Tag Archives: Pat

2016: The Year In Review

This has been my mantra for the year.

Well, beloved, we’ve come to the end of another year, which means we’re about to be inundated with “Year in Review” posts/articles/programs. And, yes, I’m doing one, too. “Year in Review” posts aren’t what you’d call a regular feature here. Unlike my annual Thanksgiving posts, I haven’t written one of these since 2012. I’m not exactly sure why, it’s not like the past four years have been uneventful or anything. In fact, I’m not sure why I’m writing this one. Probably because I figure a post about 2016 will get some views and, like all writers, I’m a bit of an attention whore.

The consensus view seems to be that 2016 has been a rather shitty year. After all, it’s seen:

  • An orange-hued shit demon take advantage of the pain and fear of a large swath of the country to become President of the United States,
  • A bunch of idiotic yahoos in my home state of North Carolina pass an obviously discriminatory law and then commit political suicide by standing behind it in the face of overwhelming opposition both in the state and abroad,
  • The most deadly mass shooting in U. S. history, in which 49 people were killed because of their sexual orientation and/or gender expression.
  • Unarmed black men shot down by the police, mostly for the crime of just being black (that’s not new, but it was a big part of this past year).
  • An election that may have hacked by the Russians. At the very least, they influenced the voting toward the candidate they preferred.
  • And the death of a beloved celebrity every time we turned around.

Not exactly the best year on record, huh?

Still, it hasn’t been all bad. 2016 has also seen:

  • Working class people find a new (unlikely) champion in a 78 year old Jewish socialist. Now, if the Democratic Party (who likes to think of itself as “the party of the people”) would just get on board.
  • An announcement that Underground Railroad conductor Harriet Tubman would be replacing former president (and slaveholder) Andrew Jackson on the $20 bill. This is good because not only was Jackson was a slave owner, he was an asshole.
  • Jabba the Hut stunt double, Roger Ailes, resign as chairman and CEO of FoxNews. Ailes did so amidst a hail of accusations that he has a proclivity for making lewd remarks and/or advances to his female employees. And, punishing them when they reject him.
  • Pat McCrory lose his job as Governor of North Carolina to Roy Cooper. The best part is that McCrory engineered his own downfall with the hated HB 2, which was actually supposed to hurt his opponent, Cooper. Ain’t karma a bitch?
  • Samantha Bee debut her most excellent show, Full Frontal, on TBS. Bee, smart woman that she is, blew off the industry standard  live interview portion of the news parody format and stuck with her strength, scathing, intelligent satire. And, the television world is better for it.
  • A new Star Wars movie come out. It’s called “Rogue  One” if you’ve been living under a rock. I’m going to see this weekend and I can’t think of a better way to ring out this year.

Do these things offset losing David Bowie and Carrie Fisher in the same year? Probably not, but you’ve got to accentuate the positive. Even when the positive is not all that great.

It’s been said that 2016 has been the worst year ever. But, the truth is, it hasn’t. Not by a long shot. We’re not engaged in a global conflagration, an entire race isn’t in the process of being exterminated, there isn’t a plague killing off a significant portion of humanity. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying it’s been fun and I’d like to do it again. Just that it’s not been that bad. Hey, most of us even survived it. I’m not giving odds on 2017, though. I have a feeling it’s going to be a motherfucker.

Pat McCrory to Charlotte: Let’s Make A Deal

Can you say, "Oops"?
“Well, shit. This isn’t what I wanted at all.”

Yeah, I know I haven’t written in a while, but this school thing takes a lot more time than I expected. Between my class schedule and homework, my blogging frequency has dropped off dramatically. But, a recent development has prompted me to shake the dust off of the Progressive Redneck and dispense my own particular brand of “wisdom” once again.

Last week, the NCAA and the ACC both announced that until HB 2 (NC’s bathroom bill) is repealed, they will not schedule any events in North Carolina and the already scheduled events would be moved to another venue that didn’t have such a discriminatory law on the books. That, my friends, is the heaviest blow we’ve been dealt so far.

Now, if you’re not from NC, you probably think, “So what? If all the stuff that’s happened so far didn’t move them, why will this make a difference?” It will make a difference because much of my state’s pride is tied to its universities and their prowess in sports. I know that doesn’t sound like much, but when you’re a vale of humility between two mountains of conceit, you take what you can get.

This was a particularly effective action, even more so than Springsteen cancelling his concert or the NBA moving the All-Star Game. How do we know this? Because Governor McCrory and his Republican colleagues have started making overtures about a possible repeal.

