But there’s somebody else who is surely watching the Senate battle carefully— Governor Pat McCrory—and not just because of his own political affiliation or his close relationship with Speaker Tillis. The race is in many ways a preview of what McCrory will face in 2016 when he presumably will be running for reelection. Despite his efforts to claim independence from the powerful leaders of the General Assembly—most notably his incessant claim that he is “stepping on the toes of the right and the left”—he has been a willing if not enthusiastic partner of the hard-right agenda of the legislative leadership that is so unpopular.
1. Lawmakers inch toward adjournment
2. Wake County hits one million residents
3. Public hearings begin on draft fracking rules
4. The state of the U.S. Supreme Court
5. Back to school education webinar
6. Moral Week of Action begins Friday
Nearly 20 bloggers and wannabe bloggers have showed up in Raleigh today for a chance to share ideas that can help shape the political environment in North Carolina. Great representation from many great organizations.
Speakers include Rob Schofield, Greg Flynn, Thomas Mills ... with lots of ideas to be shared by other participants. If you have have questions about blogging, the blogging ecosystem, who's who in NC blogging, how to do it, how not to do it, etc., please post them below and I'll make sure they get asked.
I'll post some of what happens today, but mostly am here to learn.
Stage manager John Hood took to the pages of the Wall Street Jourinal recently, with a crafty column about the so-called Carolina Comeback. Too bad the whole piece was full of bull, designed to prop up the catastrophic failure of his boss's economic policies. Thankfully, Dean Baker slogs through the miasma, so we don't have to.
There are many descriptors that fit the Senate plan — especially the hyper-cynical proposal to steal money from everyone else in order to give teachers a raise (a raise predicated upon their surrender of the right not to be fired arbitrarily): “The Divide and Conquer Budget,” “the Blackmail Budget,” “the Extortion Budget,” “the Blood Money Budget,” “the Robbing Peter to Pay Paul Budget,” “the Art Pope-Koch Brothers Fantasy Budget.” Senate Minority Leader Dan Blue rightfully likened to Senate plan to a proposal to burn down the schoolhouse in order to give teachers the insurance money.
One can never be sure of anything in these mysterious days, but it seems as though NC Policy Watch may be quietly making a move to retire "Progressive Pulse" as the name of their well-followed blog. The organization's homepage simply uses the word "Blog" in top-level navigation, and when you get to the blog site itself, the name Progressive Pulse is missing entirely. The URL for the blog is http://pulse.ncpolicywatch.org/ . The word "progressive" still appears in a block linking from the NC Policy Watch homepage, and it's also still used in the "About" section of the blog.
North Carolina and South Carolina have seen their unemployment declines far outpace the rest of the nation, a development that appears to be driven partly by labor-force dropouts. North Carolina also ended its program for extended unemployment benefits last July, six months before the rest of the nation did.
"Labor force drop-outs" is a technical term for people who literally give up looking for work. Which means Pat McCrory's Carolina Comeback is nothing but deceptive sleight-of-hand. The hard truth is this: Our state's workforce has been decimated, torn to shreds by regressive economic policies that favor wealth over work.
I appreciate Rob Schofield's optimism about the possibility that Republicans are coming to their senses, but to put it bluntly ... it ain't happening. There is no change in the political climate, there's only happy talk and smokescreens.
Still, for all of the enormous shortcomings of their actions, even the recent micro-steps of conservative leaders give testament to one very important reality: these men (and they are all men) believe that they needed to do something. Each of them understands that the overwhelming majority of North Carolinians wants real action to raise teacher pay, preserve reproductive freedom, rein in DHHS abuses, reform corporate giveaways and preserve the environment (and that advocates and activists for those causes are not going to let up).
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