-December 2, 2013-
3:00 -- Is it unethical for Rep. Tim Moffitt to publish a newspaper outling all the great things his Republican Party passed in the NC Legislature?
4:00 -- Americans don't trust each other any more. Why? Plus Art Pope and William Barber exchange words.
5:00 -- Kevin King joins us to talk about his grassroots organizing work on college campuses. Plus, Milton Friedman debates Frances Fox Piven.
-December 3, 2013
3:00 -- Pete offers NC Democratic candidate recruiters the opportunity to come on the show. They chicken out.
4:00 -- The rise of the administrative state and why budget battles will be the focal point now.
5:00 -- The Hobby Lobby lawsuit over the Affordable Care Act, plus should chimpanzees get legal "personhood" status.
-December 4, 2013
3:00 -- A coup on the Mecklenburg County Commission might make it easier for South Asheville to de-annex from the city. Plus, a Hindu guy is mad at a local brewer for naming a beer Shiva.
4:00 -- Jake Frankel from Mountain Xpress joins us to talk about the latest edition on news stands. Plus, Buncombe County Commissioners say they want to reduce the carbon footprint by 80%.
5:00 -- Kurth Schlichter, columnist at Townhall, says liberals have to lie. Plus, human cheese.
-December 5, 2013
-December 6, 2013
To anyone but a rabid partisan it is quite clear that the federal government is working hard to make the shutdown affect people. The lengths to which its agents have gone would be comical, if it didn't prove how dangerous a large government can be.
In Washington D.C., the Park Service brought employees off furlough and hauled in barricades to block off open-air national monuments. However, yesterday, the National Mall was opened for an immigration reform rally.
At Mt. Rushmore, federal agents put cones along the shoulder of a road so motorists could not pull off and take pictures of the iconic mountain sculpture.
At Yellowstone, park rangers literally locked a tour group of elderly visitors inside their motel for two days so they couldn't leave to look at the Old Faithful geyser.
... a ranger quickly appeared, ordering the tourists to stop “recreating” and return to the bus.
When the group’s tour guide protested, the ranger became angry.
And, of course, our own local example of the Pisgah Inn, where federal agents ordered the facility to close down and used vehicles to block Inn entrances, despite the fact that the Blue Ridge Parkway is still open, and the Inn does not receive federal funding.
The Pisgah Inn owner, Bruce O'Connell, says he's still fighting to re-open, but local citizens who were hoping to show their support and protest the government actions were left deflated after he backed down from his earlier defiant stand.
Perhaps his case was strengthened by news that the federal government has reversed course on its closure of a private facility in Virginia that was shut down and people thrown off the property just before a big fundraiser last week.
As I post this, I received this message from the General Manager of the Pisgah Inn:
we would like to thank the National Park Service for working with us through all of this mess. We will re-open today Wednesday October 9, 2013 at 5:00 PM. We are now booking rooms starting tonight, if you have reservations for this month they are still valid unless you call and cancel. Our gift Shop and Country Store are up and running now.The colors are beautiful and the Parkway is open. We look forward to having our guest back up here. See Ya Soon,
So, that's good news.
As a recreational camper, I've always appreciated and respected park rangers. These recent events have changed my mind, however. I admit I have soured on the US Park Service employees. Their behavior over the past week has raised significant questions about the abuses they are helping to implement. Most shocking is how there are virtually no reports of any of rangers standing with their fellow Americans in recognition of the complete and utter jackassery of closing an open air monument or roadside overlook.
Mostly, they're just following orders. That should concern us all.
Of course, it's not just open air memorials, roadside overlooks, private concessionaires, and un-staffed parks that the federal government is shutting down. Cancer screenings for children and death benefits for families of fallen military personnel are also being used as leverage in the political fight.
CBS News' Mark Knoller asked President Obama about this yesterday. It was the closest thing to a difficult question he got:
President Obama said he was tempted to support some of the individual spending bills the House has passed. But he won't do it.
"If we do some sort of shotgun approach like that, then you'll have some programs that are highly visible that get funded and reopened - like national monuments. But things that don't get a lot of attention - like those SBA loans - not being funded. And we don't get to select which programs we implement or not."
This might be more believable if it was coming from a President who hasn't ignored various laws throughout his term because he disagreed with them - from immigration and environmental regulations, to elements of his signature healthcare law.
But think about what he's saying here. The President would certainly love to pass these individual measures, but he refuses to prioritize spending to do so. Furthermore, he knows if he agrees to some of these measures, his political leverage is weakened.
In other words, old folks can be locked in hotels, private facilities shuttered, campers thrown off federal lands, and families of dead military personnel left without promised funeral benefits because the President needs them as negotiating leverage.
It's all or nothing.
SBA loans are just as important as screening for kids with cancer.
Talk about taking hostages.
The AP published a poll with a headline of Americans blaming the GOP for the shutdown. However, that Shutdown Theater seems to be cutting into the Democrats' and the President's approval numbers, too. Of course, it's buried deep in the story but:
Most Americans disapprove of the way Obama is handling his job, the poll suggests, with 53 percent unhappy with his performance and 37 percent approving of it. Congress is scraping rock bottom, with a ghastly approval rating of 5 percent.
Indeed, anyone making headlines in the dispute has earned poor marks for his or her trouble, whether it's Democrat Harry Reid, the Senate majority leader, or Republican John Boehner, the House speaker, both with a favorability rating of 18 percent.
And had the White House Press Corp asked the President about some of these outrageous and petty examples of Shutdown Theater yesterday, I suspect some of the stupidity and political punishment of the people would stop.