.com/charlotte/db_260238/contentdetail.htm?contentguid=1TNphUzG - 

Charlotte-area legislators, dean will study N.C. teacher pay-Charlotte Observer, 9/12/13

It may be apocryphal, but I've always loved this business school case study for its simplicity. After sitting through a seemingly endless strategic planning meeting to come up with a new mission for the company, the CEO of Perrier allegedly shot to his feet screaming, "Sell More Perrier!"

The brain trust at the NCGA that wrote the state budget this year--you know the one, it was devastating to teachers and public education - have created a committee to advise them on teacher pay. Does anyone else want to shout, "Pay Teachers a Living Wage!!"?

There is just a little more advice I would offer, without the benefit of a Committee Room, microphone or gavel. 

1.  Do not fire teachers. 
2.  Do not fire teacher assistants. 
3.  Do not dismantle the NC Teaching Fellows Program. 
4.  Do not raise the limit on class size. 
5.  Do not remove the small bump in pay for teachers who earn advanced degrees. 
6.  Do not require teachers to pay for their own substitutes. 
7.  Do not stop paying for teachers to earn National Board Certification.  
8.  Do not provide taxpayer money to private and religious schools for children whose parents can afford the tuition on their own. 
9.  Do not lift the cap on the number of charter schools and then remove any accountability by their leaders. 
10.  Do not keep saying that this budget gave more to public schools than ever before, because the facts say otherwise. 

Oh wait. The NC GOP majority has done everything listed above. You do not need a committee. You need to restore the budget cuts. Or just admit that your idea of education public policy is to destroy public education completely. 

Monday, July 15, 2013

"...a state of mind that takes positive glee in inflicting further suffering on the already miserable." - the Republican Party

The New York Times

July 14, 2013

Hunger Games, U.S.A.

Something terrible has happened to the soul of the Republican Party. We’ve gone beyond bad economic doctrine. We’ve even gone beyond selfishness and special interests. At this point we’re talking about a state of mind that takes positive glee in inflicting further suffering on the already miserable.
The occasion for these observations is, as you may have guessed, the monstrous farm bill the House passed last week.
For decades, farm bills have had two major pieces. One piece offers subsidies to farmers; the other offers nutritional aid to Americans in distress, mainly in the form of food stamps (these days officially known as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or SNAP).
Long ago, when subsidies helped many poor farmers, you could defend the whole package as a form of support for those in need. Over the years, however, the two pieces diverged. Farm subsidies became a fraud-ridden program that mainly benefits corporations and wealthy individuals. Meanwhile food stamps became a crucial part of the social safety net.
So House Republicans voted to maintain farm subsidies — at a higher level than either the Senate or the White House proposed — while completely eliminating food stamps from the bill.
To fully appreciate what just went down, listen to the rhetoric conservatives often use to justify eliminating safety-net programs. It goes something like this: “You’re personally free to help the poor. But the government has no right to take people’s money” — frequently, at this point, they add the words “at the point of a gun” — “and force them to give it to the poor.”
It is, however, apparently perfectly O.K. to take people’s money at the point of a gun and force them to give it to agribusinesses and the wealthy.
Now, some enemies of food stamps don’t quote libertarian philosophy; they quote the Bible instead. Representative Stephen Fincher of Tennessee, for example, cited the New Testament: “The one who is unwilling to work shall not eat.” Sure enough, it turns out that Mr. Fincher has personally received millions in farm subsidies.
Given this awesome double standard — I don’t think the word “hypocrisy” does it justice — it seems almost anti-climactic to talk about facts and figures. But I guess we must.
So: Food stamp usage has indeed soared in recent years, with the percentage of the population receiving stamps rising from 8.7 in 2007 to 15.2 in the most recent data. There is, however, no mystery here. SNAP is supposed to help families in distress, and lately a lot of families have been in distress.
In fact, SNAP usage tends to track broad measures of unemployment, like U6, which includes the underemployed and workers who have temporarily given up active job search. AndU6 more than doubled in the crisis, from about 8 percent before the Great Recession to 17 percent in early 2010. It’s true that broad unemployment has since declined slightly, while food stamp numbers have continued to rise — but there’s normally some lag in the relationship, and it’s probably also true that some families have been forced to take food stamps by sharp cuts in unemployment benefits.
What about the theory, common on the right, that it’s the other way around — that we have so much unemployment thanks to government programs that, in effect, pay people not to work? (Soup kitchens caused the Great Depression!) The basic answer is, you have to be kidding. Do you really believe that Americans are living lives of leisure on $134 a month, the average SNAP benefit?
Still, let’s pretend to take this seriously. If employment is down because government aid is inducing people to stay home, reducing the labor force, then the law of supply and demand should apply: withdrawing all those workers should be causing labor shortages and rising wages, especially among the low-paid workers most likely to receive aid. In reality, of course, wages are stagnant or declining — and that’s especially true for the groups that benefit most from food stamps.
So what’s going on here? Is it just racism? No doubt the old racist canards — like Ronald Reagan’s image of the “strapping young buck” using food stamps to buy a T-bone steak — still have some traction. But these days almost half of food stamp recipients are non-Hispanic whites; in Tennessee, home of the Bible-quoting Mr. Fincher, the number is 63 percent. So it’s not all about race.
What is it about, then? Somehow, one of our nation’s two great parties has become infected by an almost pathological meanspiritedness, a contempt for what CNBC’s Rick Santelli, in the famous rant that launched the Tea Party, called “losers.” If you’re an American, and you’re down on your luck, these people don’t want to help; they want to give you an extra kick. I don’t fully understand it, but it’s a terrible thing to behold.


