Tuesday, July 09, 2013

Strange Priorities

Latest Newspaper Column:

So our Glorious Republican Overlords, despite having taken control of the state House, Senate and governorship, have been unable, as of this writing, to come up with a budget in time for the new fiscal year. And I see the House decided to celebrate its failure by taking the last week off while the rest of us had to work.

So let’s see what the party that promised to bring fiscal responsibility and jobs to North Carolina has been doing since the beginning of the year:

— A bill passed by the House and currently under consideration by the Senate would ban the use of “Shariah law” in proceedings in North Carolina courts.

Well, thanks be to God for that. I can’t tell you the number of times I’ve had to contend with some bearded mullah coming into our courthouse and trying to argue that some defendant needs to have his hand cut off for stealing DVDs at Walmart. I’m certainly glad solving that non-problem was a bigger priority for the House than working on a budget.

It’s not just Shariah, however. That might show bigotry, not to mention ignorance. The use of any foreign law can be challenged, even if its use is provided for by contract. I’m sure that foreign companies will be even more eager to do business in our fair state after finding that out. Just as well. I never trusted the Dutch, anyway.

— Then, when the bill came to the Senate, they suddenly tried to tack on new restrictions on abortion clinics.

 “Sometimes these things come together at the last minute,” Sen. Buck Newton, R-Wilson, told WRAL-TV. Because “the last minute” is when you want to start adding restrictions on what the U.S. Supreme Court has upheld as a constitutional right.
When asked point-blank during debate if he could “cite a health issue related to abortion” at a clinic compliant with current regulations, Republican Sen. Chad Barefoot had to admit, “I cannot.” But I guess they thought we needed to rush this through the day before the holiday anyway (while, let me repeat, we still don’t have a budget). I guess we don’t want to get shown up by Texas.

— A new bill mandates that all students in North Carolina public schools be taught cursive writing.

According to The Winston-Salem Journal, Rep. Pat Hurley of neighboring Randolph County became perturbed when thank-you notes she received from a class that visited her office were all printed. “After some research,” the story says, Rep. Hurley discovered that “many schools were leaving the decision to teach cursive up to individual teachers.” The horror!

Rep. Hurley, you look like a nice lady, but really? This is what you set your staff to researching in a time of fiscal crisis? Are CEOs of businesses who are thinking of bringing jobs to North Carolina going to turn to their minions and say, “Well, we were going to put the corporate headquarters in Randleman, but we found out the schools aren’t teaching cursive. That’s a deal breaker, people. Looks like we’re headed to Massachusetts”? We think not.

— A bill expands the state’s indecent exposure law to prohibit the exposure of “the nipple, or any portion of the areola, or the female breast.”

Rep. Rayne Brown, R-Davidson, said that her concerns were raised not by strip clubs or nudie magazines, but by topless protests for women’s equality in Asheville, a good hundred miles from her district. Still, Rep. Brown says, “some of her constituents were concerned” about the Ashevillian Feministas showing their naughty bits. I’ve always thought Davidson County was kind of pretty, but must be a paradise on Earth if that’s what all they’ve got to worry about.

And, of course, I’ve already written about the cockeyed proposal to require couples to wait two years instead of one to get a divorce and get hours of counseling in the meantime (without saying how it’s to be paid for). And the resolution to allow North Carolina to declare itself exempt from the First Amendment and establish a state religion.And the law that would allow people to carry concealed guns in bars (no way THAT could go wrong). The list goes on and on.

Congratulations, Republicans! You’ve managed to prove yourselves as feckless and ineffective as the Democrats you replaced. You’d think that a one-party state could manage to get at least some budget passed. But not, apparently, if that party is the GOP, who can’t seem to concentrate on what they claim is their core competency: fiscal responsibility.
They choose instead to fritter away time and energy (and taxpayer money) on a radical social agenda to push us resolutely back into the 19th century. The old bait-and-switch continues.