Showing posts with label NC. Show all posts
Showing posts with label NC. Show all posts

Saturday, September 13, 2014

By all means, let's single out the undocumented immigrants ...

Illegal aliens are much more of a threat than ISIS - National Immigration Reform |
There has been a great deal of rhetoric from the White House recently on President Obama's alleged commitment to "keeping Americans safe" from the Islamic terror organization known as ISIS. While it remains to be seen whether or not Obama will actually "degrade and defeat" ISIS, it is simply fact that he has sat by and allowed untold numbers of our children to be raped by illegal aliens.
If you're a regular reader, you may be expecting an eye roll and dismissive comment, which are certainly warranted here, but I want to focus on a point of agreement first: the small of undocumented immigrants who are also violent criminals and sexual predators are, as Mr. Gibson has noted, more of a threat to Americans in America minding their own business than ISIL.

Based on the number of Americans who were in America minding their own business when they were attacked, I would like to point out some other groups who pose more of threat to us than ISIL: the police, clergy (especially youth ministers), NFL players, the Palin family, and we could do this all day ...

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

.@ffrf's Freethought Today June/July 2014 edition has a health dose of @cdogzilla in it!

I was a little late grabbing a seat, so not the easiest face to find in the crowd ...

The next day though, I was front and center for the raffle winners photo opp ...

Sunday, June 1, 2014

Atheists in the Bible Belt: A survival guide

Atheists in the Bible Belt: A survival guide – CNN Belief Blog - Blogs

Glad to see CNN covering the recent TFS-hosted FFRF convention here in Raleigh. It's amazing to me there are still large segments of the population that fear and distrust freethinkers, so anything that shows we're just folks helps.

Monday, May 19, 2014

Kicking it old school and a little bit outlaw tonight ...

Willie Nelson and Alison Krauss & Union Station featuring Jerry Douglas - May 19 at Koka Booth Amphitheatre

Devil Makes Three open, haven't heard them before but the description of their style is encouraging. Looks like we've got beautiful weather outside. Should be a great night ...

Friday, August 30, 2013

#LaborDay Weekend Remembrance: Martyred Labor Minstrel Ella May Wiggins

Martyred labor minstrel Ella May Wiggins celebrated in North Carolina

Ella May Wiggins
Martyred labor heroes like Wiggins are the great "disappeared" in most U.S. history books because they all too clearly demonstrate the dark underside of class in the American story. Many would rather that part of the story never be told.
Not every fallen hero hits the dirt of a battlefield when a bullet strikes them down. It's not only soldiers that have fought and died for the rights and freedoms we cherish. It's easy to remember to wave the flag and post pictures to your facebook wall glorifying soldiers on Memorial Day and Veterans' Day. However, unless we also celebrate the life and struggles of the largely forgotten heroes of battles against the enemies of freedom on the home front, the soft-focus pictures of wounded warriors and waving flags during the supposedly more patriotic holidays signify an incomplete understanding of the costs that have been paid for our freedom to enjoy life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. How we got to be free and to live dignified lives is every bit as much, or more!, the story of labor struggles at home as it is the story of wars abroad.

To forget that is to invite widening inequality, the erosion of our standard of living, and no less than the end of our Great American Experiment.

Remember Ella May Wiggins. Remember Eugene V. Debs. Remember the victims of the Triangle Fire. Remember Albert R. Parsons, August Spies, Adolph Fischer, George Engel and Louis Lingg, the leaders of the Eight Hour Day National Strike of 1886, executed in Chicago on ginned-up charges of having organized the Haymarket bombing.  Remember the martyrs of Blair Mountain. Remember "Big Bill" Haywood, and Samuel Gompers, too.


Thursday, August 29, 2013

They were qualified in one way: sufficient ideological purity to qualify for cronyism-based raises.