Editorial: The Future of Same-Sex Marriage

Friday, July 12, 2013

Breaking: McCrory breaks promise

It should come as no surprise that Gov. Pat McCrory announced he will sign the abortion bill into law. His campaign promise not to allow further restrictions on abortion was a lie. His threatened veto of the Senate bill was a lie because he had made a deal with Skip Stam before it was written. 

Same stuff. Different day. 

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Obamacare Not Debatable.

In typical fashion, the Republicans believe that the Affordable Care Act is still up for debate. Speaker of the House John Boehner continues to refer to it as a bill even though it became law 3 years ago. With every one of the 37 votes the Speaker has taken to repeal Obamacare, he looks ever more the stubborn ideologue. Progressives need to draw this discussion to a close, once and for all. And, Mr. President, you ought to take the lead. Stop the debate. Speak loudly and clearly and get angry. 

We are in the implementation phase. Of course, implementation is more difficult because the NC Republican majority in the Legislature and the Republican Governor have steadfastly - and selfishly - refused federal funds to expand Medicaid and to create health care exchanges that will offer cheaper alternatives to our people. The law has already helped parents of college students to keep them on their policy. Denying insurance because of a pre-existing conditions will be a thing of the past. 

Democrats need to proudly exclaim that they brought health insurance to millions of Americans. All Americans. Even the nasty and uninformed who surely need coverage like the rest of us. Health care is not a privilege, it is a right. 

Monday, July 8, 2013

It's Our Time to Stand! - video of July 1st Moral Monday

July 1st, 2013 - On the day that 70,000 jobless North Carolinians are stripped of their unemployment benefits, 80 are arrested while thousands gather at the NC General Assembly to say, "Enough is enough!"


Sunday, June 23, 2013

MSNBC Video: "Must See" TV - State Employee Art Pope Does A Little Lobbying

Please watch this segment from the MSNBC show, "All In" with Chris Hayes. Please forward this to all of your contacts. Voters in NC must learn and remember on Election Day 2014.

Friday, June 14, 2013

Restore the NC Teaching Fellows Program

I believe the Senate Leadership is in error concerning the decision to eliminate the NC Teaching Fellows Program. Both my daughter and her husband were 2003 Teaching Fellows. They fit the requirements of being the "best and the brightest" and are dedicated educators to this day.

My daughter was recruited and accepted to many colleges, including an elite Ivy. In the end, she chose to accept the Teaching Fellows scholarship at UNC-Chapel Hill. My son-in-law, second runner-up for the prestigious Park Scholarship, chose to accept the Teaching Fellows at NC State. Both of them attended college with the assistance of the Teaching Fellows Program.

In my view, the Teaching Fellows Program needs additional funding. While we were - and are - immensely grateful for the scholarship, it does not come close to being "a free ride." My daughter still had to take a student loan. Given that teachers are woefully underpaid, she will be paying this back for years to come.

I remember the day we went to purchase my daughter's textbooks. The bookstore had not yet received the money from the State of NC and they would not allow her to take her books that day. As a contrast, many of the football scholarship students were, indeed on a free ride. And, guess what? The bookstore handed over their books with no waiting.

The Teaching Fellows Program is a proven success. The evaluations and years of experience is clear. NC is a national model for teacher recruitment. Please restore it.

