THE SCENE: Rep. Tim Moffitt, several fellow conservative lawmakers and lobbyists lounge at a Memorial Day cookout at Moffitt's Asheville pied-à-terre. Two App State nymphettes, Hyapatia Cherrytower and Bunny Tightsizzle, wear duct tape on their nipples. They serve the guests shots of Señor Frogs tequila in red Solo cups while steaks, pork chops and turkey burgers cook on the grill.
SEN. PHIL BERGER leans back in his captain's chair and closes his eyes: It's a relief to finally escape those Moral Mondays. William Barber and his hundreds of pesky followers are such a pain in the ass: the signs, the yelling. They should get real jobs.
SEN. BUCK NEWTON: Actually, it would be better if they didn't. I co-sponsored Senate Bill 489 precisely to prey on low-income people. It's a great bait-and-switch, and the out-of-state consumer finance lobby loves it. Don't you guys?
VINNIE THE FINGERS and LOU THE SNACK, BOTH CONSUMER FINANCE LOBBYISTS count stacks of money on a poker table by the saltwater swimming pool. They puff cigars.
LOU: Love it, Buck. Vinnie, I raise youse a grand.
SEN. THOMAS GOOLSBY: The bill eliminates "173 loans," which can be as much as $3,000 and last six to 12 months. But the interest was capped at only 36 percent. And Vinnie didn't like that. So now we've rejigged the "176 loans" to raise the borrowing limit from $10,000 to $15,000. And the term has increased from seven to eight years with interest rates as high as 30 percent.
SEN. CHAD BAREFOOT: Eight years at 18 to 30 percent? Ca-ching! That's a way better return than one year at 36 percent. I'm so glad the Republican Party bought my Senate seat. Playing lawmaker is fun!
GOOLSBY, now flushed in the face: And that doesn't include origination fees! Taps his Solo cup: Bunny, get me another!
NEWTON: Those commies over at the Center for Responsible Lending say these hikes will cost North Carolina consumers $50 million to $70 million more every year and make it harder to repay the debt.
BERGER: Hey, just because we want to balance the state budget on the backs of poor people doesn't mean we want those poor people to balance their checkbooks.
MOFFITT: If we ruin public education, those suckers won't even know how to add! Mwwwaaah!
HYAPATIA and BUNNY serve another round of drinks.
MOFFITT: Bunny, your duct tape is peeling.
BUNNY: It's humid.
NEWTON: Senate Bill 327 prohibits Tesla Motors from selling their electric cars online. Car dealers don't want anyone bypassing their sales lots. The dealers want the option of strongarming people in to buying a 1994 Hyundai Elantra with rust on the undercarriage.
SEN. BRENT JACKSON: Let the free market work—when we want it to.
GOOLSBY: Didn't Nikola Tesla invent something?
BERGER: He was Serbian. I bet he was a commie.
BAREFOOT: Oh, wow, I thought this bill referred to Tesla the band. I was going to vote against it. Breaks out guitar and starts singing "What You Give" from the 1991 album Psychotic Supper: "I feel so lonely yet I know I'm not the only one to ever feel this way."
Steaks, pork chops and turkey burgers are served.
SEN. JERRY TILLMAN: Hey Moffitt, is this Butterball turkey? Poor Butterball, they abuse some birds and the commies at the Humane Society get up on their hind legs.
That's why I co-sponsored Senate Bill 648. The commies call it the ag-gag bill. Similar legislation has been introduced in 11 states but none of it's passed. With help from the Chamber of Commerce and Big Ag, North Carolina will be the first!
N.C. PORK COUNCIL LOBBYIST: Woot! Hyapatia, can you help me with this bib?
JACKSON: It would make it a crime for investigative journalists, workers and animal advocates to apply for jobs at industrial agriculture facilities so they can document inhumane and illegal activity. You know kicking animals, beating them—or even abusing the workers. The first violation is $10,000; the second, 50 grand!
VINNIE THE FINGERS: They should come see me. I can fix 'em up.
N.C. CHAMBER OF COMMERCE: (Belch) Yeah, those advocacy groups have been really successful at uncovering abuses at the slaughter plants—and how meat from sick animals gets into the food system. Hey, pass the catsup.
TILLMAN: This turkey tastes like it's been stomped. Mmm ... It's tender.