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Anything Could Be Finer



When it comes to subverting election results and racist vote suppression the efficiency of the North Carolina legislative machine is unsurpassed. When it comes to trying to eliminate bigotry that’s hurting the state economically, not so much. Jesse Helms may be dead, but politically it’s still his state.

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  • D.N. Nation

    Grew up in Raleigh. Fled for college, never came back.

    • Fats Durston

      Grew up in the hills. Fled to Triangle for college. Left for further education, never moved back. Still feel shame when the good (evil) people of North Carolina fail humanity, yet again.

    • Born in Wilmington. Parents left when I was still a toddler. Never been back.

    • BiloSagdiyev

      Born a Yankeee, made myself a leftish kook. Stumbled into it after college. Stayed. Has it been easy? Am I made of sterner stuff? No, I’ve got something wrong with me and don’t leave situations that are bad for me but the cost of living is swell.

      • efgoldman

        My SIL is from Wilmington, graduated from Wake, and immediately left for the DC area. He, daughter and granddaughter go back to visit twice a year, and he and daughter basically have to grit their teeth and duct tape their mouths.
        The younger generation of cousins (they are legion!) seem mostly to want to live in the 21st century, in a society most of us want. Especially the gay ones, who are out to daughter and SIL, but not to their own holy roller parents.

  • Todd

    First in Flight taking on a new meaning

    • Davis X. Machina

      AFL-CIO used to have a bumper sticker:

      “First in Flight — Last in Wages”

    • ThrottleJockey

      +4 wings

  • John not McCain

    It was so quaint that the good-natured liberals of Charlotte believed if they went ahead and repealed their non-discrimination ordinance that the Jesus thugs would repeal HB2. When will decent people learn not to trust bible trash?

    • randy khan

      I saw it differently – it gave the legislature a chance to do one right thing, but if the legislature didn’t act it highlighted their intransigence and unreasonableness, with no real cost to the city or LGBT constituencies either way.

      After all, they didn’t really give up anything by passing the repeal ordinance, since it goes into effect only if HB2 is repealed. That didn’t require trusting the legislature at all.

      • John not McCain

        Thank you. That important detail was not in the article I read.

      • Jean-Michel

        The section you’re referring to was amended on Wednesday morning to eliminate the language requiring HB2 repeal, after the NCGOP said the original Monday repeal didn’t go sufficiently far. So the City Council trusted the legislature with completely predictable results.

        • John not McCain

          Sonofabitch! I am so glad Jesus-y business owners tend to go out of their way to express their love for that dead whore’s kid. The least I can do to show respect is keep my tainted gay money out of their hands.

          • Origami Isopod

            that dead whore’s kid

            Slut-shaming, how charming.

        • randy khan

          Obviously I hadn’t seen that. Nuts.

          There isn’t anything that prevents the Charlotte City Council from re-enacting the ordinance, but I’m going to guess that won’t happen, as it would be an exercise in futility.

  • Ernie

    I had this ridiculous hope back in 2008 that the tide was turning. Silly me.

    • Mike G

      Meet the New South
      Same as the Old South

  • aturner339

    If this doesn’t teach people to vote in every state election nothing will. Throw the bums out. Every single one.

    • *spoiler* nothing will.

      • BiloSagdiyev

        Stoopit politicians! (shake fist)

    • Phil Perspective

      If this doesn’t teach people to vote in every state election nothing will.

      Why would any sane person vote after seeing what the NC Democrats did? It’s Charlie Brown, Lucy and the football all over again.

      • (((Malaclypse)))

        Why would any sane person vote

        The entirety of Phil’s political philosophy, boiled down to 5 words.

  • liberal

    Interesting Monkey Cage post on one reason state-level Dem orgs have fallen apart.

    Trigger Warning: It commits blasphemy by criticizing The Holy One.

    • econoclast

      I don’t know who “The Holy One” is supposed to be, but that kind of rhetoric is fucking annoying.

      • ThrottleJockey

        Where have you been Econoclast? Didn’t you know only true blue liberals can criticize Obama by labeling him The Holy One?

        But God forbid you should abbreviate Hillary’s name to Hill. That’s fucking sacrilegious. He who does that will roast in Hell.

        • brewmn

          “Hill” is much lower on the annoyingness scale than “The Holy One,” the “Messiah,” etc.

          By which I mean it’s lower, but still on the scale. You’re not a buddy of hers; most find it rude to fake a familiarity with a person that we do not possess. But you know that already.

          • ThrottleJockey

            I can’t be said to be faking a familiarity with someone when no one thinks I’ve even met her much less am familiar with her.

