Commentary, News

Springsteen cancels North Carolina show in a fight against “prejudice and bigotry”

Bruce Springsteen, one of rock’s biggest icons took a stand against House Bill 2 on Friday, cancelling Sunday’s planned concert in Greensboro.

Here’s the official statement:

As you, my fans, know I’m scheduled to play in Greensboro, North Carolina this Sunday. As we also know, North Carolina has just passed HB2, which the media are referring to as the “bathroom” law. HB2 — known officially as the Public Facilities Privacy and Security Act — dictates which bathrooms transgender people are permitted to use. Just as important, the law also attacks the rights of LGBT citizens to sue when their human rights are violated in the workplace. No other group of North Carolinians faces such a burden. To my mind, it’s an attempt by people who cannot stand the progress our country has made in recognizing the human rights of all of our citizens to overturn that progress. Right now, there are many groups, businesses, and individuals in North Carolina working to oppose and overcome these negative developments. Taking all of this into account, I feel that this is a time for me and the band to show solidarity for those freedom fighters. As a result, and with deepest apologies to our dedicated fans in Greensboro, we have canceled our show scheduled for Sunday, April 10th. Some things are more important than a rock show and this fight against prejudice and bigotry — which is happening as I write — is one of them. It is the strongest means I have for raising my voice in opposition to those who continue to push us backwards instead of forwards.
Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band’s Sunday April 10th show is canceled. Tickets will be refunded at point of purchase.

The Greensboro News & Record reports the anti-LGBT law signed by Governor Pat McCrory March 23rd has led to a major economic blow for the city:

Roughly 15,000 tickets were sold for the event, half of them to people living outside of the city.

“You would have had thousands of people coming from other parts of the state and from all over the East Coast,” said Andrew Brown, a spokesman for the coliseum, who estimated that it would lose roughly $100,000 because of the cancellation. “Where we lost revenue is from people coming into the building — from parking, concessions, that kind of thing. It’s a major concert. It would have been one of our biggest events of the year.”

News & Observer editorial cartoonist Dwayne Powell captured the news this way:

Powell_SpringsteenFor those who had hoped to see the Boss and the E Street Band this weekend, we leave you with a couple classics:

YouTube Preview Image YouTube Preview Image YouTube Preview Image
Commentary, News

This Week’s Top Five on NC Policy Watch

wb-405b1. Ayn Rand-Franklin Graham government
A toxic combination of economic and religious fundamentalism is poisoning North Caroli

North Carolina’s latest spasm of state-sponsored bigotry — the LGBT discrimination law that has once again made the state a national pariah and laughingstock in recent days — was clearly driven to a great degree by a desire to appease the religious right. So-called Christian conservatives like Rev. Franklin Graham and Lt. Gov. Dan Forest were among the new law’s chief champions two weeks ago when state leaders took it from a back-of-the-envelope rough draft to state statute in less than 12 hours and the allies of these men have been among its staunchest defenders ever since.

That said, it’s important to point out that House Bill 2 was, like so many other acts of North Carolina’s political leaders in recent years, a lot more than a mere bone tossed to social issues crusaders. It was also the kind of proposal that could warm the hearts of Koch Brother-funded economic fundamentalists and followers of a famous libertarian/atheist icon as well. [Continue reading…]

mc-seal2. McCrory still under siege two weeks after signing sweeping anti-LGBT bill
In case you are wondering how things are going for Gov. Pat McCrory two weeks after he signed a sweeping anti-LGBT bill that has prompted widespread outrage and opposition from more than 120 CEOs of major corporations, his visit to Wilmington Wednesday afternoon is a pretty good barometer.

McCrory came to town to crown the 2016 Azalea Queen, though his office announced the visit publicly only a couple of hours before the event.

An account in the Wilmington Star-News picks things up from there. [Continue reading…]

Bonus video: Greensboro passes formal resolution opposing anti-LGBT HB2

McCrory_teacherpayproposal2016-23. McCrory’s teacher pay proposal draws skepticism, cautious optimism

State’s education leaders await specifics in governor’s budget

Many of North Carolina’s political leaders may still be roiling over the backlash to the state’s broad anti-LGBT law this week, but Gov. Pat McCrory wants to talk about public education.

On Tuesday, the governor offered a snapshot of his upcoming education budget proposal to the legislature, calling for a 5 percent average pay increase for North Carolina teachers as well as one-time, $5,000 bonuses for some of the state’s most experienced educators. [Continue reading…]
7-economy4. Seven things you might not know about the alleged Carolina Comeback

Here is something about Gov. Pat McCrory’s alleged Carolina Comeback that you don’t hear every day.

Most of the jobs created in North Carolina in the last few years would have been created anyway, without the policies of McCrory and the General Assembly—the tax cuts for corporations and the wealthy, the drastic reductions in unemployment insurance for laid off workers, and the dismantling of state regulations that protect the environment.

That’s not liberal spin.

That is the conclusion of a prominent conservative commentator in a recent column extolling the virtues of those regressive policy decisions in the last few years and painting a rosy picture of how the state’s economy has fared with Republicans in charge.[Continue reading…]

Photo from flickr user familymwr (, (CC BY 2.0, Yet another study confirms the huge benefits of investing in early childhood education

On Tuesday of this week, early education workers and thought leaders joined together at the North Carolina Child Care Coalition’s annual Early Education Forum in Raleigh. Among their top objectives: to discuss some of the ways to use research, policy, and advocacy to address some big problems — most notably, the high cost of early education and the challenges that confront the professionals employed in the early care and education workforce.

Those concerns are substantiated in a new Economic Policy Institute report that details the high cost of child care in every state. In the new report, “It’s time for an ambitious national investment in America’s children,” the authors outline the benefits of public investment in early childhood care and education (ECCE) – to children, families, society, and the economy. They also propose that lawmakers undertake critical public investments, including: [Continue reading...]