That’s right, beloved, the governor and his pals have spent last six months on their collective soapbox, shouting that HB 2 is a necessary, common-sense protection of the safety and privacy of North Carolina womanhood. Now, faced with the premier sporting events boycotting the state (and, let’s be honest, no true North Carolinian gives a flying fuck about pro sports when the ACC’s available), they fold like a cheap suit. Could it be there’s more to this story than meets the eye?

I’d say yes (you knew that was coming, didn’t you?). You see, there’s another development that isn’t getting quite as much attention as the latest sports news: McCrory is losing his reelection bid and badly. His opponent, Attorney General Roy Cooper, leads him by an average of almost 5% according to RealClearPolitics. It’s taken 6 long months, but it appears that the guv has finally figured out that HB2 is a millstone around his neck.

He’s not going down without a fight, though. It seems that the Republican offer of repeal comes with strings: before the governor will even call a special session to consider rescinding this bit of heinous fuckery, the Charlotte City Council has to walk back their ordinance. You read that right, folks, they’ll talk about repealing HB2 if Charlotte actually repeals their law first. I wonder if these guys have a bridge in Brooklyn to sell?

I have to wonder what makes McCrory think this course is even possible? He’s spent months pumping up his base with talk of not giving in to “political correctness” and dog whistles about awful trans folks just waiting to molest their pure-as-the-driven-snow daughters if they’re allowed into women’s restrooms. Now that he’s losing, he’s willing to remove the only thing protecting their precious angels provided he can get concessions from the enemy? I don’t think that will fly.

Charlotte’s leaders would have to have rocks in their heads to fall for this bit of political chicanery. McCrory is on the ropes and HB2’s chances aren’t looking good either. A similar case in Virginia was heard by the 4th Circuit Court of Appeals (whose jurisdiction includes NC) and it didn’t come out well for the anti-LGBTQ crowd. Hang tough, Charlotte. In a couple of months, we should be rid of the one of the worst governors in state history. Unfortunately, the stain he’s left on our state’s reputation will take much longer to clear up.

Christians For Trump Pt…, Oh, Who Cares

This is the man that evangelical Christians are lining up behind. Take a minute to get your head around that thought.
Evangelical Christians are enthusiastically supporting this man. Take a minute to get your head around that thought.

Since the beginning of the year, I have written several pieces about the tangerine-hued hairball the Republican Party has hacked up on our political rug, aka Donald Trump. Most of them have focused on my bewilderment at evangelical Christians support of Trump and the fact that, no matter what he says or does, the man’s popularity continues to grow.

According to a report from the Pew Research Center, Seventy-eight percent of evangelical Christians support a thrice-divorced casino owner who has committed adultery on numerous occasions, made multiple semi-incestuous comments about his daughter and appeared on the cover Playboy. Wait, what? Isn’t this stuff on their laundry list of mortal sins? I am so confused.

In part, this groundswell of support may be due to the fact that evangelical leaders absolutely love them some Trump. (Is it just me or that sound vaguely sexual?) From Jerry Falwell Jr. to Pat Robertson to James Dobson and more, the big names on the Religious Right are falling all over themselves to endorse this baby-handed fucktrumpet. You have no idea how much I wish I was making this up, but I…Am…Not.

First up there’s Liberty University president and first-born son of Jerry Falwell, religious right icon and founder of the Moral Majority. Falwell has endorsed Trump offered up his university as a forum for this unhinged Oompa Loompa. Trump may have appeared on a Playboy cover, but he was never in a gay cartoon. And, isn’t that what really matters?

Then there’s James Dobson, founder of Focus on the Family and the Family Research Council, who has personally vouched for Trump’s evangelical bona fides. Recently, at a meeting with Trump and evangelical leaders, Dobson said that Donald had “found” Jesus. (He was hiding behind the couch the whole time.) Obviously, Dobson and I have very different ideas about what it means to be a Christian.

Finally, there’s Pat Robertson, the televangelist’s televangelist. Pat is famous for his gaffes and crazy talk and his interview with The Donald was no exception. At one point, he tells Trump “You inspire us all”. Inspire us all? To do what? Shit on immigrants? Dump on veterans? Relentlessly attack anyone who is remotely critical of anything you say or do? If you’re a Christian and Donald Trump inspires you to do anything other than vomit, I’m pretty sure you’re doing Christianity wrong.

This love is filtering down to the masses, too. Check out this report from Full Frontal with Samantha Bee:

Did you get that? If not, starting at the 1:17 mark, an evangelical Trump supporter says, “I believe, truly, that Trump is appointed by God to lead this nation back in the direction it needs to go.” Another states that “Donald Trump is the answer to our prayers.” But, perhaps most chillingly, is this remark from a young (possibly pre-teen) man: “We know that he is a godly man.” Holy Shitballs, you guys!

