#ForwardOnslow

So, It’s easy for most people to look at me and think I’m nothing special. I didn’t go to Harvard, I’ve never been on a private jet and I’ve never been asked for a quote by the Wall Street Journal. I’ve just lived my life doing what I love, working to get by and giving back when I can. Scrubs, hospital ID badge, doing CPR and talking with suicidal patients - this may not be the description of your typical politician, but it is the description of myself and the folks who tend to make the most difference: our neighbors.

Daily dose: The GOP's unpopular agenda edition

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GOP Legislature vs. The People – A new survey of North Carolina registered voters shows a stark divide between the Republican-dominated legislature and the people it represents. Only 31% of North Carolinians agree with the legislature’s GOP leadership The who think business owners should be allowed to refuse service to gay customers. Public Policy Polling’s survey found 56% of North Carolinians say it shouldn't be permitted. Voters think their legislators took the wrong tack on a bill to redraw county commission lines in Wake County while killing a bill to end religious exemptions for vaccinations. Only 12% of voters think the General Assembly should be involved with things like drawing City Council and County Commissioner lines while 73% think that should be left to the local level. A mere 24% of voters think parents should still be allowed to exempt their children from immunization requirements for religious reasons, compared to 64% who think there should not be an exemption. http://www.publicpolicypolling.com/main/2015/04/carolina-state-fans-pulling-for-duke.html

Reining in UNC Faculty & Higher Education as a Space for Critical Thinking and Dissent

UNC faculty don't work hard enough as it is. That thinking seems to explain why State Senator Tom McInnis (R-Richmond) introduced a bill the Thursday before last that would require UNC system professors to teach a minimum of eight courses per academic year (i.e., a 4-4 load over two semesters). Or, else, have their pay docked.

Duke University and the "mystery" of the hanging noose

The public's right to know trumps protecting the reputation of a wealthy racist scion:

Duke Student Affairs Vice President Larry Moneta said the student responsible for the noose would face judgment under the school's code of conduct, which includes penalties ranging from probation to expulsion. He said it was "too soon to make any comment'' about whether the student had expressed remorse.

“This is all part of what the investigation will yield and the opportunity for the student to speak to the basis for the behavior,'' Moneta said.

"Speak to the basis for the behavior"? What could he possibly say that would mitigate such an outrageous insult (if not threat) to not only African-Americans attending Duke, but all others living in the region? I have a feeling the "privacy laws" excuse cited for their lack of disclosure has a hell of a lot more to do with avoiding a lawsuit from a wealthy family than it does the laws themselves, and that kind of weak-kneed response is exactly why crap like this is still happening in our country. Even if Duke wins the NCAA, it appears they're losing a more important contest back on campus.

ALEC resorts to bullying tactics to silence environmental groups

When your bottom line is bottoming out:

Attorneys for ALEC sent letters to Common Cause and the League of Conservation Voters asking them to immediately “cease making false statements” and “remove all false or misleading material” suggesting that ALEC does not believe in global warming.

The legal demands from ALEC follow an exodus of some of its best known corporate members, including Google, British Petroleum, Facebook, Yahoo and Northrop Grumman.

While cutting off the flow of corporate dollars to ALEC is a critical step in marginalizing the organization, a much more important goal should be for voters to show their disgust for legislators who engage with the group and bring home cookie-cutter bills to be passed. Every such lawmaker and every such bill need to be exposed by the Capital Press Corps before they get anywhere near the floor of the General Assembly for a vote. Only then will we be able to "take back our state" and do the people's business.

Daily dose: Tarnished golden years edition

McCrory, GOP tax ‘reform’ has elderly facing big bite (Hendersonville Times-News) -- Don Ward spends nearly every hour of the day in his Hendersonville home caring for his 82-year-old wife, Cynthia. Two caregivers help him most of the week. Between the caregivers, insurance premiums, medicine, surgeries and other related costs, Ward's medical expenses totaled $40,000 for 2014. In 2013, when his expenses were about the same, Ward's North Carolina income tax refund was $1,000, which he put in a medical account that took care of expenses such as paying the two caregivers. For 2014, however, Ward will take a big hit and owe nearly $3,000.
http://www.blueridgenow.com/article/20150405/articles/150409951

Discrimination vs. destruction

Gene Nichol's letter to the editor today (N&O) is an important read. Some excerpts follow.

First, the array of possible claims in the name of religious freedom is, literally, boundless. The Supreme Court has entertained cases asserting faith-based commands to engage in polygamy, discriminate on the basis of race, smoke peyote and conduct live animal slaughter or to refuse to enter the draft, pay taxes, contribute to Social Security, obtain a photo ID, go to school past the eighth grade and wear the prescribed military uniform while on duty.

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