Greensboro passes formal resolution opposing anti-LGBT HB2 (video)

Greensboro City Council has passed a formal resolution opposing House Bill 2. The resolution, approved on an 8-1 vote Tuesday evening, condemned the state legislation that removes local control and opens the door to discrimination against LGBT individiuals.

Council Member Sharon Hightower criticized the law signed by Governor McCrory for the negative economic impact it has had, and noted the debate was never about bathrooms or public safety.

“We should not feel afraid, because honestly, there’s nothing to really be afraid of, except the people who put this forward,” said Hightower.

Here’s more from the Council’s resolution:

Watch an excerpt from Tuesday’s City Council meeting below:

YouTube Preview Image

PayPal halts Charlotte expansion, cancels 400 jobs citing discriminatory anti-LGBT law

Just weeks after announcing a major expansion in Charlotte, comes word that Paypal has withdrawn those plans because of House Bill 2.

PayPal CEO Dan Schulman made the official announcement this morning

payPalTwo weeks ago, PayPal announced plans to open a new global operations center in Charlotte and employ over 400 people in skilled jobs.  In the short time since then, legislation has been abruptly enacted by the State of North Carolina that invalidates protections of the rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender citizens and denies these members of our community equal rights under the law.

The new law perpetuates discrimination and it violates the values and principles that are at the core of PayPal’s mission and culture.  As a result, PayPal will not move forward with our planned expansion into Charlotte.

This decision reflects PayPal’s deepest values and our strong belief that every person has the right to be treated equally, and with dignity and respect. These principles of fairness, inclusion and equality are at the heart of everything we seek to achieve and stand for as a company. And they compel us to take action to oppose discrimination.

Our decision is a clear and unambiguous one. But we do regret that we will not have the opportunity to be a part of the Charlotte community and to count as colleagues the skilled and talented people of the region. As a company that is committed to the principle that everyone deserves to live without fear of discrimination simply for being who they are, becoming an employer in North Carolina, where members of our teams will not have equal rights under the law, is simply untenable.

While we will seek an alternative location for our operations center, we remain committed to working with the LGBT community in North Carolina to overturn this discriminatory legislation, alongside all those who are committed to equality.

We will stand firm in our commitment to equality and inclusion and our conviction that we can make a difference by living and acting on our values.  It’s the right thing to do for our employees, our customers, and our communities.

Dan Schulman, President and CEO, PayPal

PayPal had been  expected to invest over $3.6 million in Mecklenburg County by the end of 2017.

To date more than 120 corporate CEOs have come out in opposition to the anti-LGBT law.



Commentary, News

Five things to have on your radar this week (other than Monday’s championship game)

# 1 – How to end gerrymandering – The good folks at the North Carolina Coalition for Lobbying and Government Reform kick-off a series of meetings across the state this week to talk about why our state needs a nonpartisan redistricting system and how we can do it.

Their first program will be held this evening in Laurinburg starting with a special showing of the documentary “Gerry-rigged” followed by an audience discussion with Rep. Garland Pierce and redistricting experts.

The event, which is free and open to the public, begins at 6:30 p.m. at the Scotland County Courthouse in Laurinburg, NC.

Learn more about why gerrymandering is a danger to democracy:

YouTube Preview Image

# 2 Education takes center stage in Wilmington – Members of the State Board of Education hold this month’s meeting on the UNC-W campus.

During Tuesday and Wednesday’s work sessions, members will discuss the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA), criminal background checks for educators and their legislative agenda for the short
session. Thursday is the board’s monthly meeting for April where members will discuss recommended amendments to the charter school agreement among other issues.

jamesford2016While on the subject of the State Board, if you missed our recent interview with board member James Ford on the disproportionate suspension of black students in North Carolina, be sure to check that out below:

# 3 – The Third Reconstruction3rdreconAlso on Tuesday, the Duke Office of Civic Engagement will host the Rev. Dr. William Barber II and Jonathan Wilson-Hartgrove for a reading and discussion of their new book, The Third Reconstruction: Moral Mondays, Fusion Politics, and the Rise of a New Justice Movement.

The 5:30pm talk takes place at Smith Warehouse, Bay 8, first floor; 114 S Buchanan Blvd.

#4 – Medicaid Reform hearings – The Department of Health and Human Services continues to get the public’s  input on the draft NC Medicaid reform plan. Comments received by April 18th will help shape the final Medicaid reform waiver application that will be sent to the federal government for approval.

Public hearings will be held this week in the following locations:

Southwestern Community College
447 College Drive
Sylva, NC 28779
4 p.m. – 6 p.m.

Holiday Inn Express
1943 Blowing Rock Road
Boone, NC 28607
12 p.m. – 2 p.m.

Asheville-Buncombe Technical Community College
Mission Health / A-B Tech Conference Center
340 Victoria Road
Asheville, NC 28801
6:30 p.m. – 8:30 p.m.

Guilford County Health & Human Services
1203 Maple Street
Greensboro, NC 27405
6:30 p.m. – 8:30 p.m.

Forsyth County Department of Public Health
Meeting Room 1 & 2
799 North Highland Avenue
Winston-Salem, NC 27102
2 p.m. – 4 p.m.

# 5 Anti-HB2 UNC System Bathroom Sit-in – NO-HB2Finally on Friday, in response to HB2, students and student leaders are rising up to urge peaceful protest and active opposition on their campuses in response to this law signed March 23rd.

At noon Friday, organizers will assemble at one strategically chosen bathroom (male & female) in a central, trafficked location on each campus.

The plan is to have a sit-in at bathrooms outside the doors and sitting on the floors inside the bathrooms to raise attention and awareness to student opposition to HB2 and its impacts on state universities.