Someone, somewhere, may read this and think, “Yeah, but what about Hillary? She’s no paragon of Christian virtue.” Yes, you are correct. Clinton’s embrace of Wall Street and support of the use of force overseas should cause any Christian worth their salt no small amount of distress. But, there are two “yooge” differences: 1) Clinton hasn’t attempted to make her faith part of her brand the way Trump has and 2) she isn’t receiving the same, hypocritical praise that is falling on the Donald.

In a recent Facebook discussion with some of my friends who support Trump, one said that “we do not have a true Christian option for president.” I responded that, given all the compromises one has to make to even run for President, I’m not sure a true Christian option is possible and he agreed. So, why don’t we drop all the bullshit about a candidate’s faith and judge this solely on the basis of who will do the best job? Yeah, don’t bother responding; I already know the answer.

McCrory: “I Might Be In Trouble”

Can you say, "Oops"?
Can you say “oops”?

On Tuesday, Governor Pat McCrory went on The John Boy and Billy Big Show in his continuing (pathetic) attempts to control the damage HB 2 is doing to his campaign, not to mention the state of North Carolina. The 15 minute interview was mostly a rehash of the whining and bullshit that has characterized the conservative response to the shitstorm this law has brought on. But, interestingly, he said three things I hadn’t heard before.

The first came when he was listing all the people/organizations/companies he considers hypocrites for their stance against the law. In this list, McCrory included a certain rock and roll icon, saying:

“I love Bruce Springsteen. I love his music. But he canceled a concert in Greensboro. By the way, they only had 8,000 tickets sold, with all respect. Hmm. But Bruce doesn’t mention that. They didn’t get the ticket sales they wanted.”

My god, man, if you’re going make shit up, at least try and make it believable, will you? Seriously, Springsteen probably can’t remember the last time he sold just 8000 tickets for a show. And, if he does, it was probably for a 6000 seat venue.

It’s bad enough that the comment was obvious bullshit, but it was bullshit that was incredibly easy to verify. With a single phone call to the Greensboro Coliseum’s PR director, Andrew Brown, Politifact found that “The Boss” had sold not 8000 tickets, but 15,000. In fact, there were only about 100 seats left for the show. According to Brown, “It’s safe to say it would have sold out.” Of course, when they called him on it, the governor apologized for using “the wrong number”. Why, that makes everything better!

For the second, ol’ Pat slipped up and allowed some genuine honesty into this sad attempt to pander for votes on a show that was filled with what can only be called “sycophantic ass-kissery”. At one point, he told these two fawning groupies, “Society is changing quickly and anybody who gets in the way is in trouble. And I might be in trouble. I might be looking for a side job over here.” A side job? Pat, if the polls are any indication, you might need to dust off your resume and start putting out feelers for full-time employment.

Those polls show Attorney General Roy Cooper leading McCrory from anywhere between 2-10% (RealClearPolitics average = 4.3%).  That’s one hell of a turnaround considering that McCrory held a fairly consistent lead over Cooper (as much as a 7% at its highest) prior to the passage of HB 2. Afterwards, though? It’s been all down hill for McCrory, with the last 4 polls showing Cooper ahead. Saying that it’s not looking good for the guv is a lot like saying George Wallace was “a little racist”.

The third was, umm, ahh, oh what was the third? There was Springsteen didn’t sell many tickets, “I might be in trouble” and, let’s see…, I can’t. The third one, I can’t…, oops. Yeah, I know that joke goes back a ways, but it’s a classic.

You know, as much fun as it is to watch the disintegration of the Republican Party on a national level, seeing what’s happening to these local turds is giving me a joy boner. With any luck, it’ll stay up until November.

Republicans: “HB 2? It’s Not Our Fault”

SIERS040316
From Kevin Siers and the Charlotte Observer

Many of the arguments in favor of North Carolina’s Public Facilities Privacy & Security Act (aka HB 2) sound juvenile at best, paranoid and delusional at worst. We’ve been treated to some really.., let’s say, interesting defenses for what some North Carolinians are calling Hate Bill 2, including mythical bathroom predators and what amounts to grade school whining. To say all this doesn’t us make look good is like calling World War I a minor kerfuffle; i.e. a massive understatement.

I keep telling myself, “It can’t get any worse than this.” And, every I do, you know what happens? It gets worse. Just this week, a candidate for attorney general spoke about the need to “keep our state straight“. Really, y’all, he said that. Out loud. And, in public. Where people could hear him. Now, it’s one thing when a relatively obscure state senator says something so absurd; it’s another when it comes from the man holding the highest elected office in the state.

