Friday, August 23, 2013

Colin Powell most recent to slam North Carolina lawmakers

Hey North Carolina, It’s time for a reality check.

What are you thinking, the rest of the nation is asking.  Most fail to understand the justification behind numerous actions.  Why is it all necessary? Why change things when nothing needed to be fixed?

Former U.S. Secretary of State and retired General Colin Powell is the most recent person to offer state leaders an old fashioned spank down. Speaking on Thursday at a gathering of top state business leaders in Raleigh, Powell attacked legislators for radical changes in the states voting system.

Powell said the state had a “fine system” before the passage of the photo identification law signed by the governor. 

Powell said he was speaking as a Republican. He said the party is turning off a block of voters that they need, and the states who forced voter restrictions witness an outpouring of black and Hispanic turn out at the polls.

Powell isn’t the first from outside the state to blast North Carolina’s Governor and state legislators.  Bill Mahr challenged Jay Z to use his considerable wealth to buy the state during the August 4 episode of Real Time.

Comedy Central’s comedian Stephen Colbert took stabs at North Carolina during the July 30 episode of The Colbert Report. He discussed the General Assembly passing a bill that removes the requirement that charter school teachers have a college degree.

“Great move,” Colbert says. “Who better to teach fifth grade than a sixth grader? It’s still fresh in his mind!”

 Colbert even discussed the state’s barbeque sauce.

“Who makes barbecue sauce with vinegar?” Colbert says. “That’s what you use to clean a toilet, and when I say toilet, I mean Charlotte.”

 Feeding on the ridiculous, Colbert mentioned a bill that would make it a felony to expose one’s nipple for the purposes of arousal.

 “So, North Carolina strippers: be sure to wear a sign on your chest that reads, ‘For Educational Purposes Only,’” he says.

 Colbert’s called those bills foreplay in comparison to a bill allowing those with concealed guns to bring them into bars and onto playgrounds.

 “Guns will make the whole playground experience much more fun,” Colbert says. “Instead of ‘duck, duck, goose,’ you can just play ‘duck, duck, duck!’”

North Carolina’s General Assembly and Governor have become common fodder in the New York Times. The editorial board at the Times wrote The Decline of North Carolina on July 9.  The editorial criticized state leaders on a wide-range of decisions.

“Republicans repealed the Racial Justice Act, a 2009 law that was the first in the country to give death-row inmates a chance to prove they were victims of discrimination,” the editorial states.  “They have refused to expand Medicaid and want to cut income taxes for the rich while raising sales taxes on everyone else. The Senate passed a bill that would close most of the state’s abortion clinics.”

On August 18, Albert R. Hunt’s A Sharp Turn to the Right in North Carolina was published in the New York Times.  Hunts perspective was presented as the Bloomberg View.

“For more than half a century, North Carolina has been progressive on education and public investments, and pro-business — witness the celebrated Research Triangle between Raleigh, Durham and Chapel Hill and the financial center in Charlotte — with less racial strife than other Southern states,” Hunt began.

“As Republicans took full control of the state government in Raleigh, there has been a shift to the right. Taxes for the wealthy have been slashed, and spending for education and programs that benefit the poor has been cut. Abortion has been restricted, and guns rights expanded,” Hunt says.

“We’re turning back everything that made us different from other Southern states,” Hunt quotes Jim Goodmon, the chairman of CBC New Media Group and owner of the Durham Bulls Minor League baseball team. “With this shift, economic development is broken.”

Hunt cites other North Carolina business leaders regarding the state’s radical shift.

“Ronnie Bryant, the chief executive of the Charlotte Regional Partnership, the area’s top economic development recruiter, recently complained to The Charlotte Observer that all the efforts of recent years to promote Charlotte as a business center ‘have been negated in the last few weeks’,” Hunt says.

Everyone seems to agree that North Carolina is headed in the wrong direction.  Despite the massive attention that has the nation believing the state wants to resurrect Mayberry, the Governor and those legislators are too bullheaded to shout uncle.

Look for more national embarrassment for the next three years. 

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