RALEIGH, N.C. — Gov. Pat McCrory says a pair of 24-year-old campaign staffers landed senior-level jobs in his administration because they were the most qualified applicants, beating out older candidates. 
But the N.C. Department of Health and Human Services, where Matthew McKillip and Ricky Diaz got big promotions and raises after only a few weeks of government service, has been unable to provide any evidence their positions were ever advertised to other potential applicants or that other candidates were considered.
Bad enough. But for McCrory to come out and lie about there being other candidates considered and these two being the "most qualified," makes this more than just a brush-fire scandal, it's turning into the kind of scandal where we should really be talking about recall or impeachment. He's either lying glibly without being aware of the facts, or he's lying deliberately and thoughtfully knowing full well what a scumbag move that is. Either way, he shouldn't be Governor.
The taxpayer-supported salaries for McKillip and Diaz are about three times the starting salary for North Carolina public school teachers, who received no raises in the $20.6 billion state budget signed by McCrory. The budget also eliminated a program that rewards teachers for earning master's degrees. 
Earlier this month, AP reported the names of five other young Republican staffers who got state government jobs with current annual salaries ranging from $52,000 to $78,000.
Your tax dollars hard at work rewarding Young Republican Knob Shiners. I hope all you Republican voters are happy with the governance you've inflicted on the rest of us. I'm sure you must be thrilled the taxes you pay are being used to line the pockets of McCrory's lap dogs.

Friday, August 23, 2013

Rachel Maddow continues to shine the a national spotlight on the terrible governance we're enduring here in NC

Rachel Maddow: Dark chapter in North Carolina voting success story:

Rachel Maddow reports on North Carolina's success in improving voter turnout and ease of voting through the 2008 election and the sudden change in direction (and ruling party) when wealthy Republican backer, Art Pope, turned the tide in 2010 allowing a Republican take-over of the state government and a wave of regressive legislation, including voter suppression.

Thursday, August 22, 2013

The NC GOP's contempt for democracy and the citizens of NC is incredible.

If only it were as surprising as it is despicable.

Visit for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

"There was discussion by the board." Sounds innocuous absent of context. In context ... shameful. Our NC GOP at work.

Sunday, August 4, 2013

A Visit to House in the Horseshoe #LivingHistory

NC Historic Sites - House in the Horseshoe

In spring and summer, bright flowers surround this plantation house named for its location on a horseshoe bend in the Deep River. The house (ca. 1770) was owned by Philip Alston, whose band of colonists seeking independence from Britain was attacked here in 1781 during the American Revolution by British loyalists led by David Fanning.
Took my son for a long-ish drive out of Fuquay into the back country (some Triangle residents may be cocking an eyebrow thinking Fuquay is 'the back country') to see a Revolutionary War battle re-enactment at the historic Alston House out in Sanford, NC.  I'll let the links tell the story but, in brief, Alston house was the site of a skirmish between Fanning's Loyalists and a Patriot militia led by Philip Alston. The house came within a straw cart's breadth of being burnt down in the battle. Alston's militia surrendered though, the house was spared, and remains today as one of the few houses where a Revolutionary War battle was fought that still stands.

It was a beautiful summer day; the weather cooperated splendidly. Hot in the sun, there were plenty of great old trees around the property providing shade and a steady breeze to keep us from overheating. Born in Connecticut, I'm not easily impressed by colonial era housing and historic markers with dates like 1761 affixed. They were a dime-a-dozen in our neck of the woods. Heck, my father lived in one of those old houses for a while, complete with low ceilings, bowing floors, and latches on the doors. This house, while not spectacular, is in a scenic location, is generally well-preserved -- it was the house of Governor Benjamin Williams (1799-1802, 1807-1808) -- and has the distinguishing characteristic of being riddled with musket ball holes.

The friendly and knowledgeable support staff and the re-enactors deserve hearty congratulations for putting together an informative and enjoyable event. We had a great time and so too did the large crowd out at the house for the day.

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

So let me get this straight ... #unreconstructed #WTF

Controversial Silent Sam Monument Turns 100 | WUNC

Silent Sam at UNC-Chapel Hill via Jeff on flickr

So a university built by slaves and free (well, free-ish, I suppose) blacks let a white supremacist [a fact genteely overlooked on his wikipedia page] dedicate a memorial to traitors in 1913 and hasn't had the decency to either tear it down? Or at least put a plaque on it saying something to the effect of, "A white supremacist dedicated this memorial to pro-slavery traitors here in 1913. Please feel free to desecrate it as you see fit"?