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Save the NC Child Fatality Task Force

I would like the NC General Assembly to reconsider the proposed elimination of the NC Child Fatality Task Force. I privileged to be the Executive Director of the Task Force in 1996. There is no question that the work of the Task Force over the years has saved children's lives. So many of these child deaths are preventable--and preventing them is the legacy of the Task Force.

Gov. Jim Martin established the statewide Task Force as well as a local committee in all 100 counties. This was the Governor's response to NC holding the embarrassing place of #48 out of 50 in infant mortality. 

Some issues are county-specific and can be handled best at the local level; often without legislation. But others have an impact on our children throughout NC. It is efficient and cost-effective to pursue a statewide fix to persistent problems.

I am particularly proud of the Graduated Driver License law that we passed. Like most of our bills, this was a bi-partisan effort. The law has been improved upon over the years, but NC was among the first states to pass it and other states soon replicated our efforts.

This is a small expenditure of money for a positive result.

Thursday, May 30, 2013

A National Model for Shame

When I was a child, I told myself that I would be a better parent than my own. Maturity, experience and education allowed me the opportunity to learn about child development and thus improve my parenting skills. The aging process has also allowed me to recognize that my parents taught me valuable lessons in ethics, manners and a desire for social justice.

Republicans in the NC General Assembly refuse to see any value in the people and the policies of the Democrats who were in power before them. It was not all good. In my 20 years of lobbying, I observed some less-than-stellar Democratic moments. But, this is different.

I have read the phrase, "NC is a national model for..." countless times since the GOP takeover. The sentence usually ends with the news that the Republican majority is ending, defunding, repealing and/or closing whatever fills in the blank. Successful NC programs and policies that other states wish to replicate are daily being destroyed. Here are just a few examples:

1. Early childhood education (Smart Start)
2. Public financing for judicial races
3. Infant mortality reduction
4. Medicaid cost efficiency
5. Renowned public higher education system
6. The Teaching Fellows Program
7. Community college system
8. The Golden Leaf Foundation

Now, NC is a national model for ridicule and satire. How sad.

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Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Moral Mondays and Relentless Hypocrisy

NC demonstration against GOP lawmakers grows-News & Observer http://www.newsobserver.com/2013/05/20/2906393/nc-demonstration-against-gop-lawmakers.html

"Rep. John Blust, a Republican from Guilford County, peeked in on the demonstration and had words for the organizers within earshot.
'People have the right to voice their opinions, but they don’t have the right to force them on others,' Blust said before walking away."

In the words of Seth and Amy from SNL...really?!? You and your Republican team in the General Assembly have been forcing your opinions, religious beliefs and disregard of scientific facts on others since you have been in power. Do you even listen to yourself? Well, I do and have been for years. My files are filled with notes of your obtuse, brutish and exasperating litanies. But, this one, as they say, takes the proverbial cake.

You do not have the right to force NC women to ask your permission for birth control or to access their constitutional right to abortion services. You do not have the right to force unemployed and struggling North Carolinians to accept less unemployment for a shorter duration of time. You do not have the right to withhold health coverage from 500,000 uninsured North Carolinians. And, there is so much more.

Insults and injuries are coming fast at the people of NC. In my opinion, you are forcing your opinions on us. On Moral Mondays, We the People come to tell you that it is unacceptable.

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Wednesday, May 15, 2013

The Prince of Pelvic Politics

"But, he is a smart lawyer," is what typically followed a description of the decades of mysoginist bills and amendments offered up by Rep. Paul "Skip" Stam (R-Wake). I leave it to you, dear reader.

I have listened to Rep. Stam argue and debate for 20 years. In the minority or in the majority, his style is consistent. With false assumptions, pseudo science, an air of erudition and endless repetition, Rep. Stam intimidates, bullies and tries the patience of even his own mates.

When ideology trumps real science, replicable research and all reason, I am not persuaded. When charlatans testify as experts using anecdotes - which is not the plural of data - I worry. Of course, the lack of critical thinking utilized by the voters will not improve if the GOP keeps cutting public education budgets and the Governor questions the value of higher education. But, I digress.

Contrary to the body of work that Rep. Stam has to his credit:

**abortion does not cause future pre-term births.
**Women are well-informed about abortion and do not come to a decision to have one in a frivolous manner.
**Many residents of North Carolina are actually not Christian.
**Many Christians and non-Christians find it offensive that the particular tenets of any religion would be inscribed in state law.
**Obamacare, the expansion of Medicaid and the creation of health insurance exchanges in would be welcomed by the people of NC. Your constituents, not your donors.

