Wednesday Morning Open Thread

And at a one-eighty-degree remove from the Modrun GOP, per the American Prospect, “Moral Monday Movement Gears Up for Round Two“:

On Wednesday afternoon, the North Carolina legislature will open its 2014 session. It will be hard for the Republican majority to top last year’s performance, which shattered the final vestiges of the state’s 50-year reputation for moderate governance. With the help of newly elected GOP Gov. Pat McCrory, lawmakers in 2013 slashed both public education and unemployment benefits. They rejected an expansion of Medicaid, paid for almost entirely by the federal government, that would have covered at least 300,000 low-income North Carolinians. They cut corporate taxes and eliminated the earned-income credit for low-wage workers. And they rewrote the state’s election laws in a way that will make registration and voting harder, particularly for African-American, blue-collar, and younger voters.

They might have done this without attracting national attention if not for the emergence of a political counterweight: a coalition of clergy, health professionals, educators, and other activists who took over the marble rotunda of the legislative building in Raleigh on twelve Mondays during the session—holding hands, praying, singing “We Shall Not Be Moved”—to protest what they viewed as an assault on the state’s most vulnerable residents….

Now, with legislators returning—and all 170 seats up for grabs in November—Moral Monday organizers are getting ready for a more comprehensive and strategic Round Two.

“We want to shine a bright light on the cruel and crazy stuff that this legislature has been doing and will no doubt continue to do,” says Duke University historian Tim Tyson, who was arrested during one of last year’s protests. “You don’t have to tell people this stuff is bad; all you need to do is tell them what is happening.”…

Apart from applauding our colleagues in North Carolina, what’s on the agenda for the day?

67 replies
  1. 1
    Debbie(aussie) says:

    The teahadist leaders in the US will be impressed at how quick their Aussie students are; our budget was handed down last night. They have cut ALL foreign aid and are aggressively slicing into our safety net. We are really in trouble.

  2. 2
    geg6 says:


    Welcome to our world, where the inmates have been running the asylum for the last 30 years or so.

  3. 3
    OzarkHillbilly says:

    Not working today. Spent half the day yesterday getting wet dog damp, the other half of it trying to get to damp dog dry. Screw that sh!t 2 days in a row. I’ll spend the day in the shop finishing the pull out trays for the new cabs in the cold storage room, then trim out the new kitchen window, then start on my wife’s new improved expanded edition knitting board. She thinks it will take me weeks to make it, but the construction is so simple that getting the materials will take longer than putting it together.

  4. 4
    Baud says:


    When I read about conservatives gaining ground in other countries, it’s usually attributed to incompetence or fracture or corruption within a prior liberal governing coalition. I don’t think we in the U.S. have that excuse.

  5. 5
    satby says:

    Sigh. Sending out my resume; my pretend “retirement” needs to end before I completely deplete my retirement funds. I was so burned out by the time I was laid off last December I couldn’t even consider looking seriously for another job for several months. But it’s time.

  6. 6
    NotMax says:


    Bush and Cheney each brought a veneer of, for lack of a better word, respectability to being a shameless and brazen psychopath.

    We shall be paying the price of sanity becoming devalued to just another option in the political sphere for a long, long, long time.

  7. 7
    OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Baud: CARTER! because that peanut farmer was a disaster 2nd only to Obama.

  8. 8
    Shakezula says:

    Wondering about the advert that is just the name of a chimpanzee known for its very … friendly ways over the head of some slick bearded type in a tropical shirt. He’s looking to the right. Is he watching chimps bump ugly chimp bits? Do I care enough to click?

  9. 9
    Baud says:


    At least with Carter, the party was fractured, and there were real social, economic, and foreign issues that Democrats were having a tough time getting a handle on. It’s not that hard to see why so many people turned to Reagan.

    You compare the Bush years to what Democrats and Obama have accomplished while dealing with the aftermath of the Bush years, and it’s no contest. History will never be able to explain current support for current GOP in rational terms.

  10. 10
    OzarkHillbilly says:

    I see that Darwin continues to enforce mine safety regulations in West (by Dog) Virginia.

    “Eric Legg, 48, and Gary Hensley, 46, died as a result of a collapse in the Brody No 1 mine near Wharton, which occurred at about 8.45pm on Monday.”

    The mine, which is owned by Patriot Coal Corporation, has a history of worker safety violations according to Mine Safety and Health Administration records. In October, MSHA flagged Brody as having a “pattern of violations.”

