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Triad Conservative blog advises Senate candidates to avoid debates

The blog Triad Conservative is advising Republican candidates for Kay Hagan's Senate seat to avoid a debate being staged April 22nd and 23rd by Time Warner News and McClatchy. Because, really, who needs open debate in a free democracy when the Koch brothers and Karl Rove's American Crossroads are talking for you?

Greensboro News and Record editorial writer Doug Clark thinks the idea is as ridiculous as you do.

Meanwhile, Hagan is portraying herself as the voice of sanity in the Senate race.

Art Pope candidate forces runoff in non-partisan Supreme Court race against Dem on Court

The News and Observer reports on a surprise for the May primaries. State Supreme Court Justice Robin Hudson - one of only two Democrats on the state's highest court - thought she was only going to have one challenger for her seat.

One of only two Democrats on the seven-member court, Hudson assumed she would be facing a general challenge in the fall from Mecklenburg County Superior Court Judge Eric Levinson, a Republican. But near the end of the filing period, a second opponent emerged, Jeanette Doran.

“She came out of nowhere,” Hudson said.

NY Times: NC Republicans passed "nation's most restrictive voting laws"

The NY Times has an overview of challenges facing the Democratic party in different states because of voting restrictions passed by Republicans. North Carolina is highlighted.

Will business and investment really be attracted to a state controlled by extremists that can't maintain their power in office without rigging the vote?

GOP going all out crazy in the mountains of NC; worry about precious bodily fluids

Via Wautauga Watch, we learn that Boone's High Country Press has published resolutions passed by the Wautauga and Ashe County Republican parties last weekend at their annual conventions.

They're a little window into what devoted, rank and file Republicans are thinking in North Carolina. And the concerns they express are disturbing in what they say about how extreme - and paranoid - the right-wing has become in the state.

The Jefferson Post has a round-up of speakers at the Ashe GOP convention.

Former Bush admin official comes out against charter schools

In an interview with Bill Moyers, Dianne Ravitch, former assistant secretary of education for Bush and advocate for charter schools, has changed her mind.

Why? The push for charter schools is coming from political groups and commercial interests that don't have the best interests of your kids in mind.

There is a tremendous political force of very wealthy hedge-fund managers who are investing in the charter-school industry and seeing it grow. And so they have fought for these laws. There’s also a lot of charter school money going as political contributions to legislators in many of the states where the charters are booming.

Distinguished professorships unfilled at UNC system due to budget debacle

The Daily Tarheel reported earlier this week that 109 Distinguished Professor positions in the UNC system are going unfilled because of the uncertainty over the system's budget. In February, Art Pope rejected the UNC system's budget request.

Distinguished Professors are positions where private donations are matched by state dollars to provide extra travel and research funding to outstanding faculty.

Duke Energy roundup: keeping records private, shareholders upset, and Locke Foundation makes snowballs in hell

Duke Energy has filed a motion with a Federal judge asking that records requested during the Federal investigation into the company's coal ash debacle be kept from state regulators and environmental groups that had sued Duke Energy under the Clean Water Act.

Frank Holleman, senior staff attorney with the environmental law group, said Duke's motion is a stalling tactic.

"They are using the fact that they are caught up in a federal criminal investigation related to their coal ash storage as an excuse to try to postpone the enforcement of the law against them," he said. "It's exactly backward from how you think the law would operate."

Campus Crusade for Koch

The Center for Public Integrity is out with an analysis of the Koch brothers giving to higher education. The brothers spent more than $12.7 million at 163 universities around the country.

Among the recipients were Duke University and UNC. At UNC, they paid $100,000 for a visiting faculty position.

The Center notes that the donations sometimes come with strings attached:

"...the Charles Koch Foundation in 2011 pledged $1.5 million to Florida State University’s economics department, a contract between the foundation and university stipulated that a Koch-appointed advisory committee select professors and conduct annual evaluations..."

Pat McCrory: Portrait of the reactionary conservative as a young man

Triad City Beat, an indie from the Greensboro area, has a piece by Billy Ingram who went to college with Pat McCrory. He recounts Pat's run for student council president against an incumbant "hippie" who tried to beautify campus, fund the arts, advocate for minority and women's issues, and have more transparency in student government.

Pat was having none of that.

Without a serious course correction, many feared Catawba College was on the verge of becoming a hippie enclave. The college Republicans — pretty much everyone who wasn’t in the drama or music departments — were especially alarmed.

Coal ash, puppies, and iPads: McCrory rehashes tired talking points for Daily Tarheel

You can read the interview here.

The main points:

  • Employers can't find qualified candidates for jobs so the university system is broken. (Those darn kids can't read balance sheets and annual reports!)
  • He praises liberal arts degress, but says that current liberal arts degrees are useless and that universities have "forgotten the liberal arts part" and that "gender studies" won't help you find a job. (I guess the "liberal arts" part doesn't include anything having to do with women, racial minorities or gays and a "job" doesn't include becoming a professor, historian, or researcher in liberal arts.)
  • If taxpayers subsidize education, a priority should be areas where students are likely to get jobs. (By the way, jobs in engineering, computer science and business are the only ones that count.)

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