Report Card on NCGA - 2013

DemocracyNC has posted a great report card on the legislature which really clearly lays out who did what, by party and bill.

You can look here and define the work to be done to change all this, or not. Get your copy and spread it. Great job Bob and crew.

Massive invasion of charter schools coming in 2015

Instead of just one bandwagon it's becoming a wagon train:

As many as 170 new charter schools could open in North Carolina in 2015, including 39 in the Triangle and 43 in Mecklenburg County.

Charter schools are taxpayer-funded schools that are exempt from some of the regulations that traditional public schools must follow. They are also independent of the school districts in which they’re located.

They may be "independent" of local school districts, but that doesn't mean they won't be draining resources from local taxpayers, and other traditional public schools they are competing with.

NC DHHS continues to waste taxpayer's money

Creating jobs for political hacks:

The North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services has hired a former Republican campaign staffer and lobbyist as the agency's new director of brands and marketing. Aaron Mullins began work Sept. 5. He will be paid an annual salary of $68,000.

Agency spokeswoman Julie Henry would not release the written description for Mullins' new job, which is exempted from state personnel requirements. She said Mullins' duties will include improving the agency's website and expanding its use of social media.

You can't release a written description if one doesn't exist. Mullins probably doesn't know jack squat about IT issues, but that really doesn't matter. It's just a title, anyway.

Tuesday Twitter roundup

More on the heavy-handed and empty-headed management style of Aldona Wos:

Val Foushee chosen to replace Ellie Kinnaird

At least there's fewer Republicans to argue with in the Senate:

State Rep. Valerie Foushee will replace former state Sen. Ellie Kinnaird following a vote Sunday evening by the N.C. Senatorial District 23 Democratic Party Executive Committee.

After only two rounds of voting, Foushee, who currently serves Durham and Orange counties representing House District 50, secured all of the votes and beat out her six competitors. A panel similar to the panel that chose Foushee to complete Kinnaird’s term will be called to appoint someone to serve the remainder of Foushee’s term. Foushee will be up for election in 2014 when Kinnaird’s term ends.

Take a few minutes to get to know Senator Foushee:

The anatomy of a voter suppression omnibus

Gives new meaning to the phrase "battleground state":

There are going to be a lot more poll-watchers in North Carolina next election. Under earlier laws, Election Day poll monitors had to be residents of the precincts they were observing. Section 11.1 of the bill allows each party to appoint an additional 10 poll watchers who live in the same county as the precinct they’re observing.

Similarly, any challenges to a voter or a ballot can now be made by a wider segment of the population. Previously, voters could only challenge other votes cast within their own precinct. Section 20.2 allows a registered voter to challenge a ballot cast within his or her home county, not just his or her own precinct. And any citizen registered to vote in North Carolina can challenge another voter’s registration, regardless of which county either voter lives in, under Section 20.1.

I've seen many on the left put forward the idea that we should all vote absentee, but I believe that would be a mistake. Those polling places belong to all of us, and I'm not about to surrender any ground to right-wing vigilantes who believe they have the justification for challenging another's right to vote. If I see it happening, if I witness a neo-brownshirt going after someone who had the audacity to exercise their Constitutional right and took the time to take part in the Democratic process, it's gonna get ugly.

Putting memes to bed: Christensen sets the record straight

A little truth goes a long way:

Myth No. 7: North Carolina was no longer an attractive state because of high taxes.

Not according to the moving companies. The 2012 United Van Lines Migration Study found that North Carolina was the fourth highest destination for moves, following the District of Columbia, Oregon and Nevada. North Carolina has been growing at twice the national average. During the first decade of this century, only the states of Nevada and Texas grew faster than North Carolina, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.

No doubt Republican propagandists are steaming in their shells over this article, since they've gone to great pains to paint a different picture. But a lot of this is simply common sense. Everybody knows North Carolina's population has been growing at a freakish pace for the last decade or so, and a lot of those families have school-aged children:

9/7 - #Bootstraps Tour Updates!

Today's Bootstraps schedule!

I'm posting this blog from Rutherford County - 300 cans have already been collected across Western North Carolina. Please sign up at to donate and come out and see us!

DAG McCrory sics police on reporter

Apparently school security involves stifling the press:

On Friday, Wilmington’s Hoggard High School hosted Governor Pat McCrory, who, according to other media outlets, gave a speech about safety in public schools.

The invitation-only event was small and high-security; in fact, WHQR Reporter Katie O’Reilly was barred from entering. But before being escorted off-site by four uniformed members of law enforcement, O'Reilly was able to talk to others who were not on the guest list; namely, education activists who gathered outside the school to protest the governor's recent policies.

Speaking of "other media outlets", I just watched News14's coverage of the event. Which means, DAG McCrory's staff let them know ahead of time so they could cover it, while blocking a local television station from doing the same. Which was a PR failure, since that forced the local reporter to cover something News14 missed (or was asked to miss):

Patronage and pay-to-play ruling NC DHHS

There's a New Breed of government employee taking charge:

An adviser to state Health and Human Services Secretary Aldona Wos has been paid more than $228,000 by the state for eight months of work. Hauck came to DHHS from New Breed Logistics, where Wos’ husband is CEO. Hauck is vice president of marketing and communications, and is on leave from the company. Wos was a campaign fundraiser for Gov. Pat McCrory, and New Breed employees were prime contributors. Hauck gave $6,500 to McCrory’s campaign in 2011 and 2012.

New Breed is no stranger to the pages of BlueNC, as they've made funneling money into political campaigns a near art-form. And once again we get to witness one political patron defending another:

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