Here's a sample of the dedication speech [source]:
“100 yards from where we stand, less than 90 days perhaps after my return from Appomattox, I horse-whipped a negro wench, until her skirts hung in shreds, because upon the streets of this quiet village she had publicly insulted and maligned a Southern lady.”
Julian Carr, 1913

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

This is as depressing as it is unsurprising ...

What are they thinking?!

I'm sure (hopeful, at least) calmer heads will prevail and the Christian Taliban wing of the NC GOP will be put back on their meds.

Still, it's chilling what these clowns would do if left unchecked.

Click image to read the bill.

Friday, March 29, 2013

Welcome, Droney!

Why Drones Could Be Coming To A County Near You | WUNC

Drone news give me an opportunity to reuse my
This Modern World-based Cartoon Challenge panel.
North Carolina wants to be at the forefront of the coming drone boom. That has some folks excited, and others worried.

NC's Burr reveals ignorance of the Constitution, concept of inalienable rights in Q&A about gun rights, same-sex marriage, etc.

Debra Morgan: Sen. Kay Hagan came out today in support of same-sex marriage. Where do you stand on that issue?
Sen. Richard Burr: I believe that marriage is a function of state law. It has no place in Washington D.C., and I think that as the Supreme Court considers the case in front of them, I think there's a likelihood that the Supreme Court will say, 'We should never even consider this because it will infringe on states' rights. I believe that 50 states would be required then to make a determination then on what the definition of marriage is in their states.
Why state law? Why not city law? County law? Federal law? Imagine a scale of legislative bodies, starting at a hypothetical world government level and sliding all the way down to the smallest municipality capable of passing an ordinance and ask yourself: where would it make the most sense to regulate the institution of marriage?

People all over the world get married, right? People get married in the same faith tradition in different countries, and people get civil marriages and unions without a faith tradition, but it all is -- or should be -- the same. Across the warp and weft of government and religion, marriage is a contract entered into by two adult persons to make a commitment to one another, define obligations to one another, and to enjoy certain rights and privileges thereby. Sure, if you want to treat married couples differently in terms of the benefits your level of government provides, go ahead and do so, but treat all marriage the same, as a marriage. Period.

If your concern is about religious marriage, then consider this, we don't all share *your* religion. Marriage, for better or worse, is a civil institution as well as a religious one. Go ahead and do your religion your way, but don't pretend your religion gets to make the rules for the rest of us. Not a Muslim? Do you think you should have to abide by Sharia law? No? Good, then we agree that when it comes to matters of law and civil institutions, there is no place of religion. (See, my Christian friend, you're a secularist and you didn't even know it!)

If you only care about marriages in the U.S., what damned sense does it make to give one state the right to decide whether another state's marriages are valid are not? Do you get Connecticut married or Mississippi married? No, of course you don't, not any more than you get straight married or gay married. You get married married. The idea that marriage is properly an institution decided from state to state (or city to city, or town to town, or subdivision to subdivision) is laughably stupid.

Was slavery an issue properly decided at the state level? No. Slavery is an issue of liberty and equality -- it's a question about human rights and is answerable at the universal level. Slavery is wrong; it is a violation of human rights and it is right and proper that it be outlawed universally. Likewise, because marriage is an institution that affords couples certain rights and obligations in our society, therefore equal access to the institution is a matter of equality. We are all equal under the law. That is what makes us, to the extent we are, civilized. When you advocate for denying a class of citizens right on the basis of something beyond their control -- such as skin color, ethnicity, gender, sexual preference -- you are advocating for barbarism.

