Amid all the noise and ruckus of the General Assembly's current, historic session, many bills tainted by far-right myths and misperceptions were introduced. A lot of them passed. For instance, anything that would make life harder for poor people or women in crisis scooted through the GA like shit through a goose. One particularly weird rightwing conspiracy theory is still up for validation in Raleigh: House Bill 695 would ban the use of Sharia law in North Carolina, specifically prohibiting judges, mediators and agencies from applying Sharia to domestic cases, e.g., divorce, custody, etc. The bill passed the House on Thursday and is being taken up by the Senate.
Disney is being flailed by critics for producing a glammed-up, thinner and sorta sexualized version of Princess Merida, from the Pixar film Brave, for her entry into the Disney Princesses Collection. The "new, improved" Merida may continue Disney's age-old habit of making female characters into wide-eyed, shapely babes, but it deliberately contradicts the entire point of the original Merida character.
Just as we were almost getting used to the idea that our state government is being run by big corporations, rustics and Baptist preachers, the "less government" folks in the General Assembly decided to really pour it on.
In the past week, the legislature's rightwing assembly line has rolled out a glut of new bills that, if passed, would put North Carolina in serious competition with Mississippi, Florida and South Carolina for the title of "Most Backward State." Here are just some highlights of the week:
In the latest round of completely absurd and dangerously regressive bills making their way through the General Assembly at an astoundingly fast pace is a Republican bill passed by the House Health and Human Services Committee on Tuesday that would require teenagers get their parents' permission before receiving treatment for substance abuse, mental-health issues or STIs.
Pediatricians warned the committee this bill could have serious public-health consequences. In many cases teens would rather delay treatment than disappoint their parents, and leaving such serious issues untreated could create a community crisis. But apparently outbreaks of teen herpes, heroine addiction and suicide are exactly what our state needs to bring families together!
After leading the charge to deep-six County Manager Harry Jones, County Commission Chairwoman Pat Cotham got a few choice words from former commission Chairman Parks Helms.
The longtime Charlotte politician accused Cotham of taking orders from Commissioner Vilma Leake, a pairing he called "an unholy alliance." Hmm, I guess Helms, who spent a lot of his career in county government, didn't like it when Cotham rejected his recent advice about how to best proceed with Jones.
"I don't believe the county will be able to find a better manager at this point in time," Helms said, apparently anticipating the assassinations or suicides of nearly every other county manager in the nation.
I am not a sports fan, but last week I paid close attention to one NBA player.
Jason Collins made history as one of the first active athletes in America's four major sports leagues to come out as gay. Let's hear it for the man!
Collins, who plays for the Washington Wizards, wrote himself into the books with a simple statement, published in his Sports Illustrated Magazine story. "I'm a 34-year-old N.B.A. center. I'm black and I'm gay."
Unlike some clothing retailers, the Cato Co., a Charlotte-based chain of over 1,300 women's clothing stores in 31 states, is trying to downplay its ties to the Rana Plaza factory complex in Bangladesh. The fire, the worst accident in garment-industry history, killed some 400 people last week.
Some large companies with ties to the factory, including British low-cost retailer Primark, Canadian discount chain Loblaw, and Spain's huge El Corte Ingles retailers, have pledged to take part in a compensation fund that the Clean Clothes Campaign, an anti-sweatshop group based in Holland, hopes to build to $30 million.
N.C. Labor Commissioner Cherie Berry is the woman whose face you see on the inspection notice every time you ride an elevator in this state. She wants to take Kay Hagan's seat in the U.S. Senate and, according to Public Policy Polling, she is the GOP's leading contender (just ahead of one our favorite loons, Rep. Virginia "Death Panels" Foxx). A new study of workplace safety and workplace deaths, however, has the potential to drop Berry's campaign to the political sub-basement.
If you thought you'd heard the last about nipples in Asheville, you're wrong. State Rep. Tim Moffitt, R-Buncombe, says he hasn't given up on making it a by-God-felony for women to expose their nipples in North Carolina. Moffitt introduced a bill that would have done just that earlier this year, but support for the bill sagged after the general tit-for-tat debates in the House. Moffitt decided that since enthusiasm for the bill had been sucked dry, he withdrew the proposed law before voting on it began, thus enabling him to reintroduce it later. The areolaphobic public servant told the Asheville Citizen-Times that he plans to revive the bill, in mid-May.
Often in politics, some things would be funny if they weren't so ridiculous. I'm talking about Airport Advisory Committee Chairman Shawn Dorsch's appearance before Charlotte City Council yesterday and specifically his spirited defense of his own "freedom of speech."
Quick recap: Dorsch and the rest of the airport advisory board were hauled before council to discuss revelations that Dorsch, whose job is to advise City Council on running the airport, contacted officials from other counties and a state lawmaker and urged them to support a bill that would give control of the airport to an airport authority and take it away from city government. Yes, that city government - the one that gave Dorsch his current position, and for whom he officially works as an adviser; the one that will take away his nifty position soon.
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