Daily dose: Pledging racism and misogyny edition

N.C. State Suspends Fraternity for Offensive Notebook (Inside Higher Ed) – N.C. State University has suspended the Pi Kappa Phi fraternity and banned alcohol at fraternity events (except those of historically black fraternities) after the discovery of what appears to be a "pledge notebook" with offensive statements. Among the quotations in the notebook: “if she’s hot enough, she doesn’t need a pulse” and “that tree is so perfect for lynching.” A man who answered the phone at the fraternity house referred questions to the national fraternity office, which issued this statement: “These statements are inconsistent with the values of Pi Kappa Phi and will not be tolerated.”
https://www.insidehighered.com/quicktakes/2015/03/23/nc-state-suspends-fraternity-offensive-notebook...

Wild gourds

Hi everyone.

This Monday (23rd) from 5 to 7 in Chapel Hill, SallyMack Home will host an opening reception for her newest vendor ... me! It's a grand experiment to see if some my stuff in her wonderful store might add up to something fun and noteworthy. I'm donating my proceeds to the North Carolina ACLU. Prices range from $3 to $300. I hope you'll come by to see us. Jane is out of town, and this social sort of thing is not one of my strong suits, as you well know. Here's a link to the Facebook event.

More lies from the master himself

And this time McCrory's lying to the US Congress:

Gov. Pat McCrory was in sync with this talking-points paradox Monday when he testified before a U.S. House committee in Washington. McCrory’s budget proposal depends on $475 million in increased gas tax revenues that will be available only if the legislature adopts the Senate plan or something similar. But when he spoke about the state’s need for more transportation money, he touted the legislature’s push for a short-term gas tax cut.

“I just supported an effort … to reduce the gas tax,” McCrory told the House committee, pumping his hand in a palm-down gesture to emphasize the point. “I supported an effort to stabilize the current funding source that we have now.”

Call it what it is, Bruce. It's not a "paradox," it's an outright lie. A lie that started with Phil Berger in the NC Senate and has now made its way to Washington, DC. And the reason such a blatant falsehood has made it so far is because our media outlets can't bring themselves to challenge Republican leaders for their casual twisting of the truth. It would be funny if it wasn't so ominous.

McCrory praises state parks while slashing their budget

Another chorus of "to seem rather than to be.":

I attended a low-key ceremony at Umstead State Park in Raleigh where Gov. Pat McCrory eloquently described our 40 state parks as indicators of our quality of life and explained why “parks are important to people who are struggling.”

Apparently, the governor’s budget writers missed the speech. Two days later, McCrory released his budget, which proposes cutting appropriations for the parks’ operating budget by up to $3.3 million for 2015-16 and a whopping $7.1 million for fiscal year 2016-17.

This is par for the course for Republicans: A lot of happy talk praising something all citizens appreciate, soon followed by an attack on that something. And the fact that most television news outlets cover the former but fail to mention the latter has merely fueled that patently deceptive practice. Instead of getting paid, the parks people get a proclamation:

Daily dose: Part-time Tata strikes again edition

NC Transportation Secretary blasts Iran talks (Raleigh News & Observer) -- N.C. Department of Transportation Secretary Tony Tata, who recently faced criticism for taking to the book tour trail outside of the state while North Carolina was facing major snow and ice storms, is back on national TV – this time Fox News -- criticizing President Barack Obama’s nuclear talks with Iran. Tata, who’s become a regular commentator on Sean Hannity’s show, said he doesn’t think the United States should be in negotiations with Iran. When Perry Woods – who’s worked on campaigns for Raleigh city councilors and Wake County school board members offered up an opinion and told him to “focus on your day job,” Tata, who has benefitted from a series of GOP political appointments since retiring from the U.S. Army, called Woods a “radical left pol hack” who “hates freedom of speech.”
http://www.newsobserver.com/news/politics-government/politics-columns-blogs/under-the-dome/article15...

Stam the sham...or whatever you call it

Paul "Skip" Stam continues his war on the NC Education Lottery, but this time he's chosen to be completely incoherent in defending his latest bill.

“We said (to Senate leaders), ‘what are the parts that you did not object to, and we’ll put that in this bill,’” Stam said. “This was intended to sail through like a greased glove or whatever you call it.”

GOP overreach continues: Protecting out-of-control judges from the State Bar

Who said patronage was no longer in style:

Sen. Bill Cook, a three-term Republican legislator from Beaufort County, says he thinks Superior Court Judge Jerry Tillett shouldn’t have to risk losing his license to practice law because he was already sanctioned by the state Judicial Standards Commission.

The State Bar is basing its disciplinary case against the judge on the same issues that led to a sanction from the Judicial Standards Commission. The judge received a “public reprimand” two years ago for misuse of power in a dispute with the Kill Devil Hills police chief and the county’s district attorney.

Local politics can sometimes be messy, and there is more to this story than just an arrogant judge. But there is a limit to what behavior could/should be allowed behind the bench, unless we want to spiral even deeper into feudalism:

Daily dose: GOP fishing expedition version

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GOP requests 14 years of records from Attorney General Roy (Raleigh News & Observer) -- In five detailed requests, one for each day of “Sunshine Week,” the N.C. Republican Party asked for every email, Twitter, Facebook post, and correspondence Democratic Attorney General Roy Cooper and his senior staff sent or received in the past 14 years. It also asked for every Twitter and Facebook message, official appointment, expense report, official opinion and internal memo from the attorney general’s office since 2001. “We routinely get public records requests, including large ones, and consider fulfilling them to be a part of our jobs,” spokeswoman Noelle Talley said.
http://www.newsobserver.com/news/state/north-carolina/article15529301.html

Protest petitions headed for the junk heap

Taking the power away from the people:

When property owners want to change the types of activities allowed on their land, they file for rezoning. In Vojta's example, Sheetz wanted to build a gas station on land that had been used for single-family homes. A protest petition allows neighbors of the property to slow down that process.

"I cannot think of a real reason why it should take more of a majority to pass a zoning change than for us to approve a constitutional amendment," Rep. Paul "Skip" Stam, R-Wake, told the committee Thursday. If his bill were to pass, land use decisions would require a simple majority to pass, the same as tax increases and most other council decisions.

That's comparing apples and Orange Julius, Skip. The difference between a simple majority and a supermajority on a town/city council is one or two votes, whereas the Legislature the difference is a couple dozen votes. But since you bring that up, maybe you can explain why it (apparently) doesn't even require a majority of votes for some Republicans to declare if something passes or fails a vote:

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