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#DebtFreeUNC protest at UNC Board of Governors meeting this Friday

The NC Student Power Union is highlighting a protest at the UNC Board of Governors meeting on Friday with a call to reduce tuition and increase financial aid to have all UNC system students graduate free of debt, to end cuts that compromise the quality of the university system, and for a more direct voice in UNC system governance by stakeholders.

Their Facebook page has links to a recent stories of note about UNC system schools including the news that the Board of Governors will be discussing on Thursday ending the policy of setting aside part of out-of-state tuition for financial aid.

McCrory appoints hand-picked ferry director

A local tv station on the Outer Banks reported a two days ago that McCrory has demoted a long-time system employee, Harold Thomas, who was ferry director since 2011. McCrory's pick is Ed Goodwin.

Goodwin is a former Chowan County commissioner, ex-Naval Criminal Investigative Service agent and 2012 Republican candidate for secretary of state. He has no experience within the ferry office.

DOT ferry spokesman Tim Hass says Goodwin will focus on broader initiatives related to customer service, capital improvements and relations with legislators.

UNCG may cut 120 jobs and 600 classes

Faced with cutting $12.8 million from the school's budget, the University of North Carolina at Greensboro may cut up to 120 jobs and 600 classes. This is on top of a cut to UNC's budget of $90 million in the past five years and the elimination of 30 jobs last year, all courtesy of your Tea Bagger legislature and Art Pope, intent on giving tax breaks to a handful of North Carolinians while leaving everyone else out in the cold.

NC Amendment One may get struck down this summer

Both the Winston-Salem Journal and Greensboro News and Record are carrying a McClatchy Tribune article on the vulnerability of NC's Amendment One. A ruling striking down the ban could come a few months before the 2014 midterms.

The 4th Circuit, which covers the Carolinas, West Virginia, Virginia and Maryland, is one of several appeals courts around the nation that will hear potentially ground-breaking marriage cases in the coming months. Utah’s legal showdown begins Thursday.

Same-sex marriage is already allowed in Maryland. And on Valentine’s Day, a federal judge in Virginia ruled her state’s gay marriage ban is unconstitutional.

That ruling is now being appealed, and in line with the speed of other marriage-equality appeals, that case will be heard by the 4th Circuit panel on May 13.

Fighting for a living wage in Asheville

Asheville's Citizen-Times profiles the work of Just Economics of Western North Carolina, a local group working for an increased minimum wage in Buncombe County.

The nonprofit group has been pushing for local businesses to pay a "living wage," which it calculates at $11.85 an hour, the minimum amount a worker must make to afford basic necessities, without public or private assistance. So far, 370 businesses in the Asheville area have signed on, meaning about 3,000 workers have moved above that living wage threshold.

Hmm ... I wonder if Art Pope's Roses's store in Buncombe has signed on.

W-S Journal feature story on Republican gerrymandering

The Winston-Salem Journal has an in-depth front-page look at the Republican gerrymandering that has mucked up North Carolina's political landscape, including a helpful infographic.

The 2012 election should have been a good one for Democrats running for Congress in North Carolina.

They received a total of 2.2 million votes — about 81,000 more than their Republican opponents. But when those votes were divvied up among the state's 13 House districts, Democrats came up short. Way short.

Republicans won nine seats and Democrats only four.

Make your own Tillis campaign ad!

HuffingtonPost has a pair of articles (here and here) about the latest trend among campaigns.

Candidates aren't allowed to coordinate with SuperPACs and issue advocacy groups. Of course, these groups want to make ads supportive of their candidates and need clean, professionally shot footage of them.

So, what's a candidate to do?

Well, you post unedited "b roll" footage of yourself to the Internet that SuperPACS and issue advocacy groups can download and use in their own ads. Both Republicans and Dems are doing it, including Kay Hagan.

Want to make your own ad about Thom Tillis? Have yourself at some sweet sexy soft-focus b-roll here and here.

Tillis, Interstate Crosscheck, Big Data, and you

You've no doubt heard and read about the heart palpitations among our Republican state leaders today when Thom Tillis announced evidence massive voter fraud, which seems to have turned out to be about 700 people *alleged to be* voting here in NC and another state in the last election, about .00075% of the total voter turnout in the state 101 million voter records that were claimed to be checked by Interstate Crosscheck, the service being used by the state.

Of course, it was an opportunity for Tillis and Company to defend and promote NC's voter restriction laws, called the "worst" in the nation and being challenged in court by the NAACP and the ACLU. Tillis and McCrory didn't use it as an opportunity to announce any investigations or sharing of what was found with the FBI since what might be going on here besides felony voter fraud is identity theft or other activity.

Who cares about investigating possible felonies when there's a press release to push out, really?

What's more disturbing to me is how this suspected voter fraud was found.

At the heart of Tillis's evidence are some disturbing questions about data the state of North Carolina has about you, how secure that data is, and what might be happening or could happen with it.

Phil Berger Jr tells 6th grader about men marrying dogs

Phil Berger, Jr appeared at a Q&A at the Greensboro Montessori School with other candidates vying for Howard Coble's seat.

Sixth-grader Lana Torres explained that she supported marriage equality, and asked Rockingham County District Attorney Phil Berger Jr. what he would do ensure equal rights for LGBT people.

“Two years ago, the voters of North Carolina overwhelming approved Amendment One, which only recognized traditional marriage, and I was a leader in that effort,” Berger replied, according to the Greensboro News & Record. “I was the spokesperson for traditional marriage in North Carolina, and I am very much in favor of traditional marriage.”

Torres told the paper that she pressed Berger following the conclusion of the forum.

NC legislators want unemployment appeal information private

State lawmakers, according to WRAL, are considering legislation to close off public access to records of unemployment appeals when claims are rejected. Lawyers used the information to find clients and a Durham lawyer is suing after state officials made access to the records more difficult.

In February, Dale Folwell, the assistant Department of Commerce secretary in charge of the division, moved to slow the flow of those notices out of the agency. Instead of daily pickup, Folwell proposed sending them out in three monthly bundles.

That prompted Monica Wilson, a Durham lawyer, to sue, saying the agency was unlawfully changing established practice in violation of the state's open records laws. She said that, by slowing the flow of notices, the state would hurt her business and deprive low-income individuals of legal counsel when they go before an appeal.

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