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Pantone fandeckHere I was, all ready to give Gov. McCrory a thumb’s up for his refusal to give state money to Jerry Richardson for his Taj Mahal-dium, when, before the words can leave my fingertips, he comes out with this:

“‘I think voter ID is what you need to get Sudafed in the stores right now. It’s what you need to get on the plane. It’s what you need to get many government services at this point in time,’ McCrory said, adding that he believed the bill lawmakers are developing will have safeguards for those without an ID.”

GETTING SUDAFED IS NOT A RIGHT. Getting on a plane is not a right. Voting is, and it is as sacred a right as a secular democracy can have. Pretending that this voter ID push is anything but a way to suppress the votes of the poor is risible. Read More

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Our great state is poised to become the only state in the union – we’re still in that, right? – to provide all non-citizen drivers with licenses that clearly mark them as such, even those with green cards and visas. Why would the Department of Transportation want to make business executives and academics and permanent residents carry the cerise signifier? So that those uppity DREAM kids don’t think they’re hot stuff with their new licenses, that’s why. Who picked the magenta mark anyway? Joe Arpaio? Read More

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The legislature is not working today – could we call the last couple of weeks “working” though, really? – so I want to catch up on some of the hijinks they’ve been up to while the rest of us stand aghast at their attack on the working poor as well as the poor poor. It’s important to distinguish the kinds of poor so that you can divide them and distract them from their penury, especially now that it’s 2013. From slashing unemployment benefits, that kept one of their families afloat for more than a year, to working on blocking Medicaid expansion, ending drivers’ licenses for immigrants, and reinstating predatory payday lending, the General Assembly is full of busy beavers. Sadly, they’ve also had time to ban topless rallies in Asheville. What a bunch of buzzkills. Read More

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Under laws established by precedent, we accept limits on our constitutional right to free speech. I am not allowed to shout “Fire!” in a crowded theater because of the very real possibility that someone would be injured in the ensuing melee. Safety is a value that competes with the right to speak freely, and, in that classic example, safety wins. Why cannot safety win when it goes up against the murkier Second Amendment? I have had enough. We are less secure, and thus less free, because of the vast number of guns in this country. There are other factors, particularly poor mental health care, that contribute to the mass shootings we suffer regularly, but it is time to stop pretending that more guns will solve this problem. Should Kindergartners arm themselves for a day at school? Read More

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Cousin Phil gone done it. He’s made me mad. Before he can object to Christmas, which, like a big ole park, seems unobjectionable, I need to point out one more way that his Dix reaction is wrong. By setting Raleigh against the rest of the state, he’s saying the capital city doesn’t belong to citizens of North Carolina. He’s telling them that the beauty of the Capitol, the beauty of the NC Museum of Art, the wonders of the Museum of Natural Sciences, the treasures of the Museum of History, all of those are not theirs. Berger’s telling the people of the state that they don’t have any part of the glorious metropolis of Raleigh or any of its glittering accoutrements. Perhaps that’s a little strong, but you get my drift. Read More