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Revealing headlines, bills that are not about Goodyear

by Kirk Ross

Shameful shambles

As those of you following these kinds of things know, irony is dead, replaced by stark realities and painfully obvious absurdities. So, no, it was not ironic to see front-page headlines the other day laying out so clearly the state of the state in 2007.

Topping the page, naturally, was the shiny new incentive package for a couple of large international corporations. At the bottom of the page was the story of another state mental hospital about to get decertified by the feds. Doesn’t get a lot clearer than that.

The juxtaposition jumped out at Chris Fitzsimon at NC Policy Watch as well and he wrote a very good column that outlined the difficulties faced in fixing this state’s mental health system and the lack of any forward motion on it – unlike, say, crafting a reward or two for some tire plants.

My concern is that somewhere in state government they’ve misplaced the definition of the word “crisis.” Time was when a state health care institution being declared unsafe, and a threat from the feds that a cutoff in funding was imminent, actually meant something. Yet now we’re faced with the prospect that we’ll have two of the state’s mental hospitals ruled unsafe. And under the reform plan for the system, these are two of ones we’re planning to keep open.

The stark reality is that the mental health system is not on the verge of breaking down – it is breaking down, and for thousands of families learning to deal with closed clinics and declining services it is already broken.

We can’t afford to wait for that to get to the top of the page to start fixing it.

Not the Goodyear bills

In case you missed ’em there were three bills not related to Goodyear (and Firestone) in the recent special session – all filed by members of the minority party and not headed anywhere soon.

Reps. Joe Boylan and Larry Brown filed a bill that would drop the tax rates for corporations that do not reduce their workforce this year to 5 percent. Reps. Thomas and Harold Brubaker filed a bill to give corporations a tax credit for not cutting jobs in distressed cities. And Sen. Andrew Brock filed the “Business Equality Act,” which as of this writing has no text.

Showing some love

Elizabeth Edwards took some knocks from MoveOn.org supporters after criticizing the group’s Betray Us ad. Firedoglake’s Jane Hamsher accused Edwards of echoing right-wing talking points and told her to stifle.

The post ends with “We love you. We want to love you. Knock it off.”

The ensuing discussion there, over at Ed Cone’s blog and elsewhere, explored among other things censorship and ideological purges in the left, which are, of course, right-wing talking points older than dirt. Sticky stuff, eh?

Dole v. ?

Next week, with that all important end of the federal fundraising cycle just around the corner, Exile takes a look at the race for US Senate including Dole’s chances and finances and possible opponents. Right now, NC Rep. Grier Martin and NC Sen. Kay Hagan are said to be leaning toward a run. And there’s still the chance of a surprise or two (insert your favorite winking emoticon here).

Stay tuned.

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