He Has Shown The Way

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President Barack Obama, Congressman John Lewis, and President George W. Bush on the Edmund Pettus Bridge during commemoration ceremonies on March 8, 2015.

John Lewis is a personal hero of mine, having risked (and very nearly sacrificed) his life so that other lives could be better. Esquire ran an article in which Lewis speaks on a subject he knows all too well – the dangers inherent in men like Donald Trump:

“When I see the people that react to Donald Trump’s words at those rallies, I see the same look in their eyes that I saw [in the eyes of Sheriff Clark and his posse]—a look that says, ‘you’re not a part of us, you’re not a part of the American family, you come from someplace else.’ When Trump talks about building a wall, to lock certain individuals out, people rallied. They screamed and yelled. It reminded me of some of the rallies that I saw on television for [infamous racist/segregationist Alabama governor] George Wallace during the ’60s. It makes me somewhat sad. I thought for many, many years that our country had become much more hopeful, much more optimistic, and we had come to a place where we saw unbelievable changes. I’ve said over and over again that we have witnessed what I like to call a nonviolent revolution in America during the last 50 years, a revolution of values, a revolution of ideas. I think the Trump campaign is trying to take us back to another place, another time, and we’ve come so far, made so much progress, I don’t think we can afford to go back…”

The entire article (which includes excerpts from Lewis’ graphic novel) is worth a read. In fact, it should be required reading for every school in America, as well as a certain incoming administration.

The More You Know

This is pretty awesome.  An Alabama jogger is jogging, as is the custom, and gets stopped by the local constabulary because REASONS. Also, it’s nighttime, and it’s dark, and HE’S dark, so clearly he’s a thug of some kind running from some crime that hasn’t even been called in yet.  Maybe the officer is part of the Pre-Crime Division?  Anyway, a situation that could easily result in yet another shooting (and post-mortem smearing) of a non-criminal citizen heads in an entirely different direction:

Well played, sir.

It Needed To Be Said

Another day, another mass shooting.

Rather than play another round of White Terrorist Bingo, I’ll just say that President Obama speaks for me on the subject:

A Time To Stand

North Carolina’s legislative session starts today, and with it comes the near-certainty of even more destruction at the hands of the NeoConfederates in Raleigh.  Moral Mondays will also return:

As in 2013, the Moral Mondays will have a uniquely Southern tone, evoking the civil-rights movement of the 1960s. While the Rev. William Barber II, president of the state NAACP, has stressed the ecumenism of the protests—embracing Catholics, Jews, Muslims, and non-believers—they will nonetheless be steeped in the language and cadences of African-American Protestantism. This reflects a deliberate calculation to wrest the religious high ground away from conservatives.

We’re taking the Bible back from the extremists,” says the Rev. Curtis Gatewood, a state NAACP community organizer, who quotes from the Old Testament, Isaiah 1:10:

Woe to those who make unjust laws… to deprive the poor of their rights.”

With Thom Tillis beating back a TeaPublican challenge for the right to face Sen. Kay Hagan in November, the siren song of “moderate” will be floated to see if anyone other than the Nice Polite Republican crowd is stupid enough to bite.  There’s been a lot of damage done here since McCrory’s statehouse win, but in a state that counts the likes of Virgina Foxx, Patrick McHenry, and Renee Ellmers among its footsoldiers and the thoroughly detestable Art Pope as the moneyman, the phrase “stop hitting yourself” isn’t metaphorical.  There is evidence, however, that the true nature of the GOP is reaching a wider audience:

Likewise, the NAACP has pushed into traditionally conservative regions of North Carolina—including Mitchell County in the Appalachian Mountains, where an overwhelmingly white crowd packed an Episcopal church last fall to listen to Barber’s message and interrupt with the occasional “amen.”

It is unbelievable,” Gatewood says of these allies in places like Mitchell County. “They’re exemplifying enthusiasm that’s moving faster than some of our traditional NAACP leaders. When you’re coming against teachers, [people in conservative strongholds] have got relatives who are teachers. When you’re coming against people who are unemployed, some of them lost jobs at no fault of their own.”

In employing a scorched-earth policy against their enemies, the GOP has created even more adversaries – people who can see the harm GOP policies cause because they are being directly affected by (and better informed about) them.  If that pattern continues and expands, we stand a chance of setting the state back on its rightful path.

UPDATE: This from Bendal at Balloon Juice:

...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.

If you want to have a state left at all, you need to vote.

Life Under The Gun

News of the recent spate of shootings traveled further than I thought:

Wonder why the NRA is so silent about the Sikh temple shootings – no bleating about more lives being saved if more people had been armed?  No angry calls from Darryl Issa for an investigation – after all, gun violence was used to take the life of a law enforcement officer!  And the shooter – why, he was a…

Never mind.