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1-7-13-NCPW-CARTOONThis morning’s Winston-Salem Journal lays it out pretty clearly in an editorial on the matter of funding for the University of North Carolina. The paper says it is time for Gov. McCrory to stand up to his budget director and conservative political moneybags, Art Pope (who has launched a new and public effort to forestall needed growth in university spending).

This is from the editorial:

“Pope, who has his own conservative political constituency, has long been a UNC critic. The UNC operations request alone is for 4.6 percent. And while Pope had instructed state agencies to keep increase requests to 2 percent or less, the university’s response must be considered in historical context.

Over the last five years, the UNC operational budget has been cut by hundreds of millions of dollars. UNC officials have found efficiencies to cover some of those lost funds, but they’ve also weakened the education they deliver.

Additionally, students have been hit with big tuition and fee increases while state funding has dropped. All of this in a state where the constitution guarantees a university education that is as close to free as is ‘practicable’…. Read More

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State of Conflict NCIn case you haven’t gotten a chance to see it yet, the good people at Common Cause NC will be screening “the documentary every North Carolinian should see”  twice more this week.  Here are the times and locations for Bill Moyers’ “State of Conflict: North Carolina”:

  • TONIGHT at 7:00 p.m. in Raleigh (Pullen Memorial Baptist Church, 1801 Hillsborough Street)
  • Thursday March 6 at 7:00 p.m. in Wilmington (Jengo’s Playhouse, 15 Princess Street)
Questions? Email the folks at Common Cause  at stateofconflictnc@gmail.com.
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GerrymanderingPolitical gerrymandering has almost always been a problem in North Carolina, but new evidence continues to emerge that when conservative politicians drew the current maps (with right-wing godfather Art Pope literally sitting at the table) they took the whole thing to new and historic depths.

If you think that’s an overstatement check out this morning’s “Monday Numbers” from Chris Fitzsimon over on the main Policy Watch page in which Chris highlights some the most amazing facts in a new WRAL.com story entitled “Many state legislative races all but over before contests begin”:

50—-number of seats in the North Carolina Senate (N.C. General Assembly)

21—number of seats in the Senate where the winner of the Republican or Democratic primary will face no opposition in the general election in November  (Many state legislative races all but over before contests begin,” WRAL-TV, March 1, 2014)

120—number of seats in the North Carolina House (N.C. General Assembly)

57—number of seats in the House where the winner of the Republican or Democratic primary will face no opposition from the other party in the general election in November (Many state legislative races all but over before contests begin,” WRAL-TV, March 1, 2014)

Read all of the remarkable Monday Numbers by clicking here.

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State of Conflict NCIn case you haven’t gotten a chance to see it yet, the good people at Common Cause NC will be screening “the documentary every North Carolinian should see” three times next week. Here are the times and locations for Bill Moyers’ “State of Conflict: North Carolina”:

  • Sunday March 2 at 3:00 p.m. in Durham (Motorco Music Hall, 723 Rigsbee Avenue)
  • Tuesday March 4 at 7:00 p.m. in Raleigh (Pullen Memorial Baptist Church, 1801 Hillsborough Street)
  • Thursday March 6 at 7:00 p.m. in Wilmington (Jengo’s Playhouse, 15 Princess Street)

Sunday’s event will also feature a panel discussion led by Jeremy Collins of the Southern Coalition for Social Justice, Beth Messersmith of Moms Rising and Bob Hall of Democracy North Carolina.

Questions? Email the folks at Common Cause  at stateofconflictnc@gmail.com.
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There have been a lot of interesting — even amusing — reactions over on Right-Wing Avenue to last Friday’s judicial order halting the state’s unconstitutional school voucher program. House Majority Leader Paul Stam, for instance, wishfully and inaccurately dismissed the court’s action as a trifling matter that can easily be evaded with just a tiny tweak during the upcoming short session.  Meanwhile, the chief voice of the Koch Brothers in North Carolina, Americans for Prosperity, laughably termed the lawsuits brought by an array of concerned citizens and local Boards of Education as “demagoguery from a special interest group.”

But perhaps the most amazing response (and best example of unintended irony) thus far comes from the Pope-Civitas Institute, where a staffer wrote the following in response to the lawsuits and the Judge Hobgood’s preliminary injunction:

“When you can’t win at the ballot box,  enforce your will through the courts.  That’a (sic) well-known tactic of the left and that’s exactly the strategy on display in North Carolina.” Read More