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

"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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