Another teacher takes to the op-ed pages

No respite for the weary:

As much as I love the 50 children I’ve been privileged to love, teach and laugh with, I’m leaving. I can’t afford to stay any longer. Every month when I’m paid, my paycheck is spent within an hour. Between my rent, my car payments, loans and paying my credit card off from the previous month’s expenses, I have nothing left.

I can assure you I don’t make enough money to live lavishly. Dinner time at my house is often brown rice and Diet Coke. Just for fun one day, I added all the hours I work (about a third of them completely unpaid yet necessary), and averaged my salary per hour. I made more money per hour while working at a magazine in college.

On the plus side, since you can't afford to go out and eat dinner in a restaurant, that gives you more time to grade papers and prepare class assignments for the following days. Inappropriate jokes aside, we can't continue to presume that good teachers will "stick with it" and remain in their classrooms due to some noble calling. Nobility can't survive on an empty stomach, and it's hard to grade papers at night if your house is foreclosed on and you're living in your car.

Speaking truth to power

can still result in attempts to muzzle the speaker.

Gene Nichol is now required to warn UNC and add a disclaimer any time he writes something for publication.

Printed under the column were [Nichol's] name, his title as the Boyd Tinsley Distinguished Professor and this statement: “He doesn’t speak for UNC.”

Since late October, the disclaimer has appeared whenever Nichol, a provocative and prolific writer, pens a piece for the newspaper’s opinion pages.

According to email records obtained by the N&O, Nichol, a former dean and college president and well-known liberal, has also been asked by his bosses to give them a day or two days’ notice – a “heads up” before his columns appear

That's because Nichol speaks truth that the powerful don't want to hear. And some of the powerful react with indignation.

Three Taxi Cab Industry Donors Maxed Out to Cannon and Mayor Pro Tem Barnes

In 2013 three men from Florida, California, and Virginia with ties to the taxicab and parking industries made $24,000 in donations to Charlotte City Council Mayor Pro Tem Michael Barnes and $24,000 to former Charlotte Mayor Patrick Cannon. One of the men, William H. Bodenhamer, Jr. is an executive with Standard Parking (SP+), which had bid on a large airport-related contract that was voted on by the Charlotte City Council in early 2014. All three men are part owners of NBRS USA Holdings, which owns Yellow Cab in Charlotte. Yellow Cab was one of three taxicab companies selected to work out of the Charlotte Airport in 2011 in a controversial decision.

UNC hires out-of-state experts to refute athletic reading scandal

I'll see your bothersome study, and raise you two more:

Outside experts found no evidence to support public claims about widespread low literacy levels of a group of first-year University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill student-athletes who had been screened for possible learning differences or learning disabilities between 2004 and 2012. Since January, those claims were widely reported in news media accounts and via social media.

According to an executive summary, the outside experts “also determined that the majority of the students referenced in the public claims scored at or above college entry level on the SATA Reading Vocabulary subtest. The data set was based on those scores.”

I've read the three outside reports and, although there was quite a bit of dithering about the quality of the SATA test itself, it does appear that earlier reports were incorrect. That said, I find it extremely ironic that UNC is happy with and touting studies they would have been embarrassed to acknowledge before:

New Government Data Shows Economic Recovery Limited to Upper Income Groups

This comes as no surprise to those who read BlueNC, but the Bureau of Labor Statistics is delivering evidence that income inequality is even more pronounced in economic recovery data.

According to BLS:

While average income has returned to prerecession levels, income gains have been distributed unevenly across income quintiles. (Income quintiles are five equally sized groups of households that have been divided from lowest to highest according to their annual income.) Between 2008 and 2012, the highest income quintile accounted for more than 80 percent of the total increase in household income in the United States. The fourth income quintile also experienced a significant gain between 2008 and 2012, while the lowest, second, and third income quintiles experienced essentially no change in income.

Pope empire crumbling?

There's news this week that the slum-retailing business is beginning to crumble under the weight of its own greed. It's a sad story all around, and it's also the natural conclusion of a business model that depends on exploiting poor people.

Though Art Pope would disagree, he and his fellow slumlords have been working to decimate the middle class and to ensure that poor people stay that way. As it turns out, they've been cannibalizing their own customer base to the point that their customers can no longer afford even the cheap crap they sell.

"... the retailer’s core customers – which it defines as female heads of household making less than $40,000 a year – are still pressured by a weak economy that has left many low-income workers struggling. Cuts to federal food stamp benefits have also hurt Family Dollar, Levine said.

Tillis: "I have big boy pants on every day."

Mother Jones is on a roll, this week taking Little Tommy Tillis to task for being ... well ... the arrogant, patronizing jerk that he actually is. Go see the story, and then listen to this amazing video.

This is the real Thom Tillis and, oh my goodness, he is one ugly son of a bitch.

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McCrory's approval ratings still "under water"

Public Policy Polling is out with the latest numbers of our esteemed Governor McCrony. His numbers are holding steady at a 45% disapproval/40% approval rate, unchanged from a month ago. PPP says Pat's approval ratings have been "under water" for 10 months.

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Today is the deadline for registering to vote in NC's Primary

And while you're pondering that, ponder what it would be like if you needed help to vote:

One of the most fundamental rights is that of voting, according to Disability Rights attorney Mercedes Restucha-Klem. But under the new voter ID law passed last year by the General Assembly, exercising that right could become more cumbersome for some people with disabilities.

Restucha-Klem explained that, for example, the new law prohibits a worker from a nursing home or adult-care home from helping a resident vote. Facility workers can no longer even witness a resident’s signature on an absentee ballot.

Republicans are doing everything they can to limit the number of people who vote in our elections. As disgusted and disillusioned as you may feel about the system or the candidates, don't help the GOP achieve their goals. Go and vote, and encourage as many others as you can to do the same.

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