Recently, our “distinguished” governor Pat McCrory upped the ante on the bat crap crazy dialogue that marks the Republican response to any criticism of HB 2. And, let me just say it rivals any remark he’s made the entire four years he’s been in office. If you follow NC politics at all, you know that’s saying something .

Just a few days ago, the following statement appeared in a New York Times article: “On Thursday, he (McCrory) said he suspected that the entire matter had been orchestrated by Democrats and the Human Rights Campaign, a national gay rights group, to give Democrats an advantage in a tight governor’s race.” Oh, great, the chief executive of our state is in one of the world’s most widely read newspapers sounding like a deranged nutbag.

There are a multitude of problems with the governor’s accusation, not least of which is the fact that he has absolutely nothing with which to back it up; mostly because the whole thing is bullshit. But, he’s also crediting the Democrats with waay more intelligence (not to mention cunning and guile) than they actually have. The only reason we haven’t had 50 years of consecutive Republican rule is that the GOP is even more screwed up. The Democrats may be incompetent, but the Republicans have lost their damn minds.

If you think all this sounds a little crazy, you’re right. That because it doesn’t have anything to do with real reason HB 2 was passed: the thing was actually a ploy to back McCrory’s opponent in the upcoming election, Attorney General Roy Cooper, into a corner where he’d lose important votes no matter which way he went (read the full story here). Unfortunately for the guv and his pals in Raleigh, it’s done just the opposite; the latest polls show Cooper leading the governor by as much as 6%. I don’t know about you, but I find that hilarious.

With any luck, come November, we may get rid of the worst governor we’ve seen in God know how long. If we’re really lucky, we’ll also lose a few of the legislators who have done so much tear down what was once the most progressive state in the South. And that, my friends is one of the few bright spots in this whole sordid mess. Granted, it’s not much of one, but I’m pretty sure it’s about as good as we’re going to get.

Stop Bullying NC!

Bet you can't guess which one of these guys is a bully.
Bet you can’t guess which one of these guys is a bully.

In the days since North Carolina’s “Public Facilities Privacy & Security Act” (aka, House Bill 2), its backers have used no small amount of time, energy and effort to assure us it will not hurt our state’s economy. As HB 2 has been law for almost 3 weeks, I thought I’d take a look at how that notion is holding up.

First, a little background. Two days after he signed HB 2 into law, Governor McCrory’s office issued a press release that said the law would have no effect on NC’s ability to create or recruit new jobs. That same day, Lt. Gov. Dan Forest told the Hollywood Reporter that “Businesses will continue to move here, and the businesses that are complaining right now will continue to do business in this great state.” And, on April 8th, Sen. Richard Burr (R-NC), told reporters at the ribbon cutting of a new VA center in Charlotte that he didn’t think HB 2 would keep businesses from moving here. Well, okay then.

So, how do things stand now? Well, a few days after Gov. McCrory signed House Bill 2 into law, Lionsgate and A & E, both filming productions here, declared that once those projects are finished, they won’t be back until the law is repealed. Then, on April 5th, PayPal announced that they were backing out of major expansion plans in the Charlotte area, costing that city at least 400 new jobs. And, on April 8th, Bruce Springsteen canceled his show  at the Greensboro Auditorium, resulting in a loss of $100,000 in revenue.

Now, I want to point out something to you. Notice the date of Burr’s comment I mentioned in an earlier paragraph. Now, look at the dates of the companies in the previous one. Do you see it? Our senior senator said that he didn’t think HB 2 would keep businesses from moving here. after multiple businesses had already stated their intent to leave NC. Or, not come here in the first place. Holy shit, y’all.

Now, lesser politicians would be deterred by this avalanche of bad news and scramble to amend the offending statute, hopefully keeping our state from going completely off the rails economically. But, not our Governor and his partners in crime colleagues. No, these stalwart defenders of women and children stood firm against this onslaught of LGBT oppression, decrying it as…, bullying.

You read that right, beloved; white, Christian cisgender people are complaining that they’re being “bullied”. In an interview with the Hollywood Reporter, Rep. Mark Walker (R-NC) said that he considered Springsteen’s cancellation “a bully tactic” and compared The Boss to a kid who takes his ball and goes home when he doesn’t get his way. Walker also said that Justin Bieber was scheduled to perform in Greensboro and that he might attend. Wait, we’ve sent a Belieber to Congress? Shit.

Walker isn’t the only Republican who feels bullied by LGBT activists; Michelle Nix, vice chair of the NC GOP, denounced PayPal’s action as “corporate hypocrisy and bullying” because the company has done business in countries with less than stellar human rights records, especially concerning LGBT issues. Yes, Michelle, pointing out PayPal’s ethical shortcomings is the perfect way to convince them to stay in North Carolina.

