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As 2013 fast recedes in the rear-view mirror, many of us would like to think that the worst of the Koch brothers/Tea Party/conservative theocracy wackiness is over. Unfortunately, there is ample reason to believe that 2014 will be even more of a knockdown, drag-out political battle. Here are just a few reminders as to why this is the case and why caring and thoughtful people will need to bring their “A games” in the coming year to push back  successfully:

Big, dark money - Dan Besse, editor of the excellent N.C. League of Conservation Voters blog, provides a link this morning to a story in Scientific American from over the holidays that highlights a new Drexel University study about who funds the climate change-denial movement. Surprise! The bucks aren’t coming from the grassroots.

Asheville: facing abolition? As was reported several times in 2013, one of the General Assembly’s most conservative ideologues, Rep. Tim Moffitt of Buncombe County, has been waging a nonstop war with the city of Asheville for some time — whether it’s taking away the city’s water system or its airport. Now, comes word from Asheville Citizen-Times columnist John Boyle that Moffitt may want to go a lot further.

Standing fast in favor of discrimination – Another discouraging story from over the holidays came from the North Carolina Family Policy Council, which is doubling-down in support of discrimination against LGBT kids and families. Read More

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The Associated Press reported yesterday that there is more more evidence of discrimination against Latinos by the long-troubled Alamance County sheriff’s office:

“Two university professors hired by the U.S. Department of Justice to analyze traffic stops by the Alamance County Sheriff’s Office say statistical data conclusively shows deputies there are racially profiling Latino drivers….

John Lamberth, retired chair of the Department of Psychology at Temple University, concluded that Johnson’s deputies cited Latinos for violations at a rate more than six times higher than for whites. He said the statistical odds were far less than one in a million that such a sizable racial disparity could occur by chance.

‘The observed disparities in … traffic enforcement are larger than any I have previously observed at a law enforcement agency in the United States,’ wrote Lamberth, who has testified as an expert in numerous court cases.”

Let’s hope that a settlement can be reached in the case in the near future and that Alamance can start enforcing laws fairly like the vast majority of law enforcement agencies.

You can read the entire story by clicking here.

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Same-sex adoptionSame-sex adoption2Don’t forget to register for next week’s Crucial Conversation luncheon presented by NC Policy Watch, the ACLU of North Carolina and Equality North Carolina“Parents in life, strangers on paper: How North Carolina laws barring second-parent adoption and marriage for same-sex couples jeopardize families and their children.”

The event will feature Chris Brook, Legal Director of the ACLU of North Carolina Legal Foundation; Chris Sgro, Executive Director of Equality North Carolina; and parents Marcie and Chantelle Fisher-Borne, Shawn Long and Craig Johnson, plaintiffs in Fisher-Borne v. Smith, a federal lawsuit challenging North Carolina’s bans on second-parent adoption and marriage for same-sex couples on behalf of six North Carolina families.

When: Tuesday, December 3 at 12:00 p.m. – Box lunches will be available at 11:45 a.m.

Where: Center for Community Leadership Training Room at the Junior League of Raleigh Building, 711 Hillsborough St. (At the corner of Hillsborough and St. Mary’s streets)

Space is limited – pre-registration required.

Click here for parking info.

Click here to register

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Equality NCAs the Wilmington Star-News reports this morning, protesters led by advocates from Equality NC (that’s the group’s Executive Director, Chris Sgro pictured at left) spoke out yesterday in favor of a law change that would prevent taxpayer-funded school vouchers from going to schools that discriminate against LGBT children and the children of LGBT parents.

“A statewide gay rights group wants the General Assembly to change its new tuition voucher program so schools with policies that exclude gay people won’t receive taxpayer funding.

Members of the gay rights group Equality N.C. spoke out Tuesday against a policy recently adopted by Myrtle Grove Christian School that requires students’ families to promise they won’t support or participate in a gay lifestyle. The faith group N.C. Values Coalition also released a statement Tuesday supporting Myrtle Grove Christian School’s right to set its own admission policies. Read More

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As I noted in Wednesday in the Weekly Briefing, North Carolina has been the butt of more national media takedowns of late than Anthony Weiner. Today’s skewering is authored by Dean Obeidallah of the Washington Bureau of the Daily Beast and it’s entitled: “North Carolina, Your Anti-Sharia Law Takes the Cake.” It’s definitely worth your time. Here’s a highlight:

“Why would Republicans in North Carolina feel the need to prevent a threat they admit isn’t real?  Even the North Carolina Bar Association called the legislation unnecessary.

Maybe looking at the legislative history of this proposed bill will give you some insight. The Republican-controlled House’s version also included provisions to restrict a women’s right to an abortion. So in the very same breath these Republicans were trying to prevent Islamic law from being imposed, they were trying to impose Christian law.

No surprise, then, that they fear Muslims will be trying to impose their own religious-based laws—it’s exactly what these Republicans are trying to do.”

Read Obeidallah’s entire post by clicking here.