This is what democracy looks like

This photo blog is composed of images from the Raleigh-Durham office of Citizenship and Immigration Services. Earlier today, with the help of the Democracy Summer interns, we were able to register to vote many of our newest citizens who had just sworn their oath of allegiance. I am given hope by looking at the diversity in this electorate of the future. There were so many smiles as folks checked that first box.

Rob Christensen gets it right

The nature of journalism is often to challenge those in power, which may explain the News and Observer beginning to find its progressive voice again. Whatever the case, this week's column by Rob Christensen is a good one. Check it out.

There are some ideas being seriously discussed in the legislature that should trouble most citizens – Democrats, Republicans and independents, liberals and conservatives, and those who fall in the middle. Here are five citizenship questions that affect the quality of democracy in North Carolina.

And to those who say, "Yeah, but Democrats did it too," I have to wonder about your moral compass. Two wrongs do not make a right.

Transparent Government

Crosspost from 'Dumbed Down Politicos' at blogspot:

Transparent Government: How do we get there?

...reversing the attitude that “the ends justify the means” is required for Democracy to prevail over oligarchy. The US until recently had a meritocracy, but I believe that lack of transparency in government transactions--especially campaign funding--has led our country to become an oligarchy.

Read More here:

Meta madness

If you feel as though our elected members of Congress don't represent the North Carolina you live in, you're right.

Regardless of whether the Supreme Court, or the individual states, take any future steps to restrict the abuse of partisan gerrymandering, the Republican-dominated composition of the 113th House of Representatives that took their seats on January 3, 2013 did not reflect the will of the American electorate.


Maybe corporate personhood is a good thing?

No, no, really (he says, doing his very best, over-the-top, under-the-weather Ricky Gervais). Bear with me for a sec. If those who advocate for corporations to be persons (*cough* *hack* -- the 1%) follow through consistently with their political beliefs (granted, with Gingrich and Romney as standard-bearers, not very likely – but this is my satirical piece, so let me finish) …

Occupy Democracy at the Local Level

This video, courtesy of Public Citizen's occupy democracy website, highlights the juxtaposition between the ease with which money speaks, and the difficulty everyday citizens face just trying to make their voices heard. But there is something you can do about it at the local level, and in your own community. Learn more, below the fold.

A Song of Solidarity (Red, White & Blue)

This is a bit of a stretch for a blog on Blue NC. But not much of one. After all, why shouldn't Blue NC also be the place where progressives in NC come to sing progressive songs?

All around America, progressives are concerned at the civil rights of ordinary workers, and the plight of those most at risk in society. Not least with the effect at every level of government of the new austerity - whether natural or Republican-driven. And that goes for NC too.

Sometimes a song can have more immediate effect than a thousand speeches. So I wrote a song. Inspired by the fight for rights by workers both here in NC and all around America.

I had become tired of tax-cutters, tax-dodgers and war-mongers claiming to themselves the mantle of patriot. When it is ordinary working Americans and those who fight every day to make ours a better state and country, it is we who are the true patriots. Not those who would run down government and destroy the safety net.

Report: Voter ID laws 'unaffordable' for North Carolina

Cross-posted from the Institute of Southern Studies, by Chris Kromm.

On The View From Egypt, Part Six, Or, Let's Review Where We Are

We’re a week into the Egyptian uprising now, and it’s time to reassess what has taken place so far and what might come next.

We know a few things, and we don’t know a lot—and from what we can tell, the folks on the ground are also not sure what might happen. That said, we do know enough to begin to figure out the right questions to be asking.

As was true Friday, things are moving fast, so let’s jump right in.

On The View From Egypt, Part Five, Or, The Emergency Is Here

It has been a couple of years since we first started writing about Egypt; at that time we did a series of stories that described how the country’s Constitution is designed to ensure that the ruling National Democratic Party (NDP) remains the ruling party, how corruption and torture and rape are part of the justice system, how there’s a looming Presidential succession crisis, and how we better pay attention, because one day all of this was going to blow up into a national emergency, with the potential for disastrous consequences that ripple all the way from Turkey to Morocco to Pakistan.

And now...that day has arrived.

After protests that led to a change of government (sort of) in Tunisia, rioting is spreading across Egypt, quickly, the ISI (Egypt’s internal security police) is out grabbing citizens and doing what they do (we’ll talk more about that later), and the question of Presidential succession, which many people thought was headed in one direction, may now be headed off to a place that outside observers might not have previously considered.

Lucky for you, I have some reach inside Egypt, and we’re going to get a peek inside the story that you might not have seen otherwise.

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