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What a difference a year makes. Three-hundred and sixty days ago, the Charlotte Observer endorsed former Charlotte mayor Pat McCrory for Governor. Today, calling it a “political stunt,” the paper rightfully blasted McCrory’s latest disingenuous move related to the federal shutdown and its impact on poor people:

“The photo op came off just so, and the headlines around the state were precisely what Gov. Pat McCrory intended: “McCrory announces aid for food banks struggling with shutdown.”

That was only part of the story, though, and not the largest part. In fact, food banks across North Carolina – and the hungry people they serve – have been struggling more because of the state’s actions and inaction than because of the partial government shutdown.

McCrory held a press conference Monday at Charlotte’s Second Harvest Food Bank. He announced that he was speeding up $750,000 that the food banks had coming to them, and he said the state Department of Justice would provide an additional $2 million on top of the $3 million the food banks were already supposed to receive.

‘Federal services are not political chess pieces,’ McCrory said in a prepared statement. ‘Real people are being impacted in very real ways. The political brinkmanship must end.’

He said this at the very moment he was moving political chess pieces and having a real impact on real people with his political brinkmanship….”

Read the entire editorial by clicking here.

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Beau Rivage resortWell, with thousands of North Carolinians out of work and/or income due to the Tea Party’s hostage taking in Washington, it’s good to know that North Carolina’s governor is right where he needs to be during the crisis…uh, that would be cavorting with oil and coal company execs and lobbyists at a swanky casino in Mississippi.

No, we’re not making this up; a day after throwing some chump change at the suddenly destitute with his state budget director and DHHS Secretary, the Guv (according to a press release from his office) boarded a plane and winged his way to the “Governor’s (sic) Forum on Outer Continental Shelf Energy Development” at the “53rd Annual Meeting of Southern States Energy Board.”

The Southern States Energy Board — read more by clicking here — is an energy industry-dominated group of southern politicians that, as best as can be determined, exists to promote fossil fuel development.  Click here the agenda for the meeting.

And this year’s big get-together? Well it’s being held at the lovely Beau Rivage Resort and Casino along the Mississippi gulf shore. Read More

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It’s not like this is news we haven’t heard before — that the federal courts were already limping along if not crippled by the sequester when the shutdown began.

But Dahlia Lithwick at Slate does a great job here illustrating just how dire the situation is, pointing out that the courts are just eking by with reduced operating hours, slashes to security, cuts to the federal defender corps and to personnel charged with monitoring released prisoners. And still new business keeps coming through the courthouse doors:

The courts don’t get to pick their cases. Cases come to them. And the list of critically important litigation in which stays have been requested or delays granted range from a trial over the force-feeding of prisoners at Guantanamo Bay to a major Federal Trade Commission case to the terror trial of accused former al-Qaida spokesman Sulaiman Abu Ghaith, to a major Freedom of Information Act suit. Whether or not the courts are officially shuttered next week, the federal justice system is in deep and worsening trouble unless we correct for the mistakes of the past year. Things have become so dire, Senior U.S. District Judge Richard Kopf wrote on his blog last week, that “it is time to tell Congress to go to hell.” Pro tip? Judges don’t usually talk like that.

And to those who depict furloughed court employees as simply dispensable government workers, there’s this to ponder:

The federal court system is not just people—although real people are being hammered in the court system, as they are throughout the federal government. The problem is that these people are the country’s justice delivery system. And when their work is hampered, delayed, or impaired, it’s not just “trials” that grind to a halt. It’s justice. What happens in the courts may not be as compelling as what happens on the Panda Cam or as spiritually uplifting as the national parks, but our federal justice system is the embodiment of the rule of law, particularly at those moments when the wheels have come off the rest of the government.

 

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In a move reminiscent of the Extended Unemployment Benefits debacle/crisis here in N.C., our national legislative leaders have decided to hold the FAA hostage for their own political games. In both situations, what is usually a bipartisan reauthorization becomes a hardheaded stand-off (with the whole debt-ceiling thing going on in the background, no less).

You can read all about the background of FAA issue in all the major news outlets, blogs, twitter, google plus, etc.

What’s interesting to me is how the “tax holiday” becomes a test case of how private businesses handle visible tax breaks.

There’s some buzz that with the FAA shutdown, normal taxes/fees that go the agency will not be collected. How do the major airlines handle that? Will the savings get passed down to the consumers as many fiscal conservatives have pronounced tax breaks to businesses will do?


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