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What's next?

Well, we're nearing the end of the current legislative session and it's pretty much been a disaster.

We've seen the extremist Republicans push through laws that restrict voting and abortion rights, give tax breaks to the rich and put more of a burden on the poor and middle class, defund education, take over the authority of local government, and encourage fracking. And I won't even go into absolutely stupid legislation like the Sharia law, the corruption and conflicts of interest in appointments in the Governor's office, or the gerrymandering and passage of Amendment One that they pushed through before the current session even began.

I think we really have to ask what else this bunch can possibly do in the next legislative session.

They're pretty much passed the full buffet of laws being pushed by ALEC and extremist religious organizations. What else can they do?

The gay brain drain

One of the more conservative national publications has tackled a gay rights issue in an op-ed today - the "brain drain" of gays in states with laws that discriminate against LGBTs.

The piece highlights a report by the Michigan Civil Rights Commission on the economic impact of that state's laws barring domestic partnership benefits for same sex partners.

In a section of the report titled, "Discrimination Impacts the Economy," the commissioners found, "People are leaving the state … and seeking out jobs with employers that have policies and environments inclusive of and favorable toward LGBT employees."

Alabama school buses

This piece from Slate is well worth a read. A summary:

Teabagger Republicans in Hoover, Alabama, are ending school bus service. The town is a suburb of Birmingham, quickly growing with minority families. The Teabaggers tout how this will save the town $2 million.

Even though kids who rely on bus service come from every racial and class background, the rollback of public transportation just as the school’s population is getting more diverse raises questions. Especially since the same school district that can't afford to get every kid to class still somehow has money to pay for iPads for the students that are able to find a ride.

New York Times - Decline of NC, Part II

Looks like Deputy Assistant Governor McCrory is going to have to get his angry on again at the New York Times. In their blog, the Times continues their Decline of NC editorial with a piece highlighting the dismantling of NC's public financing system for judicial elections.

The comments are already pouring in, highlighting Governor Pope's role in assembling the "best" NC government money can buy.

NC conservative Orson Scott Card in the news

As you may have heard, Orson Scott Card is in the news. His book "Ender's Game" has been turned into a movie and will be coming out soon.

The producer's were concerned about Card's rabid anti-gay statements in the past harming box office for the film. In the run-up to the movie, DC hired Scott to write a story for an online comic, bring out petitions and controversy, resulting in the artist assigned to illustrate the comic to resign from the project. Salon helpfully has a round-up of Card's statements and misinformation about homosexuality. A few highlights:

ACLU is going to court against Amendment One

The ACLU is taking on Amendment One - details here and in an ACLU fundraising email.

"The ACLU is asking North Carolina Attorney General Roy Cooper to agree to allow an additional claim challenging the state’s ban on marriage for same-sex couples to be added to Fisher-Borne v. Smith, a lawsuit filed last year in Greensboro in the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of North Carolina that challenges the state’s ban on second parent adoption, a process by which one partner in an unmarried gay or straight couple adopts the other partner’s biological or adoptive child. If the Attorney General’s office does not agree to the addition of the new claim, the ACLU will petition the court to allow the claim to be added."

Civitas turns up the heat again on Moral Mondays

The Institute for Southern Studies is reporting that Civitas has added salary information from publicly employed individuals to their "database" of Moral Monday protestors.

Civitas announced the expansion to include public worker salaries in the newsletter it sent out this week.

"As more people have gotten arrested at the protests," Civitas said, "we've continued our analysis of what they are up to -- including the salaries of those protesters on the public payroll."

In a promotion for the database on the front page of its website, the group refers to "Tax Payer Funded Protesters."

They also make the connection to similar intimidation tactics that were recently used in Koch controlled Wisconsin that might give you a clue on how the state legislature and the McCrory administration might want to use this data in the future:

Prop 8 and DOMA: The "separate but equal" of gay rights law

Recently, one morning on my way to work, I heard something on the radio that really drove home to me what's wrong with North Carolina.

I subscribe to satellite radio and enjoy hopping around the offerings there, just to hear some new music or get a different point of view. For a few weeks, I've been listening to KIIS-FM in Los Angeles, the top rated pop station in that city. In between the ads for weight loss formulas and age defying creams, this old fart could catch up on the music the "kids" are into nowadays.

Liberals, conservatives and tech

Buzzfeed has a fascinating little piece about a "Liberty Hackathon" that the Koch's organized in order to bring more "techies" into working for conservative causes. The idea was to appeal to the libertarian side of techies and have them gather and work with actual voter information.

The CEO of StumbleUpon agreed for the Silicon Valley company to host the event. Then, things got weird.

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