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Profile Information

Gender: Female
Hometown: NYC
Home country: USA
Current location: Durham, NC
Member since: Sat May 7, 2005, 10:13 PM
Number of posts: 28,953

Journal Archives

Architects of the political regression in NC called out in opinion piece

This opinion piece, by a Chancellor Emeritus of the University of North Carolina at Wilmington ran in today's edition
of the Raleigh News & Observer. It's an excellent summary of the political history of the state.

For Tar Heel time, set your clock back 100 years

For many years, North Carolina was known as the Rip Van Winkle state because it was so backward. Stingy public officials and business tycoons wanted low wages and low taxes so there was little investment in civic needs. Roads and other public facilities were ignored while education of the state’s youth was minimal.


In the 1960s North Carolina experienced a transformation, melding with the modern world.

Governors Kerr Scott, Luther Hodges and Terry Sanford moved to join the mainstream. While Scott, Hodges and Sanford initiated the modernization momentum, it was in 1977 when Jim Hunt became governor that the state began the steady climb in education, civic improvements and broader prosperity. Critical to Hunt’s success was recruiting the business community and selling it on his agenda of public education, government services and modest environmental protection as critical to industrial and economic advancement.

The Research Triangle Park blossomed into a high-tech, high-wage and high-skilled business recruiting dynamo. Charlotte emerged as one of the nation’s leading financial centers while other areas of the state saw schools, community colleges and universities provide a trained labor force. The state’s national ranking rose under Democrat Jim Hunt and Republican Jim Martin (28th capita income in 2000). It seemed this new course had been irreversibly set.


Ironically, it might have been the election of 2008 that sparked the GOP sweep of 2010. The Red State Project headed by Ed Gillespie and Karl Rove determined that to control a state and ultimately the federal government, they needed to take a sufficient number of state legislatures in a census year – thus controlling legislative redistricting. With that prize in view, Pope and Americans for Prosperity poured in millions. Republicans swept to victory in both the state House and Senate in 2010. They then imposed a redistricting plan that maximized the GOP strength and will likely keep them in place for at least the next decade.


Now comes the 2014 election. In this off-year contest, incumbent Democrat Kay Hagan is locked in a tough race against Republican House Speaker Thom Tillis. When Tillis won the GOP primary, it was curiously hailed as a victory for the mainstream despite the fact that Tillis leads tea party forces in the legislature. Over $20 million of out-of-state money has poured in to defeat Hagan – control of the U.S. Senate hangs in the balance. Will the election be determined on the effectiveness of voter suppression efforts or will voter discontent for what is going on in Raleigh outweigh discontent with Washington government and the U.S. Congress?

Read more here: http://www.newsobserver.com/2014/08/29/4106160/for-tar-heel-time-set-your-clock.html?sp=/99/108/374/#storylink=cpy

Another 18th Century marvelous automaton

is the The Peacock Clock that was a gift to Catherine the Great of Russia.

We saw it--not working--in The Hermitage when we were in St. Petersburg last May.

Here's a brief video explaining its origin and showing some of it working. There are lots more videos of it on youtube.

If you want to see statistics regarding suicide, this is a good resource


Belief in the hope that things could be better.

My husband and I have acted on that belief three times in the 29 years we've been married.

The first time was 1988 and we had a two year old child. We were living in Santa Monica--
second marriage for us both (no kids prior marriages) and decided we didn't want to raise
kids in Los Angeles. I had been in L.A. since 1969 when coming to UCLA as an undergraduate
(and continuing as a grad student until '75), then working in hospital administration. My husband
had been in L.A. since 1964 when coming to UCLA for Med School--gone for 2 years in USAF to Sacramento
when he was Berry planned during Vietnam--and returned to finish his residency in psychiatry
and stayed on to practice in L.A. area. So we both had a lot of roots in L.A. and many, many friends.

