gregflynn's blog

Cross tabs, one year later

A year ago Civitas analyst Chris Hayes presented the results of a Civitas poll suggesting that state salaries should be capped, and that no employee should be paid more than the Governor's salary, (then $135,000, now listed as $139,590). In a year with layoffs and without state employee raises Hayes, now a policy adviser to House Speaker Thom Tillis, recently got a 17% raise, from $70,000 to $82,000, more than anyone at Smart Start makes. Among other raises and additions at the Speaker's office Tillis' Chief of Staff got a 25% raise to $150,000 which is more than the Governor makes.

Interactive Assessment: Judge Vinson’s Affordable Care Act Decision

Great dissection of Vinson's faulty opinion by Neera Tanden, Ian Millhiser, Tony Carrk of the Center for American Progress entitled Interactive Assessment: Judge Vinson’s Affordable Care Act Decision

Judge Roger Vinson's decision striking down the Affordable Care Act is wrong on so many counts that it’s hard to begin counting. Nonetheless, we did.

CAP created an interactive graphic of Vinson's order, embedded below the fold. Yellow highlighted text is clickable for explanations of why Vinson is wrong.

Tom Murry's Drug Money

Below is the text of a complaint filed yesterday with the State Board of Elections regarding the campaign committee of Tom Murry. You can't buy Sudafed from a pharmacy without showing ID and having the purchase recorded. Pharmacist Tom Murry has been taking money from some pharmacists without properly disclosing the origin. Some contributions are from pharmacists whose pharmacies are accredited by an organization headed by Murry.

Murry has a strange sense of ethics. He has not condemned the misleading corporate attacks on Chris Heagarty by "Real Jobs NC", led by Art Pope of Variety Wholesalers and Fred Eshelman of PPD. The fact that Murry's wife works for PPD and owns PPD stock (according to public records) may or may not have something to do with his reluctance to criticize Eshelman and Pope. You be the judge.

Eshelman Rings in New 527

PPD executive Fred Eshelman rings the NASDAQ bell this morning, a carefully orchestrated media event to mark the PPD’s 25th anniversary (optional confetti $500, balloon drop $4,000). If the name Eshelman rings a bell it’s because he’s the force and the finance behind RightChange.com a conservative political committee active in the 2008 races run with NC State Senator Fletcher Hartsell and State Representative Jeff Barnhart of Cabarrus County. Their most recent contribution to political dialog was “Attack of the 50 Ft Pelosi”, a cartoon world where Democrats have long skinny necks and Conservatives have none.

Poverty? What Poverty?

A couple of conservative Wake County School Board members had a new take on poverty and prosperity yesterday. John Tedesco declared after an assignment meeting:

"We're not talking about socioeconomic status anymore". "Once we pass the resolution, we won't be talking about it again"


Meanwhile Debra Goldman was less reserved on Twitter:


Of course it's easier to think about buying diamonds to celebrate the end of diversity when your husband skips paying $1,428.24 in Wake County taxes on your second property.

Is Tom Fetzer a PITA?


I don't expect Bill Graham to know the difference between a falafel and a loofah any more than Bill O'Reilly. Nor do I expect either to know the difference between a pita and a parantha.

It's safe to say that when Bill Graham named a company PITA Raleigh, LLC, he wasn't planning on starting a chain of Middle Eastern restaurants. To give him credit he may have been thinking of this description:

The "pocket" in pita bread is created by steam, which puffs up the dough. As the bread cools and flattens, a pocket is left in the middle.

- An empty pocket that is, reminiscent of the failed and drained campaign for Governor masterminded by Tom Fetzer.

It seems more likely that PITA is the acronym that is patoi for "major annoyance" and that the annoyance is likely Tom Fetzer.

New Burr Challenger - Republican!

Digging in Federal paperwork this week I came across an unfamiliar name that led to this curious statement on a Facebook page:

Have you noticed that Senator Burr has suddenly become a little more visible? The Party is concerned that he’s the most vulnerable Republican Senator preparing for 2010 elections. The John Locke Foundation states that he’s not unpopular just unknown and needs to define himself before the electorate. Where has he been since he first arrived in Washington in 1994? Fifteen years later and you’re still unknown, Senator? Where have you been hiding? You haven’t been in North Carolina listening to the people who elected you!

What to make of this? ...

Murdock Exceeded $4K Limit to Hartsell

State Senator Fletcher Hartsell accepted campaign contributions from billionaire David Murdock in excess of the $4,000 per election limit. In the 2008 election cycle Cabarrus Republican Hartsell received a $4,000 Murdock contribution 5/01/08, during the primary. Hartsell received another contribution of $4,000 from Murdock 10/17/08, during the general, apparently maxing out legal contributions.

However, Hartsell had also participated in a joint fundraising committee known as the Cabarrus-Rowan Leadership Celebration. The committee was shared by five candidates equally: Jeff Barnhart, Linda Johnson, Fred Steen, Bob Crumley and Fletcher Hartsell. Murdock contributed $4,000 to the joint fundraising committee 11/15/07. Of that $4,000 the amount of $800 is considered a contribution to Fletcher Hartsell by David Murdock during the primary.

From Purgers to Wakers, The Party of The Lincoln

Keep something long enough and you’ll find a use for it. When State Senator Andrew Brock, State Representative Bryan Holloway and businessman William Head debuted the 527 political committee in September known as WakeUpAmerica.com it really wasn’t anything new. It’s a marriage of anything-goes, tea party, town hall, histrionics combined with multi-level marketing (MLM). A For-Profit entity had been established by Head already in May ’09 called “Wake Up America Plan, LLC”. Even that isn’t new. It's all a re-manifestation of an ill-fated political MLM scheme begun in 2006 by William Head, Michael Smith and Nathan Tabor, known as PurgeCongress.com, previously reported here on BlueNC in 2006.

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