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Jeb Bush and Thom Tillis: Amnesty on the table?

None other than Rush Limbaugh weighed in on former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush’s recent visit to Greensboro to campaign for Senate candidate Thom Tillis:

So Jeb Bush went in there and actually suggested that Republicans should pass amnesty if they win back the Senate! Now… (sigh) Here you have Republicans campaigning for the Senate with an anti-amnesty, anti-amnesty-related comprehensive immigration reform plank in their campaign, and here comes a guy saying, “Yeah, but after you win you should do it.” It’s… I don’t know, folks.

Breitbart has the story: “Even though Republicans may take back the Senate by running against amnesty, former Florida Governor Jeb Bush pushed amnesty legislation while stumping for North Carolina Republican Senate candidate Thom Tillis on Wednesday. Bush, according to the New York Times, reportedly said that comprehensive immigration reform ‘will restore and sustain economic growth for this country.’

NYT also covered Bush’s visit, reporting Tillis “gently put distance between himself and his guest of honor” by saying “you have to make it clear that amnesty shouldn’t be on the table.”

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Vote for Mark Walker, vote for martial law?

Greensboro resident Richard Koritz says the N&R was “way too forgiving” of 6th District Congressional candidate Mark Walker in its editorial following Walker’s comments about going to war with Mexico:

In an editorial ironically entitled “A way with words,” the editors appear to be doing their best to explain away Walker’s words, his extremist public statements during the Republican primary regarding Obama impeachment and waging war against Mexico. Rather than taking Walker seriously and criticizing his positions, the N&R editors “gently” suggest Walker “should not have tried to appeal to the most bellicose sentiments of that electorate” and “he can choose his words a lot more sensibly.” They are not so kind to Fjeld. They harshly describe her as “unkindly” for holding Walker accountable for what he actually said.

….Meanwhile, an article reports that five local sheriffs, Democrats as well as Republicans, have all endorsed Walker. Evidently, these “law and order” officials are influenced by Walker’s inflammatory words. The recent tragedy in Ferguson, Mo., where the police forces played a military role of occupation and suppression of citizens, highlights the importance of taking politicians like Walker seriously.

A vote for Laura Fjeld is a vote in favor of civil society and against martial law.

As if saying that a vote for Mark Walker is a vote for martial law is an example of civilized debate? Note also that Koritz doesn’t use Fjeld’s exact words —“plain crazy”— characterizing Walker’s comments. So far I haven’t read anyone taking offense for that comment on behalf of mentally ill people worldwide.

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Guilford sales tax hike and teacher pay

OK, I’ve been all over the N&R lately, but what can I say our local paper of record has been writing some very interesting editorials lately, and there’s no sign they’re going to let up as the campaign enters its stretch run.

Today’s editorial links Guilford County’s proposed quarter-cent sales tax hike with teacher salaries, citing an N&R-High Point University poll showing that likely voters believe the 7 percent raise is too little:

Beyond the political implications, the poll suggests a greater appreciation among voters for public education and its critical importance to the economy and quality of life. After all, times are still tough.

How long has it been since many of us had a raise?

The question is, will it translate to support for a proposed sales-tax increase to benefit Guilford County schools? The quarter-cent increase referendum will appear on the Nov. 4 ballot and will simply read as a “for” or “against” vote for a “local and sales use tax rate of one-quarter percent (0.25 percent) in addition to all State and local taxes.” The Guilford County commissioners placed it there as a means to generate as much as $14 million a year for schools. The money would go toward teacher pay, instructional supplies, technology and maintenance and repairs.

If you don’t read carefully you might think the sales tax hike is going specifically toward salary hikes. The last sentence is key —the reality is the money might go toward teacher pay, it might not— especially since $14 million is not really that much money when we’re talking about public schools.

Or — as the Rhino points out once again —-the money might not go toward schools at all:

Those pushing for the tax hike say the money raised – an estimated $12 million to $14 million a year – will go to support Guilford County schools. However, the truth is that the Guilford County Board of Commissioners can use that money for any purpose that strikes their fancy. And no one has to look very far to find examples of elected bodies at first stating that a new revenue stream will be spent on one thing and then diverting the money to some other perceived need.

Something to take into consideration down the stretch.

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WSFCS clamping down on workers comp

In a move that does not require a vote of the Board of Education, Winston-Salem-Forsyth County Schools Superintendent Beverly Emory will put in place a stricter workers comp program designed to get employees back to work back to work sooner.