In 1988 he was offered a position with a hospital system in St. Joseph, MO to direct the building
of a new psych facility. Small town, 80+ thousand people, an hour outside Kansas City. What a
time warp! Yes, there were some progressives in town, but not many! Things turned sour within
a year, and the hospital system withdrew from its plan to build the psych facility and terminated
his contract. We had bought and renovated a big house; he had built his own small office building
in an office park. By then we also had another son. We decided to stick it out--with him in 100%
private practice for the first time in his
professional career (he had always had some portion of his clinical work either at a teaching hospital, the VA,
or public clinic). That went fine until about 4 years later the hospital system that had hired him (largest employer
in town) cut him off from their preferred provider list--meaning no hospital employee could see him for treatment
and have their insurance cover the visits--because he had gotten together with some of the other docs in town
to try to create an HMO independent of the system. Hospital employees constituted about 2/3 of his practice.
We were screwed. Really screwed. So, determined to move, we decided to take a look at some other options.
We went to New Zealand and checked that out. We considered Chapel Hill. We ended up moving to Lincoln, NE in 1994
where he was hired by the VA and able to support making a move and gradually reduce his VA time and build a private

For me, it was frying pan into the fire time. I hated Lincoln. Yes, it was bigger (about 250,000), but populated
by some really right wing Catholics who basically run the town. When we arrived, Mike Johanns was just about to
be re-elected Mayor. He went on to be Governor, Bushie boy's Sec'y of Agriculture, and now senior Senator from Nebraska.
Not many people know Johanns started his political career as a Democrat and became a Republican before running for Mayor.
His shift matches the swing to the right of the State of Nebraska.

Eventually, hubby retired from the VA in Lincoln and became full time private practice. In 2000, after the private, non-Catholic
hospital (where hubby had his office in a medical building next door) acquired the county hospital, the medical staff made it
a requirement that in order to have an office in the next door medical office building, you had to agree to take call at the
newly acquired county hospital. Well, that was too much for hubby. He was then almost 60 and not willing to take 24 hour call to cover a public ER on a weekend for psych cases. So, we made plans to construct a small stand alone office on the property
of our residence. The city gave us a permit, we hired a contractor, and knocked down a playhouse that had been built by the
previous owners to make room for his one person office (no employees). Total uproar! The next door neighbors (old family) got together with the neighbors on the other side(old family), and the neighbors next to them, and hired the attorney neighbor--also old family (ironically enough, his wife was from New Zealand) on the other side of the long driveway access that ran behind our lots, to file a law suit to prevent us from doing what the city had told us we could do. Long story short, they prevailed (frontier justice) in spite of having no legal basis to stop us. I had convinced my husband that if we lost, we would move to Chapel Hill (which is where I wanted to come when we moved to Lincoln), so within a week after the court decision came down we had the house listed. We made a fast look see trip to Chapel Hill, and I returned a month later for a house buying trip, and by the end of the summer we had moved. When we drove out of Nebraska I flipped the You're leaving Nebraska sign the bird and swore I would never return.

It just goes to show you that you can make what you think is an informed decision about change and turn out to be very, very wrong. And then you can make another informed decision and be very, very happy with the result.

I have LOVED Chapel Hill and said so many times on DU. However, with the takeover of the NC State government by Republicans
in 2012/2104 elections, I am very worried that even the liberal oasis of Chapel Hill is going to be negatively affected by their policies. We're already seeing it in the number of vacant teaching positions in the Chapel Hill/Carrboro City School District. When we moved here in 2000, the CHCCS District had been named as one of the top 10 public school systems in the country! Now, they are struggling, along with all the other school districts, to fill teaching jobs because of the lousy support for public schools from the Republicans. There is no doubt in my mind they are out to destroy public schools in North Carolina. Don't even get me started on all the other stuff they've done. (See Moral Monday actions for a complete list of what we're fighting.)

So, even when you DO finally find a place that feels like home, the dynamics can change to the point that you wonder just where
you can go--and whether it's worth it--to move again, especially at age 72 and 63.

This is a direct slap at progressive counties--like Orange County--where the city buses

in Chapel Hill and Carrboro are fare free. They are supported by property taxes and also partially subsidized by fees from UNC - Chapel Hill.

And of course, what's in the local Chapel Hill paper this a.m.? An article about all the teacher vacancies
in the Chapel Hill/Carrboro City Schools system. At one time, this system was listed as one of the 10 best
public school systems in the country. How did it get that way? Support from local residents to pay additional
city taxes for the schools. Now with the budget cuts from the state, even the high property taxes in Chapel Hill
don't provide enough support to pay the kind of salaries that excellent teachers deserve.

