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Entries for 'Carter Wrenn'

08

 

Obama and the Republican Leaders in Congress are eyeball to eyeball over immigration with the President saying he’s done a fine noble deed to bring five million people out of the shadows and with Republicans saying Obama’s fine noble deed is just an unconstitutional power grab.
 
They’re having a fine row but the odd fact is Obama and the Republican Leaders don’t really disagree.
 
According to Obama when he gets to court he’s going to say, Your Honor, Congress told me to deport 11.3 million people but they only gave me the money to deport 400,000 a year – so I’ve set priorities. I’m going to deport the major crooks first, the minor crooks second, other troublesome folks third and until that’s done I’m going to let everyone else come out of the shadows and live like normal people – and, by the way, my priorities (like deporting the felons and gang members first) are the same priorities Congress set in bills it passed.
           
And it’s a safe bet the Republican Leaders in Congress aren’t going to give the President a ga-million dollars to deport all 11.3 million illegal immigrants. The Republicans don’t want to spend the money. Obama doesn’t want them to spend the money. And neither side wants to find out what happens if they try to round up 11.3 million people and ship them home.
 
So, if Obama wins (and his Executive Order stands) millions of illegal immigrants will stay right here, and if the Republicans win they’ll stay right here too.
 
So, what’s the squabbling over?

 

 

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05
Talk about a fellow being star-crossed – after the election as everyone took a deep breath and settled back peacefully for Thanksgiving the Governor, without a lot of hoopla,  quietly launched his reelection campaign, blanketing the Internet with a nice pleasant new video – then, the next day, an environmental group announced it had found a new coal ash spill (or leak) and this time the arsenic wasn’t pouring into a river that runs into Virginia.
           
The Southern Environmental Law Center reports its testing proves coal ash ponds at Duke Energy’s Buck Power Plant near Salisbury are (and have been) leaking vile chemicals into the Yadkin River and both Duke Power and the State (which by now has surely tested every coal-ash pond in existence) have hushed it up.
 
Meantime, while fate was unkind to the Governor, down the street in John Skvarla’s office the sun was shining.
 
Talk about good fortune: The day before the new spill (or leak) landed in the newspapers Skvarla resigned as head of DENR (the department in charge of coal ash) to become Secretary of Commerce.


 

 

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04

 

About two decades ago, WRAL and WTVD ran a story about a young woman, Beverly Jones, who’d donated one of her kidneys to her husband whose kidneys had failed.

Now usually, kidney donors have to be blood relatives – but not always and Beverly was the first unrelated kidney donor ever accepted by the transplant program at Duke.

Back then, Beverly and Stan lived next door to me and, in addition, Stan's mother Frances had worked for Jesse Helms for years, running his Raleigh office. I'd probably have been fired two weeks after I started working with Jesse if it hadn't been for Frances. But that's another story.

Today, the kidney Beverly gave Stan is failing and he’s been on a waiting list for a year, and sick, and he could still wait years – except for one hope: A program that reduces how long a person spends on a waiting list for a new kidney.

The program was started at Johns Hopkins back in 2001 and at Duke in 2011 and works like this: Say a person (like Stan) needs a kidney and has a donor (say, his brother) but the brother’s kidney is incompatible. It allows Stan and his donor to do a 'kidney-swap' with another family who’s in the same situation.

That sounds odd and improbable but when you consider there're 2,800 people in NC waiting for kidney transplants it's not that improbable at all.

So here's why I'm writing to my Honorable (and hard-pressed) friends in the Fourth Estate: What Stan needs is publicity – stories in the newspaper and on radio and on television about the ‘kidney swap program.’ I know that's a lot to ask but these are good folks and they're in a tough spot.
 
If you‘d like to lend a ‘helping hand’ by writing a story call me or email me (info@talkingaboutpolitics.com) and I’ll call you. Happy Christmas.


 

 

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21
Fleeing toward the mountains from her burning village, fifteen years old and trapped on a dusty road packed with refugees, she was captured and carried across the border to a town on the Euphrates River filled with captive women from other towns.
 
The soldiers sold part of the women at an auction as slaves then divided the rest as spoils;---taken by a bearded soldier she fought back until he put a knife to her 19 year old sister’s throat then she followed him out of the camp to a house where he told her to undress and bathe and gave her a hijab to wear; for trying to escape she was beaten and traded to another soldier who locked her in a room full of women he intended to force to marry him.
 
The next night, sitting and listening to girls in other rooms in the house being raped, she tried to escape again, squeezing through a small window – just before dawn, exhausted, at an isolated farm house a young Arab man gave her shelter. The next day he took her to an older man who offered to smuggle her out of Syria if her family would pay him a ransom.
 
Her brother paid $3,700.
 
It’s a story straight out of the Dark Ages but it didn’t happen nine hundred years ago in the Levant it was reported in The New York Times last Saturday.
 
ISIS is the rebirth of the Mongol Horde and the Huns and our army could stop it but our President has been in China making a treaty on global warming.


 

 

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20
The Governor sent a letter to Thom Tillis and Phil Berger taking the legislature to task for asking for an independent audit of the Department of Health and Human Services.
 
Then the next day, when the Governor needed it least, the News and Observer reported that when DHHS’ new computer didn’t work the Department got into such a tizzy the number of mistakes it made processing food stamp claims quadrupled and it paid out $440,000 in excess benefits.
 