WSFCS attorney Al Tomberlin told the board’s policy committee that WSFCS’ current workers comp program is costing the district thousands of dollars. An extreme example (emphasis mine):

There are currently 26 district employees who have been receiving worker’s compensation for more than a year. At least one employee has not been back to work in more than a decade. Continuing to provide their medical, dental and life insurance coverage is costing the district more than $150,000 each year. Emory said it’s a price the district can’t afford to keep paying.

Vacation might over —- the policy changes aren’t retroactive —-yet.

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Meanwhile, the NYT…..

Big New York Times article on North Carolina as a “state in play.”

In addition to Thom Tillis and Kay Hagan, the cast of faces and places includes Jesse Helms, John Edwards, Cook Out, JLF president John Hood, former state budget director Art Pope, Siler City, Gov Pat McCrory, Gander Mountain Firearms Super Center, an autism teacher who describes Republican policies as “terrifying” and –last but not least —the Rev. William Barber.

Here’s what jumps out:

Some black voters may find it harder to get to the polls in November under the new voter law, which, among other things, cut back early voting by a week; eliminated a provision that allowed citizens to register and vote on the same day; and prevented the counting of ballots lodged by voters outside of their home precincts.

Here’s hoping Rev. Barber gets on the phone to NYT editors demanding a correction.

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Hagan: No time for ISIS?

Just a few days after the N&R warns us about the evil of money in politics comes this report that Sen. Kay Hagan “may have skipped” a Senate armed services committee hearing to discuss the threat of ISIS to attend a New York fundraiser.

Fair enough —key words here are “may have” considering the fact “attendance records are not made available for closed-door Senate hearings.” But we do know there was a cocktail reception for Hagan that night in NYC, with tickets going for —hold on —- $5,000.

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N&R slams Mark Walker

No suprise that today’s N&R editorial slams 6th District Congressional candidate Mark Walker over his recent comments about going to war with Mexico:

It’s reassuring that Republican 6th District congressional candidate Mark Walker does not want the United States to launch a war against Mexico.

He now says he was speaking “tongue-in-cheek” when he said at a campaign gathering in June that “we did it before. If we need to do it again, I don’t have a qualm about it.”

The subject of a limited military role on the border might be worth a serious debate, but going to war against Mexico isn’t an option. This isn’t 1846.

…Walker made the mistake of speaking down to his audience. This happened during the Republican runoff primary campaign, when Walker and Phil Berger Jr. were running as far to the right as they could go. Walker should not have tried to appeal to the most bellicose sentiments of that electorate.

Yeah N&R we know this isn’t 1846 —and they accuse Walker of talking down to his audience. For good measure the editorial takes Walker’s opponent Laura Fjeld to task for calling his comments “just plain crazy.” Let’s hope the N&R keeps good tabs on all the just plain crazy comments that will be made over the next six weeks.

Meanwhile five local sheriffs aren’t bothered by Walker’s comments.

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Cam Newton stylin’

Or not. You decide.

Cam-Newton-Twitter

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N.C.’s most Googled brand is…..

Find out here. You get a dollar if you guess right.

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Kay Hagan: Just playing by the rules

N&R continues its not-so-veiled support for Sen. Kay Hagan by trotting out the old ‘money is evil in politics’ theme in today’s editorial:

The reality is that the American people are fed up with the tens of millions of dollars poured into a single race, such as North Carolina’s U.S. Senate contest between Kay Hagan and Thom Tillis. Television viewers are inundated by ads that promote one candidate or attack the other. People have little or no idea of who’s responsible for these ads, where the money comes from or what the sponsors want and expect from the candidate once he or she is elected.

….There was little chance it would ever pass since it eventually would need two-thirds support in the Senate and House and then ratification by three-fourths of the states. Republicans called it a political gesture by Democrats. Maybe it was, like proposed “personhood” or “balanced budget” amendments regularly introduced by Republicans.

Yes the vote to block the constitutional amendment was along party lines, which means Hagan made the appropriate political gesture while continuing to play by the rules as they’re written, as I’m sure the N&R would rationalize.

Meanwhile, former American Idol star and 2nd District Congressional candidate Clay Aiken only wishes he could get holda him some Hollywood money:

Though he has picked up the pace in the fundraising battle against two-term incumbent and former nurse Renee L. Ellmers, reporting in July had Aiken with about $209,000 cash on hand to Ellmers’s $405,000. One of Aiken’s consultants put it this way: “It’s tough because the people in the district all assume he has these big Hollywood connections so they don’t want to donate. But the truth is he isn’t that big a deal in Hollywood, so he can’t raise that much there.”

Ouch.

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