            • Nick056

              Not to mention that politicians (and their supporters) are supposed to embrace stylized familiarity. Not Hillary supporters though. My dear! Familiarity? How disrespectful. Mind your place!

              • brewmn

                Fuck off.

        • jim, some guy in iowa

          somehow I doubt liberal cares what you call Clinton. but I think you’re both acting like shitheads with an overdeveloped sense of your own cuteness when you refer to “Hill” and they refer to “The Holy One”

          • ThrottleJockey

            Different intents. There are only2 people in public life who I so despise that I would do anything so uncivil as to label them so derisively. One is #TrumpFuhrer (aka Il Douche) and the other is Justice Uncle (Clarence) Thomas.

            I abbreviate Hill just because I abbreviate. There’s no interest to belittle and I think those who have accused me of that are at best, to be charitable, projecting.

            • TopsyJane

              There’s no interest to belittle and I think those who have accused me of that are at best, to be charitable, projecting.

              You claim that denigration isn’t your intent, but your posts read that way. Look forward to your future references to Obama as Bar or Barry.

        • Lurks

          I have noticed that we are all overly familiar or unknowingly sexist in this regard. In the current political microclimate there is only one Clinton we would be talking about, yet it seems almost universal to refer to the candidates as “Hillary” (first name) and “Trump” (last name).

          Granted, we also call Trump the orange shitgibbon and the like, but when referred to by name we use his last name, just like we generally call our current president “Obama” instead of “Barack”.

      • Rob in CT


        That article might be dead on balls accurate, but yeesh. Give it a fucking rest with the Messiah shit. Who here EVER thought of Obama that way? I certainly didn’t.

        • Origami Isopod

          It’s right-wing framing, which is completely predictable for TJ.

          • farin

            In TJ’s entirely situational defense, that bit of dumbassery came from liberal.

    • jim, some guy in iowa

      what rock do you live under, where people still- or have since about mid-2009- see Obama as some kind of infallible genius?

    • Dr. Ronnie James, DO

      I’m sorry, but that article is just dumb:

      “John F. Kennedy exploited his party while making precious few investments in its capacities; Lyndon Johnson undercut his party and drained it of its resources; Jimmy Carter neglected and exploited it. Bill Clinton followed the same pattern until his second term, when in response to his party’s flagging electoral fortunes, he launched a number of party-building programs. But the start-up costs were high and the downstream gains were gradual, with the biggest steps forward taking place during Howard Dean’s tenure as Democratic National Committee chairman a few years later (2005-2009).”

      So Obama’s being faulted for doing…exactly what every other Democratic President in the past half-century has done?

      He also completely fails to mention Obama’s main post-Presidential project: the anti-gerrymandering initiative with Eric Holder. Considering the election results, I’d say Obama’s got a pretty sharp sense of what really needs to be done.

      • Downpuppy

        There are 3 women Obama gave jobs to that led to trouble for the party : Napolitano & Sebelius, because he took them away from great work in their states, and DWS, because FUCK.

        • humanoid.panda

          So Obama’s being faulted for doing…exactly what every other Democratic President in the past half-century has done?

          As I read the story, Obama is criticized not for being as good as Carter, JFK or Carter. He is critisized for not puttin enough efforts into party building in comparison to Republican presidents.

          [Even though, and this is just a guess, the historical perspective might be misleading here: many of the presidents surveyed here were running the party during an era in which it had vast areas of the country under its more or less complete control, while the Republicans were fighting uphill to take those areas.]

          • Hogan

            And the article never says what any of those Republican presidents did. Guess I’ll have to buy the book!!!

      • TopsyJane

        The article has its issues, but it’s not the first to observe that Obama hasn’t been focused on partybuilding, to say the very least.

        HRC had been talking about the problem for some time and possible means of remedying it.

    • randy khan

      I didn’t see anything about St. Ronald of Reagan, so I’m not sure who The Holy One is supposed to be.

    • XTPD

      Because treating people who are apparently-insufficient Obama critics as if they’d get PSTD flashbacks from moderately strong Obama criticism is the height of maturity.

      Seriously, how fucking old are you, 14?

  • Jesse Helms isn’t actually dead, it’s just that he has to spend the daylight hours in his coffin.

    • ThrottleJockey

      +1 Count

  • Davis X. Machina

    They’ve had their share of real pips in NC.

    I especially remember his mini-me, John C. East, who had the Senate cloakroom and other areas of the Capitol remodeled for his wheelchair, price a million and a half dollars, then turning around and supporting Reagan administration attacks on Section 504 and the disability provisions of the CRRA

  • MAJeff

    Best thing Jesse Helms ever did was die.