What might persuade PayPal and all the other companies who said they’ll pass us by for less backward (and discriminatory) pastures? I’m thinking that if the Republicans who passed HB 2 would stop whining about our state suffering the consequences of their stupidity and repeal this abomination of a law, it might just do the trick. Of course, that would be the smart thing to do, so I’m not holding my breath until it happens.

The Annual “What I’m Thankful For” Post

thankful-holiday-lazy-thanksgiving-ecards-someecardsFaithful readers of The Progressive Redneck know that I’m great at starting new features or series, even if the features or series themselves aren’t all that good. They also know that I suck at following through on them. There are a couple of reasons for that; some of them were kind of shitty (Christian Dick of the Moment, for example), while others fell victim to my ADHD. But, my annual Thanksgiving post may be the lone exception. Amazingly, I have written one of these since I started blogging back in 2010. That means I was doing this way before it was cool (suck it, 30 Days of Thanksgiving!). Of course, the things I talk about in these posts aren’t what you usually hear when people start “giving thanks”, they’re stupid, ridiculous, trivial…, and real.

  • ADHD _ Yes, I’m talking about Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder. I know I’m supposed to think it’s a bad thing, but I don’t. Not even a little bit. And, really, why bother? It doesn’t help. And, while being so easily distracted can make life difficult (telling the power company you got distracted and forgot to pay your bill doesn’t even get you out of the  reconnection fee, much less get your lights turned back on), it also means an antidote to your boredom is just one squirrel away. Plus, people with ADHD are more creative, funnier, and better looking. So, we’ve got that going for us, too.
  • Science fiction television shows _ I’m referring to Dr. Who, Firefly, Fringe, The X-files and all the other shows that have carried the banner of good story-telling while the networks pretty much abandoned the practice for “reality” television.
  • My mother _ While she’s been on every one of these lists I’ve done, this year things are a little different. Normally, I make some reference to the table-groaning spread she prepares for Thanksgiving. But, not this time because she won’t be cooking. Just a few days ago, she had a total knee replacement and standing in front of the stove for hours is contraindicated in that situation. But, the surgery went well and she’s coming home today.
  • The K&W Cafeteria _ If you’re from a certain part of the country (North and South Carolina, Virginia and West Virginia, specifically) you understand this entry. If not, I’ll explain. The K&W is a regional chain of restaurants that serve up some of the best traditional southern cooking you’ll find outside of my mama’s kitchen. I’m including them on this year’s list because they also provide a take-out holiday “feast” for less than $60. What with taking care of our mom, my brother and I decided that was a more attractive option than cooking it ourselves. Having prepared a Thanksgiving meal in the past, I can honestly say I’d pay more a helluva lot more than 60 bucks to avoid cooking this year.
  • Spring Garden Bakery _ I know this is starting to sound like a commercial for local business (not that there’s anything wrong with that), but these guys deserve a mention. Located next door to the shop who works on my car (Der Wagen Haus, the best VW specialists in Greensboro), the coffee is hot and the pastries are excellent. And, no, I don’t get any compensation for this from either place. But, if either business is listening, I wouldn’t turn up my nose at a discount.
  • Greensboro, itself _  Most people have a soft spot for their hometown and I’m not an exception. Unlike Charlotte (which wants to be Atlanta so bad, it hurts) or Raleigh (a city that’d give its left nut to be Charlotte. Way to aim high, Raleigh), we’re okay with who we are: a smaller, more modest blue-collar town. And, working class burgs like Greensboro (and Durham, Winston-Salem, High Point, etc) have funky vibe those bigger cities have spent millions attempting to cultivate. Without a lot of success, in my opinion.
  • Barber shops _ And, when I say “barber shop”, I’m talking about the old-time variety; the kind with actual barbers and there’s not a hair-dryer in sight. It’s possible that American manhood started going down the tubes when we gave up getting our hair cut at a traditional barber shop for getting our hair “styled” at a salon. Of course, it’s also possible that I’m full of shit. If you’re a betting person, you should probably go with the second option.
  • Franklin Graham _ Along with Pat Robertson, Donald Trump, Ben Carson, Ted Cruz and anyone else saying stupid stuff in public. Sure, they’re colossal douche canoes who are clueless to their own privilege, but they have provided me tons of material. Some of it, I didn’t even have to embellish.

Once again, I’ve added to the avalanche of trivial shit on the internet. And, as I said last year, I should feel bad about that. But, I don’t. Not in the least. Happy Holidays, y’all.