Top 10 things that burn my butt

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10. North Carolina’s "Employers Are Gods" law, otherwise known as Employment At Will, under which employees can be fired at any time for any reason whatsoever — or even for no reason.

9. The ongoing insanity of America’s “War on drugs,” which has become even more destructive and damaging than the failed U.S. experiment with alcohol prohibition.

8. The ongoing bigotry, fear and hatred promoted by supposedly “Christian values” groups who oppose gay rights and women’s reproductive freedom.

7. The Israeli government’s apparent belief that it is the sole owner of the entire Middle East, as well as judge, jury and executioner of anyone who even disagrees with them, never mind attacks them. It is tragic and astonishing how a government born of such moral authority has gradually squandered the world’s good will.

6. Parenting columnist John Rosemond, who seems to have rarely met a child he likes.

5. BP honcho Tony Hayward, who says that while he’s sorry for the ecological holocaust his company is causing along the Gulf, also reminds everyone that he’s being personally inconvenienced, too. “I would like my life back,” said Howard, who rakes in $4.5 million per year for his inconvenience. Yeah, Tony, tell it to the Gulf Coast fishermen whose livelihoods you’ve ruined.

4. The recent move by the Texas State Board of Education, which wields a large, disproportionate influence on the contents of national school textbooks, to rewrite American history to suit its far-right misconceptions, er, versions of events. (Hint: Confederacy good, civil rights movement bad).

3. Duke Energy putting the squeeze on the local solar industry, as reported in the Charlotte Business Journal.

2. The Charlotte business community, which has very glaringly not stepped up to the plate to help save the county’s schools from catastrophic cuts. I guess the Chamber thinks it’ll be easy to recruit new businesses to a city where libraries are closed and the public schools suck.

1. The “deer in the headlights,” aka “gutless” approach of the County Commission, who steadfastly refuse to consider raising taxes to save critical programs, schools and libraries. Must be easier to remain paralyzed by the anti-tax crowd (who wouldn’t vote for the majority of present commissioners in any case).

SPECIAL BONUS OUTRAGE! The Roman Catholic hierarchy, whose moral obtuseness, rigidity  and butt-covering instincts bring disgrace on a religion whose ground-level members probably do more to help the unfortunate, heal the sick and promote peace and justice than anyone. Latest of too-many incidents: The excommunication of Sister Margaret McBride, a senior administrator of St. Joseph’s Hospital in Phoenix, who agreed that the life of a 27-year-old mother of four could only be saved by aborting the woman’s 11-week pregnancy. The bishop of Phoenix, Thomas Olmstead, decreed that Sister Margaret was “automatically excommunicated” because she assented to an abortion, and his PR flack added, “The mother’s life cannot be preferred over the child’s.” Huh? But it’s OK to “prefer” the child’s life over the mother’s?! There’s some moral clarity, huh? And how about the five kids the mother would be leaving behind after her death? Is the Phoenix diocese going to raise them? Yes, I am Catholic, although these repressive knot-heads aren't making it easy.

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