In my view, intelligence is measured by an open mind, a willingness to learn and empathy for other human beings. As Socrates once said, "I know that I am intelligent, because I know that I know nothing."

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Wednesday, May 8, 2013


The breaking news alerts were coming like bullets in a high-capacity magazine.

**House passes bill to allow concealed guns in public places like...wait for it...restaurants and bars...Where alcohol is served. Bring your guns to parks and college campuses, too. Only the current combination of ignorance and arrogance from lawmakers could be worse.

**House repeals NC's 40-year-old minor's consent law that encourages teens to seek medical care for sexually transmitted diseases, substance abuse, mental disorders, HIV/AIDS and unintended pregnancies. Incest and rape does not happen in the rose-colored world of "family values."

**Separate oversight charter school board formed. The state school board cannot overrule this group. No background checks are needed for charter school teachers. One iteration of the bill provided that a college degree would not be required for charter school teachers. And most of this from a former superintendent. Hideous.

**The Senate rolls out long-awaited tax code rewrite. It promises "tax cuts for "hard-working families." This is the crowd that repealed the Earned Income Tax Credit that has been shown to lift WORKING families out of poverty. Guess it depends on which families.

**Sex selective abortions will no longer be tolerated. Never mind the fact that this supposed scourge doesn't exist in NC. Just another barrier to abortion services. Shame on the woman who introduces this ideological garbage.

**Drug tests will be required to get Medicaid and food stamps. Recipients will be reimbursed for the cost of the test if it comes back clean. If we can't afford food, we can't afford a $100 unnecessary drug test.

**Eligibility for Pre-K programs will be drastically cut back. The lifelong benefits to children and society are indisputable. NC has been a national model for Early Childhood Education for years. But, it was created by a Democratic governor. MUST DESTROY.

I am breaking out in hives. The GOP mysoginist, minority-hating, extremist, right-wing religious zealots are ruining North Carolina. With every news alert, I keep scratching.

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Friday, May 3, 2013

Is Rep. Burr Protecting his Livelihood?

Would it be horribly cynical to believe that Bail Bondsman Rep. Justin Burr's (R-Stanly) unwise cut to Pre-K eligibility is self-serving?
The Children's Defense Fund website says, "Investments in early childhood are vital to the success of our nation's youth. Extensive research has shown that early childhood programs significantly increase a child's chances of avoiding the prison pipeline."
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Sunday, April 7, 2013

What is reality?


The N&O's Rob Christensen says in his column today that the NC GOP may be finished with their "off-the-wall" bills and "settling down." I respectfully disagree with his assessment. I believe actions speak louder than words. Here are just a few examples of their actions:

1. Reject Federal funds to set up a NC health care exchange.
2. Reduce the amount and duration of unemployment payments.
3. Repeal the Earned Income Tax Credit.
4. Fire all regulatory board members.
5. Reject Federal funds to expand Medicaid.
6. Introduce "tax reform" that benefits the wealthy and big business.
7. Eliminate any semblance of corporate accountability by removing environmental regulations.
8. Return once outlawed payday lending to NC.
9. Amend the so-called Women's Right to Know bill to make it even more difficult for women to access their constitutionally-protected right to abortion services.
10. Breach the contract with the City of Raleigh for Dorothea Dix.
11. Introduce "education reform" that does little to improve outcomes but does much to punish teachers.
12. Elect only Republicans to UNC Board of Trustees.
13. Repeal the Racial Justice Act.
14. Resume executions in NC.

And, there are still bills yet to be introduced. If this is "settling down" then I would hate to see the GOP out of control.

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Sunday, March 31, 2013

white smoke coming from Dix Hill

An email I sent today to Rep. Jim Fulghum (R-Wake):

Rep. Fulghum,
You are obviously a thoughtful man, as evidenced by your letter-to-the-editor today. With all due respect, you may be missing some history, which I have had the opportunity to watch over my 20 years of lobbying in the NCGA.

Proper funding for mental health services has been an unattainable goal. We have seen many well-intentioned reforms of the reforms with only the patients being shortchanged. Over the years, the State of NC seemed only to respond to lawsuits in order to provide dollars.

If memory serves, among the only people who wanted Dix to close was former Rep. Jim Crawford from Oxford. Wake County legislators, local elected officials, mental health advocates and the public were vociferously opposed.

