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North Carolina. Is this a surprise?

It’s not just the police.

While people in Charlotte protest (and riot), in response to the police murder of Keith Lamont Scott, consider that things don’t happen in a vacuum.

People in North Carolina have been treated in a callous, hostile manner for years.

If this incident had not precipitated a reaction, something else would have. A context was present. The seeds were sewn.

Here are a sampling of the things that have happened since Governor McCory took office and signed off on the Republican agenda the General Assembly had waiting for him:hb2-protest

  • They enacted a voter restriction law that, according to a U.S. appeals court, targeted African Americans “with almost surgical precision.”
  • They denied Medicaid expansion, as provided under the ACA, offering health care for low income people.
  • Immediately upon McCrory taking office, they abruptly eliminated unemployment benefits for 70,000 residents in a distressed economy.
  • They declared war on public and higher education, including steps that cut teachers’ pay, cut teachers’ assistants, and cut teachers’ job security.
  • They passed laws that legalize discrimination — not only for transgenders in the bathroom — but for all minorities in the workplace. This lost the state hundreds of millions of dollars. It caused tech companies to look elsewhere. The hospitality industry has been struck down. Artists have canceled events.  And it also lost one of our state’s most precious assets — NBA, ACC, and NCAA basketball games!

The governor and legislature did this. How have the people reacted to HB2? By arguing. McCrory has been the Governor of Wedge Issues. One after another. The Democrats say we need to repeal HB2 and get our state back. According to my social media feed, many Republicans say things that poo poo the artists, companies, and athletic organizations. They say things like “Good!” and “Leave!”

And now the people are in the streets.

Is this a surprise?

Quick work!

Incredible performance by J. R. Jones (Freedom Lawn Care), an extraordinary landscaper who helped us yesterday morning with a tree emergency.

This tree pummeled our neighbor’s yard and they had a lawn party scheduled for that afternoon. Our house was built in 1940, and from looking at the rings on the tree’s trunk, I’m guessing the tree was about the same age.

The winds came on Friday evening, about 8pm. It was a short burst of heavy wind, without lightening or thunder. The rain came a few minutes later, and there was very little of it. After a few minutes, all was calm, and this tree blocked our driveway and filled our neighbor’s yard.

I called J.R. that night. By the time I had gotten out of bed and made coffee on Saturday morning, he was cutting up the tree — which he rolled to the street by himself. By 1 or 2 o’clock, he was finished. J.R. is a worker!

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McCrory really does want dialogue (not)

McCrory on Meet the Press

The North Carolina Governor plainly told the nation, on ‘Meet the Press,’ that we need more dialogue.

“And let’s have this dialogue and I welcome that dialogue,” he said.

In another interview, he says, “What we need is dialogue, instead of threats. […] I see at the national level with presidential politics, I see even with this issue with the threats and the letters and the boycotts—I don’t see conversation. I don’t even see people reading things before they threaten to boycott. Why don’t we have a conversation?”

I wonder if he really means that — or what he means by that.

Skye Thomson, a transgender boy, says The Governor declined to have dialogue with him. This young man is still offering that opportunity to The Governor of North Carolina.

Open Letter from Trans 9th Grader to NC Gov. Pat McCrorySkye_Thomson.0

I’m thinking that dialogue, in McCrory’s world — the world of politics and getting re-elected — means that he hopes people will spend from now until the election talking about how right he is for being in favor of having separate bathrooms for men and women. It’s hard to disagree with that. What a dialogue!

And something else of high interest to our Governor:  What must it be like to be in the bathroom with a transgender person? A person whose genitalia does not match his or her appearance? The governor is quite interested in that — and he hopes all of us will be too.

These are fascinating dialogues.

A dialogue like that takes the attention off things like declining public education, declining higher education, unpopular and ineffective building of toll roads, inadequate minimum wage, loss of human rights, and the huge economic and cultural damage caused by legislation he has signed into law.