    In 2013, the mine was cited with 192 “serious and substantial” safety violations, which MSHA deems as conditions that could lead to miner injury. Thirty-three of the 192 violations the administration cited were of “high or reckless disregard” for miner’s health or safety.

    All hail our patriotic Galtian overlords.

  11. 11
    Baud says:


    Patriot Coal Corporation

    What is it with company names in West Virginia? Wasn’t the company that polluted the drinking water there named Freedom something?

  12. 12
    Ben Cisco says:

    Chaz Pazienza takes the delusional coward who stole a Sandy Hook victim’s memorial sign (then called the parents and said the child NEVER EXISTED) to task.

  13. 13
    OzarkHillbilly says:


    It’s not that hard to see why so many people turned to Reagan.

    I for one will never understand that, nor will I understand the rose colored revisionism going on with respect to his criminal administration. I spent most of the 80’s laughing because it hurt too much to cry. The Carter years weren’t great, but very little of that was his fault and there weren’t mass pardonings after he left office either.

  14. 14
    Hill Dweller says:

    @Baud: Tribalism. There is no way people are voting for Republicans based on policy.

  15. 15
    Baud says:


    The Carter years weren’t great, but very little of that was his fault

    Fault often doesn’t matter when people feel the job isn’t getting done. It’s not all that different than sports in that sense.

  16. 16
    Iowa Old Lady says:

    French photojournalist Camille Lepage was killed in Central African Republican yesterday. She was 26.

  17. 17
    Patricia Kayden says:

    @Debbie(aussie): All foreign aid? Wow. How nice.

  18. 18
    OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Baud: Patriot Coal is a St Louis based company formerly known as Peabody Coal, the same Peabody of infamy immortalized in John Prine’s “Paradise”.

    “And daddy won’t you take me back to Muhlenberg County
    Down by the Green River where Paradise lay
    Well I’m sorry my son but you’re too late in asking
    Mister Peabody’s coal train has hauled it away”

  19. 19
    Patricia Kayden says:

    @satby: Good luck with your job search.

  20. 20
    Schlemizel says:

    I understand the Reagan phenomenon. A very wide swath of America was suffering dementia. They had believed we were in Viet Nam for a reason and that we had to win or the commies would take over the world. Then we just stopped being there and it became obvious there had never been a good reason for all those deaths and that the worlds greatest military power could not rule 3rd world countries by force as they once had. This was compounded by the oil embargo that demonstrated the power of those same sorts of countries to bring pain to the US. These things led to a crisis of confidence. The only thing Reagan had was confidence. It was all bullshit but he smiled and read his lines and people who believed they were drowning desperately wanted to believe there was a lifeline.

    The economy was in the tank, the huge spike in oil prices caused inflation and killed jobs. The GOP succeeded in convincing many of these people who were now wary of their government that it was in fact all the governments fault and simply cutting taxes and removing regulations would solve everything. Many of the scared and depressed voters are also stupid voters and 40 years later and in the face of all the disasters these policies have visited on us many of them still believe that is the solution.

    Edit: and I say that as someone who worked hard against St. Reagan both elections. BTW – polls consistently showed a large majority of Americans against Reagan’s polices, every one of them. Yet they still voted for the rotten bastard.

  21. 21
    OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Baud: This is true, very true. And drives me nuts.

  22. 22
    Patricia Kayden says:

    @Ben Cisco: Yes, Sandy Hook “Truthers” are an actual thing.

  23. 23
    Phylllis says:

    @satby: Check out askamanager, if you haven’t already. Terrific job-hunting (and keeping) advice, and a wicked smaht comments section.

  24. 24
    Betty Cracker says:

    @Ben Cisco: That was an awesome rant. Thanks for linking it.

  25. 25
    NotMax says:

    Still get a snicker out of how slang has changed every time hear the dialogue just said a few minutes ago in The Postman Always Rings Twice.

    John Garfield: That guy’s a dick if I ever saw one.

    Hume Cronyn: He used to be a dick. But he’s not a dick anymore. He works for me now.

  26. 26
    OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Schlemizel: Because the real problem is all those lazy inner city men who won’t get jobs? Just to clarify, I know why, but that doesn’t mean I understand it. I was there, and I knew it was all bull, why are so many incapable of seeing the obvious? And again, I know why: Hate and fear, but that doesn’t mean I underst…..


  27. 27
    Schlemizel says:

    Sadly, the entire nation is caught in the vortex of stupidity. It is the same sort of vortex you see when you pull the plug in your bath tub and the results will be the same.

