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Protests in North Carolina Challenge Conservative Shift in State Politics (New York Times) -- The Moral Mondays rallies at the state Capitol, led by a coalition assembled by the N.A.A.C.P., have raised a voice against the loss of the state’s centrist leadership. The singing stopped. Hands went behind backs. While hundreds of people watched from the rotunda that separates the House from the Senate chambers here, officers slipped plastic cuffs onto Duke University professors, ministers, teachers and union members, who were charged with trespassing and other charges. Even a Charlotte newspaper reporter was arrested as he took notes. At the end, 89 people went to jail. They were out by morning. Week by week, Monday by Monday, since April 29, a growing coalition assembled by the N.A.A.C.P. has challenged the newly conservative Republican leadership in North Carolina, raising its voice against the loss of the state’s centrist leadership and what they see as diminished recognition of the poor and minorities. Other states in the South have been advancing equally conservative social and fiscal agendas, but in North Carolina, long considered one of the least conservative Southern states, the shift right has seemed sudden, stark and well-executed. “I want the American people to watch the conservative playbook unfold in North Carolina,” Representative G. K. Butterfield, a Democrat in Congress who represents one of the poorest districts in the country, said Monday to the crowd. “It’s mean-spirited, and it’s wrong.”

Daily dose

Observer religion reporter Tim Funk arrested in Raleigh protest (Charlotte Observer) -- Observer religion reporter Tim Funk was arrested Monday at the General Assembly in Raleigh while covering the Charlotte clergy involved in the legislative protests. Authorities said Funk, a veteran Observer reporter who covered the statehouse in the 1980s, failed to move away from a crowd of about 60 that was demonstrating and peacefully surrendering to arrest. Funk, who was wearing Charlotte Observer identification, was handcuffed and taken along with the arrested protesters to the Wake County magistrate’s office to be arraigned on misdemeanor charges of trespassing and failure to disperse. Jeff Weaver, police chief for the General Assembly Police in Raleigh who oversaw the arrests, told The Associated Press that Funk did not heed a warning from officers to disperse before the arrests began. Funk had earlier written about the weekly protests from Charlotte. Monday was his first live coverage of the event in Raleigh. He was released at about 11 p.m. “We believe there was no reason to detain him,” said Cheryl Carpenter, Observer managing editor. “He wasn’t there to do anything but report the story, to talk to Charlotte clergy. He was doing his job in a public place.”

Open thread

My favorite sign from Moral Monday, June 10,
courtesy of a long-time BlueNC community member, Gray Newman.

There was an impressive crowd of more than 1000 on hand, even though it was storming and raining. I guess that approximately 70 people were arrested. Many were clergy. All were inspiring.

To those who say this isn't changing the minds of any legislators, we get that. This isn't about changing minds. This is about raising consciousness and awareness all across the land that an extreme right-wing political cancer is taking hold of our government.

Hurricane season

A week has passed since 151 citizens were arrested at Moral Monday for civil disobedience. During that time, Republican leaders have dug in their heels like petulant children, continuing to push for policies most North Carolina citizens oppose.

In a speech at the GOP convention in Charlotte, Pat McCrory vowed that Republicans would continue their mission to change the status quo in government and change our economy. That’s just what they’re doing.

Daily dose

First blush review of the House Budget (WRAL-TV) -- The full House budget is released Sunday night and. The N.C. House of Representatives released its $20.57 billion budget plan late Sunday night. It continues to show contrasts with the Senate spending plan. House Speaker Thom Tillis, R-Mecklenburg, said it "protects core services of government while setting priorities by focusing on job creation and economic activity."


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