Here’s how government works: DHHS spends a hundred  or so million dollars on a computer program, it  doesn’t work, the department makes four times more mistakes than it did the year before and pays out $440,000 in excess benefits – and the Governor tells the legislature an audit’s a waste of time.


 

 

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19
Pat McCrory had one of those days.
             
First, a typist switched an ‘h’ for an ‘f’ so he sent out a press release announcing a Wilmington company was ‘firing’ 1300 new workers instead of ‘hiring’ 1300 workers.
 
Then a passing photographer snapped a photo of the Governor with his arm draped across Rep. Tim Moore’s shoulder and sent it sailing across the Internet – which sure looked like the Governor  was diving into the middle of the Speaker’s race – which left him backpedaling, saying it wasn’t so.
 
Then, piling Pelion on Ossa, the Governor sued Senator Phil Berger – which is like walking into a grizzly bears cage and whopping him on the nose.
 
Sometime between now and next June Berger and the Senate are going to vote on a budget which includes the Governor’s salary and how many staff the Governor has and right now it’s even money by next summer the Governor will be down to one part-time assistant and won’t have a penny to pay the lawyer he just hired to sue Phil Berger (and Thom Tillis).
 
So why would the Governor pick a fight with Phil Berger (and Thom Tillis)?
           
He says last session the legislature set up three Independent Commissions (on coal ash, fracking and Medicaid) but didn’t give him all the appointments to the Commissions. Instead the legislature gave him some and kept some for itself which, according to the Governor, is downright unconstitutional.  
 
Phil Berger answered the Governor’s charge pretty simply, saying if he thought the laws were unconstitutional he should have vetoed them which he hadn’t.
 
It’s hard to figure out: The Governor’s fighting Phil Berger over control of the Coal Ash Commission. Think about that: If you were Governor and the legislature said it wanted to own two thirds the biggest tarbaby in North Carolina you’d hardly  be able to believe your luck – you’d say, Sure, in fact, if you want, you can have it all.
 
But Pat McCrory wants to own the whole tarbaby.           


 

 

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18

 

President Obama set out to restore his political fortunes by going to China – and announcing a new climate change agreement.
 
Then, still intent on repairing his fortunes, he traveled on to Australia where he announced he was giving $3 billion to the U.N to help poor nations fight the harm done by climate change.
 
Then he returned home and announced to save the Internet he’s going to fight for ‘net neutrality.’
 
There’re Russians in the Ukraine. ISIS is beheading people. Iran is building a nuclear bomb. And the President’s spending money to help poor nations repair the damage from a meltdown that hasn’t happened yet and fighting to save the Internet from Netflix.
 
What’s wrong with this picture?


 

 

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17
Governor McCrory needed a lawyer to advise him on cleaning up Duke Energy’s coal ash ponds but the one he found raised eyebrows: He hired a Duke Energy attorney.
 
The press naturally asked if that wasn’t a bit like having the fox guard the hen-house so the Governor had his spokesman explain to reporters, Not at all – that there was a “legal wall of separation between his new lawyer and any issue effecting Duke’s coal ash operations.”
 
But, then, the reporters went to an Environmental Management Commission meeting and there sat the Governor’s new attorney on the front row advising the members how to change groundwater regulations that affected his former client.
 
Next, Southern Environmental Law Center pointed out how, when it had sued Duke a year ago, one of the lawyers representing Duke, saying the ponds didn’t need cleaning up, was the attorney now telling the Governor how to clean them up.
 
You couldn’t make this stuff up.

 

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04
The provost was heartbroken, the former faculty Chairwoman felt betrayed, and the poor tenured lambs on the faculty felt humiliated which, at the faculty meeting, bred a fervor not unlike a foot-washing Baptist in pursuit of the Devil which, of course, led to the demand the sinners – who’d caused the heartbreak and humiliation – be punished and the punishment the professors settled on was taking away the basketball team’s National Championship Trophies.
 
They also demanded that from then on they (the professors) and not the Chancellor would make the big decisions about sports at UNC  – like deciding how much liquor drinking is socially acceptable in the ‘Blue Zone’ at Carolina football games. The professors then rolled out of the meeting with high fine sense of purpose which rolled over into the newspapers but the professors had missed a key point: They’d gone too far. By disrespecting two totems sacred to just about every UNC Alum – whiskey and ole’ Roy’s Basketball Trophies.
 
Over in Chapel Hill they’ve got a hospital to cure the sick and a library to educate the ignorant and a long, rich tradition of being tolerant to a fault, but any professor who figures tolerance and open-mindedness justify giving up a basketball trophy had better be looking for a lot safer place to hide than an ivory tower.  


 

 

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03
It’s hard to sort out: Kaci Hickox sees healing the ill in Africa as a noble calling but protecting Americans from Ebola as pure villainy.
 
Ole Obama rides to Hickox’s rescue, saying Chris Christie’s a mean-hearted varmint stigmatizing heroes with his quarantine then, in his next breath, Obama announces the Army’s going to quarantine soldiers returning from the Ebola Zone.
 
So, now, Christie’s stigmatizing Hickox and Obama’s stigmatizing the Army. 
 
It’s like Alice Through the Looking Glass: Helping the Africans is noble. Protecting Americans is wicked. Quarantining soldiers is good. Quarantining Hickox is bad. Up’s down. And down’s up.


 

 

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