The endless, embarassing session

Republican lawmakers and their sycophants keep claiming that they are running the legislature “like a business” these days. Well, if that’s true, the “business” is one of those mysterious, fly-by-night furniture stores that are perpetually “going out of business.” 

Between shutting off debate countless times, constantly employing procedural tricks, changing the rules on the fly and, lately, changing the reason they’re even in Raleigh (and how long they plan to stay) on almost daily basis, the endless 2011 session has become a painful and seemingly endless embarrassment.


Wanted: A General Assembly to Lead NC to a Clean Energy Future

America’s first offshore wind project has received the final okay from the Department of the Interior last week after years of delay. The project, named Cape Wind, will be located off Nantucket Sound, MA, and once operational, will power 400,000 homes. The announcement from Secretary Salazar came just before the one-year anniversary of BP’s Deepwater Horizon oil disaster.

Meanwhile back home, NC Republican legislators used the anniversary of the Gulf of Mexico disaster to promote offshore energy – but what kind? Read more


Elon Poll: GOP has advantage, but no groundswell of support in NC

With a little over a month until the mid-term elections, many are predicting a blow-out win for Republicans on the state and national level.

Hunter Bacot, director of the Elon University poll, says their latest numbers show Democrats in a difficult position with many likely voters blaming President Obama and the party in power for the duration of the recession and their own economic hardships.

But on the state level, Bacot notes that voters aren’t rushing to support Republicans either. When asked which party they would support this November in the North Carolina state House races, 34% said Democrats, 29% said Republicans, with more than 30% undecided. For the state Senate elections, the numbers were almost identical.

Bacot joins us this week on News & Views to discuss the mood of North Carolina voters, the tea party movement, and how today’s undecided voters will determine which party has the power after November 2nd. For a preview of Hunter Bacot’s radio interview with Chris Fitzsimon, please click below:

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“Have You No Sense of Decency, Sir?”

I got to thinking about that famous quote this week as I read about the fawning reception for Rudy Giuliani at the Civitas Institute and about George Tenet’s 4 million dollar book advance.  Here’s what I wonder about.  Since when is it OK for a public official to preside over a disaster and then be paid millions of dollars to tell us about it?  Giuliani received 8 million dollars in speaking fees in 2002 after 9/11.  Now his business group, Giuliani Partners, makes millions “consulting” on security matters.  I mean, who declared him a security expert?  Now I don’t blame Giuliani for 9/11, but does anyone think New York City was well prepared for the disaster from a security standpoint?  Wasn’t it Rudy who stubbornly decided to put the new emergency command center in one of the World Trade Center buildings?  We all know how that worked out.


9/11 has often been called our generation’s “Pearl Harbor.”  Here’s one difference.  Both senior commanders at Pearl Harbor, Navy Admiral Husband E. Kimmel, and Army Lt. General Walter C. Short, were relieved of their duties following the attack.  Subsequent investigations faulted the men for failing to adopt adequate defense measures.  Both men are demoted and retire in disgrace.


Neither man went on a book tour.  Neither man was asked to give a primetime speech at their party’s political convention.  Neither man was given the Presidential Medal of Freedom.  I guess FDR knew a thing or two about leadership and accountability in wartime. 


Now, back to the attendees at the Civitas Institute for Giuliani’s speech.  How many of the conservative members, do you think, have called John Edwards a greedy “ambulance chaser?”  Let’s think about Giuliani and Edwards for a moment.


Giuliani presides over a disaster, where a plausible argument can be made that he bears some responsibility.  3000 Americans die.  Rudy decides to work within our capitalist system to maximize the tragedy for his own financial and personal gain.


Edwards, on the other hand, works with families who have been injured through medical negligence or defective products.  He helps them navigate our judicial system as they seek due process for their injuries. True, there is significant financial reward for Edwards, but there is societal good in his role as advocate for those who are less powerful, so that they may seek justice within our legal system.  After all, are we not a nation of laws?


Which man has faced adversity and acted with greater honor?  Which man has exhibited greater character?  Which man has acted with a greater sense of decency, sir?  These are the questions we must honestly ask of ourselves and our public servants.