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What will you do?

When most people think about electoral politics nowadays, they think about the presidential race. But here in North Carolina, the presidential primary is over and there is little we can do or say to influence the national debate. Either Bernie or Hillary will emerge as the nominee. There is nothing more to be said.

2015 Blue NC stories picked up by Daily Kos

A few years ago, Meteor Blades at Daily Kos started a weekly diary recognizing efforts by progressive state blogs on the front page at Kos, putting those diaries in front of thousands of readers. And our efforts here are frequently included:

At bluenc of North Carolina, scharrison writes—GOP tax reform: Lose your home to foreclosure, and then pay taxes on it: They have absolutely no shame: "One of the other provisions in the legislation would startlingly hurt homeowners struggling with foreclosure by counting as income any portion of their mortgage debt forgiven by a lender.

Sen. Tamara Barringer, a Republican, bucked her leadership and voted against the bill because of the change, telling the News & Observer, “these are people that have lost their homes. Are we going to tax them when they’re trying to get back on their feet?” Apparently the answer from Senate leaders is yes. There were no hearings on that part of the gas tax bill, no discussion with mortgage lenders or people who work with struggling homeowners.

Even if you don't frequent Daily Kos, you should bookmark this tag and keep up with this series. It's good to know there are smart progressive bloggers in other states, struggling with issues just like we are. Here are some more crossposts from 2015:

Happy 10th Birthday BlueNC

BlueNC uprising

Happy 10th birthday BlueNC! In blog years, that's ancient and I think we wear it well. Blogging has changed a lot over the years and our audience has changed too. We've seen social media grow in importance and every professional journalist seems to also be a blogger these days. We still see a good deal of traffic here at BlueNC, though our comment section isn't as active as it used to be. With all the changes in how we get our news, BlueNC continues to be the best source for progressive political news and discussions. We thank you all for your continued support.

Stop complaining

Complaining about what's going on in Raleigh is like complaining that the sun sets every day. It's a meaningless gesture that makes no difference whatsoever. The same is true for most lobbying. GOP leaders don't give a shit what people think, so stop pretending like they do. Stop giving them cover for appearing to be reasonable when they make trivial concessions. Stop asking them to be fair, fair is not part of their agenda. They're on a mission and there's nothing you can do to change that.

Simple-minded

Advocates for the freedom agenda offer an alluring promise. If only everyone everywhere were free to do exactly what they want, all would be right in the world. Justin Burr's bill to permit guns at the state fair is a good example of this concept. Freedom, the only right that matters, is sufficient to bring order to our chaotic world. Every other right plays second fiddle.

Millenial madness

I love young people. They are often the only breath of fresh air in many situations, and their perspectives are always challenging and interesting. Tonight I had a conversation with a young libertarian who started the conversation by saying she didn't think government should be doing so many things. Specifically, she didn't think it should be providing health services paid for by taxes.

I asked her what she thought should be done for people too poor to pay for the healthcare they need. We were driving, and I asked her what would happen to a homeless person on the street who was having some kind of mental breakdown, or perhaps, an epileptic seizure. She said, "Somebody will take care of them. That's what churches and stuff do."

First principle: preserve options

First principles are guiding ideas that prove valuable and relevant, no matter which future actions are taken. An example of a first principle: preserve options. That means having the option of taking action, but not exercising that option until it clear that it should be used. It's a nuanced version of "keep your options open" and it calls for having restraint. We use first principles in business all the time.

The case for reparations

It's been interesting to witness another great divide occurring in American society, this time over the tinderbox known as #ferguson. It is one of humanity's great tests, and we are failing.

At issue of course is racism, a cancer so deep in our species that we deny it even exists. How can it not exist? White people brutalized black and brown people on this land for more than four centuries. The costs have been back-breaking, and the aftershocks have in no way diminished.

The white race has yet to make amends. We have not come even close.

Daily Dose: Haters gonna hate

I made the mistake this morning of reading comments on Tim Cook's coming out news in the New York Times. While there were plenty of positive comments, most seemed motivated by a combination of disdain, dismissal, or even hatred. It hurt my soul.

This is the thing that worries me most about North Carolina today: Thom Tillis' divide-and-conquer mindset has gone mainstream. From Amendment One to Medicaid to the gutting of environmental protections, Republican policy seems to start with ridiculing and then demonizing vast sectors of our population. If you are a young woman whose success in life hinges on being able to terminate a pregnancy, you are a murderer. If you are a gay man in a 30 year relationship and want to marry, you are a pervert. If you are a poor person working three jobs with no benefits and no hope, you are a taker. If you are a black man, you are a criminal.

There will always be extremes to contend with in each of these areas. Some people are perverts. Fraud does exist in our welfare system. Some black men are criminals. But most people are not perverts. Most poor people don't try to game the system. And most black men are not criminals. The extremes are, by definition, not the norm. They are a gross and destructive stereotype being perpetuated by conservative Republicans to further the economic agenda of concentrating wealth among the elite. The only other explanation I can think of is even more frightening: they are devoid of empathy and wallowing in hate.

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