GOP union-busting on steroids

There's more than one way to skin a teacher's association:

The notice, sent today, came in response to a Dec. 1 letter by Sen. Ralph Hise which questioned whether the North Carolina Association of Educators was eligible for the due deduction service. NCAE had declined to cooperate with a state auditor's report earlier in 2015.

The teacher's group has tangled with lawmakers since Republicans took control of the General Assembly in 2011. It has been critical of the GOP-lead legislature's funding for schools and backed Democratic candidates for office. In 2012, lawmakers returned the favor by holding an unprecedented midnight session to override Gov. Bev Perdue's veto of a bill that would have stopped the state from collecting NCAE dues. The group went to court and won, keeping the right over lawmakers' objections.

Divide and conquer, that's all this is about. Tear down NCAE, and you tear down the ability of teachers to collectively bargain, stand up for each other in numbers large enough to matter, and a whole host of other supportive activities. Bullies hate solidarity, because it neuters them. Which is just one more reason they shouldn't be "governing" our state.

Too many guns, not enough humanity

A sad but very familiar story:

Wake County deputies seized 46 firearms from an Apex home where a mother and daughter were shot to death, according to a search warrant released Tuesday.

Lemuel Gabriel Miller, 47, who also lived at the Humie Olive Road house, was later found dead in the 1400 block of Cooper Store Road in Harnett County of a self-inflicted gunshot, according to authorities.

Which of course is the epitome of narcissism, that if you're going to die, the women and children in your life must die as well. The man (however dead he may be) should be excoriated in public, there should be billboards showing his face and calling him a coward. If we did that regularly, maybe the aura of posthumous shame would deter future murder-suicides.

Thursday News: College voters not wanted

GOP-CONTROLLED WATAUGA ELECTIONS BOARD DENIES CAMPUS EARLY VOTING SITE (High Country Press) -- On Tuesday, the Watauga County Board of Elections approved an early voting plan that doesn’t include a one-stop site on the campus of Appalachian State University, according to Watauga County Board of Elections Director Matt Snyder.
http://www.hcpress.com/news/139132gop-controlled-watauga-elections-board-denies-early-voting-site-on...

The Koch Brothers' insidious propaganda machine

Coming soon to a University near you:

The 900,000 state employees in the North Carolina pension fund might face a bleaker picture than they realize.

According to a research report published by the Mercatus Center at George Mason University, the state’s main pension system faces a $34.5 billion shortfall, many times higher than what the state estimates through the Treasurer’s office.

Of course you won't see any of the following in the above article, because journalistic standards (in general) are in decline, and that goes triple for these "Biz" journals. But the Mercatus Center is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Koch Industries. Not only does Charles Koch and at least two of his employees sit on the Board of Directors, Koch has donated close to ten million dollars to Mercatus to help him forward his various agendas:

Wednesday News: Tilting at people who tilt at windmills

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ENVIRONMENTALIST GOP DONORS ARE LOSING HOPE (National Journal) -- Even though the party on the whole hasn’t embraced any climate-change action, there are a handful of donors trying to get the GOP on board. North Carolina businessman Jay Fa­ison, for example, got plenty of press over the summer for announcing a $10 million political action group and a $165 million foundation called ClearPath to back Republican candidates who want to work on clean energy. So far in the presidential race, that money hasn’t made much of a dent—and now donors are left figuring out what’s next.
http://www.nationaljournal.com/s/355926/environmentalist-gop-donors-are-losing-hope

Tuesday News: Happy accident edition

THOMAS MILLS: 'ACCIDENTAL CANDIDATE' BECAUSE 8TH DISTRICT DESERVES CHOICE (Richmond Daily Journal column) -- I’m an accidental candidate for Congress. I didn’t plan on running in North Carolina’s 8th District, but when I realized nobody would file, seven minutes before the deadline I threw my name in the hat. I believe that people deserve a choice in elections and that politicians should be held accountable for their actions.
https://yourdailyjournal.com/opinion/columns/20944/an-accidental-candidate-because-8th-district-vote...

Jamie Kirk Hahn Foundation feeding the homeless

Seeking solutions to difficult problems:

The Jamie Kirk Hahn Foundation is working with the Raleigh-Wake Partnership to End and Prevent Homelessness and local group, Clark’s Promise, to host the Fresh Food Challenge. The initiative is seeking ideas from community groups and individuals on how to get fruits and vegetables to the homeless and others who can’t afford it. The winner will receive $25,000 to work the plan.

“This is the best example of work I know Jamie would have done,” Nation Hahn, co-founder and board president of the Jamie Kirk Hahn Foundation, said of the Fresh Food Challenge.

I've been following their work to develop urban vegetable gardens, something that can transform the lives (and neighborhoods) of inner-city folks. But this project has the potential to get a lot of healthy foods into the hands that really need it. Needless to say, it's a worthy cause that could use your support.

Monday News: The dream lives on edition

MLK SPEAKER CHALLENGES UNIVERSITIES TO DO BETTER (Durham Herald-Sun) -- Shaun Harper, a racial equity scholar who spoke at Duke University’s Martin Luther King Jr. commemoration, said that universities ought to do better with racial equity before there can be justice in the world
http://www.heraldsun.com/news/mlk-speaker-challenges-universities-to-do-better/article_86c9381a-bd7c...

THOUSANDS TURN OUT TO CELEBRATE KING’S LESSONS AT PARADE (Charlotte Observer) -- For 29 of her 58 years, Delores Reid-Smith has spent her birthday celebrating the birthday and lessons of civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr.
http://www.charlotteobserver.com/news/local/article55085830.html

NC Legislative staffer, or Chamber lobbyist?

Blurring the lines of ethics and accountability:

The General Assembly’s top economist told legislators the state has collected $120 million more than projected for the first six months, or through Dec. 31. Barry Boardman wrote Friday that’s 1.2 percent above the revenue target of roughly $10 billion. He says that means revenue is “essentially on track.”

Boardman’s report says moderate economic growth is expected in the state and wage growth is helping personal income tax collections exceeded projections. Sales taxes are below their target.

When this story first caught my eye (or nose, if you will), I detected a whiff of corporate influence, and decided to do a little digging. While Boardman has been working for the General Assembly going on ten years now, he has also recently become involved with the NC Chamber of Commerce:

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