The Power of Symbols

Symbols evoke emotions. They have a power to evoke images and send messages to our subconscious. They tell us what is important. Think of the crucifix, the Star of David, the swastika. Or the confederate flag. When presented with a symbol often enough, the repetition can influence our actions. Presented repeatedly to a group it becomes part of the collective unconscious, influencing a whole society.

A church burns in North Carolina

No one with any sense has any illusions that racism is on the wane. In fact, the burning of a Black church in Charlotte over the past 24 hours shows that that hate is very much alive and well here in North Carolina. While we can celebrate rebel flags being removed from public squares, despicable cowards once again remind us that we have light years to go.

The fallacy of cutting teacher assistants in K-3

Sliding back into mediocrity:

It is instructive to understand how teacher assistants came about in the first place. The position was first created and funded by the state as part of the 1975 Primary Reading Program. The goal of the program was to improve literacy among children in early grades. My mother was among the first group of teacher assistants hired in the state.

Significantly improved student achievement scores followed. It makes sense – adding another instructor immediately cut the ratio of student-to-educator in half, which gave more time for individualized attention to struggling students.

That student-to-educator ratio is the key, not only to better learning outcomes, but to basic issues dealing with health and safety, too. For the last couple of hours, I've been perusing child-to-caregiver ratios from various states for the licensing of day cares, and the ratio for children aged 6-12 varies between 1:15 and 1:19 or so. When you increase the ratio beyond these levels, significant safety issues emerge, even with children in the upper age range. If you don't believe that, volunteer as a chaperone on a school field trip for 2nd or 3rd graders. I dare you.

Daily dose: Redneck backlash edition

Senate Leader Won't Push Ban On Confederate Flag License Plates (WFAE-FM) -- The leader of the North Carolina Senate will not push legislation to remove the Confederate flag as an option on some state license plates, as Governor Pat McCrory has called for.
http://wfae.org/post/senate-leader-wont-push-ban-confederate-flag-license-plates

Confederate flag debate a way of life in Rocky Mount neighborhood (WRAL-TV) -- States and retailers have taken steps to remove the Confederate battle flag from landmarks and stores, but one Rocky Mount man is standing his ground. Edward Lee West has had the flags surround his Arrington Avenue home for years, but after the killings of nine people during Bible study inside a historic black Charleston, S.C. church last week, neighbors said West added more flags.
http://www.wral.com/confederate-flag-debate-a-way-of-life-in-rocky-mount-neighborhood/14736521/

Say their names

victims of Charleston massacre

On Monday evening, I spoke at a vigil for the nine victims of the massacre at Mother Emanuel A.M.E. It was a wonderful experience with clergy from many different local churches, representatives from the police department, and the mayor of Monroe. I can still hear the beautiful voice of Joyce Myers as she sang "Amazing Grace." She has a richness to her voice that allows you to feel the song as well as hear it.

Bigger Wages, Bigger Demand for Goods

Multimillionaire Nick Hanauer says that those areas that have seen wage increases are supercharging the economy.
This runs contrary to what many conservative think tanks would have us believe. But many of us recognize, as did Henry Ford, that if a worker cannot afford to buy the product he makes, there is little future for that company.

Businesses don't hire new help because they want to be nice to the community or because wages or low. They hire only when they have to hire. And the only reason they have to hire is that there is so much demand for their product they need help.

Mr. Hanauer's comments from an interview with CBC are below. Emphasis is mine.

Confederate flags removed from base of memorial in Union County

Union County, NC Confederate Flag

Tuesday afternoon officials in Union County removed multiple Confederate flags from the base of the Civil War Memorial on the grounds of the historic Union County Courthouse. The flags were taken away after Union County Democratic Party Chair Nancy Rorie emailed county officials requesting that the flags be removed.

In her email she wrote:

On symbols of racial hate

I am not much impressed with southern leaders falling all over themselves to remove Confederate flags from public buildings and parks. It is hand-wringing of the most hypocritical sort, providing convenient cover for centuries of institutional racism. Yes, their actions are a welcome shift, but they hardly rise to the level of courage or leadership. The fawning over Nikki Haley in South Carolina is just another side show in a media circus that is looking for drama.

So let's not get distracted by the diversion. America's racial biases go far beyond flags and bumper stickers. They pervade all our institutions, especially the criminal justice system (law enforcement, prisons, drug laws), public school funding, and employment practices.

As I have written on many occasions, we are a country that was built on slavery and genocide. And we have barely begun to remove the knife of racial hatred.

http://www.bluenc.com/content/284-years
http://www.bluenc.com/content/case-reparations
http://www.bluenc.com/content/cleaning-our-messes
http://www.bluenc.com/content/apologies-2

With Cope gone, SEANC wakes from its slumber

Only to find itself in an anti-government nightmare:

Buried deep in the Senate budget proposal that lawmakers passed last week is a provision that would eliminate state-paid health retirement benefits for teachers and state employees who are hired after January 1, 2016. “This puts the state at a major disadvantage in the recruitment and retention of state employees, teachers, and university faculty compared to other states,” said Chuck Stone, director of operations for the State Employees Association of NC (SEANC), of the Senate’s push to jettison the health retirement benefit.

Dana Cope always prided himself on knowing what Legislators were planning to do, and working his little back-room deals that (supposedly) benefited his members. But aside from throwing NCAE under the bus over the paycheck dues issue, the rest appears to have been smoke and mirrors:

Coal Ash Wednesday: 12 more NC sites to be excavated

coalhopper.jpg

And the people in Chatham and Lee Counties said, "Wait, what?"

The residue of coal burned to generate power will be removed from 12 more waste pits at plants in Moncure, Goldsboro, Lumberton and Mooresboro, the country's largest electric company said. Most of the ash, which contains toxic heavy metals, would be moved to former open-pit clay mines in Chatham and Lee counties.

"We're making strong progress to protect groundwater and close ash basins, delivering on our commitment to safe, sustainable, long-term solutions," Duke Energy Chief Executive Officer Lynn Good said in a written statement.

That makes a total of (I believe) 20 coal ash impoundments that will be re-dumped into 2 counties. If the new impoundments hold, and the numerous coal trains don't scatter dust all over the place, this should be a net positive. Of course, I don't live in either of those counties, and I hesitate to gloss over their concerns. We'll keep watching.

Pages

Subscribe to Front page feed