gregflynn's blog

Wake County's Racial Watershed

Next Tuesday's Wake County School Board election promises to be a watershed event for race and poverty. I have followed the issue closely and today's Op Ed article in the Raleigh News&Observer by David Zonderman, "On school vote hangs our future", expresses what's at stake as capably as any observer.

Few recent school board elections have carried such historical and educational weight. Voters should remember the modern civil rights movement's struggles and realize that the fight for educational access and equity did not end with Brown v. Board of Education. That campaign for quality education continues today. In an increasingly diverse nation and an ever more complex world, all children need and deserve the best education possible in classrooms that reflect the rich and variegated human mosaic of America.

Larry Kissell's First Official Challenger

Larry Kissell has his first official challenger, 27 year old Blair Sweeney of Charlotte. Papers were filed last week with the IRS and the FEC for the Blair Sweeney Congressional Committee by Thomas Blair Sweeney running as a Republican in the 8th District. Sweeney is a registered Republican with an address in the 9th District since 2004.

Sweeney, was active in student government at UNC Chapel Hill where he was majoring in Political Science 2001-04. He graduated from South Caldwell High School in Hudson NC in 2000. He was involved in Orange County politics, was a Democratic volunteer and was a campaign director for Delmas Parker's Congressional campaign in the 5th District. Parker is currently 2nd Vice-Chair of the NC Democratic Party.

Maddow on Art Pope, AFP, NCGOP (with updated Puppetshow Map!)

Wednesday Rachel Maddow explored the people behind the groups behind the healthcare townhall takeover mobs. She gave a big shout out to Art Pope and Americans for Prosperity about half way through the 10 minute segment [5:30], noting that the NC Republican Party headquarters building in Raleigh bears the family name.

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NC GOP Name-Jacks NC State Senate

The NC GOP has name-jacked the NC State Senate. The NC Senate Republican Caucus is rolling out an online media campaign begun in January by consultant & executive director Jim Blaine. Using at least 4 domain names combined with Twitter & YouTube accounts the NC GOP has created a partisan cul-de-sac for unsuspecting web surfers looking for legitimate information about the NC State Senate.

The domain names,, and all direct to the same website. These 4 domains are registered variously to Jim Blaine and Linda Daves and share 2 IP addresses. The site is partisan with no general information about the legislative body. The site does not even provide a link through to the real NC State Senate site nor does it provide a disclaimer that it is not an official State website.

PhRMA Targets Hagan

Fresh on the heels of the full page "biopharm" healthcare reform ad this week PhRMA, the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America, ran an ad targeting Senator Kay Hagan that blanketed the Sunday morning TV news shows including our local NC Spin. Ostensibly an ad thanking Hagan for actions on healthcare reform the ad contains the same coded language about doctors and patients that is the nod and wink to signal PhRMA's opposition to a public option as part of healthcare reform.

State Funded NC BioTech in Bed with Big Pharma

It was no suprise to see a full page advertisement in the News&Observer this morning advocating Big Pharma's position on Health Care Reform.  It was suprising to see state-funded North Carolina Biotechnology Center as one of the sponsors along with GlaxoSmithKline, Bayer HealthCare, Wyeth, Merck, NC Bio, the NC Chamber and PhRMA, (the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America). NC BioTech has an annual budget of about $15 million, virtually all of which comes from NC General Appropriations.

Builders Make Great Case For Transfer Tax

BubbleIt is generally accepted that the housing bubble precipitated the current recession. Easy access to money and low interest rates fueled housing inflation that made housing speculation profitable without growth in the underlying economy. In 2007 the Chief Executive of the National Association of Homebuilders acknowledged that overbuilding during the boom years was a factor in the housing meltdown.

That same year NC Realtors and Homebuilders fought tooth and nail at the Legislature to prevent counties from having a transfer tax option to pay for the infrastructure demanded by housing growth. Although unsuccessful at the Legislature in 2007 they have since spent millions to defeat transfer tax proposals at the polls in local referendums.

Proponents of the transfer tax argue that it relieves some of the burden of property tax by deferring it until a sale when cash flow is available, especially for existing homeowners on fixed incomes with over-inflated home values. Realtors and Homebuilders argued against it saying "Fight the Home Tax - It's a Bad Idea". Now faced with unsold inventories of speculatively built houses NC Homebuilders have turned to the Legislature for relief from "some of the burden of property tax by deferring it until a sale when cash flow is available."

House Bill 852, "Defer Tax on Builders' Inventory", has sailed quietly through the House, 106 votes to 8, and through committees, and is calendered for a Senate vote Wednesday July 8th, with little opposition expected. In fiscal years 2010-11 and 2011-12 combined this bill is projected to have a negative effect on county and municipal revenues of $40-$45 million.

Throwing Lies To The Christians

Rep Deborah Ross, staffer and Sen Julia Boseman explain School Violence Protection Act to House Judiciary I Committee

North Carolina Conservatives are lying about sexual orientation and gender identity to bully the anti-bullying bill into submission. To defeat SB 526, the School Violence Prevention Act, Republican House Minority Leader Paul Stam and the Christian Action League have been claiming the existence of 30 sexual orientations as listed in the DSM-IV, the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-IV-TR) of the American Psychiatric Association. No such list exists. It is a fabrication of conservative Christians used to defeat any legislation that can be presumed to protect the human rights of gay people.

Whether through ignorance, invective or indifference, Stam and the Christian Action League have been falsely equating sexual orientation and gender identity with sexual disorders or deviations and have perpetuated a myth originated by the American Family Association that incorrectly references and misquotes the DSM-IV-TR. The American Psychiatric Association would describe this as "irrational discrimination based on gender or sexual orientation." The Christian Action League compounds the error by variously attributing the bogus "list" to the American Psychological Association and to the American Psychiatric Association, two separate professional organizations.

Kabuki House Theater

NC House Republicans this morning performed another act of the Kabuki theater that is the State Budget process. Standing behind a pile of budget reports at a press conference Rep Skip Stam called out for transparency, without any trace of irony. Stam was trying to make a point that Republicans were shut out of the process. He claimed to have been personally turned away from a closed meeting in committee room 612, next door to his own office, but on questioning could not remember by whom and he did not describe the nature of the meeting.


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