Map of the day

David was asking me about this just the other day.  Cool.  Interactive version here.  

NC Moderate Republicans– do they exist or are they just really  quiet?

A post from Tom Campbell, NC Spin (NC politics Tv show) host asks, “Do mainstream Republicans have the courage to take back their political party?”  So far, the answer to that is a resounding “NO!”  Among the more depressing aspects of the last several months is the general silence of heck, not moderate, but simply “not crazy” NC Republicans (here’s looking at you, Grimm family).   I’ve got to share this amazing anecdote from his post:

Republican Congressman Robert Pittenger, home for the summer recess, has been holding Town Hall Meetings in his district. In a recent one, a Tea Partier rose to ask Pittenger what he described as an easy question, requesting a simple yes or no answer. Would Pittenger vote to defund Obamacare, he asked?

When Pittenger asked the Tea Partier if he was willing to listen to the thoughtful answer to his question, he was abruptly told, “No.” So just as quickly Pittenger responded “No” to the question.

Wow.  If that doesn’t tell you what you need to know.

The Congressman’s very thoughtful reason and the debate over repealing or defunding The Affordable Care Act is worthy of more conversation but the vehemence in which the question was posed and the refusal to hear anything but a black-or-white response illustrates the growing schism between the mainstream and Tea Party extremists in the North Carolina Republican Party, a schism more threatening to continued GOP control of North Carolina than any threat posed by the disorganized Democrats.

The sad truth is that the crazies are angry and active and the non-crazies just sit back and say, my, I’m a Republican, but I wish the crazies weren’t running the show.  And that’s just not enough.  They’re enablers.

Chart of the day

The changing age distribution of the United States an an animated gif (via Taegan Goddard).  Super cool

PopDist Chart of the Day

Tipping is stupid

Nice article on the matter in Slate today.  The gist:

Studies have shown that tipping is not an effective incentive for performance in servers. It also creates an environment in which people of color, young people, old people, women, and foreigners tend to get worse service than white males. In a tip-based system, nonwhite servers make less than their white peers for equal work. Consider also the power imbalance between tippers, who are typically male, and servers, 70 percent of whom are female, and consider that the restaurant industry generates five times the average number of sexual harassment claims per worker. And that in many instances employers haveallegedly misusedtip credits, which let owners pay servers less than minimum wage if tipping makes up the difference.

I tip when workers depend upon it for the income, e.g., wait staff, taxis, etc., but I really hate the practice.  I also think it is ridiculous that somebody who drinks beer or wine while I drink Diet Coke should be expected to pay our same server significantly more money (I’m the one who wanted four free refills).  Not long ago the Freakonomics podcast had a nice episode on the issue.   Throughout the world, there’s actually a decently strong correlation between tipping and corruption:

In fact, the US is an outlier in being high on tipping and low on corruption.  It’s time for tipping to go.

NC Three for one

So, Paul Stam, one of the leaders of the Statehouse GOP seems to think that the female Superintendent of Public Instruction (i.e., a statewide elected office to oversee education) should stay out of talking about education and “stick to her own knitting“.   How wrong can you be in a single statement?  These are the troglodytes running the government in this state.

Meanwhile, nice little piece on how it pays to be a young Republican political operative in NC:

You know you are a Republican when your entry level job salary puts you in the top 10%–even if you’re a state employee. That’s what happened to two political hacks and recent college graduates in the McCrory administration. According to Sarah Ovaska at N. C. Policy Watch, Ricky Diaz and Matthew McKillip, both 24 and both two years out of college, are making $85,000 and $87,500, respectively. Just to put that into a little perspective, that’s almost twice the median household income in North Carolina.

This also fails to mention that these salaries represent considerable raises for the position while pretty much nobody in NC but McCrory’s political cronies are getting raises. Continuing…

So what do these wunderkinds do? Well, they both are top members of Health and Human Services Secretary Aldona Wos’ staff. Diaz is her Communications Directory and McKillip is–get this–her chief policy advisor. I kid you not. A 24 year-old political hack is the chief policy advisor for the Department of Health and Human Services.

I wonder which one told her to say that Insurance Commissioner Wayne Goodwin was responsible turning down the Medicaid expansion? Regardless, somebody’s making the big bucks for that type of advice. Both started in January. Both saw their salaries increase by more than $20,000 in April. Must be nice to be appreciated. I’m sure teachers would feel the same…

These guys just can’t seem to get the optics. They cut off jobless benefits to 70,000 North Carolinians, many with families, who can’t find work after the recession but give big pay raises to highly paid cabinet secretaries. They can’t afford to give raises to teachers and public employees, many of whom have been on the job for years, but they can give $20,000 pay bumps to kids who’ve been on the job for three months.

