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Ellie KinnairdThe resignation of Senator Eleanor Kinnaird from the North Carolina Senate was totally understandable, but still quite a disappointment for all who care about truth and justice. Ellie’s list of accomplishments and principled stands in the Senate is a long one and she will be missed enormously in that already depleted institution.

This morning’s editorial in Raleigh’s News & Observer gets it right when it says:

“Kinnaird was part of the Senate’s conscience. Losing her voice may make lawmaking easier, but it won’t make it better or the results more humane. The General Assembly should be a place of debate where both sides listen and learn. It has become a Republican rally that drowns the dissent within and ignores the protests without.

The good news is that Kinnaird is resigning but not quitting. She will take her voice to where she can be heard so all can be heard. Her first step is to join a grassroots effort to fight Republican efforts to suppress the vote.

We thank Sen. Kinnaird for her service. And wish her luck as she continues the good fight.”

Read more here: http://www.newsobserver.com/2013/08/20/3122573/a-loss-of-conscience.html#storylink=cpy
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Another good editorial from Raleigh’s N&O on the scandalous end of unemployment benefits that commences today:

“Reflecting little more than their distaste for federal safety net programs and their lack of care for the unemployed in North Carolina, Republicans in the General Assembly cut the maximum unemployment benefit to $350 from $535 and curbed the length of time people are eligible. The reason? To pay back more quickly the $2 billion the state owes the federal government for money borrowed to cover benefits following the Bush recession.

But the GOP knew that if the state rules were changed, federal benefits for the long-term unemployed, which might have continued, would be cut off. They didn’t care, and nor were they concerned that tens of millions of dollars would be lost to the state’s economy. Some 70,000 North Carolinians will be hurt.

Republicans say that by cutting benefits, the state will be encouraging the unemployed to find work. That’s insulting, of course, because the vast majority of the jobless have been trying to find employment. The average benefit check of about $300 a week doesn’t exactly provide for a take-it-easy lifestyle. And GOP lawmakers don’t care to consider what happens to people when their benefits are cut off and they are still without work. Homes will be lost. Medicine will go unbought. Kids will go hungry. That’s the reality, as opposed to the rhetoric.”

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In case you missed it over the weekend, check out Ned Barnett’s column from Raleigh’s News & Observer entitled “Truth gets stretched in Medicaid debate.”

As Barnett notes: the myth being propagated by Gov. McCrory and the General Assembly (with the unfortunate assistance of the politically tone deaf state Auditor) that Medicaid is “broken” and therefore can’t be expanded under Obamacare is just plain baloney.

“The reason DHHS’ Medicaid spending continues to be over budget is because the Republican-controlled legislature reduced its budget without defining what to cut, such as payments to doctors and hospitals, services offered or the number of people eligible. Apart from missing the General Assembly’s unrealistic savings targets, Medicaid delivery systems in North Carolina are very much intact. From 2007 to 2010, Medicaid spending in North Carolina grew more slowly than in any other state in the nation. One of its delivery models, Community Care, is a widely praised prototype for cost savings that other states want to copy. No doubt, a state division spending $13 billion in state and federal funds annually has things that could be fixed, but it clearly is not ‘broken.'”

Read Barnett’s entire column by clicking here.

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Pat McCrory 5Up until now, it’s mostly been talk. Now, Pat McCrory has to act and North Carolinians will soon learn what kind of new governor they have: A rational moderate who, as he often did as Mayor of Charlotte,  puts families above campaign contributions and extremist ideology or a far right tool of the state’s business lobby in the ilk of Wisconsin’s Scott Walker and Florida’s Rick Scott.

Yesterday, the General Assembly sent the Governor a bill that devastates North Carolina’s unemployment insurance system and now he has 10 days to decide what to do with it.  A loud and compelling chorus has made it eminently clear why he should veto it.

On Wednesday, dozens of nonprofit advocacy groups representing people in need begged the Governor to think twice. In their letter they noted that: Read More

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Maybe someone else has already raised this — if so I apologize for missing it — but how come Walter Dalton doesn’t seem to rate an N&O icon?

In the online version of the “Under the Dome ” section of Raleigh’s News & Observer newspaper, numerous politicians have their own little cartoon likenesses.  Bev Perdue, Richard Burr, Kay Hagan, Barack Obama and Mitt Romney (complete with silver sideburns) have little caricature icons. Even Senate leader Phil Berger has one. Pat McCrory’s mug has appeared scores of times to accompany stories about him.

But for some reason, Lt. Governor Dalton doesn’t seem to have one. Maybe I missed it, but a search of dozens of posts mentioning Dalton failed to turn it up.

Anyway, it’s obviously not huge deal, but it does raise at least a small question about the N&O and the balance of its political coverage. Every time a reader goes to Under the Dome these days, he or she has a good chance of seeing Pat McCrory smiling back in what is at least a semi-flattering mug shot. But not so for his opponent, Walter Dalton– a man who’s been a fairly significant political figure for several years.

What gives, N&O?