Oh Renee, we hardly knew ye

It's hard to disagree with the NC Democratic Party on this statement about Congresswoman Ellmers (TP-NC) and her big debut in sin city.

Renee Ellmers did not even wait to be sworn in before showing North Carolinians that she has gone Washington. While North Carolina families struggle to make ends meet, Ellmers will be living large on the dime of special interests and lobbyists at a lavish Washington fundraiser costing $50,000 to attend. If there was ever any doubt before, it should be abundantly clear now that Ellmers will be working in Congress to defend the Washington special interests and lobbyists, not the people of North Carolina.

Berger attacks advocacy groups

Looking for allies in his war against the truth:

North Carolina Republican Sen. Phil Berger, the incoming president of the state Senate, called on state business leaders Monday to stand against advocacy groups that will try to blunt the Republican majority’s plans for steep budget cuts, rollbacks in environmental regulation and changes in civil law.

“They will be united in opposing a number of the initiatives that we’re talking about. We need a united business community as we take steps to reduce spending, lower taxes and reform North Carolina’s regulatory environment … the business community must do its part. I have confidence that you will.”

In other words, "Don't listen to what they say or give them any support."

Betsie Gallardo: We’re Doing Great So Far, But January 5th Is Key

Since Christmas we’ve been talking about the story of Betsie Gallardo, a woman who is dying of cancer in a Florida prison.

When we last met, she was being starved to death, literally, at the direction of the Florida Department of Corrections (DOC), who had decided not only to withhold further treatment for her inoperable cancer, but to withdraw nutritional support as well.

Her adopted mother is fighting to have her discharged from prison so that she can die at home—and the DOC have recommended that she be released.

On December 9th, Florida’s Board of Executive Clemency (“the Board”) chose to ignore the DOC advice.

Since then, thanks to a whole bunch of outside pressure, things have changed, for the better, which we’ll be talking about today.

On January 5th, the Board meets again—and if we do this right, we can bring some closure to this story.

Art Pope gets his way. Again.

As most of you know by now, one of our favorite North Carolina political reporters, Laura Leslie (known as Radiogirl around these parts), is leaving WUNC-FM to be the "multimedia statehouse reporter" for WRAL-TV. From the discussion on her Facebook page, it's a great opportunity for her, and potentially for North Carolina as well.

Laura is one member of the Capital Press Corps who gets what life online is all about. She is also one of the few journalists who has dared to report on the full reach of Art Pope's Puppetshow and its toxic impact on democracy in North Carolina. In fact, she covered it so well last November, that Mr. Pope himself couldn't take the heat.

Polling: Civitas vs. Reality

It's been interesting to see another Civitas Poll making the rounds.

To see if we should pay any attention at all to these numbers thrown out by Civitas and reprinted by the MSM, let's do a reality check on some of the last polling numbers pushed by Civitas a few days before the Nov 2010 election.

Civitas suggested Democratic Rep. Brisson was down by 20% to his Republican challenger.

Meanwhile, looking at voters who said they are most likely voting in the fall, Szoka’s lead jumps to a 57 percent-37 percent margin.

Of course, this was pure nonsense as Rep. Brisson won with more than 52% of the vote.

Mecklenburg county commissioner to face music for anti-gay slur

cross-posted at dKos

We expected area Repubs to be up in arms over Richard Burr's vote in favor of repealing "don't ask, don't tell." But even by this state's standards, a county commissioner here in Mecklenburg County has gone several miles over the top.

Last week, Democratic commission chairwoman Jennifer Roberts asked her colleagues if they wanted to sign a letter thanking Burr, Kay Hagan, Larry Kissell and Mel Watt for voting to repeal the policy. When Bill James, a Repub who represents the southeastern part of the county, found out about it, he responded by suggesting that gays are all "sexual predators."

Staggering bigotry, even by North Carolina standards. Fortunately, it won't be allowed to stand. At tomorrow's county commission meeting, there's going to be a resolution condemning anti-gay bigotry. But this is only the first step. Suffice to say that a little bit of heat needs to be put on James when he runs for reelection in 2012.

Note to Governor Perdue's advisors

Just in the off chance that you're so busy working you don't have time to think, have you seen this?

Increased taxes on high earners should be the first step toward balancing the federal budget, a new poll suggested Monday. Raising taxes on the rich beats out cuts to defense spending, Medicare and Social Security as U.S. adults' top preference on how to close the deficit, according to a 60 Minutes/Vanity Fair poll.

I know it's hard to get the governor to do anything even remotely resembling "progressive" in terms of public policy, but still. When 60% of citizens think it's time to raise taxes on multimillionaires, shouldn't you at least consider the idea? And so what if her budget is dead on arrival in the General Assembly? Anything she wants that's important will be dead on arrival with the Tarheel Taliban, so why not want something worth wanting?

It's time to raise taxes on multimillionaires. All you need is a new top tax bracket and a 1% increase in the rate over the current top bracket. Don't make this complicated. Just do it.

Cressie Thigpen to remain on COA

When the music stopped, there was still an empty chair waiting:

Gov. Beverly Perdue is reappointing Cressie Thigpen to the court, where he fills a position vacated by Barbara Jackson, who was elected to the state Supreme Court in November.

Thigpen was appointed to the court this past August. Prior to that, he was as a special Superior Court judge after more than three decades as a litigator in state and federal courts. Thigpen lost his bid for election to the seat.

Okay, this is good news. Cressie will continue to be an asset to the State and the proper justice it must render. But I've got about fifty extra gray hairs on my head due to this instant (in geologic terms) runoff thingie, and I want that tiny remnant of youth back.

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