Daily dose: State of dis-Union edition

Just another Obama speech (Politico) -- When President Barack Obama appears before Congress for Tuesday’s State of the Union, he’ll be facing the largest group of Republican lawmakers in more than 80 years, going back to the days when Herbert Hoover ran the country. For Obama, the address is an opportunity to lay out his agenda as he prepares to do battle with a Congress the GOP now fully controls. For Republicans, it’s just another presidential speech. … “I expect a laundry list that extends further than he’s ever done in a speech that lasts longer than the last,” said Sen. Richard Burr, a North Carolina Republican who faces reelection in 2016. “I’m not sure the State of the Union address is in any way, shape or form sufficient to ease the fears that the American people have.” Asked if he thought Obama would shift to the political center during his most important speech of the year, Burr deadpanned: “No. No hope. No hope.”


Editor's note: the only thing more idiotic than Burr's answer is the question itself.

WRAL tracking McCrory's campaign promises

Not that voters are really paying attention:

WRAL News identified 33 specific promises McCrory made while on the campaign trail and, through our Promise Tracker feature, have been keeping tabs on whether he keeps his word. Of those promises, McCrory has accomplished 17. Another four are marked "kept so far," which means he will achieve that goal if his office's policies don't change. Combined, that's a full two-thirds of the promises we're tracking.

During McCrory's two years in office, the tracker has rated only two promises as broken. One relates to additional abortion regulations; the other relates to developing an ethics plan at the start of his term.

There are a couple of major problems I see with this approach to "rating" the performance of McCrory. The first is evident from the sentence above: When issues are broken down into sheer numbers, the importance of some are diminished. He gets a "No" on adding abortion restrictions, but a "Yes" on allowing industry to be more involved in their own regulation. In reality, the abortion statement he made was a bald-faced lie that seriously compromised the rights of both female patients and doctors, and it deserves more than just a check-off on a list. The second problem with this approach is it only tracks campaign promises, as opposed to promises he's made as Governor. Like holding Duke Energy accountable for the Dan River coal ash spill, and then allowing them to claim "mission accomplished" while 90+% of the coal ash remains in the River. If we're not going to track all of his lies, what's the point?

Daily dose: Keeping the dream alive


Barber: 'Moral Monday' movement similar to civil rights movement (WRAL-TV) -- North Carolina NAACP President William Barber used the pulpit at Duke University Chapel Sunday to equate Martin Luther King Jr.’s civil rights efforts with the “Moral Monday” movement, saying the push for social equality is still needed. "I believe we are possibly in the embryonic stages of a third reconstruction in America," said Barber, the keynote speaker at Duke’s MLK program. "And if we come together even the more, if we return to our fortresses as prisoners of hope, there's no telling what God is going to do."


Questions for the Candidates for NCDP Chair

The election for NCDP Chair is just weeks away. On February 7, members of the State Executive Committee of the North Carolina Democratic Party will meet in Chatham County to elect the person who will lead the party for the next two years. Barring any nominations from the floor, there are four candidates who have announced their intentions to run for the seat - Patsy Keever, Ron Sanyal, Constance "Connie" Johnson, and Janice Covington Allison.

What I learned about North Carolina from ten years on the political sidelines

After almost a decade of blogging, I'm stepping away from day-to-day oversight at BlueNC, leaving Steve Harrison to keep the lights on. It seems a good time to gather some thoughts about what I've learned, for posterity if for nothing else. This first installment covers things that have cemented themselves in the front of my mind.

On Art Pope and the UNC System

A few jabs from Thomas Mills to set the tone:

It’s part of why North Carolina developed a reputation as a beacon of light in an otherwise dark South. Our university system became an engine of economic progress that has made the Triangle a leader in the information age and one of the fastest growing metropolitan areas in the country.

Pope doesn’t believe in any of that. He believes that the free market is the key to success. Higher education should be little more than job training and critical thinking skills learned in a liberal arts curriculum have little place in his world. Pope is neither a manager nor a deep thinker. He’s an ideologue born with a silver spoon in his mouth who has spent his life forcing square pegs into round holes.

Many of those discussing the possibility of an Art Pope-directed UNC System are focusing on how he might cut programs, but the more likely result would be a skewing of the curriculum, something he's been trying to do for years. But I'll let one of UNC's professors explain:

Daily dose: Oh, brother...


Why I called Pat McCrory a partner at my firm (Charlotte Observer column) -- I was disappointed, but not surprised, that the Charlotte Observer continues its personal attack on my brother’s previous experience in the private sector (“McCrory vs. the truth – once again,” Jan. 16). It should also be noted that the Observer, nor its partner in crime, Progress North Carolina Action, ever attempted to reach out to me for clarification before writing their respective editorial or complaint. If they had, they might have learned the following:


Love Your Local Blogger!

Political bloggers got a pat on the back today from an elected official. (I'm not going to share their name.)

Advocacy no longer works the way it once did, where a group would ignore the elected officials already committed to their cause and those already adamantly against that cause, and focus on trying to persuade those officials who were on the fence. That doesn't work any more.
Our political parties have a 'brand,' a platform they are known to support. And they are hardened in their stance on issues. Interest groups can't reach them. Who can? The people who put them into office.

The best way to put pressure on elected official is to let their constituents know what is going on. Bloggers who attend meetings and write on what they see and hear can make a big impact on individual voters. It is the voters who will reach their representative and influence the vote.

Continue blogging. Attend those meetings and keep writing. It does make an impact.


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