Submitted by Martha Brock on Tue, 08/19/2014 - 3:21pm
The ballroom at the Elliott University Center at UNC-Greensboro was filled Saturday with Democratic women, who were all there by invitation. The women from all over NC were there for the Kay Hagan for U. S. Senate's Women's Summit.
My overall impression of the event was this: Sen. Hagan and her campaign have a well-thought out game plan in term's of on the ground organizing and communicating (including TV) strategy. Her campaign staff is young (the only young people in the room Saturday), but they appear very knowledgeable and very engaged.
One thing I do know. The economic development part of the bill would have provided some $13 million (depending on which article one reads) to extend and expand natural gas service to Canton, home of the Evergreen Packaging paper mill formerly operated by Champion International. Local news sources, including the Asheville Citizen-Times, are portraying this as a vote against the mountains.
Recent reports claim that nearly 60% of the state's economic development money over the past 5 years has gone to three counties: Mecklenburg, Wake, and Durham. Headline stories have noted $100 million to MetLife, $85 million to the Carolina Panthers, and $36 million to Sealed Air.
Submitted by Vicki Boyer on Tue, 08/19/2014 - 1:47pm
The Orange Board of Elections (BOE) held 2 meetings in July, a week apart, to discuss a request for Sunday voting hours to be added for the upcoming November election. When it was first brought up as a request from religious groups who celebrate the Sabbath on Saturday, our BOE chair commented that they could not make changes without 'hearing from the other side.' That caused a stir amongst the 15 or so people present that day. The murmur in the crowd was, What other side?
Another meeting was set for the following week, and advertised through a press release. Over 70 people turned up. The chair set 15 minutes for each 'side' to speak. A petition with 700 names from our communities requesting Sunday hours was presented, along with numerous other letters with multiple signatures. Representatives of various groups spoke for Sunday voting opportunities.
After averaging 2 significant earthquakes per year for 30 years, Oklahoma's magnitude 3.0 or greater earthquakes shot up to 145 in less than half of this year. The jump in earthquakes coincides with (SURPRISE!) Oklahoma's beginning fracking operations.
Today Oklahoma experienced a 4.2 magnitude earthquake. That's significant. It would seem that perhaps fracking can produce big earthquakes, too, not just lots of small ones.
Although the powers that be in Oklahoma, and elsewhere, still won't admit that all the earthquakes are caused by fracking. Just a coincidence, you know.
Thom Tillis, who will say and do anything to get elected and who has been caught saying terrible things when he thought he was talking only to tea party insiders, has found the perfect BFF to help him raise some campaign cash: a guy with a demonstrated record of saying and doing anything to get elected and who has been caught saying terrible things when he thought he was talking only to tea party insiders.
Mitt Romney is scheduled to attend a fundraiser Tuesday evening for U.S. Senate candidate Thom Tillis in Charlotte.
Romney’s visit is a high-profile boost for Tillis’ campaign. The Republican House speaker is struggling to raise money to keep pace with Democratic incumbent Kay Hagan as he continues to preside over a prolonged legislative session in which his own Republican caucus is pushing back on his priorities.
Gary Pearce's blog post today hits some of the highlights of why I'm optimistic about the November election.
Republicans strode up to the plate in Raleigh with big bats and high hopes, then whiffed on three straight pitches.
Strike one was teacher pay ...
Strike two was coal ash ...
Strike three belonged to Governor McCrory alone. He stepped up to the plate to be the hero on coal ash after the legislature struck out. But he tied himself in ethical knots by wrongly reporting his Duke stock on his ethics statement.
How big a sin is this? Well, look at it this way: If Bev Perdue had done it, the legislature would have impeached her.
THREE SECRET FACTS FROM THE MONTHLY N.C. EMPLOYMENT REPORT
The N.C. Dept. of Commerce’s Division of Labor & Economic Analysis released the July monthly state employment figures Monday and the word is “up” -- as in higher than June’s. North Carolina’s 6.5 percent unemployment rate is higher than last month’s and still is higher than the national unemployment rate. That’s all stuff that can be found in typical accounts. Here are three facts about employment in North Carolina you won’t find in the usual coverage.
The only major sector experiencing a decrease in jobs over the last month as well as the last year – government. But you don’t need to tell that to folks at the public schools – particularly teacher assistants. Seasonally adjusted figures reveal a drop of 4,900 government jobs – from 710,100 a year ago to 705,200 for July 2014. When looking at stats that ARE NOT seasonally adjusted, the number of government employees in the last month, dropped from 684,300 in June to 608,800 – a 75,500 drop.
Workers are vanishing. While North Carolina’s population continues to grow, workers are disappearing from the labor force. A year ago, North Carolina’s workforce was 4,692,338. In July 2014 that number was 4,674,116. That means 18,222 people who once had jobs, or were looking for work, vanished. Imagine if the entire population of Clayton, Hendersonville, Morrisville, or Boone, just disappeared. One day they were here: contributing to the economy, playing, going to school, raising crops, and then a year later, poof and gone.
Manufacturing workers are taking home less pay. The average weekly hours for manufacturing production workers decreased 1 hour and six minutes in July compared to June – a drop to 43.8 hours. So, while average hourly wages increased a whopping 11 cents, to $16.79 an hour, those workers actually took home $13.65 LESS a week to an average $716.93.
Republicans took control of the General Assembly in 2011 promising to create a more attractive climate for business, but they have dismantled more than they’ve put in place for recruiting companies, and their conservative stands on social issues have dimmed the state’s appeal. Meanwhile, their refusal to expand Medicaid has blocked billions of federal dollars from coming into the state economy.
Now lawmakers are saying more incentive funds will attract more major employers, but what they really need to do is less strangling of the state budget with excessive tax cuts and less alienating of people over social issues.
Submitted by Nancy Miller Martin on Mon, 08/18/2014 - 5:33pm
Just got back from a five-day trip to NoVa/DC. I was there for a big birthday party that my son-in-law was giving for my daughter. One of their friends (my daughter had already told me that he was a Democrat) started talking to me. I had met him before and knew he was one of the favorites in the neighborhood......and everybody thinks he is super smart. He asked what district I was in in North Carolina. I told him District 2, and so he asked me who was running in the district, When I told him it was Clay Aiken, he gave me a big high five. Then he announced to everyone that I was supporting Clay Aiken who was an all around super star. Then he said. "and his opponent is Renee Ellmers who told the Congress that they needed to dumb down their message so women could understand. "District 2" meant nothing, but the names meant everything. He didn't have Renee's statement exactly right, but close enough. I knew he very aware.
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