  28. 28
    big ole hound says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: Cheer up your dog will dry out soon. The sun is out in CA and it’s hot. All coming your way with not a political cloud in the sky. Put some Marlow “Be Happy” on.

  29. 29

    Taking a cue from DougJ and mistermix, I spent a little time this morning looking at the Restoration comedy being staged in the Beltway on behalf of George W. Bush.

    About the only good thing that came out of eight years of George W. Bush in the White House was such a revulsion on the part of the American electorate for his politics of personal destruction that they voted twice to elect the first black man as president. Mr. Bush can also lay claim to the demolition of whatever was left of the moderate and thoughtful wing of the Republican Party, finishing off the work started by Ronald Reagan. Mission accomplished.

    PS: Karl Rove is pond scum.

  30. 30
    Ash Can says:

    @Mustang Bobby: I have a feeling we’ll be seeing a lot more of that nonsense as the powers behind the GOP throne roll out their strategy for getting Jeb elected. Step One is getting people to forget how godawful his asshole brother was.

  31. 31
    OzarkHillbilly says:

    @big ole hound:

    Put some Marlow “Be Happy” on.


  32. 32
    Yoda Dog says:

    Sigh… its really tough being a Raleigh resident these days. But I’m very proud of the Moral Monday folks and Im going to try to get out there and join them once or twice this year. I’d be there every Monday if not for work…

    “Yes, Mr. Wingnut, I voted for Obama AND I have a job…”

  33. 33
    TheMightyTrowel says:

    @Debbie(aussie): heritage, arts, museums and the secondary and tertiary education sectors are all getting slammed. This sucks a lot.

  34. 34
    rikyrah says:

    Good Morning, Everyone :)

  35. 35
    scav says:

    West Virginia’s not content with the patriotic side effects due to collapsing coal mines and chemical spills, they’re also busy with child labor and tobacco exposure. Guard and BBC on the Human Right Watch Report. but, it’s their culture and choice, so they’ll not appreciate the news coverage. Because that’s the unfair part, the only part that needs fixing.

  36. 36
    MomSense says:


    Best wishes to you as you look for a job.

  37. 37
    rikyrah says:

    At least with Carter, the party was fractured, and there were real social, economic, and foreign issues that Democrats were having a tough time getting a handle on. It’s not that hard to see why so many people turned to Reagan.

    Yet, there were folks in this country that never fell for Reagan.

  38. 38
    J.D. Rhoades says:


    When I read about conservatives gaining ground in other countries, it’s usually attributed to incompetence or fracture or corruption within a prior liberal governing coalition. I don’t think we in the U.S. have that excuse.

    We do in NC.

  39. 39
    Baud says:

    @J.D. Rhoades:

    Fair point. I sometimes forget that the Democratic Party at the state level can be a whole different donkey.

  40. 40
    Bendal says:

    NC’s legislature starts it’s ‘short session’ today; they passed a 2 year budget last year so this year is supposed to only be about ‘tweaking’ the budget to adjust things. Not this time.

    As a result of their disastrous cutting of corporate income taxes and the tax rate on the very rich last year, NC is now $450 million short of projected revenue. We have a mandated balance budget; they have to do one of two things; raise taxes or cut spending to balance the budget. They could dip into ‘unspent revenue’ or the rainy day fund to fill the hole, but since they just replenished the RDF last year I wonder if they’ll deplete it so soon. In addition, there’s a $150 million Medicaid hole that has to be filled, and the governor wants to give teachers and state employees a pittance of a pay raise (it’s an election year after all). A 1% pay raise for state employees equals $300 million more that they don’t have, so we’re now up to around $900 million if the legislature agrees to the pay raises (they won’t though).

    What’s left to cut? Not a whole lot; education and social programs will be slashed further, and some legislators are talking about cutting the corporate tax rate even MORE, which won’t change anything this year but will make things much worse next year, when we’re expected to have a $200+ million deficit again. This is exactly what our conservative legislators want, though; they talked last year about “starving state government” and no doubt are sharpening their knives already.

    Then there’s the Duke Energy ash spill cleanup they want to do something about, and a few more things on ALEC’s wish list they have to enact, and they can then adjourn sometime around July 4. Doubtful, but that’s when they’re supposed to leave anyways…

  41. 41
    MomSense says:


    I was a teenager and I managed to see through his BS!

  42. 42
    danielx says:


    You’ll know you’re really in trouble when people in the New South Wales parliament start agitating for secession from the rest of Australia.