Wake County residents overwhelmingly filled the beds in Dix; so why move patients far away from their families? It was also fairly well known that the hospital in Butner was going to be too small before the ground was broken.

At the time, the town of Butner was represented by Mr. Crawford and he was one of the "big" appropriations chairs in the House. As witnessed in the current Legislature, the power of the majority is substantial and often not in the best interest of the people.

In my view, the sudden concern for mental health is, indeed, a smokescreen for the constant desire to delegitimate legal actions taken by former Gov. Bev Perdue.

As you heard last week, most residents of Wake County refuse to be played. I hope you will, too.
Be well,
Paula Wolf

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Thursday, March 21, 2013

Another day, another insult

“I would just remind you of one thing,” [Rep. Edgar] Starnes [R-Caldwell] said. “The Republicans won the election. We are in control. We intend to elect Republicans and appoint Republicans, and we make no apology for it.”
The petulant remarks of Rep. Starnes perfectly capture the attitude of the NC GOP since they gained the majority in 2011. There is a world of difference between being "in control" and being "in the leadership."
"That's how YOU did it when YOU were in charge" as explanation for their every action is both stale and pitiful. Retribution and revenge is not a good mission statement for lawmakers in power.
This crowd screamed about the infringement of their LIBERTY, FREEDOM AND PROPERTY RIGHTS when I (helped to) lobby for everything from bicycle helmets and smoking bans to child abuse prevention and spanking children in school. Yet their actions to deny women access to their constitutionally protected reproductive health care decisions knows no bounds. Clearly, women are not entitled to freedom.
They are not creating jobs, they are creating barriers to education. They are not caring for the unemployed, uninsured, poor, or any of the people of NC, they are making sure that 23 mega-rich families can avoid paying taxes. They are not protecting our environment and our rich natural resources, they are destroying them.
One does not have to listen too closely to hear that scientific facts, research, the truth and respect for all human beings mean little to the majority. The needle on the hypocrisy meter has finally broken off. Yes, the GOP is in control and they abuse their power on a daily basis.
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Saturday, March 2, 2013

Sequestration or Paranoia?

In his 1964 essay, "The Paranoid Style in American Politics" historian Richard Hofstadter was prescient in describing the current, extremist right-wing Republican Party.
"The paranoid spokesman, sees the fate of conspiracy in apocalyptic terms — he traffics in the birth and death of whole worlds, whole political orders, whole systems of human values. He is always manning the barricades of civilization... he does not see social conflict as something to be mediated and compromised, in the manner of the working politician. Since what is at stake is always a conflict between absolute good and absolute evil, what is necessary is not compromise but the will to fight things out to a finish. Since the enemy is thought of as being totally evil and totally unappeasable, he must be totally eliminated — if not from the world, at least from the theatre of operations to which the paranoid directs his attention. This demand for total triumph leads to the formulation of hopelessly unrealistic goals, and since these goals are not even remotely attainable, failure constantly heightens the paranoid’s sense of frustration. Even partial success leaves him with the same feeling of powerlessness with which he began, and this in turn only strengthens his awareness of the vast and terrifying quality of the enemy he opposes."
- See more at: http://harpers.org/archive/1964/11/the-paranoid-style-in-american-politics/?single=1#sthash.tP8BOCPQ.dpuf
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Thursday, February 28, 2013

Religious tyranny continues

Prayer Caucus
House Speaker Thom Tillis, R-Mecklenburg, announced at the end of session Wednesday that he has signed off on the formation of a Legislative Prayer Caucus, with Rep. Bert Jones, R-Rockingham, and Sen. Norman Sanderson, R-Pamlico, as its chairmen. Jones then thanked Tillis on the House floor for recognizing the group and said it would be modeled after the Congressional Prayer Caucus. He said North Carolina would be one of the first states with such a caucus.(Patrick Gannon, THE INSIDER, 2/28/13).

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Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Jobs?! Not my reproductive rights?

This meeting is a bit of a surprise given the NCGA's obsession with women's nipples, uteruses and possums. Watch carefully, my friends.

You are hereby notified that the House Committee on Commerce and Job Development will meet as follows:

DAY & DATE: Wednesday, February 27, 2013
TIME: 10:00 AM

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Required reading

It makes one wonder why "We, The People," have not yet marched on Washington with torches and pitchforks. Congress is beyond repair. There is almost no correlation between public policy and the good of the American people. Congress is owned by the NRA, big pharma, the insurance industry, the military-industrial complex, bankers, realtors and many more. The article (link below) is about healthcare and it is enough to make one sick.