Senator Burr, you reveal yourself to be profoundly ignorant of the concepts of equal protection and human rights when you result to the idiot's argument of  "states' rights". I get that you believe marriage is between a man and a woman. Fine. Nobody is going to make you marry a man. Don't tell anyone else they can't marry the person they love simply because that person happens to be the same gender. It's bigoted and unfair -- and more the point: unconstitutional.

Also, if you really thought marriage was an issue best left to the states, you'd be a proponent of repealing DOMA. If you're for states defining marriage, and for DOMA, you're being hypocritical.

Morgan: After the Sandy Hook shooting, there was a lot of talk about gun control. That's pared off a little bit. Where do you stand on gun control and what do you think Congress should do about gun control?
Burr: I think Congress should attempt to make sure the background check data that we have incorporates enough information to make an educated decision. Today, there's no health care data, there's no mental health data that's found in a background check. So really, all we're looking to see if somebody who's purchasing a gun has a record, maybe was convicted of a felony that might deprive them of that Second Amendment right. There's no attempt on the Hill to try to incorporate medical records. So to get at the heart of the problem at Sandy Hook, we're not on that pathway. I'm committed to make sure that the Second Amendment is not infringed on in any way, shape or form. And I don't buy the president's argument that an assault weapon was made to hunt. No, an assault weapon was made to allow an American to defend themselves and their property – the exact reason the Second Amendment was created by our founding fathers. They didn't create the amendment for us to have the ability to hunt. And anything we would do to limit the American people to have that right protected would be an infringement to the Second Amendment.
Reminder: the Second Amendment is explicitly worded to make it, not a matter of an individual's right to have whatever weaponry they deem fit, but possible for the state to maintain a well regulated militia. It's worth repeating, "a well regulated militia". The peoples' right to bear arms is expressly about a civic duty of the people: the duty to defend the state. You can be sure the Founding Fathers had in mind the defense of the state against an enemy like the monarchy from which we we had recently broken free.

Yes, yes, I'm very familiar with recent perversions heaped on the Amendment by an incompetent, malevolent Supreme Court; so, fine, we all have to live with those ridiculous decisions until the Court can get it right -- which won't be the Roberts Court, that's for certain. So spare me the lecture about your side of the argument has successfully twisted the Constitution into shape it was never intended. I get it. The Court says you have a right they made up for you because bloodlust. Congratulations. But let's get back to the matter of whether that "right" is limitless.

It is not. You can't park a tank on your lawn. You can't go out and acquire fissionable material to make a nuclear bomb in your garage because you feel menaced by the secularists up north. We all agree, even you (unless you are a lunatic), that it is right and proper for the state to regulate what weaponry a private citizen can own and carry around with them. So let's not pretend the Second Amendment is something it isn't, shall we?

Senator Burr, when you say that the "exact reason" the Amendment was created was to allow for defense of self and property you are, either willfully or ignorantly, getting it exactly wrong. What part of "well regulated militia" don't you understand? Your job is to legislate and regulate, and to legislate and regulate well. Do. Your. Fucking. Job.

Thursday, February 28, 2013

Loyalty to the Union in North Carolina (Not exactly ancient history either.)

Bond School House #1 Bond School House #2
In much of the South, the issue of the Civil War was not slavery or the legalities of whether a state had the right to secede. For many white Southerners, the issue was: Which is my true country, the United States or the Confederate States? In many places, loyalty to the Confederacy was the rule. But in Yadkin County, N.C., fierce conviction gripped both sides of the question, culminating in a February 1863 gun battle that traumatized the county for generations. 
... An intricate web of kinship and economic interdependence knits together the region’s family farms, many of which were first tilled by frontiersmen and veterans of the Continental Army ... [whose] descendants remained loyal to the Union they helped to found.

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Third Wave KKK in NC (Not exactly ancient history.)

At its peak, the Klan had more than 10,000 members in North Carolina. 
"Almost every night of the year in the mid-1960s you'd see a Klan rally somewhere in North Carolina," Cunningham says. "It was kind of a skewed county fair environment. They listened to live music, bought Klan souvenirs, and ended the night with an enormous cross-burning."
NC's relative progressivism during the Civil Rights era fueled the more reactionary response.