  43. 43
    rikyrah says:

    There are times that I wish I was on twitter, because I’d love to tweet this stuff to the Kneegrows who are trying to peddle that Rand Paul is some ‘different kind of Republican’. They can say this, even knowing that this racist grifter has already said, more than once, that he would have never voted for the Civil Rights Act and Voting Rights Act. See, maybe I’m just different, but as a Black person, there’s no need for further conversation once I found that out. I know, without hesitation, who Rand Paul is – MY ENEMY.


    Fox News sets Rand Paul straight
    05/14/14 09:00 AM
    By Steve Benen

    I had no intention of returning to the subject of Sen. Rand Paul’s (R-Ky.) on-again/off-again concerns about voter-ID laws, but the Kentucky Republican’s position keeps changing – and if I’m in for a penny, I’m in for a pound.

    To briefly recap, Paul told a largely African-American audience in Memphis late last week that it’s “wrong for Republicans to go too crazy” on voter-ID laws. When the right murmured some disapproval, Paul backed off a bit, saying he never actually “come out against voter-ID laws.”

    Then Fox News got involved. By midday yesterday, the Kentucky Republican had abandoned altogether the position that had won him progressive praise.

    Tuesday, Paul spoke with Sean Hannity, and abandoned his deviation completely. Paul assured Hannity he fully agrees with the Republican vote suppression strategy on substance, and that his only argument is that Republicans should “emphasize” other issues without changing their policies:

    “No I agree, there’s nothing wrong with it. To see Eric Holder you’ve got to show your driver’s license to get in the building. So I don’t really object to having some rules for how we vote. I show my driver’s license every time I vote in Kentucky … and I don’t feel like it is a great burden. So it’s funny that it got reported that way.”

    Last night, the senator appeared on Fox News’ “On The Record with Greta Van Susteren,” and went even further.

  44. 44
  45. 45
    danielx says:


    Hear, hear! I never fell for him either, or his twinkly folksy bullshit – but I understood his appeal and why some people wanted a change. Hey, guy paying 14% for a mortgage wants a change – any change.

  46. 46
    Morzer says:


    I am always amazed that anyone takes Baby Doc seriously. He’s such an obviously dishonest, weaselly, unprincipled piece of ignorant, racist trash. Just as his grifter Papa Doc was before him.

    If there is a good side to this latest outbreak of sniveling, scurrying, ratlike panic and rush to pretend he didn’t try and thieve a few votes by faking concern over the latest round of racist GOP/John Roberts-sponsored voter repression “laws”, it is that he’s revealed yet again that he doesn’t have the guts to differentiate himself from the other racist “conservative” grifters who want to be president.

  47. 47
    danielx says:


    See, I knew young Master Paul had missed the memo or missed his meds or something. Now he’s getting with the program, no doubt after being duly lectured by the Jefferson Davis – I mean, strict constitutionalist wing of the Republican party.

  48. 48
    sherparick says:

    I loved the line at the end of the “Daily Show” skit, event though it dumps on Harry Reid for defending Sheldon Adelson while dumping on the Koch brothers. The definition of an oligarchy: “a Government run by billionaires who are not Americans.”

  49. 49
    Morzer says:


    Rand Paul is the new Marco Rubio. Each of them briefly made noises about wanting a new diaper – and each of them discovered miraculously that their diapers were sparkling shiny white after receiving a thrashing from their keepers.

  50. 50
    rk says:


    It must be exhausting being a republican. Always being hauled up to the principal’s office (Fox News), and made to grovel.
    One thing I’ve noticed though is that lately I’ve been asked to show my driver’s licence in a lot of places. Pick up kids from school, show your licence, in the doctor’s office, entering a building or places where I never had to show it before. last week I had to show my licence 5 different times in a 24 hr period. I don’t know if it’s because of increased security, or paranoia or both. I don’t remember it being like this even 5 yrs ago.

  51. 51
    ruemara says:

    I never fell for Reagan and I was a little kid. I’m not falling for Paul Ryan, either.

  52. 52

    numbnuts chuck todd and his goatee were just on our local sports talk show talking about how he’s not sticking up for Sterling but it’s a slippery slope when you hold people accountable for their words and beliefs. ZOMG PRIVATE CONVO IS SACRED.

  53. 53
    the Conster says:


    My oldest daughter reminds me every so often of how every time I would hear his voice come on my TV, I’d yell from the kitchen and call him names – fortunately because she was so little I used the word “turkey” instead of well, other things. The day after he first got elected was one of the worst days of my life, because I knew what was coming without really knowing what was coming.

