Tuesday News: There was something I needed to do today...

ONE VOTE COULD DETERMINE TODAY’S RACES (Winston-Salem Journal) - Yep, that headline is right. There will no runoff races after today’s special primary. One vote, maybe yours, could determine any of these primary races. Such are the unpredictable political times in which we find ourselves. But however you feel about the battles that ultimately led to this primary, people on both sides fought hard. That’s part of our democracy. So is our precious right to vote. Americans have fought and died for that right. People the world over are still fighting and dying for that right. Yet too many of us take the right for granted. Today would be a good day to start turning that trend around.

Tuesday Twitter roundup

Election day madness:

It's amazing what having an unlimited checkbook supplied by Kansas oil industry billionaires can help you accomplish. By "amazing" I mean disgusting, of course. I have no great sympathy for Renee Ellmers, although she did jeopardize her Congressional career by pushing back against anti-abortion nut-jobs. I just hate to see the Koch Brothers being allowed to spend so freely in elections, especially ones in our state. Sticks in my craw. And that's not the only NC race they're trying to manipulate:

Let's Give Social Conservatives a Reason to Hate HB 2.

Some claims are too unfounded to bother refuting. When both parties are operating under a completely different set of premises, why even try?

This is the predicament I faced upon arriving back to my hometown in North Carolina for the summer. I knew the controversy surrounding House Bill 2. I guess I just assumed it would dissipate after McCrory realized that the economic costs of the bill outweighed the benefits of proving that his sleazy backbone can keep him standing upright.

But wait.

He never realized that.

Harsh words for the Senate's Budget proposals

It's a lot more about election season posturing than responsible funding:

That's the thing about Senate budgets: They're as much a statement of ideology as a pragmatic attempt to fund state government. In recent years, budget writers have stripped millions from the funding for books and supplies, from teacher-assistant and teacher funding, even from school-bus replacement budgets. But now Senate leaders see no problem with diverting ever-more money from the public schools to send our kids to private schools.

While we're pleased to see substantial raises proposed for those teachers still standing, it's hard to argue that our legislative leaders are fully committed to our public schools. But looking at the budget overall, we have no doubt that they're committed to getting themselves re-elected.

Every action has an equal reaction. When you cut funding for textbooks and supplies, teachers are forced to create handouts, sometimes to the tune of tens of thousands of mimeographed reproductions in each class, by the end of the school year. Which far exceeds the volume of paper allotted for in the school's budget, so guess who has to go paper-shopping? Even in schools where parents and other supporters donate such things, it's still not enough, and teachers inevitably end up holding the shopping bag. They need a raise, if for no other reason than to cover these additional costs. But that's what happens when you want it to "seem" like you're interested in funding public schools, instead of being that way.

Monday News: Flip that seat, Deborah

10 SENATE SEATS MOST LIKELY TO FLIP (THE HILL) -- 8. North Carolina: Former state Rep. Deborah Ross emerged from relative obscurity in North Carolina but she’s trying to turn that to her advantage in what is widely perceived to be the year of the outsider candidate. She surprised observers by out-raising Burr, who has served in Congress since 1995, in the first three months of the year. She collected $1.3 million to his $1.1 million. But GOP strategists say Ross hasn’t been battle tested and her numbers are likely to come down once the campaign heats up in earnest.

New leadership "forum" to discuss how to discuss

Not sure what a "media cocoon" actually is, but I'm sure that will be discussed also:

The Leadership Forum was born after Hood wrote a column about North Carolinians living in “media cocoons” and the disappearance of civil debate. Democrat Leslie Winner, then head of the progressive Z. Smith Reynolds Foundation, read it and met with Hood about changing that. They recruited a bipartisan steering committee, then the group of 35.

Hood emphasizes that the goal is not to find moderate solutions. “Our point is not we have these extremes and if everyone was more centrist we’d be better off,” Hood told me last week. “We like the fact that we have people way out on the right and left. The goal is not to marginalize them and aim for the common denominator. The point is to have a dialogue that is very robust with points of view strongly argued, but respectfully and with no name-calling. … If we can have people argue rather than bicker, make good-faith logical arguments, that’s a very valuable outcome.”

I suppose there could be some merit in pursuing such a dialogue, but it could also produce a false sense of security. The policy moves of current state leaders have produced horrific outcomes for many people living in North Carolina, and each year brings new and outrageous results. If this forum can't or won't smooth down those sharp edges, then it's (at best) a masturbatory exercise. At worst, it could blunt efforts (and money) dedicated to reversing those outcomes. Here's more:

Sunday News: Trump's box bullies

MCDOWELL HIGH SCHOOL PRANK UPSETS LATINO STUDENTS (AP) -- A group of students at a McDowell High School built a wall made of boxes and blocked access to a common area, and their Latino classmates are upset. Students were allowed into the school on Wednesday to perform a prank as a teacher supervised them. A photo of the wall with about 30 students standing in front of it was shared on Instagram and captioned, "We built the wall first." Principal Edwin Spivey says one of the kids wanted to put a Donald Trump logo on it and was told he couldn't do that. The wall was taken down before classes began on Thursday. A school district spokesman says the students won't face any disciplinary action.

How to argue with "pragmatic" Dems when they whine about LGBT issues

If they really want to know what the problem is, they should look in the mirror:

In the aftermath of North Carolina’s 2014 election season, I interviewed several women who’d run and lost on the Democratic ticket in Rutherford County. One of them summed up the Republican rout as: “Across the board, voters want jobs and education. But they voted against gay marriage and abortion.”

Two years later, it’s shaping up to be déjà vu all over again. The same LGBT culture war rages on, with the same ability to suck all of the oxygen out of the political sphere. And in a familiar reaction, Democrats appear poised to remain almost solely focused during the election on this culture war’s latest battle, transgender bathroom access.

First of all, it's not about "culture," it's about basic human rights. Lives are at stake. Some 40% of transgender individuals will attempt suicide in their lifetimes, which is about equal to the rate Reservists who have been deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan for 2-3 combat tours attempt. PTSD takes many forms, but regardless of the stimuli, whether it's bombs or bullying, the end result is the same. And it must be addressed. I am proud the Democratic Party has stood up for these folks; it's not an aberration, it's what we do. And as far as those election losses: Rutherford County chose Bush over Gore 13,755 to 7,697, and chose Bush over Kerry 16,190 to 8,108. Gay marriage wasn't even on the radar back then, at least not in rural North Carolina, and abortion was still simmering at about the same level it had been for years. And this observation about Amendment 1 demonstrates even less logic:

Saturday News: NC GOP incentivizing job losses


MCCRORY GIVES MILLIONS OF N.C. INCENTIVES TO COMPANIES USING VISA WORKERS (Charlotte Observer) -- Some firms awarded state grants to bring jobs to Charlotte have applied for H-1B visa workers; Commerce Department says N.C. law governing incentives does not prevent companies from using visa workers; ‘My visceral reaction is it’s a shame,’ says author of federal law that created the H-1B program.

FOREIGN WORKERS REPLACING AMERICANS IN CHARLOTTE TECH JOBS (Charlotte Observer) – Companies in Charlotte are stepping up their efforts to hire foreign workers – especially for information technology jobs – under a federal visa program that’s becoming a political flashpoint.


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