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Give Virginia Foxx a piece of your mind on the budget

Virginia Foxx got an op-ed published in several newspapers in her district a few days ago, hammering Obama and the Democrats on the budget and repeating many of the same talking points that Paul Ryan and Company have been hammering in conservative media the past few days.

If you have some time, call in to the Town Hall on April 15th and give Foxx and her henhouse some grief.

I've also been Googling around a little bit - I have a funny feeling that Foxx or her staff didn't write this op-ed and versions of it are floating around under the bylines of different legislators. If you find proof of this, post something in the comments.

The culture of rape at Appalachian State

We've all heard about - and been appalled by - the Republican push by the legislature and McCrory administration to make severe cuts to the UNC system. A big part of this push has been an attack on subject areas deemed "useless" by Republicans, like women's studies. The Republicans are also wanting to restrict voting by college students around the state, diluting the power of the votes in college towns in conservative parts of the state.

This article at nsfwcorp.com, which is unlocked for the next day and a half for non-subscribers, is a must-read.

"Shut Up and Pay" outlines the serious problem of rape at Appalachian State University the past few years and actions by the Chancellor of the university that have resulted in protests and condemnation by the faculty. Over 80 professors at ASU signed a "no confidence' vote in the Chancellor on March 25th. The story involves the administration covering up or ignoring rapes alleged to have been committed by the university's athletes and censoring of a professor who spoke out on the issue. The whole mess has been "bubbling under" in the media for several months, getting coverage from Gawker, the Chronicle of Higher Ed, and the Huffington Post, but not wide attention in the mainstream press in NC.

Unanswered questions: Art Pope

How much do you really know about Art Pope?

Pope has been a fixture in North Carolina conservative politics since the 1970s, pouring millions into political and conservative organizations, campaigns and programs promoting libertarian programs at North Carolina universities. Now, as Governor McCrory's Budget Director, Pope has a direct role in our state government. Many McCrory appointments have direct and indirect connections to Pope or one of his foundations and political action groups.

I'll be putting up a series of blog posts about figures in the McCrory administration and legislature with unanswered questions that liberals and progressives should be asking about our new Republican public officials. Winning elections is more than just getting feet on the ground or participating in a protest - it's also about research, strategy and holding public officials accountable.

Let's start with the one man who has taken this lesson seriously.

James "Art" Pope, North Carolina's newly appointed Budget Director, heads up the Office of State Budget and Management. Governor McCrory calls Pope his "assistant budget director", minimizing Pope's role and declaring that the Governor himself is the "state's budget director".

However, the Office of State Budget and Management is a government agency that does much more than just keep books and pay the state's bills. There's more responsibility to Pope's new job that the simple title of "Budget Director" implies.

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