Republican bullies

Hager enlarges his third-world tyrant portfolio

Taking away power from local authorities:

Rep. Mike Hager, the House Majority Leader, is the latest big government conservative to try to strip power from local governments and give it to the legislature. Hager introduced a bill that would take away local appointments to the Isothermal Community College Board of Trustees and give them to the General Assembly. It’s a pure power grab. Nobody on the board of trustees was aware Hager was going to introduce the bill and nobody asked him to file it.

Republicans say they’re just doing what Democrats did. That’s a lame excuse even if it was true. But it’s not.

Trying to dig out nuggets of truth from the GOP's rhetoric is like panning for gold on the Great Plains. A lot of hard work and frustration and nothing to show for it. The truth about this story will probably involve one local conservative with an axe to grind, and that's good enough for Mike Hager and many of his bent colleagues.

FCC smacks down NC Legislature's bullying of cities

Thanks to the guts and determination of the City of Wilson, muni broadband is back on the menu:

On Thursday, the Federal Communications Commissions voted 3-2 to override laws preventing Chattanooga, Tenn., and Wilson, N.C. from expanding the high-speed Internet service the cities already offer to some residents. The vote could embolden other cities that feel they have been underserved by traditional Internet providers, potentially undermining years of lobbying by the telecommunications industry.

The FCC's intervention in Wilson, N.C. is even more dramatic, overturning a range of state laws that the city says artificially limits competition. One provision in North Carolina law bars cities from charging prices that are lower than the private incumbents'. Another requires municipalities to gain public support for a city-run service through a special referendum before borrowing money to fund such efforts. A third effectively prohibits cities from building in "unserved areas," according to Wilson's petition.

Bolding mine. It's becoming almost impossible to keep up with all of the laws Republicans passed that have been blocked, overturned, or have come under serious scrutiny for Constitutionality. Any sane person would realize they were heading in the wrong direction with these facts staring them in the face, but the GOP is notorious for creating conspiracies of strawmen to explain their failures and poor judgment. They're going to have to raise taxes just to pay their legal fees for defending all their mistakes.

Jim Womack puts on his bullying cap over anti-coal ash sign

"No more espresso shots for you!"

Kathy Addison, owner of Kathy’s Java Express in downtown Sanford, says Womack had coffee there on Thursday and after a quick trip to the restroom, entered the kitchen to ask to speak to the owner. Addison, who wasn’t in the cafe at the time, says Womack told her daughter she needed to take the coal ash sign (pictured above) down.

“He said it’d be in our best interest to take it from the window,” she said. “And if we didn’t, we’d lose his business, and he’d make sure we lost other people’s business as well.” Addison’s daughter filed a “communicating threats” complaint to the Sanford Police Department following Thursday’s ordeal.

Good for her, and shame on Womack for making the threat at all, much less to the daughter instead of the owner. Didn't we used to have a "Jackass of the Week" award here? Well, he wins it hands-down.

Tom Ross fired from UNC because GOP

When you don't really need a reason to do something:

After the meeting Ross and Board Chair John Fennebrusque met with reporters in one of the most bizarre press conferences you will ever see, with a combative Fennebrusque unable to answer a basic question asked by reporter after reporter; why exactly was Ross forced to step down.

Fennebrusque said it had nothing to do with his performance, the joint statement said that too. Fennebrusque said he was very pleased with Ross’ efforts for the UNC system, that he had been doing a wonderful job. And Fennebrusque said it had nothing to do with politics either, the hardest answer of all to believe given the rumors about pressure on the board from legislative leaders to make a change.

I think a lot of people still haven't grasped the fundamental truth about Republicans: Once you have achieved the power to do something like fire a University President, you no longer need to explain yourself when you exercise that power. Aside from the fact it's difficult to justify the unjustifiable, providing reasons for your actions is a sign of weakness, and inevitably leads to an erosion of your power. And this is why they make so many embarrassingly foolish mistakes; because they don't adequately scrutinize their own ideas before putting them into practice.

Trudy Wade's Greensboro gambit gets nod from Berger

And the stink of this plan just got unbearable:

When asked if he would favor legislative changes in the makeup or size of the Greensboro City Council — something Sen. Trudy Wade (R-Guilford) said she is considering — Berger said he would be interested to see what Wade proposes.

“There are some very good reasons to make some changes,” he said. “I think she may very well be on the right track.”

And what are some of those reasons, pray tell? Neither you nor Trudy Wade have revealed to the public anything more than vague mumblings, which means this is not a populist move, it's something else. And that something else needs to be revealed to the people of Greensboro, before you attempt to stifle their voices.

Trudy Wade's conquest of Greensboro City Council

Rigging the game in favor of Republicans:

If the city had six or seven council districts, the maps could be carved up in a way that overloads a handful of districts with Democrats, making the remaining districts at least more competitive for Republicans.

The General Assembly used both of those techniques — eliminating at-large seats and clumping together Democrats — when it redrew the county commissioner districts.

Proving there's nothing too unethical for Republicans to contemplate, when they smell a potential power grab. It also proves land developers are not about to give up their dominating influence over Greensboro's affairs, regardless of what the people actually want:

Wos and Tucker clash over DHHS funding

Apparently it costs a lot to mismanage a state agency:

At the height of the exchange, Wos made an impassioned request for committee members to see that her funding requests have to be done, in part, “for the future of the state.”

“Don’t talk down to me,” Tucker said to Wos. “I’m responsible to the taxpayer to see if there’s any savings” in the requests. Wos, attempting a cool down, told Tucker “we will continue to give you whatever information you like. We will present our business case more accurately if this was not sufficient.”

The first step in securing "the future of the state" is for Wos to return to the only occupation she seems qualified to do, hosting dinner parties. That may not completely stop the drain on taxpayer resources, but at least they won't be sucked into the event horizon of the black hole that is Aldona Wos:

Prominent Cabarrus County Republican shoots his own son

Being Cabarrus County, this is probably not front page material:

“There appears to have been an altercation between Mr. Cowherd and his son,” said Cabarrus County Chief Deputy Paul Hunt. “A gunshot went, off striking the son.”

The younger man, whose name was not immediately available, was taken to the hospital with injuries that were not life-threatening. Phil Cowherd III was interviewed at his home but was not taken into custody Sunday, Hunt said. Deputies have collected the gun used in the shooting as evidence.

When he was finally tracked down for a comment, Cowherd replied, "Ahh, he'll be alright, I just winged him. Besides, how I discipline my children is nobody's damn business but my own." You're right, I just made that up. It happens. ;)

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