Taking care of business, not one another

It’s bad enough that we remain stuck in the worst economy in a generation. Now Republicans in the General Assembly want to throw away even more of my tax money on a frivolous lawsuit.

Republicans led by state Senate Republican Leader Phil Berger apparently think it’s a good thing to spend taxpayer dollars on a lawsuit challenging the legality of the new health care law. They claim the federal government doesn’t have the right to force Americans to have health insurance. On top of that, they want state Attorney General Roy Cooper to join the attorneys general in 13 other states in a challenge of the legality of the insurance law.

At the heart of this matter is the apparent belief by GOP leaders that spending tax dollars on frivolous lawsuits is better than providing health care for the uninsured. The joke here is that so many Americans believe the Grand Old Party is actually working for them.

Cooper has not announced his stance on the action yet, and the Republicans are trying to draw him into their unhelpful shenanigans. I’d like to see Cooper come out today and say he won’t have any part in this effort and that the GOP should be ashamed to even have brought it up.

More and more the GOP has taken on the role of the segregationist, pro-bank, anti-common sense party. When the GOP in Wake County opposes school desegregation, it is reversing Brown v. Kansas Board of Education, i.e., back to segregated schools and social damage that is incalculable at this time. When the GOP opposes banking regulations and supports wars halfway around the world but won’t step up to provide health care for folks who need it, it is not looking out for the American people.

A health care bill IS looking out for the American people, because we are all in this together, to help and support one another. The GOP’s divisive tactics are shameful at best and calamitous at worst. But then, the GOP for at least as long as I’ve been watching the political circus in this country, has never been on the side of Americans, despite what its leaders profess at election time. It’s been on the side of the self-interests of a moneyed few, who believe the rules of fairness and right don’t apply to them because of their wealth.

It’s time for Cooper to listen to what Berger had to say to a reporter with The News & Observer: “Decide right now.” And Cooper should decide that the disgusting obstructionist political actors in the GOP should shut up and sit down if they can’t help us all along. It’s a silly lawsuit, plain and simple, and speaks volumes about just what the GOP has to offer to taxpayers such as myself. Which is nothing.
–Don Evans

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  1. Bill

     /  April 9, 2010

    So, it was okay for Obama and his cronies to spend untold taxpayer millions flying around promoting the health care plan, but not okay for anyone spend taxpayer money to challenge it? Oh, really?

    Don’t worry- the Republicans can always take a page out of the Democrat’s playbook and raise taxes to pay for it. So, you can quit sweating about it now. Everything is going to be just fine.

  2. Terri Buckner

     /  April 9, 2010

    Thanks for this post Don. Anyone who is interested can leave a message for Roy Cooper at the NC DOJ website: http://ncdoj.gov/Home/ContactNCDOJ.aspx

  3. Mark Marcoplos

     /  April 9, 2010

    I think that Cooper has already done a lot of damage by not quickly announcing he would not be part of this charade. The fact that he is even considering it (or wanting to appear to be considering it) reveals his shallowness.

  4. Thanks, Don for a great commentary calling out the truth. It is very sad how many media outlets have abandoned that in place of the easy controversy.

    “It is a newspaper’s duty to print the news and raise hell” — I assume this quote meant raising hell in favor of the truth, not just passing along talking points as many do today.

  5. WJ

     /  April 9, 2010

    “More and more the GOP has taken on the role of the segregationist, pro-bank, anti-common sense party. When the GOP in Wake County opposes school desegregation, it is reversing Brown v. Kansas Board of Education, i.e., back to segregated schools ”

    Seriously, you really believe that?? I really like your blog, but don’t you think that is waaaaay over the top?

    Dictionary definitions of segregated:
    “restricted to one group, esp. exclusively on the basis of racial or ethnic membership”
    “maintaining separate facilities for members of different, esp. racially different, groups”
    “discriminating against a group, esp. on the basis of race:”

    When you misuse the correct meaning of the word segregation, you willfully cheapen the real damage that chapter of our shared American history caused Black Americans.

    Wake County is simply instituting NEIGHBORHOOD schools. How is that forced legal segregation? Do you have any evidence of any child who is districted to a nearby neighborhood school being denied admission due to skin color, ethnic background, religon, gender??

    Segregated schools were FORCED, by the law at the time, seperate schools based on skin color. Brown v Board of Education banned the discriminatory practice of “separate but equal” doctrine.
    Are you really trying to make the case that sending a child to the nearest elementary school is forced segregation based on skin color. Are there neighborhoods where a person can’t buy or rent a place to live based on skin color? Have you heard of a principal in Wake County denying entry to a student based on skin color or religon or ethnicity?

