Please, No More Republican "Recovery"

I was just browsing NC Policy Watch's website and came across this study by the NC Budget & Tax Center (PDF). I'll post a few facts and figures below the fold, but the quick summary is that North Carolinians aren't getting any richer while the world around us gets more expensive.

  • Half of all NC full time workers in 2000 made less than $24,246. Half of all NC full time workers in 2004 made less than... $24,246.
  • What would you do with $2,800? Don't think too hard, because chances are you don't have it to spare. The median household income fell $2,806 between 2000 and 2004. That's a drop from 91.4% of the national average to 88.5%. I guess our $2,800 is off in some other state.
  • The percentage of North Carolinians living in poverty rose from 13.2 to 15.1 between 2000 and 2004. 15.1% is about one in every seven people. With about 8 million people living in the state, 15.1% is about 1.2 million people. By comparison, the entire combined population of Greensboro, Winston-Salem, and High Point is about 1.3 million people.
  • 14.9% of families with children under the age of five years lived in poverty in 2000. In 2004 it was 21.2%. One of every five children under the age of 18 lives in poverty.
  • 14.1% of North Carolinians had no health insurance in 2000. By 2004, another 2.4% joined that group.
  • The average man in North Carolina earns less than his counterparts in each of the other southeastern states; the average woman fares better than only those in West Virginia and South Carolina.

There is also data suggesting that Raleigh is doing unusually well, with a median household income near $50,000. On the whole, however, North Carolinians are worse off than they were in 2000, and "the data suggest that recent trends are not temporary ones caused by the last recession." What does all this mean? I'm no economist, but it seems to me that in times like these, we desperately need a government that is tuned in to the concerns of the working class. The rich, I'm sure, will take care of themselves.

Unhinged Indeed!

After James's rant I was well reminded of why we must do better in 2006 and 2008, but I also needed something to break the tension. I found the comic relief I needed in a reactionary conservative essay on the topic of elementary school classroom supplies that, in fewer than 1,000 words, invokes Al Gore, Terri Schiavo, the Supreme Court's decision in Kelo v. New London, bolshevism, and brainwashing. The author manages to slip some advocacy of violence against teachers in there as well.

Dear Voter: Your Services are No Longer Required

Remember that naked power grab by NC's Republican US House members I warned you about? You know, the one where they circumvent the democratic process because they don't like the decisions we North Carolinians came up with on our own?

Five of North Carolina's seven Republican members of Congress want to cut off federal highway money to their state unless it makes it more difficult for illegal immigrants to get drivers licenses.

Bad News for NC-11!

I am very sad to report that the denizens of North Carolina's 8th Congressional District may be stuck with corrupt banker Charles Taylor as their representative. The disheartening reason, dear readers, is that our challenger is going to be destroyed!

Visit Heath Shuler's website and drop a few dollars; let's show NRCC spokesperson Carl Forti just how destructible Shuler is.

Possible Formidable Challenger for Foxx

Vietnam veteran, three-term state house member, 10-year state senator, and 4-year state senate president Ted Kaplan is exploring a possible bid against one our favorite Republicans, Virginia Foxx. Kaplan spoke last night to advocate reduced health-care costs, clean air, clean water, bringing troops out of Iraq, education, job creation, and making American businesses competitive in the national market. Article here.

It is important to run a credible candidate in every district. Especially in '06 where more incumbents will be vulnerable than typical.

Executions VI: McHone Execution Stayed

Judge Andy Cromer on the North Carolina Superior Court has ordered that Steven McHone's execution scheduled for Friday be stayed until he considers new evidence from a paramedic that heard his mother's dying words asking for forgiveness for her son, who had just shot her. Judge Cromer's statement before issuing the order was:

"Someone unconnected to the family, the paramedic has been living with the last words of Mildred (Adams). From a perspective of how I am to review all of this. it's almost simply that. What effect does something that was not connected to the family have on the jury?"

Who Do They Think They Are?

Four NC Representatives—Myrick (NC-9), Jones (NC-3), Foxx (NC-5), and McHenry (NC-10), Republicans all—are having a press conference tomorrow to announce new legislation that they should be ashamed of. Myrick's new bill would withhold federal transportation funds from North Carolina if the state doesn't strengthen it's diver's license requirements.

Just to be clear, that's four of North Carolina's representatives to the US House bullying North Carolina in an effort to shape state policy. I'd really love to hear them explain that to a 10th grade Civics class.

Real Values is right to wonder: "Just for clarification purposes, aren't Republicans supposed to believe in federalism? Isn't it supposed to be conservative to trust states and localities to make decisions?" The people who elected Myrick, Jones, Foxx, and McHenry sent them to Washington to stand up for North Carolina values in the national and international spheres. That same electorate chose state senators and representatives, the Council of State, and our Governor to craft and enforce state policy. Now Myrick & Co. want to try their hands at running North Carolina?

Shuler Featured in the NY Times

Great article here (free subscription required). The piece starts on Shuler the football legend getting Republican voters to switch to him.

Because Shuler is a Democrat who played football at the University of Tennessee, and because this part of western North Carolina generally votes Republican and roots for Tennessee, the endorsement usually goes this way: "You're on the wrong side of the ticket, but you know what? I'm going to vote for you anyway."

College football loyalties can run deeper than party lines. The candidate nods and smiles. The voter tips his Tennessee cap. Just like that, the voter is once again a fan and the candidate once again a legend.

State Defense Bar Joins Call for Clemency in McHone Case And So Should We

For only the second time in state history the NC Academy of Trial Lawyers is intervening to seek clemency for a prisoner on death row. As I have chronicled here, there are three individuals schedule to be executed in the next month and all three have received calls for clemency for their own families and the families of the victims, which happen to be the same in all three cases.

McHone was convicted for a string of petty crimes prior to the murder. Then he was convicted of shooting his mother and father because they would not give him money to pay off restitution that he owed on a previous criminal conviction. He is sentenced to be executed on Friday.

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