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A couple of powerful stories at The Nation deserve your attention this morning.

In the first, Rick Perlstein examines a 1981 recorded interview with the late Lee Atwater (now released publicly for the first time as part of the article) in which the old conservative henchman for the Reagan-Bush administrations explained the evolution of white southern racism in some rather disturbing terms. The conclusion: Atwater’s clumsy and offensive attempts to deny the persistence of racism only confirmed its still-powerful grip on white southerners.

In the second, Ari Berman explains the folly of the Supreme Court’s current flirtation (explained here by Sharon McCloskey earlier this morning) with doing away with section 5 of the Voting Rights Act — a law reauthorized by Congress by overwhelming margins just six years ago.  To quote:

“Indeed, only a Supreme Court wholly divorced from reality would review the record on voting rights since Congress reauthorized the Voting Rights Act in 2006 and conclude that a key pillar of the law was no longer needed.”

 

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No paper has more thoughtfully and consistently championed the cause of North Carolina’s long and shamefully ignored eugenics victims than the Winston Salem Journal. Much to the paper’s credit, it has consistently kept the story alive and called for justice for the thousands of people harmed by state government.

This morning, the paper has an excellent editorial in which it urges Governor Perdue to call a special session to pass compensation legislation (something that passed the House earlier this year, but that was killed by Senate Republican leaders).

In an ironic twist to the story, one of the most vocal Senate opponents of compensation, Senator Don East of Surry County, passed away unexpectedly earlier this week.

Read the entire editorial by clicking here.

 

 

 

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Yesterday, Mother Jones magazine published a very disturbing story about North Carolina congressman Walter Jones. According to the story, the congressman appeared on “a notorious white nationalist radio program on Saturday” known as “The Political Cesspool.” 

The host of the show — a man named James Edwards — is, according to the story, “an avowed white nationalist.” A website for the show seems to confirm this when it says says the following: Read More

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Well, the national political media has descended on North Carolina and thank goodness some local politicos are doing all they can to dispel the impression that our state is home to a large collection of insular, uninformed rednecks.

Take Lee County conservative leader, Charles Staley…please.

According to Mr. Staley, not only is it acceptable for men to batter their wives and drive drunk in Mexico, but there are some very clear and simple explanations for the important shifts that have occurred in southern racial politics over the last several decades. As Staley told to the Los Angeles Times:

“’Lyndon Baines Johnson gets in there, there’s riots in the streets, so they decide, we need to keep these black people in their place,’ Staley said. ‘So, well, one way we can do it is to form this Great Society and make sure everybody gets some money and if they get in trouble, we’ll stop giving them money. That was the foundation of what we call social services. Up unto that point, the black  population voted Republican.’”

Sounds like this guy might be able to help one of the local right-wing groups put just the spin they’re looking for on their next historical reenactment.

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No media outlet in the state has more forcefully and consistently advanced the cause of eugenics victims than the Winston-Salem JournalThis morning’s editorial tells the truth once more about the state’s shameful failure and, in particular, Senate President Pro Tem Phil Berger’s pig-headed and mean-spirited stance as THE roadblock to justice.

Hope you’re feeling especially proud this morning, Phil.