Not to mention the fact that North Carolina taxpayers are spending billions to provide health insurance to low income residence of other states, while half a million low income residents of McCrory’s state are denied health insurance, because he and the legislature have denied Medicaid expansion here. To heck with morality or dignity or humanity in matters of health, life, and death. Better to be right about that pesky Obamacare than allow care for the poor in his own state.

He also caused much pain to those who were already suffering when he cut unemployment benefits in 2013, at a time when North Carolina had an unemployment rate over 8% and workers here were pretty desperate.

We’re not talking about bad stuff that happened under his watch. Good and bad has happened under his watch. The governor is not all-powerful. He did not cause jobs to be lost.

But these things — real damage to public schools, state universities, state workers, economic development, providing health and well being for people, and cultural losses — these were not unintended consequences. These things are the result of a clear intention. These things happened because he caused them to happen as a direct result of legislation he signed.

Much has been written about the Governor’s hypocrisy (see The epic hypocrisy of Gov. PatMcCrory).  I’m saying that McCrory is telling the truth. He does want dialogue. He wants lots of dialogue, between now and the election.

And he wants that dialogue to be about bathrooms and human sexuality (fun stuff that anybody can talk about). And, although he won’t directly start it (he’s no Donald Trump), if he can frame the conversation such that a little hate speech for sexual minorities becomes the dialogue-du-jour between now and the election, he’ll welcome that kind of dialogue too.

It’s an excellent distraction from real issues that impact the lives of real people in the Tar Heel State.

It’s smart politics. It’s not a very noble way to govern a state that’s been pretty good to him.

Jackie Mudpie: The one who never left

jackie1

We rarely called her by her full name, Jackie Mudpie. She mostly went by Jackie, and sometimes Jack-Jack or Sweet Doggie, or various sounds like Doggie-woogie-beegie-baggie-boo.

Most people have a special voice they use for their dogs, and so did I. It’s a high tone that’s a little squeaky, a little weird,

Continue reading Jackie Mudpie: The one who never left

Going to see ‘A Parie Home Companion’ and I’m Sorta excited

phc

In a few minutes, Alicia and I will be making the pilgrimage to see A Prarie Home Companion, in Brevard, NC.

That show begin a month after I graduated from high school, and I’ve been a fan since then.

My dad liked it, and I have a vivid memory of sitting in the

Continue reading Going to see ‘A Parie Home Companion’ and I’m Sorta excited

Conservative think tank workers cancel July 4th Vacations

novacation

Declaring this past week “an emergency,” conservative think tank thinkers have canceled July 4th vacations so they can use the time to come up with new ideas for the future of our country.

“We lost same-sex marriage, health care, and the rebel flag — all in one week,” said the head of RTTCTOA.

Continue reading Conservative think tank workers cancel July 4th Vacations

Scrum, chickens, and extra time

chicken in hot weather

I’ve spent a lot of time over the past two weeks trying to outsmart a clever flock of backyard chickens.

I did not succeed.

Humans have a long history of dominating these little creatures. We eat their eggs and eat them. We live longer, eat more interesting food, live more interesting lives, use

Continue reading Scrum, chickens, and extra time

Responsibility cast and production team

L-R. Sam Post, Markeita Cornelius, Pamela Mitchell, Matthew Holley, Nik Blocker, Holly Horton.

 

I had an eventful Easter Sunday.

The Theatre Department at Lander University, in Greenwood, SC, put up an evening of Student Directed One-Act Plays — and they held a Sunday matinee.

Senior Nik Blocker directed one of mine, Responsibility.

I went to the show. It was a bit of a drive, but

Continue reading Responsibility cast and production team

Who’s the fool?

April Fools Goat

Yesterday, I played an online April Fool’s joke.

I asked Alicia to take a picture of me in the yard. I called the dog and the chicken over. The chicken did not obey, so Alicia sort of herded it in my direction.

And she took the picture.

I slapped on a a picture

Continue reading Who’s the fool?

Yard Sale

yard

I wrote this little play for the Lee Street 10 minute play festival. The guidelines requested a comedy with the theme Yard Sale. Alas, the period of suspense has ended and this script was not picked. Which gives me the opportunity to share it here 🙂

The picture here is my front yard

Continue reading Yard Sale