    • BiloSagdiyev

      And he procrastinated terribly on that one!

    • ThrottleJockey

      And if he was any good at it he would’ve done it decades sooner.

    • John 2.0

      I went to law school with his grand daughter. She was nice, and became a well regarded family law judge in the triangle. So there’s that.

  • The thing is, even if they repeal HB2, the deal was to do it in exchange for repealing Charlotte’s anti-discrimination ordinances. So the GOP’s offer here boiled down to “if you surrender completely, we will graciously accept your surrender.”

    • Manny Kant

      But the Charlotte ordinances are a dead letter as long as HB2 is in effect, and the city can vote them back in whenever it likes after HB2 is repealed.

  • DrDick

    And the GOP is now the party of Helms.

  • Jake the antisoshul soshulist

    Helms, Calhoun, Jefferson Davis, N B Forrest. You name ’em.

  • efgoldman

    So: Where are we on the leg emasculating the new governor, state supreme court, and election boards? Has it gone to federal court yet?
    Isn’t Cooper still AG? Maybe he should arrest the whole fucking traitor bunch and drop them all in country jail until after the holiday. That’s what I would do, but I’m very old, and nasty, and cynical, and full of bile and vengeance.
    The fuckers want war, give them war.

    • Aaron Morrow

      Now that the session is over, I can point out that while Republicans gave themselves control of state voting on even number years, the courts mandated special legislative elections for next year. I don’t know if vetoing a state budget has ever worked, but Cooper should take the tools the tools handed to him and use it.

      So add the NC House (sources disagree about NC Senate) to the VA House, VA Gov, NJ Gov and NJ legislative elections in 2017, please.

      • John 2.0

        Depends on what you mean by ‘worked’

        Governor Perdue vetoed a state budget and it was overridden by the GA. It’s possible, but it’s it’s bad enough to get vetoed, there are probably veto-proof majorities in both houses anyway.

        • Jean-Michel

          Correct–the NC GOP has the necessary three-fifths for veto override in both chambers. There’s supposed to be a special election for the state house next year, on account of blatant race-based gerrymandering, but that can still be overturned by SCOTUS, and even if it isn’t there is no reason to believe the GOP will faithfully comply with the court’s orders.

  • John 2.0

    I actually think that this is probably the first step too far for the NCGOP. The bill had Speaker Pro Tem Phil Berger’s name on it (the author of the previous special session), and it’s unheard of for a bill with the pro tem’s name on it to fail a floor vote.

    I think he’s just woken up to the fact that he’s created a caucus that’s 50% freedum/suicide caucus that can’t or won’t vote for anything that’s not the most right wing thing available. The fact that three Republican legislators protested the special session at the outset (and tried to adjourn before any business occurred) is proof that he can’t keep the crazies from self destructing.

    I have no idea what this means for the next session beginning in late January. Gov-Elect Cooper is a lot of things,not all of them good, but he’s at least a savvy politician who understands how to counter-punch. I expect that Berger is going to get find it increasingly difficult to get anything done.

    • farin

      Nothing would satisfy me like all the old, self-important Republican cranks turning Lieberman now. They won’t, of course, because to be a Republican at this moment in history is to be immoral trash, but it’s a nice thing to think about.

  • The 7th Marx Brother

    Born in NC. Entire family has been here for many generations. Fled for college and lived elsewhere for ~20 years, then my wife’s company was acquired and she (and I) were relocated to NC ten years ago, where I live today.

    Here’s the thing: IMO, North Carolina is a microcosm of the urban/rural voter divide that is roiling the entire USA. Charlotte, Raleigh-Durham — even smaller cities like Winston-Salem and Greensboro — tend to vote Democratic and are moderate-to-liberal. Rural areas are over-represented thanks to historical patterns and post-2010 gerrymandering. Those places and the exurbs reliably support the GOP and turn out en masse for culture war issues like stopping The Gays for the sake of The Children.

    So yeah, my home state is a grim and embarrassing political and social environment today. (It was much less so until recently, notwithstanding horrors like Jesse Helms.) But if you actually live in one of NC’s cities or university towns, it’s nothing like you might expect if you judge by the policies enacted by the state legislature. My understanding is that Democrats in the General Assembly received more votes in total than Republicans did in the last two elections (I haven’t done the math myself), but were gerrymandered into minority status. Don’t get me wrong: it’s still the Bible belt and a lot needs to change; but the majority of voters want to repeal HB2 and don’t support the wackjobs of the far right.

    From where I sit, the culture war is still raging. But Democrats keep bringing a (butter) knife to a gun fight.

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