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What are the scariest words in the English language? For me, they’re, “Here’s a new one from the Stones.” For some wags, they are: “I’m from the government and I’m here to help.” Chortle, chortle. For Sen. Tom Apodaca, the most frightening phrase is “I’m Jim Goodmon. I work at Capitol Broadcasting. I’m a member of the Dix Visionaries.” Let us be fair to the apprehensive Apodaca, can any of us really imagine hearing that in a brightly lit, crowded room in the middle of a sunny day? I mean! If that’s not some scary stuff, I don’t know what is. Read More

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This is about sexual assault. It’s in the news – unlike Dan Forest – and I want people to pay attention. Sexual assault in the military, to the tune of as many as 19,000 cases a year, is an important topic in North Carolina because of the large military presence in our state. Sexual assault on campus is a huge issue at our state’s flagship university right now. While overall rates of sexual assault are down in our country, sexual assault is still too common, even in North Carolina.

“Data collected by the North Carolina Council for Women (N.C.Department of Administration 2012) indicate that in the 2010–2011 State Fiscal Year, the … 92 sexual assault programs funded by the Council served 13,881 clients.”

In other words, we have a problem. Read More

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Pantone fandeckHere I was, all ready to give Gov. McCrory a thumb’s up for his refusal to give state money to Jerry Richardson for his Taj Mahal-dium, when, before the words can leave my fingertips, he comes out with this:

“‘I think voter ID is what you need to get Sudafed in the stores right now. It’s what you need to get on the plane. It’s what you need to get many government services at this point in time,’ McCrory said, adding that he believed the bill lawmakers are developing will have safeguards for those without an ID.”

GETTING SUDAFED IS NOT A RIGHT. Getting on a plane is not a right. Voting is, and it is as sacred a right as a secular democracy can have. Pretending that this voter ID push is anything but a way to suppress the votes of the poor is risible. Read More

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Our great state is poised to become the only state in the union – we’re still in that, right? – to provide all non-citizen drivers with licenses that clearly mark them as such, even those with green cards and visas. Why would the Department of Transportation want to make business executives and academics and permanent residents carry the cerise signifier? So that those uppity DREAM kids don’t think they’re hot stuff with their new licenses, that’s why. Who picked the magenta mark anyway? Joe Arpaio? Read More

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The legislature is not working today – could we call the last couple of weeks “working” though, really? – so I want to catch up on some of the hijinks they’ve been up to while the rest of us stand aghast at their attack on the working poor as well as the poor poor. It’s important to distinguish the kinds of poor so that you can divide them and distract them from their penury, especially now that it’s 2013. From slashing unemployment benefits, that kept one of their families afloat for more than a year, to working on blocking Medicaid expansion, ending drivers’ licenses for immigrants, and reinstating predatory payday lending, the General Assembly is full of busy beavers. Sadly, they’ve also had time to ban topless rallies in Asheville. What a bunch of buzzkills. Read More