Commentary

Senate President Pro Tem Phil Berger does’t have to go very far to see the effect of the education budgets he and his Republican colleagues in Raleigh have passed in the last four years. The Winston-Salem Journal reported this weekend that the schools in Berger’s home county of Rockingham are struggling with the very basics.

A bathroom that doesn’t have toilet paper. A classroom lacking textbooks. A copy machine without paper. In some Rockingham County schools, there’s not enough money to buy these — and other things.

The Rockingham schools are receiving $55 less per pupil from the state than they received two years ago and voters defeated a proposal for a quarter-cent increase in the sales tax in November, thanks no doubt to the anti-tax sentiment whipped up by Republicans and their Tea Party allies on Right Wing Avenue.

And now the students don’t have textbooks and can’t make any copies.  The story  says that school officials are looking for a vacant warehouse to use to collect donated classroom supplies.

That’s what it has come to in this new era in North Carolina.

Public schools are the new charity in town because the folks running North Carolina refuse to adequately fund them.

Commentary

North Carolina Republicans, including Governor Pat McCrory and U.S. Senator-elect Thom Tillis, gathered in Asheville this past weekend to listen to former Republican House Majority Leader Tom DeLay hold forth at an annual event held by former North Carolina Congressman Charles Taylor.

News stories from the event report that Delay called President Obama names as a part of his presentation.

“He doesn’t lie about being a Marxist. He’s proud of it. In fact, I think he’s a Muslim, but he definitely is a Marxist.”

Wonder if the governor and the new Senator agree, since they sat idly by while DeLay was spewing his nonsense. Either way, it’s nice company that McCrory and Tillis are keeping.

Commentary

Here’s your ridiculous claim of Thanksgiving week from a story by the Center for Public Integrity.  Dallas Woodhouse of the right-wing advocacy group Carolina Rising says the 4,000 ads the group ran praising Republican Thom Tillis during the recent U.S. Senate race were not political at all.

They were just about issues and happened to mention the Republican candidate running against Senator Kay Hagan in the most closely watched Senate race in the country. Gee, what a coincidence.

In August, Carolina Rising ran more TV ads than either Tillis or Hagan, according to a Center for Public Integrity analysis of data provided by Kantar Media/CMAG, an ad tracking firm.

Interesting thing though, the ads weren’t really political — at least not according to the group that paid for them

“You’re the one who said we participated in the election,” Dallas Woodhouse, the group’s president and founder, told the Center for Public Integrity. “Those are issue ads. Those are not political ads.”

Woodhouse, a former North Carolina state leader of Americans for Prosperity, a nonprofit affiliated with billionaire brothers David and Charles Koch, maintains Carolina Rising  jumped in to defend Tillis after it became clear Hagan and the Democrats were going to attack him based on the policies passed by the state legislature.

The group, he added, was just carrying out its mission by boosting policies passed by the sitting speaker of the state House.

To the average viewer, Carolina Rising’s TV spots sure looked like political advertising. But under the law, they are really known as “electioneering communications.” That means they name a candidate and run inside a certain timeframe but don’t tell voters to vote for or against anyone.

And also under the law, Carolina Rising is not required to disclose who paid for the ads that influenced the election under the guise of “issue advertising.” And Woodhouse chooses not to. Read More

Commentary

Sen. Dan Soucek seems to think that allowing same-sex couples to get married is not about equality, but is giving them special rights—whatever that means. Here’s what Soucek told the Avery Journal over the weekend.

“I think the most disturbing thing about this is how it’s being stretched to not give some people fair privileges, but special rights. And how those rights are infringing on other peoples’ constitutional religious freedoms,” Soucek said.

According to Soucek, legally re-defining marriage to include same-sex unions falls under the definition of a special right.

“Marriage has always been defined throughout history one way and re-defining marriage is a special right. It’s not an equal right,” Soucek said. “Interracial marriage was an equal right because it was excluding a group. This is a redefinition. It’s a fundamentally different thing.”

So, allowing gay couples to have the same rights as other people is a “special right” because it infringes on other peoples’ freedoms?  Huh?