The more things change ...

Saturday, February 9, 2013

Reading Freethought Today with my morning coffee ...

I see we're fifth on the Having Problems Understanding The Value And Importance Of Secularism List. Ahead of even Alabama, which leads me to believe some states are under reporting.

Friday, February 1, 2013

Employed philosophers chafed by McCrory's contemptuous dismissal of Liberal Arts majors

Manchester Hall
UConn's Manchester Hall -- where I studied before I came to live,
support local businesses, work, and pay taxes in North Carolina. 
Simply put, the study of philosophy made me a better person. That it has actually helped me succeed professionally is just a bonus.
Does philosophy prepare people for the “real” world? As a matter of fact, I think it does. Does this mean everyone should major in Philosophy? Of course not. An intro course as part of a liberal arts education should be an option open not only to those who can afford private school, though. Not everyone who takes Philosophy 101 will fall in love with it like I did. Then again, not everyone who takes a biology course goes on to medical school, and not everyone who takes a required course on U.S. government goes on to law school. I’m quite sure I would have failed as a doctor or a lawyer, or at least have been very unhappy. But I’m a good philosopher. I know that’s important, even if Pat McCrory doesn’t.

Leiter Reports

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Yo La Tengo, Cat's Cradle, 1/23/2013

Yesterday I promisethreatened pictures from the Yo La Tengo show. Never let it be said I'm a guy who doesn't keepcarryout promisethreats.

As you know, I'm no CB Lindsey and I don't pretend to be. Just a schlub with smartphone and insufficient shame.

Blurry, hmmm. Those are trees in the background. Maybe it will capture better in B&W ...

Nope, maybe if I try again ... 

Yeah, nope. Color blur was from the early part of the show, the B&W smudges are from later; the first of those I'm pretty sure is Georgia crooning My Little Corner of the World during the encore.

Don't let my hack photography dissuade you from checking out Yo La Tengo on this tour if they come to your area. It was a thoroughly enjoyable show. The quiet acoustic set showed of Georgia's (and James's) vocals, not that there's anything wrong with Ira's, but I'm all for Georgia getting plenty of time at the mic. They played Ohm both ways, quiet and delicate (and it was beautiful) to start the show and a louder, shredalicious version later. Ira really worked the guitars in the second set. My wife will roll her eyes and say she's glad she missed that part, but I love the jams. The first set would've been more her speed. They both worked for me.

Both versions of Ohm were highlights for me, the encores (Nuclear War and My Little Corner of the World), Stockholm Syndrome, Is That Enough, I'll Be Around, Tom Courtenay (acoustic), Our Way to Fall, Decora ... look, I need someone who took notes (I think someone who was stood in front of me so I'm going to watch for updates) to post the setlist and then I can just read it off because, for me, it really did roll from one highlight to the next. I'm glad they played every song they did and I don't know what I would've swapped out to hear Cherry Chapstick or The Evil That Men Do, or Somebody's Baby ...

[Update: here's that setlist ...]

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Hazards of packing while half-awake: wrong t-shirt for tonight's @TheRealYLT show

Went rummaging through my closet this past weekend to dig out old Yo La Tengo T-shirts in preparation for tonight's show at Cat's Cradle; had semi-decided on the purple Painful-era shirt and put it on a stack of shirts on the top shelf of my closet. However, when I was getting dressed for work, throwing jeans and all that in a bag, I wasn't paying attention and grabbed the first T-shirt handy, which happened to be one from the Olympic ping-pong trials in Cary. (Super-irritated I can't find the first one I picked up, the green/blue double silk-screened one of a what I remember as just random/abstract paintbrush strokes. How can I be a proper geek hoarder if I can't keep track of my geek hoard!) Sadly, it's probably for the best that I grabbed a shirt that fits a little better than those old shirts from back when one X in the size was enough ...

On a related note, my daughter noticed the bunny T and has decided it will be hers as soon as she grows enough that it doesn't fall off her.  

Pictures tomorrow. They can't come out any worse than last time ... 

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