Dying to protest

Rick Martinez, Puppeteer-in-residence on the N&O payroll, finally gets something right. I'll quibble with his opening sentence, but most of the rest of this column is worth reading.

Although the intent was noble, President Bush did not honor the service of fallen military heroes by signing into law legislation that essentially bans protests at their funerals.

A Failure of Leadership in North Carolina

When elected officials start gearing up for re-election campaigns, you can be sure responsible government will take a back seat to pandering. Even in the shadow government controlled by Art "The Puppetmaster" Pope, there's no end to the snake oil being sold. But it's not just free-market fantasizers who peddle false promises, it's also the whole damn legislative leadership of good old boys in search of votes. The best example is the pathetic debate on our current budget situation. NC Policy Watch tells the sad story.

House budget writers are busy putting together the House spending plan, but they ought to stop and take a long look at two documents that raise serious questions about the budget the Senate passed past week. One is the latest BTC Reports from the NC Budget and Tax Center, the other an internal memo prepared by Fiscal Research Division of the General Assembly and obtained by NC Policy Watch that shows big trouble ahead if lawmakers cut taxes this year and let the remainder of the 2001 tax increases expire next year.

Charles Taylor "Eviscerates" Forest Budget

The Asheville Citizen-Times caught Congressman Charles Taylor with the smoking chainsaw in his hands:

"Early this month, the House Interior Appropriations Subcommittee, chaired by our own Rep. Charles Taylor, “zeroed out” of the federal budget money for the Land and Water Conservation Fund grants that states have used for local parks and recreation projects.

The subcommittee also approved only $26.8 million for federal land acquisition projects, less than one-third of the $83 million in the Bush administration budget and far short of the $220 million called for by more than 120 bipartisan members of Congress.

Robin Hayes buddy GW sells out textile workers again

This must be Robin Hayes idea of Good for NC and the textile industry.


A textile industry lobbying group blasted a trade agreement signed by the United States that would allow Vietnam to join the World Trade Organization and would lower trade barriers between the two countries.

The American Manufacturing Trade Action Coalition, which has criticized a variety of free-trade deals largely on the basis that they would further damage U.S. textile manufacturing, called the Vietnam agreement "a disaster for U.S. manufacturing and the U.S. textile industry in particular."

Puppetshow expands!

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Updated with a kinder, gentler title and picture!

I have to hand it to the Puppetshow. Not only does Art Pope have his very own stooge inside the News and Observer and his very own hand-picked water carrier destined for the state legislature, he also appears to control one of the Boy Pundits, Carter Wrenn, who dutifully echoes the Puppetmaster's talking points about the horrors of planning, especially transit planning. But there is a silver lining. With Stage Manager John Hood losing his edge, it's good to see Wrenn filling the void with plenty of right wing ignorance to keep us all amused.

Act now to protect the public interest

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Rob Christensen, the N&O's top guy for politics, does a better job than most in getting behind the scenes in the state legislature. Earlier this week, he wrote a column that definitely deserves your attention.

Question: What kind of lunatic would run an $18.8 billion-a-year corporation with virtually no planning, no goals and no way to measure success? Answer: Your North Carolina state government.

Asheville's Drinking Liberally: Wedgie Politics

What do you call a sharply divisive political issue, especially one that is raised by a candidate or party in hopes of attracting or disaffecting a portion of an opponent's customary supporters? The pundit class, drunk as they are on cocktail weenies and spritzers, call it a Wedge Issue. Drinking Liberally - that weekly amalgamation of gay liberals, immigrant progressives, abortionist greens, and hot button hotties - call them wedgies because they're a pain in our collective asses.


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