Take a look at all the job openings: http://schooljobs.dpi.state.nc.us/Jobs/Search?searchText=&leaCode=681&category=&timeCode=&title=

There is no doubt in my mind that the group of Republicans running this state are out to destroy public education in NC.

Actually, the Bible does describe the ingestion of an abortafacient

administered by a priest to a wife that a husband suspects of adultery. And none other than
Moses was tapped to bring the law to the Israelites. If she's guilty (and pregnant--possibly by someone other than the husband), there is an effective abortion.

It's quite an interesting story.


Numbers 5:11-31 Revised Standard Version

11 The Lord spoke to Moses, saying: 12 Speak to the Israelites and say to them: If any man's wife goes astray and is unfaithful to him, 13 if a man has had intercourse with her but it is hidden from her husband, so that she is undetected though she has defiled herself, and there is no witness against her since she was not caught in the act; 14 if a spirit of jealousy comes on him, and he is jealous of his wife who has defiled herself; or if a spirit of jealousy comes on him, and he is jealous of his wife, though she has not defiled herself; 15 then the man shall bring his wife to the priest. And he shall bring the offering required for her, one-tenth of an ephah of barley flour. He shall pour no oil on it and put no frankincense on it, for it is a grain offering of jealousy, a grain offering of remembrance, bringing iniquity to remembrance. 16 Then the priest shall bring her near, and set her before the Lord; 17 the priest shall take holy water in an earthen vessel, and take some of the dust that is on the floor of the tabernacle and put it into the water. 18 The priest shall set the woman before the Lord, dishevel the woman's hair, and place in her hands the grain offering of remembrance, which is the grain offering of jealousy. In his own hand the priest shall have the water of bitterness that brings the curse. 19 Then the priest shall make her take an oath, saying, "If no man has lain with you, if you have not turned aside to uncleanness while under your husband's authority, be immune to this water of bitterness that brings the curse. 20 But if you have gone astray while under your husband's authority, if you have defiled yourself and some man other than your husband has had intercourse with you," 21 —let the priest make the woman take the oath of the curse and say to the woman—"the Lord make you an execration and an oath among your people, when the Lord makes your uterus drop, your womb discharge; 22 now may this water that brings the curse enter your bowels and make your womb discharge, your uterus drop!" And the woman shall say, "Amen. Amen." 23 Then the priest shall put these curses in writing, and wash them off into the water of bitterness. 24 He shall make the woman drink the water of bitterness that brings the curse, and the water that brings the curse shall enter her and cause bitter pain. 25 The priest shall take the grain offering of jealousy out of the woman's hand, and shall elevate the grain offering before the Lord and bring it to the altar; 26 and the priest shall take a handful of the grain offering, as its memorial portion, and turn it into smoke on the altar, and afterward shall make the woman drink the water. 27 When he has made her drink the water, then, if she has defiled herself and has been unfaithful to her husband, the water that brings the curse shall enter into her and cause bitter pain, and her womb shall discharge, her uterus drop, and the woman shall become an execration among her people. 28 But if the woman has not defiled herself and is clean, then she shall be immune and be able to conceive children. 29 This is the law in cases of jealousy, when a wife, while under her husband's authority, goes astray and defiles herself, 30 or when a spirit of jealousy comes on a man and he is jealous of his wife; then he shall set the woman before the Lord, and the priest shall apply this entire law to her. 31 The man shall be free from iniquity, but the woman shall bear her iniquity.

Beware of an article circulating about North Carolina being evenly divided politically

It was even posted by the Institute for Southern Studies,

How North Carolina’s GOP Undid 50 Years of Progress in Less Than 5
Until Republicans took control, the state had long been known as an outpost of Southern progressivism. This year’s elections may indicate whether the state’s shift to the hard right is in step with most voters.
by Chris Kardish | July 2014


I first saw this article this morning on fb, and when I read the numbers which Gallup (should be a red flag)
quoted (Republicans 41.9% and Democrats 41.3% ) I knew something was fishy. Why? Because I not only
live in NC but have studiously watched the voter registrations--and turnout--over the last 10 years. Sure enough,
when I went on the BOE website this morning to check the numbers (now conveniently hidden since the Republicans
have taken over the state, they were previously right at the top of the home page) I discovered Gallup to be not only off,
but WAY off.

