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George Wallace attempts to block the integration of the University of Alabama - Source: Wikipedia

George Wallace attempts to block the integration of the University of Alabama – Photo: Wikipedia

If you haven’t already done so, be sure to check out today’s Fitzsimon File in which Chris explains the current state of the debate over marriage equality in North Carolina. The quick takeaways:

#1 – There is cause for joy and celebration that the end of this particular form of discrimination is finally coming to a richly-deserved end.

#2- That said, there is a very long way to go in a state in which LGBT people can still be summarily fired for who they are.

#3- Today’s last-ditch effort by Senate leader Phil Berger and House Speaker Thom Tillis to block the inevitable is eerily reminiscent of George Wallace’s infamous effort to block the integration of the University of Alabama by standing in the “schoolhouse door.”

As Chris writes: Read More

Commentary

State Fair cartoonIt’s beginning to look that way.

WRAL.com reports that:

“A gun rights group on Thursday asked for a temporary restraining order to keep the state agriculture department from banning lawfully concealed weapons at the North Carolina State Fair, which starts next week.”

Doesn’t that make you want to be riding on “The Vortex” or some other wild roller coaster next week knowing that the fool in the next car over is packing a hidden, loaded handgun?

I mean, what could go wrong?

Commentary

The lead editorial in Raleigh’s News & Observer this morning rightfully laments the fact that North Carolina’s economic recovery appears to be petering out while other states rebound more quickly.

In the end, however, there’s no mystery. The persistence of unemployment points to how badly the job market deteriorated and how tax cuts and spending cuts do little to restore it. North Carolina has cut taxes in a way that disproportionally benefits higher earners while expanding taxes or removing exemptions that helped middle-income and low-income earners and retirees. Tax breaks for the wealthy tend to go into savings while a tax break for lower income earners would have gone directly into the economy.

North Carolina’s cuts in state funding for education have an outsized impact on the economy. Unlike many states where local governments bear most of the cost of schools, North Carolina funds education primarily from the state level. Meanwhile, North Carolina’s refusal to expand Medicaid has cost the state’s economy billions of dollars in federal funds and reduced or blunted employment by hospitals.

There’s not much state government can do to escape the influence of the national economy. But states can do more to soften the effects of a national recession and speed the effects of a recovery. North Carolina should spend aggressively on education, participate fully in the Affordable Care Act and focus tax breaks lower down the income scale.

That’s not being done, and the economic pain is being extended.

Meanwhile, an editorial in the Charlotte Observer offers a glimmer of hope on this front in the form of additional confirmation from the McCrory administration that it has finally recognized one of its biggest blunders when it comes to pumping dollars into the state’s economy — the failure to expand Medicaid:

Read More

Commentary

Nuns tour 4There’s still significant hope that North Carolina’s new voter suppression laws will eventually be sent to the trash bin where they belong — either by the courts, future state leaders or both. For now, however, North Carolinians will have to make do under the current rigged regime if they want to make their voices heard.

So, this means the deadline to register for the November 4 election is TOMORROW — October 10.

Click here for the hows, whens and wheres and then spread the word far and wide.

News

voteThe good people at the NC Conservation Network have created two excellent new websites to use and share as widely as possible in order to encourage participation in the upcoming election:

First, is an interactive map of North Carolina early voting locations and times. Click here to check it out.

It’s a great way for people to quickly and easily find early vote locations near them. You can go to this page, type in your address at the top right, and the map should locate the nearest early voting location (but double-check to be sure it is within your county). You can also get driving directions to the early site by clicking on the address of the early vote location.

Second, is the Facebook page: I’m Voting in North Carolina. As the site notes:

“This page is a resource for voters and potential voters in North Carolina to get non-partisan information about voting, elections, and the election process in North Carolina. By liking this page, you’ll get timely reminders about where and when to vote in North Carolina.”