But, hey, that’s running government like a big business–a Wall Street business. Overpay your executives, under pay your workers and screw the shareholders. The Republican Way.

And onto voting and young people:

RALEIGH, N.C. — Within hours of Gov. Pat McCrory signing a Republican-backed bill this week making sweeping changes to the state’s voting laws, local elections boards in two college towns made moves that could make it harder for students to vote.

The Watauga County Board of Elections voted Monday to eliminate an early voting site and election-day polling precinct on the campus of Appalachian State University.

The Pasquotank County Board of Elections on Tuesday barred an Elizabeth City State University senior from running for city council, ruling his on-campus address couldn’t be used to establish local residency. Following the decision, the head of the county’s Republican Party said he plans to challenge the voter registrations of more students at the historically black university ahead of upcoming elections…

The Watauga board also voted 2-1 Monday to combine the three Boone voting precincts into one, eliminating an election day polling site on campus. More than 9,300 Boone residents will now be slated to cast ballots at a county building that only has about 35 parking spots.

“Why are they making it harder for students to vote?” said Sen. Josh Stein (D-Wake), who has been a vocal opponent of the new law. “Because young people tend to vote more Democratic than Republican. I think that’s disgraceful.



Photo of the day

From National Geographic Tumblr:

Aerial view of Dusky Sound near the southwestern tip of South Island in New Zealand, September 1971.Photograph by Gordon Gahan, National Geographic

Aerial view of Dusky Sound near the southwestern tip of South Island in New Zealand, September 1971.PHOTOGRAPH BY GORDON GAHAN, NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC

NC Voters are paying attention!

Wow, the latest PPP polling seems to suggest that NC voters are paying attention and getting the message as to what their legislature has been up to.  Is this all due to Moral Mondays?  Of course not.  Did Moral Mondays help contribute to the media attention that has resulted in many voters seriously re-assessing the governor and the Republican Party?  Absolutely.  Okay, the numbers:

PPP’s monthly North Carolina poll finds Pat McCrory’s approval rating dropping for the first time into the 30s. 39% of voters approve of the job he’s doing to 51% who disapprove. Independents, who supported him overwhelmingly last year, have soured and now give him poor marks by a 41/49 margin. His once respectable crossover support from Democrats is now becoming close to nonexistent at 14% approval. And even with Republicans he’s down to a 69/20 spread.

Abortion’s just the start of what voters are unhappy with the Republicans in control of state government about though. Just 33% say they support the budget that was passed to 52% who are opposed. And there’s particular anger about the end of the sales tax holiday- 55% of voters say they disagree with that move to only 34% who think it was ok.

The upshot of all this is that 50% of voters in the state think the General Assembly is causing North Carolina national embarrassment to 34% who disagree with that sentiment. Only 35% approve of the job Republicans are doing overall of running state government to 56% who give them poor marks, and 51% in the state think Republican control has been a bad thing for North Carolina to just 38% that consider it a positive.

Voters now say that if there was an election for the legislature today they would vote Democratic by a 50/41 margin, matching the largest lead we’ve ever found for the party on this measure.The one group coming out ahead in all of this is the Moral Monday protestors. They have a 49/35 statewide favorability rating now, and voters say by a 47/38 margin that they have a higher opinion of the protestors than the General Assembly. Ironically McCrory’s approval in March was 49/35…but that’s where the protesters are now as he’s dropped a net 26 points over the last 5 months. to 39/51.

To my surprise, PPP did not poll about education and teacher compensation.  But I’ve got to think that’s playing a not insubstantial role in these poll results.

I’ve had a couple people speculate to me that the Republicans have got their craziness out in 2013 and they can run back to the center in 2014, but I just don’t see that happening.  The craziness is simply who these legislators are.  They’re not all of a sudden going to care about teacher salaries and women’s reproductive rights and voting rights in 2014.  And there will surely be more state religion, etc., nonsense bills put forward.

Even if that’s not the case, I’m a firm believer that party “brands” matter a good bit.  And right now the Republican brand in NC is very tarnished.  They can polish that up somewhat, but I truly believe that this legislature has done lasting harm to the Republican Party in NC.  That said, the recent re-districting has done them even more benefit, so it will take a while to play out.  Still hard to see these poll results as anything but a victory for Democrats (and common sense).

%d bloggers like this: