Two growing NC student populations: homeless and homeschooled

Not the kind of statistical spike you want to see:

The number of homeless students in North Carolina schools has skyrocketed recently, jumping 53 percent just from the 2010-11 to 2011-12 school years, according to a new report from the National Center for Homeless Education (NCHE) based at UNC-Greensboro.

North Carolina was one of just 10 states nationwide to increase by at least 20 percent — let alone 50 — in that time, and it was the only state in the south to do so.

NC's safety net already had far too many holes in it before Republicans took over, but those holes have stretched into gaping chasms under their stern paternalistic hands. Federal unemployment extensions have been missing for going on five months, as have tens of thousands in weekly state benefits due to massive cuts. We can expect a lot more homeless students in future reports. As to the ones who have a home:

NC Music Love Army album release 11/26/13

You can order your copy here, and they even have vinyl! :)

Republican revolving door at the NCGA swings again

Pete Brunstetter cashes in on years of service to corporations:

State Sen. Pete Brunstetter is leaving office next month, to accept a position as executive vice president and chief legal officer with Novant Health, which has hospitals in North Carolina, Virginia and South Carolina. The departure of the Winston-Salem Republican leaves the legislature without one of its most knowledgeable budget writers.

Brunstetter, 57, said it was a “terrific opportunity” to join what he called “an innovative and cutting-edge health-care company.”

You should know, since you were the Chairman of Novant and a Trustee before you took a sabbatical to tweak laws in their favor:

Teatards against Tillis: free market nut-jobs attack corporate donors

But don't expect them to support campaign finance reform:

Protesters are Republicans who oppose the tactics used by both Karl Rove and Speaker Tillis that promote corruption, cronyism and unconstitutional practices. The protest will be from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. this Thursday outside of the fundraiser to be held at the Bank of America Stadium at 800 South Mint Street.

“A growing contingency of Republicans oppose how both Thom Tillis and Karl Rove wield power to influence elections and legislation through their corporate donors,” said Chuck Suter, video reporter and founder of

You're kidding, right? The vast majority of Republicans love how their leaders can rake in the cash and push people around. These are admirable traits, to be emulated whenever possible to make the GOP a stronger political adversary. But by all means, continue to bang the drum about corruption and cronyism. Just don't expect more than a couple of dozen Republicans to listen.

DAG McCrory's spin machine latches onto a new word

"Compacting" is no longer synonymous with "shortening":

After dismissing criticisms of a new voter-ID law – he described the policy as “common sense,” despite the fact that it undermines voting and solves a problem that doesn’t exist – the Republican governor bristled in response to a question about early voting.

“We didn’t shorten early voting, we compacted the calendar,” McCrory said. He added, “It’s just the schedule has changed.”

Spoken like a true double-speaking bureaucrat. Once again, McCrory's PR team is trying to be clever, but they're just making their figurehead Governor seem even more of a lying sack of fertilizer.

Skip Stam charter school madness: throw the rulebook out the window

Because apparently children are safer and more productive in a no-rules environment:

Charter schools are public schools. They do not charge tuition. They are completely funded by the government. They cannot teach religious doctrine. But they have huge advantages over traditional public schools. They are freed from most, but not all, state-imposed rules that strangle the creativity of schools and teachers.

It would take this entire page to list all the stifling rules charters do not have to follow.

Okay, maybe you can list ten of those "stifling" rules, so parents can get an idea of what not to expect from the school they send their children to. Five? One? Or maybe you don't want to go into detail, because you know most of those creativity-strangling rules were put in place to protect children from idiotic nonsensical demagogues like yourself.

NC GOP looks to cut pay for Alzheimer's care

Taking budget-cutting to a disgusting level:

Families dealing with Alzheimer’s disease, and the care providers they hire, are sweating over proposed cuts to state Medicaid payments for elder care. The N.C. Department of Health and Human Services is looking for a $2.40 an hour decrease in what it pays for in-home and in-facility care. The new rate would be $13.12 an hour per person.

“There’s not going to be an easy answer and a painless answer,” Blust said. “And it is just chewing up the budget.”

The problem is, you would rather inflict real pain on those who are virtually helpless, instead of inflicting imaginary pain on the wealthiest of individuals in our state. Here's some scientific reality for you, Einstein: just as improvements in battlefield trauma treatment have created many more crippled (yet living) soldiers than we had from previous wars, medical breakthroughs that have extended the average lifespan of people have created a growing group of those who succumb to Alzheimer's and other brain-related diseases. And cutting the income of caregivers will only result in unnecessary suffering, and likely injuries that could/should have been prevented, which will eat up those labor-saving dollars. Don't do it.

Tuesday Twitter roundup

North Carolina's brain drain continues:

They say that nobody is irreplaceable. But in this case, they may be wrong:

NC GOP tax reform: tax student meals to pay for tax cuts for the rich

That bitter aftertaste is voter's remorse:

Meal plans and event tickets sold on North Carolina university campuses were formerly exempt from the state’s 6.75 percent sales tax, but the N.C. General Assembly repealed that exemption over the summer. The change takes effect Jan. 1.

“To give you an example with real numbers, (consider) the Value 14 — currently that plan is $1,725, so it’s going to go up to $1,854. It’s about a $129 increase,” said Mike Freeman, director of auxiliary services. “But it’s not money we get. It’s going straight to the Department of Revenue.”

And that money going straight to the Department of Revenue is coming (mostly) from North Carolina's shrinking middle-class, who Republicans have abandoned. Actually, they never cared for the middle-class in the first place, so "abandoned" may be an inappropriate term. "Screwed again" is much closer to the truth.

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