Crazy in Carolina

North Carolina is challenging South Carolina for the Crazy title. Yesterday the Senate tacked a package of abortion restrictions onto a Sharia law bill. That does strike me as the quintessential Republican bill these days.

Steve Benen:

The state Senate was poised to consider a foolish measure, predicated on a common far-right conspiracy theory, intended to undermine Sharia law in North Carolina courts. Late in the afternoon, however, Republican state senators launched a legislative ambush, quickly amending the Sharia law bill to include sweeping new anti-abortion measures, intended to close clinics and prevent Planned Parenthood from providing legal abortion services in the state. . . .

. . . And let’s also not brush past the ideological irony too quickly. Republican state senators are so terrified by the prospect of religious law being considered in North Carolina that they’re pushing a legislative fix — which just so happens to include a provision shaped by Republican state senators’ religious beliefs.

But that’s not even the craziest thing North Carolina has done lately.

With changes to its unemployment law taking effect this weekend, North Carolina not only is cutting benefits for those who file new claims, it will become the first state disqualified from a federal compensation program for the long-term jobless.

State officials adopted the package of benefit cuts and increased taxes for businesses in February, a plan designed to accelerate repayment of a $2.5 billion federal debt. Like many states, North Carolina had racked up the debt by borrowing from Washington after its unemployment fund was drained by jobless benefits during the Great Recession.

The changes go into effect Sunday for North Carolina, which has the country’s fifth-worst jobless rate. The cuts on those who make unemployment claims on or after that day will disqualify the state from receiving federally funded Emergency Unemployment Compensation. That money kicks in after the state’s period of unemployment compensation — now shortened from up to six months to no more than five — runs out. The EUC program is available to long-term jobless in all states. But keeping the money flowing includes a requirement that states can’t cut average weekly benefits.

Because North Carolina leaders cut average weekly benefits for new claims, about 170,000 workers whose state benefits expire this year will lose more than $700 million in EUC payments, the U.S. Labor Department said.

Charles Pierce:

How does this make any sense at all? This was a Southern state that prided itself on its technology sector, its colleges and universities, and the fact that it really wasn’t very much like its neighbor to the South. Now, it’s behaving like Mississippi on a bad day.

David Graham explains “How North Carolina Became the Wisconsin of 2013.” Other brilliant moves:

  • The state legislature is trying to lower corporate and individual income tax and flatten the tax code.
    A Senate bill would not only open the state to fracking, but would also allow the frackers to keep their fracking fluid secret.
  • The state legislature is trying to repeal a bill intended to provide some protection against racially biased juries for African Americans accused of capital crimes.
  • North Carolina is one of the states shooting itself in the foot by rejecting Medicaid expansion and the federal dollars attached to it.
  • The state legislature also is busily passing voter restriction laws.
  • But they are loosening already lose guns laws. They even intend to allow concealed carry in bars.
  • The state is pushing a school voucher plan and cutting preschool funding.
  • And the state wants to end public financing for judicial elections, because when corporations can buy judicial elections, corporations get better judgments.

Graham also says,

While much of North Carolina remains conservative — as the 2012 election showed — there is a strong concentration of much more left-leaning voters in the Raleigh-Durham-Chapel Hill area, and they’ve reacted angrily to the push. In a series of weekly demonstrations named “Moral Mondays,” protestors have descended on the state legislature to show their displeasure and, often, be arrested: nearly 500 people have been arrested since the first such rally on April 29. (Last week on The Atlantic, Win Bassett followed the Rev. Tuck Taylor as she was arrested at the June 17 Moral Monday.)

In other news — today is the 150th anniversary of Pickett’s Charge.

12 thoughts on “Crazy in Carolina

  1. These Tealiban-Rethuglicans are so anti-government they’re even trying to do away with the special license plates you can CHOOSE to pay extra for as donations to the various parks in the state! I guess the Smokies where I grew up and the Blue Ridge Parkway where I went to college are too liberal. Yeah, they are green, after all. I have always seen NC as a special place, but now I think the government has gone short-bus special. All courtesy of Art “mini-Koch” Pope, the real governor, acting through Pat McCrory, now known as Assistant Deputy Governor.

  2. “Sharia-LAW”…….Why we can’t have any extremist religion-law imposed on our Christian Republic!!!!!

  3. Christian Conservatives POV:
    Folks, we’ve got a branding problem!

    The EBIL MOOOOOOOOOZIMZ have “Sharia Law” – very restrictive religious laws.

    And it’s not that WE don’t approve of very restrictive religious laws, it’s just that we don’t have a snappy name for ours, like “Sharia Law.”

    Ours are pretty identical to theirs, but we need a snappy name.

    How about “American Talib…” no, forget that.
    “Trinity Laws?”

    Wait! “Cross Laws!”

    They’ll be very, very cross, and will remind people of what Jesus was nailed to, for the sins we’ll want to stop with our very own, very, very cross laws.

    Yeah, maybe “Cross Laws!” works.

    What do you fellow followers of the peaceful and forgiving Jesus think of that title for our own version of “Sharia Law?”

  4. Like a bad fever, this crap must run it’s course. The idiots won’t understand the destruction they are creating until it bites them in the ass. C’est la Guerre!

  5. The Egyptians have more Democracy than we do; they just tossed Morsi out on his sorry butt.

    Moral Mondays have seen doctors, lawyers, aldermen, mayors, NAACP leaders arrested and called “outside agitators” (right- as opposed to ALEC).

    Education is under siege- budget slashing UNLESS you are a charter,in which case the teachers don’t even need a college degree.

    They want to force communities to roll back anti smoking restrictions and ban campuses from banning concealed carry.

    Charlotte airport has been siezed by the state- to punish the city. Asheville’s water is being handed over to private profiteers.

    It’s the whole anti-middle class play book.

  6. My understanding of Egypt and Morsi is that at least part of the issue was that he was ignoring the minority parts of his country in his governing. In other words, once he and the Muslim Brotherhood got control, they pretty much did whatever the hell they wanted to, the other parties be damned. Sounds familiar? Once repugs get control of a state, they will pass every draconian, wish list of a law while they power, the democrats be damned. And while I don’t see a military coup as being a democratic principle, I also don’t see one party rule as a democratic principle either. Here in Cheeseland, the state lege just passed their budget, with no input from democrats. They were told that no amendments would be debated from the democrat’s side. No compromise at all. The dems in the state senate didn’t even show up for the ‘debate’ and final vote. They said it was pointless, which it was. What a sorry state when a military coup looks more like democracy than a state that at one point was considered a bastion of progressivism.

  7. This situation simply cannot stand. The Tea-liban and Rethuglicans will overreach themselves, and their only support will be their dying demographic and the usual utter failure of the Democrats to run a campaign that slaps down the lie barrage that will be launched to re-elect the horror.

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