Happy Tuesday morning to you all.
Let's begin our news roundup with something fun.
1. Anonymous is hacking N.C.'s political hacks.
The mysterious loose-knit organization of hacktivists aims to make life more difficult for our state government until HB 2 is repealed.
According to the Twitter account @OperationLGBT, several N.C. government websites have been shut down over the past few days, in protest.
From CNN Money:
"F—- you North Carolina main govt website...[for] making strong anti-gay laws!" the first @OperationLGBT tweet says.
"We ask you to reverse the bathroom law or expect more...," the group tweeted at North Carolina Governor Pat McCrory.
While many domains, including ncgov.org, ncgov.net, ncgov.com, np.nc.gov, governor.state.nc.us, and northcarolina.gov remained inaccessible on Monday, the state's main site is still fully online.
Take that, backers of HB 2 — and "Fawkes" you.
State House Democrats, meanwhile, have a plan to repeal the law. More N&O:
Rep. Darren Jackson of Raleigh said he would file what is known as a discharge petition, which if it attracts at least 61 members of the House would force HB2 out of the judiciary committee and to a vote of the full House. There are 43 Democrats, and so the repeal effort would have to attract Republican support.
Support? Yeah, good luck with that. (No, seriously — good luck.)
Maybe the following news can persuade that dying breed known as "reasonable Republicans":
2. N.C. could flush billions over HB 2.
That is, if the federal government makes good on a threat to withhold crucial funding if state leaders continue to stand behind the discriminatory law . The losses would come out to around $2.4 billion, and 53,000 jobs.
From The Mountaineer
3. Durham and Wake budget proposals: revealed!
Job and wage loss would wipe out half the job gains made in North Carolina in 2015.
These job losses would also be the equivalent of every worker in Greenville – or High Point, or Asheville – getting a pink slip. “HB2 is a creeping economic disaster for North Carolina. By shrouding discrimination in the mantle of state authority, HB2 has thrust North Carolina into a global spotlight that grows more unflattering by the day,” said Patrick McHugh, Economic Analyst with the NC Justice Center’s Budget & Tax Center and lead author of the report.
Durham's city manager is going "big," as reported by Virginia Bridges of The News & Observer:
A mobile city services truck. Twenty new police officers. And the return of the holiday parade.
Those are some of the items on the city’s to-do list in City Manager Tom Bonfield’s proposed $403.7 million budget for the 2016-17 fiscal year that starts July 1. The proposal marks a nearly 4 percent increase over the current year and, if approved by the City Council, would be the largest budget in the city’s history.
The budget includes a proposed property-tax rate of 56.07 cents per $100 valuation, which is a decrease of 3.05 cents from the current tax rate. The change won’t necessary translate into a property tax decrease following the recent countywide property tax reappraisal in which values increased 16 percent citywide.
The proposed $15.5 million budget increase includes funding for 38 new city positions, including 20 additional sworn police officers.
... It designates $2.5 million to design a new downtown parking garage, $1.8 million to implement paid on-street parking in the fall and $500,000 for security improvement in parking decks.
Wake County, meanwhile, is looking at raising taxes to boost public school funding, as well as services for substance abusers and the mentally ill.
From The N&O:
4. The state House proposes modest pay raises.
County Manager Jim Hartmann on Monday proposed a $1.19 billion government budget for the fiscal year that starts in July, which would increase spending from $1.14 billion this year. Hartmann’s proposal calls for a 1.35-cent property tax rate increase, which comes out to about an extra $36 a year for owners of properties valued at $268,000.
Hartmann’s proposal comes a year after Wake raised the property tax rate by 3.65 cents per $100 in property value.
The full budget was made public on Monday.
State and state-funded local employees would receive a 2 percent raise, and most would also receive a $500 bonus. Those who are due for a step increase would get the step increase, but not the bonus.Assistant district attorneys and assistant public defenders would receive a 3 percent raise.
State retirees would receive a 1.6 percent cost-of-living increase. Teachers would receive a raise of around 3 percent, depending on their position on the salary schedule and classification. Those at the bottom and top of the pay scale would receive $1,000 bonuses, to be paid out monthly over the course of the year.
Alexandra Sirota of the N.C Budget and Tax Center is none too impressed with Republican math and methods.
Via N.C. Policy Watch:
5. Franklin Graham is apparently trying to incite violence against LGBTs.
The House decision to use an arbitrary, flawed formula to determine spending won’t meet the needs of communities and families across the state.
The phase-in over the next three years of another poorly targeted tax cut represents yet another gimmick. The increase in the standard deduction is not an effective way for policymakers to address the upside down tax code. More than half of taxpayers who make more than $95,000 a year get a tax cut under such a proposal. North Carolina would be better off with a state Earned Income Tax Cut that helps people who work hard for low pay.
fraud who calls himself a Christian evangelist really crossed a line with a Sunday post on his Facebook page:
What would you take a bullet for? What are the principles and beliefs that you would not compromise under any circumstances? Even if it meant putting your life on the line?
This assholier-the-thou homophobe
goes on to tell the biblical tale of Babylonians Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego, who refused to worship a golden idol made by King Nebuchadnezzar, even under threat of fiery death.
I want to call on every Christian and every pastor to stand firm like these patriarchs of old and not bow to the secular, increasingly godless culture in which we live—even when (not if) we’re criticized, mocked, and labeled intolerant. The God of the Old Testament that delivered Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego from their fiery execution is the same God today—and He is still more than able to save. Will you stand against ungodliness? What are you willing to take a bullet for?
Or "shoot a bullet for," right, Frank? This is clearly dangerous talk — that type of preaching to rubes who've been told they live in the upside-down world where they, the bigoted, are the oppressed; and they, the aggressors, are actually the victims. And it won't be Frank — perched high above it all on his bigass pile of God-money — who'll be taking or shooting any of the bullets if it ever came to that. What a coward. Let's call the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association (of which Frankie is president and CEO) what it is. With this guy in charge, it's a hate group.
Sorry to go out on such a depressing note.
You know what? We won't.
Something else happened on Sunday. Honky-tonk singer John Howie, with special guest Daniel Chavis of The Veldt, performed a brilliant country version of Prince's "When You Were Mine" at the big "Stand Against HB2" show in Saxapahaw.
Please enjoy this video
of the performance. Then go out and have a great one.