    Doesn’t our own Chapel Hill assigns schools based on where a child lives, not on their skin color?? My kids have to go to the nearest elementary school.

    Your original quote above is simply embarrassing to the integrity and brand of this blog. Either you are truly ignorant of our history or are being intellectually dishonest and demagogic.

  6. Don Evans

     /  April 9, 2010

    If anybody is being intellectually dishonest and demagogic, it’s the Wake County school board and the GOP. The board is led by an admittedly Republican majority and they’ve bulldozed their me-first ideology over the school system. Don’t be fooled by terms like “neighborhood schools” — if the neighborhood is in a black part of town, that will limit what those kids are exposed to in their education just as much as if they were segregated. Education is about learning things that can broaden a person’s experience.
    The Wake County board knows it is perpetrating a perverse scam just as the GOP leadership knows that it is doing the same with its cynical anti-health care efforts. A majority of Americans will lose out if these groups manage to successfully push their schemes through.

  7. Nancy Oates

     /  April 9, 2010

    Chapel Hill-Carrboro City Schools seeks to balance socio-economic status when it makes school assignments. The school board tries to keep kids in the school closest to home but will pull in different neighborhoods so that one school isn’t too heavily weighted toward a high SES or a low SES. Because the district is relatively small compared to Wake County, kids bussed to a school outside their neighborhood are looking at an extra 10 minutes on the bus, not a half-hour or more. Having that balance is one reason all schools in the CHCCS system are high quality.

    Kids aren’t denied entry based on skin color, and I appreciate your point about not wanting to downplay the integration battles in overcoming segregation by legal statute. But by adhering strictly to neighborhood schools, kids who through no fault of their own are born to parents who aren’t middle class or wealthy do not get the same quality of education. Why discriminate against kids whose parents either can’t afford an expensive house or have other priorities ahead of putting so much money into housing?

  8. Bob

     /  April 9, 2010

    Don, You went into the ditch on this one……reasonable people have serious disagreements on this health care business. Democracies settle things using lawsuits and other civilized tools. Let the judicial branch do its job. Pass on the chance to disparage other citizens because they pursue a course different than the one that you want.

  9. WJ

     /  April 9, 2010

    Mr. Evans:

    I certainly appreciate you taking the time to respond to my post, but there is nothing in your response that is really on point to my questions. Based on your anti-GOP remarks, you are seemingly bigoted when it comes to Republicans. I am sorry that is such a blind spot for you.

    Nobody is being denied access to a school based on skin color, ethnicity, religion, or gender. Not allowing access is segregation. That is what happened (under Democrat leadership I might add) up until the 1970’s.
    Calling going back to neighborhood schools segregation is cheapening and minimizing what a bad thing that truly was. You and I seem to operate under different dictionaries.

    Ms. Oates:

    Appreciate your response as well. I was not aware there was a busing program in Chapel Hill to move kids districted for one school to another school.
    So you are saying that Chapel Hill looks at economic status and not skin color as the primary criteria for determining who does and does not get busing? Do you know if there no choice in the matter by parents? Do you have any idea what percentage of kids are bussed to a school outside of the nearest one?

    You make the point that kids who are not born wealthy or middle class do not get the same quality of education. Why discriminate against these kids you ask?
    Don’t discriminate against them is my response. Don’t we now spend basically the same amount per pupil per school in the district? If not, then let’s fix that.

    I have read, controlling for other factors, that the amount of parental involvement in a child’s education is a key determining factor to a quality education. How does busing a child 30 minutes to an hour fix that problem?

    Finally, obviously this was a healthcare mandate post by you all, so I apologize for going off topic to the main body of your post. But I wanted to respond to your misuse of the word segregation.


  10. Bill

     /  April 9, 2010

    Heavens above. I guess if you are on the receiving end of OBAMACARE then woe unto those who disagree.

    I still remember how tolerant the conservatives were to the Bush haters. Now the shoe is on the other foot, it does not fit so well. Not at all surprising, really, considering the source.

  11. Steve

     /  April 9, 2010

    I tried to re-read the original post and it took a couple of tries to get through it. Here’s what I came out with:

    1. The author doesn’t have any republican friends and has therefore developed an opinion of republicans based on hearsay and/or biased and inaccurate observations
    2. The author thinks that modern schools (specifically, in Wake County, but apparently in general) are substantially unequal in quality based on location despite decades of managerial oversight, investment, and standardization
    3. The author isn’t familiar with the 10th Amendment to the US Constitution

    I can’t address, in one blog post, the depth of challenge added to public discourse based on the wrongheadedness of #1 and #2. Instead, I’ll limit my comments to #3.