  54. 54
  55. 55
    Yoda Dog says:

    oh… hey… look… Its Bob….


  56. 56
    Bob In Portland says:

    @Yoda Dog: In what world do you score points by bragging about your ignorance? Biden’s son? Anything? OK, not OK? The Ukrainians using UN helicopters for warfare? OK, not OK?

  57. 57

    bobby, that chicken kiev has been fucked enough. everyone understands yr position. 5×5

  58. 58
    Bob In Portland says:

    @ranchandsyrup: Did you know that a corner of Ukraine is inching towards Hungary?

    So you think that I only post here to express my opinion? What’s your opinion? Don’t care that the US is rattling sabers against a nuclear power? Or that Ukraine is using UN helicopters in its war against the east?

    Why are so many alleged liberals and progressives here at Balloon Juice so incurious about American actions there? I understand the concept that you can’t trust RT so therefore if the NY Times doesn’t report it it isn’t true, but the NY Times eventually reports it, late.

    So why the news embargo? Why absolutely no interest? ranchandsyrup, certainly you can share why you don’t care what happens between two nuclear powers and a civil war in between them, can’t you?

  59. 59

    @Bob In Portland: The problem, as I see it, is expectation setting on your part. People have varying levels of outrage on different topics. The presumption appears to be that the “proper” level is to match your level of outrage. Also, if one does not match yr level, they are “incurious”. That’s just not true. “Less curious”, sure. I get that you’re frustrated and I’m sorry. But I don’t think that you are being persuasive by continually fucking this chicken and demanding outrage. *shrug*

  60. 60
    Jebediah, RBG says:

    @the Conster:

    The day after he first got elected was one of the worst days of my life, because I knew what was coming without really knowing what was coming.

    His election was a big shock to me. I had been absolutely convinced that such a transparent dope would never be elected. FFS at one campaign stop he had said that 70% of pollution was caused by trees! I really couldn’t understand how it was that he was taken seriously. I had a lot to learn about voters’ irrationality and susceptibility to slogan over substance, and even more to learn about racist dogwhistles and their (very depressing) effectiveness. He had one slogan almost right, anyway – for lots of us he did cause “Mourning in America.”
    Still on my bucket list – pissing on his grave.

  61. 61
    Bob In Portland says:

    @ranchandsyrup: Absolutely. I expect people to be outraged. Overthrowing an elected government and installing a fascist government should be outrageous to Americans who claim to care about what liberals and progressives claim to care about. But if Balloon Juice is a representative cross-section, and they are, then outrage is easily turned down. I realize that we can’t all fall to our knees and tear our garments in anguish at every train derailment in India. Maybe when our country is risking war with a country that can end life on earth, but people presume Russia can restrain itself from nuclear war, but not invading Ukraine.

    If starting a war with Russia is of no concern, then Iran should be no concern. People only think that they want nukes. When the paper of record doesn’t even mention that the Vice President’s son was put on the board of a Ukrainian gas company you would think that people would at least wonder why.

    But apparently not.

    Maybe you’re right. Maybe progressives aren’t really progressive, don’t give a shit about Nazis burning up a building of people because whatever. Maybe they’re not really Nazis, or maybe there are Nazis in Russia, so it’s all even on the Nazi scale of things. But there’s not even an intellectual curiosity about why the US is on the side that they are on, and what the US’s long-term purposes are.

    I must be a dumb communist, so I should go away.


    I think it’s simpler than that. Without getting permission to be outraged by those sources that allow you to feel outraged you don’t. I understand that by stepping away from one’s presumptions is intellectually scary. If, in fact, the US is wrong in Ukraine, then maybe the US isn’t a positive force in the world. It’s easy to get upset with a Republican making war, but Obama must have a reason for this.

    And, so, no, you don’t care.

  62. 62
    Yoda Dog says:

    @Bob In Portland:

    I must be a dumb communist, so I should go away.

    You said it, Bob. I would have to concur.

  63. 63
    Bob In Portland says:

    @Yoda Dog: Yoda Dog, what is the difference between you and a Republican?

  64. 64
    Yoda Dog says:

    @Bob In Portland: how do you know Im not a Republican?

    Damn Bob, you just need a friend huh… too bad Im east coast big fella… you need a hug bad.

  65. 65
    Bob In Portland says:

    @Yoda Dog: Yeah. I concur.

  66. 66
    Yoda Dog says:

    @Bob In Portland: (HUGS!!!)

  67. 67

    @Bob In Portland: sorry bob. You don’t get to define terms like progressive. Into the filter you go.

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