Tuesday News: Walkout

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TEACHERS IN OKLAHOMA AND KENTUCKY ARE FIGHTING BACK AGAINST POOR PAY AND MISTREATMENT: Many schools will remain closed for a second day in Oklahoma Tuesday as teachers rally for higher pay and education funding in a rebellion that has hit several Republican-led states across the country. Oklahoma's three largest school districts, Oklahoma City, Tulsa and Edmond, will remain closed Tuesday to honor the walkout. The Kentucky teachers are mad because Republican lawmakers passed a pension overhaul last week that cuts benefits for new teachers. Opponents objected that the pension changes were inserted into an unrelated bill without a chance for public input, and worry that the changes will discourage young people from joining the profession.
http://www.newsobserver.com/news/business/article207772929.html

Tuesday Twitter roundup

If this isn't in your top ten most important issues, you're part of the problem:

I don't usually play that "you're part of the problem" card, but there simply is no region/area where affordable housing isn't becoming a crisis. We all need to work on this.

Kudos to the NC DOT for expanding public transportation into rural areas

LinkTransit

This is what planning for the future looks like:

One of the fastest growing states in the nation, North Carolina is expected to see its population rise to more than 12.5 million people by 2040 – a 32 percent increase from the state's 2010 population. That's why it is crucial that North Carolina's public transportation systems keep up with the changing population and connect residents in urban and rural areas to opportunities and services such as jobs, higher education, healthcare and recreation.

Partnerships between the N.C. Department of Transportation and local governments, regional authorities and other state agencies have been the source of North Carolina's transit success. Currently under development, the Public Transportation Statewide Strategic Plan will build upon that success by creating the foundation for reinvigorated state and local transit partnerships.

Just a quick note on the image above: I took that shot on the opening day of our Link Transit service here in Alamance County in June of 2016. While it does not reach into rural areas as much as I'd like to see, it has provided access to many of our citizens to our hospital and various clinics, our community college (main and satellite campuses), and of course grocery stores not within walking distance. I'm posting this as a sort of "counterpoint" piece, since Art Pope's minions have already pounced on this new plan as a waste of money. After having to argue that issue several times in-person or in meetings, I wrote this Op-Ed last year as an across-the-board rebuttal:

More bullsh/t from Dallas Woodhouse

When you don't have a leg to stand on, make shit up, then double down and make up even more. Tell the lies often enough and loudly enough, and you'll convince a whole bunch of right-wing zealots to believe anything you say. What a sickening display of pure, unadulterated garbage.

Virginia Foxx's life-long crusade to destroy public education

Easily the #1 poster child for term limits:

U.S. Rep. Virginia Foxx wants the federal Department of Education to disappear. She wants Washington to stop passing down rules and regulations schools have to follow. As the new chair of the House Education and Workforce Committee, the seven-term North Carolina congresswoman has a powerful forum to talk about all that.

Foxx and her Republican congressional allies have a new favored tool for walking back regulations: Congressional Review Acts, which allow Congress to overturn specific federal rules and regulations and prevent them from coming back up.

Between Foxx and Betsy fricking DeVos, we'll be lucky if we even have any sort of Federal education regulations or guidelines by the time 2020 rolls around. And for those who aren't that concerned, would rather leave those decisions up to the state, understand this: Public education has been (and could still be if we're not careful) a major focal point for discrimination and inequity in our country. I'm not just talking about racial segregation, although that is a constant aggravating influence. But also gender issues. It wasn't that long ago when girls were actively discouraged from learning above a certain point in the sciences, which is why they are still underrepresented in the engineering and MD/PhD ranks. Foxx and DeVos don't care one whit about stuff like that, they're still (mentally) living in a 1950's dream world. She blatantly laid out her manifesto (of course) a few weeks after her last successful election:

Monday News: This little piggy stayed home

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CHINA'S RETALIATION AGAINST TRUMP TARIFFS WILL HURT NC FARMERS: Monday's tariff increase will hit American farm states, many of which voted for Trump in 2016. Beijing is imposing a 25 percent tariff on U.S. pork and aluminum scrap and 15 percent on sparkling wine, steel pipe used by oil and gas companies, and an array of fruits and nuts including apples, walnuts and grapes. American farm exports to China in 2017 totaled nearly $20 billion, including $1.1 billion of pork products. There was no indication whether Beijing might exempt Chinese-owned American suppliers such as Smithfield Foods, the biggest U.S. pork producer, which is ramping up exports to China. The tariffs "signal a most unwelcome development, which is that countries are becoming protectionist," said economist Taimur Baig of DBS Group.
http://www.wral.com/china-raises-tariffs-on-us-pork-fruit-in-trade-dispute/17458474/

Sunday News: From the Editorial pages

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STOP THE LEGISLATURE'S POLICIES THAT MAKE PUBLIC SCHOOLS MORE SEGREGATED: From the 1970s through the first decade of this new century, North Carolina worked to end school segregation. In the process the state boosted funding for public education, increased teacher pay and improved student performance and graduation rates. But, as a series of recent studies reveal, that progress has been eroded over the last decade. The state’s financial support for public schools is being diminished. The number of public charter schools has been greatly increased. And a private school voucher program that lacks accountability, and in fact publically funds discrimination, is growing yearly. As a result, our public schools are becoming more segregated.
http://www.wral.com/editorial-legislature-s-policies-are-making-our-public-schools-more-segregated/1...

NC GOP funding effort to collect signatures for unaffiliated House candidate

Alternate title for this diary: Desperately Seeking Dallas:

The North Carolina Republican Party distributed a mailer to 6,000 Wilson County homes this week and state Rep. Susan Martin, R-Wilson, has recorded a robocall urging voters to sign Fontenot’s ballot access petition. “A lot of people are aware of what’s going on, but the mailers are very good because it brings the opportunity directly to their door,” Fontenot said.

As an unaffiliated candidate, Fontenot must gather about 2,200 signatures — representing 4 percent of registered Wilson County voters — in order to be listed as a challenger to eight-term state Rep. Jean Farmer-Butterfield, a Wilson Democrat. There is no Republican candidate in the race.

Before we talk about the ethics of this, I just wanted to point out how this story exposes another Dallas Woodhouse lie, when he bragged the GOP had achieved the same thing the NCDP had by having a candidate in all 170 NCGA races. But these lies are so ubiquitous now, as they are with his role model Donald Trump, it's doubtful any mainstream media will even ask him about it. Back to the ethics, and one glaring, gaping hole in the integrity of this gambit:

Saturday News: Nice try, Dallas

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REPUBLICAN CANDIDATE OPPOSING JEFF JACKSON RULED INELIGIBLE TO RUN: Sen. Jeff Jackson, a Mecklenburg County Democrat, could be the only state Senate candidate running unopposed after the county's Board of Elections rejected the candidacy of Republican Nora Trotman. Trotman says she'll appeal the decision, which came in response to two complaints claiming she is ineligible to run as a Republican in Senate District 37. One complaint was that she hadn't been registered as a Republican for at least 90 days prior to filing, while the other complaint took issue with the fact that her filing paperwork wasn't delivered in person, by mail or by a courier service. Trotman's paperwork was delivered by NC Republican Party executive director Dallas Woodhouse.
http://www.newsobserver.com/news/politics-government/election/article207458799.html

Art Pope is worried about Dems taking over Congress

Your tears of frustration brighten my day:

According to over a half dozen top GOP donors who spoke with The Hill, conservative funders are getting nervous about the momentum Democratic candidates have been experiencing in congressional races and suggested that they might have to give up on trying to win the House to focus on keeping the Senate.

“Myself and many others are very concerned that this could be a wave year for the Democratic Party and for their candidates,” said Art Pope, a top Republican donor from North Carolina.

Okay, first of all, your grammar sucks. The use of the reflexive pronoun "myself" is out of place, which simply temporarily removing "and many others" would reveal to a 3rd grader. You wouldn't say "myself am very concerned," you would say "I am very concerned." Now that the really important stuff is out of the way: Art Pope isn't even close to being a top GOP donor, bless his cold, dark heart. He might be able to scrape up a couple hundred thousand, but compared to the Koch Brothers who are gearing up to spend some $400 million this year, that's not even peanuts. It's like...peanut shells. I don't know, I don't even have a good analogy of what it is. But I really like what this guy from Texas had to say:

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