    With its unprecedented, egregiously divisive and illegal actions of recent weeks, the Obama administration has destructively usurped State’s rights as enumerated clearly in the final element of the Bill of Rights. If I was one of the attorneys general of any State, I’d be obliged – indeed, duty-bound – to take the matter to court, irrespective of political party. Mr. Berger is simply asking that his judicial colleagues see to their legal responsibilities.

    Thanks for taking the time to alert me of this happenstance. I will write a note to Mr. Berger and his associates, expressing my appreciation to them for looking after my interests as a North Carolina citizen. It’s a shame the national government has caused such a costly legal process to begin, but like other States, North Carolina needs to assert its rights by using the legals system we have to do so.

    Regarding item #1, above:

    I know I said I’d drop it, but, I just can’t let a bridge-building opportunity pass when a member of the press is involved. Much good can come from erasing bigotry, no matter how well-concealed it is. I personally invite the author to come to my office in Morrisville. It’s my treat for lunch, if you can make it (a shocking gesture, for a self-interested moneyed elite like I must be, as a republican).

    While you’re visiting, I will introduce you to some of the many taxpayers this republican employs, some of whom are not republicans. They’ll in turn share with you, if you ask, how great their benefits packages are, the team spirit of the workplace, the generosity of the compensation they receive, and about the wonderful product we produce and how it helps make people’s lives better.

    You’ll learn how we together helped recall laid-off workers in Nash County to build our products, the volunteer efforts of our employees (who are given flex time to do so), and about our recycling programs.

    Perhaps, when you leave, you’ll scratch your head and think, “gee, that Steve guy must’ve been pulling my leg. He can’t possibly be a republican! He wasn’t selfish at all, all his employees love him, and they all sure must pay a lot of taxes while they support their families, communities, schools, and others in so many ways.”

    Perhaps not. It’s hard to let go of prejudice.

  12. Another Steve

     /  April 12, 2010

    Let’s be honest WJ and Steve. The Rebublican Party opposed Social Security, Medicare, much of the 1960s Civil Rights legislation and supports the voucher system as a means to undermine public schools. Take a look at today’s N&O for a look at Wake County’s BOE Majority and their supporters views on public vs private schools.

    The Tea Party has nothing to do with the American War of Independence. Opposition to health care reform simply fits the standard Republican way of opposing health and education for all the people.

  13. Steve

     /  April 13, 2010

    Another Steve:

    You say those things as if they are bad.

    Social Security: is a bankrupt Ponzi scheme, which I was against then and am still against now. Dismantle it.

    Medicare: even worse. I’m firmly convinced that LBJ was a Soviet deep plant. No more diabolical long-term plan to destroy America could have been put in place. We only think we won the Cold War.

    Voucher system: the only plausible way to reform elementary and secondary education.

    You likely don’t agree, which makes you look with disdain at these ideas. But they’re widely held – and increasing in popularity. Claiming the Republican (capital R) party was/is in opposition to these things is correct; claiming that this is somehow bad, isn’t.

    As a republican (small R) I’m in favor of “health” and “education” for “all the people.” I’m not in favor of punishing personal enterprise to get there, though, and that’s what’s happened. Human beings need motivation to make themselves to be the best they can be, and Democrats (large D) take personal motivation away by forcibly distributing income in a bizarre and lopsided fashion. Work no longer is a profitable way to occupy the day. 47% of the population now pays zero (or less) income tax. Almost half the country are freeloaders. What’s fair about that?

    A government powerful enough to give you everything you want is powerful enough to take away everything you have. Which is exactly what’s happening. It’s long past time to throttle back and return to the Constitution – as it’s actually written.

  14. Nancy Oates

     /  April 14, 2010

    Steve —

    Just to clarify: The N&O retracted its unfortunate headline that implied half the people pay no taxes. What it meant to say was that half the people don’t owe taxes come April 15, that the government has taken its share out of their wages already.

  15. Steve

     /  April 15, 2010


    I’m afraid it’s so.





    and about a dozen other reference links.

    The progressive income tax system is skewed so much now that I actively consider ways to not work any more. It’s not worth it.

    The marginal rates, plus fixed rates underneath them, add up to so large a percentage of income that work itself is seriously disincentivized. About the only reason I keep going is the two dozen employees I have. I’d rather have the leisure time, time to eat better and exercise and so forth, but I have moral responsibilities to those who depend on me. Deferring income doesn’t make the situation more fair, and just delays the inevitable anyway.

    Ayn Rand was not a novelist, as it turns out, but a prognosticator. Who is John Galt?

    We’re almost there.