One legislator shows up for work on a snow day...hilarity ensues

Remember back in July when a brand new state Senator from Charlotte was introduced here as a "Dem to Watch"? Jeff Jackson has earned a bit of good press since then and today he is at it again. You see, Jeff showed up for work even though today's session had been cancelled. He is now singlehandedly trying to fix the mess the Republicans have created.

He announced this on his Facebook page:

The perils of counsel in North Carolina

An award for renowned lawyers either in or connected to North Carolina and her politics is long overdue. There should be posthumous recipients; too numerous to list here. Three living, breathing law school graduates have now come to mind. First up is Bob Stephens, counsel to Pat McCrory. While helping the Governor complete his 2014 Statement of Economic Interest form for submission to the North Carolina State Ethics Commission, the apparent misunderstanding of how to define "date" and "time" became an issue; still is. Not too far behind Stephens is an attorney named Tom Harris. Anyone who has kept up with the State Employees Association of North Carolina along with the trials and tribulations of Dana Cope knows Mr. Harris both counsels and lurks in the shadows. As an alternative to confession at Our Lady of Lourdes, Harris, Cope and others went to the News & Observer several weeks ago seeking pats on the head in exchange for repentance. We now know how that turned out.

It's the poverty, stupid.

I know Republicans aren't big on statistics and science, but even so, they ought to be ashamed of themselves when it comes to dealing with under-performing schools. Because the hard truth is this: Poverty explains more than half of why schools fail. An analysis of the problem was conducted by Will Wilson and appeared in the Chapel Hill News last week. His conclusions are inescapable:

The GOP's targeting of UNC System institutes and centers

Ideology hiding under the cloak of efficiency:

Supporters of the review say the process is a responsible and long-overdue look at how universities spend state money.

Critics charge the Board of Governors, now dominated by Republican appointees, with political bias. The UNC centers on the Board of Governors’ short list include ones that advocate for civil rights, women’s issues and the Cherokee people. One center is named for former Gov. Jim Hunt, a Democrat. Another, a poverty center, is led by Gene Nichol, a UNC-Chapel Hill law professor whose public comments about state government have angered conservatives.

Typical behavior of a tyrannical regime cementing its rule. Get rid of college professors and the research they were working on, especially if that research could/would demonstrate the negative effects of your policy approaches. And for Art Pope and his minions, it has the added benefit of clearing the field so their propaganda will get more exposure and less criticism.

Daily dose: The continued shrinking of DENR

Proposed move of state parks causes jitters (Coastal Review) -- Although not as many headlines about sweeping changes in state government are expected during the current legislative session, one major proposal is already in the works. Officials with the state Department of Environment and Natural Resources, or DENR, and the Department of Cultural Resources say they are hammering out the details for transferring the state park system, the zoo, natural science museums, aquariums and Jennette’s Pier from DENR to Cultural Resources.

Mayor Vaughan speaks out on SB36

While she still has a voice to speak with:

The moment she introduced Senate Bill 36 (entitled, “An act to clarify the form of government, method of election, and determination of election results in the city of Greensboro”) state Sen. Trudy Wade ignited a fire storm. The fuel on this fire is that this act does not actually “clarify” the current method of electing the City Council; it completely changes it.

The 5-3-1 system gives the voter greater representation. The beauty of this system is that it allows every voter the opportunity to vote for a majority of the City Council. With the 7-1 format, each voter is limited to choosing only one voting member of the council — his or her district representative. That is a substantial reduction in constituent influence. The math is simple: When there is an issue before the council, do you want five people directly accountable to you or just one?

One need only look at demographics to understand why Trudy Wade is making this move: Republicans only make up 19% of registered voters in the City of Greensboro. Which makes their holding 2 out of 9 seats on the current City Council a true representation of the people. But it also makes them powerless, a position the GOP finds untenable, especially when the GOP-led General Assembly is just sitting there waiting for another opportunity to screw with local (and especially metropolitan) governments.

Daily dose: HKonJ edition

'Moral March' participants again demand changes to NC laws (AP) -- Still working toward substantial victories at the ballot box and the legislature, thousands of demonstrators opposed to Republican policies within North Carolina demanded again Saturday that laws be repealed that they say harm the sick, the poor and minorities.
http://www.wral.com/annual-mass-moral-march-for-nc-held-saturday-in-raleigh/14446306/

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