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The web is alight these last 24 hours with stories and commentaries regarding North Carolina House Speaker Thom Tillis’s remarkably offensive and bone-headed comments before a group of Madison County Republicans.  

The story, which was broken by my colleague Chris Fitzsimon, has now made its way onto the websites several other news outlets, including WRAL, the News & Observer, State Government Radio and the Freedom newspapers.   

The Speaker’s helpers are already trying to spin the story as mere linguistic clumsiness, but anyone who watches the speech gets a very different impression — namely that Tillis thought he was speaking to an extremely friendly audience of supporters (one in which he could let his hair down and say what he really thinks).

It is, frankly, an incredibly depressing glimpse into the heart (largely non-existent it would appear) of a very powerful and, normally, very slick politician.

In the days leading up to September 17th, a couple of friends in New York City mentioned something vague about a plan for social justice activists taking action in the city. I didn’t think much of it at the time, or even on the 17th and 18th—I just kept working hard on the issues most pressing here in North Carolina. Then, time passed, the action continued, the weekend came, the numbers in New York City’s financial district swelled, and I saw those videos of peaceful protesters being kettled and pepper-sprayed on a sidewalk September 24th.

At that moment, something changed for me.

I had just witnessed first-hand the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department’s September 6th arrests of undocumented students and their supporters at an “Undocumented and Unafraid” Rally. At that point, I realized OccupyWallStreet might be related to my life in North Carolina, and I needed to understand more. Read More

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The folks at the Southern Poverty Law Center are out with a new report (the NYT has a story here) about how well America is doing in teaching its children about one of the seminal events in American history, the Civil Rights Movement.  

Sadly, most states do not fare well. This is from a release accompanying the report:

“The study compared the requirements in state standards to a body of knowledge that reflects what civil rights historians and educators consider core information about the civil rights movement. It found that: Read More

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Public Policy Polling has an interesting poll out on Vermont that brings home once again how absurd the anti-gay marriage crusaders are (and will be viewed in a few decades when all of the states finally get around to making gay marriage a right). 

This is from the post:

“Gay marriage has been legal in Vermont for almost 2 years now and most voters in the state say it’s had no impact on their lives. 60% say it’s been a non factor for them personally to 22% who say it’d had a positive effect on them and 18% who say it’s had a negative one. Read More