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IndyWeek gives us a Who's Who of Civitas and Civitas Action

IndyWeek, seeing the story on Civitas's posting of personal information on Moral Monday protestors, has turned the tables on Civitas, giving background information on the people that make up the organization. They note that the list of individuals working for Civitas disappeared from the organization's website as they were working on the story and the irony of Civitas's calls for transparency while being so secretive about itself.

Civitas Institute is a conservative think tank funded largely by the Pope Foundation, which has given it more than $8 million since its founding in 2005—about 97 percent of its income. It is a tax-exempt nonprofit. Art Pope sat on the institute’s board of directors until Gov. Pat McCrory appointed him as state deputy budget director.

Exodus International in NC

As you may have heard, the main organization pushing Gay "conversion" therapy, Exodus International, is shutting down. The head of the group has made a public apology for the organization's work, which has been going on since 1976. Gay conversion therapy has been debunked by several organizations, including the American Medical Association and the American Psychological Association, and has been linked to causing or encouraging depression, PTSD and suicide.

Some churches affiliated with Exodus may continue to offer "ex-gay" therapy, even though Exodus itself is shutting down. Gay conversion therapy is illegal in some areas.

Here's a list of Exodus affiliates in North Carolina. I'd encourage the press in NC to follow up with these individual churches when the dust settles from the Exodus announcement to see if they're still offering dangerous this dangerous quack therapy and how they can defend it. It's also worth investigating if they actively campaigned for the passage of Amendment One.

Duke Constitutional Law Prof on Civitas Moral Monday Database

The Huffington Post has an open letter from Duke Consitutional Law Professor Jebediah Purdy on the Civitas online database - complete with mug shots and information about employers and voter registrations - of individuals arrested during the Moral Monday protests.

Some highlights:

You've made some really solid aesthetic choices here. The dull, column-ruled, sans-serif layout that we have to click through ten names at a time, like we were turning the pages of a Registry of Deeds? So retro. It's like 1950s public record in a county courthouse. ...

The design choices set the mood for what you're really trying to communicate here: 1950s, blacklists, loyalty oaths, right? Am I feeling you?

Civitas exploiting mug shots of Moral Monday protestors

Progress NC reports that Civitas is using mug shots of individuals arrested during the Moral Monday protests as a "game" on their website.

http://www.nccivitas.org/moralmonday/

Update: I looked at the site more closely - the site also includes information on each protestor that's not available from the arrest records available to the public (name, date of birth, charge). Civitas is offering as a downloadable spreadsheet or searchable database information on the protestors that includes the name of their employer, their voter registration information, address, and affiliation with any groups - data that they would have had to research on each individual through the web or Facebook pages. More details in this comment on James's post about the site.

Required reading: End of the Solid South

Bob Moser at American Prospect has an interesting analysis of the Republican prospects in the South - and how the party faces a ticking demographic timebomb.

Some highlights...

Gerrymandering:

In a bad year for Democrats nationwide, it was a disaster in the South. Two years after North Carolina voted for Obama, both chambers of the general assembly went Republican for the first time in 120 years. In Florida, the Tea Party launched Marco Rubio into the U.S. Senate. The year before, in Virginia’s off-year elections, right-wing Republicans had been elected governor and attorney general. Republicans now controlled all but four legislative chambers in the region.

Right Wing Nutcase Watch: Gun March on DC Morphing into 50 State Call to Dissolve the Union

Some of you might recall Adam Kokesh, the right-wing gun rights advocate and conspiracy theorist who called for a Million Gun Owners March on DC a few weeks back on his radio show.

Now, he's really gone off the deep end, calling for gun owners to march on their state capitals, rather than DC, and demand "dissolution of the Federal government".

You can read more about it at Media Matters.

Currently, his Facebook page for the DC March has 5,000 people that have said they'll attend. It could just be hot air, but I think this is worth keeping a close eye on.

A quote for our times

"I want the Republican party to be liberal enough to march with the times, to dare new answers, to new problems and to use the power and strength and initiative of government to help citizens to help themselves when they confront problems beyond their own resources and their own control."

I ran into this quote recently and was quite surprised by it. It came from a famous speech by Arthur Vandenberg of Michigan, a Republican who served twenty years in the Senate.

When Vandenberg was accused by some in his party of abandoning his principles, he simply replied, "I want the oak to stand, but I want the branches to grow."

He was widely admired for his conservative principles. He opposed the New Deal and was an isolationist. But he was practical enough to understand the role of the US on the world stage, serving as the Republican representative of the Senate that helped set up the United Nations.

Is Art Pope headed to the Koch brothers retreat?

Anyone keeping an eye on Art Pope's upcoming schedule or the schedule of some of his representatives?

The Koch brothers are holding their upcoming big retreat on April 28 and 29th. Pope, if you'll recall is the second biggest donor to the Koch's Americans for Prosperity. He's showed up at the strategy meeting in previous years.

Mother Jones has a leaked email containing an outline of the topics they'll be looking at.

Send a pee cup to your NC Senator and McCrory

One good stunt by the NC Senate deserves another.

ActionNC has a fundraiser going - for just $8 they will send a pee cup to your state senator in recognition of the passage of a bill that requires welfare recipients to drug test and not members of the legislature.

In Minnesota, Tea Baggers pushed through a similar bill yesterday - in that case, the Dems had the votes to add drug testing of legislators to the bill.

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