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Wednesday, February 13, 2013

...and the rich get richer

"Sports Illustrated says that Jerry Richardson has a net worth of $500 million. His restaurant empire, which included Hardee's and Denny's, was obviously rewarding. Richardson is the major owner of the Carolina Panthers football team. It seems he has met with the current Republican leadership today to ask for corporate welfare. Richardson wants $62 million from the state budget and legislative approval for another $144 million in higher local taxes for a new stadium in Charlotte. In my view, just asking for taxpayer money is the height of chutzpah. I won't be surprised if the free-enterprise crowd in Raleigh finds the money for him.

Given the actions the Republican Majority has taken in just the first 2 weeks of the Session, it would land on the ever-growing list of troubling hypocrisy since the 2011-2012 Session. Here are just a few:

**Cut maximum cash payments to the unemployed from $535/week to $350/week and reducing the maximum number of weeks one can receive payments from 26 to between 12 and 20.

**No Medicaid expansion that would bring millions of dollars to NC and extend health insurance to nearly 500,000 North Carolinians. The Federal government would bear 100% of the costs for 3 years and 90% thereafter.

**Forbid NC from creating and running a health benefit exchange under ObamaCare that would provide North Carolinians affordable health insurance coverage and receive substantial Federal dollars.

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Monday, February 11, 2013

NC held up for national ridicule...again

US Labor Secretary criticizes state unemployment bill
Mark Binker, WRAL
Feb 11, 2013 11:28 p.m.
Raleigh, N.C.—The General Assembly's plans to reduce the amount and duration of unemployment insurance in North Carolina, and as a side-effect cut off federal benefits in the state, has attracted the attention of Acting U.S. Labor Secretary Seth Harris, who took the unusual step of issuing a news release on a piece of state legislation.
For those who haven't been following this issue, North Carolina owes the federal government $2.5 billion to repay money borrowed to pay unemployment claims during the recession.
To minimize mandatory tax increases on businesses, lawmakers are pushing through a bill that will cut how much a worker may collect in weekly benefits and the duration of those benefits.
Under the bill, federal emergency extended benefits would be cut off for all state recipients, including unemployed military veterans. Such changes will trigger a provision in federal law that cuts off federal benefits provided to workers who have been unemployed longer than 26 weeks, when state benefits currently end.
The full Senate is due to hear the bill at 2 p.m. Tuesday. Watch it LIVE on WRAL.com.
Harris pegs the number of workers who could lose extended federal benefits at 170,000, much higher than the 80,000 to 100,000 estimates that have been bandied about the state. According to an email provided by The Associated Press, the federal government estimates that 104,000 will lose their federal unemployment benefits immediately on July 1. Another 66,000 people who would have become eligible for federal benefits between July 1 and the end of the year also would not have access to the extended unemployment insurance program, according to that email.
Harris says the federal government will have "no discretion" to cut off the aid.
In his news release, Harris wrote:
"The North Carolina legislature is considering legislation that would reduce state Unemployment Insurance benefits. If enacted, the legislation also would cut off all federally funded Emergency Unemployment Compensation - that is, benefits after 26 weeks of unemployment - to 170,000 unemployed North Carolinians. This cutoff is automatic under federal law. I have no discretion to stop it. As a result, families struggling to secure their place in the middle class will suffer a grievous blow, and the state's economy will lose $780 million in federal funds that are vital to reducing North Carolina's high unemployment rate.
"We know that for every dollar spent on Unemployment Insurance benefits, nearly $2 are generated in the local economy. Unemployed workers and their families spend these benefits in local grocery stores and small businesses and use them to stay current on mortgage or rent payments and utilities. For these reasons, UI programs are vital to economic growth in difficult times, particularly in states like North Carolina with high unemployment rates."
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Thursday, February 7, 2013

When ideology trumps intelligence

With apologies to Jeff Foxworthy:

You Might Be a NC Republican if...

1. The facts do not support your proposed ideas and actions, but you cling to them anyway.

2. Your motivation is not working for the common good of all North Carolinians, but seems to be getting even with Democrats for years in the minority.

3. You are still trying to repeal the Affordable Care Act, but the US Supreme Court has ruled that it is Constitutional.

4. In the face of mounds of data from the last presidential election, you refuse to believe that women, African-Americans, Latinos and gay rights activists greatly influenced your disastrous results.

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