So, I added this comment to the post on fb for the article:

One needs to always fact check numbers, especially if they come from a known Republican polling group (Gallup). From the breakdown of registered Democrats, Republicans, Libertarians, Unaffiliated on the NC Board of Elections website, these are the real numbers (6/28/14):

Democrats: 2,753,081 42.2% of registered voters
Republicans: 1,997,609 30.6% of registered voters
Unaffiliated: 1,749,914 26.8% of registered voters
Libertarians 23,852 .4% of registered voters


One doesn't know where Gallup got their numbers as reported in this article:

"While North Carolina is experiencing a huge spike in the number of voters who don’t identify with either party, Gallup routinely finds it to be among the most politically balanced in the country, most recently putting Republicans at 41.9 percent of the population and Democrats at 41.3 percent. "

it's not beyond the realm of possibility that Gallup just made the numbers up to suit the meme that NC is an evenly divided state.
NC Voter Statistics Results

Is anybody else incredibly angry today?

I find myself enraged at the Hobby Lobby SCOTUS decision.

I am visibly shaking as I read and respond to some of the right wing comments on fb threads--particularly ones
put up by progressive organizations. I usually try to avoid engaging these right wing nutjobs, but today,
I am having a very hard time not jumping on the keyboard.

I am dumbfounded, well, not really, at the perpetuation by SCOTUS of the lies regarding some of the contraceptive

The entire legal challenge against the Obama administration was based on the fundamental lie that certain types of FDA-approved contraception can end a pregnancy. The plaintiffs in this suit took the unscientific stance that pregnancy begins at fertilization and certain types of contraception, like the morning after pill and IUDs, are “abortion-inducing” because they prevent the implantation of a fertilized egg. But according to the legal definition of pregnancy, a woman is not actually considered to be pregnant until a fertilized egg is implanted in her uterine lining — so anything that inhibits ovulation, fertilization, or implantation is defined as birth control. And on top of that, there’s evidence that those types of contraception don’t actually prevent implantation in the first place.

The justices who joined the Court’s 5-4 opinion didn’t appear to be concerned about scientific evidence, however. Monday’s decision, written by Justice Samuel Alito, simply allows the business owners to follow their own definition of abortion. “The owners of the businesses have religious objections to abortion, and according to their religious beliefs the four contraceptive methods at issue are abortifacients,” he writes. “If the owners comply with the HHS mandate, they believe they will be facilitating abortions.”

Without challenging the plaintiffs’ definition of what constitutes an abortion or an abortion-inducing drug, the Supreme Court has essentially allowed unscientific beliefs about birth control to carry the weight of the law


I am PISSED that some old fart employer wants to tell women which forms of contraception they may use.
What a bunch of patriarchal bullshit! And of course it comes from 5 MEN on the Court.

It is so blatantly discriminatory.

I am SO angry.

Anybody else?

Thanks for running a a great contest, regnaD kciN!

And congratulations to all the photographers--me, included!
This is the first time I've placed in the top three in one of these contests,
and I have to say I look forward to them every month. I have learned
so much from all of you!

In NC a lawsuit with a different twist was recently filed against

what was known as Amendment One here that banned gay marriage based on
a statewide vote in 2012 based on a voter turnout of <35% of eligible voters.

From the NY Times:

North Carolina’s Gay-Marriage Ban Is Challenged by Church


In a novel legal attack on a state’s same-sex marriage ban, a liberal Protestant denomination on Monday filed a lawsuit arguing that North Carolina is unconstitutionally restricting religious freedom by barring clergy members from blessing gay and lesbian couples.

The lawsuit, filed in a Federal District Court by the United Church of Christ, is the first such case brought by a national religious denomination challenging a state’s marriage laws. The denomination, which claims nearly one million members nationwide, has supported same-sex marriage since 2005.

“We didn’t bring this lawsuit to make others conform to our beliefs, but to vindicate the right of all faiths to freely exercise their religious practices,” said Donald C. Clark Jr., general counsel of the United Church of Christ.


And more religious groups have joined the suit:

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